TheRightHand

Re-balancing the Fliers, Mk. 2!

Recommended Posts

TheRightHand    222

If you want to skip the why, and just get to the WHAT, go ahead and skip to the bold text down the page.

Hey there friends! 

So, there's been a lot of controversy over this flier nerf, and we're glad to see that as always, our community is loud and engaging us in every way they know how-- including sending us image macros of a guy pooping on our names!

Let's get down to brass tacks on this one so I don't waste your time:

The big broad nerf hammer has been swung, and as the Senior Gameplay Designer on the project, it's my job to try and communicate as much and well as I can about what's going on with changes like these. I also have to make it a priority to iterate with you, the community, on stuff that impacts you, even if I'm not great at it all the time. That's part of our whole philosophy.

I think the discussion of "why did you do it" needs a moment to talk about, because there is a lot of assumptions about why we did it, and the posts I have made elsewhere haven't traveled everywhere they probably should have. So, let's start there.

We very much see fliers as needing to have distinct roles, and we feel this way about every dino, but each day only has so many hours in it, and there are a huge number of priorities that we have before we do a lot of balance stuff. In their state before this nerf bat, fliers were largely non-distinct, and speed was a critical issue across the board. The game had become largely "get a flier, rule the world", and this started as early as a Pteranadon. 

There were many PvP implications in flier speed, not only did it make snatching, C4 bombing, and Quetz Grenading huge, easy issues, but it had underlying repercussions in the overall pvp gameplay space with regards to trivializing the land dinos which we actually want to see in battle, and giving people the option to remain endlessly airborne with giant mobile chaingun/gatling/rocket platforms high above the world and out of range of any threats.

There were also PvE implications. The ground game was essentially trivialized. You could live on the back of a Quetz perpetually after getting one, never even having to land... ever, really. 80% of the game was easily ignored because the air is safer, more straightforward, etc.

Without taking forever to deep-dive into this stuff, the one thing that I think everyone can agree with, or that most people seem to agree with, is that "it had to happen", and "you guys should have just done it less".

Both of these statements are true, but in the long run, the way we choose to make these changes are with broad strokes, followed by incremental buffs. That's how we work. There are other companies that do it differently, and that's good. For an in-development product, however, this is how we chose to do it. The end result will be the same, the only difference is where the outrage is felt. Either you guys get furious at us over several weeks as we nerf your fliers again and again, making them weaker and weaker, and you hate us for that, or we do it all at once and buff them, and you hate us all at once and then things get better.

These are just two different design approaches. If this was a finished game, where right now we felt that creatures needed small incremental tweaks to get them to a place where we like them, we would probably have taken the Blizzard/Starcraft approach of little steps at a time. 

Now, let me take a moment out to address all of you on a very serious note:

Don't ever let anyone tell you not to express yourself.

If you have a feeling, if something we did made you feel a certain way, express it. You are not wrong to feel that way. It is your own feeling, and you have every right to express it. I've seen a LOT of people telling each other what is and is not okay to express, and I don't really like that. We have to have thick skin to be developers. We know sometimes you just need to say a string of expletives at us. That's fine. It's not CONSTRUCTIVE, but it's fine. 

Would we prefer constructive dialogue? Yes. We've used constructive feedback to shape the next balance pass on the fliers. But even just raw anger and frustration are fine to express, and we want you to. It lets us know what the general feeling and climate is, even if it doesn't help us move towards a solution for the problem.

With that out of the way, the meat.

Our overall goal with this re-balance is to define roles specific to each of the fliers. This is a monumental task for land dinos, and that is why we didn't do that now. There are like a hundred land dinos, and not many fliers, comparatively.

The roles look something like this:

  • Ptero - Fast, sprinting scout, with low hp/stamina, but quicker stamina recovery. Fastest flier in the game (except for wild wyverns).
  • Argent - Tanky fighter, can scrap well and take some hits, high stamina/carry weight compared to all other fliers (except Quetz), while still maintaining some agility.
  • Moth - "beginner" mount, lowest stats across the board for explicit travel or fighting, but a powerful special attack for specialized use.
  • Pelagornis - Versatility flier with generally low stats, but unique functionality, and other special abilities to offset its lack of direct stat power.
  • Quetz - Sky Bronto. Slow, extreme stamina, extreme weight capacity, good for prolonged sieges or for moving massive quantities of things to and fro. High health pool, but extremely poor maneuverability and very vulnerable.
  • Tapejara - Tactical flier. Between the Argent and Ptero for overall stats, but with multi-mount support and latching abilities, it can carry well armed players in and out of the battlefield or to remote locations.
  • Wyvern - Lord of the skies. Low stamina, moderate move speed, poor agility, but extreme power and versatility. 

This is how we see them conceptually, and the overall "feel" we want to aim for when we finally say "yeah, these are in a good spot".

In the spirit of that: 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hVE4Ub5ufePdkun4IYQf1oADPcvcfLx9IRpEbZVPLdc/edit#gid=160180008

This is a good look at the current values, the new values, and the deltas associated with the changes. Most of it is straightforward, but there are a few silly or convoluted variables in here:

Rider Extra Max Speed Multiplier is the most important one, it effectively gives the associated dino a change in its movement speed when it has someone riding it. You can see we've increased these values across the board for almost all of the fliers, making them simply faster when ridden.

So, all of the values shown here are essentially up for modification. This is a slightly trimmed version of the spreadsheet I use to calculate balance changes and overall impact and % deltas when making changes like these, I thought it would be cool to share it.

The "New Values" will be in your patch tomorrow*. Afterwards, we will be watching for a few more days, and seeing how these changes play out in my own gameplay, in the live game, in overall metrics on the back-end, etc. Then we will do another pass with the rest of the team, and we'll continue to iterate until we feel everything is in a good place.

Feedback us! If you have some thoughts on where these are going and want to take your own shot at proposing some values, go for it. I'm glad to look over anything that gets proposed, as long as you've got some reasoning behind it.

This is not the final pass! We're going to be iterating on this internally and want your input as we go forwards. I'll try to do more of this stuff when we bring out large balance changes in the future, and do them beforehand, not after. It's a process, so it doesn't just end here. 

- The Right Hand

*Wildcard Times are subject to change or horrible inaccuracies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cokll    16
Posted (edited)

Please restore !!!!!!!

Please do not try too much to change, please give at least the right to choose

Please add a base attribute multiplier to the Dino.

Private server needs it

Edited by cokll

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JovanMaxis    58

Thank you for taking the time to read through everything.  I know it must be rough sifting through all of the criticisms for such a widely reviled patch.  I have a few things I'd like to put up for your consideration (that I tried to get into Jat's thread and missed by minutes).  I think a lot of this would go a long way to helping, and while it isn't numbers specifically, it's changes nonetheless that I think would be potentially beneficial.

As Zederia so eloquently stated in the first reply in Jat's thread - please stick to the dossiers!  My disappointment with the flavor/lore not matching actual mechanics is immense, and has been since the Titanosaur. Quetz "never landing" was achievable through stamina regen mechanics.  Keep the slower regen in place (or even reduce it to be on par with a cliff-mounted Tapejara!) when dismounted, making meaningful decisions over whether you want to risk it on the ground OR hover for a longer time.  In a game about risk assessment and management, making this kind of decision adds to gameplay.  Realistically the drain should at the very least allow Stamina to stop being consumed when you're only hovering dismounted - not moving. Ptera and Argents should also be sticking to their roots as scout and transport respectively.  If you really want to shake things up, put the same stipulations on Pteras in PvP that there are in PvE - it can only carry friendly tribemates (possibly extend to allies in both cases, as well!).  I would also allow for Argents to get up to 220% speed again, but make the gains small.  This gives people a chance to steal Wyvern eggs without importing tames from another server if you're willing to put in the time and effort.

Consider re-introducing the ability to get an imprint bonus to speed - that was one of the nicest parts of an otherwise punishing imprint process (looking at you, Quetz).

Wyverns should be able to slightly outpace their wild counterparts once tamed.  We train them as we level them, no? Up their stamina again somewhat but increase elemental breath cost if you must - it just doesn't really make sense to me why, running on the ground, I am unable to bite more than 8 times without being completely exhausted. While we're at it, let's get wyvern AI pathing when set to follow sorted as well (and the "Stay grounded" follow option for all flyers, please!)

I know this next one sounds weird, but hear me out.  Consider re-introducing wasted points on existing tames.  I admit to knowing nothing about actual code, but wouldn't it be possible to prevent new tames from having Speed points applied without disallowing existing ones from benefiting?  It's true - it doesn't bestow actual stats - but when you are allowed to take these creatures up against the Manticore that throws torpor-balls at you, those wasted points can help you out without making your players re-imprint new Wyverns that fall in line with the new world order.  It would go a long way to make people happier again with no real effort, letting their base 190 Wyvern pre-nerf maintain the same torpor value and max level potential. 

In the vein of doing something small that will help heaps, either refund ALL points previously allocated in flyers, or allow the use of Mindwipe Tonic on flyers in a hotfix until the next major version.  This will let everyone decide how they would like to play with the numbers on their existing tames to exist happier under this new world order.

Overall, I think a better approach is to simply buff land dinos and improve their pathing/follow AI to make them comparable in desirability to flyers, but I digress.

Unrelated to the flyer nerf but something I have heard echoed from my own tribemates in the discussion to find a new game - apparently the current text is causing some people severe headaches where the older text was not.  One contributing factor to them not playing is the poor color contrast between some of the various blues and this new text actually causing them pain...nobody should be required to pop Advil to play a game.  Is there any chance this could be reverted or have a tickbox of some type in the settings to alter it?  It would also be cool to have a "combined" option to view Engrams+Inventory in a crafting station like the older interface had instead of requiring they be split up as they currently are.  An opacity slider for the hotbar would be appreciated as well, along with the menus not changing shades when utilizing gamma adjustment!

Thank you for your time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bugg    53
Posted (edited)

@TheRightHand

It's not just some companies who do it the small increments way, it's the majority of them, and the majority of corporate services as well. There's a reason that way is the industry standard - it causes the least user upset. As lead designer your job shouldn't be to discuss things with us or decide what changes actually make it to prod...there should be a service delivery/change/process manager above you vetoing changes that have an unreasonable impact on end user experience. It is also their job to be the comms conduit between you and the user. Devs are notoriously bad at judging user experience and impact and if we let them do what they want all the time customers lose faith. That is why these decisions are taken out of dev hands in most companies.

That aside, thank you for (finally) communicating the change in some depth and giving us a glimpse of the plan moving forward. The changes suggested here, where flyers are tweaked to fulfill roles, sound about right, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays!

Cheers.

Edited by Bugg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Irkalla    14

I do agree that both a nerf was needed and that this was heavy handed.    I'm no good with numbers.  Numbers mean math and maths be hard at 1am.  

Have you given any thought to what many of us have been asking for repeatedly since this patch dropped.  To let those of us with private servers change things in the ini?   I don't have hours to play every day.  I have other responsibilities.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so essentially they get a slight buff. end result still being slow as hell. if this is not the final pass. why the hell did you mess with it in the first place? beyond raptoring stupid. might as well have left it how it was. because what putting yourself through all this work. and oh pissing off the playerbase by such an stupid nerf. birds with big wing span wait for it .... should be able to fly fast especially wyverns. due to massive muscle strength

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Volcano637    850
2 minutes ago, slayerofzombs87 said:

so essentially they get a slight buff. end result still being slow as hell. if this is not the final pass. why the hell did you mess with it in the first place? beyond raptoring stupid. might as well have left it how it was. because what putting yourself through all this work. and oh pissing off the playerbase by such an stupid nerf. birds with big wing span wait for it .... should be able to fly fast especially wyverns. due to massive muscle strength

The nerf was a good idea 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You have to remember the center is 2X bigger than the island 

so having to land 5 times in areas infested with wolves really isn't an option there is a really simple fix to this that would keep the population happy decrease the bred dinos affinity so that fliers can't get 5k health and stam in just a few levels or you could just put a cap at 3k stamina

 

Edited by derpwarrior98

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maxanto    27

Right Hand..I just want to point out a mod to you guys.. and in 3 days it has 21k subscribers...

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=895711211

That's right 21k people think your changes are absolute poop. I am one of that 21K. The fact that you are still humoring this idea proves what I thought all along about WC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cokll    16
5 minutes ago, Volcano637 said:

It will not be restored but it will get better than it is right now

This change is totally unacceptable,I lost a lot of players.

If not, at least add a base multiplier to the Dinosaurs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Probitas    74
Posted (edited)

I looked at the spreadsheet. Stamina pools are far too low to be of any use for flyers considering how quickly they drain. And considering how much stamina land dinos have, it's a joke. If flyers can't travel anywhere what is the point of having one? I am not too concerned about it as using Classic Flyers mod now (Extinction Core is way to OP for my tastes and turns a sandbox into a pseudo MMO), but please do continue with your experimentation. Update your dossiers to match if you don't intend to allow the behavior to match anymore, like Quetzs and having to land for stamina. And please make wild dinos exactly the same. If players or tames have to rest, so should they. And if you won't allow people to train speed you've just made me stick to using the Classic mod for good. It's not the entire player bases fault breeding got totally out of hand.<-- Removing breeding will prevent levels being too high and stats being too high, solving the issue in the easiest fashion.

Edited by Probitas
Emphasis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Typh39    16
Posted (edited)

Alright, the Quetz has high stamina again, this is good. I still miss the moderate speed they had when i was moving fro ma main base to a smaller base. But hopefully they won't need to land as often. I will see what happens with this. I still don't like the idea from flying to the volcano from Herbivore island takes 15-20 minutes. Time isn't really something I have much of.

Edited by Typh39
Adding thoughts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TR-8R    99
33 minutes ago, TheRightHand said:

There were also PvE implications. The ground game was essentially trivialized. You could live on the back of a Quetz perpetually after getting one, never even having to land... ever, really. 80% of the game was easily ignored because the air is safer, more straightforward, etc.

 

God , not this logic again , we do not ignore ground , we use air because they allow us to bypass those bases blocking the way , plus it is a mean for moving around and scouting . However we still have to be on land to farming / taming .

If you get a rex , you are pretty much being ignore by everything except for large dino , more so when on a Giga , is that fun ?

No one ever live on a Quetz , everyone stay in the base .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MurderHobo    53

Please try to remember in the future that it is much easier to lose trust than to regain it.  Your excuse that this is an early access game cannot be used as a crutch for playing silly buggers with your customers.  There is no way you can spin this as being anything but a mistake, a serious lack of application of mind for anyone who knows anything of the history of multiplayer online worlds.  The .256 patch will go down in gaming history now as an example of what NOT to do to your playerbase.

In any business I've worked in this sort of fiasco would have had entire teams raked over the coals.  It is amateurish. 

I'll try your new patch and if (as it seems) you've properly addressed the crippling nerfs then I'll change my negative steam review and happily stop lurking in your forums, but please take this lesson to heart as example of how never, ever to approach balance in your game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HighFlyer15    267
22 minutes ago, cokll said:

Please restore !!!!!!!

Please do not try too much to change, please give at least the right to choose

Please add a base attribute multiplier to the Dino.

Private server needs it

Did you even bother reading the article? :/ 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bugg    53
1 minute ago, MurderHobo said:

In any business I've worked in this sort of fiasco would have had entire teams raked over the coals.  It is amateurish. 

+10 rep, I have run out of rep to give but this a thousand times. To anyone who knows how these things work you look like amateurs. Hire experts on the business and PR side. Engineers aren't any good at that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jat    3189
12 minutes ago, JovanMaxis said:

As Zederia so eloquently stated in the first reply in Jat's thread - please stick to the dossiers!  My disappointment with the flavor/lore not matching actual mechanics is immense, and has been since the Titanosaur. 

12

Just wanted to say to this that we'll be carrying out a pass on our Dossiers at final release to make sure they're accurate to the game. Some should have had some updates as we've gone through development too, so we will be staying accurate to the lore of the game.

Quote

Quetz "never landing" was achievable through stamina regen mechanics.  Keep the slower regen in place (or even reduce it to be on par with a cliff-mounted Tapejara!) when dismounted, making meaningful decisions over whether you want to risk it on the ground OR hover for a longer time.  In a game about risk assessment and management, making this kind of decision adds to gameplay.  Realistically the drain should at the very least allow Stamina to stop being consumed when you're only hovering dismounted - not moving. Ptera and Argents should also be sticking to their roots as scout and transport respectively.  If you really want to shake things up, put the same stipulations on Pteras in PvP that there are in PvE - it can only carry friendly tribemates (possibly extend to allies in both cases, as well!).  I would also allow for Argents to get up to 220% speed again, but make the gains small.  This gives people a chance to steal Wyvern eggs without importing tames from another server if you're willing to put in the time and effort.

These are some good suggestions, and we did deliberate quite heavily on the Quetz and their stamina usage. Right now we're going to see how the current changes play out, as well as a slight tweak of how much stamina they use to see what players think. The values you see above aren't finalized, they're just what we're going with in the upcoming update and I expect us to make some more changes following feedback and seeing how it plays out.

Quote

I am unable to bite more than 8 times without being completely exhausted. 

Actually a very fair point, there are improvements coming to Wyverns with this patch in terms of their stamina and regeneration but decreasing the amount use for a bite seems inline with our thoughts on its role.

Quote

 

I know this next one sounds weird, but hear me out.  Consider re-introducing wasted points on existing tames.  I admit to knowing nothing about actual code, but wouldn't it be possible to prevent new tames from having Speed points applied without disallowing existing ones from benefiting?  It's true - it doesn't bestow actual stats - but when you are allowed to take these creatures up against the Manticore that throws torpor-balls at you, those wasted points can help you out without making your players re-imprint new Wyverns that fall in line with the new world order.  It would go a long way to make people happier again with no real effort, letting their base 190 Wyvern pre-nerf maintain the same torpor value and max level potential. 

In the vein of doing something small that will help heaps, either refund ALL points previously allocated in flyers, or allow the use of Mindwipe Tonic on flyers in a hotfix until the next major version.  This will let everyone decide how they would like to play with the numbers on their existing tames to exist happier under this new world order.

Overall, I think a better approach is to simply buff land dinos and improve their pathing/follow AI to make them comparable in desirability to flyers, but I digress.

 

Certainly not a weird suggestion at all and a fair one to make. Not sure whether it's technically easy to achieve but will bring it up to the team regardless to see what their thoughts are.

Quote

Unrelated to the flyer nerf but something I have heard echoed from my own tribemates in the discussion to find a new game - apparently the current text is causing some people severe headaches where the older text was not.  One contributing factor to them not playing is the poor color contrast between some of the various blues and this new text actually causing them pain...nobody should be required to pop Advil to play a game.  Is there any chance this could be reverted or have a tickbox of some type in the settings to alter it?  It would also be cool to have a "combined" option to view Engrams+Inventory in a crafting station like the older interface had instead of requiring they be split up as they currently are.  An opacity slider for the hotbar would be appreciated as well, along with the menus not changing shades when utilizing gamma adjustment!

We'll be making some adjustments in that patch (or possibly one the next day, depending on when the changes are committed to our SVN by the relevant teams) which should help tackle a number of problems raised by the players with the new UI. We'll also be looking into the colour scheme/transparency stuff and some other options to ensure that players don't find it as much as an eye-sore. We do enjoy the TEKKY feel and think it's right for how we see the game and its story, we've just got to get it right ;).

In regards to the crafting station comment, we should have a button that looks like engrams. If you click on that, it'll show the engrams in the inventory part of your station. It's called 'Show Engrams', 2nd from the right.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Bugg said:

@TheRightHand

It's not just some companies who do it the small increments way, it's the majority of them, and the majority of corporate services as well. There's a reason that way is the industry standard - it causes the least user upset. 

I completely disagree, I believe this was the right approach and it makes perfect sense to do it this way. One big nerf with small buffs. What should have been different was they should have made sure everyone understood there would be buffs before the nerf dropped. Many if not all had no idea the nerf wasn't the final numbers WC was going for. There would have been a lot less chaos if they would have communicated better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Typh39    16
2 minutes ago, BulletForce said:

Increasing the weight, stamina and speed of the Quetzal is just going to render land transportation obsolete once again. This needs to be looked into again.

So, Why not just remove it from the game then? That appears to be your logic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zederia    216
2 minutes ago, BulletForce said:

Increasing the weight, stamina and speed of the Quetzal is just going to render land transportation obsolete once again. This needs to be looked into again.

oh no, so the dossier shouldn't be followed at all huh? stamina and weight are EXACTLY what it should have

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.