Opening the balancing Blackbox to the public

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What about a minimalistic journal, posted weekly on forums any week there have been discussions?
People can then reply or post if they want to know more.

FULL POST EXAMPLE
Title: Week 19:

  • Discussed T3 MAA balance, moderate consensus.
  • Discussed Suggestions for engineer hp, wildly varying views.
  • Reached consensus on LAB balance
  • Implemented Mex design as per prior discussions.
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Sure, i understand the need of not being spammed by random ideas. But from the player perspctive, it feels like there is very little will to communicate toward the player base.
As Arran and Valki pointed out, a small journal, or just an updated thread "FAF Beta Current Changelog" would already be a good step forward.

Funny you link the github page, as it's a perfect example: i can discover there are discussions about aeon and sera enginneering station (who asked for that ? is there a forum post ?), a solace buff (???), a t1 ghetto gunship buff, but no thread about the mercy rework, no discussion about aeon strat bomber (i remember arran making a legit thread about it), nothing on the navy stuff ... etc.

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The engineering station thing is pretty old, pretty sure there was a thread about that on old forums.

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@tagada said in Opening the balancing Blackbox to the public:

Care to ellaborate on all of the good and well thought out balance ideas that we've missed on the forums?

I'm sounding like a broken record at this point, but I'm still waiting for a response to my arguments in the beetle thread that isn't a condescending "beetles are good now and all of you are just too stupid to notice".

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The were forums posts about mantis icon and navy, then mantis icon and shard got changed......yeah so blackboxie

Regarding mercy, I'm currently making a mercy mod to change how you can use it, it's not easy, don't expect mercy to be changed at all because anything will probably break it

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@Tagada you expressed to me that the major drive for the previous balance updates to labs and t1 boomer is to make the game more interesting within the first 3 minutes. That does not sound like a balance change but more a “we don’t like waiting 3 minutes and want to do this update with justification!”

You guys in no way are addressing an imbalance but more the flow of the game in the past and the current update.

I wrote in my player application about how the balance team should collaborate on how to express balance updates BEFORE release through explanation. You guys are nearly completely refusing to admit it’s a gameplay change rather balance, so I am happy to see other people are starting to take notice and demanding openness.

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@archsimkat said in Opening the balancing Blackbox to the public:

@auricocorico It's not a black box if people who want to join the ladder team and contribute to the map pools can just do that by just messaging me or FtX. It's like the most minimal barrier to entry you can have.

But why do they have to be on the “team?” Not everyone wants to be on the team full time but may want to voice concerns or suggestions every so often. I don’t think someone needs to officially be part of the team to do that.

3

Since I don't follow the forums 365 days of the year, I have not seen any explanation for the changes in last patch. The patch changelog should include the reasoning. I legitimately can't think of a reason for eg. buffing the arguably op selen or the seemingly random mex changes (does that even the buildtime/cost ratio relative to other tech levels or something?)

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Upgrading mexes unassisted is unchanged, upgrading mexes with assistance is faster.

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"Patch 3720
Welcome to the patchnotes for the 3720 patch.

This patch is a combination of small fine-tuning and changes to game mechanics. It's a relatively small patch stabilising the balance and getting things out of the way so that the focus can (hopefully) be shifted towards SCUs going forward.

Selen, Jester and Bombers are all getting small buffs as a follow-up to previous patch. Mantis icon is changed from a LAB icon to a tank icon as this became an apparent issue with the resurgence of LAB usage after their buff. Shard will now actually hit stuff. Mex build time and build power are reverted to pre-engymod values, making them more efficient to assist and making the choice between using engineers for reclaim and assist more meaningful. Target priorities have been fine-tuned from the last change. Overcharge now kills a mobile shield generator if it depletes its shield.

We wish you good luck and much fun playing with the new patch!

-- The Balance Team"

For what's it's worth there is enough written here so that we can more or less get our heads around why the changes happened.
And for more we can just go and pester Turin on discord I guess.

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@randomwheelchair said in Opening the balancing Blackbox to the public:

"Patch 3720
Welcome to the patchnotes for the 3720 patch.

This patch is a combination of small fine-tuning and changes to game mechanics. It's a relatively small patch stabilising the balance and getting things out of the way so that the focus can (hopefully) be shifted towards SCUs going forward.

Selen, Jester and Bombers are all getting small buffs as a follow-up to previous patch. Mantis icon is changed from a LAB icon to a tank icon as this became an apparent issue with the resurgence of LAB usage after their buff. Shard will now actually hit stuff. Mex build time and build power are reverted to pre-engymod values, making them more efficient to assist and making the choice between using engineers for reclaim and assist more meaningful. Target priorities have been fine-tuned from the last change. Overcharge now kills a mobile shield generator if it depletes its shield.

We wish you good luck and much fun playing with the new patch!

-- The Balance Team"

For what's it's worth there is enough written here so that we can more or less get our heads around why the changes happened.
And for more we can just go and pester Turin on discord I guess.

I did read this and I still do not have the answer to the most important question in any balance change: why

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Yeah I am a bit confused on the why of some of this too. Bombers and Selens already feel pretty good for the role they play imo and I see them used heavily. Bombers getting even more of a buff feels kind of obnoxious though that's my personal feelings on it and might be a far cry from how strong ladder players feel about it, but getting a reasonable "why" would probably help it make more sense.

The mex change is the opposite of what I've seen a number of people want if I'm not missing something, if it changes anything it just further entrenches and rewards hard ecoing in team games.

Just my personal feelings on it, could be way off but that's where a reasonable "why" comes in. I'd very much like a better reason for the mex changes than "making the choice between using engineers for reclaim and assist more meaningful" because like Bennis said, that sounds like a pretty bs reason. If I can afford it and have an available engineer then that engineer is going to be assisting the mex, if not then the engineer(s) will be reclaiming or doing something else useful. I don't care if it's faster now, it's purely based on if I can afford the assistance or not. Maybe that's because I'm noob, but I don't really think that would be different for better players. Perhaps we'll see some small BO changes on maps with well established meta and builds like Seton's, but it doesn't exactly help healthy gameplay in that situation.

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While i thought many of the changes were good (aeon t2 arti is no longer ridiculously better, but also retained its better accuracy; cybran maa might be a bit better at aa; jester is hopefully harder to dodge) i agree with many of the posters here that it would be nice to have more visibility over what is being considered, why changes are made, and why various points that receive a lot of attention from posters on these forums are seemingly ignored. I too was bemused at the mex change, while ive found the com targeting change very frustrating (as it feels far harder to have my com target what i want than before). I accept that im no pro and there will be a rationale ive not thought of/disagree with (due to not being as good a player) for certain changes, but better communication would still be nice.

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Bomber change is pretty much because it takes so long for things in radar range to actually show up (new radar signatures only update like every second), so the increased radar range is to make up for it and make things actually show up like it should with the old range.

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@archsimkat Makes sense and I didn't think about it in terms of radar being slow to actually show new signatures. Thanks for the clarification on that.

Honestly this is a perfect example of why the "why" is so important - players can learn from it. Tbh I thought that radar was just buggy sometimes and slow to actually show up, but it makes a lot more sense that it's just waiting on a certain game tick for it to refresh. While this isn't particularly useful information in the vast majority of in-game scenarios it is nice to know and there are a lot small details non pros who are interested in learning can pick up from balance changes.

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I agree that why these changes are made should be included in the announcements about it. That's excellent information to have.

But if you want to contribute your best method is to join the balance team.

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Joining the balance teams requires a majority of the current balance team to agree to making you a member.

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If you want an easy way to stay on top of changes, multiple discord bots exist that essentially track GitHub repositories.

GitHub is a complex site, but the bot negates the poor ui by just linking you straight to changes.

If you feel like doing something, I would research them instead of... waiting for someone else to do it

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Well the pattern I see here is that lots of noobs or low level thinkers come in here and shit-post about this or that needing to be changed and everyone seems to get a default approach of trashing any post that comes through (because statistically that is a good guess without even reading the post).

Then when people actually raise good points the normal crowd does it's hatchet job and theres more counter-argument than there should be so it stalls or appears on a numerical post basis to be unpopular. Gonna take some special kinds of insight to work around that so hopefully you'll see what I'm talking about and act smartly.