Balance Thread Guidelines Feedback

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@Psions said in Balance Thread Guidelines Feedback:

Or hell I simply say Beetles are underpowered, but provide 0 replays, because no one builds the bloody thing after the unit was nuked, because certain high rated players got very salty, after they realised you can die if you're not keeping tabs on your com, have 0 scouts, and no flack, or simply moronically overextend.

Bad take on beetles aside, that's a good point. I recently posted in the beetle thread showing that beetles are built in very few games (and backed it with data) and received a couple replies to the tune of "they are good, people just don't know better and that's why they don't build them". I'm worried that showing that a unit is very rarely built would never be enough to satisfy guidelines (i.e. a moderator would lock the thread using an argument like this).

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It seems the purpose of this thread was not clear. The guidelines are staying. This is for suggesting additional rules or minor adjustments to existing ones.

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@MazorNoob said in Balance Thread Guidelines Feedback:

Bad take on beetles aside, that's a good point. I recently posted in the beetle thread showing that beetles are built in very few games (and backed it with data) and received a couple replies to the tune of "they are good, people just don't know better and that's why they don't build them". I'm worried that showing that a unit is very rarely built would never be enough to satisfy guidelines (i.e. a moderator would lock the thread using an argument like this).

That's the problem that comes with relying entirely on statistical data, especially since FAF itself is hardly a large enough pool of players to continuously be testing things and assume that the meta as it is would be the whole range of optimal tactics. There are several examples throughout FAF balance change history where people didn't realize something was broken until several months into a patch just because people didn't abuse it as much as they could. People are metaslaves and generally lazy.

Reminds me of Yudi learning about ground assisting hives near two quantum gateways as the most efficient way of making RAS boys from some random dual gap dude and then that method spreading to the rest of high level FAF from there.

There's also the problem that you have a burden to explain why "a unit is very rarely built" means a unit is bad and what exactly the correct proportion of it being built is. Does the sparky need to be built as often as a t2 engie to be good? Half as often? Quarter? Why? Why does this being under or over mean anything about sparky?

You also need to qualify the data pool you're using. If you get some random assortment of 10k games over a set interval, even if you control these games to remove all single team games, that will still be what? 100 games with an average rating of over 1800? Why does it matter if the guys playing all welcome wonder 8v8 are not making firebeetles? Why does it matter if we rarely see RAS sacus in ladder?

There's a lot of qualification work that needs to go into making the information you posted in the beetles thread to be worth considering if you want to make it the crux of your analysis.

By the way, I do think the information you posted is interesting and a nice starting point for a discussion or adding onto a discussion, but I do not think it's any sort of solid basis to demand adjustments from.

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From a different thread:

@IceDreamer said in Proposal: T3 Arty & Movement:

I'm in the rare position of agreeing with absolutely everything your just said 😄 Apart from, perhaps, the proposed solution...

Recognizing the existence of a problem, and proposing a good solution to that problem, are two very different things. It's common when it comes to game development that the fan community identifies a problem but proposes terrible solutions. The game devs usually have a much better idea about solutions (the range of what is feasible to code, and the impact it would have on the game) than about problems (the fans almost by definition are better at recognizing whether something is fun or not, than the people building it).

Guidelines that encourage people to propose solutions sends the discussion in the wrong direction, it would be more useful if we first figure out the scope of the problem and then invite brainstorming about possible solutions before picking apart solutions as good/bad ideas.

Really we should have two subforums, a "balance gripes" forum where people identify problems and argue about them, and brainstorm solutions, and then a "balance team discussion" forum where people make more formal presentations about what the problem is, what their solution is, replays showing the problem, and replays with a sim mod implementing a proposed solution. The balance team shouldn't have to feel any need to get involved, even just to read what's going on, until it reaches that level.

The balance gripes forum shouldn't show up on the "new posts" tab. People should have to seek it out in order to get it. That way we don't have to worry about innocent players being corrupted by reading dumb stuff. People get into long arguments because they think it matters, but if this forum was hidden away only for people with an active interest in the subject, people who understand that the "balance gripes" subforum will be full of misinfo, then there will be less incentive to try to "win the argument." The point of the gripes forum would be to collaborate to imagine and design sim mods for testing balance ideas, not winning arguments about who understands the game better.

Only when a proposal is sufficiently far along would it end up in the official balance team discussion forum where it could receive more careful attention from the community.

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The way I see it is if you are competent and motivated enough to find a problem, figure out a solution, code it and test it then there is very little reason for you to post it on forums, you would rather make a pull request on Github and message balance team directly about your proposed changes.
I think that on forums it should be enough to find a potential problem, provide good arguments for why it's a problem and preferably provide a replay (if it's necessary or even possible). Finding a solution is a nice bonus but it shouldn't be a tick box in order for you to be able to make the balance thread. I agree with Arma here that players generally don't have the best solutions in mind, mostly since not a lot of people understand the game very well and the balance between different units. They usually get blindsided by one interaction between a pair of groups of/individual units and completely forget about other unit interaction or game scenarios.

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@Tagada Perhaps the kind of discussions that I'm envisioning should happen primarily in the discord then? There's really no reason to preserve the discussions in forum posts that will be up 5 years from now. Better to just use a different venue than to make a special subforum. There should be some avenue for having discussions about balance that doesn't waste the time of the balance team or players who can't let an incorrect statement be on the forums without correcting it.

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@Tagada Please see comment by Deribus. This is not a discussion on feedback about whether the rules should exist or not, this is apparently a discussion on whether there needs to be any minor alterations or additions to the rules.

What this actually entails, beyond being a yes man, I do not know.

P.S I agree completely with your statement, which is why a made very a strong reference to the responsibilities of the Player Councillor as the interface and representative of the playerbase. Which got deleted, unfortunately.

@arma473 yes apparently the appropriate place for such discussions now is #aeolus or discord.

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@arma473 Uhhh. I mean, might be a decent idea, but maybe you didn't realise: I was Game Councillor for like, 6 years. I literally ran the dev team for that time, and know more about the game's code than anyone else. I wrote the book. That comment was just me making a small joke with FTX because he and I often clashed on what the problems were 🙂 I'm sure he understood 🙂

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Forum is dead after recent guidelines change

If this is what you want than just close this forum

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It's not quite dead, there are occasional threads. I think people got discouraged because the balance team has no obligation to respond to threads obeying guidelines, I'm waiting for a response to the beetle thread myself.

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I stopped reading at "Some Sort of Ethos" when I noticed I have to scroll to see the whole post. So I scrolled back up now to see what the drama is about and sadly can't make it past the first three words for each bullet point.

Help me understand this, we basically have to make mod and spend hours in R&D before posting here?

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@Deribus said in Balance Thread Guidelines Feedback:

There are several methods to doing this and it isn't expected for someone to utilize all of them as certain methods are easier for certain things. I will rank them by their levels of respectability as an argument/rationale with the easiest/least respectable ones being first.

TL/DR: stats can sometimes be the best way to analyze things, and analyzing one, or even multiple replays might not accurately show you whether something is unbalanced anyway, so sometimes the well-supported opinions of the most knowledgeable players should be weighed more heavily than replays for balance changes.

So my problem with this is that just because something is the easiest way to explain the issue (stat review), does not necessarily mean it is the "least respectable" argument/rationale. It really depends entirely on what you are talking about. Simply talking about stats could easily be the best way to make some arguments. A perfect example would be the discussions of ras sacus vs mass fabs. Who needs to see a replay, when the numbers can tell you the entire story? You can very easily and accurately explain the pros and cons of these two economy options simply by crunching some numbers. (I do agree that for combat units the interactions are much more complex and pure stats are almost certainly insufficient.)

Of course there are some minor complications that you can't reliably calculate, like how exactly should you quantify the value of the mobility of sacus, or the extra risk due to the explosiveness of mass fabs? But I don't really think I can show a replay that gives you a more accurate, realistic explanation of how that interaction typically works in a game either. I could show you a replay where many mass fabs chain explode, and another where sacus do too. I could show you some sacus assisting a shield under fire from t3 arty and dying, and one with them assisting the shield and surviving because there are also a few t3 engies supporting. Do we need to do a meta-analysis of replays? How do we know that a sample of replays is not biased by noobs who don't know how to space out their fabs enough/don't know how to utilize the adjacency bonuses of fabs enough, etc.?

The point is that many issues are nearly impossible to prove through showing a single, or even a small number of replays (I think especially if they are something based on risk, e.g. explosiveness, acu snipes). How do we quantify a situation dependent risk (e.g. do you have air control or not? how good is your scouting? etc.), versus the cost to mitigate that risk? "Mercies aren't op because two cheap t1 maa counter them" or "you were just careless with your acu!" You really need to know how frequently the risk matters. One game can't show you that. Were you stupid for building mass fabs next to pgens for the adjacency bonus because in that game situation it was too risky of an idea, or because it is too risky generally? This can only be answered by analyzing many replays...OR we can just get a feel from people based on what they say because they will have a sense of the cost/benefit analysis based on what has happened in the games they have played, which should probably be discounted based on how noob they are. You should definitely put a lot more weight on Blodir's or Nexus' opinion than mine.

Another complication is that balance is certainly map dependent as well (wagners are good in certain situations, bad in others?), but I don't have a solution for that, just saying it to reiterate that no single game replay could conclusively show the overall balance of a unit, because it could be much stronger/weaker on other maps.

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I completely agree that the recent attempts to clean up the balance forum have been a colossal failure, and for that I apologize and accept full responsibility.

The goal has always been to encourage the balance team participate themselves, mostly by raising the bar for effort in posts.

How to best do that though has been a mystery. One of the pieces of guidance I've received is to "delete stupid balance posts" which I have refused time and time again. I cannot judge if a certain balance idea is stupid, and attempting to do so would for not only remove tons of potentially great ideas, it would in essence turn this into a "balance Deribus approves of" forum, which I do not support.

I'm attempting to get in touch with the balance team directly to get their thoughts on the matter. The guidelines aren't final and will probably continue to get many rapid changes as we continue to what the effects are. As always I appreciate the feedback and ask that you please be patient as I do my best to take it into account.

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BIG thanks for answer

As I see it first of all balance team should determine a purposes of forum.

Should it be a sort of bugtracker, place for discussion and feedback of future changes (then it will be ok to be dead most time of year), or something else

Probably there should be a member of balance team that reads forum and filter it before passing ideas to rest of balance team.

PS my butthurt was cased because there was change in rules to close one specific topic. That's really dirty play.

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I am already reading forum daily and when I see something that is interesting, has merit and is well argumented I respond, some of the other members of the balance team do the same. Generally after introduction of the guidelines and rules for balance forum the frequency of posts drastically decreased but we mostly lost all the shit posting ideas where the OP spent 3 minutes thinking about the problem and just saying X is bad Fix it, here is my solution that is bad cause I didn't consider xyz.

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Okay, third time's the charm

What are people's thoughts on this as a potential ruleset?

  1. Describe the problem and provide one or two viable methods of resolving the problem. Provide evidence if and when it is requested
  2. Do not repeat the same request if 3 or more posts has been made in the same thread
  3. Be objective and consider all game elements. Balance requests because of a single map or map type will be immediately locked
  4. Stay on topic, if you have a different balance idea make a new thread. You may link to the original thread if you believe it to be relevant
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@Deribus said in Balance Thread Guidelines Feedback:

What are people's thoughts on this as a potential ruleset?

and why are you now suddenly wanting to change it to something you wrote up in like, 5 minutes?

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The community has shown that the existing ruleset is not necessary for nor does it promote productive discussion. Too many exceptions have needed to be made for it to continue to be effective.

These new rules are intentionally much simpler and leave much more room open for interpretation. However, that's why I'm opening them to feedback first, I agree they might not cover everything.