How do you balance a game like Evolve?

I’m curious to people’s thoughts.

Do you balance it for ESL skill levels? That would probably not be a good idea, since random pugs would probably feel every single monster was overpowered. Similar to what we saw the first few weeks after launch. Right?
I’m still not convinced that Wraith was ever overpowered, just designed to be good at disengaging - which doesn’t result in very interesting games.

That leaves us with: Game being balanced in favour of pugs. Something that would attract more people and result in a healthier player count. But that makes high-level play suffer, which in turn makes for uninteresting tournaments, because matches end up being one sided.

Is there a third option? How DO you balance a game like Evolve?

Tbh i don’t think you can balance Evolve. One thing that annoys me about hunters is people seem to think you should be able to pick up the controller and 1v1 the monster without tactics or teamwork which is why monsters get nerfed for pugs. Peoples skill affects the data they use to balance the game…I think xD

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Well I don’t know, because I feel it is pretty good in the high level ESL tournaments, and pug games are pretty balanced. I feel Evolve is balanced to the idea of people knowing there roles, so it kinda requires higher skill then most games. Right now a few things need some balance with the new characters, but it will all iron out.


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This is a great question. Evolve is always going to be a niche title. To that point, I think it needs to be tilted toward High Level play. I’m sure plenty of lvl40’s have noticed there are players that still don’t know their roles – sniping Medics being among the most insidious.

As a lifelong gamer, I have always set a game’s difficulty to its harder levels. I do this because I want the challenge of learning a game’s nuance, and you don’t learn those things by being able to button mash in a fighter for instance.

Evolve’s asymmetrical design has shown to be a unique balancing act, but I believe TRS are dedicated to developing a nuanced experience for both sides, and that’s where both the thrill and the challenge of becoming a great player reside. Nothing like this (to my knowledge) has ever been tried before, so it’s to be expected that the dials are going to have to be tuned between what’s shown in the studio and public play (especially when new characters are introduced).

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Right now the game balance is off in both ESL and PUG:

ESL pro Monster (slightly)

  • No Masteries give Monster an edge on Tier one. This is because a
    Monster does not have access to all his abilities on Stage 1. On the
    Opposite side, Hunters start out with all Abilites and their
    Masteries. Those hinder Hunters to punish the Monster in the first
    dome and shift the game in favor of the Monster.

PUG (Heavily Monster favored)

  • The nature of the game is asymetrical. Therefore the Single Player has the advantage over the 4 uncoordinated Hunters.
  • Buffs right now are a complete joke and shift the balance not only in the Monsters favor, but make it extremely easy to just win. 35% DI, 50% CDR are almost guaranteed teamwipes. 35% DR is a free Stage 2 without risk.

This game can only be balanced for both when the Teamwork is not mandatory and individual skill is more important. This however is not really desired so in my oppinion balance should be targeted on a competitive environment, a composition of 4 players working together against a common enemy.

It’s too late to balance it for PUGS. If they had done that day one then maybe they would have kept a higher player base and it’d make sense. But now a lot of people have been turned off for one reason or another and the people still playing aren’t just the guys who want to smash stuff with a rock, it’s the guys who usually have a team or at least a buddy or two and want to get level 40 not just to unlock everything but to keep playing.

If you balance it for the randoms and PUGS you’re going to turn off the guys who really want to stick with the game, and I think it’s too late to really expect Evolve to suddenly gain enough popularity to expect an influx of new players.