Question. How do you approach fun, and balance? (and perception)


#1

Say you’ve got certain team synergies that are just too good.

And to balance them out you have to do something that makes a character feel less fun, or useful.

Say Lazarus is just too good, and too pivotal for a problematic team synergy, and you’ve gotta really give his Lazarus device a working over.

The result is that now its more of a one use every two short monster fights, or two uses during a long one. Or you’ve gotta use a gun to power it up and do something that effectively is annoying or doesn’t feel good to do…to re-up the charge on the device.

Like some game mechanic that just isn’t fun to do with Lazarus’s kit. How do you go about changing that to be fun…making Lazarus and more importantly the community’s opinion of his utility as a whole, positive.

If people THINK he’s bad then any player who KNOWS he’s not will get hassled for playing a less useful character.

That’s another factor in balance that’s annoying. If players don’t know that a characters useful enough, or how to be useful enough with how you’ve newly tuned the character…the character is still dead weight, and you’ve got to wait until information reaches enough players before you get useful data on whether or not the character is fun enough or balanced now that the synergy is defunct.

How do you guys plan on handling that mess? Any thoughts you can share?

Any time you go to balance a skill post launch, if you don’t have a good track record, any players who feel attached to their performance level with that character will feel bleh, and then they kick up a fuss, and if the response time to that fuss, and fixing it isn’t fast enough, then you’ve got people who’ll just go, “oh my character’s up for tuning? Bleh I’m done.”

How advanced is the know how on how to deal with these sorts of problems these days?


#2

How do we approach fun and maintain balance?

I believe that iterative testing through our daily play tests helps us to achieve harmony between keeping our game fun and balanced at the same time. As @MacMan has explained before in interviews and posts, we’ll try something out and if it’s not fun, scrap it. If it is fun, we’ll keep tuning it until it gets balanced out. Sometimes new things come along that affects old things we already established and makes it unbalanced or no longer fun. In that case it’s back to more iterative testing until we level everything out on even ground. So having gone through this process for a couple years now I’m pretty confident in our studio’s ability to keep the game fun, while still balancing it.

I will share 3.

Thought one - Community. I think that in every gaming community there will always be people who figure things out and share it with everyone else via forums, guides, twitch, youtube, etc…

Thought two - The Ginger and the Feisty Brit. When the community needs an extra hand, we’ve got an amazing community manager @DamJess and an excellent PR manager @Chloe. Between the two of them I’m sure they can come up with all sorts of great ways to reach out and engage our community.

Third thought - Our Game. We have a great system in place to keep it fun and balanced so I know nothing is overly OP. On top of that, Evolve has more depth than people may realize as it does not readily compare to other shooters and their strategies due to the asymmetrical nature and combat of our game. I’ve been playing this game for 2 years now and it still excites me to think of how much depth there is to Evolve. If people still need help seeing that fact then I will gladly lend my insights to the best of my ability.


#4

Asking useful questions is hard, bugger all if I can do it :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess what I’m wondering is if the social aspect of design, that designer to player, to designer system has had any progress because its something that concerns me as far as long term game health, and keeping players from being toxic goes…

(TS:DR)
Information from the game can be pretty ambiguous, the hunter teams get a lot more of it, and the monster has a lot more information coming at them all at once…(but then there’s the team aspect, that even the hunter players may not really understand as a skill. How coordination affects balance and team skill affects things in information-ally subtle ways)

If one group of players kicks up a fuss, and it does something drastic, or it doesn’t and they feel particularly vocal about x y z…and it not changing because you took a deep look at it and found it wasn’t an issue, communication I guess is just important.

It may be that a % of the community can’t play at a certain skill level and certain things are only a problem at certain skill levels and now you’ve got problems based on player skill and how that interacts with a deep system, and now they’re communicating desires for things that affect balance…that have weight.

Figuring out how to single out who’s having problems with what, and communicating effectively to each bracket of players whats going on, in a targeted way seems like its pretty important for a game like this. Especially if you need to balance for skill level, among other things.

I guess Its not really a question with an answer as more of a… sense of are your design philosophizes broad enough to tackle these community based problems without needing to clunk up the game in the meantime and require larger higher impact fixes later.