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Thread: The REAL problem with Rift PvP Balancing

  1. #1
    Rift Disciple Tenet's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The REAL problem with Rift PvP Balancing

    Tank, DPS, Healing - they are all PvE Concepts - they are not interesting in PvP.

    DPS vs Healing is just a comparison of numbers - can you empty a health bar faster then it's filled back? Can you kill the boss before the timer runs out?
    There's some tactical depth with Focus Fire - and there are a few ways to avoid damage (don't bunch up, line of sight, position altering abilities) - but the overall focus is on the formula.

    Most of the balancing discussions on this forum revolve around such formulas - without recognizing that the system as a whole is ill-conceived.
    It's more or less a generic MMORPG - an outdated combat system that most other developers are trying to step away from (as a major selling point).

    There are examples of games breaking that mold:

    GuildWars 8v8 at it's best did not have effective healing - you could not outheal DPS - instead there was a mixture of defenses - from Protection (powerful but expensive short duration / short CD buffs) to various debuffs placed on the primary sources of damage.
    Furthermore, the damage was also handled differently - with all the active defenses availiable, people didn't really think in terms of DPS - the main consideration was bursting and mana costs. The main goal was to either momentarily disable defenses (mostly the Monks) or make them run out of mana through forced inefficient use.
    The other important factor was splitting - defenses designed for 8v8 did not always work as well when split 5v5 + 3v3, with maps promoting splitting up to attack/defend objectives.

    Age of Conan - while having it's own shortcomings, introduced a combo system for melee, and active defensive abilities. You had to either move aside from an attack to cause it to miss, or use some active means to minimize it's impact. Since landing the first and last hit in a combo is so important, it created openings for proactive defense.

    DotA/HoN/LoL and Bloodline Champions (as the extreme case) all introduced so called "skill shots" abilities that do not hit automatically, but must be aimed (where your cursor or character is facing).
    They also had active protective abilities - short buffs that mitigate most or all damage on a target, or prevent a type of damage from applying.

    Besides the above ideas, there's also the issue of Positioning:

    One common theme - whenever ranged vs. melee was balanced, it was primarily done by making melee damage murder - but making it much more difficult to apply then ranged. If you had a leap - then the ranged classes had a leap of their own. Forcing bad leaps and punishing those who wasted the cooldown became important.
    If no one had leaps - and you had to run up using momentary speed boosts, then the other classes had snares (debuffs or ground aoe) and/or could body block to make training a target harder.
    It was also common for Melee to require the assistance of Support to reach targets effectively - and made support roles more viable.

    This type of Positioning play is very limited in Rift - and is very rarely balanced. Most of the time it's either very easy to get on top of a target, or it's impossible and people get permanently kited. I haven't seen a balance patch where there was a healthy middle-ground.


    When I look at Rift balancing, all I can think of is that the combat system needs a complete overhaul. There has to be a separation between abilities for PvE and PvP for easier balancing (either different descriptions under the same icon, or a mandatory separation of roles). This way you can make sweeping changes without affecting the Raiding / PvE aspects of the game - and in turn make some abilities more interesting in PvE without it breaking the rest of the game.
    There has to be more borrowing of concepts from games that brake the mold and make RPG combat more skill based.

    Without such an approach reaching a fun level of balancing, with multiple viable builds, is going to be impossible, and all the debates on this forum are exercises in futility.
    Last edited by Tenet; 08-08-2011 at 01:32 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Well done man you clearly know your stuff.

    Surely there are some simpler approaches that could be made? For instance removing diminishing returns on snares

  3. #3
    Shadowlander
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    I would love to see this game have less healing

  4. #4
    Rift Disciple Tenet's Avatar
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    Just FYI - not having healing, or having less effective healing, did not mean that scrubs didn't find stuff to cry about.

    Ex: In GW1 even PvE encounters required interrupting/shutting down a Monk mob or it would be impossible to kill. In PvP a good defense seemed impossible to break - it could be really discouraging if your offense was "read" and countered perfectly. That balance was fragile - there were times when matches would go full time with no deaths on either side due to effective defenses. At it's best though, a contest between two pressure teams was to find out who collapses first - it wasn't a question of survival, but that of delaying the collapse long enough.

    Healing in Rift is actually quite generous to offensive play - if you had a team of 5 DPS coordinate a proper GW style burst or spike, nothing in the game would recover it. The health bar is finite - HPS doesn't matter if a damage burst dips it below 0. If that bar disappears in under 0.125 seconds (a practiced spike) there's nothing to recover. The proactive defenses in Rift are limited and not nearly as efficient - most people just don't take the game seriously enough to practice bursting outside of PvP, perform a "vent test" to compensate for lag, etc. The quality of teamwork is much lower - for obvious reasons, it's mostly unnecessary.
    Even when a primitive assist-train gets going in a pub rift WF it's difficult to stop - most public WF teams don't even assist train - and healers are used to handle raid-damage from PvE.

    It's a design decision to keep the game relatively dumb - easier then growing the overall skill level of a community.
    Last edited by Tenet; 08-08-2011 at 08:09 PM.
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  5. #5
    Rift Disciple Tenet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deicidium View Post
    Surely there are some simpler approaches that could be made? For instance removing diminishing returns on snares
    If that means a complete overhaul of all snaring abilities / ground aoe, and a look at leaps and immunities - yes, that would be one place to start. Such changes would most affect Melee class so their damage vs. ranged damage has to be considered - and then you get into a problem with PvE raid balance and open world PvP balance should melee get a buff to compensate.
    It's all inter-related, can't be a patchwork without some unified vision.

    Diminishing returns was a good example of how slap-on patches fail - without considering all the DR-bypassing abilities it gave overpowered CC's to some classes while completely crippling others.
    The idea of never being stunned for over 5 seconds in a row clearly doesn't work at the moment.

    P.S. The example of Protective Prayers could be an interesting read - check out abilities like "Guardian" "Reversal of Fortune" "Protective Spirit" and "Spirit Bond" - then consider how a version of them would impact Rift (not suggesting them to be implemented, just as an illustration of how powerful proactive buffs can be to replace the need for high healing ): http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Protection_Prayers
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    Ascendant Acex's Avatar
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    Only inbalance there is defiant and guardian population. If in wf thats really no matter, then oPvP it's matter.

    And how much i can see then defiants are 2/3 of population almost on every shard.
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  7. #7
    Shield of Telara Krazer's Avatar
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    Rift has too diverse of soul trees, and that's why it can never be balanced.

    Ever.

  8. #8
    Shield of Telara Krazer's Avatar
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    Rift soul trees are too diverse, creating to many variables that can never be properly balanced.

    Ever.
    Last edited by Krazer; 08-08-2011 at 11:24 PM.

  9. #9
    Ascendant Ajax1114's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krazer View Post
    Rift soul trees are too diverse, creating to many variables that can never be properly balanced.

    Ever.
    From the type of viewpoint that is common on the forums, yes, that is true.

    From the viewpoint the OP is coming from, what you're saying is largely irrelevant. The problem the OP is referring to - as I interpret it - is that the basic design of Rift combat is not, and was not, formulated around competitive PvP.

    That conclusion may be startlingly obvious, but the implications are often ignored. (Trion can't put a bandage on a broken finger that doesn't exist. They need to consider the presence of a finger first.)

  10. #10
    Ascendant VirusDancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenet View Post
    Tank, DPS, Healing - they are all PvE Concepts - they are not interesting in PvP.
    I disagree with this. Say we go with all four "roles" - Tank, Heals, DPS, and Support. They are not strictly PvE concepts in the least. They are core concepts. A Tank's threat is a PvE concept, but outside of some jury-rigged things it does not really apply to PvP. The ability to "tank" damage though, the question of survivability, does come into play in PvP. DPS, Healing, and Support obviously apply to PvP as they do in PvE.

    DPS vs Healing is just a comparison of numbers - can you empty a health bar faster then it's filled back? Can you kill the boss before the timer runs out?
    There's some tactical depth with Focus Fire - and there are a few ways to avoid damage (don't bunch up, line of sight, position altering abilities) - but the overall focus is on the formula.
    Which makes sense...

    Most of the balancing discussions on this forum revolve around such formulas - without recognizing that the system as a whole is ill-conceived.
    But that formula makes sense...

    It's more or less a generic MMORPG - an outdated combat system that most other developers are trying to step away from (as a major selling point).
    You've only provided one formula... and that formula makes sense.

    There are examples of games breaking that mold:

    GuildWars 8v8 at it's best did not have effective healing - you could not outheal DPS - instead there was a mixture of defenses - from Protection (powerful but expensive short duration / short CD buffs) to various debuffs placed on the primary sources of damage.
    Furthermore, the damage was also handled differently - with all the active defenses availiable, people didn't really think in terms of DPS - the main consideration was bursting and mana costs. The main goal was to either momentarily disable defenses (mostly the Monks) or make them run out of mana through forced inefficient use.
    The other important factor was splitting - defenses designed for 8v8 did not always work as well when split 5v5 + 3v3, with maps promoting splitting up to attack/defend objectives.
    Burst is a form of DPS. Mana, Energy, Focus are a concern. You do not play the same way in Garden, Dex, Steppes, and Scion.

    Outside of complaining about healing, I'm not really sure what you're saying here...

    Age of Conan - while having it's own shortcomings, introduced a combo system for melee, and active defensive abilities. You had to either move aside from an attack to cause it to miss, or use some active means to minimize it's impact. Since landing the first and last hit in a combo is so important, it created openings for proactive defense.

    DotA/HoN/LoL and Bloodline Champions (as the extreme case) all introduced so called "skill shots" abilities that do not hit automatically, but must be aimed (where your cursor or character is facing).
    They also had active protective abilities - short buffs that mitigate most or all damage on a target, or prevent a type of damage from applying.
    There have been plenty of discussions over the years in regard to twitch combat in MMORPGs. Personally, I'm against it in MMORPGs. I'm playing a character - I'm not playing me. There are things I can do that the character cannot and things the character can do that I cannot. Action MMOs and FPS games are the realm of twitch combat.

    Besides the above ideas, there's also the issue of Positioning:

    One common theme - whenever ranged vs. melee was balanced, it was primarily done by making melee damage murder - but making it much more difficult to apply then ranged. If you had a leap - then the ranged classes had a leap of their own. Forcing bad leaps and punishing those who wasted the cooldown became important.
    If no one had leaps - and you had to run up using momentary speed boosts, then the other classes had snares (debuffs or ground aoe) and/or could body block to make training a target harder.
    It was also common for Melee to require the assistance of Support to reach targets effectively - and made support roles more viable.

    This type of Positioning play is very limited in Rift - and is very rarely balanced. Most of the time it's either very easy to get on top of a target, or it's impossible and people get permanently kited. I haven't seen a balance patch where there was a healthy middle-ground.
    There is no doubt that Trion has been trying to actualize the concept, but it has been a back and forth getting nowhere while trying to do so. I said this in another thread: http://forums.riftgame.com/rift-gene...ml#post2934283

    If one steps back from the sad reality of it all and looks instead at the possible goal Trion had, it makes more sense.

    Warrior - needs to be on the target.
    Mage - needs the Warrior not to be on the target (lol, as the Mage is the target).

    The Warrior should have an equal chance to be on the Mage as the Mage has to keep the Warrior off of the Mage. Then you take things into account such as Warrior instant attacks/burst and Mage cast times, etc, etc.

    The "skilled" Warrior should have to time getting on target, doing damage, etc.
    The "skilled" Mage should have to time keeping the Warrior off of them, doing damage, etc.

    See? The concept is beautiful...

    ...er, but what we've had in the game has been back and forth /rollface between the two.

    In time, perhaps Trion will reach toward that concept... given the way they're dumbing things down, making it easier though, this is highly unlikely...and I find that unfortunate.


    When I look at Rift balancing, all I can think of is that the combat system needs a complete overhaul. There has to be a separation between abilities for PvE and PvP for easier balancing (either different descriptions under the same icon, or a mandatory separation of roles). This way you can make sweeping changes without affecting the Raiding / PvE aspects of the game - and in turn make some abilities more interesting in PvE without it breaking the rest of the game.
    I disagree with this...completely. There should be no separation of PvE and PvP. The problem is not with needing a separation of the two. The problem is with how PvE is designed in most MMORPGs. It is the meatier mob with the bigger club concept of gear check progression. There is the focus on endgame gear progression rather than the journey of character progression where difficulty increases without it simply being a meatier mob with a bigger club requiring players have a certain level of gear. Obviously that brand of PvE plays out poorly for PvP - the damage and healing required for those PvE encounters is absurd in comparison to where players stand.

    Yes, Trion has gone this route unfortunately. Not going to try to argue that it does not cause problems for PvP. That is obvious. One can look at world mobs while a player is leveling - then compare that to dungeon mobs - compare them to mobs in expert dungeons and raids. It is ridiculous.

    But that does not mean the problem is a lack of separation of PvE and PvP... it means there is a problem with the carrot chasing powergamers that have infected the genre.

    There has to be more borrowing of concepts from games that brake the mold and make RPG combat more skill based.
    This makes no sense. It is a RPG. You're playing a character. You are not the character. Your reflexes sitting at a keyboard and mouse should not determine what your character can do.

    There is no doubt there is a market for persistent FPS games - heck, Planetside came out after all. However, it is getting old to have people that want such games to come to MMORPGs and complain about the combat systems there. There are games with said combat system because there is a market for them as well.

    Without such an approach reaching a fun level of balancing, with multiple viable builds, is going to be impossible, and all the debates on this forum are exercises in futility.
    In the end, if the game is not what you want - you realize discussion is futile... the obvious question arises: why are you still here?
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  11. #11
    Rift Disciple Tenet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krazer View Post
    Rift soul trees are too diverse,
    If you remove all the inefficient / unused builds/specs, and combine all the specs that do roughly the same thing, the differences are actually quite superficial.

    Quote Originally Posted by Krazer View Post
    ... creating to many variables that can never be properly balanced. Ever.
    It's a case of fake complexity and imaginary diversity - in terms of balancing the number of viable builds and variables would have been manageable - if there was a clear overall goal. What makes balancing hard is the stark difference between PvP and PvE combat and the impossible requirement for all abilities to work with both without breaking either.

    Quote Originally Posted by VirusDancer
    In the end, if the game is not what you want - you realize discussion is futile... the obvious question arises: why are you still here?
    For the Promethean ideal - it may be futile to discuss the finer points of balancing a lacking system, it's far from futile to try and spread that realization. The more people find such dumbed down systems unacceptable the less we'll see them in modern MMORPG's.
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  12. #12
    Ascendant VirusDancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenet View Post
    For the Promethean ideal - it may be futile to discuss the finer points of balancing a lacking system, it's far from futile to try and spread that realization.
    Then it would be better suited to general discussion on such sites as MMORPG.com or the like. This particular discussion has taken place there many times.

    The more people find such dumbed down systems unacceptable the less we'll see them in modern MMORPG's.
    You have to be careful with a couple of things here. First, it is not a dumbed down system. It is a system that in many games ends up being dumbed down. The core concept of the system though, is what many players want. It is required for a MMORPG...even the newer games that come out.

    If you want an Action MMO or persistent FPS/TPS... by all means, champion that cause. Just don't call them a MMORPG - because they're not...
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  13. #13
    Rift Disciple Tenet's Avatar
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    This forum is different from the one you mentioned - everyone replying here is paying a monthly fee.
    Your thinly veiled ad-hominem attack is getting boring, stop trying to derail.

    The words "Action MMO" and "Presistent FPS/TPS" are misleading, as I have not suggested anything the like. Even if I wanted to, there is a known limitation due to lag and server inefficiencies. You're trying to straw-man by pulling one of the (incomplete) list of examples to the extreme.

    There are ways to create interaction between players without requiring twitch, and keeping healing vs damage secondary - while focusing on movement, prediction (yomi), short duration CC, tradeoff abilities - increasing the importance of choices.

    Fake complexity like placing multiple abilities on a Spam Macro to generate DPS should be avoided - so should the obvious junk skills that act as filler in many class trees. Every filler or clone ability means a missed opportunity for creativity. The main thing that is lacking are conditional effects - abilities that reward for fulfilling a tactical condition - There are some - like the debuff that punishes for movement, or the cleric talent that shields a target healed while under CC - they are exceptions, and they should be the rule. Most abilities should be based on similar interactions / conditions.

    Instead what we are sold are not even a system with a visible goal - but more of a collection of hacks and band aid patches.
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  14. #14
    Champion of Telara Morituri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenet View Post
    T




    One common theme - whenever ranged vs. melee was balanced, it was primarily done by making melee damage murder - but making it much more difficult to apply then ranged. If you had a leap - then the ranged classes had a leap of their own. Forcing bad leaps and punishing those who wasted the cooldown became important.
    If no one had leaps - and you had to run up using momentary speed boosts, then the other classes had snares (debuffs or ground aoe) and/or could body block to make training a target harder.
    It was also common for Melee to require the assistance of Support to reach targets effectively - and made support roles more viable.

    This type of Positioning play is very limited in Rift - and is very rarely balanced. Most of the time it's either very easy to get on top of a target, or it's impossible and people get permanently kited. I haven't seen a balance patch where there was a healthy middle-ground.

    Sounds too much like frogger for me. Sorry I couldn't come up with something better to say, I have a headache.

  15. #15
    Rift Disciple Tenet's Avatar
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    You should post again when you feel better.

    How can you dislike Frogger?!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vb2brJkGhs
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