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December DPS Review Update

BubLocation Semi-RetirementPosts: 7,913 Staff
edited November 2013

Hello everyone,

Before Thanksgiving week starts in full, I wanted to give you an update on our plan for the big DPS Review in December’s major patch (to coincide with Ghost Rider).

Some of you may remember, we had a very successful review of the defense system back in September. We changed the system to allow all heroes a fair chance of surviving in combat (assuming decent gear and a decent level of enemy awareness).

We’re going to do the same with, with a focus on DPS in December.


Our simple goal: The game needs to be fun for all heroes immediately. (Not just the reworked heroes with their increased DPS).**

With our recent reworks, we’ve found the game cannot be balanced around the new/reworked heroes and still be fun for the current heroes, so we’re taking the month of December to fix everyone’s DPS first, and then continue with the addition of new powers and other changes.


The process will be quite simple:

  • Review all heroes for game mechanics that aren’t balanceable or aren’t fun.

  • Remove or replace those mechanics wherever possible. (Example: Plus % bonus to total defense from powers will likely be replaced from all heroes that have it since it creates a situation that is impossible to balance)

  • Once that is complete, perform structured DPS testing for all heroes.

  • Identify a healthy level of DPS and a healthy challenge level for each enemy type (normals, blue, yellows and bosses) Note: Orange enemies will also be tested, but won’t be ready for release until January.

  • Create a healthy baseline to target for tuning.

  • Buff all heroes that are below that baseline, in an appropriate manner befitting their flavor and gameplay. Heroes shouldn't all have the same AOE damage, the same melee damage, the same types of buffs and debuffs, but any given hero, played by the same person with the same quality of gear should be able to full clear out a green terminal and kill the boss in approximately the same amount of time - at least ballpark.

  • Test the fun and power of each hero, with help from whitelist testers and then all players.

The end result won’t mean every hero does exactly the same damage in every situation, but it will be much closer than it is now, assuming a properly geared hero played with reasonable proficiency.

If you’ve been reading the Tuning Corner, you’ve seen some of the options we’ve been discussing and analyzing – all with the goal of closing the dps gap.


Some things likely to be fixed:

  • All coefficients will move to a flat multiplier system. No more handing tuning coefficients and no more heroes with “weak” coefficients. Very easy to understand system. This is the number one change and results in a buff to every power in the game, except one.

  • Increasing damage slightly for heroes that don’t have large AOE power and/or adding flavorful and appropriate AOE power options for them. Some of this may need to wait for the individual hero reviews.

  • Improving the tenacity system for heroes, so crowd control is more manageable, particularly is gear or powers are chosen with an eye towards tenacity.

  • Making “dodge heroes” feel more special. We are still considering options and will do some analysis and testing with our testers, but we’re currently investigating creating a unique mitigation power for every dodge (superhuman reflexes for Daredevil, tactical training for Black Widow, panther swiftness for Black Panther, parry for Gambit, squirrel agility for Squirrel Girl, and so on) to act as their 100% mitigation power and have dodge act as a partial mitigation for each hit. This would allow for the complete removal of “dodge suppression” (which is complicated for newer players) and allow for dodge heroes to have a specific survivability niche that couldn’t be found elsewhere. This will also reduce the “spiky” damage that can be unfun, since enemy damage can be tuned down around the revised system. You would reduce less damage per dodge, but you would have more time to react and use a medikit or other power since spikiness will be less. This may be too much work for December or just prove too difficult to balance, so it may not make it in.

  • Reviewing some of the less-popular synergies for a buff or two and adding an experience bonus to all your heroes for each hero you have at max level. The amount is still TBD, but we’re currently looking at 5% experience for each hero you have at max level.

  • Change scaling of powers to allow more build flexibility and not require full points in every power to be more viable. This would include having power damage scale from both power ranks and from your hero level to make every level feel more rewarding. The whitelist testers have noted that this opens up some build options for heroes that may not have previously existed.

  • Looking at a tuning pass on all diminishing return curves, in light of the amount of item slots that have been added to the game and are still to be added. We may also want to increase the maximum amount of bonus attack speed or move speed very slightly, to open up more itemization options.

  • Buffing or adjusting some of the weaker attributes to be more attractive, particularly at high levels. This includes Speed and Intellect and potentially more. These may have to wait until late December or early January depending on how efficient testing goes.

  • All pet DPS will be factored into this system (the pet review pass we just did focused on getting everything working properly and now we can focus on their base damage and even health if needed).


End Result: Once the tuning pass is complete for both heroes and enemies, the game will feel just as good for all heroes as it does right now for Spider-Man, Iron Man, etc.


This new testing sequence will also result in allowing us to consistently launch new heroes with top tier DPS in a consistent and effective manner.

Example: Gambit is tuned at an aggressive level compared to many heroes, but doesn't feel as strong as IM/SM/others because mob health is tuned too high to provide even a slight challenge to the Spider-Mans of the world. This December review will fix that type of problem and the adjustments will make guys like Gambit feel just as powerful as the SMs and IMs of the world. Not to mention Daredevil, Black Widow, Rocket Raccoon, Captain America, etc. All of them will feel like true heroes.

We’ll also be looking at the quality-of-life changes for each hero, to see how many we can fit into December alongside this overall DPS improvement pass. We take these directly from the Hero Review Questionairres whenever possible.

I’ll add more details about each area we're working on in the coming weeks. For those who are interested in the more detailed conversations on each topic, I encourage you to check out some of the excellent threads in the Tuning Corner.


I want to thank the players who in the Tuning Corner and other forum sections for their amazing assistance with this. Invaluable, to say the least.

This discussion has been closed.