Response to open letter (Concerning World Of Bleach)

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Response to open letter (Concerning World Of Bleach)

Post by Lsmjudoka on Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:05 am

I've finished reading through the open letter that was recently posted, which raised some concerns about several areas in WoB. For starters, I understand Sakki is somewhat concerned or feels that I might be upset by this letter and take some negative action or be upset with those who have attached their names to the letter, including her - That's not at all the case, I appreciate users bringing up their honest concerns and I wouldn't be upset with anyone or take any actions against them for doing so, unless it was more of a deliberate smear campaign with the sole intention of lowering WoB's reputation/image or something of that sort, but this is nothing like that.

With that said, on to the letter.

Communication

I'll address some of the other things, but I wanted to express my main takeaway from this letter because it relates to everything inside it. I'll include some other points The primary thing I've gathered from this is that I haven't been doing a good enough job ensuring communication of things like balance or game systems to the general userbase. I've been a bit too busy to fully notice, but it's true that discussing things with individual users in supports and with limited groups of users in social is an incomplete way to make sure users are informed about potential upcoming changes or get general info about the game.

For the information on upcoming potential balance changes and what's on my radar to look at, I'm not sure if I'll do this in the form of a smaller, regularly updated blog, or something in the forum(which I'm looking at redoing soon as I'm not satisfied with the current state of it), I'll come up with a better means of making information on these type of things available to everyone without relying on those who hear it in social passing it along.

I was planning on doing a significant re-write of the manual personally and putting in information on how all the effects in the game work, but with the hundreds of supports that flooded in after the battle update that plan got somewhat waylaid; however, I'll bump that up my list and try to get it done soon. That should help to clear up a lot of the issues with game mechanics not being understandable (see more in supports)

Supports
This kind of follows on from the previous point but I have mentioned I generally try to get supports done in 24-48 hours, although sometimes this stretches to 72 hours. However since this isn't written anywhere prominent, I can see why it's unclear to those who haven't heard about it, so I'll put a note about it on the support page.

I also do have plans to change the support system somewhat and allow multiple replies for better communication back and forth without having to edit over what you've already written.

With regards to questions about mechanics not receiving adequate replies - This one is my bad. When going through 30-40 supports sometimes I don't fully remember that while I know everything about how the game works, the player asking the question might be missing some of that knowledge that's required to understand the answer. The manual update explaining all the effects and whatnot should help significantly with this. I'll also try to think through my explanations a little more to make sure they're clearly understandable when answering supports.

Customs

I know the process of creating a custom is far from great, the fact that the guide for creating a custom and the form was made by a player on the forum instead of being built into the game is definitely something lacking, along with the aforementioned lack of information on how effects work in the manual. I do indeed have plans to build an automated custom change system as I'm well aware the current methods are completely unsustainable with a higher userbase. However, building such a thing will require quite a significant amount of work to refine and code in every aspect and caveat of the current balance structure into a form that will not allow users to slip past potentially really overpowered things through the system. And before I put in that time investment, I'd rather make the mobile layout and social/interface updates that will make the game substantially better for 100% of users in the game, rather than the custom system which is only used by somewhere from 3-10% of active players.

However I do want to address the way customs have been handled through supports and some of the issues that were raised including those raised by Reno.

For starters, changing moves to things other than what the user wanted. I generally do not make any changes to a sword that substantially deviate from what the user asked for without informing them what they wanted isn't possible and suggesting an alternative. The minor instances I usually do not confirm on are maybe something like if they request 2.2 range, I'll generally autocorrect to 2.3 range. The reason I may make moves minorly different from what a user requests is because I'm aware of the delay in supports, and I try not to make them wait another day or two just to confirm that having 5 turns cooldown instead of 4 on one move is fine. On most of these instances currently I add a note similar to "If this change is not what you wanted, reference support #XXXX to have it changed for free). However, particularly during the period about a month after the battle update, this was definitely lacking as I had to deal with hundreds of supports and may have rushed through some of them just to try and keep up. This issue should also be helped substantially by the above custom creation system when I do get that in.

Also specifically to Reno, this relates to my earlier statement about sometimes not fully realizing most users in WoB don't know all of the game mechanics and balancing rules: I couldn't find the support with your question about HP leech but the answer sounds similar to some responses I know I've given. In some instances when a user would ask a direct question and I'd respond with something else, I was implying that what they asked for was impossible and suggesting an alternative. However, that's definitely unclear and I'll try to make sure to clarify things more going forward.

Balancing
In update 2.4 I did go over everything from the ground up and think about everything in the battle system. The state of things right now may not be perfect, but what's changed even bigger than what people realized is there is now an actual system/structure/proper ecosystem for balance, which may not be perfectly balanced right now, but is much more receptive to tuning than the old one.

Balancing everything in the system is probably far more complex than people realize. Most players fight from one or two perspectives based on their spec, so when they come up against a user that has a strategy that counters their own setup, it's almost instinctive to think of that strategy as being OP. However, the way the new battle system is designed is to encourage counterplay and counter-counterplay. So I can't just change everything that any user says is overpowered, or else the system would turn into chaos pretty quick, or fall back to the boring days of everyone spamming the same moves.

To have diversity in battle, you need to make no one strategy the strongest at any point in time. This is a delicate act to achieve, and I am working on it, but as mentioned it takes time and takes a lot of observation of what strategies users have found in the battle system, as no one person can find everything within a system due to different people approaching things different ways.

I do listen to every user who brings up concerns about the balancing system, although it is hugely beneficial when users have specific examples, particularly with numbers and any other details such as who they fought, what moves were used, etc. This way I can look at both user's setups and see if there was something in one user's setup that countered the other, and whether that counter is healthy (does it have a counter as well? is that counter strong enough? If not, and that counter is buffed, how would that affect other things in the battle system, would it make the counter too strong and suffocate other things?). There's a lot of factors and contemplation of how each effect and each strategy fits into the entire balance ecosystem that go into things when I make changes. I have to consider every angle, whereas players usually only have to consider things from the perspective of their own strategy.

There's a communication issue here with balancing that I mentioned earlier where I have indeed been talking about what changes I'm planning to make, or things that are on my radar as being OP, but I've been having those discussions in social or supports, and I will be coming up with a better way to communicate those things to the whole userbase.

Conclusion
To summarize, there's definitely some areas here that WoB has not been living up to its potential. It would be easy for me to point fingers at other games and give examples of how it's still better than them in those areas, but honestly that's not what I care about. My goal and passion is to make every one of my games as good as it can be, which means comparing it to perfection, not to some other game. With that in mind, I'll be working on/bumping up higher in my to-do list:

-Explanations of the basic core mechanics in the game as well as all sword boosts + move effects
-Regularly updating a blog/forum area with info on potential balance changes coming to the game as well as balance issues that I may not have decided on a solution for yet but that I am working on addressing
-Upgrades to support system
-Automated guided custom creation system
-Giving clearer responses in supports and making sure people have the information they need
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Lsmjudoka
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