Chi era presente al rilascio di Alamorte su Heroes of the Storm sicuramente si ricorderà della sua potenza (appropriatamente) devastante, che ha richiesto interventi di bilanciamento che continuano ancora oggi. Di recente uno sviluppatore è intervenuto su reddit per contribuire alla discussione degli utenti.

L’utente morphlll si chiedeva come mai nella patch del 7 ottobre si fosse intervenuti (tra le altre cose) con un nerf alle abilità della forma Distruttore invece che con un buff alla forma Devastamondi. Per molti giocatori quest’ultima è considerata non competitiva e vorrebbero che entrambe le forme siano egualmente potenti, al fine di non essere spinti troppo su una di esse.

Proprio in quel thread è intervenuto lo sviluppatore Adam Jackson, uno dei più attivi del team di sviluppo, con una lunga risposta che vi riassumiamo di seguito.

  • Attualmente il win rate di Alamorte è del 55,4%, mentre prima del bilanciamento era del 53,3%. Secondo Jackson quindi, affermare che l’eroe sia diventato più debole è statisticamente falso.
  • Un’importante parte del lavoro di bilanciamento è anche quella di cambiare la percezione dei giocatori. Per questo a volte si interviene con buff o nerf quando non c’è un reale motivo statistico per farlo, lo si fa per incoraggiare i giocatori a percorrere altre vie di gameplay.
  • Jackson ha dichiarato che se Alamorte avesse avuto un win rate inferiore al 50% avrebbe applicato solo dei buff, ma così non è, quindi il team ha optato per una via di mezzo.
  • Lo sviluppatore però ha anche ammesso che il risultato finale non è stato quello sperato, perché i giocatori hanno percepito il tutto soltanto come un nerf.
  • Ci saranno altri interventi sul drago nero per modificare il suo stile di gioco in futuro, con le modifiche del 7 ottobre che servivano unicamente a bilanciare i suoi numeri.

Cosa ne pensate di questi ragionamenti? Voi come cambiereste Alamorte per renderlo più interessante da giocare, senza potenziarlo troppo?

I’ll try to explain this in as simple of a way as I can, but there are a few reasons why we changed him the way that we did.

Firstly, the general community assertion that i’ve seen going into making the last round of changes was that Deathwing isn’t that strong and would have been fine had we just buffed Worldbreaker form. This is statistically untrue and would have likely ended up moving him back into overpowered status. When making changes to heroes in more nuanced situations where their actual performance and community sentiment are different (or even more difficult situations such as them having vastly different performances and perceptions in low level, high level, pro play, and/or Quick Match vs. Ranked), I have to take how good the hero actually is into account when making these kinds of changes. Some facts:

Before the patch, he was sitting at a 53.3% win rate. He’s not super commonly seen anymore, but I think we can all remember how strong he has shown to be in the past. I would assert that, while his popularity and the perception of his power level have fallen off since his days of being must-pick/ban material, he is still a strong hero.

Since the last patch, which many viewed as an overall nerf to him due to nerfing Destroyer form, his win rate has climbed to 55.4%, so he very likely would have moved into clearly OP territory had I not nerfed some part of his kit to compensate his Worldbreaker buffs.

To add some extra complication, when making these kinds of changes I have to heavily consider how to move the needle enough to change community sentiment so that I hit the goals that I want with these kinds of more nuanced changes. I initially approached this knowing that the general sentiment is that Worldbreaker form is behind Destroyer form, so to change that perception there had to be a good amount of movement on the needle to get people to try out the other form. Had Deathwing been a sub 50% hero, or a hero who hasn’t recently been a large part of the meta, this change would have been easy. I would have gladly only buffed Worldbreaker form and called it a day. However, due to the desire to open more people up to the fact that Worldbreaker form has a lot to offer him and the fact that he is in fact powerful despite some community sentiment, I decided that the best way to move the needle was to both nerf Destroyer form a little bit while also buffing Worldbreaker form.

Of course, we could have tried other methods of fixing this as well, such as largely buffing Worldbreaker talents or changing how his form swap works (though this has many limitations and may not be feasible due to how its animation/FX work), but this was the initial route that we ended up going with.

We’re not done with making changes to Deathwing, and this was a preliminary change to his playstyles be more balanced. I hope that this gives you some insight into our thought processes. 🙂

I also think it’s worth noting that while the above post is largely a defense of why we made the changes we did, I was on the fence about those changes while putting them in, and I don’t really consider them a success after the patch due to them not living up to one of my design philosophies.

One of my guiding philosophies with the balance patches is that I want my changes to always have a net positive effect on the total amount of “fun” that is added/removed from the game.

In this case, while I am confident that the right choices were made statistically, I don’t think the needle was moved enough in Worldbreaker’s direction for enough players to feel like a cool, new way to play Deathwing was now viable, and instead more players only felt the pain of Worldbreaker nerfs. This is why balancing games is hard, since community sentiment matters just as much as statistics.

If you could all do me a huge favor and just destroy enemy Deathwing players about 5-10% more often in your matches, then you’d make my job really easy and I could give you some meaty Worldbreaker buffs with no compensating nerfs 😛

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