Monday, April 18, 2016

A quick update and more BFG: Armada!

At least they got the aesthetics right.

Just to let you folks know, that I've been playing BFG: Armada a ton in the last month or so.  I've become a pretty solid player of all the factions, and I've been giving a lot of balance-related feedback.  Of course, there's always going to be some haters out there, but I want to take a brief moment to post on top-down feedback.

First, let me direct you to the topic at hand.  You don't need to read the entire thing, but I'll post my response below here:

Imperator5 wrote:
I do not think top to down balancing is a good idea actually, even if I agree with Hero about pulsars.

Games have to appeal to more than one segment of the population. If new players are not presented with a game they can play without reading up for weeks on elite forums and watching replays, they will just not play it at all.

My response:
This is exactly the kind of mentality that I completely, and utterly disagree with. Let me educate you why, in all sincerity.

It's not about a game's appeal man, it's about what your actual focus is. Balance, when done correctly, is done precisely and target specific gameplay-related issues.

The casual playerbase will not and does not notice balance when it is done correctly. There is simply too many other things they care about, because MP is not their primary focus and the reason they purchased the game. They care about playing the game for its aesthetics, the sound, the lore, the SP experience, the building the empire, the fun of just gaming with friends, and the immersion of being in gigantic space ships in the 40K universe with Tac Cog on. These are your painters, your hobbyists, your casual once a month playgroupers, and your campaign-driven 40K leaguers. These are the majority of your playerbase, but they are not focused on the delicacies of how multiplayer PvP plays out. This is not why they purchased the game, nor is that their reason to continue playing the game.

The competitive playerbase is the group that cares about the things that the casual player does not. They care about the balance, the numbers, the how much DPS is this ship doing vs. that ship, the viable strategies, the tactics, all the skills and abilities and how all these things equate to one thing: How they can justify the effort they are putting in the game, and if they are being rewarded for their efforts. They focus on the intricacies of gameplay, in a multiplayer environment, in player vs. player, because they are competitive in nature and focus on this very narrow and niche gaming perspective. When balance goes awry and when player unrewarded efforts and frustrations become painfully apparent, they leave the game, and the online community suffers. Their reason to play is no longer being rewarded.

The one thing that most people think, such as GW for example, and where amateur and indie companies fail, is that they think the two camps bleed and fight against each other. This is a very common fallacy. The competitive player simply does not focus on the same things the casual player focuses on, and it is not why they purchased the game, nor do they share the same reasons for playing the game. So other successful gaming companies started thinking from this exact perspective (EA, Ensemble, Relic, Blizzard..etc), and why they went to great lengths to consul with the best players of their games to collect feedback and balance suggestions from these players, to address their game to provide a better online, PvP, multiplayer experience. They understand the value of concurrency, that it wasn't just their goal to sell you the game, but to keep you there so you can continue to Twitch (like I am now), and to provide not only brand/company loyalty, but as a form of free marketing for their future products.

Simply put, it NEVER hurts to balance the game from the top-down. The two main crowds are not effected by either change! If the Pulsars all of a sudden turn into blue rainbows like from DoW vs. the purple-lavender ones we have now, do you think the competitive player will really care? Likewise, if the Pulsar damage was increased by 5s cooldown and their damage was reduced by 5 per, do you think the casual player will even notice?

Therefore, top-down balance is exactly what you need to make the best game possible. That is, of course, if you even care about the online aspect at all. If you didn't care, you wouldn't waste the development resources to make all these features in the first place. If you have already built a community around the fans and the immersion of giant 40K spaceships, that is great. But please Tindalos, do not fall in the camp that neglects the competitive player because it will, destroy your other playerbase.


As you can see here, this is the same kind of attitude I have with GW, and why things like the Skull Cannon, Wraithknight and other ridiculous crap gets added to the game.  I don't think GW can tell the difference between what kind of feedback is given.  Oh well, at least I get to play BFG on a computer finally!

If you guys haven't caught me yet, you can see me playing on my Twitch channel.  They just added the Eldar to the game and they're freaking bonkers.  Not what I wanted to see personally, but the devs are hopefully going to work out the kinks.  Since I started the stream, I'm up to 400 followers now!