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Just like it was "obvious" Gwen is gigabusted and the Hallowed mechanic has no drawback.

Just like Evelynn was broken on day 1 because people can't differentiate "frustrating" from "broken".

Just like Bard's Origin was "too restrictive and not worth the payoff".

Just like Zoe back in the day "was unplayable because she dies to any removal so she'll never work."

Just like Katarina "is fundamentally badly designed and will never be a playable card without a rework."

Just like Gnar "was fundamentally terribly designed and will never not be bad" (and then became nigh-unplayable after losing 1 power."

And so on and so on and so on.

Feedback is important. Letting the developers know some cards are frustrating is important, because stats aren't everything, and even a 45% winrate deck that's just miserable to play against is not great for the game.

However, we really need to learn to give better feedback. This community has a huge tendency to overreact to any negative thing, and I get it. On a base level, the game is SO GOOD that the bad things stand out moreso than anything else, and it's frustrating.

However, jumping to statements like that is simply not productive, doesn't help anyone, and just poisons the discourse.

"Devs should be fired, how could they not see Kai'sa being broken."

"Kai'sa was made broken to sell the skin Riot only cares about money."

"Riot doesn't give a sh*t about a balanced game, dead game."

"Kai'sa players are monkeys and anyone who downvotes this is a Kai'sa abuser."

And so on and so on.

Kai'sa released 3 weeks ago-ish, and is about to be nerfed. And yet we're acting like during the entire Bandle City fiasco which lasted SIX MONTHS.

We need to chill guys.

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about 2 months ago - /u/Dan_Felder - Direct link

It's the same with many bugs. If you spend 10,000 hours playtesting the first level of a game, the first 10,000 players are going to equal that in the first hour the game is released.

To geek out a bit about balance testing - if you've read Moneyball (great book) one of the biggest takeaways is how hard it is to tell the difference between an average hitter and a great hitter with the naked eye. Often the difference is only one extra hit every 2 weeks or so. It's very hard to notice that without statistical analysis of a huge number of games.

Likewise, the difference between a statistically dominant deck and a strong but fair one is almost invisible to the naked eye. A deck with a 53% win rate against the meta is very strong but pretty reasonable, a deck with a 62% win rate is extremely powerful. However, if you play 20 games the 62% win rate deck will likely only win 1 or 2 extra games than a 50% deck would. That's assuming both people playtesting have perfectly even skill and have predicted the real metagame with perfect accuracy too. In a game where skill matters, our most skilled designers are going to crush me with weaker decks and skew the numbers. ;)

about 2 months ago - /u/Dan_Felder - Direct link

Originally posted by RegalGlare

Game designer personally explains the law of large numbers without a real reason or obligation to do so in hopes that we can understand how they are balancing the game This level of transparency isn’t common in a game with an IP this popular/big, anyone that loves this game and sinks real time into it should be sure to appreciate this fact before jumping at the chance to call the WHOLE game broken or unbalanced just because they had a card annoy them a few too many times during ONE balance patch’s worth of time, cause it’s not as if they aren’t listening. Big props to Dan & the LoR team for keeping it up!

Thanks :)

about 2 months ago - /u/Dan_Felder - Direct link

Originally posted by Lareyt

In a game where skill matters, our most skilled designers are going to crush me with weaker decks and skew the numbers. ;)

Sheesh, what a way to call out Rubin! :P

Edit: Hijacking my own comment to add something slightly more insightful! You got me thinking just how much heterogenous skill distribution among devs is an issue during balance testing: Different skill levels of the playtesters make it hard to say if a deck has a high win rate because it is skill expressive or because it is too strong. (1)

To confidently filter that factor out instead of trying to estimate it, a huge population of testers would be needed to get a somewhat representative sample size of skill matched opponents. And all of that for every reasonable possible champ and region combination that got new cards or balance changes. Sounds unfeasible and like a massive waste of developer resources since all the time and money spent on such rigorous playtesting could also just be spent on simply developing more content. Thus, the only way to get "real" balance data is to hand it to the players. (2)


(1) Obviously, it is possible to get a feel if a deck is more or less skill expressive, but how much of the net win rate of a deck is skill expression of the pilot and how much is base strength of the deck and vice versa? That seems really hard to answer because even absurd 70%+ win rates might not tell much given that a win rate higher than 62.5% is required to climb in high Masters and top players tryharding on a smurf at the end of a season will easily have 70%+ or even ~80% win rates in Platinum and Diamond. Switching decks, i.e. having both the stronger and weaker tester play with the stronger deck, might help, but it's still a far cry from accurately representing the "real" PvP environment.

(2) Even when handing it to the players, certain things can take forever to get found, e.g. new glitches getting found in decades old games when trying to optimize speed runs.

Frank, Aaron, and Reuben all definitely come to mind for that yeah. They’re crazy good players. :)

You’re very right that definitive balance testing is hard to get until you see it live with a big population of players, and you’re also right to call out that even then some thing s stay undiscovered for years / like the fascinating reinvention of StarCraft’s Zerg vs Terran matchup by the player Savior many years after blizzard has stopped updating the game (and pros had been calling for balance patches to solve the unwinnable matchup before Savior found the answer). Great article on that is called “god of the battlefield” if you’re interested.

This is one reason designers often focus on how a deck feels to play against and play with, because ultimately that’s what matters the most. Some strategies might be technically balanced but still feel terrible to play against, or feel totally overpowered even when the data insists they’re not. Like that time they had to nerf the sound of a gun.