Posted by Corelin
Balance is one of those functions of game development that just plain sucks. Devs have access to a lot of resources that players don’t, more detailed logs, the “correct” formulas, testing tools and hardware, and of course paid staff to utilize these things in a hopefully motivated and intelligent fashion. They also have the input of players, either through forums, bug reports and petitions, and activity that they observe in-game.
One of the more obvious traits of human beings is we tend to complain a lot more readily and vocally than we admire or compliment. This is actually a bit of a survival instinct, if you are injured you tend to shout or scream in pain, either getting you help and attention or warning people to avoid your location, whereas if you are enjoying a good meal your utterances will be rather less excited and notable, allowing you to be more selective of your own beneficiaries. This instinctive behavior tends to get complemented by traits we pick up. How many people in EvE have heard of exploits running rampant, sometimes for months or years while people get space-rich? Folks didn’t advertise their caviar and champagne. Here I’m thinking about Ferrogel and infinite tracking infinite range guns in wormholes as two examples. Meanwhile if something is unbalanced and people DO find out about it, like what happened with T20, or a horribly unbalanced ship type, like “Tracking Titans” people will scream to high heaven about cockroaches in their crackers.
However there’s no natural filter between perceived unfairness and actual unfairness. The forums are filled with endless pages of folks whining about how unfair this, that and the other activity/ship/what have you is. To a poorly informed observer all of these complaints have equal weight on the surface, and can be greatly influenced not by their facts, but by the writing in them. For example let’s look at Geksz post last week
I hope after the changes the Hulk can tank ships at least half of it’s price tag. (something that is ment for mining doesn’t mean it should be defensless, and easy pray) – Some ppl will pop ur stuff even if it wasn’t profitable, if it looks good on their killboard…
and further on
Btw. if u don’t mine in a hostile enviroment – for example High sec – why would u fit for tank?
Everything u do in eve u aim for maximum efficiency. Like when u do missions u won’t fit more tank, or pvp modules just becouse there is a possibility that someone would jump in on u and gank ur ship. But even if that happens a PvE fit mission ship has a chance to fight back, and withstand some vollies.
reading this you might think that the Hulk is an utterly indefensible ship and that by rights it ought to have defenses equal to “A ship half of it’s price tag” i.e. an Armageddon. I’m not going to go into why it’s silly for an industrial ship to be able to tank a full-up battleship in a game predicated on PvP.
Meanwhile let’s look at this post from Cantabar
Station games as far as I can tell are pretty much against everything CCP stands for.
Station games save ships when they should die.
Station games give the cowardly High Sec war deccers a mechanic to hide behind even tho they are the ones that aggressed.
I am tired of trying to go 1v2 and having to go home with no kill simply because I dont have the dps to alpha one of the 2 players.
Proposal: Make warp scrambled ships unable to dock. Or better yet make ships that are being aggressed currently unable to dock similar to the nerf of the super loggoffski trick.
Pro: More ships will die and this promotes more actual fights.
Con: Cowards wont be able to hide behind station mechanics anymore.
This is a terribly written proposal, and you’d be easily forgiven for skipping by it except for one little problem. It really does cover a serious problem that CCP has been working on. Reading the forums is the best and worst place to find issues that need to be worked on. A GM who can sort wheat from chaff well will be loved while a GM with a little less discretion will earn the ire of the entire community (ohai CCP Greyscale!)
Then changes get made, and everyone is happy and the devs feel brilliant and the game goes on to unprecedented success. Ok get up off the ground and back in your chair, rub your sides until the aching subsides. A change could be completely brilliant, or utter rubbish and get identical responses. If you are strong of stomach look at your favorite and least favorite dev blogs lately.
The reasons for these reactions come from two sources, first the changes are necessarily imperfect. Devs don’t exactly have perfect vision of how their changes will work out. Look at how quickly wardec changes and Incursion changes are being adjusted or rolled back. I can only imagine how CCP reacts when innovative videos of new tactics are passed around with the latest samples of emergent gameplay. The second part is that balance changes tend to hurt someone. Wounded people scream. Loud. Publicly. Often. Rather than seeing an opportunity elsewhere they will often dig in their heels and oppose oppose oppose without considering the benefits newly opened. I should note in passing that I always give due and proper consideration to the benefits and drawbacks of a new change before decrying it as horrible. I am a careful and considered speaker, you lot are all trolls.
So Devs cannot foresee what will happen with their changes, innovators will constantly surprise them with unexpected ramifications and surprising takes on the changes they make. They cannot please everyone and many people they do please choose to keep quiet. They make these changes for a few reasons. One of the biggest is that there likely IS an overarching plan for EvE and to bring the game in line with the plan changes have to be made. The devs also have to prevent extreme actions from upsetting the community at large. Not so much elements within the community as much as the “Sacred Cows” which have evolved and become pillars of the game community at large. Changes outside these themes are rare, and should be. Balance for Balance’s sake is not part of EvE any more than some abstract definition of “fair” and while diverse fleets of many different ships and shiptypes are appealing, trying to create them artificially is doomed, only in extreme situations where a race is nearly unused will result in massive, sweeping changes.