ButtaButtaFeedback #4

  • ButtaButtaFeedback #4 (Yeah, we skipped 3)

    Alpha Weekend #4 has come and gone, and with it we saw some of the most sweeping changes to the Alpha, and the game, so far. https://playbreakaway.com/news/post/patch-notes-july-6-2017

    The Good

    • Warrior Select Countdown Timer - Great QoL change, helps alleviate minor frustration. More areas this can happen (mentioned below), but we’ll take what we can get!

    • Performance Enhancements - The game felt WAY more performant in a variety of situations that would have otherwise caused lag. Great job so far.
      Note: The only time I saw performance degradation was when running Xsplit. It didn’t seem to be related to any in game settings (I originally thought i was due to running a metastream link), but I drop a good 15+ fps when running xsplit.

    • Hit stun removal - This was, overall, a good change. While I personally didn’t mind it, as I thought it helped melee attacks feel “tighter” while being able to stick on targets, I understand that it creates a really annoying situation for newer players. One of the best ways to piss off players is to make them lose control of their character, and this was a good way of doing that. Happy to see it gone, but we’ll talk more about its repercussions later in this post...

    • Merrick nerfs adjustments - Merrick feels WAY more in line with Thorgrim, and has been lowered from S-Tier to A-Tier in my book. He and Thorgrim both bring their own flavor to a team, without Merrick also bringing insane damage!

    • Kyra’s ballista - feels a lot less OP. Damage could probably still be reduced, but overall it’s much less OP!

    The game’s overall stability seems to have improved BIGLY. Can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t remember a time where I crashed completely out of a match. (More on network issues below)

    The Bad

    • [Bad-ish] Server performance - Until Sunday morning, I hadn’t experienced any issues, but I’d say ¼ of my matches Sunday I had server issues where I would be “lagging” (with a 15ms ping), in that my inputs were probably ⅓ to ½ of a frame behind. The game would run smoothly otherwise, but my inputs and interactions were delayed pretty significantly (for this type of game, ¼ to ½ seconds).

    • Melee characters - With the removal of attack hit-stuns, melee characters (mostly Argus, but Jarra still suffers a bit) feel severely underpowered. The “tightness” that melee had before is gone, since enemies can simply walk away after being only hit by 1 attack. My suggestion:

      • Increase (fairly drastically) the hit range of melee warriors. Probably about ¼ of what Rawlins’ range is currently?
      • OR, increase the ‘lunge’ effect on melee characters so they’ll push forward towards the enemy with every swing.
    • Party inviting - Inviting friends into a party remains a delayed and buggy experience. I’ve experienced this, and noticed it to an extreme degree when watching Cryaotic’s stream of >6000+ viewers. This hurts the game’s appeal, real bad (mostly for being seen on such a large-ish scale, not actually for being an alpha issue).

      • Once accepting a party invite, the delay between actually joining is huge ( > 2 seconds).
      • Sometimes party invites just flat out break, forcing players to resort to restarting their client
    • Playerbase - While I feel like there’s still tons I could do to grow the playerbase minimally, we just don’t have the numbers quite yet that would make for a more enjoyable alpha testing experience. For the most part, I get games against 2 or 3 of the same players on the my own and opposing teams, with the occasional run in with 4-stacks. A lot of the time, I feel that there are literally 7 other people queueing with me, and we just get randomly placed into teams. Don’t get me wrong, I’m with this game ‘till the servers get turned off, but the playerbase doesn’t seem to be getting bigger. Maybe we, as a community, could use a discussion about how we can help to grow it outside of AGS marketing.

    The Ugly

    • Buildables - This weekend I realized how useless (mostly) and downright detrimental buildables are to your own team. I say mostly, because Argus and Alona both have buildables that are S and A Tier, respectively, while everyone else is down in D Tier (because buildables are currently S.A.D.). And Argus’ buildable freefalls down to D Tier if there aren’t any enemy buildables on the map! Buildables exist as a minor distraction for the enemy team, that nets them 500 team gold for destroying it. Sure, I can maybe catch someone on Shrine of Auros with Victor’s Jacob’s Ladder when they go for a slide, but it will get almost immediately destroyed, at the very least avoided. So why would I drop 500g for the enemy team? One of the problems that has an effect on this is the fact that the buildable-enhancing items in the shop are way too expensive to justify sacrificing things like damage or health. Buildable health and thorns are mandatory to make buildables useful, but I will never get them over damage or health or CDR.

    • Still lots of UI issues.

      • Minor mention to the Relic Fumbles stat this weekend (I’m sure it will be fixed quickly)
      • Buttons not responding (mostly in the Warriors screen.
      • If I have already chosen a Warrior but want to swap relic runes, I need to click a new Warrior and then click back on my original Warrior to swap them
      • Still takes entirely too long to exit a match. I should be able to view the scoreboard as long as I want, but be able to return to the main menu as soon as I feel like it!
    • Weird/buggy map interactions

      • Level clipping issues where characters end up underneath the map are still happening
      • Had a weird bug where I survived a ring-out and was able to sit on the side of the wall in Shrine of Ouros

    What follows regarding game balance is completely my own opinion. Others may feel differently, and I encourage discussion on this from veteran and new players alike. Let me know how you all feel about it below!


    • Alona - A must-have for teams, for the most part. Having her SO centered around healing, means that her heals must be strong, and her heals being strong means that she completely turns the tide of battles she is in.
      I think she could either use a different ultimate, or a different Radiance(Q). Nerfing the amount healed will still pigeonhole her into being a healer, which no character should be focused around.

    • Argus - I feel bad for my man here. He went from being able to dominate solo queues and being a strong presence in competitive, to being mostly ignorable other than his knock back. As of now, he’s a slightly more ignorable Jarra because he can just be kited and his No Retreat(Q) can be mostly dodged.I would suggest making his defensive have the distance of his current No Retreat(Q), and changing his No Retreat(Q) to be a straight stun (.5s to 1s). This would help him setup his teammates for kills, removing a tad bit of his escapability. Argus’ Glory(E) knockback is more powerful than Thorgrim’s, and that shouldn’t be the case.

    • Jarra - Definitely took a hit from the hit-stun removal, but I think this patch put her above Argus simply due to her ability to annihilate squishies. Being able to pass to an invis Jarra is also a huge bonus. I’m not quite sure yet what we can do to bring Jarra more in line, but currently she feels way too deadly in the hands of a good player and, as Zoia mentioned in the community discord, she can be a source of huge frustration to play against for a new player.

    • Kyra - Not sure if she’s just super strong or Rawlins just sucks, but she outshines him in almost every way possible.

    • Korryn - I gained some more respect for Korryn this patch as a relay defender. Her kit is extremely well suited for relay defense with all of its AoE, but outside of that she is completely outshined as a support by Alona. I feel that with her current kit and playstyle, she should be the anti-tank support. I can’t speak to tuning of actual numbers (since we don’t have any yet cough), but I could see possibly moving the damage boost property from her Circle of Spite(E) to her Burden of Sin(Q) so that she can stick it on people a bit easier and set up kills, and she may rise in the tiers and see more play in kill-comps.

    • Merrick - Feels way way way more in line, much less of a terror to go up against and I’d put him securely in the A-Tier. The removal of hit-stun also had an effect on Merrick, so I’m interested to see if any future melee changes affect his gameplay.

    • Rawlins - As mentioned above, Rawlins is outshined by Kyra in almost every facet of gameplay. Range, damage, buildable, abilities, escapes, everything. The delay between shots makes him feel laggy, and his projectile speed forces you to lead targets that are 1m in front of you. This, coupled with his projectile’s visual, means it’s very hard to track shots and this needs to be cleaned up. Note: This one could be a network issue, but I get the feeling it’s not. I'm excited to see how his rework changes my perception of his kit. The following are 3 changes I would suggest to bring him closer to Kyra:

      • Increase his range, slightly. It’s fine if he’s not at Kyra’s range, but being slightly longer than melee range isn’t doing him any favors.
      • Either make him mobile while using Blazing Barrage(R), or give him a new ult.
      • Make his Power Shot(Q) into a frontal cone AoE attack
    • Thorgrim - Thorgrim’s feeling good this patch, mostly because of how tuned Merrick became. If I had to nitpick, I’d like to see his Ram’s Head(E) throw distance increased.

    • Victor - Victor’s in a pretty good spot, sitting comfortably on the B Tier. Although mostly forced to build defensively, he can still put out good damage in team fights and is great for poking. His Shock Field(RMB) could either use a larger dome or make him completely invulnerable while inside of it. Maybe even stunning enemies who touch it, but that might be a bit much.

    Overall, I was extremely satisfied with this patch and it’s a great sign that we are starting to get a more stable game that the designers can start flexing their balancing spreadsheet skills.

    As always, thanks for reading, and thank you to AGS for the opportunity to test this game! You can always find me on Twitter and Twitch. Again, let me know what you guys think about the current game balance below!

  • Amazon Game Studios

    @buttabuttajam said in ButtaButtaFeedback #4:

    [Bad-ish] Server performance - Until Sunday morning, I hadn’t experienced any issues, but I’d say ¼ of my matches Sunday I had server issues where I would be “lagging” (with a 15ms ping), in that my inputs were probably ⅓ to ½ of a frame behind. The game would run smoothly otherwise, but my inputs and interactions were delayed pretty significantly (for this type of game, ¼ to ½ seconds).

    Thanks for the feedback. There are multiple reasons that could contribute to this kind of experience, we're working on fixing to make the experience generally smoother. However, based on your feedback it sounds like you ended up playing on a non-optimal region for some of those matches, as our matchmaker tries to match groups within the same region and if it can't find a suitable match it will expand and look in other regions and then it will try to locate a server for this match in the most suitable region to host those players. One of the ways to help the situation is by increasing the available options for matchmakers. We're inviting more and more users to allow more full matches within a single region which we believe will help a lot with the feel of the game.

    Level clipping issues where characters end up underneath the map are still happening

    We're working on a potential fix for this one in the next update.

  • Amazon Game Studios

    Thanks for the detailed write up ButtaButtaJam!

    • Thanks for the positive notes on week 4, hopefully you'll like week 5 just as much. Our goal is to make it better each week.

    • This is the second post I've seen on melee being negatively impacted by the hit stun changes. I'll keep my eye on this, but so far the numbers from the weekend, look okay for melee.

    • The party system is undergoing a bit of re-write atm, when that gets integrated it should help these issues. But I agree this a major issue.

    • In terms of playerbase, its a bit of a balancing act, we don't want too many people playing until the game is ready. But in general, I agree we've been a little conservative and we're going to change that this week (look for a post/article from Heintzer later this week)

    • Thanks for the feedback on buildables. The goal is that they are all S or A tier and impact the game in a major way. I'll review this with the design team this week (fyi some tweaks to equipment will be coming in a 2-3 weeks that should help address this a bit also).

  • I think buildables aren't useless, but can become so if your team is not pressuring relic enough.

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