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Follow up to the June 28 Balance Update Preview


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I think a big issue is I think the dev team needs to clarify what they identify as a large patch is. 

It's not the fact they are good or bad which annoys me. Every game always has a mix of the 2, my problem is the balance changes due today didn't change anything. .

When I think large I think big impacting changes which will shake up the meta.

What we got appears to be a attempt at continuing the same push in a condi direction and nerfing catalyst. 

Deleting unique buffs in replacement to boons Is a bigger change sure but they aren't mechanically changed realistically. 

This patch was hyped for months. And it was easy to believe this was gonna be alot bigger then it actually was. 

I feel for people being given death threats. Or being told to get fired, no one should be receiving that much harrasment. 

 

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Hi all, Game Director Josh “Grouch” Davis here. On Friday we posted the profession update notes for the June 28 release and since then there’s been a lot of heated discussion about the changes an

Does that mean the official stance is to back what was said in those discord chat logs? My job would fire me if I spoke about customers in such a way.

I don't mean to be rude but the blunt honest truth is, Not for me it won't.

5 hours ago, Bolthead.2567 said:

The toxic players that are sh*t talking the devs and say they are quitting the game, good. Maybe you'll take that time to go outside, into the real world for a while, realise that actually the devs probably care about your opinion more than anyone else in your life does, then you can come back to the game and enjoy it for what it is, a game.
 

For someone who complains about "toxic players" you sure sound rather toxic yourself and more so than them in fact. The irony howered not surprised by lack of self awareness

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5 hours ago, Josh Davis.7865 said:

Hey folks - I've been in and out of meetings today, apologies for delay. Here's some responses to questions I've seen repeated a few times:

 

Q: Why aren't you holding the update?

This was discussed. The simple answer is that “holding the balance changes” is not feasible from a technical standpoint. We have a very sophisticated dev environment that gives us a lot of flexibility in areas like this, but we're well beyond that point. Now that the build is finalized and nearly ready for activation, unwinding the code and content changes in the June 28 balance update would be a significant and time-intensive effort that would likely result in a multi-week delay of not only the skills content, but also everything else in the release (new Challenge Mode, Core Updates, Mordremoth legendary, etc). Once all the right changes were stripped from the build, we’d need to QA those skills to verify they work as before, and we’d need to QA the rest of the release again to make sure that nothing was inadvertently broken in the process. We usually give QA 1-2 weeks to test a ‘finalized’ build, for reference. This would have a cascading impact on future releases (meaning things like LWS1E3 would also get pushed back).

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but the least disruptive option is to push the release and address issues in future builds.


Q: There's nothing concrete in this post, what are you doing to fix this?

I get wordy sometimes. Here’s a bullet point list of next steps:

  •  The skills and balance team is drafting ‘design notes’ for the June 28 release. We’ll publish these as soon as we can. I don’t expect that you’ll agree with all of it – especially from the conversation we’ve been monitoring – but we owe you the explanations.
  • I’m going to own resolving the internal process issue that prevented us from including the design notes upfront.
  •  In the coming months, we’re going to publish a blog post that details the balance philosophy for Guild Wars 2.
  •  I recognize that the way feedback is collected for balance updates is far from ideal. We need to preview updates earlier so we’re never in this situation again, and we need to solve for how we go about getting balance feedback from qualified individuals. Eliminate the unofficial backchannels. I’m going to own finding the right solution for this.
  •  We added a follow up balance update in the coming weeks to our schedule.


I'll note that the post this morning was done at 11:30a on a Monday. We moved quickly and we don't have all of the answers yet.


Q: Why aren't you posting the balance philosophy today? Doesn't it exist?

The philosophy driving profession design and balance has changed a few times over the years, even by the ‘original developers’ of the days of yore. Elite specializations weren’t a part of the game’s original vision, for example. I considered getting a version of this posted in response to this weekend’s discussions, but on further reflection, I came to the conclusion that Cameron Rich taking over as the Lead Systems Designer (which Skills/Balance ultimately falls under) is a great opportunity for us to revisit the discussion internally before making a public statement. Cam brings a lot of great perspective to this area from his experience as the Lead Encounters Designer for GW2. We also recently had Floyd Grubb join the WvW team - and we'd like to have him involved there as well.

 

Q: A balance team was just created after End of Dragons? Why wasn't there a balance team before?

I'd like to clarify my comment. Guild Wars 2 has had a balance team in the past, no doubt. For End of Dragons, our professions designers were asked to turn their full attention towards building elite specializations, which ultimately meant that live balance updates were few and far between. As we were building our dev plans for post-End of Dragons, I felt very strongly that we needed to staff a full-time balance team that supports the live game, even as we're building future expansion content. We're trying to get to a place where we can hit a consistent cadence with the updates, even as other work is in flight.

Perfectly exemplifies the issues people have.

What kind of sophisticated environment would demand that you release this patch today and take the next few years fixing the damage it did, versus rolling back the code, or just not going through with it?

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1 minute ago, Scoobaniec.9561 said:

For someone who complains about "toxic players" you sure sound rather toxic yourself and more so than them in fact. The irony howered not surprised by lack of self awareness

There's a lot of this out there sadly, it's like yes death threats are bad, going after people's jobs is bad....
but it doesn't mean being overbearing and attacking people who have a different point of view is good either. One of the main discords was really bad at putting people down who were frustrated for example. There is more then one form of "toxic behavior"

Can't teach civility by guilt, shame, or putting people down, it just doesn't work.
Best you can do is be blunt, honest, and direct with understanding.

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12 minutes ago, Scoobaniec.9561 said:

For someone who complains about "toxic players" you sure sound rather toxic yourself and more so than them in fact. The irony howered not surprised by lack of self awareness

He is right though. Sending death threats to other people or wishing they get fired because of changes in a video game is not okay. And it is just that, a video game. A lot of people here should calm down a bit. 

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5 hours ago, Josh Davis.7865 said:

Q: Why aren't you posting the balance philosophy today? Doesn't it exist?

 

Nothing personal towards you but at this point after so many years I really could care less about "balance philosophy".

Logging into and playing this game emotionally feels like being bashed by my ex and after my face gets bashed I get an explanation on why and it's always my fault. I asked for it, I overreacted, I should've known my place, I looked at him funny, I make a big deal out of it. And I'm always anticipating the next time my face gets bashed.

All I want to do is log in and enjoy playing my class in a squad, instead for years I play it in personal story and seasonal events. And it's not even fun to play because balancing dps isn't the only thing that matters but what you can bring to the squad, rotation fluidity and the ability to reset it without losing too much or recover when it's mostly ground target that is easily lost with movement. I would honestly let the SC helpdesk do patch notes at this point I don't think it could possibly get worse than official balance. Even when things deserve to get a nerf it's like the worst possible way to do it is chosen.

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11 hours ago, Evenaardez.7913 said:

 you gave the condi trait line for warrior, increased ferocity…

It's increased crit chance from Fury. Which is the whole point of Arms when you read the description of it in general. It's pretty necessary to keep up Furious stacks on Condi war. The issue is the power trait lines didn't get buffed too. War handing out boons needs to be on par with the other boondps classes, doing 30k. With dropping the banner trait/line, bringing the class up to 40k.

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I'm not surprised to read that the devs' hands are basically tied when it comes to releasing this patch. I've seen it in other games before: once you reach the end of the pipeline, backpedaling last minute will just cause it to clog for the foreseeable future and generate additional damage control, which would eventually be more counterproductive than pushing the patch and releasing hotfixes after the fact. Don't get me wrong, this is still suboptimal, but they've already backed themselves in a corner and can't do this otherwise. Additional anger will not change this.

 

One way this can be mitigated in the future is open testing. Make use of your solid beta server architecture, allow open feedback on the modifications you make through new, much earlier than live release betas, and take it into account seriously.

 

I've seen a lot of very dedicated veteran players in this thread alone complain that they've put in the time to give you detailed data on how their favorite professions tick and how they could be improved, without as much as a word in return. Legitimizing their involvement would be good. I'm aware this takes time in already busy development schedules, but you said yourself that it was important to take the point of view of the player into account. To put it bluntly, you have to take this opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.

 

I hope this situation eases down eventually, and the relationship between community and developers cools down as we work hand in hand to avoid this happens again. Ultimately, the ball remains, as ever, in your corner, ANet. I, as no doubt others, will wait for your next move eagerly.

 

Edited by Dotveg.5108
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Dear Anet;

If you want your patches to go over well, your devs have to remove their bias. Not fixing a Mesmer bug because "I don't like axe" is a major, major fail point. That alone was enough to give people a confirmation bias that your teams not only have bias, but are proud of that bias and will boost the numbers of anything that isn't what they don't like. That one dev is just one person and the fact he has the power to ignore a bug like that is unprofessional at best. Do better.

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Honestly if this is the work of a "dedicated balance team" people should really be worried. Mind you my class got buffed and I still think the job done on this patch screams super lazy all over the place. 

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12 minutes ago, Vertanius.3281 said:

Perfectly exemplifies the issues people have.

What kind of sophisticated environment would demand that you release this patch today and take the next few years fixing the damage it did, versus rolling back the code, or just not going through with it?

I think that's the PR double talk slipping through. They don't really want to admit to any kind of fault or weakness, but they still have to excuse it somehow, so it's complimenting their own process while in the same breadth implicitly criticizing it because it's incapable of handling a situation like this. Instead of saying "it's because our system is too tied up together and slow moving," it's all "we want to give our QA time to be thorough." Strangely this doesn't stop them from doing hotfixes for major patches...

If their system was robustly segmented, I don't see why it would require extensive QA to rollback some changes. That's what git technology and code branches and such is meant to help with. But if the profession changes are mixed in with everything else in odd places... say, changing warrior ability X also modifies file that has a change for a completely unrelated game system, then I could see why it would be hard to untangle and that seems the more likely explanation. That or they are just making up excuses because they don't want to devote resources to adjusting class changes again unless they can schedule it on their own time. Either is believable.

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4 minutes ago, Scoobaniec.9561 said:

Its new low and Amber is innocent. Jail Depp asap for all the things he did to her! Unlike many here i was whole day online during the drama and i do not recall single death threat made but you do you. Unless theres a proof im not gonna believe in it. Time to end with times where you can freely accuse people without actual proof to back it up

Should they post them on the official website so you can feast on it? Does this give you satisfaction? 

Edited by yoni.7015
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12 minutes ago, yoni.7015 said:

Should they post them on the official website so you can feast on it? 

Should they actually acknowledge the issue they have at hand with biased dev who makes fun of it community? Yes.

And im not sure what you mean by "feast on it" cuz i really dont care. Ive get told to kys, death wished on family etc in games more than i can count at this point but i dont make big deal of it acting as it was whole community of X game doing. Idiots happen everywhere. Even if death threats happened it is small outlier but the post makes it a main focus instead of addressing the real cat out of the bag.

 

Besides i also dont understand how one can put people who ask for dev to be fired and those who send death threats into one bag. Its honestly ridiculous to even think about how out of touch it is

 

Edited by Scoobaniec.9561
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It's pretty clear that this balance update was largely designed by people who do not play or do not understand the game/classes they are "balancing." Anything other than a full admittance of this is purely disingenuous 

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1 hour ago, Galaxy.3127 said:

If you read carefully what he says, there is an opportunity. Josh mentions community involvement being the key and they seek on how to improve that.

But for how long has there been opportunity already, my friend? For how long has the team put themselves in their own Elite Spec where they are too high up to see or hear us down here? This discussion is not new and this reaction is only surprising to them. What Josh did was prove to us that they had no idea the community was at a boiling point and now he's shocked. And if that's the case, what is the use for any further "constructive criticism"? They won't read it. They never have. 

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34 minutes ago, Scoobaniec.9561 said:

Besides i also dont understand how one can put people who ask for dev to be fired and those who send death threats into one bag. Its honestly ridiculous to even think about how out of touch it is

The funny thing is, I was actually less bothered by what happened before I started hearing BS about how the community is supposedly misbehaving. I was never, and still am not, someone who advocated for a person to lose their job over this, but I've probably come across more that way since, in an effort to defend against the attacks against the community and its integrity overall.

Based on what I've seen, I don't think letting go of someone who has put an immense amount of time into understanding the game better makes any sense. But I also think that the position has to change significantly in some way. Whether it means less power, a bigger team, whatever. Something that will ensure we aren't just going to be seeing more of the same going forward. And I think if they try to police for private back channels, they're just going to be treating symptoms, instead of addressing why a dev might be motivated to do that in the first place. If such a dev felt, for example, that they have too much burden to do everything on their own and not enough knowledge to do it, it would be rather embarrassing personally and professionally to seek help from the community publicly, but easier to go for privately.

So far, though I may be way off the mark, I get the impression that the current balance "team" is one of those condensed cost-saving "teams" that companies like to do, where too much is expected of too few people and so in the long-term it ends up costing the company more.

Edited by Labjax.2465
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6 hours ago, Josh Davis.7865 said:

Q: Why aren't you holding the update?

(...)

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but the least disruptive option is to push the release and address issues in future builds.

The least disruptive option to you, sure. What about disruption to parts of the the playerbase this patch will cause? Is that less important?

6 hours ago, Josh Davis.7865 said:

Q: There's nothing concrete in this post, what are you doing to fix this?

I get wordy sometimes. Here’s a bullet point list of next steps:

  •  The skills and balance team is drafting ‘design notes’ for the June 28 release. We’ll publish these as soon as we can. I don’t expect that you’ll agree with all of it – especially from the conversation we’ve been monitoring – but we owe you the explanations.
  • I’m going to own resolving the internal process issue that prevented us from including the design notes upfront.
  •  In the coming months, we’re going to publish a blog post that details the balance philosophy for Guild Wars 2.
  •  I recognize that the way feedback is collected for balance updates is far from ideal. We need to preview updates earlier so we’re never in this situation again, and we need to solve for how we go about getting balance feedback from qualified individuals. Eliminate the unofficial backchannels. I’m going to own finding the right solution for this.
  •  We added a follow up balance update in the coming weeks to our schedule.

First, there's nothing here more than you've already mentioned in the previous post. Second, the question was not "what you will do in the future such cases", nor was it "what are you doing to explain all of this". It was "what are you doing to fix this". The only point that even barely addresses that is the one about future balance update, but it also does not really answer the question.

How many weeks are we going to wait for you do do anything? How far ar you willing to go with it? Will the mentioned follow-up balance update only address what you think is most egregious, leaving most of the mess to be sorted out monts (or years) later? Or are you actually considering reverting the most controversial changes until you can do a proper review, and introduce them in a better way, as a part of a more comprehensive set of changes that will not end up with few classes left in the gutter? Basically, What are you doing to fix this?

 

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15 minutes ago, Jillian.4502 said:

But for how long has there been opportunity already, my friend? For how long has the team put themselves in their own Elite Spec where they are too high up to see or hear us down here? This discussion is not new and this reaction is only surprising to them. What Josh did was prove to us that they had no idea the community was at a boiling point and now he's shocked. And if that's the case, what is the use for any further "constructive criticism"? They won't read it. They never have. 

I understand that, if you feel like that, then your energy is spent I'd say, you feel frustrated. That's perfectly valid and best thing to do is take care of yourself 🙂

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I am saying this as someone who has been playing on an irregular and sporadic basis on-and-off for nearly a decade, and recommending this game to anyone who wants to know if there is a good MMO.

I am uninstalling this game. I am not recommending this game to any one any more. I am finding a game where the developers care about whether the classes I love to play are viable options or not, and have the competence to understand how to help them stay viable.

Reading the leak has made it clear why your balance patches seemed intent on making sure my favorite class wasn't one I could enjoy playing any more. It showed a disregard for the opinions of your customers, obvious biases for some classes over others, and even ignorance of the mechanics and identity of other classes.

I hadn't played since pre-ordering the deluxe version of the EoD expansion as I have been quite busy, and was actually looking forward to trying it. I am no longer going to be playing it, and regret buying it and supporting you. 

As for the words of Josh Davis, I appreciate you making any sort of announcement at all, but calling people toxic because they think your balance team should be fired? If people are calling for the team you have working on balancing the classes to be fired, please understand that this isn't just out of malice. For quite a few people, these balance patches have had, and, (judging by the attempts to make us happy enough to allow you to keep the same balance team,) will continue to have a considerable negative impact, and they cannot see themselves continuing to play Guild Wars 2 if this continues. And lets be clear here. You have not been able to assuage some of them that this won't continue. You certainly haven't convinced me.

But yes, some of your players want you to have a dedicated balancing team that is different from the current one, and the first step to that would be sacking or re-assigning your current team. That team has caused damage to your company and its reputation. The last time I remember someone publicly getting fired from Arenanet was Jessica Price in 2018. She was immediately fired for being rude on twitter, despite being re-assured the exact situation they were in wouldn't be grounds for getting fired. Is the difference here that developers are important? Because "Oh, there'll be some amazing salt. I can't wait." certainly seems way worse for your game than someone being kind of rude to some guy for deciding they need to explain how dialogue options work to a seasoned writer.

Why don't you have any way to concretely explain any balance choices already made? Citing elite specializations as an example of something that wouldn't have been in the games "vision" at launch, is laughable the moment you remember that they came out with Heart of Thorns over six years ago. Has nobody since then figured out how or why you need to balance anything in six years? If your team couldn't give a proper and prompt reason as to why they did anything, not even a single example, then how are they deciding how to do their job? Why are they even changing anything at all if they don't understand what they are doing and why they are doing it?

In closing, I am frustrated, do not understand how this continued to be a problem for so long, how it became exacerbated to the degree it is, and do not plan to play again.

Edited by Kaizersan.6581
grammar
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13 hours ago, Josh Davis.7865 said:

One of the best ways to achieve this is by including the ‘voice of the player’ in the development process, before things ship live.

With all due respect we all know this is a lie, let's keep it 1000.

We understand that all the long post you did is because of the massive disappointment from community with the balance patch and someone has to do the PR job, but in reality after this you guys will just do the same thing over and over, at least until now I haven't see "REAL" changes from anet.

 

If you guys really listening "Voice of the Players." why certain classes just say bad forever?

For example let's take a look at Warrior Class. @Grand Marshal.4098and @Lan Deathrider.5910already got some ideas and Omnibus running around for years, yet nothing happened, warrior keep getting the short end of the stick while you guys can just pick some ideas in that omnibus

You guys also conveniently forget about 300 Secs Placeholder trait for 2,5 years which affect some classes including Warrior.

 

Like after those evidences, what makes Anet think player will believes the quoted statement?

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bruh "The community misbehaving"?

they literally pointed to the toxic % that literally was threatening and harrassing and such and literally praising people that were being AN ADULT about it.

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6 hours ago, Bogdanski.4697 said:

Hello Josh.

I'm gonna have to be blunt with you, and my feelings are shared with thousands other players.

As a warrior main, and a veteran raider and fractaler, and only reflecting on the changes the development team has made in the past 6 months, and including the tomorrow update,  I feel like you have destroyed the last drop of joy Guild Wars2 brought me.

Not only that the very hard and FUN content of Fractal CMs has been layed to eternal grave by making it literally not worth our time due to the lack of Mystic Coins but our only purpose as warriors in endgame content will now be dismantled.

I'm with you on this 100%. Yesterday my static was talking about how none of us has done any fractals since the MC change.

Some had not read about the "secret" philosophie of making every class and build as easy as possible. And our static leader who played gw1 and still enjoys gw2 and was the one to newer say anything bad about Anet and always taking Anet side. Even he said that if they make this statement official, he will quit. He things that is talking away the very essence with made gw fun.

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This unfortunately is the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I've been coping and hoping for too kitten long now. I just can't no more. I can't put myself through more "4 months" of daily inhaling copium. I'm about to freaking overdose. 

 

These balance patches shouldn't take this long. Any game that's serious about their playerbase has this on top of their prioritizies. Make a balance patch every two weeks or once a month and address 1 change per profession, one REAL change.

 

I work in software development and if I told my customers after showing them an update to their platform which they hated, that I would just push the update none the less. I would get fired on the spot. 

 

I've been in the backseat trying to get a partnership for my YouTube channel because I'm really passionate about this game. But it's time to speak up once and for all.

 

Fix your game, personally I almost don't care about content at this point. Just make it fun and playable! Classes, specs and builds are THE content for some. You do realize this don't you? 

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2 minutes ago, Soruf.4875 said:

bruh "The community misbehaving"?

they literally pointed to the toxic % that literally was threatening and harrassing and such and literally praising people that were being AN ADULT about it.

I'm gonna take it you were trying to say that to me since I just used that phrasing:

They scolded and lumped together people who called for a dev to be fired and people who allegedly did a death threat (no one I know of who followed this closely has said anything about seeing such).

Then they distinguished from that people who were "civil" about it. And said the 1st group is not welcome in "our community." So what does that clearly communicate? If you criticize any more deeply than changes themselves, you aren't welcome. Despite the stuff they tried to bury that made one of their employees look bad and faced that classic internet phenomenon where attempting to bury something only gets people talking about it more. So... people criticized beyond changes themselves because they had information that led them to believe the problems here went deeper than a difference in design philosophy and Anet essentially communicated that doing so makes them toxic and unwelcome here. Ergo... Anet thinks it's toxic for someone to want them to be held accountable for their actions. That's pretty much what it comes down to. Never mind the fact that players are just saying that and have no power to make it happen at all.

And being "civil" basically means nothing at this point. It has been so chronically misused by those in power in a given situation whose description of civility amounts to "speaking politely and maintaining decorum, no matter what is happening to you or by whom."

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