Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Talk about Battlefleet Gothic: Armada here!
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Ravensburg
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Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby Ravensburg » 03 May 2016, 19:28

Greetings Admirals!

We asked our community moderators to send us over a list of commonly asked questions and concerns that you guys might have.
In this first post, I’ll be answering 10 questions that cover some of the more pressing concerns of the community. There’s still a bunch of questions I’m planning on answering in the future – but please feel free to ask further questions in your replies to this post!

#1 - How is balancing being performed and who is responsible for testing it prior to public access?

Our game design team holds regular meetings, where we analyze player feedbacks and compare them to our data. The goal of these meetings is to get the big picture of the game and how each change can impact other elements. We also have some constraints for design like not breaking the TT stats unless it’s an absolute necessity, or don’t create mechanics that would force us to break the ship’s original visual.
We then test the modifications at the studio.
After this, a QA team at Focus Home Interactive tests once again all the changes and sends us feedback about balancing. If the feedback is bad, we try to identify issues and start the process again.
Finally, a special build is released for the forum testing squad to ensure that nothing in the build is totally broken. We then gather feedback using a private forum. After this, we debate about the feedback and think about the necessity of making another build or publishing this one.

#2 - What are your opinions on the state of the current multiplayer balance?

Imperium is at not far from the gold spot.
Chaos needs some minor tweaks.
Orks could have access to a different batch of upgrades and skills in order to give the faction more flavor. But they are not in a bad spot regarding pure balancing.
Eldars are still the faction that requires the most work. What I can tell you for now, is that we’re going to remove the range upgrades for pulsars, and replace them with new upgrades for Starcannons. Our goal regarding Eldar weaponry is to create a true choice between getting a fleet with Starcannons or a fleet with Pulsars.
Eldar may be a bit too squishy at the moment, but we’re working to see the extent to which this is true. We also understand that the assassination and Data recovery missions are not quite satisfying with or against Eldars, so we’re looking into amending that.

#3 - Has Tindalos considered changing the matchmaking so that players have more control over the size and type of matches they get put into?

This is something you will have in custom games once the multiplayer is implemented in that mode. The ranked matchmaking will not work with random missions – but I can’t tell you too much about this for now : )
The answer to the question is no, in the classic multiplayers mode you have to build a fleet that will be able to face any situation, not just cruiser clash. Players shouldn’t have the possibility of setting fleet points because it would break the balance for getting ships lost in warp, heavily damaged and destroyed. We wanted, from the beginning, a punishing game where players should face the consequences for their failures. I know frustration in video games is not “l’aire du temps”, but that’s just how we wanted BFGA to be, with a bit of old school flavor.

#4 - Has Tindalos considered scrapping the progression system in multiplayer in favor of a new system?

War is not fair, the 40K universe is not friendly, life is hard, and equality obsession in games is not my cup of tea.
So it’s a nope, the main multiplayer mode of BFGA isn’t meant to be a solely competitive experience, but something that include a bit of narrative content. You’re fleet in multiplayer has its own story, with both hard times and glorious moments. Also, the progression allows for a better and more progressive comprehension of your fleet.
I don’t say that balancing between player’s levels is not important but we’re not obsessed with it. The bonus points for fighting higher level opponents should have been more visually explicit I admit, but it can be very significant. I suspect some players may not have noticed it before claiming for justice and equality on forums. Btw, we are considering increasing this bonus for the next patch, and make it more clear for everyone.
We see this mode more like a playground where you upgrade your fleet, get bigger ships and have the possibilities of testing various options. There is no leaderboard, the Elo is hidden, consequences of losing a game or some ships is not that hard once the frustration has passed, and it’s really fast to get a level 8 fleet. That’s where we want the people to go because competitive BFGA will start at this level in Ranked Matches.

#5 - What are your exact plans for custom games at this point in time?

- The custom skirmishes will offer you several premade maximum level fleets for each faction.
- There are no upgrades or favors on the premade fleets.
- There are premade fleets without technical skills.
- There's no persistence in custom skirmish. (No lost in warp, no heavily damage and no ship destroy).
- You can also play with your persistent multiplayer and solo fleets (but without persistent consequences).
- The custom skirmish will allow you to invite friends to play with or against.
- The custom skirmishes will allow you to play against AI difficulty level of your choice.
- The custom skirmishes allow you to play the mission of your choice.
- The custom skirmish allow you to set the fleet points of your choice.

#6 - What factors are effecting the match size limitation and how soon could we be seeing larger fleets?

- Performance:
We’re using the UE4 physical engine for ships and all projectiles. We made some tests with higher fleet points and the worst case scenario is when players spam escort ships, causing performance to drop even on a good computer.

- Network:
This is the most problematic point. 2v2 is where we need higher fleet points the most – sadly, it’s also where it affects network performance the most. 2v2 is not twice as bad regarding network performance, but four times - it’s exponential.

- Gameplay:
We allowed 900 point games in the CTT. The game at this point starts to become less tactical, less fun, and fleets are hard to manage. In the end, we observed that the favorite engagement for most players was 600 pts.

- Conclusion:
If we can overcome the technical barrier, we would like to raise the fleet point limits in 2v2 and allow players to create bigger engagements in custom games. I can’t tell you for sure when this would be implemented.

Q#7 – Pulsars: what are your thoughts on their current form, and what changes do you want to try to balance them?

I know Pulsars are controversial, but they fulfill a role that fits perfectly with the Eldar hit-and-run playstyle. They are the perfect counterparts of Starcannons - high burst, high cooldown vs low damage, high rate of fire.
As mentioned earlier, before nerfing Pulsars to the ground, we’re going to remove the range upgrade and replace it with a Starcannon upgrade. I think the major issue with Pulsars at the moment comes from range upgrades that make them really disgusting, as Eldars are no longer forced to commit their ships at mid-range in order to perform the burst. We’re also thinking about increasing the duration between each pulsar shot.

Q#8 - The Eldar fleet is very anemic beyond the Light Cruiser choices, will there be new ships to supplement this?

I would love to! Sadly, there’s no existing official reference. All the Eldar ships from the TT are here. As I don’t want to mix the Corsair with the craftworld fleet, there’s no lore-friendly solution at the moment.

Q#9 - What will the Space marine Fleet be comprised of? In the tabletop it only contains the Battle Barge, Strike Cruiser and a variety of escorts?

I can’t say much about it right now, but you should look up the Vanguard light cruiser. Also, it’s said that the Strike Cruiser has the potential for many different refits ; )

Q#10 - Can you create a Developer Response topic, where players can request more technical information about current mechanics and statistics in the game. e.g. detail how accuracy drop-off works etc

Excellent idea! I mandate Sio’are to do this. The secret of defense turrets mechanic will be no more!

Thanks for reading through these answers – I look forward to receiving lots more of your questions!

All glory to the Emperor!

Ravensburg

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Bludfist
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Re: Dev questions/answers sessions 01

Postby Bludfist » 03 May 2016, 19:38

Its interesting to see the devs opinions on things

i personally disagree with somethings stated such as the intention behind pulsars espially with how not low the cd for them is other things, i also feel that some favors need to be look at

facing mass novas is not fun, neither is losing your prow weapons and nurgle shouldn't give your near 100% boarding immunity

but i feel that the intentions are good and it in in capable hands
Last edited by Bludfist on 03 May 2016, 19:42, edited 3 times in total.
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Beernchips
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Re: Dev questions/answers sessions 01

Postby Beernchips » 03 May 2016, 19:40

Q#7 – Pulsars: what are your thoughts on their current form, and what changes do you want to try to balance them?

I know Pulsars are controversial, but they fulfill a role that fits perfectly with the Eldar hit-and-run playstyle. They are the perfect counterparts of Starcannons - high burst, high cooldown vs low damage, high rate of fire.
As mentioned earlier, before nerfing Pulsars to the ground, we’re going to remove the range upgrade and replace it with a Starcannon upgrade. I think the major issue with Pulsars at the moment comes from range upgrades that make them really disgusting, as Eldars are no longer forced to commit their ships at mid-range in order to perform the burst. We’re also thinking about increasing the duration between each pulsar shot.


Perhaps the problem also lies in the 180° turn skill which CD make him always available between pulsars shots. So Eldar ship never have to think 'I make a run without it or I wait to be safe"
Some things could be tweaked within the skill CD, Pulsars CD and the Pulsars CD behing reduced by reload/spirit stones
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Uksharazad87
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby Uksharazad87 » 03 May 2016, 19:52

*double thumbs up* :D

Thank you for the honestey and Answers Ravensburg, I'm sure there will be plenty of Questions :P

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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby Squig_Juice » 03 May 2016, 20:21

So far it doesnt seems really good to me, i think that probably i will have some more fun with this game but will move for sure to TWW asap. Since we will have 700/2 points in 2x2, 700 max in 1x1, forced to play ranked without TC, no matchmaking in non-ranked. Very disappointed to be honest, thought it will become really epic spacefight game with TC to help to control fleet or at least decent 2x2, but.... :(

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Bosie
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby Bosie » 03 May 2016, 20:29

Loving the level of communication, and the humor you guys are bringing to the forums. Please keep it up!

Ravensburg wrote:#4 - Has Tindalos considered scrapping the progression system in multiplayer in favor of a new system?

War is not fair, the 40K universe is not friendly, life is hard, and equality obsession in games is not my cup of tea.
So it’s a nope, the main multiplayer mode of BFGA isn’t meant to be a solely competitive experience, but something that include a bit of narrative content. You’re fleet in multiplayer has its own story, with both hard times and glorious moments. Also, the progression allows for a better and more progressive comprehension of your fleet.

We see this mode more like a playground where you upgrade your fleet, get bigger ships and have the possibilities of testing various options. There is no leaderboard, the Elo is hidden, consequences of losing a game or some ships is not that hard once the frustration has passed, and it’s really fast to get a level 8 fleet. That’s where we want the people to go because competitive BFGA will start at this level in Ranked Matches.


I would like to ask you how you feel this impacts high level fleets? At this time my Chaos admiral is level 8 and my main ships are all level 10. I have over 2.5k renown on hand. During battles it is better for me to lose a ship to destruction rather than the warp. Why? I have the renown to fix that ship and use it for the next game, this means that I have no narrative for my fleet as it's always the same fleet. If I lose a ship to the warp, then that narrative develops. As I can chose between destruction and warp, I always pick destruction. If I do drop to 2k renown then I will switch from fighting to farming renown. So far I've not had to do this. I've stated before that renown is great in the campaign, where narrative is very important but in MP games it just slows down new fleet's progression.

So yes, I had the story during the initial leveling process when I had to take ships I didn't want. Now however I use the same fleet every game.

One potential change, rather than scrap renown, would be to make repairs impossible to speed up. I'd not be a fan of this, but it would create that narrative at high level. Then we'd need something to spend our renown on (to be fair we do at the moment too)!

Perhaps we could use it for fleet colours/bases or other cosmetic things that don't impact directly on games?
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Wayfare
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby Wayfare » 03 May 2016, 20:34

Very interesting to get some design decisions explained! The game design makes more sense now and I certainly respect your vision.

Ravensburg wrote:War is not fair, the 40K universe is not friendly, life is hard, and equality obsession in games is not my cup of tea.
So it’s a nope, the main multiplayer mode of BFGA isn’t meant to be a solely competitive experience, but something that include a bit of narrative content [...] it’s really fast to get a level 8 fleet. That’s where we want the people to go because competitive BFGA will start at this level in Ranked Matches.


I do wonder how you reconcile these points though. In my opnion right now the multiplayer part of the game feels more like it wants to be a balanced competetive experience than a narrative one. In a narrative setting I'd expect more context. For example, a history record for each ship, visual changes to captain levels, maybe a personalized avatar for your admiral, that sort of stuff. On the other hand, with competitive play a design goal at level 8, I'd expect a stricter - dare I say it - equality between the races. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this :)

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Marwynn
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby Marwynn » 03 May 2016, 20:39

It's not like the Craftworld Eldar have a large fleet of their own. They really only have Dragonships and Wraithships, both of which had diverse configurations. Are you planning on Craftworld Eldar as another DLC fleet? Not that I'd complain about that, but the Corsairs are lacking in options.

And oh my, no +3K for Eldar pulsars. Can't wait for that patch.

Any thoughts on perhaps lowering IN Cruiser point costs? It's hard to fit in a Dictator, for instance, in most games. Either lower it by 1-2 points or give it a plasma macro battery. The Retribution could also use some tweaking.

Thanks for following up with your promise for better communications.
Last edited by Marwynn on 03 May 2016, 20:56, edited 2 times in total.

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MadDemiurg
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby MadDemiurg » 03 May 2016, 20:48

The Eldar problem is pretty spot on.

Although depending on the balancing, I feel like pulsar might need some base range buff in this case, like +1 or +1.5k.

Basically, the following should be considered:
-7.5k is detection range with improved augurs for most ships
-7.5k is also the range for taunt and traktors
-5k is the range for LS and Slaanesh silence ability
-Novas chunk midgame eldar with light ships and escorts

So, in order for Eldar to be able to enter 6k range and make it out alive (+still be playable vs some current counters that already work well) I'd say the following should be considered:

-Holofields give some nova mitigation
-Chain taunting is not possible (my suggestion would be to give taunt immunity for x sec after taunt)
-Some ability to avoid rams or mitigate ram damage (or take less ram damage in the first place). Otherwise traktors & ouch.
-Slaanesh does not disable solar sails boost
-Holofields give LS protection depending on the charge, Ultwe +30 replaced with smth else. Otherwise Ultwe or Biel Tan would become the only viable favours.
-Saim Hann would likely need tweaks. It looks bugged atm, but would be almost impossible to use even in theory with 6k pulsar.

Also, starcannons would probably need something more than a new upgrade to become actually viable.

But overall I trust you're moving in the right direction.

WIll likely make a separate thread for this.

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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby Necroledo » 03 May 2016, 20:56

Thank you so much for this sincerity, Tindalos. Direct explanations and points of view are very welcome on gaming communities, and very healthy for them ;)


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