Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby duck_bird » 04 May 2016, 13:27

Alright. I've got a bit of spare time this morning, and I'm going to write up a critique of the developers' feedback. This is going to mirror what XViper said in some ways, but Ravensburg's post has really shot my hope for this game. I really, truly think you guys are going in the wrong direction with a lot of aspects of this game. I've been trying my damnedest to cheer for this game. I was super psyched for it to come out. I shared my initial concerns. The developer roadmap was very encouraging, but this last Q&A session is really sinking my faith in this game.

Now obviously I've already made lengthy posts about certain game mechanics I take issue with, but this is going to stick purely to Ravensburg's responses.

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.
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.


Hot damn. This would be an almost passable answer if your ranked game mode (which supposedly fixes all of these issues) existed. But as is, this is incredibly silly. A series of random skirmishes against random opponents has no story. There is no narrative here. This is "I play player X, then I play player Y, then I play player Z." Losing ships does not add any story to this.

I should *never* have to waste a game blowing up 15 escorts while my opponent apologizes that his fleet is in the shop. That's no fun for either of us.

Similarly, and this has been pointed out numerous times, but this progression system only affects new admirals. My chaos admiral is level 8 with pretty much all lvl10 ships. I don't care about losing ships anymore. I am out of things to spend renown on, so repair costs are trivial. It's actually in my best interest to lose ships instead of risk warping them out. I face no penalty losing a ship. I do potentially waste a turn without a ship by getting it lost in the warp. A new admiral is extra worried about keeping his ships alive, both because he needs them for next game, and because he wants them to level up.

So this new admiral must worry about keeping his ships alive, while facing stronger ships, whereas I have no incentive at all to protect my fleet, and am better off ramming dying ships into my opponent. This system ONLY punishes newer players/admirals.

You need to implement a victory points system that rewards players for destroying, crippling, and saving ships.

And this final point cannot be stressed enough. This system can absolutely *permanently* put new players off. You're catering to a niche market already. This game's multiplayer future cannot afford to risk putting so many folks off so early.

#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.


I've really got to question the merit of rendering each shot/shell individually in a physics engine when almost all interactions in this game are dice-rolls behind the scenes. If my weapon accuracy is little more than a percentage of shots fired hitting based on distance to the target, and does not take into account relative speed/facing/maneuvers, then this could really have been abstracted.

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.

Well, you got pulsar range being a problem right, but the rest of this paragraph is lunacy. Pulsars mean Eldar are not a hit-and-run faction. They are a hit-and-wait faction. I've been playing a no-pulsar fleet, and it feels a lot closer to how Eldar are supposed to be played. Attack runs that last for more than 3 seconds and require you to get somewhat near your opponent. This fixed-fore system is incredibly silly, and the alpha potential throws out all other Eldar weapons as viable. There's no skill in landing pulsar hits. You turn on fore facing, right click a ship, and pop your pulsars. You then run away and wait.

Combine this with Eldar fragility, and the fact that TAUNT exists, and matchups with Eldar players are no fun for either party. A skilled Eldar playing well has almost no counter play. If I lose a match as pulsar Eldar, it's because I screwed up. You either perfectly pull off 9/12k pulsar runs and bail before getting caught, or you get a tidbit too close, and get chain-taunted to death. If played correctly, it's a free win. If you mess up, a ship is dead, period. The Eldar's opponent is entirely reliant on the Eldar making a mistake. Chaining taunt on a ship dumb enough to get within range takes no skill. It's frustrating gameplay on both sides.

Pulsars need to be a normal weapon system. Starcannons should have high DPS, but be subject to armor mitigating their damage. Pulsars should have average DPS, and ignore armor.

Taunt should not exist. Any skill that takes control of his ships away from your opponent for fifteen seconds is straight lunacy.

AP rounds should not exist. Macro weapons should have the highest potential DPS, mitigated by inaccuracy at range and enemy armor. They don't need to ALSO ignore armor up close. Their raw damage and firing at point-blank is plenty. Lances should have consistent mediocre DPS, unaffected by range, terrain, or armor. There's your tradeoff. Starcannon high rate of fire does nothing for it right now. I make starcannons work, but it's goddamn hard, and if you screw up even a little you're likely to lose a ship.

You guys are making horrendous balance and gameplay decisions.

This game has so much potential. You've got great feedback here on the forums. Please listen to it without dismissing it as "whining." This game will face multiplayer death in a matter of months if you all don't change directions.
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby duck_bird » 04 May 2016, 13:34

BrianDavion wrote:
How do you 'build a fleet that will be able to face any situation', when you have such a limited number of ship slots that you can fill? If you wanted to 'swap out' the ship for something else you then also completely lose all ship progression. You wanted BFGA to be 'frustrating to play'?? Are you serious right now? *facepalm*

If you give players more ship slots, you mitigate the 'risk' for players losing ship (don't even get me started how ridiculous losing ships to the warp in multiplayer is....). Considering you want the game to be frustrating, this certainly can't happen! I assume you're not going to bother fixing the problem where a player is forced into a 600 point game with 300 points of ships either... They need to be punished for losing right? I guess people are going to have to get used to spamming Escorts. 'yay'.


Ok, honest to god question, are you one of those people who insists on playing every video game he owns on the easiest mode with the invincability cheat on? if not then you understand and accept that games are going to have some challange to them. part of the game is some concequences for losing your ships, you may not like it but that's a personal issue, some people like a degree of concequence for failure.

as for building a fleet capable of facing any situation, gamers have been doing that thing for ages. it's called a TAC List (for Take All Comers) and in table top list building it's the norm. it's considered in poor taste to go and specially hyper tailor your list to counter your opponent.
I imagine the devs are trying to bring in an element of that table top list building feel to the game.

It's really fast to get to a level 8 fleet? Clarify 'really fast'?


a weeks worth of pretty casual play in my experiance. a day if you're playing a lot


Really? Taking issue with a flawed multiplayer progression system means he wants to play on easy mode? This is the dumbest thing I've read here in weeks.

The challenge in a multiplayer game comes from a human opponent trying to out-play me on an even battlefield. Losing the game is the consequence for performing poorly.

Multiplayer progression should not be needed to keep people interested. If the gameplay cannot stand up on its own, this game is doomed. People don't queue up match after match of starcraft, counterstrike, or dota because they're jonesing to unlock the next upgrade. They're doing it because the gameplay is fun and engaging in and of itself.
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby zOh » 04 May 2016, 13:38

XViper wrote:It's really fast to get to a level 8 fleet? Clarify 'really fast'?
Once you've reached Level 8 with one race, you may as well have reached Level 8 with all of them. It's a tedious and completely unnecessary grind of frustration!


It took me one night to hit lvl 8 Chaos. Then another night to hit lvl 8 Eldar. Then maybe 2 nights each for Imps and Orks.

Lvl 8 admiral is suuuuuper easy, and literally takes like 8 hours of playing. Lvl 10 ships is a different story.

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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session 01

Postby XViper » 04 May 2016, 13:50

zOh wrote:
XViper wrote:It's really fast to get to a level 8 fleet? Clarify 'really fast'?
Once you've reached Level 8 with one race, you may as well have reached Level 8 with all of them. It's a tedious and completely unnecessary grind of frustration!


It took me one night to hit lvl 8 Chaos. Then another night to hit lvl 8 Eldar. Then maybe 2 nights each for Imps and Orks.

Lvl 8 admiral is suuuuuper easy, and literally takes like 8 hours of playing. Lvl 10 ships is a different story.


Thanks for answering.
So if its so quick and easy, then what's the point of having it at all?
Why not just unlock everything for everyone at the start?

duck_bird wrote:Multiplayer progression should not be needed to keep people interested. If the gameplay cannot stand up on its own, this game is doomed. People don't queue up match after match of starcraft, counterstrike, or dota because they're jonesing to unlock the next upgrade. They're doing it because the gameplay is fun and engaging in and of itself.


One of the best and most accurate things I've read in awhile.

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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby grigdusher » 04 May 2016, 14:02

Thank you for the answers

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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby CALiGeR190 » 04 May 2016, 18:40

Ravensburg wrote: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.

I would much prefer if this was a standard weapon system, I see no reason why any weapon should have to be handy capped with an ability cool down unless they are known to have exceptionally long reloads or are ordnance (like torps, Launch Bays and Nova Cannons). They are supposed to be (lore wise at least) rapid firing lances. I don't see why its not feasible to just make them perform like any other lance, but fire substantially faster (like StarCannons are just rapid fire, more accurate, Macro Weapons).
This way they still fill the 'Eldar role' of burst damage but are far more enjoyable to play than having to either rely on the unreliable AI or constantly keep one eye on trigger and another on the target while simultaneously keeping your ships in constant motion and organising and aiming skills/boarding actions.

Relying on the AI also takes any skill out of the equation, its just point and shoot for massive damage, while manual targeting is very difficult without slowing down or stopping.
I'd much rather Eldar be a fleet that where the micro lies purely in movement (since they already require about as much micro as any other faction put together in just keeping them moving most of the time already).
I really hope this gets over hauled, since I strongly dislike having a primary weapon system bound to an ability.
Ravensburg wrote: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.

Why not bend around the Lore a bit (like you did with Stasis Bombs and the Micro Warp Jump) and come up with something that would fit into the lore and be (partially) feasible in design ? I'm looking at that one suggestion of adding an Eldar Grand Cruiser as an example.
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby zOh » 04 May 2016, 19:58

Ravensburg wrote: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.


Is lore actually the limiting factor to creating new ship designs (as opposed to modelers, designers etc...)? Surely it can't be, unless Games Workshop actually forbids you from creating a new ship from scratch.

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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby Fr33Th1nk3r » 04 May 2016, 22:19

I look forward to the coming races and balances. I also hope that those of us that pre-ordered from GMG get some kind of resolution. I am also looking forward to ranked play and I am content with a lot of the explanations given. Thank's Tindalos for your hard work.
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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby GONDOR » 05 May 2016, 01:24

Prince Yriel's flagship while he was Iyanden's Admiral, and then later a Corsair Prince was the Dragonship Flame of Asuryan. In the BFG TT ships it lists the Dragonship as Yriel's own, as an example of notable DS.


What about mixing in the Dark Eldar LC/C into Corsairs? Fluffwise, Corsairs blurr the line between DE and CWE, but are more towards DE than CWE, despite


Also, while it's only a minor change, there is the option in the BFG book to replace the launch bays on the Void Stalker with Torpedoes, for no extra point cost. It could be enough and easy enough to implement a VS mk2, similar to the Hellbringer? Atleast there is some variation of battleship. It would be a tough decision to choose between fighter support and the extra alpha of Torps when you go in to pulsar.

Also the Eclipse has 4 launch bays in the TT, if we're to adhere as closely to the TT as stated, why isn't this the case ingame? Why only 1?

As it stands, IMO, there should be atleast 2 variants per slot that are markedly different.

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Re: Dev Questions & Answers Session #1

Postby Sagranda » 05 May 2016, 09:29

Ravensburg wrote:
#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.


I am laughing so hard right now.
I hope that some people will now stop to spit out pure lies.

#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.


Orkz are almost a "one trick pony"-faction right now. Not what I would actually call a "not in a bad spot regarding pure balancing".
Lotsa Gunz and Zzap guns are underwhelming, while some upgrades, skills and favours are mandatory for the fleet to function effectively.

#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.


As others have said, punitive mechanics are not the things that keeps players in the game, but the actual gameplay itself. Such a system only leads to frustration, especially considered ranked mode where players should be tested at their "A game".
Players also don't get only punished for their "failures", but also according to random elements like crits, etc. So something a player has no influence over, unless he has an affair with Lady Luck

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.


As often stated before, it isn't really a hit-and-run style, but more of a hit-and-wait.
Having Pulsars on an activated ability creates a time-frame where the player more or less can't engage in a meaningful way, so it takes away choice from the player about when to engage. So I fire my pulsars and then run away until the the ability is ready again, since I can't do anything meaningful in-between.

Should you implement the idea about the increased delay between each pulse in combination with the removal of the ranged upgrade, I forebode that it will be way too easy to exploit such a weakness, since the ship will either have to get closer to the enemy (moving while firing) or has to stand still for a longer duration to get the full capacity out of the ability
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