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Jeff Kaplan on "Troll Picks" and Hero Balance

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OW's Game Director gives a really good answer to the everlasting balance question.

 

Balance is one of those basically unattainable goals in all games (except for maybe SC1), and Overwatch is no exception. At any point in the game's lifetime some Hero was OP while another was considered a "troll pick" (ok, so it's Hanzo, it's always been Hanzo, it'll always be Hanzo, but you get the idea). Over on the official forums Game Director Jeff Kaplan addressed this ever persisting issue with a very well thought out response to the question "Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?"

Blizzard LogoJeff Kaplan

It's never our intention to have a hero be perceived as a "troll pick", but that will inevitably happen sometimes. Let's say that we all agreed that all of the heroes were perfectly balanced (just pretend with me), even if we touched nothing, eventually the balance would shift over time due to evolving playstyles, strategies and meta-trends. A lot of us like pro sports and tend to think of those games (soccer, football, hockey, basketball) as "timeless". But if you follow those games closely, the leagues have had to make minor tweaks to the games to keep them fun and balanced over time. It's a weird analogy, but it is very similar to hero balance in a game like Overwatch. In those pro sports, players and coaches evolved their ways of thinking about the game that required the game itself to change at times.

We will absolutely do our best to make sure all of our heroes our viable. With so many heroes, I do believe the playerbase will (at times) decide that certain heroes are out of fashion and therefore deem them as "troll picks". Sometimes this will be very valid. And sometimes it will be perception.

Both Torb and Symmetra are being looked at right now. We want to try to improve them in ways that makes them more fun to play, more enjoyable to have on your team and try to make sure they are not infuriating to play against.

We wrestle with the issue that players get very upset at us when they perceive "the meta is stale" and certain heroes are not viable. Yet it's also very disruptive to the playerbase for us to make changes. It's a bit of a Catch-22 but we do our best to responsibly look at all heroes all the time and make sure nothing is terribly unbalanced or worse, un-fun.

 

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So they say "We will try to do this and that about troll picks" everytime, everywhere and it's their answer to any question.

But will this happen? never in my opinion. Dota2 couldn't do it, LoL couldn't do it, even Blizzard couldn't do it in heroes of the storm (Looking at you Murky)

Instead of balancing heroes (which is impossible) they should try to balance the matchmaking, Trolls with Trolls. You wanna pick a hero regardless of the team comp? and you don't even want to communicate? Then you should be at the Troll League playing with your troll friends, go there pick hanzo + bastion + symmetra + torb on attack!! No one cares.

When you see someone pick Hanzo or Bastion or even Torb on attack in plat! and no matter what, the guy doesn't even talk or chat and never changes accordingly, that's where the problem starts. You try to convince your teammates to change heroes but you end up being the A-Hole who's flaming the team and should stfu and just accept the defeat.

 

Edited by mnime

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7 hours ago, mnime said:

So they say "We will try to do this and that about troll picks" everytime, everywhere and it's their answer to any question.

But will this happen? never in my opinion. Dota2 couldn't do it, LoL couldn't do it, even Blizzard couldn't do it in heroes of the storm (Looking at you Murky)

Instead of balancing heroes (which is impossible) they should try to balance the matchmaking, Trolls with Trolls. You wanna pick a hero regardless of the team comp? and you don't even want to communicate? Then you should be at the Troll League playing with your troll friends, go there pick hanzo + bastion + symmetra + torb on attack!! No one cares.

When you see someone pick Hanzo or Bastion or even Torb on attack in plat! and no matter what, the guy doesn't even talk or chat and never changes accordingly, that's where the problem starts. You try to convince your teammates to change heroes but you end up being the A-Hole who's flaming the team and should stfu and just accept the defeat.

Problem is, some picks that are considering trolling can be absolutely superb. It will always depend on the player, as well as the enemy team. I have more problem with people troll picking things such as Winston or Roadhog, for example. When playing KoTH, players will refuse to change from Winston, despite there being a Reaper, Zenyatta, Mei, McCree. 

I don't mind what hero the person picks, as long as it fits the comp and isn't countered hard. I've won games at high Diamond comfortably with a Bastion sitting on the payload, simply because the enemy team won't swap. At the same time, I've lost games miserably with a perfect team setup, if the team was in a vacuum. Instead, my team refuse to swap heroes because "the game is already over, who cares" and our tanks get farmed by Reaper and a Zenyatta. 

I never bother arguing if someone first picks a Torb anymore because I have been proven wrong too many times. I argue when they refuse to swap if it doesn't work.

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11 hours ago, mnime said:

Instead of balancing heroes (which is impossible) they should try to balance the matchmaking, Trolls with Trolls. You wanna pick a hero regardless of the team comp? and you don't even want to communicate? Then you should be at the Troll League playing with your troll friends, go there pick hanzo + bastion + symmetra + torb on attack!! No one cares.

The problem with this is that in OW you can't "balance matchmaking" in the sense that you're talking of.  You pick your hero after the matchmaking is done, and also even if you don't agree with it that player might not be picking a "troll pick" in their mind.  To them the hero might be completely viable.  I also don't think that in OW there are any straight up "troll picks".  I have seen way too many people do amazing things with heroes that I didn't think they could do.

3 hours ago, Blainie said:

Problem is, some picks that are considering trolling can be absolutely superb. It will always depend on the player, as well as the enemy team. I have more problem with people troll picking things such as Winston or Roadhog, for example. When playing KoTH, players will refuse to change from Winston, despite there being a Reaper, Zenyatta, Mei, McCree. 

I don't mind what hero the person picks, as long as it fits the comp and isn't countered hard. I've won games at high Diamond comfortably with a Bastion sitting on the payload, simply because the enemy team won't swap. At the same time, I've lost games miserably with a perfect team setup, if the team was in a vacuum. Instead, my team refuse to swap heroes because "the game is already over, who cares" and our tanks get farmed by Reaper and a Zenyatta. 

I never bother arguing if someone first picks a Torb anymore because I have been proven wrong too many times. I argue when they refuse to swap if it doesn't work.

^ This is the truth of it!  It always comes down to player and team comp.  Symmetra and Torbjorn can both do amazing on attack when they are trying to back enemy teams off of a point or escorting the payload.  Sure they aren't typical for that use, but in the right hands from a strategic player.....they are AMAZING.  I personally LOVE Hanzo, and I use him on attack frequently.  He's one of my main heroes and you would be surprised what I can do with him.  However, if my team comp isn't solid enough to sustain while I do my thing then I don't pick him.  Point being: it's all situational.  People have to be fluid which means changing heroes when they aren't working, but also NOT jumping on someone's case immediately because they don't agree with the pick at match start.

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5 hours ago, Blainie said:

I've won games at high Diamond comfortably with a Bastion sitting on the payload, simply because the enemy team won't swap. At the same time, I've lost games miserably with a perfect team setup, if the team was in a vacuum. Instead, my team refuse to swap heroes because "the game is already over, who cares" and our tanks get farmed by Reaper and a Zenyatta. 

When the comp is not working, change it! that's what makes a team great. But if they don't communicate, you're like "OMG WHY GOD! WHY", maybe they are not troll picking, maybe there isn't a thing called "Troll Pick", but as you said when someone picks Winston when they have reaper and he dies too many times and he refuses to change hero, that's exactly trolling.

 

1 hour ago, ghostdeini said:

However, if my team comp isn't solid enough to sustain while I do my thing then I don't pick him.  Point being: it's all situational.  People have to be fluid which means changing heroes when they aren't working

Now that's true, my main point is when it's not working, change it! I always criticize those who don't communicate at all. 

Winston might work vs a reaper, who knows? maybe the reaper is bad, but when it doesn't, you should change! If you don't listen to your teammates and keep dying, you're trolling.

 

Now I've seen this porblem in all the competitive games that blizzard made so far, people with no basic game knowledge reach high ranks, like in heroes of the storm, ranked games in diamond 1!! I cannot remember how many times I tried to convince someone they should help the objective! Why should someone who don't know the basics reach this level of play? Someone who doesn't change Winston vs a Reaper who's raping him should stay in bronze and keeping this guy in the bronze until he learns things is the matchmaking system's job.

The problem with the matchmaking system is that very few things affect the mmr, we should have a button to report ppl for not cooperating, and many other reports that I see in league of legends but not here, atleast in LoL when you reach diamond you see people who know what they are doing, and this is exactly why, unskilled players lose mmr. This should be the case in any game. But this 50% win rate rule blizzard created is screwing everything, if you're unskilled then you shouldn't have a 50% win rate!

 

Edited by mnime

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5 hours ago, mnime said:

we should have a button to report ppl for not cooperating

Things like this are always interesting to me because I'd love to have them, but they are always open to abuse. I imagine with high enough thresholds (so that a small number of reports can't ruin someone's game), it could work nicely to have different styles and reasons for reporting.

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5 hours ago, Blainie said:

Things like this are always interesting to me because I'd love to have them, but they are always open to abuse. I imagine with high enough thresholds (so that a small number of reports can't ruin someone's game), it could work nicely to have different styles and reasons for reporting.

Blizzard has like over 4000 employees, they are making billions of dollars every year, they should dedicate a full time team to overcome this. Kinda like what riot games did, there might be ppl who abuse this or get carried away, but there are still Game Masters who check the reports and decide what to do.

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On 10/23/2016 at 10:59 AM, mnime said:

Blizzard has like over 4000 employees, they are making billions of dollars every year, they should dedicate a full time team to overcome this. Kinda like what riot games did, there might be ppl who abuse this or get carried away, but there are still Game Masters who check the reports and decide what to do.

Ah, but there's always that big defining factor here! Money spent vs. money gained. Let's be honest, it's just not worth it for them.

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