Why PvP is broken

PvP is broken right now. I hope it can be fixed, but I think it has a long way to go.

I think there are three basic reasons for this:

1. Matchmaking
2. Character Balance
3. Epics and Runes

Matchmaking
This is the easiest one to fix, I think. Season three definitely had a rough start, however. First, I get an e-mail saying I’m in the Champion bracket, but I start in Gladiator. Next, I get an e-mail saying that I was supposed to start in Gladiator, but it seems that everyone in my bracket has an average team power of 22,000 or higher – and I’m seeing a few as high as 30,000. MY characters only average about 17,500. Now, I know that the character’s power is only an approximation of the strength and that many factors (like speed or abilities) affect who will win. But I also know from experience I can’t take these teams. I have a difficult time believing we’re both starting where we’re supposed to (although my mail promised that it was true).

Now to some extent, this one self corrects towards the end of the season. After all, the more powerful characters will rise to higher brackets, leaving me in a bracket with characters more my level, right? But the matchmaking process needs to take not just where players finished last time, but also their team power… I’m hoping this one gets better fast. ‘til then I’ll be doing a lot of refreshes.

Character Balance
This one is MUCH harder to fix. There are some broken characters out there. With 70 characters at the moment, there are about 917,000 different combinations for your team. So why do I see so few variations? The character balance is way off.
One would expect that all other things being equal (same number of epics, level of runes, etc.) that the defense and offense should split wins and losses. In practice that’s NOT true. Take a team of goblin defenders for example. Now when a goblin team gets going their extra attacks and crits are a thing to behold. But as an attacker, I LOVE to see a team of goblin defenders. Torchy, Bovus, Abigail, Nitpick will destroy a goblin team, for example. But of course, I don’t see many Goblins in PvP…

Instead I see the following characters:
  • Shade: Not only are his attacks powerful, he’s also fast. Add to that his shroud ability which prevents status effects and reduces damage for any dark characters? OMG. I used to try to take him out with a zen/viperia combo (since she could remove shroud), but not since Zen got nerfed.
  • Masuta Kira: He’s fast too, and his death blossom is incredibly strong. If his power is much over 5200 he just one-shots my whole team. Run away!
  • Kai: He just destroys any AOE attacks, he can’t be silenced, and again he’s fast. That’s too good. There aren’t any cleanse abilities that can remove drenched (at least not first round for the attackers), so pretty much just avoid most of your high-powered caster offense – you have to try and poke them to death with single shot attacks. Run faster!

Speed kills, which is one reason these guys are so good. Besides these three, I see lots of Pontifex/Kozar/Shadowblade (especially with shade), Black Diamond/Leonidus (with Masuta), Grog-nog (slowing opponents is also killer), and Furnace. There are a smattering of other characters, but you get the picture.

The point is this: players will find and abuse anything that works (it’s human nature). So, any unbalanced team gets lots of play. The programmers should be running reports on the attackers and defenders that are being used and watching for trends.

They should actually be going farther than that – they should be running simulations with various teams, especially before they make any balance changes. Correcting the balance will likely take some time – but there shouldn’t be any defensive teams for which there isn’t a good counter-team. Every defender needs some kind of weakness…
because if the attackers can’t win, it’s just not much fun.

Epics and Runes
This one is perhaps the most problematic, because there may be less motivation to fix this. To illustrate my point, here are two images of a defender I fought:

Here it can be seen that they have not beaten a single boss island.
2h2ivfqf7jwt.jpg

And here it can be seen that they have at least six characters with epics (and I have none - I need to try and tackle boss island again).
k3k4et1hj69m.png

Almost every team I run in to in PvP has at least one if not two, three or four epics equipped. While some of these players certainly earned their epics, I didn’t have to look very far to find one who appears to have bought theirs. And while I don’t know what the percentage of players who buy vs. earn is, it seems to me that Dungeon Boss is quickly becoming a “pay to play” type of game, since teams without epics are not nearly as competitive. The same is likely somewhat true for runes, but I don’t have a good way to measure that.

I’m a professional programmer, so I appreciate the need to monetize the game. But my personal opinion is that you should be able to buy things like skins, but not weapons or runes, etc. – nothing that affects combat. Those things should be earned through game play. The reason why is that casual players (who don’t spend money) won’t be able to compete very easily against those who do – and the game will quickly become no fun for them. If you lose your casual player base, then your game population starts to dry up, and that’s no fun for anybody – plus you will never have a chance to convert a casual player into a paying player if they leave.

Food for thought
I realize this is likely a TLDR post, but I hope these things can be addressed, because if they can’t I suspect a lot of players (myself included) will begin investing their playing time in games that are more balanced (and fun).

This may just be my opinion, but I invite lots of comments from the community – I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way.

SebulbaChip
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Comments

  • Hi. Long useful post

    1) matchmaking. Why make a match based on your league position? Players with heavy hitting teams can just do nothing for a week, and then meet teams that are way too easy to kill, and, vice versa, way too difficult for you to take on. Basically, being in a league does not equate to equality of teams. We've seen people deliberately falling in leagues at the start in order to climb easily later. It has to be based on team power not league position. They could use last power of last attack

    2) Character Balance - they should use cooldowns. If your defence wins (or loses - so that your weak defence isn't mauled) then those warriors can't fight for 24hrs. You you have to set multiple defence teams. Once all are attacked you can't be attacked anymore. Ditto attacks. Win an attack, and those warriors are on cooldown. Given there will now be every combo of possible defence teams you still have a chance of winning with a new combo of attackers. You then don't need to worry so much about OP heroes or rebalancing etc. It brings ALL heroes into PvP

    3) epics and runes - I think cooldowns and team power matching solves this (although team power algorithm needs to understand bait teams). Eventually their jabber, balog, Abigal, Rocky defence shows up and you can beat it.
  • Regarding "use the power of their last attack", players would somehow learn to finish their season with a loss to improve their next season. I think maybe the average of their top 1/4 of their characters might work better.

    Regarding "multiple defense teams" that's kind of like a reverse tower run, I think. That would completely rewrite PvP. It does make me wonder if my tower's defenders are generated from the defenses of other players, however.

    I also saw another post where someone suggested runes downscale based on the brackets. Legendary runes would only give a partial benefit unless you were in the legendary bracket, for example.
  • Would you mind sharing your level, league and tier? As individuals we have pretty narrow views of the game, so finding out what it's like for players at other levels and in different brackets is very interesting. I'm 69 in warlord 2, and while my general experience is similar and I feel the same way about PvP, the specifics are a bit different.
    PvP is broken right now. I hope it can be fixed, but I think it has a long way to go.

    I think there are three basic reasons for this:

    1. Matchmaking
    2. Character Balance
    3. Epics and Runes

    Matchmaking
    This is the easiest one to fix, I think.

    It sure seems like this should be an easy one to fix, but unfortunately it hasn't been. This makes me think they're trying to make matchmaking a lot more complicated than it needs to be. This is one place where giving the community more information could be really helpful. If we knew most of the details about how matchmaking was intended to work we could help spot the problems with the areas that aren't working quite right more easily.

    Character Balance

    One would expect that all other things being equal (same number of epics, level of runes, etc.) that the defense and offense should split wins and losses. In practice that’s NOT true.
    I actually don't agree with this premise. I think the attacker has a huge advantage, being able to field a lineup tailor made for the defense. In my experience no defense is unbeatable and think it's probably something like 80+% in favor of the offense if other things are equal. Once again, my view is pretty limited so I don't know what other people are seeing but on offense I'm usually at a 90+% win rate and my defense is usually around 25-30%. Granted I'm one of those jerks with full epics on some key heroes and decent runes so my view may be skewed.

    I'd love to know what kind of balance the devs are actually trying for with offense/defense win rates.


  • Would you mind sharing your level, league and tier?

    I'm level 70 Champion III.
    In my experience no defense is unbeatable and think it's probably something like 80+% in favor of the offense if other things are equal.

    I'd agree that it's actually higher and 80% seems like reasonable target (it would be nice to know what the dev's goal is). BUT, in practice I am finding a majority of the defenses I encounter are likely unbeatable for me.
  • Would you mind sharing your level, league and tier?

    I'm level 70 Champion III.
    In my experience no defense is unbeatable and think it's probably something like 80+% in favor of the offense if other things are equal.

    I'd agree that it's actually higher and 80% seems like reasonable target (it would be nice to know what the dev's goal is). BUT, in practice I am finding a majority of the defenses I encounter are likely unbeatable for me.


    You're encountering the central problem of PvP. If you use virtually any team, equally runed defenses will destroy you. But if you use the current top team setup, equally runed defenses have no chance at all. There really isn't much middle ground, which totally sucks for those of us who want to try to experiment and innovate.

    This has been the pattern for the last few new heros. Right now, Koros/emily/Leo/furnace will win you 90%+ of your attacks. Before that, zen/kozar did the same. Before that, kai combos did the same. If you're having trouble, switch to the flavor of the month team and start winning.

    They are paying lip service to rebalancing, but we haven't seen much yet.
  • Would you mind sharing your level, league and tier?

    I'm level 70 Champion III.
    In my experience no defense is unbeatable and think it's probably something like 80+% in favor of the offense if other things are equal.

    I'd agree that it's actually higher and 80% seems like reasonable target (it would be nice to know what the dev's goal is). BUT, in practice I am finding a majority of the defenses I encounter are likely unbeatable for me.


    You're encountering the central problem of PvP. If you use virtually any team, equally runed defenses will destroy you. But if you use the current top team setup, equally runed defenses have no chance at all. There really isn't much middle ground, which totally sucks for those of us who want to try to experiment and innovate.

    This has been the pattern for the last few new heros. Right now, Koros/emily/Leo/furnace will win you 90%+ of your attacks. Before that, zen/kozar did the same. Before that, kai combos did the same. If you're having trouble, switch to the flavor of the month team and start winning.

    They are paying lip service to rebalancing, but we haven't seen much yet.

    The meta actually moved pretty fast on this one. Defenses are already countering Koros Emily Leo Furnace rapidly. That line up does NOT beat the reptile defenses popping up. Nor does it beat consistently many of the MK Shade Koros Emily line ups happening (MK kills Koros/Shade kills Leo rezzes your koros/Enemy koros kills your emily and koros.

    the meta is actually quite diverse at the top. It just requires a deep very well runed roster.
  • Would you mind sharing your level, league and tier?

    I'm level 70 Champion III.
    In my experience no defense is unbeatable and think it's probably something like 80+% in favor of the offense if other things are equal.

    I'd agree that it's actually higher and 80% seems like reasonable target (it would be nice to know what the dev's goal is). BUT, in practice I am finding a majority of the defenses I encounter are likely unbeatable for me.


    You're encountering the central problem of PvP. If you use virtually any team, equally runed defenses will destroy you. But if you use the current top team setup, equally runed defenses have no chance at all. There really isn't much middle ground, which totally sucks for those of us who want to try to experiment and innovate.

    This has been the pattern for the last few new heros. Right now, Koros/emily/Leo/furnace will win you 90%+ of your attacks. Before that, zen/kozar did the same. Before that, kai combos did the same. If you're having trouble, switch to the flavor of the month team and start winning.

    They are paying lip service to rebalancing, but we haven't seen much yet.

    The meta actually moved pretty fast on this one. Defenses are already countering Koros Emily Leo Furnace rapidly. That line up does NOT beat the reptile defenses popping up. Nor does it beat consistently many of the MK Shade Koros Emily line ups happening (MK kills Koros/Shade kills Leo rezzes your koros/Enemy koros kills your emily and koros.

    the meta is actually quite diverse at the top. It just requires a deep very well runed roster.


    Agreed, reptiles are tough. But you can just pick other opponents most of the time. I haven't found MK/shade to be a problem. Putting 2x champion runes in the green slots, or one big life rune instead, keeps him alive vs most MKs. Takes a superior runed MK getting double crits to kill him. Certainly not perfect, but lets you easily get through the hordes of greater runed MK teams.
  • MattCauthronMattCauthron Member
    edited February 2017
    @Skip_Holmes

    Well it doesn't even matter if your Koros dies. All that matters is that their shade easily one shots your leo and then their koros will kill your emily and koros. I think I'm at a 50% (Maybe less than that) win rate today sitting at 22nd. All the defenses I see are absolutely absurd and they are all built to defeat Koros Emily Leo. I'm honestly really worried about even being able to complete my crown quests at this point.
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