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:
2. Character Balance
3. Epics and Runes
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.
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.
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).
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.