An Update to Balancing in MCOC!
MCOC Team Posts: 412Administrator∙Moderator ›
edited April 2022 in General Discussion
In the coming months, we are going to be introducing a new Champion Rating system to help better visualize the strengths and weaknesses of any given Champion, giving you all a better understanding of the Champion at a glance.
Coinciding with this new rating system, we are creating a new rebalancing process for that will apply to all new Champions coming to The Contest.
This new balancing cadence means that reworks for older Champions will slow somewhat but will still occur!
These new balancing initiatives will be spearheaded by an expanded Champion Balancing team here at Kabam. The newest recruit to the team is a beloved community member who will make themselves known when they feel the time is right!
If you want to learn all of the details, read the expanded version below!
Let's talk about balancing and a new Ability Rating System coming soon to MCOC. Ready? Let's go!Today we would like to talk with you about the next chapter of balancing in Marvel Contest of Champions and a brand new initiative we are undertaking to help new and old players better understand the capabilities and kits of Champions.
So far, since starting our rebalance initiative, we have updated 32 of your favourite Champions to varying degrees. Our initial implementation of balancing in The Contest was new territory for the Champions team and the community alike. We believe that balancing as a whole has been great for the health of the game as we have taken the opportunity to go back to review and refresh Champions that may have performed differently than we intended or the Community expected.
When we set out to create a Champion, we outline goals for the Champion that we want to hit, usually aspects of the Champion’s core identity that we want to highlight, and gameplay opportunities that we feel would be fun and useful in our different game modes. Our intention with balancing is always to go in and have a second look to make sure that we are adhering to the initial goals we set out when building the character from the ground up.
So, let's talk about the future of Balancing and our ever-evolving initiative to educate Summoners about the nuances of The Contest and visualize that information in-game.
Enter: MCOC’s Brand New Ability Rating System!One huge piece of feedback we have received from a wide range of Summoners is that currently, it's hard to know what is and what is not intended when it comes to Champion Balance. This can cause confusion amongst the player base when Champions behave in new or peculiar ways.
Starting in March, we will be adding a brand new 5-Point Ability Rating System to all Champions in the game.
What does it look like?We will be rating Champions on a few different aspects of their abilities and general strengths and weaknesses.
While we are still hammering down the details, we are currently looking to implement ratings for Damage Output, Survivability, Utility, and Ease of Use.
For example, Cull Obsidian is a great Champion with high damage output, but not as much utility, so he would have a 5/5 in Damage, but closer to a 1 or 2 for Utility. Magik, on the other hand, is a Champion with high utility and ease of use, but a lower damage rating.
These are still a work in progress but should give a general idea of what you can expect.
Further, we are launching a brand new rebalancing initiative for new Champions, here is how it's going to work:Champion Balancing will work in a six-month cadence from the release of a new Champion. One-third of that time will consist of that Champion being in the hands of experienced players and will include back and forth feedback between the community and the development team.
This change to balancing also means that over time, we will be bolstering and expanding our beta program to allow more Summoners the opportunity to interact with new Champions updates as much as possible.
After release, a Champion's live data will be reviewed for three months (this is not a new addition, but has only been done behind the scenes for the most part). After that period, changes will be made off of the collected data and put on the beta server for further testing and feedback collection.
Changes will live on the beta server for two months where we will be collecting player feedback at this time. The updated Champion will then be released to the live game.
Let’s use the first Champion releasing in March as an example.
- Release: March 17
- Data Collection: March - Mid-June
- Changes live on Beta Server: June - Mid-August
- Changes Released to Public: Late August
We believe that this process is an improvement because it is more inclusive of the community than we have been in the past, and take away the mystery or “will they, won’t they?” of Champion's balance changes.
When we conducted tuning changes in the past, the majority of negative feedback from the community was due to the fact that these tuning changes were conducted in a vacuum. Players had a hard time understanding what was overpowered and underpowered and had no input into what was changing.
Now, with the rating system, players will be able to better judge if a Champion is in the right place, and be able to give feedback along the way while updates are being made.
The first Champions to release with this new System and be subject to the new rebalance cadence will be the 2 new Champions set to release in March
What would the Balance Changes look like?Balance Changes should be somewhat familiar to the majority of Players at this time since we’ve done more than a few of them by now.
For examples of tune-ups, you can take a look at Mole Man or Terrax, while a tune-down would be more akin to Cull Obsidian or Namor.
While Cull Obsidian or Namor’s changes were initially seen as majorly negative, Summoners soon found that the changes were not major, and continue to use those Champions to this day.
We also want to re-emphasize that any changes will be made with much more visibility this time, and will be incorporating player feedback during the process, instead of after.
What does this mean for the current balance program you ask? Good question!Reworks are not going anywhere. However, with the new balancing initiative outlined above, there may not be 2 major or medium reworks a month moving forward.
If a Champion releases and we are content with where they have landed as far as power and design goals, the team will then use that extra development time to work on other balancing initiatives like new reworks!
We don't have any major reworks lined up for February but you can look forward to a value update for Psycho-Man to go live in March.
In April, we’ll be moving back to our 2 updates per month, but will not guarantee what kind of updates they will be (overhaul, moderate, or value only). We’re also spending some time to give some more love to Champion animation updates, so look forward to animation and ability updates coming for Gamora, Storm, and Deadpool (X-Force)!
Why is Balancing Important?In the past, we’ve tried different ways to address balance in The Contest, but have worked to improve our approach based on response or other factors.
Balancing new Champions is important for the health of The Contest, and also allows our Designers to continue to innovate and try new and interesting mechanics with more confidence, knowing that if something doesn’t come out the way we had intended, we can go back to address that.
Many of the most popular Champions in The Contest are those Champs where we try different approaches to their abilities, but without the safety net of being able to take a second look, we often find ourselves being more conservative in our approach. We want players to be excited about the possibilities every new Champion presents, and a new Balance system gives us the opportunity to be more ambitious with new designs, or tune-up Champions that maybe were not ambitious enough!
To complement this renewed commitment to Balance in The Contest, we have some Balance team updates to share with you:We have recently expanded our Balance Design team on Contest and brought in a beloved member of the community who possesses a deep knowledge and understanding of the game to assist Kabam John with the monumental task of keeping the pain trains running on time in the Battlerealm.
This new team member has already had a hand in helping to plan this new rating system, as well as future Alliance War Tactic updates and the next iteration of Carina’s Challenges.
We won't reveal who that new team member is yet but will let them do it themselves when they feel the time is right!
The Balance design team is set to continue to expand with the hopes that we can have a closer ear and eye on all of the content in the Battlerealm and be able to more quickly and efficiently provide fun and engaging content to all of our amazing Summoners.
That's all we have for you today Summoners, but moving forward, communication and feedback are going to be paramount! So, sound off in the comments down below how you feel about everything we’ve talked about today. What do you like or dislike about rebalances to new Champions? While we may not be able to take action on something right away but want to take your thoughts into consideration as we make decisions moving forward.
Until next time!
Post edited by Kabam Miike on
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glad to see Psycho-Man get a value update, and am looking forwards to the new rating system.
The timeframe is a bit weird since some champs like 2099 were initially written off and then a couple months later were found to be far better than considered, but it’s a major positive overall I believe.
I’m glad new champs are going through a more intensive balance process, I think a lot of early 2021 champs missed the mark due to holding back, so hopefully that fixes that. Although, like the previous program, it might make people more hesitant to invest in a champ if they’re getting changed 6 months later
As for the ability ratings, I’m really not sure about that. If a champion is intended to be mid tier, firstly why?, but the community might just immediately disregard them. But also, it seems very difficult to quantify some of these metrics. I mean, the example we have here is Herc, who apparently has a 2 in utility. If a champ that can beat almost every Act 6 boss and cheese content with immortality till the cows come home, I would say his utility is top notch
Time will tell how this pans out, I’m cautiously optimistic, but I was optimistic about the previous new champ rebalancing program and that didn’t…exactly…work out. Still, hoping for the best
There are so many useless champions in the game, it feels like they will never be addressed.
And how demotivating is it gonna be when you open a 6* Crystal and you see whatever Kabam’s version of Meme Tier rating shows up.
And 2/2.5 out of 5 for Hercules utility? He goes immortal and cheeses everything. Seatin used to mention how much flak he’d get from some of his tier ratings, Kabam need to be ready for the onslaught.
What will the policy be regarding preview bundles that you sell, when there will clearly be a risk of you down-tuning the champ?
For example, March's champion drops, the champion preview looks amazing, and he/she seems amazing as a boss in EQ. You release his crystal for sale on Thursday, and I buy 10 of them. What assurances will you give to the community that you will compensate them if you need that champ later?
Rank down tickets alone don't begin to cut it, as people are likely spending real money on them.
Will you commit to refunding the units spent? Or will you commit to not selling a new champ until after all balancing has taken place?
Here is my feedback about the potential flaws with the new champion rating system.
While the idea of champion buff visibility and more communication is always welcome. I have a concern about the champion rating system that likely will be implemented in game.
Rating systems have always been highly subjective and don’t always reflect the true potential of a champ. This is why most tier lists tend to have a higher disagree to agree ratio.
Lets use your current example. “While we are still hammering down the details, we are currently looking to implement ratings for Damage Output, Survivability, Utility, and Ease of Use.
For example, Hercules is a great Champion with high damage output, but not as much utility, so he would have a 5/5 in Damage, but closer to a 2 or 2.5 for Utility. Magik, on the other hand, is a Champion with high utility and ease of use, but a lower damage rating.”
Here you compare Hercules’ utility to Magik’s. This comparison seems awful to make because power control and immortality are two very different pieces of utility. As for Hercules’ rating alone, I’d argue that his immortality is one of the best utilities in the game. Giving him a 4-5 in utility. And that’s very subjective too. Their isn’t a way to objectively tier every champion in the game and a rating system would be a false way to disprove that.
The other reason an in game rating system is flawed is it tell summoners that some champs aren’t worth ranking through a false objective rating system. This tier list won’t give summoners the full picture of every beautiful interaction in this immensely complex game.
It is great to hear and see that the team is trying to be more open with the balancing system. And while the addition of this system will never have an overwhelmingly negative impact on the game it feels like a waste of time compared to other projects that could be worked on. Welcome KabamMystery (since you don’t have a proper name yet). New animations and the tease of Carina Challenges are both nice surprises.
I will say this: I never said I wanted multiple buffs per month, or even total reworks. I only want characters who are essentially irrelevant to get buffed consistently and have never liked being made to feel like none of us can figure out which kits are really struggling and could use some help
Just play Superior Iron Man. Just play him. You will see that the DPS is just abysmal.
I just wanted a buff to make the DPS playable, not an entire rework. It’s really frustrating that we have STILL LONGER for this stuff to happen
Its immortality coupled with unblockable make him deadly
resistance to poison and bleed is great with suicide masteries...
I would give him a 3,5 / 5 at least
Concerning Carina's Challenges, please no more labyrinth or other challenges where the only skill needed is a ton of revive or units !
I am not sure how the Ability Ratings will help when it comes time for you to nerf a champ. You could give them a "5" for damage, and then the community would expect "Oh great, this massive damage is expected". But then perhaps it's a Cull situation and you decide that damage is still too much, and BAM, champion is getting changed from what was bought.
Like.. if I read the comments on some headphones on Amazon.. and it was like 5/5 these have great sound. And then the reviews were all really positive, so I bought it... and then 6 months later you came and took what I bought away, and gave me a new model that sounds like.. kind of ok, but not amazing like what was reviewed...
You could have this entire feedback loop BEFORE releasing the champions live at all... each month have beta releases instead of live releases. Let people play, feedback, etc... change them to the final version and then release them to the contest after the feedback cycle is complete and they are in their final form. It would also give a lot of time for people to become "hyped" about the Champions that are upcoming for release in the contest... like.. "Oh man, I can't wait till Mystique gets released in 3 months, she looks sick from her Beta!".
But, perhaps you prefer to hoodwink people into paying for something with no guarantees they will get what they paid for...
The utility rating is definitely going to be a little bit of a judgement call, but the rest of our Metrics are going to be based on Data, not opinions.
Abomination, Captain America, Captain America WW2, Ant Man, Hulk, Rhino, Sentry, Spider-Man, Agent Venom, Black Widow, Daredevil, Elektra, Korg, Moon Knight, Punisher, Winter Soldier, Beast, Cyclops Blue, Cyclops Red, Deadpool X Force, Nightcrawler, Storm, Iron Patriot (still trash for me), Green Goblin, Iron Man, Iron Patriot, Psycho Man (confirmed value buff), Red Skull, Rocket, Yondu, Black Bolt, Captain Marvel, Drax, Gamora (still trash for me), Groot, Heimdall, Ms Marvell, Nova (still trash for me), Phoenix, Ronan, Spider-Man Symbiote, Superior Iron Man, Thor, Dr Strange, Iron Fist, Immortal Iron Fist, Juggernaut, Loki, Mordo, Jane Foster, Unstoppable Colossus
The only comment I have is this: "While Cull Obsidian or Namor’s changes were initially seen as majorly negative, Summoners soon found that the changes were not major, and continue to use those Champions to this day."
Namor's nerf neutered him. He went from being one the top choices for many, many fights but after his nerf, he's been benched to fights that specifically require his max sig. Additionally, the nerf to his regen was unneeded and made it pretty much useless.