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Hasten PvP Balance Changes to before the PvP Tournament (or change the PvP Tournament date)

This will be a 2-part post as it is quite lengthy. Yes, there's a TL;DR at the end.

For those that are unfamiliar with what I am posting about, I'd like to reference the following post: https://closers.enmasse.com/community/development-road-map

Today EME has updated the Development Roadmap and amongst it is an 'Official PvP Tournament'. As an avid PvPer this gets me very excited, especially as it will occur only after most characters have gotten their Special Agents/Special Crews, if we assume the list to be chronological in order.

I'd like to preface my post with the claim that I come with decent amount of PvP experience; these calls are neither born of complaints from a recent encounter nor the ramblings of a beginner, but legitimate concern from a potential tournament contender:

1. BALANCING

Looking at the roadmap we see the first major issue: PvP system improvements and the 83 level cap will arrive after the tournament as opposed to before. This is very bad.

Beginning with the 12th April 2018, the Korean version of Closers has received a multitude of character rebalances, skill revamps and in particular multiple consecutive PvP balance changes. I have compiled details of most of the changes that occurred since then on the following pastebin: https://pastebin.com/6pTLV5ZP

I recommend reading to truly comprehend the extent of the changes that we are yet to receive.

Prior to the April revamps and May Balances, Closers KR had seen very little in the way of PvP changes aside from nerfs to Luna and a large patch in December 2017 (the one we got with the Renovation Update). PvP was in such a contemptible state that calls were made to delete the game mode in its entirety, or at least remove it until balancing was satisfactory. This may seem like a joke (and certainly many thought it so), but it got enough recommendations and traction on the official forums that the developers chose to directly address the post in question: http://closers.nexon.com/news/notice/View.aspx?n4pageno=3&noticearticlesn=122676 (128 recs, highest rated out of all addressed suggestions).

Ever since then, the game has been receiving a number of re-works and rebalances in PvP, such as the 3rd of May Patch (http://closers.nexon.com/news/notice/View.aspx?n4pageno=2&noticearticlesn=122776) and the 18th of May Patch (http://closers.nexon.com/news/notice/View.aspx?noticearticlesn=122889). It seems that ever since the April changes, the developers have begun to take PvP seriously.

Many of these changes are crucial to correcting balance issues that are common in low, mid and high-levels of PvP. There are many small quality of life changes evident throughout, such as Seha's revamped Super Armour (SA) in many of his skills, making it easier for players to chain SA and not be caught by random hitstuns. The patch also saw a nerf to Seha's aerial usage FM3 as well as dash distance, two tools that are overwhelmingly oppressive in high level play that make the character borderline unpunishable. Sylvi changes are essential skill reworks and bug corrections (such as Wormhole no longer fizzling when performed towards a wall nor mirroring vertical directional inputs in reverse usage); Levia's Snake Signet changes make it less sluggish to use but so too does it reduce its overall duration, and the removal of her Dragon buff mean she loses empowered FM2 aggression but also no longer has to deal with followup removal on FM1, etc.

Although PvP will still be rife with its bugs, issues and unfair matchups, the patches do much to level the playing field. As it currently stands, without KR-levels of gear and the receiver removal, certain characters perform overwhelmingly better than others in particular matchups, which will certainly skew the results of the PvP tournament towards them. If we are to have a fair competition, then these balance changes must be implemented before the tournament itself, lest we have matches end before they begin at bracket seeding.

2. LEVELS AND CUBES

The importance of this is further compounded by the Cube system for EX skills, which brings us to the issue of the level 83 cap. Without level 83, most characters do not have access to their Master Cube skills, many of which are especially important to strengthen weaker characters. Take Seha's EX Shockwave skill. With Master Cube (can be attained with +tunes at level 83 cap), the skill gains +10% damage on use. Sylvi's Master Cube for EX Supercluster however, enables her to double the damage of her Electric Storm skill without having to sacrifice her iframe duration for it - an important variable that drastically influences her playstyle.

With the current patch and the receiver removal, Seha is a character that presently dominates the meta as he lost the least amount of damage out of everyone else due to his emphasis on single hits and True Damage. Sylvi's Master Cube can help even the playing field between the damage discrepancies seen in such characters. The same can be applied to Yuri - the who suffered the most from the receiver change - gaining enhanced damage from the Mobius Bullet Master Cube augment to her EX Automatic Fire, helping to make up for the current lack of damage the character can dish out without end-game KR gear.

Although not necessary, the availability of tuning for Master Cubes enables characters that are dependent on it to specifically try to slot/shoot for these skills, while those who have no need can reserve the tuning slot for other damage-increasing stats. When considering that both Wolfgang and Violet would be out by the time the tournament takes place, postponing it to after the level 83 cap (and thus Violet, Wolfgang, Luna and Soma SC/SA) could also help level the playing field.

Comments

  • 3. MONEY

    A final concern (one that is minor but a concern nonetheless) is the decision to release Cybernetics, UNION HQ and David/Irina raids shortly before the tournament. Although it would be a dream to have a normalised PvP tournament where gear is provided for contestants rather than personally attained, this is an unrealistic expectation. It is very likely that players will sign up with their personal characters and play them with the equipment they own, and the release of so many different updates will make it so that the tournament favours those with fatter wallets than those without - more than how it already does anyhow.

    Existing Crater and PG75 Gear has been given a reasonable amount of time for players to slowly farm up the money and resources required for proper chips and tuning, but with the release of new raids the customisation and upgrading of new gear will be of top priority. Players who have the capacity to spend real money in tuning and refinement items will be able to continuously reroll and updgrade their gear until ideal stats are attained. On the other hand, low-income spenders or F2P players that cannot cash out for tuning bundles will likely be forced to enter the tournament with lacklustre gear - if more time is given between the players' gear acquisition and the tournament itself, then the difference can be made up with the eventual slow progression of farming and repeated upgrade/tuning attempts, but if the tournament occurs shortly after the update patch of David/Irina, then much of it will come down exclusively to whoever has more money to spend during the few weeks leading up to it.

    This is compounded by the Cybernetics release, where players might then be forced to choose between spending their hard earned credits (or IRL cash) in fashion or gear upgrades. If more time is given for players to prepare for the tournament, then it could be possible for lower-income players to spend what is necessary to secure Cybernetics pieces early on (from 100% merge events or perhaps a potential accessory drop-rate increase), then start to focus on gear and its long term upgrades on the lead up to the tournament itself.

    At best EME should open registration and outline the rules of engagement around the patch, but have the tournament itself happen later during the year (or better yet, hasten the implementation of balance changes).

    TL;DR: Overall EME needs to apply balance changes before the tourney or it's going to be bad. Level 83 cap and content updates also favour x over y, which although passable, would be bad given the tournament date. Speed up balance changes and/or delay the tournament 'till a better time.

  • why not just make it to where gear doesn't matter. isn't that how rookie league is bud?

  • Would be great but it's not a reasonable suggestion. KR doesn't have raw cap and normalization is a far off dream. The suggestions I made are my attempt to be realistic to what EnMasse can implement (aka just change the order of patches we'll already get) rather than proposing radical changes that no other server has had yet.

  • All the issues brought up by Lino should be addressed before the PvP tournament takes place, to ensure the best experience for players.

    With the updates brought in during April/May in KR many characters who had been lacking in PvP gained some power that helped close the gap between low tier and high tier; characters like Yuri were incredibly lackluster in KR pvp and with the renovation update the same situation is now being seen in NA/EU (We have had our receivers taken out of PvP in a much earlier game state compared to KR). Holding the PvP Tournament without bringing in the recent changes from the KR server would greatly handicap a select few characters (Yuri, Seulbi/Sylvi, Harpy, J) due to the state PvP is in right now (Seha being incredibly oppressive and at the very top of the tier list).

    I'm not aware if there would be any way to remove the relevancy of gear in the tournament, having gear be a factor would be disappointing due to the handicap it gives to players who don't have the funds to get gear to 12+ and above. If there is anyway to prevent gear from being an issue that would be fantastic but it's not something I imagine would be possible. However, a possible solution would be to send contestants time-limited equipment and costumes that they would use for their matches though a problem would arise if there was no real way to regulate whether or not a player was actually using the tournament gear provided.

    Like Lino did, i'll provide my PvP statistics to show that these aren't complaints coming from a beginner or intermediate player, but in fact coming from one of the players in the higher echelon of the EU PvP community and considered the top Yuri and Harpy player in the community.

    Yuri:

    Harpy:

  • It would be just better, to adjust the stats and skills from each opponent. like in the Rookie league, since it is very unfair to people who don't have a high ench... gear. This adjustment would create the same chances for each opponent and the winner will then just picked of how good he played and not how strong his gear is. And i would recommend that there are no tournements between NA and EU, since the lag would make it just unplayable. So better make a seperated tournament EU/NA.

  • LinoCrelierLinoCrelier Member
    edited June 2018

    @Mirakujo said:
    It would be just better, to adjust the stats and skills from each opponent. like in the Rookie league, since it is very unfair to people who don't have a high ench... gear.

    I also agree that this is what they should do. The problem is whether or not they will.

    How would they manage tunes for normalised stats? Rookie League is already notorious for having obscene damage values that are worse than even KRs in terms of how damaging things are. What would be the standard "gear" to give to players in normalised PvP? Would everyone have PvP capped stats (maxed empowered damage, maxed conditionals, 100% crit, 20% movespeed, 15% attackspeed, etc)? Would they factor in weapon differences? For example, a physical character using Brutal core has to sacrifice the capacity to use A7 Set in order to use Swift Tiger/Puppets to make up for their loss. How would they normalise tuning differences in items, such as people who roll +skills in modules for certain abilities? If we get level 80 cap by the tournament, it will be necessary for some characters (Sylvi in particular) to get +EX Skill Tunes (so that she can have EX Supercluster Master Cube), and with full normalisation this won't be possible. Would they simply cap every skill (including all passives) like how they do in Rookie League, making skill point builds and distribution redundant? And then there are +Cancel tunes, which affects the PvP meta, with some characters being more reliant on it than others (and some matchups being more affected by it than others); would they make everyone have +10? Or +14? Or meet in the middle for +12?

    It's all a bit complicated given the current state of PvP, and as good a concept as normalisation is, its implementation in Rookie League just isn't very good. The damage that people have there is far too high (higher than even +14 purification gear, which says a lot), and that would completely change the tournament meta.

    Then they'd have to adjust certain things, such as have PvP capped crit damage, but not capped crit chance, possibly instead having something like 65:35 balance between regular crit and aerial conditional crit so that people still need to be in air for 100% crit rate. Then they could definitely cap conditional crit damage and regular conditional damage, but empowered damage would most likely need to be capped at tops 30% rather than the current 60% PvP cap, as that would be too high and give empowered-oriented characters too big an advantage in damage over others. Because of the difficulty of building for all stats at the moment, very few people (if any at all) have the 90% PvE empowered damage necessary for the 60% normalised PvP cap, and giving that for free just would greatly skew the game's already odd balance state.

    They would have to discuss with top PvPers and try to find a good balance for normalised stats that isn't at the Rookie League level, as that's far too overblown.

    My issue is that I don't think they'll actually bother with all this. Looking at previous KR tournaments as well, I don't believe that they were given normalised stats either, which means that the possibility of this dream scenario happening are quite low. That's why I propose simply a change in dates.

    Although...

    Possibly a better idea is that, rather than normalise stats for everyone, allow people to use their basic tuning customisations and gear sets, but provide raw, defence and HP scaling. For example, scaling all raw damage to 3.6k~, all defence to 22/23%~ and all HP to 2.05~ million (inc Endurance Training) in PvP, regardless if the user is higher or lower than this. That way this would prevent the overabundance of raw/hp tunes and make it so that overly refined Cores, Trinkets and Modules would not have any significant impact.

    Honestly this would be the best compromise.

    Whether or not I believe they would do it however, is another question entirely, which is why my OP focuses on the things that it does.

  • Most important is ofc, No cancel tunes lvl 10 cancel for both sides :)

  • Is the tournament going to be one entry and if you lose your out. Or is it based on counts of wins?

  • LinoCrelierLinoCrelier Member
    edited June 2018

    @CodeOrder said:
    Is the tournament going to be one entry and if you lose your out. Or is it based on counts of wins?

    Unknown. Aside from its placement in the roadmap, there hasn't been much revealed about it. If they want to do it proper I would expect a double-elimination style tournament, but we don't know anything as of now.

  • Arhh I see. Hope I don't see starting tournament based on wins....

  • LinoCrelierLinoCrelier Member
    edited June 2018

    I should add some other concerns that I have had for a while but did not write about.

    EME in their stream, at around 17:20 in considers having the tournament separate the Black Lambs from the Wolfdogs, and a proposition of NA vs EU is considered.

    For the first, although this could work, considering that Closers PvP is already niche enough as it is, this would thin out the potential contestant playerbase and make for two small and uninteresting tournaments instead of one large hype tournament. Because of the relatively small player pool, there aren't many players of each character that have reached high levels of play. Assuming an average of one to two "top" players per character, instead of having 15-20 potential finalists this would be pruned to only 7-10 real contenders, removing much of the excitement that comes with skilled players clashing with one another. The tournament cannot be truly competitive with separate teams.

    Then there is also matchup issues, especially in regard to pools; even with all SA/SC, some characters simply perform better than others in specific fights. If a Seha does not need to deal with Nata, Levia and Tina for instance, the only character that could be a potential threat vs him in the Black Lambs team would be Tein. By increasing the cast size, players don't then get to ride on characters that have better matchups versus their own team as opposed to others and would force all players to fight against all characters, making for a true test of experience.

    A PvPer's skill lies not on fighting only half the matchups of the cast. Limiting players to their respective teams is very unwise and would mean that those who have more matchup experience vs their own cast would perform overwhelmingly better than all-rounded players who have put time and effort into learning every class.

    The second though, is one that I find very unlikely but I should comment anyways.

    There is a basic expectation that people with significant lag will not be allowed to participate. Potentially even force players to run pingtests to the server location and any who are above x amount would be barred from entry. There is nothing more frustrating than fighting a player who lags in PvP and considering the distance between NA and EU in addition to the subpar p2p and server check system that Closers adopts, any NA vs EU experience would be highly unfun in practice.

    Even if it would allow for players of different regions to fight each other, it would come at a great cost. If EME wants the tournament to be taken seriously, then NA and EU will have to be divided, and unless they would be willing to fly high-rank players to a LAN location, then this must not come to pass.

    In general, looking at the road map, the only character that would be missing their SC is Violet and Wolfgang - and the idea of making a Wolfgang-only tournament for Wildhunters is not particularly good. If the tournament is delayed, then it would be enough time to have Violet and Wolfgang get their special agents, as well as have the presence of Luna and Soma (and potentially their Special Agents too) in the tournament, which would further improve the tournament experience.

    Still, here's hoping for an NA/EU region locked tournament without team locks, where all SA/SCs and ,above all, where character revamps and KR balance changes are in place. And here's praying for a tournament with normalised gear provided to players as timed items, as unlikely as this might be.

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