Gearbox needs skilled/experienced playtesters?

The best way to sort out balance and unit stat issues would be for Gearbox to solicit advice from people with the most experience playing competitive HW/HW2 and labbing strats/builds. Get their suggestions before making changes, and have them playtest fixes before release. That way you can zap obvious, avoidable problems (e.g., bc effective range discrepancy) before they mar the game.

The sharpest, most analytical HW2 vets I know played for years on GameSpy (may it rest in peace.) Specifically, I’d recommend Hideki, Cloaked, Madman, AOHNH, BlackBaps, and P5ynergy as top shelf smarties who could provide expert advice. Not coincidentally, most of them showed well in the few tournaments that have been held so far:

There are some interesting unit/balance debates in the forum, but I feel great sympathy for any dev trying to read through them all to separate the wheat from the chaff. Vastly more efficient to identify players with expertise and get their direct input.

@Hideki_jp @Cloaked @maddie @AOHNH @danielhall @Zanarkandff


added ‘?’ to avoid title being misinterpreted as an announcement. Hope that’s okay.

Until or unless they are unable to fix the many control issues with the various ships of HW1 and HW2 races I think it is a little premature to make sweeping balance changes. While this does sound like an excellent idea you need to make sure you identify which game they are expert in because it isn’t apparent, without reading through all the various threads, and it IS important the distinction be made.


Here’s a quick list of bugs that made it from HW2 into HWR unnoticed (not going in any detail on them in here to keep the abuse down):

Hiig shipyard cloak, inhibitor hyper, capturer track, and heal bug.

I am forgetting anything?

Also, please fix the missile corvettes, they’re being abused in every match that doesn’t include HW1 gravity wells…

And yes, they are game breaking right now.

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Ya, the Vaygr missile corvette double damage bug has been the winning strategy in the last three tournaments.

Just to state it again: 12 missile corvettes currently kill 12 pulsar corvettes with only 3 losses. In hw2 this was an even fight.

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Until or unless they are unable to fix the many control issues with the
various ships of HW1 and HW2 races I think it is a little premature to make sweeping balance changes.

The problem is that they have made, and continue to make, sweeping changes without understanding the effects because they don’t have experienced players involved. The lack of experience also means they won’t know how to distinguish useful/useless criticism in the forum. Lots of things sound theoretically plausible that turn out to be disastrously bad in a real game with skilled players.


The ‘experienced’ players are only ‘experts’ in the framework of HW1 race vs HW1 race, or HW2 race vs HW2 race.

As an example most of the HW1 players are howling for the support frigate healing beam because thats what they are used to. However what they have never experienced is playing a race that has that huge advantage against a race that does not. However not a single one of them, to my knowledge has even considered that fact. How much of an expert can you be when something, in your own words, “sound theoretically plausible” but that can very much turn out to be disastrously bad in a real game with skilled players. All I know for a fact is that if something can be abused, it will be cough vaygr assault kamikaze cough

HW1 vs HW2 is new territory for everyone, devs and so called experts alike. In some ways the experts preference of game could negatively bias their feedback so it’s a good thing that they listen to everyone and not just the experts.

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The ‘experienced’ players are only ‘experts’ in the framework of HW1 race vs HW1 race, or HW2 race vs HW2 race.

Please note all the HWR tourney results. The people demonstrating mastery of the new game are pretty much just who I expected.

Expertise is something more than possession of a static body of knowledge. Skilled players tend to become skilled because they take an experimental, systematic approach to the game. The folks mentioned above play hw2 (and now hwr) like laboratory scientists. They are better (understatement) than most ppl at observing and thinking through the game’s practical nuances. If I were remaking a game, I would take advantage of their knowledge and analytical talent.


Well yea, I thought I made it clear (in the bit you didn’t quote, of course) that it’s good they are listening to feedback from everyone.

Indeed that list consists of top tier players, OP included. As homeworld 2 online play declined, it was a near ghost-town, and they were some of the last people around. Knowing their dedication and passion for the game, I would be very pleased to see them working with the developers on balancing issues.

The website states the developers receive(d) “critical influence and assistance from the passionate fan community”. I don’t know who is assisting the development team, but it sure doesn’t sound like any known veteran players are taking part in said assistance. Does Gearbox’s constantly reiterated no-comment policy on future game updates/changes/features prevent them from communicating details on this subject proposal here?


I would be more than happy to assist the development team with balancing analysis, and play testing. Funny enough, Hideki and myself already have our own balance/bug tracker. I’ve also done a good deal of hw1 and hw2 modding in the past, so I know my way around the game files.

I think scole will do a good job with general balance, but obviously using ships in real games is when you uncover the balance issues. I hope gearbox at least lends us their ear, so we can fill it with useful information!

Like Cloaked, I would be happy to help, as presumptuous as that sounds! I absolutely adore homeworld 1 and 2, and really want to see a thriving, happy, competitive community <3

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oh snap!!!

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alpha_1 (co author of the catabible) is a legend on the HW1 side. Any of the OMO also.


On any given day, a reasonably skilled/experienced player can have that flash of inspiration, or find that key combo… that breaks something or shows a flaw.

It is not so much the long-term veteran experience, but the current ability to grind out the hours and record/report findings.

If I was not working six days a week, my name would be plastered all over this forum… putting in my two cents on every aspect of our baby. You could have my mouse when you pry my cold dead fingers from around it.

Once the “broken” aspects are taken care of, then using uber-veterans only helps if they are playing against same.

It can easily become a case of “Is it the car, or is it the driver?”. Not everyone is Reki or Hivemind. In fact, almost no one is. LOL

The strategic AI/player doesn’t count for this kind of exercise, as it can be led around by the nose.

We need anal retentive, HW-loving, Borg-like players who will slave away repeating behaviors with slight changes, and then retain the presence of mind to record results.

All without getting drawn into the battle or graphics.

For hours.

Wish it could be me. Perfect for the job. This baton must be passed until summer.

The beta mod/pre-patch playground works for me. As an EVE player who tested a lot on the Singularity server, this is familiar territory.

As long as the folks at Gearbox continue to show the enthusiasm and commitment that I have already experienced, then I can be patient.

If the development cycle/resources available allows more time and patches, then I will always advocate eating the damn elephant in as many small bites as possible. :smile:

Fix behaviors and damage bugs first, then we can get all mathy and esoteric.

I will still poke them with a stick… it’s how I show my love.

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I am with the general idea of experienced and skilled veterans helping out, BUT, game mechanics and bugs need to be fixed first.

Imagine perfectly balanced HWR… and then the formations get fixed, or HW1 physics come back (I wish). The game will be insta-broken.

Ignore the balance for now and fix the game, starting with the utterly broken interface. I don’t mean just the way it looks, but the myriad of strange and infuriating behaviour.

Suffice it to say current interface is plain broken and maddeningly unpredictable at times, from stuck mouse to weird selections to sticky keys and being forced to exit game instead of returning to the game selection screen. I could go on this topic, but it would be a 10 page rant and I don’t have the energy.

Once the game is actually working - THEN get the masters in for a balance polish.

Horse before the cart please.

PS. I don’t count myself among the experts .



Says the former ladder champion and immortalized #1 spot on that Cataclysm leader board that update once.

I strongly disagree on GBX forming an exclusive club of balance testers whose opinions are given the majority of weight and whose selection criteria is mostly based on total number of hours played in HW1/HW2 classic MP.

Arguments on balance issues should stand and fall on their own merits. I can certainly appreciate a desire to find a way to filter arguments that lack substance and rely on anecdotal claims from more comprehensive, objective analyses which offer conclusive evidence as well as conveying that to the devs more directly, but OP’s proposal is not a good way to do this.

If GBX was to implement a closed beta (which I don’t agree with over an open system) for their balance mod, then candidates should be chosen on the basis of:

  • having a certain minimum amount of experience in HW:R multiplayer.
  • how well they present their case on balance issues and direction.

No offense to any of the players listed, I have watched many of your games with great interest, but:

The problem with using an elite playtester force is that they are most likely only interested in the competitive side of things. There’s a good chance that if they take the helm, the only thing we will have is more focus on build orders, because that’s the majority of the high level strategy in HW2, and therefore that’s what the majority of players experienced with HW2 know and love. That creates a rather large bias for development and personally, I don’t want to see Homeworld go any further down that road. For instance, do you think said players ever consider what is actually fun in Homeworld? Would it even remotely match what the ordinary player likes about Homeworld?

To iterate on this, the majority of players were heavily in favor of fixing the Hiigaran BC for balance reasons but took little interest in improving the BCs actual role within the game. They see that x beats y (one sidedly I admit) and that it is a problem, but if you continually balance in this manner you wind up with identical forces that look different and I don’t think HW2 would benefit from that on a constant basis. This is a generalized statement so if someone takes offense, I apologize in advance.
The developers have already changed the rules of engagement heavily from HW1 and 2 and are continuing to do so and it would be nice if HWRM could strive to reach new levels, rather than solely meet the balance demands of the competitive scene.

There is merit to having a higher level playtester group, but the feedback system we have now seems perfectly fine to me. The playerbase is low enough that the forum is nowhere near saturated for the developers to read, and at the moment the multiplayer crowd are basically dictating which way HW2 moves anyway. There is little need to further bias it.