The Nerf pitfall & an alternative approach

As you begin to make adjustments, like most developers, your instinct will be to take the most effective characters and make them less effective through reductions. As you move forward, those reductions will make other characters appear over powered in comparison. Which will lead to more reductions. Creating a misery loop for your players. The inevitable outcome is a roster of characters with meaningless 1sec powerless skills that are little more than novelties.

Instead, you could break from the traditional approach of endless reductions and try something different by monitoring the characters people flock to and instead of making them weaker, bring the least used characters up to their level of effectiveness.

By weakening characters people enjoy, your only going to upset people that love them. However, if you make other characters stronger you’ll have a more positive reaction to your adjustments. Which leads to more enjoyment of your game. Which should be your top priority if you want people to keep coming back. Sure, it’s more challenging that way, but the effort will reap better results than the easy solution.

Reducing something that is “game breaking” due to an erroneous input or other mistake is one thing, but double & triple nerfing people’s favorite characters because they’re slightly more effective than the others is only going to cause unnecessary drama. And there’s already enough drama with the gamer class without double & triple stacking more issues on top of it.

Who knows, you may just end up with fewer complaint threads and more positive reactions.


Ok, first I have to say… why speak for the whole community? My friends and myself were personally VERY glad to see the Galilea and ISIC nerfs go through. I like the idea of buffing other characters, yes, but to do JUST that will turn this game to garbage. A happy medium is required. Too much buffing means swift death, while too much nerfing means no damage output or, like you said, novelty skills and pointless characters.

Complaint threads will happen no matter what. People always have something to say. And no game is perfect; issues will always arise, which is why there are such things as nerfing and buffing.


I didn’t intend to speak for the whole community, I was just trying to speak to an issue & offer a different solution. Everything that can be accomplished with nerfs can be accomplished with buffs if they are applied in creative ways. Making characters more effective would ultimately leave more players happy than upset, with the added benefit of making lesser characters more enticing to players.

Your right about complaint threads though. I just don’t think they need to give people more reasons to get upset or annoyed. There’s enough of that already.

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I agree with you completely about the complaint threads. But a happy balance is needed - nerfing characters makes people happy as well as upset - I can’t tell you how my Galilea-main friend reacted when she got nerfed. Buffs should be in line, however. I feel Benedict needs some tweaking, as well as Caldarius.

Your post is full of assumptions about how they make balance decisions and the “inevitability” of slippery slopes. Relax, give them a chance. Despite what some have said, I’m fairly certain that in every case so far that many of the people that loved a character before changes were made said they were still fine after the changes.


I was just making a suggestion for a different solution that addresses an issue that pops up in every online game.

Most people don’t respond positively to reductions. While there are people that adapt without complaint, it doesn’t change the general response to reduction chains.

While that may be an assumption, it’s an assumption based on experience. Minor incremental buffs mostly have a positive response over 20-30% reductions.
I’m not trying to say that nerfs have no place at all, but if they put priority on buffs over reductions, they would make more players happy.

Personally, I think it’s better if players get excited to try a new character after a buff than to have players resign themselves to trying another character because their favorite isn’t as much fun after a Nerf.

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I’d argue that power creep (in the form of the incremental buffs you are talking about) can be just as big of a problem, because there’s an inevitable cycle of the character you used to love becoming worthless over time. Until it gets buffed again. See Marvel Heroes for an excellent example. That’s every bit as much of a cycle of misery as what you suggest.

They’ve done a great job with balance so far, overall. The vast majority of the roster is in the “sweet spot” or very close to it, IMO. If anyone knows another game that has such a large and diverse roster with better balance, feel free to name it.


I guess you and I are just on opposite pages.

I honestly believe that a vicarious reduction in effectiveness via the strengthening of other characters is a more positive approach to balancing over reducing the effectiveness of a character directly by cutting a skill to the point of useless.

To each his own I guess…

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Oh, and which skill is that, exactly?

A mixture of nerfs and buffs are needed to maintain balance, not just one or the other.

The developers do buff as well as nerf. They did so in a Day 1 update with Caldarius, increasing his primary damage output by 25%.

I trust the developers to buff and nerf as appropriate. They do have the data after all and the more we play the better the data will get, making any adjustments more accurate.

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The problem with having so much data is you start seeing things on a Macro level and the individual experience tends to get lost in the shuffle to adjust the numbers.

When your looking at the metrics for thousands to millions of play sessions across platforms, you start to see huge differences in those numbers. To compensate they make dramatic reductions to balance out the numbers.

The problem that arises from that approach is the individual experience becomes less important than the numbers.


Any skill that becomes pointless after a nerf.

I’ve been speaking in the abstract addressing their approach to balancing, not trying to be critical of a particular reduction. I’ll leave that to those who are most effected by the adjustments.

The problem with the individual is that they only see things from their perspective and maybe a few other vocal people, they don’t see the bigger picture which can be seen from detailed stats. :slight_smile:

As I said in my last post, they don’t just make reductions, they buff too as they did with Caldarius.

They appear to place priority on nerfs over buffs, I’m suggesting they take the opposite approach.

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If one character is too strong, then the buff approach would required changes to 24 other characters, the nerf approach requires changes to 1 character. It makes sense therefore to nerf 1 rather than buff 24, it’s quicker and cleaner. Buffing 24 could potentially create other imbalances between those characters.

So far they have introduced multiple reductions to multiple characters with each round of adjustments. So it would appear the issue is deeper than just one overpowered character.

The issue with this is it’s a lot easier for a dev team to nerf 2 or 3 characters than to give buffs to the entire roster, which due to the amount of buffs would throw any balance completely out of wack. There will always be better balance by nerfing 2-3 characters who are over-performing rather than buffing 22-23 character that are under-performing or already nicely balanced.

If you nerf 2-3 characters with each round of adjustments eventually you’ll end up nerfing half the roster.

I’m not suggesting they buff the entire roster to compensate for one character. I’m suggesting they introduce incremental buffs to the weakest characters in order to make them more effective instead of making other characters less effective to compensate for the ineffectiveness of the least played characters.[quote=“xxEvoLuTioNxx, post:6, topic:1445538”]
Personally, I think it’s better if players get excited to try a new character after a buff than to have players resign themselves to trying another character because their favorite isn’t as much fun after a Nerf.

I think you have not looked at the patch notes.
Nerfs ambra, gal, isic, miko and el dragon. Ghalt has been nerfed but only because his buff was to much.
Buffs kelvin, ghalt kleese and cal.
So they are buffing as well as nerfing you worried about a problem that is not there.
Of thoose nerfs ambra, gal and el dragon were insanely good during the beta and had it coming. I remeber el dragon ult dealing 500 damage plus the insane punching for 10 seconds afterwards.
Miko nerf was also needed stopped her being unkillable and uncatchable.
Isic was very tanky he could take the most damage and had it all at level 1.

At this point it is too early to start dishing out tons of buffs, and here’s why.
Some people may consider some characters underwhelming and in need of buffs, (ie: El dragon, Kelvin, Toby, etc) but keep in mind that the full game hasn’t even been out a month yet. Characters still need time to be explored. Right now many people are playing every character the same exact way > rush into the middle of the action and start shooting/swinging like crazy and start firing off abilities like there’s no tomorrow. It will take time for people to learn the specific playstyle that is needed to play certain characters in the most optimized way. It will also take time for players to try out new gear-helix load outs to find out what suites the “underwhelming” characters best.
If we start handing out buffs simply because some characters are clearly a little too powerfull, then people start learning how to use the characters that were consider “underwhelming” (but we’re simply unexplored) then we will be stuck with even more overpowered characters.

Just my 2 cents on the bit.