Why "nerfs" are required and how it would affect Amara

This is probably going to be flamed, and inevitably go down the exact same arguments it always does (don’t nerf, buff, nerf nerf buff buff blah blah). I want to point out the reason borderlands needs to have a degree of balance (not strict) despite being a co-op game – the outliers to be addressed aren’t within overpowered range or “nerfs”, they are severe to level of exploits and at the level of a crazy seesaw. Normally there is only 1 or 2, but in this game there appear to be several. Many of them could have been absent if they took longer to look at the gear or skills before initiating them, and would have caused less strife if they weren’t there in the first place. The main issues with gear and skills are:

  1. Bugs – appears to be more as a victim of quantity over quality with content
  2. Resource budgeting – most rpgs have a certain budget for stats with a certain skill or gear slot e.g. at this level there is this % damage = this crit damage etc. which prevents outliers at the possible cost of being homogenous. This doesn’t need to be strict in this game but it is at the level of incredulity and lacking common sense i.e. same gear or skills being up to 10 times the other, which shows loot and skills aren’t being looked at side by side.
  3. Vague descriptors on a lot of gear and skills. This makes it difficult to compare gears/skills, requiring guessing or testing with limited tools by players.

They appear to be designing at a casual rpg level (lets make it fun!) when their intentions are to be a longer game keeping dedicated players and loot hunters. Why is this an issue? It leads to exponential power creep, which results in decisions like mayhem 4 - bullet sponges to cover op builds in order to extend the longevity of the game. The longevity of content is already in doubt, much faster than previous, and thus also leads to damaging diversity of builds. The argument always is “why don’t I buff all the others?” If it is reducing one thing compared to buffing 10 it leads to the same outcome when they are forced to up enemy stats as a result – just more work and increased likelihood of errors.

As for how Amara needs to be balanced, when you boil down to it there are some very simple and understandable fixes leading to her destroying content.

  1. Amara is triggering boosts etc. with phasegrasp missing. Obviously this is a bug
  2. Do Harm is increasing the link damage of ties that bind. With phasezerker this leads to a crazy damage boost. Again appears unintended and a bug
  3. Phasecast and Phaseslam anointments should be reduced 250 to 125% and 300 to 150% respectively. It makes sense compared to standard “when action skill ends” is set to 100% weapon damage
  4. El Dragon artefact DOT for melee is overtuned – the DOT alone is killing major bosses
  5. Face puncher is bugged to be 12 melee hits and triggering all associated procs, leading to multiple exploits. It really should have been just a gun boosted by melee damage as a backup for melee characters, as it is otherwise bypassing the risk/reward aspect to melee procs requiring to be up close to enemies.
  6. Mindfulness as a mid tier for 3 points leads to a 100% boost in movement speed and instant shield recharge, way above the movement speed boosts of everything else in the game (which is normally 10-20%) for little cost. This has now been highlighted with the new mod which adds weapon damage to this and makes it easy to trigger. It should have only stacked up to 5-10 times (20-40% movement speed). This is the same issue for Moze’s phalanx doctrine (where its stacking 20+ times leading to a crazy snowball effect, when it should have just been 5).

The above should be enough to balance Amara to a level that isn’t exploitative. This isn’t touching the phasezerker mod which personally I think is bad design (completely overrides the rush mechanic with instant stack maxing and 75% damage boost, results in only normal action skill use without needing to time or change build).

The worry is that with the new gear that came out the same issues are happening despite having more time. I don’t think the above is anything nuanced at all or debatable, it is just bad design and we’re already seeing the effects.

11 Likes

This was already nerfed. The new COM is making it seem stronger.

With normal use 25 stacks is rare. Remove the missing phasegrasp aspect and the skill is fine.

2 Likes

It seems from what I’ve gathered Amara is how gbx wants VHs to be so I doubt they will nerf her they are probably gonna use her as a measuring stick for the others.

8 Likes

Lolol, you just nerfed a dozen+ things and you’ve done NOTHING in the grand scheme of her strength.

Keep going, my guess is you could nerf a hundred things of hers and she’d still be top dog.

That means it would be easier to buff the others. One or two skills, one or two coms, one or two anointments for the others vs 382,954 nerfs needed for Amara? Which is really the better path?

8 Likes

I main Moze but I really do think that Amara is just a more well designed VH then the rest tbh. She has the best build variety in the game, partially due to the fact all her legendary coms do something different. Unlike Moze who now has 3 Iron Bear COMs, even if the new one is really good. Not to mention the only COMs you ever see people use for Moze anyway are Bloodletter and Blast Master. Amara also just has more well thought out skills, like off the top of my head I can’t really think of any of Amara’s skills that you can really consider bad or one that doesn’t work. Unlike with Moze where several of her skills don’t work and a bunch are just underwhelming. Like in the Bottomless Mags tree the capstone is just underwhelming af unless you are using a Vladof with a 200 round mag (after bonuses of course) its just basically nothing. Lets say your gun has a 20 round mag and the capstone is 5% mag per second…thats 4 bullets a second which seems good until you realize that most guns fire more bullets than per second. Come to think of it all of Moze’s capstones are pretty underwhelming compared to Amara’s…I mean one of Amara’s capstone’s allows you use your action skill while its on cooldown. No other VH has anything on a level close to that. I mean like the only reason you see Short Fuse in builds is basically to proc Means of Destruction, you almost never see Tenacious Defense in a build and you basically use Forge because its there. Going back to Amara’s build variety, Ive seen solo Maliwan Takedown runs with Amara with different builds but any video of Moze doing it solo is just Tediore Chucking…because thats like the only M4 viable build Moze has (at least that ive seen). So I don’t think Amara needs nerfs but rather we should try to get the other VH’s to her level of power and build variety. I mean a case could be made that her anointments are really strong compared to the other VHs but idk I think the other VHs anointments are just rather weak. Also random thing but Moze has a skill in the BOTTOMLESS Mags tree that gives her gun damage as the mag empties…but its a tree about not having to reload and having huge mags…

Edit: I dont think Moze is awful, I just used her as an example cuz Ive played her the most

5 Likes

I respect your point of view, and am glad you took time to outline the reasons.

What about the alternative of given gamers more control of enemy difficulty settings linked to RGN output, and then there is no end game ceiling, and thus no need to ‘nerf?’

1 Like

Most of her action skills are trash. Of the 5 augments she has, one is broken and one is so weak it’s ignores. That leaves only three.

I use Forge and Tenacious Defense was more than short fuse in M4.

3 Likes

I hope so. I have played a few VHs and Amara is the most most fun and feels just right.

1 Like

I mean you aren’t wrong about the action skills and my point still stands that Moze’s Capstones are underwhelming af. Like I don’t think they are bad but they aren’t game changing like some capstones in BL2 were…I mean No Kill Like Overkill and Bloodsplosion…those were some Capstones right there not Short Fuse.

3 Likes

I’m not going to flame, but I disagree with nerfing at this point. I don’t play with Amara, but many many friends of mine do. I am fine with her the way she is. I play the game generally solo anyways. I think that there are so many things higher on the priority list to this game than balancing classes. Making broken/non functioning skills work for one. Doesn’t Zane and Moze have a bunch? I play as fl4k and I know we have a couple. What about the bugs? Game crashing constantly when trying to join games (on Xbox it’s exclusive to Xbox one x if the devs are reading this), fall through floor tiles, invincible enemies in takedown, anointed enemies being immune to cryo, etc.

I would like to think/hope that these should be the things that they should be working on, and utilizing their testers that normally test for balance/hotfix/patches used to make sure that none of the fixes to the above break skills/weapons/guardian ranks/etc. New items are dropping, new builds are being made every day, new op things and interactions are being found that aren’t functionally glitched/broken, and those are the parts of the game that make it fun to play. All of this is happening because things HAVENT been nerfed recently.

When you nerf/buff on a weekly basis, you are forcing innovation in an unnatural and harmful way. People get frustrated because of the time they put into getting gear for a certain build, irritated that they are forced to change at a rapid pase, and resentful that others may be able to do similar accomplishments but didn’t get nerfed. Then people quit sharing ideas, strategies, builds, and characters stagnate because no one wants anyone else to know how awesome a character is when combined with certain gear because of the fear of getting nerfed. Example, I have a fl4k build that I can solo slaughter shaft TVHM mayhem 4 in under 14m,solo the takedown with little effort, and it’s not a popular build that uses shotguns with homing mirvs on reload. I figured this out because I had time to think and theory craft without having to constantly adjust for nerfs and buffs. Am I going to share it? Nope. Have I found other ways to do it with other characters including Amara that may have better results? Yep. I don’t want to share that either for the fear of getting nerfed, which leads to my next point. Because the community doesn’t share with each other, you have real life Troys’ and Tyreens’ telling people what to think about certain classes, items, interactions, etc. that may be incorrect or misleading. Lots of people start using it, some more successfully than others, it gets nerfed, and you jump right back into the negative feedback loop. Then everyone suffers. All these things combined make for a hostile and negative player base.

Another way to think about it is the theory of evolution. When the environment changes too fast, the species can’t adapt and the population dies off. Same thing with a gaming community.

Nerfing one character only effects roughly 1/4 of the population, but the other bugs effect everyone and makes for a better experience and a healthier player community. Let’s make things more enjoyable for everyone before we make it worse for some.

19 Likes

Mattmayer79,

Great post. Thanks. I think this sums up everything so well…

3 Likes

probably needs adjustment.

that is if you can survive head on with the boss (for troy i used this, but for the others like tyreen, agonizer, graveward, rampager, knife drain white elephant is better), using this instead of knife drain and you are trading survivability for damage. current state is already okay as it is. plus there might be a hidden nerf that no one is talking about it in ther earlier hotfixes since our melee damage with it is cut significantly.

i think it is not the face puncher that needs to be nerf, it should be the cutpurse, nerfing the face puncher means nerfing the melee build, plus the damage registers only 1 melee hit for deep dive and 2 for redundant.

it is not mindfulness that needs adjustment, it is the spiritual driver that needs it.

i am worried also in the sense that the gears are becoming extreme on the anointment side. yesterday while trying the maliwan takedown solo with pure melee amara, i just realized i am missing the simplicity of the gears in borderlands 2.

3 Likes

I think she needs to be properly fixed before any nerfs. Fl4k needs fixing and so does Moze before any buffs.

I don’t think this needs nerfing it’s a very rare drop and can offset some of the fixes she needs. If anything I think all of the characters need something along the same lines as those anointments just not specifically weapons damage. Some 200% to 300% anointments could really make certain things shine and worth using. Example Moze 200% damage for Iron Bear or Zane 250% damage on SNTL or Flak 300% pet damage it would make finding and grinding these high powered anointments very worth while and add some useful bonuses to certain things instead of buffing them.

2 Likes

this is a problem of severity.

Personally I would expect balancing to take place BEFORE the game goes live. I understand that the scale of ingame-testing/balancing is not equivalent to a large-scale roll-out so some problems only become noticable when hundreds of thousands of people start to go through the content. But as a developer you are looking at small corrections or adjustments mostly in that case because the “heavy lifting” is already done.

Gearboxes after-release tweaks feel like bombs and sometimes go completely overboard making me feel like there was next to no balancing taking place in-house.

The community never likes nerfs, even if they are small ones. Thats why companies should and usually do try to minimize after-release changes. You wont be able to catch everything but again, thats better then to give the impression that you rushed out the product without caring how it ll perform.

From where I m standing, thats exactly what it looks like.

Now Gearbox will apply nerfs if they feel they are warranted and any criticism they get for it is absolutely deserved, we dont need to “justify” this for them or shield them from criticism. I assume the people at Gearbox are all adults and know what they are doing. They are absolutely free to disregard or ignore feedback or posts that are not written in an appropriate manner.

4 Likes

While I do agree Amara does need some balancing at this point, I don’t think the nerfs need to be so widespread. In essence they can be distilled down to a few things:

  1. Amara’s Driver COM is clearly overperforming and needs a significant tweak
  2. Amara’s anointments are a little too strong (but only a small adjustment is required)
  3. Do Harm stacking beyond 25 stacks on the Phasezerker

Everything else honestly is fine. Unleash the Dragon is strong, but so are countless other guns, weapons and grenades. Mindfulness is a little strong, maybe much better than Zane’s skills, but nothing so broken in absence of the Driver. The Phasezerker is very strong, but it mostly just makes Amara’s other COMs look bad. Something being overpowered isn’t necessarily a bad thing - unless its flagrantly so like in the case of the Driver.

2 Likes

You are making a lot of assumptions that various things are bugs. For example, based on the name, I’m pretty sure Facepuncher is meant to count as melee hits. If you change it the way you are suggesting, you kill viable builds for all the vault hunters, not just Amara. Also, I don’t think that Do Harm affecting Ties That Bind is bug. Bare in mind Gearbox said they were happy with the builds Amara had at the moment when explaining why they didn’t give her any buffs. They’ve stated that their main goal with the buffs and nerfs is multiple viable builds. From your suggested changes, it seems you want to nerf pretty much every popular Amara build.

That said, the new class mod seems like it might be overpowered. I haven’t found one yet, though I’ve seen some videos of crazy quick boss kills, and Amara seems to be the most consistent in soloing Blacksite. I’d also be fine with phasegrasps that miss not triggering Do Harm etc.

Nerfing here is not the solution.
it’s the problem.

Amara right now is the most balanced VH in game, probably the most balanced VH in Borderlands history.
she works as GBX wanted her to work, she’s balanced, she has the most flexibility with her builds, she can’t really become overpowered just by selecting skill points (my view on the new mod in a bit), she’s not even the VH that makes the most dps in game.

We have to work on the other VHs to make them reach the same level of fun and fairness as Amara, not the other way arround.
She has really strong perks? for sure.
does this means that she needs a nerf? no.

as GBX said…besides some minor changes she’s in the perfect spot of being a strong reliable character and not an op one in GBX point of view.
Why do we need to nerf a character that’s as it should be just because the other ones are underperforming?


About the new mod: my opinion on it is that it needs a nerf.
not the character, not a certain skill, we don’t need to numb down Amara as a character because of a mod that is doing way too mutch.

I don’t like games where you just need to spam one button to win or games where the character is op for no reason.
This mod takes Amara and brings her in a “too mutch” place.
there is no way arround it.
the mod NEEDS to be changed or at least nerfed a tad bit.

7 Likes

Agreed. I don’t understand this “nerf Amara” thing. If the other classes are underperforming then we need to look at them and make adjustments.

Couldn’t agree more on the TTB-Do Harm part.
To me it always seemed obvious the damage source for the bound targets was the Action Skill and not your gun.

2 Likes

why do you have such philosophy? how abut bring dmg buffs in line with other annointments and tone down the enemies?

everyone i afraid of reducing dmg on everything because people think enemy health values are magically fixed. if anything game needs serious dwnscaling on dmg and enemy health rn.

if you depend on doing content with 200 300% flat dmg buffs on characters, what do you do when you are not in condition to do this damage? wait for condition? and what if you do not have annointment?

would you ever pick gain accuracy mid air annointment over gain 300% after shooting your action skill into the sky?

2 Likes