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State of Balance: Season 4 Recap

03/15/2018 12:00 PM

With this blog post we want to show you the data of Season 4 and do a quick analysis of the state of the game in term of fight balancing: Where are we? Where are we going?

Our intention with this post is to create a recurring format of data explanation at the beginning of each season where we go back on the past season and discuss what went well and what could have gone better. We want to be transparent with you on which direction we are taking for the balancing of the game and show you some of the tools we are using. Your feedback on this post is welcome to help us improve this new way of communication!

BALANCING

First we want to explain a bit about the balancing process. We use multiple sources to draw conclusions and act accordingly. Those sources are: (Not in any particular order)

  • Community feedback collected across multiple channels
  • Top players feedback
  • Data
  • Our designers’ perception

After isolating an issue we work on it until we think we have a good solution and patch it into the game. The length of the process can vary a lot depending on the issue and the solution involved. For example, some solutions can be addressed via data in a Live Update, which offers us good flexibility for release timing, where others require code changes in a full Title Update (Patch) which requires much more complex production timelines and submission processes.

DATA

We are going to share some data about 1v1 and 4v4. We currently look at these 2 environments to make decisions on balancing.

  • 1v1 data helps us to evaluate if one character is particularly overpowered or underpowered in terms of a pure fight situation.
  • 4v4 data is more about your performance in a team with your Feats and what you bring to the table.

Below is a Matrix of all the 1v1 matches made by the top 2.5% players on PC and Console combined (according to our skill rating) of For Honor. In terms of data it’s the closet thing we have to inform us about the competitive level of For Honor in 1v1.

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Click for Full Size Duel Win/Loss Matrix

ANALYSYS

As you can see on this matrix, 3 characters currently stand out in 1v1: Peacekeeper and Shaman and Lawbringer. That’s their performance during all Season 4 from November 15 to February 15.

As you read this you may want us to nerf them. Before committing to new changes we want to see how they adapt to the new parry changes and how they fight versus the newly updated characters of Season 5. The improvement we made to Kensei, Highlander, Conqueror and Berserker will hopefully make them stronger and eventually bring them up higher on the matrix.

The focus of our Season 5 work was to improve characters that were underperforming rather than nerfing the strong ones. We will see at the end of the season if this strategy has paid off.

Nonetheless here are some comments about our point of view on the Top 4.

Peacekeeper

We are currently looking at changes to the Peacekeeper to improve her gameplay and improve usefulness of dagger cancel and tune her power level a bit. We also think her ability to back dodge safely is too strong and we are currently looking at all the back dodge in the game to adjust their efficiency.

Shaman

The data here is a mix of the released Shaman and the Shaman after the nerfs and bug fixes we released for her mid-Season 4. While we think she’s powerful we want to wait a bit and see how she behaves in the Season 5 before giving her more nerfs.

Lawbringer

We don’t think Lawbringer is too strong in 1v1. His current ranking is mainly due to the annoyance of shove on block that paired with his high health pool and a lot of patience can lead to a slow but sure win. We are looking at this ability and also as you’ll see below is performance in 4v4

Now if we look at the bottom of the matrix we can see that Highlander and Kensei were in bad shape. Since it always feels better to buff some character than gives a bunch of nerfs, we focused on characters to improve first.

We expect Kensei and Highlander will perform much better during Season 5 with the changes we made to them.

Berzerker and Conqueror changes were here to buff them but also to change the gameplay of the characters and make them more satisfying to play with or against.

You can check out the blog posts we wrote about the design behind those characters’ changes here.

Here is the win rate in 4v4 Dominion for the top 4% players on PC and Console combined according to our skill rating system.

You’ll notice that the % is not the same as for duel. It’s because we want to get a population high enough in the ranking while being large enough to get relevant data. 

 

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As you can see it’s not exactly the same as 1v1 even if there are some common points.

Our point of view is that Peacekeeper, Lawbringer, Nobushi, Raider are performing too well in 4v4, but the same philosophy we used in 1v1 for Season 5 Updates applies here as well. We want to improve the performance of the outsiders more than dampening too much the best characters.

That’s why you won’t see immediate big changes to those characters but probably smaller adjustments.

Peacekeeper

The Feats of the Peacekeeper are very good on top of her fight abilities. Like we said in the 1v1 section we are currently looking at her.

Lawbringer

Lawbringer’s main strength are his set of bomb Feats and his Impale move. We are looking at Impale and the different situations where it can be guaranteed. This move when successfully executed often lead to a player kill in a 1vN situation.

Nobushi

Nobushi is famous for her very good Zone attack. This attack has already been nerfed in her Season 5 Update. We will monitor how she behaves during Season 5.

Raider

The raider currently has some fight weaknesses and the strong stampede charge to balance it out in 4v4. We are looking at him but we don’t have any short-term changes on his fight abilities.

NEXT STEPS

As you can see nothing is perfect, but we aim to improve the balancing state of the game during the whole year to provide a better fight environment for everybody. Season 5 brings a lots of changes to characters and the parry mechanic. We expect it to change the For Honor meta-game a lot. You can expect more changes to core aspects of the game through Season 5 and launch of Season 6. We currently are focusing on the flow and fun aspect of characters on top of the sheer power of them. We will re-assess at this point on the result of our Season 5 work. Keep sending us feedback on any channels you want. Our Community Team sends us all of it!

Expect a follow up to this blog post at the beginning of next Season with our findings!

-The Fight Team

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