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State_Of_Balance

State of Balance: Vortiger (Year 3: Season 1)

05/09/2019 12:00 PM

Hello Warriors! Welcome to this installment in our ongoing series of State of Balance, where the Fight Team analyzes the results from the just-completed season, and discusses where we are headed in the future.

In this blog, we will share data on the Win Rates and Pick Rates of our heroes with you, the community. We will also use the look at the data to discuss our perspective on certain balance issues, and where we see it heading over the coming seasons.

(To know more about the data we present here and how we gathered it, please read more about our methodology for State of Balance.)

Now, let’s get to the data!

DUEL – WIN RATES

S9_Duel_Win_Full

S9_Duel_Win_Top

Community Dominion

Community Duel

Note: in this State of Balance, we use the version of the Tier List that was posted on 2019-March-23, which was the final version of the Tier List that was posted during ‘VORTIGER’ (Year 3: Season 1). All the Tier List images included are taken from the version on that date.

Jiang Jun is still near the top of the gathered player data charts, but is falling due to some targeted nerfs during the season, as well as players becoming used to his kit. For this season, his Win Rate is 61% in Full Population (previous season was 67%) and is 56% in Platinum-and-Above (previous season was 61%). The expectation is that in the next season, he will still be a little lower in that data set, yet still have too weak an opener for tournament-level Duels.

Warlord has reached the middle of the pack for most players after the buff to locked combat. At tournament-level play, he’s fallen from S Tier to C Tier due to the significant nerf to Crashing Charge. While it’s unfortunate that he’s currently not viable in tournament-level Duels for now, the removal of the unlocked playstyle should prove healthy for Duels.

Black Prior joins the roster at or near the top of all 3 lists. This is good – S Tier in Duels allows for exciting and creative play, and this is where we want our characters to be. Minor nerfs that already occurred across this season’s patches to lower damage, reduce pressure when Out Of Stamina, as well as nerfing how safe exiting Bulwark Stance is, should be sufficient enough to nerf the character without removing its viability.

Shugoki did not rise in the Tier List. This is because most of his offense can be rolled away from. However, in the Full Population and Platinum-and-Above charts, we can see that Shugoki is extremely strong against those populations. This character shows the large difference in behaviour between these types of players – competitive players understand that the system allows them to nullify a lot of offense safely, and so they use it to their advantage. What we need to do is adjust the system globally so that escape methods have some risk to them. This is consistent with the direction we are taking in making offense more successful, and we expect to take significant steps towards this in the patch that starts ‘Year 3: Season 3’.

Aramusha is a similar case – competitive players recognize the Heavy Finishers and dodge away from those (to avoid the Deadly Feint mix-up) and therefore nullify his offense safely.

B Tier / C Tier currently seem to be characters with kits that work when your opponent consistently has difficulty with 500ms Light Attacks. We can see that Full Population as well as Platinum-and-Above populations can be beaten by Kensei and Orochi. What’s interesting is that Full Population already has difficulty with 500ms Light Attacks, but tournament-level players have much less difficulty. This implies that if more attacks were semi-reactable or unreactable, it would actually benefit the Full Population players more than the tournament-level players. Consider this - if you’re already being hit by fast attacks, then the attacks becoming faster wouldn’t actually make things worse for you because you’re going to hit either way. But if you could actually launch these same attacks at your competitive opponent and those attacks were fast enough to actually hit your opponent sometimes, then you’d be much better off than you are now.

Hitokiri, Lawbringer and Raider will be interesting to see how they perform in this coming season (as one is introduced and the other two received improvements).

DOMINION – WIN RATES

S9_Dominion_Full

Jiang Jun and Nobushi are still S Tier, and Shinobi has risen to S Tier. These 3 have reasonably high-damage and safe offense when in group fight situations, and are very difficult to punish. The description of “near mandatory” to have on a team makes sense in the current meta, but we would like to see these characters’ power-level reduced here, and therefore allow for more variety in team compositions. While in Duel we think S Tier represents the power-level we want, we think, in Dominion’s case, that A Tier and B Tier better represent a healthy meta.

1v1s no longer giving Revenge Gain seems to have had a small effect on the Tier List. Compared to the previous season, Berserker and Conqueror made small moves upward, but generally there wasn’t an upheaval of the Tiers.

Assassins seem to be generally under-performing. Gladiator suffers from a shorter-than-usual Reflex Guard, and didn’t move up the Tier List with the Revenge Gain changes.

Full Population and Top 4% seem to be very similar in Win Rates. The top spots are all the same characters in a slightly different order. While the middle and bottom shuffle the characters around somewhat, the overall shape generally remains the same.

Except for Aramusha, the Tier List is fairly similar to the player data. Aramusha is the extreme outlier, topping the player data but being bottom of the Tier List. Warlord also stands out as over-performing in the player data. Berserker notably under-performs in the player data compared to the Tier List.

BREACH – WIN RATES

S9_Breach_Full

Assassins are generally under-performing in Breach as well as Dominion. Reflex guard can make things difficult with high-damaging Pikemen present throughout the game mode. Damage output and range are also a bit lower than the rest of the cast, making them weaker near the Ram or in the side lane. Nuxia stands out in these data sets as the only top-performing Assassin, part of which can be attributed to her Tier 2 Feat Caltrops that covers her weakness against Pikemen.

Dominion and Breach player data looks quite similar at the top of the Win Rates (with the exception of Nuxia). Full Population does look reasonably similar when comparing Dominion and Breach between the middle and bottom portions as well.

Note: There has not been a current community Tier List for Breach – so it’s not included in the ‘State of Balance’ for that reason.

PICK RATES

S9_Duel_Full

Warden and Orochi are the perennial favourites on Pick Rates.

Kensei, Raider, and Centurion are also continually found near the top spots, regardless of mode or skill threshold.

Black Prior enters the roster at the top of the Pick Rate charts. Players seem to identify with some combination of the sword-and-shield knight aesthetic, the harbinger fantasy, and the unique combat abilities.

Win Rate / Viability seem to still have little effect on the Pick Rate. Conqueror and Jiang Jun for example are low in the Pick Rates, although high in the Win Rate charts. We do, however, see an effect where heroes like Orochi are picked lower at the Top 4%.

Shugoki seems to be enjoying a significantly higher Pick Rate this season compared to the previous, due to his hero improvements. It will be interesting to see if this Pick Rate is retained or is a temporary increase.

NEXT STEPS

Escape from mix-ups is too safe – many can be rolled away from, unlocked and sprinted away from, or even just back-strafed away from, and in many cases the attacker has no option that can prevent the safe escape. We would like the systems to be adjusted so that the attacker has some option that prevents free escape, even if it is on a prediction rather than a reaction.

Offense needs to continue to improve. With our hero improvements, we’ve been improving the ability for heroes to initiate combat, and/or sustain their chains. But that’s not enough. We need to do more - as you increase in MMR, rise in Ranked, or join a tournament, you will find a level at which landing basic attacks becomes exceptionally difficult. While we want group fights to be manageable in 4v4 modes, we still need players to have a reasonable expectation that pressing an attack button can result in a successful hit sometimes. While at Full Population or even Top 4% this is clearly not a problem, at the top level it still needs improvement.

CLOSING NOTE

We would love to hear more from you on the Full Population data, Platinum-or-Above data, Top 4% data, and the community Tier List. Please remember that we look at all this data, information, feedback, and a whole lot more when we make our decisions.

Keep sending us your feedback, and we look forward to sharing the next installment of the State of Balance at the beginning of ‘Year 3: Season 3’!

- The Fight Team

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