Balance Overhaul Proposal - Mitigate Out of Control Damage via Adjustments to Defensive Stats

TL;DR Version and Examples

As many of you may already be aware, Small Giant has released a large balance update to beta for testing. Being a beta-tester myself, I have had the opportunity to experience this balance change first-hand, and I have found that it fundamentally fails to address the very real problems with balance in the game, and instead actually exacerbates them. See below for the crux of SG’s approach to the balance change.

Continuing the discussion from On the upcoming Big Balance Update & Aether Reset Tokens:

First, I feel that the stat buffs to many of the newer heroes are unjustified. These heroes are already preforming substantially above older ones, and boosting their stats even further makes them insanely powerful. While sharing images from beta is strictly forbidden, as part of my analysis, I took a look at two heroes, The Hatter and Ignazio and compared their stats. Ignazio, I looked at with the proposed stat buff in beta at 4/80. At this level, all that will be needed is to fully ascend him, costing only 4* ascension materials. His stats were 842 Attack, 879 Defense, and 1715 HP. By comparison, my Hatter was limit broken once, sitting at lv 85, and fully emblemed along the defensive path. This means that he required the same investment in terms of ascension materials as Ignazio, but also an investment of all of the aethers needed to level him to lv 85, as well as 1500 emblems. Despite requiring considerably more resources, The Hatter had lower stats across the board at 837 Attack (5 lower than Ignazio), 877 Defense (2 lower than Ignazio), and 1596 HP (119 lower than Ignazio). This massive level of stat creep is not sustainable in the long-term, or even the short-term really, and only serves to more rapidly render older heroes obsolete. I cannot in good conscience support such a change.

Next, while I certainly support hard-caps on damage and believe they are necessary for the long-term health of the game, SG is setting them lower than the current damage output of many heroes. Because of this, the special skills of a great many heroes are planned to be nerfed as of this most recent balance change proposal. This I believe to be fundamentally unfair to the many players who have spent, often considerable amounts to acquire these heroes, but even more so to those who have spent little, or even nothing at all and happened to luck into these heroes. To that end, I propose that SG roll back every single one of these nerfs and index the damage caps to the current maximum damage we see in the game. This will avoid any unfair nerfs and will therefore be better for player morale.

Of course, doing so would mean that the problem of excessive damage would persist, and a solution is still needed for that. Naturally, I have such a solution that I believe would better address the problem, and be fairer to the player-base as a whole. My approach aims to be simple to implement, as it only requires an adjustment to the weights given to HP and Defense in the Card Power calculation. For more information on the card power calculation, see here (CP Calculation)

To summarize the findings by @Garanwyn , that stat-based component of the card power is calculated based on the base stats at 4/80 as:

0.35xAttack + 0.28xDefense + 0.14xHP (rounded down to the whole number below this total)

Because the problem at hand is that the damage dealt by modern defenses is too high, leading to matches being decided much quicker, and thus being more dependent on the starting board, I believe that too much weight is being given to the Defense and HP Stats of the heroes. To fix this, I propose adjusting the weight given to those stats down, and recalculating the base stats of the heroes to leave them at the same power, with the same contribution from each stat. here is the revised formula I propose:

0.35xAttack + 0.26xDefense + 0.13xHP

Because this can be a bit tricky to understand, here is an example using The Hatter. Currently, at 4/80, Hatter has base stats of 735 Attack, 710 Defense, and 1341 HP. Based on the current formula, his 710 points of defense contribute 0.28x710=198.8 points to his overall power.

Under my proposal, this 198.8 would be kept largely the same, but his defense would need to be recalculated based on a revised weight of 0.26 instead of 0.28. Meaning his defense stat would be increased to 765 (0.26x765=198.9; not the exact same, but 765 gets us closer to the 198.8 than 764 would, and stats need to be whole numbers).

The same could be done with his HP stat which currently contributes 0.14x1341=187.74 points to his power. With my revised weighting, his HP stat would change to 1444 (0.13x1444=187.72).

Notably, since the weight given to attack remains unchanged, there would be no change to his, or any other hero’s attack stat.

What this would mean overall is that Hatter would get a buff from 735/710/1341 stats to 735/765/1444. Additionally, every other hero would similarly have their stats recalculated. This increase in the bulk of all heroes would thus mitigate the currently excessive damage and provide more breathing room in all matches.

It also has implications for emblems, where each node provides a boost of 5 points worth of power. Under the current system, an attack node provides 15 Attack (15x0.35=5.25 which rounds down to 5 points), a defense node provides 18 Defense (18x0.28=5.04 which also rounds down to 5 points), and an HP node provides 36 HP (36x0.14=5.04 which again rounds down to 5 points). Under my proposed adjustment, attack nodes would remain unchanged, providing 15 Attack each. However defense nodes would increase to 20 Defense points each (20x0.26=5.2), and HP nodes would now provide 40 HP each (40x0.13=5.2). This would mean that not only would each hero be sturdier on their own, but also that each defensive stat boost from emblems would give them an additional bump above what they get now, leading to heroes taking even less damage.

This of course might require buffs to heroes that provide a Heal over Time or deal Damage over Time to compensate for the higher HP stats, but overall, buffs would I think be far better received than nerfs.

Please let me know if you support this idea as I will be referencing this thread in my feedback to this balance change in beta.

Thank you for your time and support!

@Zack you are the man with the damage calculation (sry for the dbl pointers, just wanted to connect these threads): does this do what need be done?

3 Likes

This is very interesting approach. I wish SG will at least listen to this.
In my opinion if you want to make a balance update, what you do is to take the older heroes and give them a large boost of their stats and as you move to newer heroes that boost in stats will be minimized.
SG says they understand the frustration that some heroes cause with their overpowered special skills and want to make the game more balanced and fun to play. And what they do for that? They nerf some heroes (I am 1000% against any nerf of any hero because you can’t sell a product at a price and when people buy it , ask it back to make it worst than it was when you advertised it) they even unnecessary cripple some heroes (the nerf of Furdinand and Gazzele and her costume is transforming them to total trash), they nerf heroes that just a few weeks ago buffed and finally nerfing 4* that shouldn’t be touched. I mean who even uses Brynchild those days? Why do they have to nerf her speed from fast to average speed? Why do they have to touch Sergei? Are they sooooooo broken that are destroying the competition?
But what I do find really ridiculous is that change of stats that SG is going to release. How can you call balance update, an update where you take the newest heroes with the already much higher stats and increase their stats for a higher % compared with the % you buff the stats of the older heroes or even the no buff of the stats of heroes released before 2022?
At this point I want to make clear that I have most of the OP heroes of the game and those changes that SG is going to make will help me. But I don’t like it at all when they underestimate my intelligence. When people are trying to trick me. I can’t accept or support an update that is being called the big balance update, if it’s not a balance update but the exact opposite. The big unbalanced update.

10 Likes

I cannot emphasize this sentence enough. In my testing I have had the exact same experience. This proposed change makes everything tangibly worse. It’s downright hellish.

As to your actual proposal, you already proposed it in the beta feedback forum a few weeks ago. I liked it then and still like it now. I wish SG would implement it and let us test it to see if it works like we hope. I cannot imagine it being any worse than what they are proposing, and my best guess is that it ought to be significantly better.

I will sound like a broken record saying this, but you have fallen prey to one of SG’s most common deliberate deceptions. They said “Balance Update”. They did not say “Game Balance Update”. They want you to think they are talking about game balance, but they are not. That’s the deception, an implied lie because they want you to assume something that is demonstrably false.

This update is actually meant to be a “bank balance update”. In that light, all their changes should suddenly make much more sense. It is about forcing obsolescence onto older heroes to force people to spend more on pulls if they hope to stay where they are at and not fall backwards.

They are tying a 20kg weight around your neck while you try to tread water so they can exact ransom from you - “For a few thousand bucks, we’ll remove the weight for a month so you don’t drown. Then we will put it back onto you (with another round of nerfs) and you can pay us again to take it off. And if you don’t pay us, we don’t care if you drown because if you don’t give us gobs of money then we view you as no better than dead weight anyway.” Repeat ad infinitum.

In SG’s eyes, any hero more than a year old that people still use needs to be kneecapped. Just look at the proposed changes. And their behavior for the past two years. It’s quite consistent. And remember every buff of a recent hero that doesn’t need it is simultaneously a nerf of every untouched older hero.

11 Likes

Well anything that is increasing balance is something I like, but since that is not really the interest of SG it seems unlikely to happen.

But even if they included some form of actual balance to stats of older heroes, it would still not be able to replace a damage nerf. No matter what stats anyone has, OP damage would still be the same OP damage, so that part would have to happen independently of the stats boost.

I personally would implement a fixed upper limit for each type of hero (hit 1, 2, 3 or 5) and speed class (faster than fast, fast, avg, slow, slower than slow) and simply reset every hero that is above the limit down to that limit. That way it would be impossible to have fast hit-all heroes doing sniper damage to everybody. Instead slower speed classes could become relevant again by being allowed a higher max damage. Also snipers would be more relevant by being allowed higher damage than hit-all heroes.

Yes people would still complain that their heroes get nerfed, but since all heroes are affected equally, the benefit to the game would far outweigh the individual grievances. it´s not even a “nerf” if all heroes are set to a maximum value. They will by definition still be the best heroes in the game, the only difference would be that there are more “best” heroes.

Power creep would of course still continue by increasing stats and giving better additional effects to skills. So it´s not a solve-all-problems solutions, but it would curb some of the completely out of whack heroes in a simple way as well as being future proof. If in the future damage needs to be adjusted upwards or downwards it can easily be done and affect all max damage heroes equally instead of nerfing individual heroes.

4 Likes

A little bit complicated to define an old hero.
However, those older whose power is lower a certain percentage (let’s said 5%) of contemporary heroes shall be buff (let’s said +5% power). Then this called balance.

You’ve got my full support. As a beta tester as well the biggest frustration for me is beta testers not being listened to. If they had half these newer heroes wouldn’t be released let alone so overpowered.

5 Likes

There’s an uncountably infinite number of mathematically defined ways to induce so-called balance into this game given its approximate workings. One could tweak the stats as OP suggested, modify the damage calculation, change game play mechanics/rules, introduce game changing new heroes, etc…

One thing ought be understood here, no game company would knowingly make moot power creep in the name of balance, for that’s the heartbeat of the game :greenpukemoneyface:! Sure, kinda unusual/novel to revitalize older heroes by adding costumes (that ofc must be pulled again). But the very notion of balancing older heroes to be competitive with brand new OP heroes is ofc misleading for gamers are only willing to shell out cash if they will have a chance of winning more for the doing.

To the SG devs I offer that I once played a game (Dawn of the Dragons - a now dead web game, also mobile) where they actually hit—-due to power creep over years—an unfixable limit, namely the integer maximum in flash that was hard coded into the game at the start. But this, your problem is absolutely fixable. Two strategies I like include (1) tweak the damage calculation to dampen the out-of-control damage sources mathematically (eg weight the defense stat more, reduce the exponent on the (atk/def)^x factor, etc); (2) introduce a new hero kinda like Kalo for RUSH only that hero revives your whole team on offense with X% hp each, providing they all died within Y turns of the start of battle, and think of some less impressive dual for the defense side analogous to the heroes that increase the mana gain of a particular color tiles on offense and decrease it on defense (which is quite a bit less useful).

Sorry for the essay. Wait… this is not my soapbox!

3 Likes

Voted in favor, I guess I am not too shocked it is worse with the stat gains. Some monsters specials got toned down but not all and it is harder to kill the monsters so they are more likely to fire even if their special skills is slightly less effective… I think the defense needs to be tweaked, and old special skills need some sort of floor under the best skills… Can’t have this wide of a gap and be balanced at all.

It has come to my attention that some people find this to be too long of a post.

TL;DR Version + Examples

The proposal boils down to adjusting the power calculation in such a way that every hero gets a roughly 7.7% increase to both defense and HP with no change to attack.

For example:

  • Sargasso would increase from 708 Defense and 1334 HP to 762 Defense and 1437 HP. This would make him as sturdy as Kara is before any buffs.


  • Misandra would go from 751 Defense and 1330 HP to 809 Defense and 1432 HP making her very close to as sturdy as Saoirse is now.


4 Likes

It looks to me like this adjustment via the CP formula would reduce the damage from specials by something like 4-5%. As this would apply to all heroes on the attacking team and on the defending team likewise, the overpowering defending teams could still be kind of overpowering.

details on this:
For the target (or attacker) I’ve assumed attack=1000 and special%=400%, no buffs/debuffs.

Current situation:

defending team attack team
Att Def HP Power avg received damage avg received damage
fire Marjana 669 712 1404 755 747 896
earth Lianna 729 718 1248 755 743 892
water Magni 793 591 1334 754 839 1007
light Joon 749 636 1339 752 801 962
dark Sartana 694 700 1382 757 755 906
fire Bonecrusher 865 795 1380 843 698 837
fire Bonecrusher lb2 1187 1034 1380 1110 592 711

When she’s on the attacking team the regular maxed Marjana would take 896 damage (on average, ±5%) from a hero with 4000 attack power.

On the defending team the regular maxed Marjana would take 747 damage (on average, ±5%) from a hero with 4000 attack power.

With the adjusted CP formula this would then look as follows:

defending team attack team
Att Def HP Power avg dealt damage avg received damage damage reduction [%]
fire Marjana 669 767 1512 755 713 856 4,55153949129853
earth Lianna 729 774 1344 755 709 851 4,57604306864065
water Magni 793 637 1437 754 801 961 4,52920143027414
light Joon 749 685 1442 752 765 918 4,49438202247191
dark Sartana 694 754 1489 757 721 865 4,50331125827815
fire Bonecrusher 865 857 1487 843 666 799 4,58452722063037
fire Bonecrusher lb2 1187 1114 1487 1110 565 678 4,56081081081081

The current state of the Z-U damage formula for specials is as follows.

attacking team:
damage = [25.5 x attack_during_battle x special% / target’s_defense_during_battle + 0.0385 x ( attack_during_battle x special% – 0.93 x target’s_defense_during_battle)] x 3 x 11/12 ±5%

defending team:
damage = [25.5 x attack_during_battle x special% / target’s_defense_during_battle + 0.0385 x ( attack_during_battle x special% – 0.93 x target’s_defense_during_battle)] x 3 x 11/10 ±5%

That means that the defending team gets a +20% damage bonus for specials.

Maybe this 20% damage bonus should be dropped gradually when the defending hero’s power is larger than the attacking hero’s power?

2 Likes

Interesting analysis @Zack .

I am seeing a 4-5% reduction in damage taken based on the revised defense stats, but also see a few factors missing from the consideration such as:

  • The increased HP stat: this should allow them to take more damage overall which will also boost the effect of the damage reduction from boosting defense.
  • The effect of increased Defense/HP from emblems that goes along with the adjustment.
  • Limit breaking uses a multiplier for all stats, by starting with a higher base defense and HP, limit breaking will now push bulk even further.

For example, you use Marjana in your calculation. Assuming she were fully emblemed for attack, prioritizing defense over HP how would that change the calculation?

Essentially, compare current Attack path Marjana with no costumes or limit breaks to what she would look like with the proposed change.

*Current Marjana at 4/80 and +20 emblem nodes (attack path): 794/769/1518 stats

  • Proposed Marjana at 4/80 and the same emblems: 794/830/1637 stats

If that is still not enough, would a shift to 0.24 as the defense multiplier and 0.12 as the HP multiplier (effectively pushing this to a 16.67% bonus across both stats) be sufficiently effective?

2 Likes

Absolutely this! Nerfing older heroes is only to make them obsolete and trying to force people to buy new is only gonna backfire. If it goes thru i think you will see many more OGs like myself leaving the game. I am not a huge spender and this has made me a nospender. In order to get folks to listen keep speaking out on this stuff and join us on #NoSpend for a whole weekend (or more). We are tired of seeing our efforts to get a great hero shot as soon as finally get one. Some waiting a ton longer as they are f2p or c2p. I agree with these propsed things they are pushing to kill the game at a dizzing fast rate.

4 Likes

I fully support this approach !

Happy gaming

3 Likes

@Petri @heive @Saanzi @Staff_SGG

Given that a major balance update such as the one proposed in beta has immense ramifications for the players and for the game, I urge you to consider alternative balance update options that are more balanced and less negative for the playerbase as a whole

7 Likes

Passives would be a great start

1 Like

I would like to add the reduction in damage from slash attacks (and normal attacks) to this. When I get decimated by strong teams it usually comes from the combination of specials and a number of slash attacks that weaken my heroes enough so that the following special(s) and passive(s) quickly take out my heroes, because the defending heroes have such a high stats and strong specials.

here goes:

defending team attack team defending team attack team
Att Def HP avg received damage avg received damage damage reduction [%] damage reduction [%]
Marjana 669 712 1404 747 896
Marjana CP-adjusted 669 767 1512 713 856 -4,55153949129853 -4,46428571428571
Marjana 794 769 1518 712 855
Marjana CP-adjusted 794 830 1637 679 815 -4,63483146067416 -4,67836257309942

The damage of a 4000 attack power special would be reduced by 4-5% as well for the CP adjusted 4/80+20 Marjana.

The impact increases as the attack power decreases until the attack power reaches the 93% of the defense value of the target - here that is Marjana’s 712 Def:

adjusted CP
target Att Def HP attack power avg received damage avg received damage damage reduction [%]
Marjana 669 712 1404 6000 1387 1329 -4,18168709444845
Marjana 669 712 1404 5000 1142 1093 -4,2907180385289
Marjana 669 712 1404 4000 896 856 -4,46428571428571
Marjana 669 712 1404 3000 651 619 -4,91551459293395
Marjana 669 712 1404 2000 406 382 -5,91133004926108
Marjana 669 712 1404 1500 283 264 -6,71378091872792
Marjana 669 712 1404 1200 210 193 -8,0952380952381
Marjana 669 712 1404 1100 185 169 -8,64864864864865
Marjana 669 712 1404 1000 161 146 -9,3167701863354
Marjana 669 712 1404 900 136 122 -10,2941176470588
Marjana 669 712 1404 800 112 98 -12,5
Marjana 669 712 1404 700 87 76 -12,6436781609195
Marjana 669 712 1404 600 70 65 -7,14285714285714
Marjana 669 712 1404 500 59 54 -8,47457627118644
Marjana 669 712 1404 400 47 43 -8,51063829787234
Marjana 669 712 1404 300 35 32 -8,57142857142857
Marjana 669 712 1404 200 23 21 -8,69565217391304

The situation for the damage from specials would be similar, but, of course, with higher damage reduction:

adjusted CP
target Att Def HP attack power avg received damage avg received damage damage reduction [%]
Marjana 669 712 1404 6000 1387 1271 -8,3633741888969
Marjana 669 712 1404 5000 1142 1043 -8,66900175131348
Marjana 669 712 1404 4000 896 815 -9,04017857142857
Marjana 669 712 1404 3000 651 586 -9,98463901689708
Marjana 669 712 1404 2000 406 358 -11,8226600985222
Marjana 669 712 1404 1500 283 244 -13,7809187279152
Marjana 669 712 1404 1200 210 175 -16,6666666666667
Marjana 669 712 1404 1100 185 152 -17,8378378378378
Marjana 669 712 1404 1000 161 130 -19,2546583850932
Marjana 669 712 1404 900 136 107 -21,3235294117647
Marjana 669 712 1404 800 112 84 -25
Marjana 669 712 1404 700 87 70 -19,5402298850575
Marjana 669 712 1404 600 70 60 -14,2857142857143
Marjana 669 712 1404 500 59 50 -15,2542372881356
Marjana 669 712 1404 400 47 40 -14,8936170212766
Marjana 669 712 1404 300 35 30 -14,2857142857143
Marjana 669 712 1404 200 23 20 -13,0434782608696

Imho the overall impact on battles would require testing with actual battles. I can only take a look at a single situation and get an estimation on the effect.

To get a grasp on this I went for the impact on a strong special and selected an exemplary situation (a Sniper or Khufu-like AoE hero with 4000 attack power), looked at basically all 5* heroes and showed the impact for some S1 5* heroes (as they have the lowest stats) and one of the newest 5* heroes (Bonecrusher) to demonstrate that they all would be impacted similarly with a 4-5% damage reduction for that selected situation.

My main concern with this CP adjustment approach is that it would apply similarly to all heroes and that the strong defending teams might keep their relative strength against the attacker as it will also be harder to kill the defending heroes with their slightly increased defense and HP.
I don’t think that my simple analysis can answer this, it should be tested in actual battle (by beta testers).

In the beta the CP adjustment approach can be tweaked further, if necessary, and may also be combined with other measures (like my suggested reduction in the +20% bonus damage for the defender’s specials).

2 Likes

I highly agree. In fact, I proposed this in my beta feedback as well. Here in this section of the forum, I was trying to Garner support for trying the idea in the hopes that it would convince SG to try it.

I also think while defenses would become similarly sturdier, the main goal would be to allow more time for charging specials. This would allow for a barrage of attacks with synergizing skills (i.e. Kiril/Morel/Frida/cMagni/Milena I’d using mono for example). Essentially, I think longer battles favor offensive teams more because you can build a team specifically to counter the enemy you are facing.

And once again, thank you very much for the analysis. Having feedback on my idea is very nice.

3 Likes

@Zack as a former math major, I have some intuition about curves — though I’m rusty and not very familiar with your baby the damage equation (Jeez ppl 565+ msgs in that thread, can you blame me? But Zack here is an expert [and probably the only such one not barred from talking about it by an NDA or other such legal consequences lol).

Zack can you do a less painstaking analysis if we were to tweak the exponent, x, in the factor (atk/def)^x of the dmg equation for the values of… iirc the curve fit gave roughly x=1.4 as the actual present value? So making x bigger would make thing increasingly more ‘unbalanced’ (ie accelerate the run-away train), so values of x>=1.4 are out; and x=1 would be boring so try these values of x=1.25, 1.15, 1.05 and for fun try x=.707 lmao I suspect that would overcorrect hehe though not sure by how much, might not even be in or past the Goldilocks zone, but iirc should be past an inflection point.

Thanks Zack

@IgH i second what Zack said about beta testing if this should seem to work on paper as it were. My x-values were just chosen to minimize work (few of them) and give a roughly skewed but regular spread, TL:DR I eyeballed those test point to be both nice to Zack and a little bit lazy lol if none work… I’ll pull out a pencil xD and do some math.

To the reader: why doesn’t the math and testing get more heavily upvoted? It’s like the song says,

If you believe in things you don’t understand… then you suffer!
Crossbreed - Superstition (cover)

1 Like

I love the way you broke that down! Thank you for giving a beautifully educated voice to what we are all thinking.
In addition… get rid of inactives, and that includes beta testers.

1 Like