Official Forumwarz Blog

The official blog for the web game, Forumwarz

Game Balance Changes

Balancing a game like Forumwarz is hard.

When Episode 1 was released, I did all the balancing by hand. I would literally start the game over with a new member of each class, and progress them all simultaneously, updating the difficulty of the forums and attacks as I went along.

As you can probably imagine, this is a horrible way to do things. Even if I played through the game 10 times with each class (which by the way is exhausting), that would still only be about 30 trial runs. As a result, the Emo Kid was horribly overpowered compared to the other two classes at launch.

For Episode 2, I created a bot that played the game overnight. It worked great while the episode was being developed behind closed doors, but it’s no where near as effective as collecting data off the live site. This is what I’m currently doing to balance the differences between the 5 major classes.

I’m lucky that Forumwarz gets a decent amount of traffic these days, so I can collect a lot of data very quickly. In fact, people attack forums so often that were I to log the results of every attack it would slow down the server (and eat up a ton of disk space.) A solution to this might be to queue up the logs in a buffer and flush them when it reached a current threshold, but I opted for something much simpler: I only save logs randomly. I have a simple helper function called maybe (It’s a one liner, click here to view it and an example). maybe will only execute the block of code I pass it if a randomly generated number is above a certain threshold.

In other words, you currently have about a 1/10 chance of the results of your attacks being logged. This keeps the server running smoothly and honestly generates more than enough data in a short time frame.

Once I have the data, I run some SQL to show me it in a useful format:

(note this table just started collecting data and that explains the large discrepancies — the average level 5 emo is doing much more damage)

Once you have a good dataset, it’s really easy to see whose attacks are doing more damage than others. At this point, what I do is change the attributes of one attack, commit it, and gather data again to see if it improved things. This goes on for a long period of time until I am more or less happy with the distribution.

Over the next little while I am going to be making changes to balance out the various classes. You will probably notice that some of your abilities are slightly improved or nerfed. Feel free to point out anything that is way out of whack, but the best thing you can do to help is to just play the game as you normally would so I can collect your information :)

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Written by eviltrout

November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

Posted in Home, News

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10 Responses

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  1. Now I wish I hadn’t burned all of my Camwhore’s visits today. Ah well.

    Invariel

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  2. Big Brother is watching you D:

    Rastanarcharismarx

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  3. Any early words on which of my characters are gonna get the bat? (I have one of each class)

    Bird

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  4. Does it only collect average damage? What about total hits to pwn a forum? There you’ll see how emos are now the severely underpowered class.

    Canadian Kitten

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  5. Yeah, emos get the short end of the stick in comparison to all but Permanoob, which should be last as a challenge class usually is.

    I know that it’s a rarity for my emo to get a lemon scoop at all on the higher level forums (27+) even at 35 in a purely offensive build. Perhaps the overall damage loss modifier could be toned down in favor of powering up the standard base power?

    And really, what is with Camwhores getting their best 2 skills with only 1 refresh? And both have more base power than the best emo skill, Everybody Hurts, which only has a base power of 200? When even shock sites has that and a refresh of 1 (not to mention that they also get political flamebait) Emo is the only class without a 300 power skill barring the permanoob, and it’s just silly to suggest that we should utilize our lower HP damage increase. It takes too many turns to efficiently hurt yourself to be considered for speedruns.

    I know there is likely a camwhore justification in that they have less sexiness than an emo does tears, but with the advent of both books and surgeries, there is no need for consumables anyways.

    tl;dr: Emos need balance kthx.

    Master_Troll

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  6. Camwhores are fine, Trolls are fine now, Emos need buffs, Hackers need a Offense nerf.

    Frsn

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  7. I was going to suggest raising the price on the Hacker surgery kit, but you already did it. Nice one. Glad I bought mine two days ago.

    mungbean

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  8. Just an offense nerf? my could pretty trivially match my troll’s defense and beat his offense. It’s about caught up in level at this point and with weaker moar files vastly is superior for speedrunning and killing things. Sure, the troll has way more staying power, but staying power hasn’t been an issue with hackers since <10 forums.

    KindFearlessLeader

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  9. @Rastanarcharismarx:Yes, he is.

    Big Brother

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM

  10. I’d enjoy more variety with the Hacker: more buffs/debuffs. I’ve noticed that my hacker is progressing faster than my Camwhore did, but part of that was making sure I farmed up a couple +Processing Power .moar files at levels 10 and 20, leaving me 4 equipment slots to fill with High Speed Cables.

    Frankly, though, I don’t feel like I have the power of a Camwhore, who can self-heal, shrug off attacks with ease, and then destroy a forum as fast as you can click her two best abilities.

    I noticed things like the Endopatch and the early camwhore skill Work It, and it made me wonder if we’re going to see more standard MMO fare in Episode 3: DoTs, HoTs, Buffs, Debuffs, things like that. It would make sense for a Hacker to be a Debuff monster, given that trolls can buff, camwhores selfheal, and Emo kids get their own funky mechanics.

    If Emo Kids are complaining about not being able to speedrun forums, how about a cheap self-mutilation surgery or Unequippable Item that starts them at half health?

    DODurden

    November 18, 2008 at 5:12 PM


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