What is game balance?

moz-moz- 2013-12-14 06:50:03
I've been meaning over the years to sit down and spew my thoughts on competitive fps game play onto hapless/interested readers. Well what do you know, here is a shiny new esports heaven —  so new motivation dear future readers.

Rattlesnk's article open letter definitely helped spur this along, so without further adieu, how are we trying to accomplish game balance as a competitive community? Over the course of playing competitive games over multiple titles, "balance the %^&ing game" tends perpetually rear its ugly head. What does this usually mean?

-Adjust the weapons (damage, accuracy, fire rates, cool down periods, recoil, and spread)
-Accessibility of resources (Everyone is buying an awp on 24/7 dust II and I keep force buying an ump. This game is soooo broken)
-Timings & movement (Movement speeds, fluidity of movement, bunny hopping, hit box distortion like crouch spamming)
-Competitive Spirit (Pixel aiming if you are familiar with the battlefield series)
-"Fix this shit because I can't figure it out. I used my mom's credit card, so I demand satisfaction!"

Players will generally complain about most of these factors until the dev teams magically find the correct settings where said player isn't sitting on the bottom of the scoreboard anymore. All of the listed factors are items that are usually directly tied to WASD and your mouse. However, I feel there are other options in play.

-Maps (Layout, Environmental Items, Environment design)
-Player interaction

If you made it this far, this is probably where I begin being flamed. We could accomplish two goals through maps: Diversity in weapons and quit watching inferno being played 24/7 at Dreamhack. Valve could ease in by creating at least one map with more close quarters bombsites. Weapons not normally used become viable past round 3 such as smgs and shotguns. No awp you say?! Bullshit this is counterstrike! P90 aside, it wouldn't hurt to have a map where buying strategies and viable weapons are a little different. Let's not dwell on weapons though, as this was the whole point of this blog.

We all have our opinions on the new mirage, but it has had such a positive influence on the creation of map design. The documentation by Valve was phenomenal and we can all see the changes in Volcano's maps such as brightened wall textures at conflict zones. Ramps have also been included so we don't get stuck on stupid boxes. So let's mess with some of that layout and scale.

As for items, I hope the next update includes throw-able chickens. No more rapid shoulder peaking to fake out awpers! We can bind the "k" key to kick a chicken and the poor creatures tumbles across the scoped awper's screen. You thought swag's pistol throw was cool…I sense a new highlight clip. All kidding aside, we have been using environmental items over the years and probably just don't notice it anymore in game. Prairie dogging the ladder vents on nuke and spamming the use key on doors come to mind. I can remember people shooting barrels on dust 2 to block doors (Yes I was that guy). It's really about giving us options with currently existing assets in game while minimally touching gun values.

Player interaction can warrant way too many words, so I'll spare you on that. Flame on.

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