Your thoughts on class balance

Discussion in 'Team Fortress 2 Talk' started by General_Norris, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. General_Norris

    General_Norris L2: Junior Member

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    Because I'm sure the discussion level here is much higher than in the Steam Forums.


    Now, if I were to make a "tier list" of some kind I would say that the following classes are perfectly fine:

    Demoman
    Soldier
    Medic
    Scout
    Sniper

    Then those three need very little to be at the same level:

    Heavy
    Pyro
    Spy

    The Engineer is last beacuse he is more situational and has not been upgraded yet.

    Now, the "competitive classes" are no surprise to anyone but probably some are surprised with the Heavy and the Pyro being just slightly underpowered instead of "crappy classes" or similar.

    I think that if the Heavy could reach the middle point of the map faster he would see a lot more play specially in maps like Granary that suit him well. Right now he is going to be 6 seconds later to the party which is way too much. You risk a lot by not having that extra player in the middle fight and probably that limits his potential a lot.

    Giving him the GRU or similar would make him a far better choice for comp play. I don't think the class needs anything else but that.

    Now, the Pyro seems more surprising but he is not as bad as it's usually thought. The skill curve resembles more stairs than a curve so it's hard to see good Pyro players. It's not just airblasting but flare prediction and rocket jumping.

    I think that giving him a faster airblast rate would shake up things a bit. The Pyro will be a good class against Soldiers and Demoman but he's still weak to Scouts and two soldiers/demo at once so he will not ruin te competitive format. Think about a very good Pyro who can reflect everything a soldier shoots at him. Nice but he is not going to singlehandely win the battle because they are going to be in pairs and use bullets. I think this will make the Pyro a very good class to have around but not a "must have" in any way.

    Given him a faster airblast leads to more teamwork because you sacrifice the raw power and versatility of a Scout for more planed strategies.

    Those slight upgrades would make Heavies and Pyros more common but they will not change the metagame a lot. That's good, I don't want to see Heavies so powerful that they are useful in Badlands or Pyros capable of killing the combo alone.

    The Spy is pretty much fine with the new Death Ringer. I think the problem with the class is more skill than anything. I know of a Spy that single-handedly owned our combo when we played against them but most would not be capable of pulling that of.

    Perhaps the best way of making the Spy more viable would be a camera. This way you could prepare ambushes and give important information to your allies. In pub play it won't change much and in comp play some teams may want to sacrifice the defensive power of a strong class for him. Tranquilizer guns and such do not lead t o the same level of teamwork and I don't think they fully solve the problem.

    He will still be situational and rarely played but it makes no sense to run lots of Spies in small teams. If they were played a lot it would probably mean that the class was unbalanced. This would make it so that good spies can be played from time to time, which is a worthy goal.

    The Engineer is currently in a balance nightmare. Any class will destroy SG by peeking around a corner unless the engineer is wacking it off. And sooner or later he will run out of metal and die.

    This is the main problem of the class. Your sentry is useless if you are not right behind it and you are useless if you are behind your sentry instead of being credit to team. In the end you can't count of him to defend against a single individual.

    A higher fire-power would do nothing to help to balance the class because that is not the problem. Builing times are not the problem either. Engineers are ill-fitted for 5CP play because they are defensive classes. That's not bad. The goal should be to make them more viable in CTF and AD.

    Now I think that what he needs is something to make him more able to defend his sentry alone but he should not be able to hold a team without an ubercharge. I would say he should be able to take 1.8 enemies so as to compensate his reliance on buildings and situationality.

    Given him a more powerful weapon is not the answer either because that would just turn him into a crappy Scout. I think the answer would be similar to the TFC grenade he had but not with damage but with something that makes him need his teamates but at the same time to make his teammates need him.

    I have been pondering about a weapon-stun grenade that lasts for three seconds. He can use that to defend himself and help his team but he will not be able to protect him from a good deal of enemies and he will need his team around because 3 seconds is not enough time so as to do a lot of damage.

    Aggresive Ingeniering doesn't work in comp play because Soldiers will just tank the damage from a level 2 sentry and destroy it. They will not get caught off-guard and will return to cover once they realize they are fired. This means that the class will not be solved by skill. It's sad but I tried and failed, against skilled opponents the class is useless except in some very specidic maps and places.

    So, what do you think?

    And yes, wall of text.
     
  2. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    This discussion has been had plenty of times, and usually concludes along the lines of that classes perform better under certain conditions. The limited player count for comp matches means that certain conditions do not occur that make the heavy, spy and engineer very effective. But for public play these conditions do arise, and balance the classes. One might call the circumstance "crowd control".

    If you end up making a more powerful weapon for a class in comp play, the ramifications for public play are probably even more significant.

    The spy performs better when there are A: a lot of players to hide as/within B: a lot of static defences to sabotage and C: more ally players to distract from their own significance.

    Obviously, the spy's significance will only ever be limited in comp play. Once he is discovered, his effectiveness is also reduced. With a lack of engineer equipment to badger and reduced capacity to hide amongst the enemy, other than for the advantage of surprise he isn't really going to be a firm choice.

    We all know about the heavies speed issue. His speed isn't the problem in public play. Addressing it with a new item like the GRU is fine, but it also means he can't survive a headshot, nor take as much damage. Which is the heavies significance as a class.

    Without more than 1 medic or friendly heavy to apply a significant HP presence, he will not work the same in comp as he does in public play. He's still only 1 step above the static sentry. He's sacrificing his major advantage for a minor convinience.
     
  3. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    That's why you have a mic. As much as I like the idea of turning the Camerabeard into a functional slot two item (come on, you're all thinking it), making it workable would be very tricky. Who would see the signal, and where? The HUD is out of the question, especially if there's more than one camera spy on the team.
     
  4. lana

    aa lana Currently On: ?????

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    They're all balanced. Especially the engineer. In a world where everyone else has updated, the engineer is still a very strong class. Level three sentries are typically a huge advantage for one team and he can build sentry guns on the front lines to push enemies back. He is not situational, he's just an acquired taste.
     
  5. Malcolm

    Malcolm L3: Member

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    The balance is just fine.

    I don't think that there are many issues Valve has to solve atm. Of course there might be some crucial points, but those are a matter of point of view. Valve did a terrible good job on balancing the 9 classes.
     
  6. Tapp

    Tapp L10: Glamorous Member

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    Pure, golden quote material.
     
  7. absurdistof

    aa absurdistof

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    I find whenever I think about this it's when I'm getting fairly owned, so I don't find balance a huge issue.
     
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  8. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    I find that balance issues arise mostly from how rigidly people play some classes.

    Take the Heavy for instances. Most people play the heavy as a sentry really. "Run forward. See Enemy. Spin up and shoot". Even the "most advanced" of Heavies I've seen, the crushing majority just add to that "jump from a corner spinning to instantly shoot".

    It is soooo rare to see a Heavy using his shotgun... Why? For it's 300 base health, the Heavy kills almost any enemy with his shotgun faster than they kill him. He more than doubles most classes's health and the shotgun is only slightly weaker than most main weapons... Which means the Heavy CAN actually go toe to toe with most classes shotgunning. But most people completely disregard their shotgun and run with the minigun alone. Both Sasha and Natascha are good weapons, definitely good to use it while turning a corner or if you expect close range combat, but if you need to get moving either miniguns are just... Not meant for that. The minigun is meant to clear small rooms and hallways. it's a suppression tool, not a scouting tool.

    You'd be surprised how many people die befuddled to me as a Heavy because I use my shotgun. Scouts forget I dwarf their 125 hp, Soldiers keep waiting to kite me around cover and need a doubletake when I rush them with a shotgun (which makes avoiding rockets or "rocket jumping" off them way easier), Demomen were waiting for a slow moving target to unload stickies and grenades on, etc.

    For all the advantages the Sandvich has, it's an heavily defensive tool, and the loss of the shotgun greatly subtracts from the Heavy's adaptability, would be like removing the Scout's ability to jump entirely.

    The Engineer suffers from a similar issue that people keep expecting a sentry nest to be impenetrable so long as the engie's sitting there tanking, regardless of what's thrown at them... This is absurd. That's not what sentries are, nor can they be lest you'd want a totally imbalanced class.

    I've said this before. Sentries should be considered "expendable gunbuddies". Even a level 1 sentry is devastating, but odds are it won't survive long by itself. The Engineer's power comes from being able to quickly multiply his power and range. Drop a sentry here, run off across the room, and suddenly anything that dares cross the path gets ganked from both sides. And sentries never miss.

    A good engineer behaves a bit like a sniper. Follow your team slightly behind and hold important points by dropping a sentry and dispenser. Both of these things should be considered expendable, and if someone's going to destroy them, so be it, just make sure you're shooting them while they're busy shooting your sentry. They can't take you both.

    Then again, a lot of the engineer's problems come from it's team. People have come to expect a solo engie to hold off an entire team... Which honestly is surreal. No one class can hold off entire teams by itself unless the other team sucks. However if a team is working together an engineer can be a defensive pillar that's extremely difficult to break.

    Spies tend to equally suffer from the Heavy's issue of "I only have a main weapon!". People think the only way to off someone is with the knife, completely disregarding the invaluable, accurate, revolver that can 3-shoot most classes. Very few people are even aware that, given the right accuracy, a Spy can go toe to toe with a Scout.
    Spies do get nerfed slightly in comp play though, since in comp play generally the team members are always talking and know each other very well, so disguises are very, very limited.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  9. General_Norris

    General_Norris L2: Junior Member

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    Oh, no. What I mean is that the Spy can see what happens in his camera (And tell, if we wants to).

    Imagine something like the sapper with a screen on it, that could be the receptor. All you need is to see when they are coming, so you don't need a lot of detail.

    The idea behind the camera would be making it easier for a Spy to prepare an ambush with a reduced number of players and to help their team. The Spy tends to be a bit Solo-Fortress unless there are sentries to sap so this will make him better at teamworking.

    Ah and don't get me wrong, the game is very well balanced but it's not perfect. And in low-level play they are fine. However once you start playing with good players the distance between the classes grows a lot bigger.

    I think we can reduce that distance while, at the same time, keeping the balance at low level play.

    This is, for example, why I don't think that a faster spinning rate for a sentry would be good. It would be fine for comp play but it will make engineeers in public games overpowered.

    Now if this can be done, why not do it? Yes, pubbers will not care but a sizable part of the playerbase will. If you can use more classes in comp play then it's a better competitive enviroment and thus a better game.

    We won't see 2 engineers in comp play anytime soon but a Heavy or a Pyro is something that can be done, so why not do it?

    Do you think anything I mentioned breaks the class or affects way too much pub play?

    EDIT: I didn't see the post above me because we wrote it at the same time. I will check it later, sorry.

    I disagree very strongly with your thoughts on shotgun use. I don't use it at all because I don't think there's any encounter where you will want to use the shotgun instead of the minigum. It has 1 sec spin up time, yes but it deals far more damage. If you have enough health so as to use the shotgun, you have enough health so as to use the minigun.

    You are not going to dodge a lot even if you move to full speed with good players around. With the minigun I can kill an aware demoman before he can shoot his third grenade, wih the shotgun I risk death because it takes far more time to kill him and any demoman worth his kilt will hit me.

    This becomes even more obvious if you have a medic around. Why would you use the shotgun if you have the minigun? The spin-up time is the only problem and you can solve that by prediction and your enormous amount of HP.

    Also if you are alone and you lack the sandvich you are not going to have 300HP for long forcing you to camp medikits. With it you can use it anytime you know the nemy will take 4 seconds or more to get you. Given the distances in the battlefield you can appear behind a corner, kill one, eat and be ready when they are going around the very same corner. Takes practise and lots of prediction but it works.

    Not to say most Heavies play well or that most Pyros know how to use the airblast, and I respect your gameplay but not using the shotgun is very viable and, in my opinion, better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  10. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    And that's why you think the Heavy is underpowered.

    Here's a little statistical data:

    Heavy has 300 health.
    Shotgun deals 6 damage (before ramp up/fall of) per pellet, and fires 10 pellets, totalling 60 damage per shot. Shoots once every 0.625 seconds, which means it deals in average 96 damage per second. That's at medium range, providing you don't miss. At close range that spikes up to 144 damage a second.

    The Demoman has 175 health and will deal 120 damage per shot, shooting once every 0.6 seconds, dealing an average of 200 damage a second.
    At medium range grenades are absurdly easy to avoid if you're using your shotgun and moving around, so that's not even an issue. At close range (assuming he comes out of a corner and none of you miss) It'll take the Demoman 1.5 seconds to kill you.

    It takes you 1.2 seconds to kill him assuming he does not damage himself. Less if he does.

    If you're spinning your minigun you're a sitting duck, meaning he can simply kite you around cover. You're easy to hit directly with pipes at any distance and you don't move fast enough to hit him.

    What about a soldier you ask?

    Soldier has 200 health, and does an average of 90 damage per rocket (before ramp up/fall of), and can shoot every 0.8 seconds totaling 112.5 damage per second. It takes the soldier 2.7 seconds to kill you.

    It takes the Heavy 2.1 seconds to shotgun him down (at mid range).

    I'm not even counting the fact that one can easily avoid direct rocket hits at mid range. You can't avoid "direct hit" rockets, but even with the Direct Hit the soldier still takes 2.1 seconds to kill the Heavy... Exactly the same the Heavy takes to kill him. And this would be the Heavy's biggest direct concern, AND projectiles are easier to avoid than hitscan weapons.

    ... Need I go on?

    The shotgun is such an horribly underrated weapon... The minigun is good to clear out areas, go "sweeper style", but it's also extremely easy to avoid as it forces an already slow character into an horribly slow gait. The Shotgun allows you to keep mobility.

    And it works beautifully.
     
  11. Tapp

    Tapp L10: Glamorous Member

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    Mind=blown.
     
  12. absurdistof

    aa absurdistof

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    ^ Hardcore data ftw
     
  13. MrAlBobo

    MrAlBobo L13: Stunning Member

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    Wow...that...is the first post ive seen you make that I agree 100%

    Personally I want an option to replace either the shotgun or the minigun with the sandvich...as someone who plays engie alot, in the manner you expressed here. I well know just how deadly the shotgun is. But its just so difficult to give up the sandvich...

    Eh...theres alot of weapons id love to see on classes with more hp. The pistol can also do a respectable amount of damage.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010
  14. absurdistof

    aa absurdistof

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    That it can, I've been caught off guard as a spy like that one too many times :S

    :D Wooo 600 posts
     
  15. General_Norris

    General_Norris L2: Junior Member

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    Mmm, no? I never mentioned that I had any problems against Demomen or Soldiers, in fact those are the easiest to kill classes for me. The only "fix" I mentioned is concering the initial rush to the mid fight.

    So no, it's a strawman, sorry. All I said is that you can ignore the Shotgun because you can use the Minigun to do the same.


    According to TF2Wiki this is not true.

    Medium Range: 10-30
    DPS(damage per second): 17-50

    Medium Range is the distance between the resupply door and the wall in front of it in 2Fort.

    Also you assume no pellets miss something that will happen no matter how well you aim.

    The Demoman has 175 health and will deal 120 damage per shot, shooting once every 0.6 seconds, dealing an average of 200 damage a second.

    You are still a big, slow target and the Demomen I play with do not have a lot of problems hitting me. They are the ones that hit Scouts mid air so I'm not going to be special.

    Against your average player yes, you can do that. Against good demomen, I don't think so. However it's true that if you manage to avoid a single grenade the Demoman is dead no matter what weapon you are using.

    No if you kill him before he finds cover. Play in your field, not in his. You don't need to go after him if you can't, predict when he is going out and kill him.

    It takes the soldier 2.7 seconds to kill me, I use one of those seconds to spin up and the rest to kill him. Most of the time he is dead in less than half a second and if not, I can use my Sandvich to heal myself because I will not take 2.7 seconds to kill him with the Minigun.

    The same thing apply to the Demoman. In my previous post I said "I can kill the Demoman with the minigun before he shoots his third grenade". Which is exactly the same results you achieve.

    However now consider that you face the enemy combo in competitive play. With the shotgun, you die, with he Minigun you kill both. Everytime you are faced with two enemies your chances of winning are nil with the shotgun but you can kill them with the minigun.

    I agree

    The thing is, if I spin down the minigun I kill whatever is there and then leave, I don't need to crawl because there are no longuer any enemies.

    I get similar scores on both maps as do the other two good Heavies in my server. Unfortunatedly I don't have any screenshots at hand. I was going to link you to HLXstats but my scores have been greatly erduced by playing classes that I don't play well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010
  16. Caliostro

    Caliostro L6: Sharp Member

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    You're playing against shitty players then.

    Demoman and Soldiers are the Heavy's biggest threats on the battlefield (besides sniper and spy, which honestly affect pretty much everyone equally, and are still a bigger threat to a spun-up heavy due to how slow he is) due to massive damage output and indirect damage ability. If you're using the shotgun it should be pretty obvious any 125 class isn't much of a problem, considering they have less than half of your health and none of them has a weapon that deals twice your dps.


    According to TF2Wiki their own info is wrong. For instances, at midrange there's no fall off or ramp up, and there's certainly no 50% fall off (which maxes out at 1024 units), so it can't ever do 10-30 per shot unless you're missing most of the shot. They also have Pipe bombs with 120 damage (which is their base damage, and pipe's don't suffer from fall off or ramp up, instead have their damage instantly reduced if they hit a surface) yet in their "damage" list it never even reaches 120 damage.

    You can account for "spread", but that goes both ways really. So if you want to consider you'd miss half the pellets in a particular shotgun shot, you'd have to consider the scout would do the same, or that the soldier would only hit you with splash damage, which sort of halves their damage... etc.

    Ok, here's a long kept secret of all projectile weapons: Projectile weapons require travel time.

    Let it sink in for a second. It means that the player aims, shoots, and there's a time between firing and hitting. Depending on that time and on how fast you move, there's a distance after which the firer can only guess where you're going, and whether it hits or not is entirely up to you maintaining the movement pattern your opponent "guesstimated".

    Pipe bombs are particularly slow projectiles and have a very small "effective range", which is hugely boosted by a spun-up heavy's crawl. For comparison's sake, a normal heavy moves at 230 units per second, while a spun up heavy moves at 80. 80 is the same speed a crouched Soldier moves at. When spun up, pretty much anything can hit him from pretty much anywhere at pretty much anytime. Moving normally, medium range is enough to avoid direct grenade hits.


    Which is valid when you surprise your opponents in close/medium open spaces. If there's any cover around, and keeping in mind the heavy isn't exactly the most inconspicuous of characters that can easily sneak around unnoticed, and that the spinning minigun does enough noise to startled the dead on the other side of the continent, that first second where you're doing no damage at all, is enough allow people to get behind cover, after which they can take 20 years to kill you because kitting minigun-only heavies around cover is pretty much safe.


    And if you're close to him you should.

    But if you're not by the time you spun up and chewed through half his life he'll already be behind cover, and you'll be living on borrowed time if you refuse to use your shotgun.

    Your sandvich will cause you to sit in place for 4 seconds with a loud "OMNOMNOM". If you're not dead by the end of it one of three things happened: a) Your team is controlling that area, in which case you could have grabbed healthpacks to regen too, albeit slower
    b) You ran back to your base, which, considering travel times, put you out of commission for no longer than 7 - 10 seconds. Might as well die and respawn at that point.
    c) The enemy team is profoundly incompetent.

    The sandvich is good while defending, but it aggressively limits your role in the battlefield.

    At close range yes, but as we ascertained close range is the minigun's domain. My post was meant to show that even at close range the shotgun is more than capable of dealing with anything. At medium range it's the difference between you always been able to hit the demo and the demo never being able to hit you except through random luck.

    I'd call it a big thing.


    Conjecture.

    Statistical evidence points towards the exact opposite - UNLESS you surprise them in a medium open environment, where the minigun shines.

    "Head on", and assuming equal skill, odds are the numerical advantage always wins... But you have a better chance using both weapons that only using the minigun, hands down.


    I'm assuming you meant "spin up". If you spin down your minigun you'll have to spin it back up again to kill anything.

    That said, that's fine, as I've said a million times before, if you're sweeping a small space with little cover. Otherwise you're either playing with mentally defective people who fail to understand the concept behind "motion" or you're not gonna do that much damage.

    But hey, don't believe me. The less heavies I see using a shotgun the less I have to deal with. Spun up heavies aren't much of an issue for me, and sanvich eating heavies are like christmas - free kill!

    That said, I agree that the GRU would be a most welcome addition by now. Not because of balance issues, but simply because "making a run for it" as a Heavy in some maps can be painful, specially if you just arrived to the battle and died of a random crit tossed around.

    Also I totally didn't see you included pyros as "underpowered"... Not really. They just have a weirder difficulty curve. They're very easy to "get any kills" with (picking scraps mostly), but they're difficult to get "normal high skill" with, but once you master them they're very adaptive, and almost entirely impervious to projectiles.
     
  17. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Moral of the story is shotgun=good, sandwich=bad.

    It took people this long to realise how redundant the sandwich is? Atleast it heals 100% now rather than 30%, and dropping it is handy but no one does it still because it doesn't recharge like most throwables.
     
  18. General_Norris

    General_Norris L2: Junior Member

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    This thread is not about using shotgun or not, so I prefer to leave it to another place. I respect your loadout, don't critize mine and don't say "You play against terrible players" because I can say the same thing, that your oponents suck.

    I will gadly see you with a shotgun, more kills for me.

    So since this is not SPUF, I don't want to get into an e-penis fight so leave this for other thread because we are derailing it. I will answer you in that thread or via PM if you want me to, but not here.

    I already said that. However I don't think they are almost impervious to projectiles. Seeing how their comp appeareance is limited to Badlands and little more there's reason to think they are slightly underpowered.
     
  19. Randdalf

    aa Randdalf

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    No class has been "upgraded yet" - the weapons are only sidegrades. Sure some may be considered "OP," but they're all generally well balanced.

    Technically, Engineer and Pyro have been upgraded - level 3 buildings and airblast.
     
  20. Thingy Person

    Thingy Person L1: Registered

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    Do you mean a buff can only be called an upgrade when it features new models or effects?