Should You Wait to Fix Bugs That Contribute to Balancing?

One thing I’m interested in, and sometimes amazed with, is the timing of certain bugfixes. Normally you would think that fixing stuff is a no-brainer. In case something is broken in the game, or not working as intended, the timing hardly matters, because a fix usually improves the situation. The devs still frequently have to defend certain changes as “necessary”, because the immediate impact seems to be exclusively negative. A classic example of such an occasion is the fix to Weapon Enchantments that came with Module 13. In case you somehow missed that one, enchantments now only proc once per power use. Before the fix, certain encounters could multi-proc enchantments, and that’s no longer the case.

It’s a Necessary Bugfix

First of all, I don’t want to challenge the legitimacy of the change. Powers interacting with enchantments differently is indeed an issue. It makes balancing that much harder because you have to account for an additional factor. Secondly, the list of enchantments that got hit is rather short. The two mentioned the most are the Unparalleled Plague Fire Enchantment and the Unparalleled Lightning Enchantment. While stacks of Plague Fire are now a little harder to maintain, Lightning suddenly lost a lot of its viability for some builds.

Although the ramifications are rather small, I still don’t get why the devs don’t tackle such systems as a whole. Even though multi-proccing was an issue, it didn’t exactly lead to specific builds being overpowered. It was actually quite the contrary as it did make a wider range of enchantments viable. Don’t players now have even less options for their builds in a system that already only featured very few enchantments that actually made sense? You probably have a point by saying that the bug actually contributed to balancing to some degree.

What Was the Downside of Keeping the Bug?

I mean, what would have been the downside of delivering the fix in the next bigger overhaul of the enchantment system? I can’t think of much to be honest. You could probably reason that the devs need squash bugs to be able to gather valid data on the state of a game. But if a change doesn’t “fix” any imbalances and only adds more, it’s still a net negative for players. A similar example was fixing the Owlbear Cub multi-proccing issue a while ago. Again, it was technically a bug, but should have been delivered within a greater change. Because all it did was to further hurt DPS Warlocks that actually needed a buff at that point. There was zero gain and a lot of pain.

This leads us back to our titular question: Should you even deliver those kind of “bugfixes”? Usually such changes should improve the game, or balancing, or the situation of players to some degree. But in case it doesn’t and only has negative ramifications? Should you still fix it because it’s a bug or wait for a better timing?


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j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

3 thoughts on “Should You Wait to Fix Bugs That Contribute to Balancing?

  • March 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm
    Permalink

    Well it is just misplaced. Such bugfixes are necessary. Like the gf + survivors wrasps thing or pvp op + thunderhead. But those bugs live on while the ‘weak’ classes got further nerfs. Even those nerfs wouldn’t be too bad if they came with additional balancing. But you’re totally right that ‘fixing’ stuff without regarding class balance only makes things worse.

    Reply
  • March 10, 2018 at 4:21 pm
    Permalink

    Bugs that benefit players but hurt the company are addressed immediately.
    EG, if spending Zen on the Zen Market cost you only 10% of the listed Zen, or if buying Zen with cash gave you 10x as much Zen as you were paying for, they would shut down the services for emergency maintenance.

    Bugs that benefit some players and hurt others but do not hurt the company are ignored, or handled incompetently after considerable time. This is what we most often see.
    EG GWFs constantly moaning that they should always have highest dps by default, regardless of gear or build; classes with high burst damage or consistently high default damage doing better than classes that need to build up DoT damage. In a meta where a boss can be destroyed in seconds, having rely on “bugs” in order to compete became par for the course.

    Bugs which benefit some players to the detriment of others but also benefit the company are ignored for years on end.
    EG, a Lostmauth set doing buffed damage instead of weapon damage on a crit, and also multi-proccing. For years, that set cost many miillions of AD on the Auction House and many, many people spent cash on Zen in order to trade for AD and buy that set. It was only finally fixed when demand and cost dropped, and they wanted to make way for newer, more powerful artifact sets in the incoming meta.

    They finally dig out that one, delicate little peanut from the depths of the ground of the code and wonder how are they going to open that thin, fragile shell to get at the nut inside.

    So they give a 24 lb sledge hammer to an Olympic gold medal Shot Putter and

    SMASH!!

    Every. Single. Time.

    And yet, certain ranks of weapon and armour enchants still do not work as intended at all. Some racial features do not work properly.

    Etc.

    Reply

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