Nerfing without Integrity

lukejones77
lukejones77 Member, NW M9 Playtest Posts: 282 Arc User
edited May 2020 in General Discussion (PC)
We've just been through a patch that nerfed the wizard.
The patch change was listed under "Classes and Balance". It gave the gold standard for DPS, the Rogue, a little boost, and then claimed to fix the wizards with this:
"Wizard: Storm Spell is no longer incorrectly influenced by the player's Critical Strike chance, outside of its intended behavior (20% chance to trigger when the player critically strikes with certain powers)"
Many weren't sure what it would mean. It meant that Storm Spell is supposed to proc 20% of the time when you crit, and it was happening more often than that, based on the wizard's crit chance, so the proc chance is benig wound back to 20%.

Here's where all this lacks integrity:
- Nerfs have a very bad history in Neverwinter, the worst of which have caused massive player base exits.
- The change notes generally use the word "properly" to sell the idea that its a bug correction, rather than a nerf. In this case, the chosen wording is "no longer correctly influenced".
- The obvious correct fixes are to get class balance right. In this case, you can *choose* to change the tooltip and leave the powers alone, or you can *choose* to nerf the class.
- The backdrop to class balance is that wizards have had a set of nerfs since mod 16 (something did need to be done), and is now already under performing against the gold standard (the Rogue). I can't see anybody complaining that the wizard is over powered now, and I do see frequent complaints that it is behind.
- The above isn't the real integrity issue. The real issue is the ninja nerf that came along with it. Not only did the indicated lower proc rate come, they also quietly stopped Storm Spell from critting altogether.
- The thing about the silent crit nerf to Spell Storm is that the clear precedent is that procs inherit the crit status of their source. This does the opposite. There's just no way that you can implement this nerf and put "properly" or "no longer incorrectly" in the patch notes.
- For me, there's an integrity issue in the spirit of class balance too. Of all the things to spend time on doing "fixes", why do something like this? It's a big nerf to AOE, which is where wizards are already underperforming.
- Worse yet, this AOE hit makes the broken and discarded Thaumaturge paragon even less appealing. This is where the devs decided to go make a fix?

Ok. Not good. Why do I refer to it as an "Integrity" issue?
This got called out in the patch notes. Somebody thought it was a "fix" (probably not a wizard, understanding how gid a deal it is), and there were other responses agreeing that this is just not right. Most importantly, nothing from Cryptic. Ignored. There has been a precedent for responses in the past like "Ok. I'll get the devs to look into that" - but nothing here.

Next, I wait for the "Driftwood Tavern presents" twitch, because it's the perfect opportunity for Cryptic to explain. The Lead Designer is being interviewed, a guy with a reputation for awesome class balance intuition, and the "Why:" byline for the twitch is "Classes and Powers and Scaling on my!"
Perfect! The right people available at the right time, to explain what's going on and why.
Except for the outcome. Nothing. Nada. I watched the presenter constantly scanning the questions to put to the Lead Designer (who is the person responsible for these changes), and I watched different people ask about the nerf, calling it a bug. It all got ignored.



If you want to nerf with integrity, be open about the changes you make. Don't just advertise the bits that can be passed off as a "fix".
Let people know why you're doing it, especially when they feel they've already been nerfed enough recently, and are lagging behind.
Don't ignore them in forums and community-engaged twitch sessions.
Yeah, I get that few people bother with reading the forums these days, and the cost benefit of of going on the record for things that are unpalatable to players isn't there. If you want to nerf with integrity, though, that's what it takes.

Comments

  • arazith07
    arazith07 Member, NW M9 Playtest Posts: 1,441 Arc User
    To me the patch notes reads that Storm spell no longer crits, where before it was incorrectly modified by the player's crit. @thefabricant would know more for sure, or any of the other very knowledgeable wizards, but this doesn't seem to be a bug, hence why it wasn't addressed in the stream. The patch was fixing a bug. From what I know, wizards are still very competitive in dungeons, perhaps not with AoE, but they still have the single target which is what most look for if they are picky.
  • lukejones77
    lukejones77 Member, NW M9 Playtest Posts: 282 Arc User
    arazith07 said:

    To me the patch notes reads that Storm spell no longer crits, where before it was incorrectly modified by the player's crit. @thefabricant would know more for sure, or any of the other very knowledgeable wizards, but this doesn't seem to be a bug, hence why it wasn't addressed in the stream. The patch was fixing a bug. From what I know, wizards are still very competitive in dungeons, perhaps not with AoE, but they still have the single target which is what most look for if they are picky.

    No, that's not what the patch notes said. Here they are again:
    "Wizard: Storm Spell is no longer incorrectly influenced by the player's Critical Strike chance, outside of its intended behavior (20% chance to trigger when the player critically strikes with certain powers)"

    It's about how often its supposed to proc (20%, according to the tool tip, which is a lower value from a recent nerf).
    There are two quite different things:
    - How often Spell Storm procs from other things critting (meant to be 20%, not influenced by player crit chance, as it was).
    - Whether or not the Spell Storm itself crits.

    Well, the Spell Storm's ability itself to crit has now being put at 0%. This is not what the patch notes say.
    Even if you wanted to connect those two different things as being the same thing, you couldn't then give Spell Storm itself a 0% chance to crit. Further, there's nothing in the tool tip, or other precedent, to do that, whereas the patch note clearly claimed to be correcting as per the tooltip.

    I never claimed that wizards aren't competitive, and really appreciate that mod 16 brought a great framework for managing class balance. I'm appreciative that all classes are competitive enough these days for nobody to get left at home (as happened when ToNG landed, and also ToMM - but that was a ToMM design issue that wizards have now paid for in nerfs).

    My issue is that nerfing is still a problem, and should be handled with integrity. This is something like a major 9% hit in AOE, and there's no explicable reason for it.
    We grind our butts off for a long time, in a very grindy game, to scrounge a % of improvement here, and another % there. To wipe all that out, with a major nerf like that, is a slap in the face of players. Sometimes you need to take that slap for the sake of the game, and other times it makes no sense. When you get slapped in the face, the least you can demand is an explanation.
    Make no mistake, a change was needed, but the way the devs nerfed the wizard, after the bad ToMM design debarcle, was badly botched. This was an over-performing single target issue, but the nerfs included such wide ranging base hits, that they spilled over into parallel attempts to boost the flagging Thaumaturge paragon. Thaum boosts not only failed, they went backwards.
    You think there's been any kind of acknowledgement about this from the devs? Any kind of explanation, or indication of future fixes? There hasn't. Thaum just lies discarded by players and devs alike.

    What do we get as a fix to wizards when they spend some time looking at the class? A further nerf, aimed mostly at already flagging AOE - and it's a double whammy, worse than the published patch notes, which describes it as a fix.

  • nooneatza
    nooneatza Member Posts: 173 Arc User
    Ok, so, having lots of combatlogs, before the change if a wizard had 100k critical strike, his spell storm would crit 100% of the time, every time. That's what the change adressed and in my opinion the patch notes are accurate.

    Now while i agree that wizard lost a minuscule amount of damage due to the change (so you can call it a nerf), this isnt a reason to go all "hUrR dURR cw dead pls gib reroll class token cW dEAd cryptic lied to us".

    It's still right there around the top in single target dps, and somewhere lower in aoe. Same way barb is around the top in aoe, and slightly lower in single target.

  • lukejones77
    lukejones77 Member, NW M9 Playtest Posts: 282 Arc User
    nooneatza said:

    Ok, so, having lots of combatlogs, before the change if a wizard had 100k critical strike, his spell storm would crit 100% of the time, every time. That's what the change adressed and in my opinion the patch notes are accurate.

    Now while i agree that wizard lost a minuscule amount of damage due to the change (so you can call it a nerf), this isnt a reason to go all "hUrR dURR cw dead pls gib reroll class token cW dEAd cryptic lied to us".

    It's still right there around the top in single target dps, and somewhere lower in aoe. Same way barb is around the top in aoe, and slightly lower in single target.

    Two things quite wrong here.

    1. It's not miniscule. It's in the order of 9% of total damage, when you're running your AoE loadout. Storm Spell was a big component of wiz damage, and lowering the proc rate by such a large %, then taking away the crit damage off it as well, is anything but insignificant.
    If you're looking at something miniscule in your logs, you're almost certainly looking at a single target loadout.

    2. I stipulated quite clearly in the post above that the I'm not saying wizards aren't competitive (admittedly different post). What I complained about was the large wiping out of damage potential that players grind and test and work hard at to earn - in a single stroke, without reason. To describe that as "cw dead pls gib reroll class token" is misrepresentative and disingenuous.

  • thefabricant
    thefabricant Member, NW M9 Playtest Posts: 5,248 Arc User
    edited May 2020
    The changed made storm spell unable to crit. They didn't change the proc rate. It used to ignore enemy critical resistance and also ignore the critical chance cap.
  • rikitaki
    rikitaki Member Posts: 806 Arc User
    edited May 2020
    While I do not want to argue with OP about nerfing, integrity or such... I would like to bring up another issue: the class features and feats. Here you have one classical example - a slight change to a single feat brought immense consequences. A class should not stand on one thing alone, there should be versatility.

    Most of the feats/class features are completely useless, unnoticeable. Then there are those that make things actually work - aspects giving your char the edge.

    Give us a choice. Do not build everything on a single detail - and suddenly there will be an alternative option when the "corrections" backfire.
  • arazith07
    arazith07 Member, NW M9 Playtest Posts: 1,441 Arc User
    I don't play many classes, at least not since the M16 rework, but I was under the impression that skills that are procced shouldn't crit and that was them fixing and leveling the playing field.
  • rikitaki
    rikitaki Member Posts: 806 Arc User
    edited May 2020
    @arazith07: Depends - the SS ability to crit was specifically mentioned when introduced within a balance update.

    Anyway, this touch to SS seems likely to be a total miscommunication. One person is correcting what other person claimed is correct.

    Sincerely, all the touches to fix the Wizard's output are ridiculous.
    "OK, we have arcanist over-performing against single targets and uder-performing in AoE... what to do?" - "Nerf everything equally."
    "So, what about thauma? He under-performs in single target and is a beast against the trash?" - "Nerf the single target performance and boost his trash-cleaning abilities..."
    Like really, who the hell comes with those approaches?
  • lardeson
    lardeson Member Posts: 374 Arc User
    nooneatza said:

    Ok, so, having lots of combatlogs, before the change if a wizard had 100k critical strike, his spell storm would crit 100% of the time, every time. That's what the change adressed and in my opinion the patch notes are accurate.

    Now while i agree that wizard lost a minuscule amount of damage due to the change (so you can call it a nerf), this isnt a reason to go all "hUrR dURR cw dead pls gib reroll class token cW dEAd cryptic lied to us".

    It's still right there around the top in single target dps, and somewhere lower in aoe. Same way barb is around the top in aoe, and slightly lower in single target.

    Yes wizard still performs very well, but thats not an excuse to ignore all the bugs that actually make the class underperform. There have been several bugs reported, one of them being the 'fake' cd reduction times on arcanist where your encounters appear to be on cooldown but as always actually a few seconds behind and u just click for nothing and also results in you sometimes just forgetting to use an encounter. Also its been made aware that arcanist underperforms in aoe mainly due to the lack of ranged aoe abilities which makes 0 sense for a ranged class. Thaum on the other hand has been a complete mess since they tried to 'nerf' (destroyed it instead) it, making it only useful as a debuff paragon.

    Going back to the primary discussion, SS wasn't only 'fixed' but got nerfed at the same time and i believe it was unintended. The feature no longer crits, rarely procs on most encounters. In fact its main source of damage is now steal time and ray of frost, not even icy terrain can proc it as it used to. Also i find it to be a big deal considering almost every dps class feature on the wizard got reduced to half of their previous benefits in mod18.
    Lardeson CW not Mage. Where's my fireball and my thunderbolt?
  • sorcio2
    sorcio2 Member Posts: 33 Arc User
    edited May 2020
    yeap. main wizard here "DarudeOfTheSandstorm" and this was a nerf more than a fix. And you can t be like oh well lets "fix" wizards and make them worse when we get behind in aoe by a lot. We get behind everyone in aoe but if at least we were like the best at single i would be okay with it cause thats why you need diferent classes and alll that but when i see DC dps doing 7.6 milion with a skill i mean... DC dps just evaporates everything aoe and single... and as someone mentioned before we have that stupid cd bug for example and a lot more that they dont fix :p but if it is a fix that makes a class weaker oh boy lets work on it...
    on scaled content dont even try to be top dps... cause you wont be able too. im end gear lion set and i lose in scaled content to a sw or barb with like 40k power dif not counting power from the ebony armour and so on... you can only be competitive in lomm IC and tomm. Tomm is where wizards can shine the most and now with this nerf what i ve been doing is this swapp SS to APF when you are about to reach daily then after daily is finished swap to SS or even maybe use the arcane presence if you are running the chilling prensence ( i have not tested it cause im so tired of the game that i dont even wanna do tomm anymore) try it its not as easy and convenient to swap powers mid fight without losing some dps cause you need to chose the right time to do so but oh well what else can you do <.<