What Happens If You Nerf Everything?

coh[City of Heroes] Cryptic has announced an interesting change to City of Heroes enhancements. After the second, each enhancement of the same type will give less bonus.

Some brief background for those who have not played: each power in City of Heroes gets enhancement slots. You can fill these to improve various aspects of a power, such as its accuracy, damage, endurance cost, range, etc. Damage is king, so most damage powers get fully slotted with damage, or else one accuracy and the rest in damage. If you are a defensive class, you throw most of your slots into damage resistance or defense.

The obvious effect is to reduce damage, damage resistance, and defense. It will also reduce the top speed of all travel powers, eliminate perma-Hasten (all your powers come back faster), and reduce the endurance recovery of most heroes (6-slotted Stamina is pretty standard). Oh and heals, those will be weaker, too.

The change is named, “Enhancement Diversification.” This is an interesting way of increasing diversity, in that it provides no new options for the players, just making the most popular options worse. With one single, elegant change, it nerfs every popular way to build a character and punishes any attempt to specialize. While there are a few powers that people only two-slot or already slot diversely, this will hit everyone on almost every power that they considered worth slotting. It reduces everyone’s ability to do anything. Healers heal less, tanks take more damage, buffers have weaker buffs, debuffers have weaker debuffs, all damage dealers do less, and everyone spends more time waiting around for endurance because all the recovery powers were weakened in one fell swoop.

And this is before we even get numbers or a chance to try it on the test server. The only question is how severe of a nerf it will be.

In parting, I should toss in the line from the announcement that many have mentioned in the ~3000 posts (and climbing!) that follow it: “Your questions and comments will help refine the patch notes so that we can make this new system as clear as possible for all players.” This is not a request for feedback. Your comments and questions will help them explain this better.

: Zubon

12 thoughts on “What Happens If You Nerf Everything?”

  1. This also applies to powers which only accept one or two kinds of enhancements (like, say, many in the Invulnerability set). My only character is an Invulnerability/Super Strength tank, and after having my defenses take a dive after I5, they’re now due for another.

    Gee, thanks. I already wasn’t playing Hercules Jones much because the way I have to play him changed with I5 and it just didn’t much feel like the same character any more. Less effective? Sigh.

    I already pre-ordered City of Villains online, and you can’t cancel the pre-order once you’ve gotten the pre-order goodies, so I guess I’ll be sticking around for a while at least. I’ll play a villain with these rules active from the start, and see how things go.

  2. I played a fire tanker to the super fast level 40 and quit…. the game lacks and they missed out on the whole enhancement system. I never understood why it was there if you just cookie cuttered it down to the obvious choice.

  3. I’m thinking one of the underlying reasons for this change is to balance out player vs player when COH integrates with COV.

    (btw, I just cancelled both my COH accounts, and signed up two accounts with Eve Online. (thanks, you bastages, for forcing my hand! arrrgh) — now it’s just me trying to manage work, WoW, and figuring out Eve (which is VERY complicated (for an old fogie like me, anyway)))

    Oh, and thanks for having me on your Fave’s list. I’m actually also co-writer on another of your Faves (www.rofkahr.com), so my main blog is lagging a bit. Anyone from the WoW community, or KTR want to help a newb Eve’er?

  4. HA! I quit CoH after the last nerf because it was obvious that Statesman has no idea whatsoever on what is fun. Glad to see that the moron is confirming my beliefs.

  5. We should probably avoid insulting people who are trying to do what they think is best for the games they run. We won’t always agree with these decisions, but if you think the developers are working in bad faith, just leave the game and never look back. I suppose we might also disagree on whether it is worse to have developers who are malign, clueless, have a different sense of “fun,” or some combination of these.

    After all, we will probably see different audiences playing Toon Town, A Tale in the Desert, Shadowbane, and Final Fantasy XI. Not every game can be for everyone.

    With that out of the way, we have a Statesman quote to fuel those who want to argue clueless/malign/different “fun”: “We feel that the game ends up being more fun – players will learn the benefits of other types of Enhancements.” Similarly, powers that can slot only one type of enhancement “have an advantage in that they can use those extra slots on something else.” Yes, having a power nerfed so that enhancements are less useful gives you an advantage.

    For those who want to argue in favor of Cryptic developers, the change is being accompanied with a 12% (or 13.3%, depending on which developer you ask) reduction in endurance costs, to offset weakened Stamina. This benefits players of all levels, as well as those few builds that did not take Stamina. One might hope for similar boosts to base rates and powers based on this, although the answer on Hasten (“slot several Recharge Enhancements to compensate”) argues against this. There is also an unrelated halving of the debt cap.

    I think we all recognized that the game broke down in several ways at the highest levels, largely because you were godly once you had everything useful six-slotted. This is the same effect as high-level magic in D&D. Of course, that is a lot of what makes me feel like a superhero: launching the fireball that clears out a dozen enemies or laughing in the face of a horde of foes. I don’t feel like a superhero when I am equal to three minions or 1.5 lieutenants.

    They offset this post-40 by making the later villain groups vastly more powerful/cheap, say by making them CC-resistant, letting many see through invisibility, throwing around a lot of psychic damage, or taking all your endurance away in one shot. This led to players farming the higher-level versions of lower-level foes, notably werewolves and the Freakshow. While frequently fun, it was probably not for the best to have that many people farming Dreck continuously.

    (Since I have argued both sides here, I should note that this does not sound like something that will make the game more fun. There are ways that this could be made nerf-neutral, but it seems unlikely.)

  6. This is the exact reason I cancelled my COH account after this last nerf.Before I5 I felt paper thin as a Blaster but atleast I could deal real nice damage …. but now? pffft good riddence COH Hellooooooooooo Eve … I started playing Eve a few weeks ago and joined a real nice corp …. couldnt be happier.

  7. Me calling Statesman a moron is my opinion of him based on his actions. Numerous people have pointed out that the game is called City of Heroes, not City of Slightly Above Minions in the Scheme of Things.

    The constant nerfs in CoH have gotten to be ridiculous. Nerfs are not fun, everyone knows that. Sometimes they are required, but the sheer scale and number of the nerfs in CoH make it now a far different, and in my opinion less fun game. Why on earth would you do that to your customers if you aren’t a complete moron? The only customers you will keep are the people who feel like they have sunk so much time into their characters that they are willing to put up with the reduction in power from super hero to something close to a minion.

    My friends and I at work nearly always eat out once a week. One time we went to somewhere we had been before and they had up a sign “Check Our Our New Menu!”. Yeah, great guys, same menu, 10% more expensive. City of Heroes under Statesman feels like that restaurant every time they bring out a new issue “Here some more content! %50 reduction in power for all!”.

    How that is fun? How does that makes people feel like a super hero? It isn’t fun, and it doesn’t make them feel like a super hero.

  8. I was in the CoH beta. I won’t be in the CoV beta.

    CoH, the game where the beta never ends. Grand, sweeping, constant changes, so that your character is never the same from issue to issue, heck, from month to month.

    I have no clue why CoH has a playerbase, still. Fantastic game, really, but the way the devs treat the game, and the players, well, at least EVE is still fun.

  9. Abalieno has some good comments on this topic, so I’m tossing a link out in case anyone is still following this line of thought. ‘Cause, hey, I occasionally check comments from a week-old post.
    http://www.cesspit.net/drupal/node/933
    Wow, we’re even linked in there. Does it make me a blogging newb that I still find that “pretty neat”?

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