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Reader Comments (1)

Posted: Mar 23rd 2009 4:42PM J Brad Hicks said

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Fascinating. I don't care much about Fallen Earth, but I'm glad I got around to reading this, because it exactly parallels an argument that took much longer to resolve between the City of Heroes developers and their players. Basically, the developers had the spreadsheets and the combat models that "proved," by their standards proved beyond all shadow of a doubt, that all character classes and powers were balanced ... but they wouldn't share those formulae and spreadsheets and simulations with us. So the players spent untold thousands of hours collecting the data from combat logs to reverse engineer them, after which one particular legendary player went through and proved that the developers' combat models were just plain flat wrong in some cases, that there were aspects of combat that the models didn't capture. What followed was a give and take that resulted in the developers updating their formulae, spreadsheets, and simulation models, and ever since then, it's been a much, much better balanced game.

Although even then, even once you've proved both theoretically and experimentally that a combat model is balanced, you haven't proven that it's fun, because not everybody agrees on what a fun fight is like. If I think that your average 1-on-1 fight should last several minutes, and that the person who's losing should have at least some chance to escape? And you think that the average 1-on-1 fight should be over after a couple of seconds, and the person who got the first shot in should almost always win? You and I might agree that the various weapon systems and so forth are balanced, but we're not going to agree on whether or not it's fun. Player expectations matter just as much as mathematical fairness.

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