Developer Team Notes #4
This is Park Soochan, the director of Smash Legends.
There is a large-scale Smash Legends update in the works for the coming March 15th patch.
First and foremost in this developer note, we wanted to inform you about our overall balancing decisions
and the changes we will be making to different modes, out of all the updates we have planned out.
A New Criteria for Balancing
We have previously talked about our balancing criteria in our Developer Notes #1.
Our criteria back then was that “not all Legends have to be of equal strength in all modes,
and any Legend must be strong in the area that they were good at.”
But we have come to realize that our criteria from back then has failed to a certain extent.
The biggest issue that was being a detriment to the game was the fact that there were right Legends
you could pick and wrong Legends you could pick for each mode.
Each Legend in Smash Legends has unique characteristics.
Different Legends excel at doing different things, such as 1:1 duels, team-fights,
being mobile, making comebacks, growing stronger over sustained fights, etc.
All the Legends each have a different situation where they can shine.
So far, we have made changes and balancing decisions by trying to maintain
a given Legend’s strength. And we would like to continue doing so.
However, this led to Smash Legends’ gameplay feeling stagnant.
In last April’s Dominion mode, Alice, Kaiser, Ravi, and Witch Queen were all excellent choices.
But even after numerous balance patches, Alice, Kaiser, Ravi, and Witch Queen
are still excellent picks for the Dominion mode. Legends great at Dominion are still great at Dominion,
Legends great at Battle Royale are still great at Battle Royale, and Legends great at Duels are still great at Duels.
Our balancing criteria that we had set from the beginning seemed to be making the game inflexible,
and unhealthy for the game in the long-run.
Therefore, we will be changing our balancing criteria to the following in the coming update.
- Competitive Matches will be setting the standard for our balancing criteria.
- We seek to make Competitive Matches a place where all Legends can perform well.
- With various player skill levels in mind, we will balance each Legend to be strong at the levels they perform best, but not overtly so.
By changing our criteria in this way, we will designate a representative mode for Smash Legends,
and balance the game so that you will be able to experience colorful moments in each mode.
We expect to see the meta shift away from a Tank and AoE Fighter-oriented one
to where Assassins, Marksmen, and various other Legend types can thrive.
Competitive Match: Dominion
The Competitive Match that all you Smashers have been looking forward to
will finally be arriving after the April 12th, 2022 (Tue) maintenance!
In Competitive Matches, you will be able to prove your skills, and discover your skill level through the results of your games.
This skill level is different from Ranks that are unique to each individual Legends,
and is one that is granted to your account itself.
And when a season ends, you will be able to claim rewards based on the tier that you have reached.
Competitive Matches are where players who enjoy Smash Legends can take their gameplay
to new heights with a clear-cut goal in mind.
The Medal system was flawed in that it did not reflect a player’s skill level accurately,
and made it hard for players to achieve their goals because of the frequent resets.
We hope that everyone will be able to set up clearer goals
and have fun working towards them in the new Competitive Matches.
The mode that will be used for Competitive Matches this time will be Dominion.
Unlike the previous mode, only one of each Legend can be played in a match,
and players will draft pick Legends in their pick order.
You will be able to see other players’ picks, then select a Legend that best fits the situation, and strategize around the picks.
More details regarding the Competitive Match mode will become available in the April 12th patch notes.
Changes in Available Modes
Team Deathmatch, Duo Deathmatch, and Crown Guard will be removed from the game.
We recognize that some of you may be sad to see these modes go and would like to offer you an explanation.
There are many different modes you can play in Smash Legends.
We wanted for players to be able to enjoy all the unique experiences the game can offer,
and wanted to do so by offering various playable game modes up until now.
However, running a multitude of modes requires a large amount of responsibility.
It is almost impossible for every Legend to be balanced in every mode.
Let’s take Red’s performance in Crown Guard as an example.
Her stealth and mobility meant that she was free to backstab enemies as she wished, and was unmatched in outrunning other Legends.
This not only meant that Red had a high win rate, it also meant that players facing off against her felt as if they were in an unfair matchup.
Originally, we would have nerfed Red, who is in a decent spot in Dominion, to make her presence in Crown Guard less oppressive.
However, from now on, we will refrain from doing so as it will go against our new balancing criteria.
And it is also not right to nerf Red in just Crown Guard. If a Legend looks the same, but performs differently in different modes,
then players will be somewhat confused by the inconsistent gameplay.
This will hurt a player’s experience with a Legend, and this is not an experience that we want our game to give.
If we were to choose one representative mode that the game is balanced around,
it will become dangerous for us to allow modes that can diverge the game’s overall experience from that standard.
However, the Battle Royale and Duel modes will be here to stay.
For new players to ease into the game’s rules and mechanics, a relaxed low-stakes environment
where they can try out Legends is needed. Battle Royale, with its slower pacing,
is a great mode in helping players take their time learning the mechanics of Smash Legends.
The Smash Legends team went through much discussion in whether the Duel mode had to go or stay.
Smash Legends is not a game that prioritizes 1:1 duels. It is a game that prioritizes team play over individual plays.
However, as Smash Legends shares many philosophies with other 1:1 fighting games,
there are many players who view Smash Legends as one as well.
To cater to the needs to these players, we have decided to keep the Duel mode in the game.
We do expect the Battle Royale and Duel modes to be somewhat unstable in terms of balance right after the update hits.
As the game overall will be balanced around Dominion, Legends who thrive in team battles
and are strong when fighting many foes are expected to be not as strong in Battle Royale and Duel.
To address this, we will make adjustments depending on each mode after seeing the changes in the meta after the update.
We expect elements such as the range of AoE and cooldowns to be left as they are,
with values that affect HP and damage being the subject of the changes.
Despite cutting down on the number of available modes, we still want to provide our Smashers with various modes to play.
We believe that Smash Legends’ mechanics regarding combat, attacking, knock-backs, etc.,
set a great basis for numerous game modes to come.
We, the Smash Legends team, are internally testing out different game modes with unique and extreme rulesets.
We expect to release these modes in the near future.
Planned Balance Changes
Growth in HP and Damage per Level on Level-up will be decreased from +10% to +3%.
There have been issues where a player that is completely new to the game
would be matched against a player that is experienced in the game, causing an unfair matchup due to the Level gap.
Furthermore, existing players would also feel awkward playing a newly acquired Legend at a low Level.
To address these issues, we have greatly decreased growth per Level.
All Legends will have their HP increased by 500 at Level 1.
Newer players seemed to go through a lot of frustration when their Legend dies.
This change will be made to decrease the frequency of deaths and to lessen the number of frustrating experiences.
Moreover, we plan to improve the Ability Equip system, so existing players will still feel familiar with the game.
As an example, a Level 1 Peter will have his HP increased from 3000 to 3500.
We will be bringing you more comprehensive patch notes in the future.
Previously, we had used vague phrases such as “slightly increased” or “for a certain time” in our patch notes,
but from now on we will be bringing you more exact numbers in our patch notes to be as clear as we can in our communication.
You will be able to see this in the next patch notes.
We have many more changes in the works, but we will be releasing more information
about them when they are a little more polished in another developer note.
Please look forward to the upcoming update on March 15th!