PFF: BALANCING EQUIPMENT?

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There are frequent debates on our Player Discussion Forums regarding "balance". Much of the time, players tend to limit these debates to comparing only portions of the available equipment list. That's' not how it's done in WWIIOL:Battleground Europe, it goes much deeper. Read on for DOC's explanation of what goes into decisions about equipment levels.

We don't "balance" things they way that most people like to think. Most people that care to comment on this will never agree that anything is balanced at all no matter what we do and more often than not there are 17 different opinions on the subject at any given time and they all don't agree. There is however, only one game implementation to meet all those differing opinions.

Since the game employs historically based advantages and disadvantages without concession to things like the Tiger having much better armor protection than any Allied tank except the Churchill VII and anti armor gun performance that eclipses that tank by magnitudes. The Sherman M4a3(76) has improved gun performance over the Churchill VII but inferior armor protection and again, the Tiger eclipses that tank in both areas.

We do things in a logical fashion. We aren't emotionally attached to any argument and we don't play one side and expect or want to win over the other with any frequency or to change the status-quo in favor of anything over anything else.

When the Tiger was first added to the game, and had no historical record here in terms of how it performed in game (the same could be said of the Sherman M4a3(76) or any other new unit we add that has no pre-existing in game performance history) so we used it's CvC (combat vehicle value) to estimate this performance based on it's weapons characteristics like armor protection and armor penetration ability, among others. This was a purely logical approach to a difficult question (that being how would it do in the mix of everything else in the game?) and then over time we look at the accrued history of it's performance in game; if it becomes clear in data that a change needs to be made, based on those logical parameters (and not our feelings based on emotional values) then a change would be made. Tiger numbers in game today have trended upwards not down from those early days when 3 was the maximum in any brigade.

One of the things we also take into account before we start to panic here is overall balance not individual unit balance, since nothing can be applied at a one to one ratio that is not equal in performance. Has one side won more campaigns with this equipment balance than the other ? The answer is no, they are roughly even overall even if they appear not to be in the smaller samples you are at liberty to select over another smaller sample. If we compare all units (not just one) to all units, is the outcome fairly even overall even if selecting 1 specific unit from the huge variety available and comparing it to another specific unit might produce a less even result ? The answer is yes, if you compare everything to everything the result has a statistical variation from all collected data that ranges from 1:1 dead even (ideal) to a 0.1 percent variation.

Balance is a difficult argument to respond to and we don't often do so, simply because in most cases, no answer we give will satisfy unless it matches the version that the person asking would prefer to see, and there are quite a few different versions of that expectation. We cannot offer several different solutions at the same time to meet those differing opinions or expectations, there is only ever one implementation available to play at any given time. Instead we have to rely on our unattached to either side point of view and our built in desire for both sides to have an equal chance at victory to drive our objective decisions regarding such matters as balance, and we have to rely on results to point to any need for change rather than the desires for change from those who disagree with the decisions we made on some other basis outside of objective logic.

Someone once said that when both sides argue that they were nerfed then balance has been achieved. I don't wish to propose that as proof of anything but there is some truth to it.