Hello! My name is Michael Mann, or Avair if you prefer, Lead Systems Designer for DC Universe Online, and I am excited to share with you today news about the upcoming stats revamp. The whole team here is beyond thrilled to finally be bringing you these core changes. In short, we will be: Revamping Stats Removing Advanced Mechanics and Weapon Mastery Bonuses Enhancing Supercharges Modifying Power and Power Regeneration Removing Power Points Ending Midrange Preparing For The Future This post will serve as a high level description of the revamp, and we will follow it up with additional, more detailed posts from the rest of the systems team as we work towards launch. Please sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy. Oh, and please let us know what you think! THE STATS REVAMP: OVERVIEW The stats revamp has been a long time coming and we have been feverishly at work on it for a long time. The main focus of this effort is to make your stats and skill determine your effectiveness in game, not your combat rating. We also want to make sure that stats make sense and are clear. In the background, we did a substantial amount of work to make it so that the system could be more easily expanded in the future. These are the core changes: We are removing combat rating differential. Removing combat rating differential is literally what makes stats matter. Combat rating itself will still exist to roughly signal where you are in strength, but it will have no direct impact on how you perform in combat. Your stats (and your choices) will determine how you actually perform. We are smoothing out how you gain stats over the course of your character’s life. In a word, this smoothing means consistency from level one on, meaning your efforts to progress result in more even power growth. No more jumping forward in strength at certain combat ratings, and no more crawling forward at others. In response, we are also adjusting how NPCs gain stats over the course of progression. Overall, they will feel a bit healthier. We are redistributing where stats come from. Items and bonuses currently offer a wide range of stat gain, from very negligible to very large. We will ensure the stats from different places make sense and feel similarly rewarding. For example, mods take time to farm and maintain. We currently feel that they do not give enough reward for the effort it takes to get them, so we are increasing their power. We are also revamping stat-related skill points. Currently, skill points that grant stats require you to master different weapons, going deep into trees and abilities you may not be interested in. That’s confusing at best, so we are consolidating all stats into one skill tree and allowing you access to them early. We are also making the stats you get from skill points scale up based on how many points you spend. More skill points, more stats, more fun! REMOVING ADVANCED MECHANICS AND WEAPON MASTERY BONUSES We are removing advanced mechanics and weapon mastery bonuses from the game. Take a breath. Okay. Here’s why. These mechanics introduced a range of problems to the current game, from general balance issues to one-off bugs to fundamental problems with players discovering them in the first place. They also limit how we can expand the game in the future and are just not an ideal way to experience DCUO’s core action combat gameplay. It is particularly troublesome that players using advanced mechanics/weapon masteries are able to deal such incredible amounts of damage. Many players are not aware of these mechanics, yet all content must be built around them. This leads to a huge gap between players, and while the concept of layers of player skill is wonderful, and we definitely want to promote “lenticular design,” advanced mechanics in their current state actually stagnate the choices available to you and reduce our options for future system additions. We want you to have more meaningful choices, not less. We want you to be able to use any and all of the abilities in your powerset. We want there to be less confusion and less gap between those who are playing "correctly" and those who are not. We want skill to matter and be rewarded, but we also want people to build cool characters and have fun even if they’re not executing an advanced mechanic/weapon mastery perfectly. Therefore: We are removing advanced mechanics' bonuses. This includes removing the tremendous bonus damage players see when executing the mechanics. This includes removing the enhanced power regeneration that was implemented with advanced mechanics (see the Power section below). This does not impact actual abilities (only the bonus damage). For example, this does not remove combos or pets from the game. This is not a silver bullet, but will be the jumping off point for many new powerset builds. We are removing weapon mastery bonuses. Similar to how advanced mechanic bonus damage is being removed, the weapon mastery bonus damage component and power savings will be removed. Weapon mastery attacks themselves will remain. We will adjust damage potential and balance overall. Damage and non-Damage roles will be brought much closer to each other in terms of damage potential, with Damage still at the top of the heap but not by 4-10x like they currently are. There are many reasons for this, but the most destructive one is that currently NPCs need to be incredibly powerful in order to maintain the DPS balance. This results in one shots, severe stacking of DPS roles, choking instance queues, and wildly varying performance between different groups of players. The fine-tuning of damage and risk vs. reward will be an ongoing process. ENHANCING SUPERCHARGES With the removal of advanced mechanics, the supercharge mechanic will fill a lot of the gameplay and strategic holes that advanced mechanics filled previously. Supercharges are a straightforward mechanic for all players to master, they encourage load out diversity, and still allow for skillful, strategic execution. We will also be bumping up the prevalence of supercharge usage. Over time, we expect you to be able to use these abilities more often and have other abilities that interact with them. This should even create scenarios and builds where you can focus on supercharges. MODIFYING POWER AND POWER REGENERATION We are making modifications to the power regeneration mechanic, so that maintaining your power is more clear and manageable. We want managing your power to be an individual skill and, when in a group, a team skill between you and your controller(s). We are currently prototyping solutions and will fill you in when the solutions get closer to test. REMOVING POWER POINTS We are removing the existing power points system from the game. We want players to make meaningful choices when building characters and we want to encourage diverse characters. We feel these choices are most meaningful at the load out level, and that power points themselves only provide the illusion of choice and limitations. Going forward, all existing abilities will be granted automatically as you level. As a side benefit, this opens up new avenues and ways for us to extend the ability system in the future. Some of you might be wondering what will become of the iconic powers. The stat gains you previously found there will instead be found in the new skill point tree, and the abilities themselves will also be purchased with skill points. ENDING MIDRANGE Individual abilities doing variable amounts of damage depending on what range the player was at (less at max range, more at midrange, most at melee range) was entirely implemented with the bonus damage from advanced mechanics. When this bonus damage is removed, so too is this concept. This effectively ends the midrange balance pass. The player's position will no longer change how much damage an ability does, and all abilities will do their full damage from any distance (as long as you are in range to use them in the first place). This has a few consequences for the game's overall balance. We have been standardizing base ability damage and ability length in previous updates, so the removal of advanced mechanics' bonus damage alone will leave us with a more balanced game. That said, some of you may be concerned with how your power will stand up, maybe especially so if you use melee or damage over time abilities. We recognize this concern is valid. So, we will continue the standardization effort, working to more consistently define abilities as melee (up to 7m) or range (greater than 7m), and adjusting damage to suit. In short, range abilities will do less damage than melee abilities from the safety of distance, and melee abilities will do more damage than range in the risky death-zone right up close with the boss. As a side benefit, the greater consistency and simplicity applied here will make it easier for us to refine damage on specific abilities in the future. On that note, we will be addressing balance goals in a new way. Previously, balance was generally established based on players of equal skill doing about the same damage in uninterrupted play and potential at a sparring target. Going forward, balance will be established based on players of equal skill doing about the same amount of total damage over the course of a boss fight. PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE The stats revamp as a whole is being made to improve the game now, but also with a mind toward the future. We want to open up possibilities and areas to grow the game. We know that change can often be difficult. We know that it never comes fast enough, and then when it arrives is often too much too soon. However, we are confident that these changes will take us in the right direction. That is, of course, with your help. We will be counting on you, looking for your feedback, and making incremental adjustments once the revamp launches on the test server. When is that? The timeline is always subject to change, but right now we expect the stats revamp to move onto the test server next, and to stay there as long as is needed. Stay tuned for more information!