Stat Flattening and Relative CR Scaling: What the heck are they?

Discussion in 'Oracle’s Database (Guides)' started by Remander, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. Remander Steadfast Player

    Well, I decided to make a guide thread on this subject, as there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about these two changes coming to DCUO in GU 47. I've found myself repeatedly explaining them in various threads. This approach will be more efficient, and when the planned changes are on the test server, I can actually run some tests and provide actual numbers, rather than the theoretical ones I'm about to describe.

    First and foremost, stat flattening IS NOT stat clamping. Let me make that very clear, as it's the most common misconception on these forums. Stat clamping is what occurs in the seasonal instances and in PVP to some degree, at the moment. Spytle has said it may be introduced more broadly as an optional setting sometime in the future. Basically, stat clamping either increases or decreases your stats, so they fit into a pre-determined band for a certain piece of content, such as a seasonal event instance. If you are a lower CR, your stats are brought up to the tier of the instance. If you are a higher CR, your stats are lowered to the tier of the instance. You can see this in your stat tab in the UI, once you are queued into the instance.

    So, what exactly is stat flattening, then? Let's look at how the stats change with CR pre-GU 47. Below is a graph of the various stats on a full set of DPS armor (no weapon, jewelry, or trinket) from CR 46 to CR 97.


    What you'll notice is that from base (the 0 point on the x-axis) to CR 78 gear, the stats increase in a fairly linear fashion. Starting with T5, for reasons you would have to get from the Dev team, the stats began to increase much more rapidly. The stat inflation became so great that NPCs had to be given huge health pools to withstand the increasing damage. They also were given armor piercing, in order to penetrate our increasing defense. Defense mitigates incoming damage by 1% for every 71 points. Therefore, as defense increased, it approached 100% damage mitigation, meaning our characters would take no damage. Armor piercing allowed NPCs to ignore some of that defense. A T6 level NPC, according to Tunso, ignores as much as 86% of the defense.

    It became clear to the Dev team that this trend was not sustainable. They decided that the best approach was to make the stats linear again. They could have gone back to CR 78 (T4 gear) and rescaled from there. Instead, they rescaled the whole range. Below is a graph of the same armor sets post-GU 47.


    There are a few errors in the numbers, as you can see from the drop in power at the end, but those should be ironed out before GU 47 goes live. What is readily apparent is the more linear growth of all the stats. They are also greater than the pre-GU 47 stats at every point.

    Well, if that's true, why was there such an uproar over CR 124 toons getting wiped by adds while trying to solo the Batcave Sub-Construct raid? Enter relative CR scaling. This is new tech introduced with GU 47 to account for differences in CR between PCs and NPCs. I don't yet have the exact scalars, but this system compares your CR to that of the NPC and adjusts the damage you do to it and the damage it does to you. In the original incarnation of this system, the comparison really only mattered when you were below the CR of the NPC. Once you matched the CR of the NPC, the scaling stopped. What that meant was that as you exceeded the CR of the NPC, the amount of damage you took or dealt only scaled by your stats, which were now increasing much more slowly. If you graphed it out, the relationship would look something like this.


    This is my interpretation of the stat flattening and relative CR scaling combined. To orient you, the x-axis is the ratio between the player CR and the NPC CR with 1 meaning equal CR and less than 1 meaning the NPC outranks the player. The y-axis is the defense stat taken from the previous graph. The z-axis is the player's CR. If you look at the far right side from front to back, that's basically the same as the yellow line on the prior graph. It's the increase in defense with increasing CR armor. When the NPC outranks you, your defense is reduced by an amount determined by how far you're outranked. You're the weaker combatant, so you do less damage and take more damage. The problem with this implementation was that it didn't matter when players outranked NPCs. If you're higher CR, you should be stronger, right? Nope. No relative CR scaling for you. This is why high CR players could go back to lower tier content and still be hit hard. After lots of uproar on the forums, the Devs reconsidered and made the relative CR scaling work on both sides. That gives us a graph more like this.


    Very different, eh? In this graph, you can see that once you exceed the NPC's CR, you become more powerful. This is a very elegant system. It allows for gradual, linear increase of stats over time, while maintaining the sense of increasing power, as you gear up. As I write this thread, these changes have not yet made it to the test server, but my suspicion is that it will play very much like our current experience pre-GU 47. Once the changes are up and ready for testing, I'll try and provide some actual data.

    If you have any questions or comments, let me know! Keep in mind this is a guide. No pro or con arguments about GU 47, please. I'm just trying to clarify things for folks.

    • Like x 34
  2. Remander Steadfast Player

    Did some testing of the stat flattening and relative CR scaling. I used more CR steps over a larger range this time (32, 52, 63, 76, 88, 99, 105, 116, 124). Captain Cold was my target. He's a CR 72 raid-level boss. First, here is a graph of the stat growth.


    It's similar to the graph I've posted previously, though Defense and Health seem to have the same slope now. These are full armor sets with jewelry, trinket, and weapon, so that may explain the difference. Alternatively, the stats may have been adjusted since I last recorded the values. Power still drops off at higher CR. Might and Precision take a slight uptick, as well. Not sure if that's intended or not.

    When I faced Captain Cold, he wiped me fairly easily until I reached CR 99. Even at CR 88, he took me out in 10 hits. The jump from CR 88 to CR 99 was ridiculous, though. I was able to finally take him out at CR 99, and I did so in 66 hits. By CR 116, I had him down in 28 hits. Below is my average hit for the attacks I was using. I was running Celestial AM, alternating RcW and ScH with Anoint and Benediction as buffs.


    Look at how that damage climbs! From CR 88 to CR 99, my average hit nearly quadrupled in strength! By CR 124, my Cleansed Wither was hitting for as much as 46k! There is a drop off at CR 124, but that's likely because my kill shot magnitude was only partially recorded, due to Cold's low remaining health.

    I also became much more durable at the same point. Below is a graph of Captain Cold's main attack, Snowball. He actually used over 8 different attacks, but that was the only one used regularly in every fight.


    What if we look at one of my hit vs one of his? Here is my average Retribution damage compared to Cold's average Snowball damage.


    Not very symmetric, is it? That, of course, makes sense, because my health only ranged from 5503 at CR 32 to 14042 at CR 124. Cold's health was around 622k, thoughout. My other stats also grew at a fairly slow pace, due to the stat flattening. To be capable of chipping away at an NPC with that much health, I was going to need a lot of help. His hit strength was about 27 times greater when I was CR 32 than when I was CR 124. My hit strength increased by 54 times over that range, so it seems the scaling is twice as steep for us as for the NPCs. Honestly, at CR 116 (without full SP allocation or trinket use), which is a little above my live CR of 114, taking down Captain Cold felt pretty similar. I've been trying to chip away at that bounty feat for a while now, so I have a pretty good gauge of the difficulty.

    Another way to look at it. Here's my average hit graph again. Below it is the pre-GU 47 stat growth.



    Look similar, don't they?

    Great thread by Proxystar:
    • Like x 3
  3. TheDarknessWithin Loyal Player

    You and your good in depth info Remander! ;)

    Thx for the guide.
    • Like x 3
  4. Xibo Loyal Player

    Nice guide and very helpful.
    • Like x 1
  5. Scarlet Rise Loyal Player

    Question about your suspicion: "it will play very much like our current experience pre-GU 47". Why would the developers want DCUO to continue as it currently is? What is going on now is pre-GU 47. Unless you mean the developers want DCUO to be how more in-line with how it was before T5 was implemented.

    I do not see how giving players the option to become so strong in a mission that it undermines the point of a team. Last time I checked, being a part of team is done because you need to be, not "only" because you want to be. If the scaling restriction is kept at two or even increased to three tiers, low level content may still be facerolled. I am specifically referring to campaign missions and T1 and T2 content. Giving a player the tools to be able to enter any queue with the ability to solo content without restrictions may produce chaos. Getting a leveled group (stat wise) via duty tab should should be a "privileged right" (a right that can be taken a way by the an authority).

    In other words: There would be too much uncertainty to whether a player would be joined with leveled group via queue. Again, how does the community believe giving players the ability to solo content in a queued instances is helpful to DCUO?

    This new foundation is being built too much on how players currently feel. Cross play is coming and supposedly the Xbox One community as well. It seems the idea is that these new choices are supposed to support DCUO even after all this comes. So how the community currently feels should be only have so much weight on the direction this new system goes.

    Note: These changes seem specifically to make the queue more viable and the developers work more manageable. Making your own leveled group would bypass the OP issue. It is not practical to take this way for every mission within the On Duty tab.
    • Like x 3
  6. Iconic Simulation YouTuber

    I like like the second half of the scaling that tunso introduced and i think that soloing content is something in DCUO that makes it special because we are supposed to become stronger over time instead of weakened like some ppl want to be. I only see that as a way to hinder progress and older content relevance.
  7. Remander Steadfast Player

    @Scarlet, I appreciate your concerns, but the prior iteration of relative CR scaling would not have been the way to accomplish what you're wanting. Overgeared players would still be stronger than players at tier, just not as strong. There are other problems that it would create. The most significant, IMO, involved how it would affect player progression. Many players need to overgear to be regularly successful in newer content, as well as to obtain feats. Relative CR capping once you equal the NPC would make it much more difficult and frustrating for the average player. How many still can't complete the Paradox EO feat at CR 114? I was actually more concerned with players going forward than backward.

    What you want would actually be accomplished best by adding a tier-restricted queue option, similar to the role queue option we have now. It would preserve choice, while giving players an option to queue groups without ROFL faceroll players. Players who want to faceroll or be carried (I've done this a lot with alts) could still do so.
    • Like x 6
  8. Nekron 99 Loyal Player

    As a clarification point, the Devs have said their intention is that a player would be able to solo instances when they are 2 tiers above the content. This is definitely different than it is today.

    Most content from the beginning of a tier can be solo'd when you reach the end of the tier (excluding some raid content). I'll reserve judgment until we have hard numbers but my initial thought is that content will still feel more difficult and challenging for a longer time period than it does today.
    • Like x 4
  9. Crimson Mayhem Loyal Player

    Nicely done. Now they just need to link here and have everyone read it before they are allowed to post any feedback about this GU. ;)
    • Like x 2
  10. Scarlet Rise Loyal Player

    How did players during DCUO's infancy get through their missions (Alerts and Raids)?

    Does Daybreak even aspire to help raise the chance for players to understand DCUO without the use of extreme and invasive tactic (i.e. the use OP players balancing DCUO)?

    Note: I came during the advent of F2P, so to me, my experience lies between the "challenging" days of DCUO and its easiest; its easiest being now. In other words: I witnessed a balance game within DCUO's team structure, between then and now (with relativity).

    Note: I am only accounting for the journey to end game content when I measure DCUO's difficulty within this post.

    What tests me is that I predicted the OP issue when the DLC, "Origin of Trigon" debuted. I imagined the developers creating an entirely different phase for T5 and up. When they brought in Metropolis Battlelzone , I believed that maybe this was the beginning of some form of my "New Phase" idea. My belief grew further when Gotham Siege hit servers. However, they did not decide to use the cities to create a new phase.

    By the "time" players experienced being overpowered in DCUO, it was too late. Being overpowered had now become such an integral part of DCUO. So much so that the community did not want to let that "power" (i.e. the use of high tiered gear in lower content) go. That many players were wiling to quit if they lost it or were limited in its use. The fallout of this was OP players inadvertently reducing the effectiveness of the heuristics within DCUO's mission structure(s) (ex: Kahndaq)

    Note: The beginning instances (Area 51, Kahndaq the duos etc.) were designed to acclimate players to their roles and work as a team with other players. Team effort was a necessity. If you wonder too far away from the group and were ambushed, you most likely were to be KO'd; probably kicked if the player repeated the behavior too often.

    There is too much of a discrepancy between old (T1,T2 and all duos between T1/ T3) and new content. What you proposed may be some measure of what I have thought about, after my idea of creating a new phase did not happen. That idea was to mandatorily clamp queued instances.

    Note: If clamping them all is too severe for the community, then at least from T1, T2 , T3 duos and all campaign missions.

    Bottom Line: Players are getting stronger (ex: upcoming Halls of Power part II) and this current version of stat flattening seems to suppress the OP issue. Not resolve it or eliminate it.

    Note: It seems the developers are using OP players to help balance the game. This method seems too extreme to me and naturally very intrusive within lower tiers. I do not believe this will help produce a balanced game. It seems all of this work will unravel just by making players more powerful. To me, this may prevent DCUO from ever reaching a sufficiently balanced state.

    • Like x 2
  11. Iconic Simulation YouTuber

    Actually I like their plan not to nerf the experienced player and I like curb stomping....nerfing ppl will not create a balanced game... you players that think that are sadly wrong. You can just unequip gear and nerf yourself but don't try to force it on others that don't agree
  12. Remander Steadfast Player

    A lot of that depends on the player. They said solo raids specifically. There are relatively few players who have been able to solo raids within a tier. The average player in the current system would need to be 2+ tiers above, I suspect.
  13. Remander Steadfast Player

    @Scarlet, the upward launch of the stat trajectory actually started with DLC 7, Origin Crisis. There were many then that questioned why the stats were increasing so dramatically. Again, you'd have to ask the Dev team their thoughts on that. Fact remains that for almost half the game, that's been the trend. You can criticize the original decision to change the trajectory, but it is what it is. It's the new normal. To take the whole game back to the early days would be too jarring, as evidenced by the massive outcry on the forums.

    I see your point about players not adequately learning how to play, and I agree with it. Mandated clamping of any sort is not the way to fix that, though. I spend a lot of time in game actually trying to help folks that want to learn. Unfortunately, many simply do not. They want to be super heroes or supervillains and get their pew pew on. Without the ability to gear up and overpower content, they would probably just leave, and that wouldn't be good for any of us. Honestly, I suspect that my idea of CR-restricted queuing would likely not be utilized enough to justify the development time. Could be wrong, though.

    For now, I'm going to keep doing what I do. I try and inform and assist those who are interested. I run mostly with my league, but I do try and advise, when needed, in PUGs. Above all, I try and have fun. That's what gaming is about! ;)
    • Like x 6
  14. Marlee New Player

    I hope so.
  15. KDICHU Well-Known Player

    Good thread ive heard and read a lot but nothing like doing it first hand cant wait for it to hit PSUS
  16. UltraVillain Committed Player

    I remain all in favour of stat levelling as per your description...if done correctly other mechanics need not apply. It seems the relative CR scaling however is very much akin to a more complex form of clamping from the perspective of higher geared players which, if true is completely contrary to our raison d'etre.

    Moreover the problem may be more acute PC side, but segregating players in queues or creating more constrainst on who can group with who would be catastrophic and may make large portions of the game untenable. While crossplay might address this, the effect can only be temporary as players gravitate to end game the numbers playing and wanting to play those lower tiers will shrink eventually to the level we see on the pc now. I don't see this as a realistic solution to anything and we continue to need to encourage as many as possible into lower content for as long as possible end of, overly criticising how or why people do content is a much less important issue than making sure they still queue.
  17. Immortal Kyrro Loyal Player

    This should be good for the game. Not crazy about the no marks for irrelevant content. They should increase rate drops for those styles once it becomes irrelevant
  18. Slade Wilson Devoted Player

    Just one - if there is relative CR scaling generally in place for the future, it sorta means that players will have to put in the same sorta effort to kill an NPC as if they never really increased their gear/CR. Why take away the mark rewards then from lower content if you have to "work" for it still? Looks like double punishment to me - or an super-extra-incentive to keep high CR toons out of low CR content by all means. Did Spytle tell something about that reasoning?
    • Like x 1
  19. Remander Steadfast Player

    That's not how it's going to work. The feel should be similar to what you're experiencing on live.
  20. TrueGODofMarvel New Player

    You should highlight more of your key statements in yellow. It will make the guide much more accessible to the masses. I do it all the time in my Threads. I think it really helps limit any confusion.
    • Like x 1