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Transparency Discussion: Shadow Nerfs

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ainz, Aug 27, 2023.

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  1. Ainz
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    Ainz Zakum

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    Hiya everyone (staff in particular),

    Throughout a bunch of years on this server, I've tried to cling to the belief that staff is relatively (take that with a grain of salt) transparent.
    As an extension of this, I'd like to believe that 'Shadow Nerfs' as such aren't a desirable thing.

    However, the past years have shown numerous cases where 'shadow nerfs' have (supposedly) taken place. E.g. this post just recently.

    The point of this thread is twofold. The first wish I have from this post is a clarification/confirmation from staff that these shadow nerfs do occur.
    Secondly, a broader question towards the community, are shadow nerfs a problem? Is it more desirable for these changes/nerfs/fixes to get their own channel through which they are mentioned/confirmed/announced, or is the current state of things (guesswork, really, unless you're logging vast amounts of data regularly) fine?

    Feel free to discuss.

    Kind regards,

    Ainz
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  2. akashsky
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    akashsky Horntail

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    I think the current state of things is fine, and i think most of the past shadow nerfs have been done by accident. There are a few things i think might have been shadow nerfed, but i lack the data to actually prove it. In the end, market forces usually balance out the drop rate.

    If theres a shadow nerf suggestions to increase the drop rates for whatever was nerfed can be made, and if relevant enough perhaps balance team can resolve it.
     
    • Creative Creative x 1
  3. OP
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    Ainz
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    Ainz Zakum

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    I realise I forgot to include my own opinion, so here goes:

    While I don't think the current state of shadow nerfs is a huge problem per se, I do feel like it would be preferable for changes to be public.

    There's a few difficulties I can see with this, however. The first being that ML's droprates have never been public, which can be used as an argument against publishing changes made to them.
    Secondly, one could argue that staff already has plenty of work to do and asking them to publish changes made might just add to that pile. Against this, I want to say that publishing a change should generally take significantly less time than the process associated with making such a change.

    Finally, I could see people arguing that publishing changes would only further turn ML into a numbers simulator of 'x hours at y meso/hr results in z total profit'.
    Here I'd like to raise the example of League of Legends as a counterpoint. Changes here are entirely transparent (e.g. skill x having damage/cd/range reduced by y) yet the meta still always requires a lot of exploration to see what the 'new best pick' is. As such, I don't think ML would run into similar problems.

    Sorry for rambling~
     
  4. Nise
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    Nise Supervisor Staff Member Supervisor Game Moderator

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    In my years on staff, the only times 'shadow nerfs' have happened is oversight. Situations like:
    • We made a change, think we announced it, but it wasn't announced cus internal communication issues
      • In this situation when we realize we haven't announced it, we will proceed to announce it
    • We made a change to X, but somehow it results in an unexpected change in Y (so it wasn't intended to change)
      • In this situation we need to be notified of this unintended change by the players, after which we'll try to fix it and acknowledge it
      • Depending on the bug, we might acknowledge THEN fix or fix THEN acknowledge (so it doesn't get exploited in the time we take to fix it)
    The first situation RARELY happens, I can't even think when the last time that happened was. Second situation is more likely to happen out of the two, just because we do change a few things around here and there between patches and sometimes it causes 'unintended consequences'.

    Also, with our balance changes expalnation posts that started in 2019 (?) transparency has been a core tenant of the team, so doing 'shadow nerfs' and 'shadow buffs' would completely undermine those efforts. There's nothing gained by the staff team to have those 'shadow' changes, just more to lose.

    Despite this explanation, I'm sure the people who keep mentioning 'shadow nerfs' will continue to do so, but I hope some people will be convinced~
     
    • Informative Informative x 4
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  5. Lucidcat
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    Lucidcat Mixed Golem

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    buff Shadower
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Pasta
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    Pasta Game Developer Staff Member Game Developer

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    There are no shadow nerfs. We always announce every single change we make (unless unintentional, as Nise has explained).
    I don't know where the theory that Gachapon rates had been nerfed in secret comes from, unless it's simply from empirical data, which is never really a good indicator for that.

    Now for a little bit of not-staff perspective: in my opinion, shadow nerfs don't even make sense. If your goal as a game designer is to reduce the efficacy of something, it's in your interest to make it known that that strategy has been hit, to discourage players from pursuing that, and instead trying to push them to other content.
     
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  7. yurain
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    yurain Windraider

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    I asked this on discord, and I was told this is a shadow nerf.

    Last time for NT quest, I think you can park your quest character outside the map, then clear the map with another character in the party. Just use the quest character to enter and sweep the map for quest item every couple mins. But now, the quest character have to be in the same map with the mob killing character for the NT quest item to drop.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Pasta
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    Pasta Game Developer Staff Member Game Developer

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    That is a bug fix that happened a couple of years ago. I'm pretty sure it's documented somewhere, although I can't remember exactly when I fixed that one.
     
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  9. Alyosha
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    Alyosha Skelegon Retired Staff

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P33F49sEzwQ

    I posted about the mechanic in November 2021 and it was fixed by Christmas patch. After skimming the various threads I couldn't find mention of it.

    https://forum.maplelegends.com/index.php?threads/patch-notes-january-3-2022.43925/
    https://forum.maplelegends.com/index.php?threads/christmas-2021-patch-notes.43817/
    https://forum.maplelegends.com/inde...s-event-2021-balance-changes-explained.43806/
     
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  10. OP
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    Ainz
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    Ainz Zakum

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    I found this last bit particularly interesting. Why would empirical data (at a reasonable scale) not be a good indicator of the state of the game in terms of e.g. droprates? Obviously RNG is gonna RNG, but in a large sample size, it should even out.
     
  11. Pasta
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    Pasta Game Developer Staff Member Game Developer

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    Well this does suck, since I clearly remember adding it to the list of bug fixes for the patch. Quite annoying. Apologies about that.

    Mmm. I guess that's a take I can only have from my perspective, since I know that we have not pushed hidden nerfs (yes, aside from unintended ones - although I will already mention that there are no missed Gachapon-related changes). Thus if a collected sample of gacha runs seems to indicate that rates have been altered, I can say that it's not a proper indicator. Naturally I can't convince others about this, so that statement loses efficacy.

    I'll just state though that we have no interest in hiding our changes and tweaks. It just makes no sense, we have no other drive aside from making something enjoyable for our community, and alienating it by pushing undocumented changes doesn't do us any good.
     
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  12. Kimmy
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    Kimmy Administrator Staff Member Administrator Game Moderator

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    I am the only person that can alter the gachapon rates and I haven't touched them since the last time I announced so.

    EDIT: Technically not true; a few more people can. I promise you though they haven't been changed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2023
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  13. OP
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    Ainz
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    Ainz Zakum

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    In that case, I suppose my main question for this thread has been answered and the other question thus becomes void.

    Many thanks to KimmyKimmy and PastaPasta for their clarifications. I'll go back to clinging to my undying faith in staff's transparency!

    Thread can be locked as far as I'm concerned.
     
  14. Chris
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    Chris Zakum Retired Staff

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    I don't think we're gonna get that 2x vote event. :unsure:
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  15. Subterlabor
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    Subterlabor Wolfspider

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    ugh pleaseeeeeeeeeee 2x voting, I have 23 AP and 10 SP I need to reset to respec for HTP and change 4th job skills. gonna take me forever
     
  16. beegoratto
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    beegoratto Skelosaurus

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    Why do you buy so many item smegas?
     
  17. Ferluci
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    Ferluci Zakum Retired Staff

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  18. Subterlabor
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    Subterlabor Wolfspider

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    Are you still borrowing gear ratto?
     
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  19. beegoratto
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    beegoratto Skelosaurus

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    Yeah I’m borrowing my Timeless Bow
     
  20. Ferluci
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    Ferluci Zakum Retired Staff

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    That's not possible u silly
     
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