Valorant Game Designer Talks About Game Balancing Process
Maintaining game balance is a never-ending task for PvP game developers, especially competitive ones like Valorant. Riot Games, however, has a different approach when it comes to rolling out balance changes. The studio says that they don't rely solely on metrics and data but also consider how the players feel about a particular Agent.
“Game balance is something that every player feels and may have some opinions about. The experiences all of you have and feel shape your perceptions of the game—your perception is your truth. It’s our job to provide an experience that is fair for every player.”
“We won’t seek a perfect 50/50 balance. When everything is 50/50 across the board the decisions per session become less meaningful—you could say.. robotic and formulaic. The human element of making decisions provides decision points that players can weigh the tradeoffs of,” says Game Designer David ‘Milkcow’ Cole. “We’ll prioritize audiences that we think take the game in the right direction in its current state. We’ll have to make tradeoffs with which audience we’re aiming to balance for—it won't be every player.”
Over the last six months, the team has been designing a process called the “Balance Radar” that will help them gather information and make decisions on balance tweaks. Information is gathered from three sources: game data, sentiment data (player feedback), and design philosophy and is used to set boundaries for what’s acceptable when making balance changes. “Think of them as borders—when our metrics live inside the borders, we feel the game is fairly healthy,” Cole explains. “If something dips outside of these borders, it raises a flag and we investigate.”
Cole continues to go into detail about the process and how everything comes together with a case study on Raze, an overpowered agent that got nerfed in Patch .47. You’ll find the full post on the Valorant official site if you’re interested.