Quantcast
Black Ops II on balancing and player feedback - Destructoid

DestructoidJapanatorTomopopFlixist



Call of Duty: Black Ops II  



Black Ops II on balancing and player feedback


3:45 PM on 11.15.2012
Black Ops II on balancing and player feedback photo



Balancing, balancing, balancing. Developers do as much as they can to make sure their multiplayer is designed as best as possible before shipping, but it's when the title has made it into the public's hand that really puts everything to the test. Making sure a game is balanced well is a never-ending battle with any multiplayer game.

Black Ops II is no different, and Treyarch has created a new system called Black Box that analyzes player data to really see how everything is performing. "What we said was we need to balance the emotion of using something, like your personal visceral reaction to it, with math," design director David Vonderhaar told me. "There's a lot of instrumentation in this game, there's a lot of data logging, so I know exactly what the power band of a weapon is at all times. So I can combine how something feels with how it's actually behaving. I know, I know this is going to happen: A million people are going to Tweet me and tell me that the [for example] 'PDW 57 is overpowered, Vonderhaar what are you doing?'

"What I'll do is I can go and look at the math and I'll go 'Actually, you know what dude? You're just good with it. Have fun, because the math says that it's not overpowered.' I have the averages, you're being successful. That means Pick 10 is working, and if it's overpowered I'll know it for real. Like not because someone said it was, or because I felt it was, or because you sent me an angry Tweet because you got killed by the SRM Shotgun one night 17 times so you're mad. The data will tell me the truth."

"So combining your opinion with mathematical fact is the way we can handle this and that's only possible if the game is instrumented well, and it is," David continued. "Like a whole new level of instrumentation, it's crazy cool. Data nerds would just die if they had any idea what kind of stuff we can yank with this."

Basically, Black Box is a series of databases that allows Treyarch to run various queries against it in lots of interesting ways. They can take a weapon like the SRM with the long barrel attachment, for example, and compare how many shots it's taking to put someone down on average against some other data set. That's one example of the cross checking they can perform now.

"Once you have the data you just need to figure out how you want to use it. You can create new queries and modify queries and that allows you to run all sorts of reports. I have this chart on my wall that we run all the time to just be sure how things are trending. What's really cool about it is you make a little tiny tweak [and] you get a sense of what that does to the tuning, what would happen if you did that. It lets you do some really lightweight modeling, it's pretty neat.

"I'm just going to kill people with facts [with] this game when they come over and go 'This thing is OP.' I'm going to go 'Actually it's not OP, you're wrong.' I'm not going to yell at them or anything, I'm just going to tell them the truth. I don't have to hide this stuff from people, just drop knowledge bombs on guys. It's gotta be done! What people are doing is reacting emotionally, and I'm like a really emotional guy so I get it."

David is one of the more prominent developers out there who actually uses Twitter as real-time feedback in a large way. "It's like the world's greatest instant fact checker. You can get really close to something when you work on it so it's always healthy to say, look, let me just put this out in the stratosphere and see are my assumptions about it still right and that's when you'll see me do that. The other thing is it's really great to just tell people look this is how it's going work and why. You may not agree with that but I'm going to tell you. I'm going to be transparent and tell you."

Social media also proves to be a great early warning detection system for David as well. "It's a really good way to understand what's happening before something becomes. That allows us to be on top of it. You can't tell people what they want to hear, that's the wrong way to do it. But what you can do is say 'I got it. Thank you. I'll look into it. I looked into it and this is what we're doing.' Or not, and then you'll move on from there hopefully."

And while he's open to hearing everyone's feedback, at the end of the day "you can't let Twitter design the videogame. These are just fans, and they just want to talk to somebody. Who are they going to talk to? A guy that doesn't work on the game? I'm the best guy for them to talk to, someone who can actually make decisions about the game is infinitely better than talking to somebody who has no control over what actually happens. I think it's better that way, even if it comes with this whole new level of responsibility and possibly headache. It's worth it in the end. I'm glad for it and I'm glad for them, honestly."





Former Panamanian dictator sues Activision over portrayal in Black Ops II photo


Call of Duty: Black Ops II's final DLC is 'Apocalypse' photo


Black Ops II 'Origins' trailer shows off giant robot photo


Vengeance comes to Black Ops II on PS3 and PC next month photo


Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops II: Vengeance photo


Black Ops II kicks off another Double XP weekend photo


Black Ops II nails down July release for Vengeance DLC photo


Black Ops II's multiplayer is free on Steam this weekend photo


Call of Duty to host a Double Weapon XP weekend photo


Team Fariko wins the first Call of Duty Championship photo


Call of Duty: Black Ops II Updates, Screenshots, & Videos







Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.






timeline following:
Call of Duty: Black Ops II



11:45 AM on 07.16.2014
Former Panamanian dictator sues Activision over portrayal in Black Ops II

The videogames industry has seen its share of legal actions lately, but the most recent one comes from an unlikely source. Manuel Noriega, the dictator of Panama until 1989, has filed a lawsuit against Activision for appropri...more



12:45 PM on 08.08.2013
Call of Duty: Black Ops II's final DLC is 'Apocalypse'

It's been a decent run for Call of Duty: Black Ops II's DLC, but all things must come to and end and the end is nigh. It's only fitting that Treyarch's fourth and final pack for the game is called Apocalypse. Releasing first ...more



4:30 PM on 08.07.2013
Black Ops II 'Origins' trailer shows off giant robot

We know this trailer is for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, but that's about it. Featuring the phrase "Every story has a beginning...and an end," the video seems to hint at a new Zombies map with a giant killer robot for reasons...more



4:00 AM on 07.11.2013
Vengeance comes to Black Ops II on PS3 and PC next month

Call of Duty: Black Ops II owners on the Xbox 360 have had access to the Vengeance expansion for a couple of weeks now. So what about PlayStation 3 and PC players? Your vengeance will be had starting on August 1. The expansio...more



5:00 PM on 07.03.2013
Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops II: Vengeance

If you're keeping score, Call of Duty: Black Ops II has offered up one so-so and one stellar map pack so far -- and now, we're on part three of the four-piece Season Pass, Vengeance. In typical Treyarch fashion, four maps are...more



4:00 PM on 06.26.2013
Black Ops II kicks off another Double XP weekend

For those of you who still play Call of Duty: Black Ops II, you'll want to boot up your system of choice this weekend for a Double XP event, starting Friday June 28th at 10AM Pacific, all the way through the morning of Monday...more



6:30 PM on 06.18.2013
Black Ops II nails down July release for Vengeance DLC

Following Revolution and Uprising, Call of Duty: Black Ops II will get its third downloadable content pack starting July 2, 2013 on Xbox 360. Priced at $15 (1200 Microsoft Points) without a Season Pass, this add-on has anoth...more



11:00 PM on 05.09.2013
Black Ops II's multiplayer is free on Steam this weekend

There's a little special on Call of Duty: Black Ops II over on Steam where you can play the multiplayer component for free all weekend long. Yup, you have full access and not only that, the game is 33% off on Steam right now....more



11:15 AM on 04.19.2013
Call of Duty to host a Double Weapon XP weekend

Fresh off the Call of Duty: Uprising DLC release, Treyarch has announced a Double Weapon XP weekend for Black Ops II, which starts at 10AM PDT today (right around the time of this writing). Since we already had a real Double ...more



1:00 AM on 04.09.2013
Team Fariko wins the first Call of Duty Championship

Team Fariko Impact won big after three days of intense Call of Duty: Black Ops II multiplayer action in the first ever Call of Duty Championship. 32 teams from around the world came together to battle it out, with the ultimat...more





Win your choice of console from Destructoid! in Destructoid's Hangs on LockerDome

MLG

8:15 AM on 04.14.2014
MLG.tv viewership grows 1,376 percent in Q1

Ha! "1,376 percent" is something a kid might say when you ask him how much he loves chicken fingers dipped in honey mustard. It's the percent of dislike I have for when people describe themselves as irreverent. It's the perce...more



10:00 AM on 02.03.2014
Ender's Game on Blu-Ray Tournament on Twitch

The Ender's Game on Blu-Ray Tournament is the first tournament on Twitch and MLG to be sponsored by a major movie studio. In this case, it's Lionsgate, who are helping foot the bill for the more than $20,000 in prize mon...more



5:00 AM on 01.16.2014
Content creators can make more money on MLG.tv, says CEO

On Gamer has an interview with Major League Gaming's CEO Sundance DiGiovanni, and there's a lot of interesting tidbits regarding the competitive gaming company. The biggest surprise for me is that ever since MLG.tv launched, ...more



View all MLG






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more