How MPQ Characters Are Rebalanced

On the Puzzle Warriors Discord channel last night, Marvel Puzzle Quest designer Patch (@Demiurge_Patch#8076) revealed what goes into a character rebalance.  Patch designed quite a few recent MPQ characters, including Vulture, Mockingbird, Yondu and 5* Daredevil.  After Daredevil, he shared, “You get two more from me, and then a small break.”

On the recent Ghost Rider changes, Patch shared the following: “Hey y’all, I was behind the ghost rider rebalance ^_^ (not kingpin tho). The idea for green was that originally it didn’t do much AoE damage because the cost was so low and AoE damage is expensive. By increasing the cost and having it conditionally get cheaper I can embed more damage into it and have it be more cost effective, especially at 6ap.

“For red, I wanted there to be immediate damage because I didn’t like that you had to wait 2 turns to get anything out of it, and ithe CD could easily get matched in those two turns. Making it 1ap more expensive let me take the recurring damage out and into immediate damage without completely nerfing the effect of the CD.”

Discord user Iamolisebika3™ (@iamolisebika#2897) asked about Mordo’s recent fix after his rebalance, where his purple power was stealing AP in addition to dealing damage, saying, “Any chance mordo can steal magic again?”  Patch responded, “Mordo was not balanced to be able to steal AP. If we did that the damage on that power would have to go way down.”

Discord user GrumpySmurf (@Grumpy5murf™#5031) asked Patch, “When you say it ‘lets me increase the damage,’ I assume that means some formula that would yell at you for imbalance if you left AP costs?”

Patch responded, “More or less. We have guidelines (including formulas) that keep everything relatively balanced. A common issue with some characters that don’t land in a good place is because the ability budgets are mathematically balanced but not necessarily practically balanced, I.e. The budget wasn’t allocated well. Ghost rider’s red spent a lot of budget on recurring damage (‘boosted’ damage from it being a 2 turn CD). I can get more practical damage output by taking out that recurring damage and focusing it on making more special tiles.”

GrumpySmurf asked Patch how often the designers are reviewing/changing values assigned to tiles or powers.  Patch responded, “Mostly when evaluating which characters to rebalance. It’s difficult to know how the balance of a character will play out until it’s been live for a while, which is why balancing is kind of an art. We go with our gut and hope we get it right the first time.

“Every character has their own internal spreadsheet where the respective designer does all the math and justification for the numbers. When rebalancing a character I will do a review of the original balance justification to see if a power needs a numbers tweak (silver surfer, wasp) vs a mechanics change (mordo, drax).”

Lastly, Discord user CJGibson (@Ythik#2308) asked “Any chance you can confirm or deny that Kingpins new black cannot be used without a CD on the board?”

Patch responded, “I believe that is true. Kinda related to above, by removing the base damage you lose being able to cast it by itself, but that lost damage bumps up the CD destruction damage.

“And whether or not that’s a worthwhile tradeoff is a design decision.”

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