Why The Division Developer Need to Be Given More Flexibility to Nerf Shit
I wanted to provide a perspective on the nerfs that I am sure that many of you will not appreciate, and that's fine. I fully understand and respect the plethora of views on this subject, as I know how much it sucks to have your favorite shit nerfed, however the response to these changes has been so intense that I feel like we all need to take a step back and look at a few of the facts, and consider the long term impact of our actions.
1) The Aug/Vector nerfs were justified. The Aug and Vector are statistical outliers across both the SMG category and all weapons more broadly. They have the highest per bullet dmg of any automatic weapon bar the burst-fire FAL Assault Rifle, and the highest firearms scaling of any automatic weapon bar the FAL. They out-shone every other weapon by well over 10% and the nerf still leaves them as 2 of the top 3 automatic weapons in the game (after the MP7). The fact that we could craft the Vector/Aug was not the reason we were using them (we could craft heaps of other weapons as well). It was the fact that by the numbers, these weapons were unquestionably best by a significant margin.
2) 'Just buff everything else' is not practical. There are nearly 100 weapon types in the game. To buff every single one of them to the point where they are all as good as the Aug/Vector would require modelling, testing and coding that would take hundreds or thousand of hours to get right. It isn't just like 'add a zero here' since things like weapon stability, optimal range a whole bunch of stuff impact the overall DPS of a weapon. In my personal view, the developers would be wasting their time trying to do this. I'd much rather see them nerf the 2 overpowered weapons, and then look to boost my power by OTHER MEANS, which is what they have done with buffs to LMGs, Shotguns, Assault Rifles and weapon re calibration, which incidentally is likely going to net you a hell of a lot more than 10% DPS unless your weapon is already god-roll status.
3) Striker and Sentry are boring, badly designed sets. It's clear that the developers are going down a path where they want gear sets to give you different ways to play the game, rather than just giving you more stats. More stats is boring. Gear score, mods and re calibration are the gameplay systems that give me more stats. If gear sets just give me MOAR STATS as well, then what is the point of a gear set? In the case of Striker and Sentry, those 2/3 piece bonuses just gave you more stats, and tonnes of them to the point where they were the most efficient DPS sets by far, encouraging the vast majority of us to ignore other set options. I would rather sets be tuned around playstyle, and let stats come from other sources. In this way, I think the Striker and Sentry set changes are good design that will enhance diversity. I agree that some of the other sets need buffs (Hunter's Mark/Final Measure 4pc springs to mind) but I don't think the answer is just more numbers.
4) I agree that these changes are very poorly timed: the crit cap nerf, the armour cap increase, the SMG nerf and the Striker/Sentry nerf all reduce our damage at a time when Tanktician is strangling the DZ. It's a really shit PVP meta, and it would have been far better for Massive to solve the Tanktician problem before making these changes. Currently, the timing of these changes only make a bad problem worse.
Finally, I think we need to think very carefully about the way we respond to nerfs in future because at the moment, the way we are responding is going to force Massive (and other developers) to be far more cautious, conservative and boring about the stuff they put into their game for fear that if/when they DO have to nerf it, that people will go crazy. Yes, Massive said they aren't looking to nerf things, but personally I just file that as a fuck up; something they shouldnt have said as they're just learning how to properly balance a competitive PVP MMO. Do you REALLY want to take them at face value on that? Do you really want to play a competitive PVP MMO where there are no nerfs? Really? I don't want to play that game. I want a game with HEAPS of nerfs, because it means that the developers are actively trying new shit out and then balancing it appropriately. I want the developers to be totally fearless about the shit they add to games. I want them to add heaps and heaps of overpowered crap that enlarges what this game is and what it could be, and then spend timing nerfing it as appropriate to get it to the point where it is just right. I think that anyone looking for a truly long-lasting, dynamic competitive PVP experience would also want the same thing.
Anyway that's my view. Yes, I know a lot of people aren't going to like it, but it's my honest view. I'm no Massive apologist (despite what my comments suggest). I think the M1A nerf was unnecessary, I think the Assault Rifle buff doesn't go far enough, I think the state of PVP is terrible and I think that the fact that Tacticians/Toughness hasn't seen nerfs in this patch is a tragedy, but I'm patient enough to wait for these things because I know they are coming.
In the meantime I'm going to cop these nerfs on the chin and move onto different weapons/gear sets in the expansion, which to be honest I am looking forward to because I am pretty over using the same stuff day-in, day-out.