Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Slot machines: it's hard to wield the nerf bat

Since the nerf of the popular slot machines, blogs all around are buzzing with the news. As you might remember, I advocated against the large amount of purple crating items they dropped and explained in what detrimental ways they disrupted the in-game economy.

When the developers realized what was going on in the community, they took their nerf hammer and hit the slot machine. Only they underestimated their own strength and nerfed it into the ground. 

Am I surprised? Not really. Disappointed? Maybe a little.

People are still bickering over the exact datamined win chances of items, but the precise numbers don't really matter in my opinion. All the estimates have the same gist: the chance to get any purple crafting mats or cartel certificates is close to zero. That leaves the reputation items with a decent win chance, but it's easy to max out your reputation within two weeks. Without cartel certificates to spend, the reputation is practically useless. Thus I foresee the slot machines being deserted. A shame for an invention with great potential that gained so much popularity in such a short time.

But hey, at least the slot machine will be properly roleplayed now by poor addicted souls losing millions on it trying to be the first person to get one of the mythical datamined walkers. Me, personally? I have better things to do with my time and money. I'll be alright with the Yavin reputation walker, thank you very much.

Just ignore?

Sometimes I get the impression people think developers are better off ignoring the crowd, because people don't know what's good for them: first they moan about getting too many rewards, now they moan about not getting enough. Reality is of course different. I believe developers and players are looking for the same thing: a good balance of rewards. Unfortunately, it seems genuinely hard for developers to wield the nerf bat. Not just for swtor developers in particular, but for developers in general.

A grasp of infamous recent nerf bat victims:

Freighter flyby / Orbital strike

One of the reasons I switched back from gunslinger to sage is because of Freighter flyby being nerfed into the ground. (I know it's maybe a bit silly, but I really care about fun skills and the feel of a class and I feel Freighter flyby was a logical extension of my gunslinger being a freighter captain). In truth, Freighter flyby needed the nerf: it was so good it was used on cooldown in single target rotations whilst intended to be an AoE skill. But now it's the worst AoE skill in-game and Sweeping gunfire dealing much more damage than a freighter bombarding the area just doesn't make any sense.

Balance sage / Madness sorcerer

Before 3.0, balance sages / madness sorcerers  were over-performing a bit. Bringing a balance sage could be explained as just being "flavour of the month". Nevertheless, the other DPS tree telekinetics / lightning still was better for AoE fights and burst DPS. With 3.0, balance has been nerfed into the ground, making telekinetics the only viable sage DPS line in PvE as of today. As I quite liked the variety of having multiple DPS specs available, I've switched to shadow on Republic side.

I'm not trying to make a point here that our developers are crap or anything. There are numerous examples of them doing it right (the currently well-balanced healer classes come to mind). But since finding balance for things is apparently hard, I think it's best to keep perspective and enjoy other things in-game that you do like.


Finally, it seems our writing swtor player base is less hasty to judge than the common crowd. Here are their thoughts on the slot machine nerf:

  • Darkbrew of The Cantina is trying to earn back the 3.6 million credits they spent on their slot machine. Ah well, "you win some, you loose some".

  • Calphaya of Spawn of the Dread Master "still love(s) the idea of them as a means of being able to gain old Reputation tokens without buying those respective packs."

  • Werit of Werit's blog shrugs about the whole controversy. He's planning on buying a machine when the price has dropped and probably deserting it afterwards.

  • XamXam of XamXam Says is the most outspoken, calling the nerf "lame". She hope for new machines dropping rare items.

My advice: keep calm and ignore the nerf bat. You can trust me, I'm a sage with a level 60 certificate in meditation techniques.


  1. I have to admit this whole thing has just passed me by and I don't really get all the outrage. I don't like being dismissive of people and say "Nobody cares about that!" but really... this was one item, intended for a bit of fun, and that's still what it is. It's weird how quick some people are to throw their entire playstyle overboard (one of my guildies literally spent hours playing that slot machine instead of playing "normally", earning more than 1000 purple scraps in the process) and then blame Bioware when it doesn't work out.

    1. It probably would've passed me by as well, if not for Conrad. I guess he is more like that guildie of yours... although not to such an extreme extent! Totally agree with you on this one.


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