“Of course you’re pwning! [Your favourite gun here] is so OP! Use a real gun, why doncha, then we’ll see who’s really Teh Best!111″
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Since competitive multiplayer was born, its first shrill cries of life were drowned out by angry players shrieking “Overpowered!”.
Balance in games is a legitimate concern, but is the gun overpowered, or are you actually just pretty good at using it? Nowadays in Black Ops 2, Treyarch have a new system in place, called Black Box, that analyses player data to see what’s really happening, without all that visceral, reactive emotion getting in the way. “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?’” design director David Vonderhaar said.
“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.”
I am sort of a data nerd, so I think this sounds amazing. But more than anything, it will end that age old question: Are you winning because your weapon is OP, or are you just really good?