Who is responsible of game balance?
Game balance is an integral design process that is revelant post and pre launch for the development team. Game balance is an integral resposibility of the designers and developers, and maintanence teams post-launch of the game.
Challenges of game balance, and responsibilities of the development team
The development teams go through an iterative design process where they tweak the constants and mechanics of the game and then test if the desired outcome is achieved. Most of a game designers and maintanence crews’ time is spent spotting game balance issues, attempt to fix the issue without creating any unexpected consequences such as inbalances in other mechanics or patching in unintended dominant strategies etc.
The development team, and especially the designers constantly make game balance decisions. Video games have many variables and states, it is not realistic to expect the development team to oversea all the possible interactions, so the biggest the team faces is balancing the game for the most important interactions at a high level, and then use tools and data to cover any other possible interaction to find game balancing issues.
Game balance and customers
The importance of game balance varies from game genre to game genre. For example for a casual mobile game, game balance may be of little concern due to the simplicity of game mechanics and casual nature of the game. For competitive games, strategy games, and most on-line games; however, customers greatly value having a fair and balanced gaming experience. This makes game balance the highest priority development process for such video game genres.
Resources for game balance
Game developers responsible for game balance have access many tools to assist the game balance process. For game genres for which game balance makes the highest priority development process, the funds available to the development team for game balance is vast. This allows expensive tools such as playtesting to be often used to test game balance.
Tools available for game balance:
Playtesting is a resource-intensive method of testing game balance changes. Playtesting is often used for crucial game balance decisions.
Post-launch data and statistics help developers get a real-time impact report for a game balance patch.
Varios automation tools, machine learning, and playtesting bots are used for testing almost any change that impacts the gameplay. These are the most cost-effective tools avaible for the development team.