The Cold Hard Truth About Fraggers Nade...

(PixelTwitch) #1

If you have been around the forums for any length of time, you must have seen at least one thread proclaiming that Fraggers Nade is OP (Over Powered). Within that thread you find people that fall within one of two camps thrashing it out. One group are the people that believe the Nade is overpowered and simply needs a huge nerf and on the other side we have people that believe the Nade is fine in the grand scheme of things and should be left alone. Both can’t be right, can they? Well this is where it gets a little more complicated because in literal terms, no, the Nades are not overpowered. Fragger by his very design is supposed to be one of the heavy hitters and be topping the scoreboard in terms of kills and deaths. His punishment for this? Well, he cannot heal himself or his team, revive other players, do objectives quickly, highlight enemy players or provide ammo to himself and team members. Basically, beyond his lethality, he’s kinda useless…

So, we go by the numbers and accept that he is indeed balanced and get on with it, right? Not exactly… There is a new go to term in back seat game design called “Counter Play”. Really the words mean very little these days due to the way it has been milked dry by gamers who have very limited understanding of how it works. For those people here that have no idea what I am talking about, watch this -> HERE! In basic terms, counter play is the idea of designing mechanics that both add choices to players using a mechanic and the players on the receiving end of said mechanic. Fraggers Nades do this very poorly… At the moment, the outcome of a Nades overall effect on gameplay is too heavily dictated by the player throwing it. This may seem both obvious and the correct way of doing it and you would not be far wrong. For example, you look at your spawn timer, realise the enemy are about to spawn so you pull out your nade and start cooking. As soon as you hear the enemies footsteps from around a corner you peak out, let the nade fly and get a sexy triple kill. Sure, you earned them kills and it felt awesome to get them. However, it only felt awesome for you. Your team are likely bored and frustrated though the lack of action they are able to partake in and your enemies have just been killed with no opportunity to either fight back or realistically predict what was about to happen. So even though you have somewhat ruined the enjoyment for at least the 3 people you hit but likely more whom now have less chance of progressing or if on your team, less people to interact with, that does not mean what you just did is due to any imbalance in the game…

This is where what you as a player wants, really polarises you opinion on what is right for the game. For simplicities sake I am going to break it down into two camps. 1, the camp that believes in “Skilful Slaughter” and 2, the camp that wants “Skilful Domination”, and yes, I know both these names suck but its very late and I need sleep. Before going any further I want to make it clear that I come from the camp of “Skilful Domination”. So if you find my wording in the following biased, I do apologise.

In my eyes the camp of “Skilful Slaughter” are the people that generally are of a decent skill level and believe that fair is fair. They want to feel as powerful as possible, as often as possible and are willing to risk the same mechanics being used on themselves to achieve that. Also, extremely casual players and some of the more old school players are more willing to take on this mindset, be it for widely varying reasons. The casual players simply accept it blind with the attitude of “well this is part of the game”. On the other hand the more old school players have likely become more accustomed to this form of game design over the years due to how games were in the past. These players pride themselves on a very high skill ceiling

The camp that push for “Skilful Domination” more so believe in a few design pillars like the mythical counter play, wide skill sets catered for and tactical depth being more aligned when it comes to value with individual skill levels. Based on the popularity of games like LoL, Dota 2, Starcraft and Counter Strike, I would have to say the players that generally fall into this camp are the hardcore/avid gamers. These players are generally of a medium to high skill level and receive less support from the extremely casual due to games balanced around skilful domination generally having a much steeper learning curve that less experienced gamers can find daunting


(PixelTwitch) #2


Let me say one more time, neither camp is wrong or right in terms of their ideas and beliefs. The real question is, what camp does Splash Damage intend for Dirty Bomb to fall into? In the past it looked like skilful domination was going to be the target, however that all changed around a patch we received just before the NDA lifted. The information on what that patch changed is available over on the Splash Damage forums and I urge you to check it out if you have time. It was called “The Darwinian Update”. To cut a long story short, many of the abilities in the game received fairly substantial buffs that changed the whole feel of the game drastically and we saw individual mastery become the name of the game. Honestly, some things improved massively and I was really happy. However, the side effect of this was abilities that that skated that line between tools of domination and skills of slaughter, became much simpler then many of us expected. This is around the time the questions about Fraggers Nade, Air strikes, Healing Stations and much more became hot topics of contempt for the community.

How would I like the nades to act? Well, one of the things you often hear is that if you take away their killing potential and gibbing they and by extension Fragger become underpowered. This is true. In order to keep Fragger and his nades balanced while adding that domination type feel would be by changing other aspects that would indeed support and promote counter play. Currently I believe the best way to do this would be by drastically increasing the AoE of the nade (by around 100%), doing 2x more damage to deployable objects and downed players to compensate for much less damage vs players and implementing the cancel cooldown punishment that Splash Damage recently mentioned on a livestream. Also working towards better telegraphs that a nade could be incoming soon would go some way to improving the feel for me personally. How this would change the game is simple, Fragger would use the nades, as he does now but with more of an ability to take out static defences. The wider explosion range and lower damage means that the Fragger would be required to manually kill players after the nade had been thrown if the enemy players were on max health (unless Aura, Proxy or Sawbones who would likely have died instantly when the nade explodes within a decent amount of range). This would entice more teamwork with players willing to trust in the nade and follow it into hot zones to help clean up any remaining enemies. This would feel better for them players on your team instead of just taking everything for yourself. Due to the increased blast radius there is also a chance you could effectively kill more people then you would in the current system. When it comes to the players the nade was used on, rather than dying instantly, they have choices.

They can…
Fortify the position and prepare for a fight.
Start spamming out revives, heals and ammo for a fight.
Push out of the area towards or away from the person that threw it.
Block off the entrance with certain abilities to buy time.

Simply, rather then instantly dying they have the chance of turning around a situation that previously, would have resulted in a chunk of players being cleaned up instantly with the nade and the people that survived being heavily out numbered with only their own abilities to try and recoup. I honestly see this as the better way of doing things and what I have always hoped for in Dirty Bomb since I gained access. The reason why I have become so frustrated is not due to missing features, business model or things like that, it is simply that this game is heading in a direction that does not interest me personally. Normally that would be fine, I would have simply avoided it. However, I have been here when it seemed to be heading in a direction that I did like…

Basically, as simple as Fraggers nade really is, it has become a beacon to where we can expect future development and mechanics to be headed. A few number values over the next few weeks are going to dictate whether this is going to be a game I stick with as my “main” or if its going to be my bit of brain dead fun. Again, I personally came here for complexity and depth, something that is only really found in Counter Strike when it comes to First Person Shooters (When I say “only” I mean it as in only game with a decent following and potential). However, CS:GO does not really appeal to me when it comes to its pacing and core skill requirement. I already have plenty of fun brain dead shooters like Battlefield, Call of Duty and Black Light Retribution.

Unfortunately, I have a strong feeling this one is going to fall on the wrong side of the fence for me.

TLDR: Fraggers nade is really not OP, just designed in a way that gives very little counter play. This results in the perceived balance being very different from the balance in practice. How you feel about this in particular is likely to effect how you feel about the game in future. Right now it looks like the game is designed completely for “skill” and is void of depth and complexity because of it. I worry for the future of DB due to games like Battlefield, Call of Duty and other being in decline on the PC and following the same overarching design. Whereas games like LoL, Dota, Starcraft, Counter Strike and more are showing a GROWING trend towards more complexity in games that allows mastery from both raw skill and amazing tactics. The future of the nade is likely going to be the beacon that lights the path of future development, so if your not a fan of where it goes design wise in the coming weeks, don’t expect future mechanics and abilities to be much different to the nades final implementation. Will instant death and no chance for counter play be the soup of the day? I don’t know… but I hope not…

(mOist) #3

There wasnt a need for yet another thread , the problem isnt that the explosive is op its that people can cancel the cooking time of Nades and use it to there advantage and the overall fact hes to versatile. He can win range fights NP , outgun everyone in CQC with his k-121 (or w/e its called) and can kill crowds/ ppl in cover with ease. His only downside is that he can’t self heal (He can regen health tho) but his large health pool makes up for it.

They also mentioned in one of the streams Explosives currently don’t work properly and are killing people who should be out of range , that also makes fraggers nade itself seems more op.

(PixelTwitch) #4

it seems you either just skimmed over the post or have misunderstood what I was saying… Thanks for the feedback though.

(riptide) #5

I read all of that and the entire time I couldn’t stop disagreeing with your camps and cs having much counter play. I don’t consider strategy evolved over 16-17 years to be counter play or depth. The extent of cs specific counter play is nades,smokes, mollys, and flashes and to a much lesser extent decoys. This game has almost everything there and more.

If you just wanted to say “make the frags more teamwork oriented” it would have been a much easier post to agree with, but then it does make fragger and thunder even more similar.

(ToonBE) #6

Fragger is dumb atm. Only used to rambo and get kills with completely ignoring synergies with other players. This is probably the wrong forum for this post, because the majority of members here fall in the “skillfull slaughter”.

I like the idea of fragger being used as en entry type of merc helping to deal with certain botllenecks at objectives rather then raw killing power.

(Glot) #7

Most viable counterplay for nades is Dodge.
Lower speed travel and that will appear.

as for Radius vs Damage trade, i would like nades to stay more or less precise weapon.
The higher radius - the lower skill required to deal damage.
not againts playing around and tweaking those to find the best radius/damage ratio

and i agree with ToonBE - playing Fragger is dumb. very undemanding. and in the long term very unrewarding. Just go and Frag. I play him a little bit and get tired of him very soon.

(DadoPeja) #8

[quote=“Moist;15821”]… the problem isnt that the explosive is op its that people can cancel the cooking time of Nades and use it to there advantage and the overall fact hes to versatile. He can win range fights NP , outgun everyone in CQC with his k-121 (or w/e its called) and can kill crowds/ ppl in cover with ease. […]
They also mentioned in one of the streams Explosives currently don’t work properly and are killing people who should be out of range , that also makes fraggers nade itself seems more op.[/quote]

Agreee on this and yesterday on stream devs confirmed they are gonna remove canceling coked nades ( finaly ) . Also k-121 needs rework and Fragger should be balanced !

(B_Montiel) #9

In my mind, when I talk about counter play, I talk about having skillful solutions to get rid of a particular problem. That does not mean making this easy in any way. Just to give an example of minded counterplay : In TF2, the scout could be a good answer to an annoying heavy if you are good enough on ambushing him with good moving skills and accurate enough to land 3-4 full body shots. This never meant it was a true punishment for the heavy, because if he reacts well enough he still has the advantage in any way. I’ve done and I’ve seen top teams using this efficiently back in the good old days. All this game presented kinda weird solutions to counter specific problems if you took the time to think and assume that you need to be good enough to realise those countering solutions.

As of now, (patch of thursday coming in two hours), I really miss solutions against a good fragger. Even objectively worse players than me playing him. Even though he lacks any supportive role except tanking (which is totally not to forget), it feels like you can play him half-drunk, having the k-121 in one hand, the nade in the other while doing propellerman/Alexander Pistoletov in the meantime. He does have the best main weapon choices from cqb up to mid-long range, the best damage/practicality compromise ability and the current top health pool.
While facing any fragger with any other classes, you already know you gonna climb that Everest and chances are more than high that you fail. Appreciated. But I’d like to mention that your opponent, he’s just harvesting heads with poor to little interest on his own safety. In my mind, Fragger has too much liberties on the field and allow players using him to have a relaxing time. This never should happen.

Two facts that come in my mind by the way (just to mention them, they are quite irrelevant in fact) : the number of fragger you see in “competitive” games, and the score medium skilled players are able to pull out with him in a pub. Most of the time, facing some mates on regular basis, I see them achieving +60% score with fragger than they usually use to with any other merc.

I won’t put the other guy here :smiley:

(son!) #10

Another counter-play for nades (other than baiting and dodging) could be to release rhyno and or thunder. The two easily beat fragger in a straight up gun fight (except for long range) so atleast 1 of 2 nades must be used to kill or damage thunder/rhyno. Start fucking with the aoe and damage now I worry that’ll make those two even stronger–which is not so bad for thunder as he is a bit UP, but rhyno would be a problem. Not to mention decreasing an assault’s killing potential will make the game much more rambo medic-centric than it already is.

(Draceus) #11

Finally someone with a brain starting a post about the fraggers nade!
I read it all and I have to say I agree on almost everything.
Like you said the nade needs some tweaking but its not only about one class, its about looking at the whole picture with all mercs available it will add to the balance of the game and the chance to counterpick the fragger.

I would say Im also in the “Skilful Domination” camp and agree that the game is actually moving in the wrong direction a lot of the time, sadly.

(Amerika) #12

I agree with a lot of your points but I’m pretty sure people don’t fall into one of two camps. I know it’s human nature to try and boil everything down to make things easier to process and sometimes we limit ourselves because we really want to believe a certain PoV but it’s incredibly more complicated than Team Edward and Team Jacob and nothing else in between.

  1. There are some people who wants every class in the game to have at least one grenade similar to past SD games. They resent the fact that grenades are only allowed to be used by some classes.
  2. There are people who want to see the nades completely removed from the game. Rare but they exist.
  3. Some people want the nades themselves to be nerfed on their throw range as throwing them across a map seems a bit ridiculous to them at the speed they travel.
  4. Others want the damage nerfed or the speed at which they respawn to go up.
  5. OTHERS wants the grenades to not be replenished through ammo packs but through the crates on maps making them have to go out of their way to pick more up (which other games have done).
  6. Some, like myself, want the ability to switch weapons after you start cooking the nade to be removed. That right there is a HUGE portion of why they are so effective as you can easily time nades from around corners…especially on spawns.
  7. Some think, and I am also partially in this camp, that a lot of people need to use their brain more. If I see a Fragger and he stops firing then he’s cooking a nade. I rarely get hit by anything other than Fragger nades meant for others because I know when to not be in an area. Using your brain is an EXCELLENT counter.
  8. Some think the nades shouldn’t be cookable which will make pineapple juggler possibly useful.
  9. And then there are people who think they are fine and believe you should L2P.

And this is but a sample of what I’ve read and many of the thoughts listed above can be combined. As you can see, they do not fall into your little column A little column B system (points if you get the reference).

SD is doing something about it. I am sure they realize the issues and hopefully they don’t overreact and completely strip Fragger of everything that makes him good and instead implement some of the changes they suggested in their stream and potentially a few other minor ones if needed. As a guy who has seen developers overreacting to fans going nuts on forums boards from the fighting game community, nerfing in small increments has always worked out better for the characters and the players overall.

(Milky Mac) #13

I honestly never have any trouble killing fraggers… Only takes 1 shot in the head with BOLT, if you have no aim and can’t snipe just dance around em with a speed-whor and shotgun. Proxy or aura just jump and bounce around fragger can’t hit em if done properly only takes 2-3 shotguns to kill.

I know it’s about nades but if you can kill them from range or sneak on em nades won’t be an issue. Plus he needs his weapons and nades to be “OP” if they weren’t what would be the purpose of playing him his name is “FRAGGER” that’s what he does is frag. Killing is all he is good for.

I honestly feel nades are perfect as they are now, and if they were to nerf the ONLY thing should be AOE radius. There have been so many times where a lob nade has won the game by killing an enemy planting or defusing where you were out of LOS taking or making the nades weak is just silly.

7. Some think, and I am also partially in this camp, that a lot of people need to use their brain more. If I see a Fragger and he stops firing then he’s cooking a nade. I rarely get hit by anything other than Fragger nades meant for others because I know when to not be in an area. Using your brain is an EXCELLENT counter.

^^^^^^ This, 9/10 times if you die to fragger nade it’s your fault.

(watsyurdeal) #14

I will say this, I hate dying to nades but I can never seem to get any kills with them.

So fragger IMO is balanced like Vasilli but both are frustrating to go against in their own way.

(cosmopolitanSponge) #15

I have watched the video and also an extra video (balancing for skill) and they both seem reasonable… i agree with mostly everything you say @PixelTwitch but then i watched this and both the video you showed me and the video that i found are pretty much similar… or so i see it… I think what this game needs to show more is TEAMWORK (big words that very few people use) yes there may be an over powered guy but with teamwork, your whole team can easily take the rest of the guys using; communication, cooperation, concentration and respect each other :smile:

(RuleofBooKz) #16
  • no cooking, slower toss, lots of lube

and teamwork? Serious? Expecting teamwork in pubs is like asking a fish out for dinner expecting to get a kiss. esp when teams are shuffled every round and / or most people play a round or two and D/C or swap to play with buddies or on the better team etc etc etc

Just crafting the game along the lines that would work for a comp match with elite players just seems like asking for a fail launch when the masses join, have a poor experience and go play

(cosmopolitanSponge) #17

@RuleofBooKz Counter Strike- Global Offensive is a great example for both terrible but also great way to find teamwork (casual mode) Yes it can suck most of the time, but when it works it really works :smile: (also competitive mode as well when you think about it)

(Dommedag) #18

It was a nice read and I understood about everything you tried to say however I do slightly disagree on certain things. The grandes are powerful, that is for sure and no one can say otherwise. But I feel like you are ignoring the fact that you need to cook those nades which takes a few seconds and during that you are vulnerable. This means if people want to deal with a Fragger cooking his nades have a window of oppertunity to kill him or make him cancel and move back to restore hp. A good Airstrike can take out 5-6 players. Have you seen a good Fragger Nade taking out that many players? I sure have not. The difference is that you most of the times can see the airstrike marker while the nade is more of a guess which brings back the skillceiling. If you are really good at this game, you should predict and pay attention to where people are.

DB is still in beta and obviously there is a lot of work to do with the game. I do however feel that we need some ladder/ranking server system to let the better players play against each other and eventually give Splashdamage an idea of how abilities and mercs works on a top level.

A good example for the whole balance thing is also found in LoL. I saw this guy killing and dominating with Master Yi in all my level up games and even during ranked. Most people were saying Master Yi was overpowered, should get nerfed/deleted etc… And that guy came up to around plat/diamond, then he kept losing and going negative stats due to the skill level he reached, people knew how to counter and deal with it and therefore he was no longer dominating.

My point is, I don’t think we should complain too much about abilities/kit and the balancing of it before we have a proper test environment where the best players gets to battle it out against others around their skill level. Not like level 20’s who have been playing DB for 1000 hours taking out 3 players who barely reached level 3.

And I hope you’ll stick around PixelTwitch because the community needs positive and promoting personalities like you.

(R5on11c) #19

That’s a lot of words for an excuse that the only counterplay to an undodgeable nade is sheer luck. Bad excuse tho.

(MaesTro) #20

I was planning to come here giving my input about this, and saw this good, comprehensive post. Cograts @Pixel.

I agree with you, when you say nade isn’t op, in fact nade, right up to the release of nader, was the most obvious counterpart for medics and defending killing zones. I also divide the ppl in 2 groups, medics and non-medics. Why?

Like @majesticClue said, fragger as its flaws too, just like many other annoying mercs (yes annoying, like Vasilli+sniper, Arty with decent amount of spam Proxy+mines+superbouncer with shotgun). Is taking a cooked nade to the face annoying? Sure as hell! But the same goes for shooting a medic, seeing him run to cover, heal, and return with full or almost full health! And seeing ppl that are good with proxy is just marvelous…and ultra-annoying. HOP HOP HOP and you take 3 shotgun-shells to the face and die…if that didn’t work, they drop mines on top of you and fly away. Playing against Players good with Vassili, god save us! Seen almost an entire team getting picked by 2 snipers with 70% hs rate in 3 or 4 straight assaults. These ppl, know they kind off infuriate the other players with this, but its part of the pleasure knowing that ppl will get angry and start doing stupid mistakes.


People that play with medics, have a good advantage in mid-long range against all others. They can shoot, retreat, heal and come back. In case of Aura close-mid. If no one in the team as a Fragger, or if no nades are available, you can see 3 players with 1 aura, just raging havoc and standing in a team’s way like a fortress! With Sawbones spamming packs, it gets even more awesome.
This usually are the ones that complain the most (95%, and taking 5% just because in all this months i think i’ve seens 2 or 3 Skyhammer’s complaining) because, truth be told, are the most invincible ones in case no fragger is around. Who here hasn’t seen 3 or 4 medics, just healing themselves and group in bottleneck parts making it the toughest nut to crack ingame?

As for the nade cooking, as @Dommedag said, you can’t just go in the middle of a fight and start cooking a nade…you’ll just die since you’ll be open to get shot while it cooks.
So nades are cooked especially when you want to enter a certain area (ie:bridge part2, barrier building) where, if the enemy is defending properly, is really hard (i would say, extreme) to get in. The nade serves as opening ground, destroying the Aura stations, killing some and taking down some HP from others.

Yes you can use’em at defense points, but mind you you only get 2 nades, and rly seldomly you’ll see a fragger that keeps both of them, since ppl tend to use’em to diggout the self-healing medics or use’em to keep enemies at bay, at least for a couple of seconds while you pray for reinforcements, so usually ppl just have 1 nade, then have to wait the full amount for the next one.

Like someone said above to, never saw anyone getting more than 2,3 kills after spawn with nade, unlike airstrikes. I did try to do waht i could do in W:ET, cooking a nade and jumping in the middle of 5, rly closed in on each others, enemies blowing my self in the process, hoping to kill at least 3 so my team could go and take obj in bridge. Managed to kill 1!!! Freaking 1!! Some players there, that were from ET agreed that if it was ET, at least half of them would’ve died, but here, that doens’t happen.

Its really hard to balance so many mercs, yet i feel that DB is doing a great job at this, and like many other have said, this is a Beta, and much work will be done.

On a side note, if have disliked so far the fragger nades, can’t wait to see what they’ll be thinking of nader ^^

Pixel, honestly, i too hope you’ll be here and continue to contribute to this game/community, since ppl that can build constructive criticism are way more needed then ppl just raging and not explaining.