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Crow's Caw

The silent short screams and annoying rants of an MMO player....not unlike the pecking and calling of the average crow.

Author: BarCrow

Old school grouping PnP style and unnecessity of class balance

Posted by BarCrow Saturday March 14 2009 at 1:55PM
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Just asking. Are most of you who request class balance (I would Imagine for PvP) also strict grouping fans for other content?

      The reason I ask is this: I don't see the need for strict class balance...mainly from the days of PnP where you usually had to have a cleric for  healing/buffs and general survival...a thief for locks,traps and stealth..a fighter for...fighting(doh)..close(tanking) and long range depending of subclass...and a mage for various magical applications including buffs,long range...eventually nukage..locks/doors..and reading magic and identifying items...among other traits per class.....working together to each weakness and strengths. This was "grouping" at it's best. A mage didn't have good odds on beating a fighter until later levels...only through experience and skill advancement ...did balance occur. Eventually...a higher level mage was a safe bet to nuke the fighter of same level. A successful saving throw was the only hope. It seems PvP would be more interesting if done in certain teams...but balance should not always be the case in 1on 1. This would benefit grouping and reminiscent to old school pnp grouping. I usually solo..but in this case grouping would be more enjoyable to me as no class would be left out. Of course you always have to put up with the occasional pair of arse-glasses.
           There are many professions one can choose in life and based on which one you take...usually determines or determined by your strengths in particular areas. If you focus on Accounting in life ..you will not likely run the boston marathon as well as someone who has chosen an athletic profession. Just as they will be less likely to answer questions on tax law or amortizations of loans. There are always exceptions and these examples are not meant as stereotypes...so much as archetypes.  It is the rarer personality that can do everything equally well. There should be mmos that also reflect this fact in class development.

dcostello writes:

    I do not think classes should be balanced (for 1v1 purposes), like you said before.  I think it negates from players' personal skill. The only balance and/or advantage should be what you (as a player) bring to the table.  An assassin shouldn't be balanced against a warrior, plain and simple.  However, if the assassin successfully sneaks up on the warrior archetype, it should mostly likely result in a victory for the assassin. I think devs should make games more complex and strategic, we, as players, can handle and adapt to it.  Besides, players would find the game more fun if there was more to it, instead of less--which companies follow with "Make your own WoW" assembly kits and dollar signs ringing in their ears...

Sat Mar 14 2009 2:27PM Report
Velexia writes:

The question of class balance, or the necessity for it to even be a question is entirely subjective to the sort of game that is being developed.  Dungeons and Dragons Online is a nice example of a game where the ability for different character classes to be able to defeat each other in PvP combat is not a concern.  Yes, they do have tavern brawls, but the focus of the game has nothing to do with PvP.  In Dungeons and Dragons Online you are expected to form a group with other players and explore dungeons and other areas together.  In this sense, how different character classes add to the group in unique ways replaces the class balance.

In a game like World of Warcraft, where PvP combat is more prevalent, and players only group together for the really big quests and raids (rather than for nearly every adventure, like DDO), the question of class balance is a much larger concern.

Basically it boils down to subjectivity, as I said.

Sun Mar 15 2009 3:23PM Report
dcostello writes:

  I don't think that everything boils down to subjectivity (aka relativism) because there are objective truths to the matter.  The ideal warrior class is based on such attributes as strength, endurance, constitution, etc.  The ideal mage class is based on such attributes as intelligence, wisdom, high mana, etc.  In almost every fantasy book a warrior is no match for a mage...so why must the classes be balanced? 

           In SWG a jedi was more than a match for two or three well-trained non-jedi players.  The classes weren't balanced at all; the jedi obviously had the advantage.  However, it took months of tedious quests and training to reach the status of jedi.  There was no direct balance between the classes.  In a sense, there was a balance between the classes because the jedi required more time and effort than a non-jedi class...

     It doesn't boil down to subjectivity/relativism.  There are objective standards.  Developers just tend to ignore these standards, which creates the illusion of subjectivity.

Sun Mar 15 2009 9:17PM Report
Ataaka writes:

Just to clear a statement, WoW wasn't always PvP intensive. Although it occured daily, there were no rewards for it. The reward system for PvP created the never ending quest for balance.

Balance is subjective to the game. WoW punished RvR in the early days, when the Horde repeatedly attacked the Elven homeland. The players pushed PvP, because the biggest and newest subscriber was the infamous FPS'er.

It seems that all games are PvP, KvK, RvR, or simply PK instensive. Balance is subjective to new, revamped, or emerging abilities/skills. It has little to do with the player behind the avatar. I do not speak for afflicted or genius, this is middle-road jargen.

In my latest adventure, WarHammer (WAR), there is a huge balance issue in peoples mind because of the constant and mandatory involvement with RvR (PvP/PK) battles. The reward system for joining the mayhem is incentive.

A mage (10 levels with decent gear) can unleash deadly magics, but cannot survive five seconds against a melee (3-5 levels below). This is not because of lack of power, it's lack of defense. Also, a level five melee has over 1000 hit points and can DPS a mage to the grave, who has roughly 400-600 hit points.

Balance in Warhammer will happen as BarCrow depicted earlier...over time, at later levels.

Sun Mar 15 2009 10:10PM Report
BarCrow writes:

I always envisioned balance as something learned over many battles and observations. Once you encounter a mage so many times....you learn the  weaknesses of the profession and structure your attack accordingly...even if it means teaming up with a rogue type who can jam a knife in the Sorcerors ribs while the fighter takes a beating. Balance through experience and skill...or teamwork.   You choose your battlefield to cater to your strengths and hinder the strengths of your adversary.   Instead ..all these things are assumed and skill , tactics and class abilities get watered down to pluses and minuses...dots and aoes...percentages and cooldowns.

Mon Mar 16 2009 12:06AM Report
YaVoin writes:

Class balance has been an issue since the early days of MMO's. EQ players wanted equality, lets face it, any class that could kite mobs when grinding were ahead of the curve, some classes just couldn't cut it during grind sessions.

As far as pvp is concerned, pvp'rs really shouldn't have a say in an MMORPG. That is, an MMO Role Playing Game, not a MMO Player vs Player game. PvP can be fun, but stop whining when the game's original intent was to be a Role Playing Game.

Mon Mar 16 2009 7:13AM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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