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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

Class balance or unique classes? Both?

Posted by BadSpock Thursday October 25 2007 at 1:06PM
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SpiritOfGame recently posted a link to

a Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning impressions piece from hands-on play time.

One bit of the article impressed me the most, enough to right an entire blog about.

"One thing to note, as it will cause endless debate among overly knowledgable fanboys forever and ever -- the classes on the side of Order, and of Chaos, are not merely parallels of each other. Will this cause imbalance? Of course it will; no game is every perfectly balanced. Most MMOs, however, attempt to resolve this issue by making one side's "rogues" almost identical to the other side's "assassins", if you follow my meaning. WAR does not appear to even be considering this approach. Acolytes and shaman are not now, nor will they ever be, merely parallels of one another. The spells aren't basically the same, just with different names. They are different. We felt this added a lot to the game, and for this bold stand on class differences, we applaud the EA Mythic developers."

What do ya'll think of that?

Each race has one class from each of the four archetypes - Tank, Ranged DPS, Melee DPS, and Support.

What is interesting, is that this preview from Wandering Goblin seems to suggest that the differences between the classes of the same archetype are vast and profound.

The Black Orc (Tank) will not just have "orc themed" versions of the same abilities as the High Elf Swordmaster (Tank.)

It is indeed an interesting approach to class balance. I'm sure all classes of the same archetype will have some similarities, but often the most defining characteristics are not what makes two things the same, but what makes them different.

Personally, I think it's an absolutely marvelous idea.

In World of Warcraft, the current "standard" of MMORPG gaming, all Rogues are simply Rogues. Same abilties, same equipment, same talent trees... etc. Only thing that makes them different are the racial abilities, which generally speaking add very little distinciton between an Undead Rogue and a Dwarf Rogue for example.

Some games go farther as to assign different names to the same class depending on race. One race may have Assassins while the other has Scoundrals. But are they any different?

It sounds to me from reading this article that EA Mythic has gone a few steps beyond to make each class of each archetype unique and interesting. Obviously, this may cause balance issues for Mythic.  One race's Melee DPS archetype could end up more powerful then another, as some racial specific ability could be unbalanced.

I never played DAOC sadly, so for those that have, do you trust Mythic to delivery a balanced class system?

I just found the whole concept very, very intriguing. What do you think? Is this a smart move? Or for the sake of easier balancing, should all classes of the same archetype be the same?

Kyleran writes:

Actually, that's a big complaint against Mythic, that they never could balance the classes (individually) even though there were lots of similarities between factions.

What people failed to grasp is Mythic doesn't try to balance from a single player perspective....they look at the entire group vs group interaction, or even faction vs faction perspective.   On the whole.... each factions forces will be competitive with each other...and it will come down to player skills which win the day.

But in a one vs one scenario, there will be more of a rock - paper - scissors phenomenon...where each class will be strong against some and weaker against others....and its quite possible that one factions tanks might be stronger than the others.... which might be compensated by the other side having stronger DPS characters to balance the fight out overall...

Remains to see if the player base will be happy with this new approach, of course, many will hate it and complain constantly.


Thu Oct 25 2007 2:43PM Report
Kevah writes:

I agree with Kyleran's statement. To make each class balanced with its similar counter-part, would make the game boring. These unique classes can add a real strategic feel to this game. 
Also there can be different views on "unbalanced". It could either deal with one class is signifigantly weaker than all other classes. Or it could just mean to some classes or its similiar counter class can effectivly reach its weakness more so than others. Some people claim this to be an unbalance and unfair. 
Ex) Assasin and Swashbuckler(in general, not from EQ2) Assasin being more aimed to critical shots and devastating hits, is more vulnerable to the Swashbucklers dexterious movements and evasion, with accurate blows. But the Assasin could easily take down a oblivious cast.
The classes don't have to directly counter each other. Just as long as there is a loop of vulnerablilities to each other. Like the Rock Paper Sissors Scenario.

Thu Oct 25 2007 3:16PM Report
BadSpock writes:

I agree, I like the idea of all the different races/classes being different and the "balance" coming from the armies as a whole being equal.


Thu Oct 25 2007 3:39PM Report
grimfall writes:

How is that different from DAOC?

WoW had Shamans and Paladins to balance eachother out, before they cross factioned them.

Fri Oct 26 2007 12:56PM Report
BadSpock writes:

Well in WoW, before and after the Burning Crusade, Alliance Rogues/Warriors/Warlocks/Preists/Mages/Druids/Hunters were exactly the same (a few spells here and there, some racial abilities is all) as the Hordes version.

Then, the Horde paladins became the same as Alliances ones, and Alliances Shaman = Horde Shaman.

Sat Oct 27 2007 6:35AM Report
johndmes writes:

The main problem with "balancing" in this way, is that it is more PvE-centric than it is PvP-centric.

PvP favors classes as similar as possible, so that "skill instead of build determines the battle", oir so you keep hearing from the PvP types.  They're often the first to scream to remove some class's "uniqueness" as being "overpowered" in that they don't have a direct counter to it.

PvE balance wants diversity and variety in paystyles and abilities in order to maintain interest in the PvE game.  Balancing around diversity is kind of awkward, since players by inclination do not necessarily want to group to be able to accomplish anything - done well, it can be a incredible experience (Team Fortress 2 for a uber-example of that).  Done poorly, you have Evergrind or FFX!, where much of the game time is spent looking for groups instead of actually playing.

I wish Mythic luck in pursuing that elusive goal - they'll need it.


Fri Nov 09 2007 8:32PM Report
vajuras writes:

Man they're off their rockers dude that sucks and you know it. We all do. What World of Warcraft did was smart! Yes, smart! Make all Classes the SAME for all factions only way to have perfectly balanced PVP. If you screw mother nature then she will screw you and your PVP will burn (see city of heroes).

Any little imbalance will equal = sucky PVP.

I wish someone smart would make a PVP based MMO because EA Mythic is making the same ole crappy mistakes I see

Wed Nov 28 2007 5:47PM Report writes:
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