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Reader Comments (7)

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 11:11AM (Unverified) said

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For what he is railing against I see his point.

However, in a game focused on PvP the balance issue is a different story.

Flavor-of-the-month may be an annoyance in a PvE environment but when PvP is filled with a single, slightly-more-powerful class it gets much messier.

Check out the hardcore PvP'ers forums. They truly work on getting a percentage point or two advantage over their opponents. If one class gave them anything more they'd be hard at work leveling up their next PvP toon.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 12:39PM (Unverified) said

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The very nature of MMORPGs make maintaining a class balance one of the most important aspects of game design. And it should be!

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 1:08PM (Unverified) said

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So its all jolly if the overpowered class is yours?

You just have to be a druid, warrior or a rogue (main).

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 1:11PM Ayenn said

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When ever I hear or read someone discussing class balance in MMORPGs I invariably have the voices of playground children whining out and loudly "hay, that’s not fair!" and then the image of those children stomping off and crying plays on the movie screen in my head.

Funny thing about life… it is actually the lack of fairness that makes it interesting and challenging. If those declared hardcore PvPers were truly hardcore PvPers rather than school ground children they would reject balance and look for a true challenge.

It is my belief, as a game developer, is that, if anything, an archetype should be “balanced” against the task at hand. That does not always mean “balanced” against other archetypes, though it can mean that.

This kind of leads me, once again, into the statement that “hardcore PvPers” are actually more carebear than those they call carebaer. “Hey, that’s not fair” is the primary symptom of the conclusion.

“Balance” against the task, not each other. When one begins balancing against other archetypes one is then committing the act of “meta-balancing” which is balancing outside of the game. Stay in the game and make that game good and fun rather than “balance” to appease.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 2:10PM koehler83 said

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I've never played a game in which I was locked into my class like it was paying my rent.

Of course, every expansion and patch brings with it inherent padding and nerfs to certain aspects of certain classes and the whining always insues. Admittedly, even from myself.

However, the argument is always quickly squashed with "If you like what they did to [Insert Class Here], then go and play that class."

Developers should spend less time worrying about balance and more time worrying about their user base who thinks these classes are their day jobs getting laid off after patches. Flexibility is your friend.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 3:01PM (Unverified) said

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This all goes without saying, but what I dislike about balance concerns is when it affects gameplay variety. When people are so concerned about optimal pathing that they make all paths the same.

But then again, I'm pretty much a PvE only player, and am more concerned about having a robust, varietal experience.

Posted: Jul 7th 2008 9:50PM cray said

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There's never going to be a game that doesn't have balancing issues because as soon as someone figures out how to advance through the game with greater ease than intended then it already becomes unbalanced.

The games are not the problem, its the players and the culture of the acceptance that you don't have to follow the intents of how the game is intended to be played. Common question 'Is there a shorter way to level up my character?' and the response usually is 'Just do a run to the Dranei town on the second island. whenever someone completes one of the very last/hardest quests there and turns it in a bunch of NPCs spawn thanks to him. Two dozen chickens spawn there too and they constantly respawn if you kill them as long as the event goes on. depending on how fast your weapon is you can level up quite a bit killing them.'

Just like that players are just cutting corners to a point where sharing such information is encouraged and promoting it. While I understand it helps foster a friendlier community, it ultimately damages the game play because now you got situation where not just handful people but hundred more flocking to Dranei Town to level up their weapon skill. Just to hack down chickens.

Quite an adventure huh? Certainly not what game designers had in mind. What we need is for those players who feel stuck to be directed offline to a guide to how the game is intended to be played as opposed to how to cut corners.

So basically the solution is to foster fair play, in turn there will likely be less of a need to balance the game.

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