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Posts with tag game-balance

Breakfast Topic: We all want to play the overpowered class, right?

Breakfast Topic We all want to play the overpowered class, right
'Splain this one to me, breakfast crew: Do WoW players really want to play overpowered characters? I mean, we all joke about wanting to be the OP flavor of the month. And if you're trying to level quickly or you know you're going to be playing primarily on your own, sometimes you really do need a particularly sturdy character.

It's one thing to have a toolkit that works especially effectively in certain situations. I consider that to be flavor, not a sign of OP-ness -- the dungeons with DoT-based encounters that simply cry out for strong HoTs, or the bosses that demand more interrupts than some melee classes can reliably produce. But some players seem to want characters that can bully their way through whatever the game can dish out. It's that kind of gameplay, in my mind, that turns what should be a glorious adventure into a one-note to-do list. But maybe that's not the way you see it. Maybe you think being OP feels more like a reliable, rewarding way to heroically master whatever the big bads can throw at you.

Does being "overpowered" make you feel capable and satisfied with the game, or do you feel hungry for a real challenge after chewing through content with ease? Do you think most players really want to play an "overpowered" character that can manhandle most of the content without breaking a sweat? Do you? What is being "overpowered," and is it a good thing or not?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Encrypted Text: What Fangs of the Father could have been

stealth rogue
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Every DPS spec in World of Warcraft is in competition with every other DPS spec. It doesn't matter if you're playing the pure DPS rogue or the hybrid DPS priest, you want to be at the top of the meters. For some players, being at the top of their raid's DPS chart is good enough. For others, they won't stop until they're at the top of World of Logs' rankings. World of Logs is like a world-wide Recount.

When the first few Dragonwraths were earned by casters, their stock on WoL saw a notable spike. The legendary staff's massive stats and spell-doubling effect were incredibly potent. Every caster with Dragonwrath saw their DPS skyrocket. When the first few Fangs of the Father were earned by rogues, it was largely anticlimactic. Heroic No'Kaled, which had already been obtainable for months, was a viable competitor to our legendary daggers. No legendary weapon has ever been pre-empted as quickly as our daggers were.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

The challenge of balancing content

As I've mentioned before, I was slow to appreciate Cataclysm. One of the reasons for that was due to my schedule and those of others I was guilded with. I hit 85 fairly early, and those few who had as well simply didn't have the same schedule as me. This led to my having to run dungeons and then heroics in random groups using the Dungeon Finder tool. And the heroic dungeons on launch were not tuned to be friendly for this experience.

I cannot be called a casual player. I'm a Savior of Azeroth, heroic Dragon Soul-geared in my tank and DPS specs. I raid three nights a week. So when I'm telling you those dungeons were not tuned to be friendly for this experience, you can dismiss me as another casual player if you like, but you'd be wrong. Those dungeons were tuned to the point where you needed to have a cohesive group that knew one another and could either communicate quickly or use a method of communication outside of the reach of most PUGs. Especially in the gear that existed at the time. Various methods were attempted to balance this, including a stacking buff for random dungeon groups.

Now Nethaera explains Blizzard's reasoning on why heroic dungeons are rebalanced from time to time, and it's an argument that is easily extended to all content. I don't always agree with the rebalancing efforts Blizzard takes (my opinion on the Firelands adjustments was mixed), but I think the principle behind them is very sound.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

This Too Shall Pass: Balance and imbalance in World of Warcraft

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First off, we know that game balance is an eternal goal. As the game evolves and becomes more complex (as it does every expansion, because new abilities are introduced and new classes or races make their debut), balancing them all for every role they can fill and every aspect of the game (Arena PvP, BGs, 5-man instances, raiding) becomes ever more complicated. Abilities that seem minor in impact can mushroom in importance due to synergy with other talents or abilities. As an example, Vengeance in PvP became important enough to cause it to be turned off, as gear improved and health pools rose.

This has been the case in World of Warcraft since its debut. Heck, thanks to Indalamar, warriors got nerfed before the game went live. Balance is ephemeral. Your class may be on top one day, but your day will end. Anyone who's tanked for the past six years can attest to the roller coaster of which class is best at which aspect of the role. There was a time where paladins were the undisputed kings of AoE tanking, a time before Death and Decay or Blood and Thunder.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, PvP, Raiding, Hotfixes

Is it time to kill the global cooldown?

OK, so I was playing some Diablo III beta last night. Since this is a site that covers World of Warcraft, I'll just say that the little snippet I managed to play through before passing out was such that I could describe it in superlatives. But one of the things I noticed when playing was that the barbarian class plays absolutely perfectly to me. There are attacks that gain you the resource (fury) that you then spend on larger, more punishing attacks. You can spam those fury-gathering attacks; there's nothing limiting you from making them. You could hammer the keyboard all night if you wanted to. And it felt good.

This is when I realized that I hate the global cooldown. I guess it's double kudos to Blizzard that it got me to accept the global cooldown for seven years and then got me to despise it with another of its own games. Looking over the list of class abilities not affected by it, I find myself starting to wonder if it even serves a purpose anymore. Or is it just a holdover from the game's original design?

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Be careful what you ask for

Amidst all the excitement surrounding the coming of Wrath and the beta testing revelations, I have a question. Does anybody care that Death Knights will be OP? I disagree with my fellow bloggers when they surmise that the upcoming Wrath world will not be overpopulated by Death Knights. On the contrary, I think you won't be able to sneeze without three Death Knights around you to say Gesundheit. And what's more I think they won't be a flash-in-the-pan like the Blood Elves and Draenei overpopulations were.

I believe this because I hate tanking and have never liked playing melee classes (my main is an elemental shaman and my highest alt is a warlock) and yet I'm having HUGE fun in the beta realm playing a Death Knight. I've played the class PvE to level 65, trying all three specs multiple times. I no longer fear dueling. I solo group quests that are above my level. I can approach elites one level higher than myself, alone and with no fear. I just run into a group of mobs with little strategy and almost always survive.

Although I think the clarity of the purpose for each spec is still a bit muddy, I see Death Knights mostly filling a tanking role. (Perhaps this was Blizzard's response to the tank shortage? Make a tank so fun to play that lots of people will play them?) And yet Death Knights have soloing capabilities like warlocks and hunters -- only they survive better. They are by far the best soloing class I've tried. For illustration purposes, I even made a goofy movie showing how badly you can play a Death Knight and still take some serious names without dying once.

Blizzard has proved that it knows what it's doing over the last four years. However, the current class system even without Death Knights has always had complaints about balance. As even Blizzard itself has admitted, adding a new class is not easy. Perhaps I am wrong and the tweaks they are making to the existing classes for Wrath will make everyone feel like they are overpowered. As it is, though, playing my new Death Knight gives me such a feeling of power that I've never had in the game before that I can't imagine that there won't be a lot of other players like me when Wrath hits the shelves this fall. Will this be good for class balance? More importantly, will anybody care?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

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