Can WoW ever really attain “class balance” for PvP or PvE?

This is a interesting question that was brought to my attention by the last Twisted Nether Blogcast round-table discussion.  Their discussion about class balance got me thinking about how being unbalanced basically makes the game more interesting for people like me. I mean, what I spend a lot of my time doing is providing feedback about the druid class through the forums in hopes that we can make the class better. If all the classes were perfectly balanced, and all the specs were equally fun to play, then the game would really be kinda boring – and I wouldn’t have things to post about in my blog or on the forums.

A lot of the fun (and challenge) of playing a moonkin druid is that moonkin always had to work twice as hard to be as good as the other classes. Sometimes, requiring a little extra skill & a little extra work isn’t as bad as we make it sound.  Also, when you are the underdog, you are more likely to get buffs in patches than nerfs, and being nerfed every patch (because you are too powerful) isn’t all that fun, either.

To make the classes all equal, do you have to homogenize them and make them all pretty much the same that way? Would that make the game more fun? Not really… I think the classes weren’t originally designed to be all equal at everything, and “equal” in PvP pretty much means holy paladin versus resto druid epic 2-hour duels from the pre-BC days, and that’s no good either.

Also, a lot of class balance crying on the forums has to do with player perceptions. I think that the class panel at Blizzcon last year had a really good example. Basically, the audience was asked a series of questions which was something like:

  1. Who thinks their class is underpowered and needs buffs? *everyone raises their hands*
  2. Who thinks every other class besides their own is overpowered and needs nerfs? *everyone raises their hands*
  3. Who thinks their class should be nerfed? *no one raises their hands*
  4. Who thinks resto druids are overpowered in pvp? *everyone raises their hands except people playing resto druids*

I don’t quite remember what the exact questions were, but it pretty much sums up what the class role forums are like most days (ie. the old forum saying of: “I’m scissors, paper is fine, nerf rock”). Everyone hates when they get nerfed and thinks they deserve to be buffed. Even if the classes all did the same DPS, healing, and tanking… people would perceive differences, injustices, and weaknesses… just because that’s what we do. This is especially true in PvP, since people want to be able to win 100% of the time, and never will.

Yes, there are problems with the classes. However, most classes are better off now than they’ve ever been in terms of PvE balance (especially hybrids like druids and paladins that had such low damage dealing abilities for so long). PvP is always going to feel a bit like playing rock-paper-scissors (where classes are built to counter the abilities of other classes). And, if we ever do have 100% class balance, then a new content patch/expansion/whatever would come out and muck it all up again.

So, I consider class balance to be something that doesn’t really exist, and I just do my best to avoid getting upset over perceived injustices as much as I can (though sometimes my emotions do get the best of me!). I still think we should work to make the druid class fun to play, and good at all the roles we’re supposed to be able to. I just like remembering to keep a little perspective about the whole “class balance” problem.

Posted in Druid - General

7 comments on “Can WoW ever really attain “class balance” for PvP or PvE?
  1. Thunderspil says:

    I haven’t decided if they are gluttons for punishment … or if they truly think they can balance classes in PvP without affecting balance in PvE? Or vice versa. PvP only works when everyone is the same. That way winning or losing boils down to player skill. With different classes with different abilities, etc. … balance is not possible. Invariably they just end up mucking up PvE when they try to tweak PvP. Not all changes in PvP end up affecting PvE … but many do. Though, I am much more concerned about Blizzard continually “dumbing down” the PvE game … but that is another topic …

  2. Jalindrine says:

    Great slant, Thunder. The issue really is finding two sorts of balance at the same time.

    I was going to say it’s impossible, but then Team Fortress, the Quake mod, is an example of a very well balanced PvP/Battleground system where there were very few tweaks over its lifetime. Balance can be had, but the question is how to do it without making PvE a strange beast.

  3. doomkin_at_heart says:

    “I consider class balance to be something that doesn’t really exist, and I just do my best to avoid getting upset over perceived injustices as much as I can”

    Wise words!

  4. Veroicone says:

    I kinda like the unbalanced nature of things as well. I love pvping as a druid (kitty/resto), but of course as a resto druid it’s much more fun to wait to get taken down (the last time I did it, it took a pally, 2 dks and their minions, and a warlock fearing me to kill me). I don’t think attaining balance is possible. There will also be one or two classes viewed as OP in either pvp or even in pve. But I do like it that way, sure I may bitch and moan while in pvp trying to take down this player or that player as a kitty but it keeps things interesting 😛

    I think it also comes down to a matter of understanding your class and the classes you are going up against a lot better, in a way setting the balance yourself almost? I’ve done lots of reading on how to take down classes that I used to have problems with and it’s certainly helped a whole lot. Blizzard has to really think about things if they balance pvp out what will happen to pve? Sure I love pvp, but I’d say most people do pve.

  5. Siobhann says:

    There are balanced games for both PvP and PvE but they do not involve the tank/DPS/Healer trinity. In the ones with the best PvP balance each individual has similar healing capabilities. (Much like in Quake.) I played some of the Iron Realms games where game balance was surprisingly stable.

    As soon as you have a game where health is a limited resource and some classes heal and some not, you pretty much have to abandon the capacity to balance small groups of players for PvP.

  6. Watreskell says:

    PvP will always be a little messed on WOW. I was jumped the other day by a decently geared 80 warlock while running around doing fire festival stuff. He never really stood a chance of killing me (resto druid). At one point, as I was sitting with full health, a full stack of hots, and most of my mana, I let him run off long enough to drink and eat. Then I chased him down and killed him.

    We have all had our butts handed to us by skilled players with great gear, and I have been beaten by skill alone (I don’t claim to be good at pvp), but some class imbalances make pvp rediculous. We have all gone from 100% to 0 from a rogue. They have way to many stuns, and a free “escape” button if things go badly for them. But you take those things away from them and they become gimp. Finding good middle ground for everybody is impossible, so if you want to kill people mercilessly in world pvp, level up a rogue. If you want to try to survive forever, roll a resto druid. And if you want to kill just about everybody, get busy with that death knight.

  7. Meursault says:

    Its about time, people realized the simple facts as life such as these. its like that guy at school who complains that everyones smarter than him, when really hes just not trying, or that girl who says that other girls are better looking when actually its all down to taste.
    Problems in wow are mostly illusory, just like the problems in everyday life. if you can get past them and enjoy it then its worth playing. otherwise, quite frankly, get an xbox and play the halo campaign over and over, im sure bungie wont listen when you cry nerf at legendary hunters.

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