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:
- Who thinks their class is underpowered and needs buffs? *everyone raises their hands*
- Who thinks every other class besides their own is overpowered and needs nerfs? *everyone raises their hands*
- Who thinks their class should be nerfed? *no one raises their hands*
- 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.