Balance for the Sake of Balance

Wildstar is on my map for future MMO.  It seems more focused on the action/adventure portion than the “mash 1-2-3” of current games.  I also like the art style, and if you’re going to spend dozens of hours staring at a screen, might as well like what you see too.

There’s only a bit of stuff on the site so far but one of the more interesting links is on balance.  Sure, you get the typical crud about trying to and actually achieving balance but some of the more interesting comments are:

Gazimoff: Glass cannons that are all glass and no cannon. If I’m playing a spellcaster, give me a Yamoto Cannon, not a Pea Shooter.
sirchatters: When the developers give up unique classes and just make everything fair/even. I prefer a few paths be bad than all the same.
qn2Quid: I get annoyed when special abilities are removed to create class balance, classes should be different and feel unique
jleithart: When I don’t understand why things are nerfed. patch notes should give an explanation for the reason I’m nerfed.
jkkennedytv: many players confuse 1v1 for game balance. Biggest frustration is for devs having to filter misinformation.
Gazimoff: Also: Buff Spellslingers.

This is why prefer Rift’s class balance efforts to WoW’s.  Rift knows that some builds are simply horribad and some are great.  It doesn’t focus on the details of the builds but more on the feeling of the builds.  WoW has all specs having to be withing 5% of each other, which is simply impossible to do when trying to balance raids, dungeons, single player, duels, arena and battlegrounds.  A mage should be a glass cannon.  Most games today make them a ranged tank.  Games either need to accept that balance isn’t possible at a high level or build their systems to ignore the need for balance (lower difficulty).

Wildstar is doing a few things right.

  1. The focus is on PvE first and PvP will fall in later.  Focus.
  2. Balance on fun skill vs number skills. This is a major problem I have with ToR.
  3. Due to the telegraphing mechanics of the game, CC really ins’t a factor.  AE attacks put markers on the ground, dodge them.  Active combat!
  4. Skills work on everyone.  In most games, (TOR especially) a bunch of skills don’t work on bosses for balance reasons.  They will work with diminishing returns but they will work from the start.

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