Archive for March 14, 2011

WAR, RvR, and ProcHammer

March 14, 2011 7 comments

A few days ago Steven Engle and Keaven Freeman made comments regarding class balance and RvR (respectively) on the Herald, and in one sentence at the end hinted at what these two have in mind for the future.

First off Steven Engle discussed how it is difficult to take 12 careers and fit them into a 6-man group setting with the concept of interchangeability amongst them. For example you cannot just swap out a BW for an Engi and expect the same results. He noted how AoE and CCs have been reduced/restructured to decrease the potency of certain career paths all with the aim of improving 6-man combat. All of this is intended to improve, if not enforce, 6-man combat and the utility of each career in a group setting. However, despite these over-arching efforts to nerf AoE damage or bring CCs under a manageable state many classes have been left out in the realm of ‘group utility’. Due to the varying dynamics of combat in WAR (from full scale zerg on zerg warfare, to 12/6-man scenarios, to 1 on 1 combat) it is almost impossible to construct a career which excels in all situations (unless its a DoK). Let’s take a quick look at some of the careers and see how they fit into Mr. Engle’s realm of ‘group utility’ and ‘class balance’ as he precariously tries to juggle both.

  • Of the tanks the IB and BG are king of paired-combat – whichever ally they chose to buff can become just as lethal as they are; the KotBS and Chosen dominate the position of group utility with their buffs (depending on how tight the group is of course); and the BOrc has a varying amount of group utility, but with the proper spec it can take ages to kill. Then we have the Swordmaster which has virtually no group utility and is the black-sheep of the tanks. Mythic will tell us they have Whispering Wind, Guard, and Nature’s Blade. Fantastic. If you want a kick-ass guard on Order – you find and IB, he’ll guard you and buff the hell out of you. If you want someone with wide-range group utility you get an KotBS. If you want someone to punt for you in Tor Anroc you get an SM. While this may be oversimplified, the SM is desperately lacking in group utility.
  • Of the healers we have a mixed bag. Naturally every healer has group utility with heals and buffs, each excelling in different spheres. The Zealot and RP have been bolstered and are at a far better position now in terms of group utility and efficiency than they were before. However, then we get the DoK which is the jack-of-all-trades in WAR. In a game that is centered around the group – the healing DoK (and WP) certainly excel and fit that role well, but the melee DoK is a lone warrior of lethal potential. Melee DoKs are in a genre of their own – they kill and don’t die, and they do a hell of a lot of killing. While melee WPs have similar abilities and tool-tip descriptions, they fall behind in the DPS race due to having a great weapons while the DoK flails away with two single-handers. The Melee DoK while retaining high group utility should they choose to run with a group, has far too much damage/survivability to be considered ‘fair’ in the realm of class balance.
  • Of the medium armor Melee DPS one cannot really argue for ‘group utility’ since they don’t really buff their group too much or have CCs – their role is to kill and kill fast. The Choppa, Slayer, WL, and Marauder as the ‘medium armor’ MDPS are more dependent on groups (until they get their defensive OP-as-shit Sov+ sets); however, the WL arguably falls behind in the game due to a forced Greatweapon status. While every other MDPS has the option of dual wield, the WL is stuck with a 2Her – the only MDPS forced into a 2Her. MDPS’s survivability is dependent on parry, which is increased with dual-wield weapons, and again the WL falls short in this department. In the end-game gear sets which revolve around wtf-did-Mythic-implement-these-OP-procs-that-proc-too-often defensive gear sets (few run offensive) you again have a game of procing your ability the most which is done best with two weapons swinging away at a fast pace. Again the greatweapon WL falls short in the proc-game. The Slayer and Choppa are very close to each other in terms of balance. The WL and Marauder however are not. In my opinion the Marauder is far superior and has been buffed too much. Far too much of the WL’s potential is buried within the buggy-ass cat and can not achieve the same potential as a Marauder. The Marauder can slot tactics to increase his Strength, Init, Weapon Skill, or Toughness, whereas the WL cannot. The Marauder can debuff his enemies weapon skill, initiative, wounds, armor, toughness, the WL can debuff his enemy’s armor (let’s not discuss what his pet ‘can’ do because more likely than not the lion is chasing a bunny or stuck on a tree). Comparing the two is like comparing Switzerland to Bangladesh or a brand new 2011 car to one you found in a junk yard from 1947. They don’t compare well. Oh right you’ll tell me the Marauder’s mirror is the SW – well that’s even worse. In a group setting the Marauder and Choppa do very well for Destro and the Slayer for Order’s MDPS – the WL can pounce. In the Age of ProcHammer Dual-Wield wins, the WL loses.
  • Of the stealth ‘light armor’ MDPS we have the WH and WE which have no group utility for any reasonable argument to be made. The classes are designed to gank and thrive in that environment. A well-versed player of either class can kill anyone he wants of any other class – they do not fit in terms of class balance. In larger skirmishes they don’t really fit as well unless they stealth to the back lines and kill a squishy, but even then their life isn’t particularly secure.
  • Lastly we have the RDPS which is among the biggest disparities in the game. First off magical and physical do not compare. The BW and Sorc will always be on top so long as Mythic leaves the system as it is. Any retard can line up their buttons and click five abilities and nuke whoever they want in one rotation. Call it skill, or call it running your finger from A to L on your keyboard. Their group utility comes in their incredibly over-powered killing potential. The Engi and Magus are the red-headed-step-child-twice-removed of RDPS, quasi-magical damage pull-bots with pets that are a ball-and-chain. Maybe they have more group utility but when your sole role in a group is to pull the enemy so your group can smash their face into their aoe attacks… its certainly a testament of skill. And then we have the SW and Squiggie which are as comparable as the WL is to the Marauder. Whereas the WL’s pet should be put down to put it out of its misery because its so dumb, the squiggies pets should be exterminated as a pest and nuisance. The common joke on Order is ‘where is the squig herder whose pet is hitting me… well if I’m in Serpent’s Passage, he’s in Barak Varr.’ As ‘exclusively’ physical damage RDPS they fall behind their compatriots with the magical bolts; however, the squiggies damage numbers are brought on par with his pet which shoots through walls, around corners, and most likely across zones. The squiggie’s survivability is far superior to the SW, and with its wide range of CCs, debuffs, and rapid damage potential (because let’s be frank here, the squiggie is about rapid damage to harass and kill) the Squig Herder is in a far better place than the SW whose only group buff is a 10s AP regen and a 15% crit tactic for their group mates…. but since no one wants a SW in their group, why slot it?

So are the careers balanced and group utility equal across the board? Hardly. Do I want exact mirrors – hell no. Do I think there is room for improvement – hell yes. Melee DoKs, WEs, and WHs are far too effective solo-ing and can kill anyone without impunity. Melee DPS in defensive gear are far too effective to the point where they are tougher than some tanks and also can do well without heals.

As for Keaven Freeman’s take on RvR… well we have 1.4.0’s horrid system of staring at doors which he aims to improve by letting us hit the doors. The new system should never have been implemented in the lower tiers. Far too often in T2/3 players opt to not defend their keep (because there is no reward for doing so) and just go to another zone where the enemy is not, in order to lock it. Locking zones in the lower tiers is too easy and the reward more lucrative than defending your own keep. Mythic needs to either scrap this stupid system in Tier 2/3 or find a way to incentive RvR in these tiers, not RvDoor.

As for what we can look forward to… well they are addressing the post 80 gap, the physical damage reduction, and attaining values above the cap. One can only hope they learn from their mistakes and do this sooner than later.

Categories: Uncategorized