I originally tackled this topic before the game actually launched. In that article, I stated why I thought class balance wouldn’t break WAR. I still feel that way, despite the many dozens who disagree. Let me know what you think about this issue in the comments.
A while back, I had a look at class balance in WAR and why I didn’t feel that it would become a major issue. That was before the game released and was, in large part, based upon my gaming experiences in that past. Now that the game has launched and the masses have clamored into scenarios and RvR lakes, the cries of IMBA have begun flooding the forums.
This isn’t surprising for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, people would make these complaints no matter what state the game was in. This isn’t to say that many people’s concerns aren’t valid because many are. What I am saying is that people want to be powerful. When a certain portion of the player base fails to succeed, they will announce unequivocally that their class is broken and needs to be buffed. Or, conversely, their opponent’s class is just way too overpowered. Second, a lot of people’s complaints are based around their ability to take out a class and not their groups ability.
A lot of people have entered into WAR with the old mentality that every class except for tanks should be quick to die. This isn’t the case, nor should it be. This premise is based around one on one combat. Arena combat. Well, we’re not in Azeroth anymore. In my opinion, if it’s a healer’s job to heal, they should certainly be able to keep themselves from being a 2-hit kill. This frustrates people. It’s a break from the norm but, in all reality, “squishy healers” is just an outdated premise that didn’t make much sense to begin with, given the role of the class.
The cold truth is that the majority of cases where classes seem imbalanced, the team you’re fighting with isn’t working as cohesively as it probably could. Or, the other team is just better more organized. Many of our new WARcomers are still getting used to the idea that attacking random targets isn’t the best way to succeed. In order to overcome and achieve, we, as players, have to target the most important people and take them out. This means hitting the healers first. This means diverting the DPS from taking your own healers out. This means teamwork.
Like I said, healers in this game are a lot more capable than in other games. As such, it’s going to be a lot harder to take them down in a one on one encounter. So, to overcome, communicate. Do your best to make sure that you’re not going it alone. That’s not what RvR is about. Attempting to circumvent the game’s balance is going to result in an imbalanced experience. And that’s why people complain that the classes are out of whack.
Now, that being said, you’re not always going to be able to get people to help you. Hell, they might even rebuke you. In that case, what are you to do, punch the rock and hope it bleeds? Well, in so many words, yes. You can pose a distraction to that healer, or DPS, so that they need to worry about themselves. That’s enough to help out the effort. If they’re running, their team is dying. What we need to do though, is try. If you repeat something enough times, eventually people will start to listen. I’m not telling you to spam but simply announce what needs to be done so that people get an idea about what they have to do.
I should also note that working cohesively with a group of strangers can be hard. Really hard, at times. You’re not always going to win and you’re definitely going to get frustrated from time to time. Then again, that’s part of what will drive you to go back in and win. Let’s face it, we’ll wait forever for some people to get out of the “hit the first thing that moves” mindset, so it’s up to us to work overcome the misconceptions about class imbalances. I would also recommend getting with a good guild or group that uses voice chat. It can help immeasurably.
Bearing all that in mind, things do need to be tweaked. Let me share a recent experience with you. While finishing up Tier One, I entered into Khaine’s Embrace only to find our diverse team facing a group of about 80% Ironbreakers, 15% Healers and 5% Ranged DPS. We stood no chance. In this type of scenario, the RvR balance suddenly breaks. This isn’t a reflection on the individual classes so much as the scenario queuing system; however, it does bring to light that the RvR balance needs a little bit of review. It also leaves a bitter taste in the opposing team’s mouth.
At this point, very few things are perfect. We’ve yet to meet our first major patch and I’d measure that, when we do, we’re going to see some relatively big class changes. I don’t think that healing classes should be unstoppable, nor do I think it should take a small army to down a tank. However, the game, even in its current state is far from broken. It’s simply a change from the norm. Therefore, my original assertion stands.
To recap my original points in the context of live game conditions:
1) Players will adapt: They can and they are. Outside of unfair premades and some other mechanical issues, we’re actually doing well and will continue to do so going forward.
2) Class balance is ongoing: we’ve yet to see what will happen, but they’ve already been doing hotfixes to class skills. If the next big patch doesn’t have some pretty big class changes, I’d be shocked. I’m actually a little excited to see what direction they’ll be taking things in response to player’s feedback.
3) The skill structure in WAR lends itself to balance: this hasn’t changed, although, I must admit that it is largely dependent on group make up. Given that scenario grouping is done in a fair manner, and that groups strategize, choose their targets with forethought, and generally work together, RvR battles are challenging and fun far more than frustrating.
A week in, a successful launch, and an unbroken, very fun, game.
Oi, you lot! Wot you be getting’ ‘appy about? Me choppa don’ like ‘appy!
Iz unbecomin’ ya know…. yous iz evuh you mus’ rememba. Wot… yous iz…. ORDER? … … WAAAAAGH!!!