Sunday, October 07, 2007

I Hate People

I absolutely hate people that try and argue that World of Warcraft's Player vs. Player (PvP) is balanced. It is not, will never be, and can never be. Why can it never be? Gear, levels, and most of all because it is a class based system revolving around the heal, damage, and tank trinity.

It is inevitable anytime that I have a bad day in World of Warcraft that I get into an argument about its PvP balance. The conversations almost always end in the infamous quote: "lrn2play". Translated, it means "Learn to play your class better."

Well, I play a Shaman and have played one since the late stages of WoW's beta. I play my shaman better than most and have continually topped DPS and kill charts in game to the amazement of supposed "top DPS" classes. I do all of this without conforming to the "flavor of the month" Shaman builds or gear setups. I do it because I know what works for me as a player and build accordingly.

Today, the "lrn2play" phrase was thrown out by someone claiming to have a level 70 Shaman. According to them, shamans are a good class and shamans like me just need to "lrn2play". To top it off, the player was actually playing a Mage at the time, and said that anytime I want a lesson about Shamans just let them know.

This threw me over the edge, because I have more time on my Shaman than most people have playing World of Warcraft. I played a Shaman before this certain player even knew World of Warcraft existed. Sure, I'm not level 70, but that is because I don't chase expansions and levels on a hardcore pace anymore. However, level should NEVER be taken as an indication of a player's skill.

Getting back to WoW's PvP balance, I just want to state that I fully feel that WoW has turned into the most unbalanced PvP game on the market. There is no game that has worse class balance. No, not even Dark Ages of Camelot was/is this bad. DAoC had a single major class imbalance and only for a brief period. WoW has had a class balance issue since day one and has done nothing to improve it, and Blizzard couldn't improve it even if they wanted too.

WoW is a gear driven game at max level. It is a level driven game until that point. Thrown into the mix is the fact that it is a class based game. So, WoW's issues start to appear as certain classes scale better with gear (Warriors) and other classes have almost no reliance on gear at all (Warlocks). Warriors, for example, are powder puffs until they are sufficiently geared. On the other hand, warlocks are a terror regardless of their gear level and just become more insane the farther they climb.

These are very base examples, but this is a rant and I don't feel like going deeper. Anyone that plays WoW knows these two examples are spot on and the only people that argue otherwise are Warriors and Warlocks.

This is getting long, so let me sum it up. By observing the results of Arena matches, any player can determine which classes are overpowered. On top of this, any player and most definitely Blizzard should be able to realize the overpowered combination of classes and skills. But all of this is mute data, because World of Warcraft will never change from a gear centric game and therefore can never hope for a semblance of PvP class balance. Without an "end" to gear levels there can never be a point to start balancing.

Blizzard will continue to tweak classes here and there. Sometimes it will improve a class. Sometimes it will not. Eventually, it will lead to a class becoming overpowered and maybe that is the best thing that can happen to World of Warcraft. Instead of having a few dominating classes and skills, WoW can have a 100% insanely overpowered epeen fest that ends fights even faster than the current average of 30 seconds.


  1. Anonymous12:49 PM

    Got ganked again eh? I hope it was my lock this time too : )

  2. Actually a Druid two levels lower than me :P I couldn't melee through his Bear form armor, while he treated my mail armor like it was swiss cheese.

  3. My shaman actually loves fighting warlocks who gank since most of them are unskilled and depend too heavily on fear. Grounding totem, Tremor totem, and Earth Shock applied with some good timing makes most casters easy.

    I haven't actually been attacked by feral druids too often though I do have a problem with decently geared rogues. If only nature's swiftness and earth shield wasn't so far into the resto tree.

  4. The problem with totems is that they have a HUGE global cooldown of 1.5 seconds. That means a shaman is unlikely to have earth shock ready if they decide to drop grounding or tremor totem.

    And tremor totem has been blown apart a thousand times by shamans. It's pulses are short range and rarely, if ever, save a shaman from a fear. A fear just makes your character run too fast and too far away from the source of the fear. In rare instances the timing is perfect and the fear redirects just right to break itself on the totem. Regardless, fear is massively overpowered.

    Totems are just stupid in their current implementation. The shaman is the only class in game that has to literally spend the first 6 seconds of every fight to use our "class unique" totems. And even when the totems are down, the range is so short without talents, they barely make do in PvP or PvE.

    Not only that, but they have crappy hitpoints and with the new macro abilities, classes with wands absolutely destroy them. If totems are going to be an integral part of the Shaman class, they need to have 1000+ hitpoints each, so it is a DECISION whether a player destroys them, not just a spammed macro.

    Bleh, you got me started on totems :P I'm going to leave it here before I blow a gasket !! :P

  5. One point, about using the pwnage to identify classes that need balance:

    You can definitely do that with a nice Excel sheet and the right data pulled from the live game. You can see which classes dominate over the larger scale, and which ones don't.

    That said, I think class balance is an illusion. No matter what you do, there will be an imbalance. So while it's a dev priority, is it THE dev priority? I'm not sure.

  6. Anonymous6:55 AM

    What turned me off to the PvP in WoW was how gear based it was. A 70 in blues and greens from quests is like a puppy to someone in Tier V epics. You got the same thing at lower levels with twinks.

    Say what you will about DAoC, but on a classic server the possible gear disparity is pretty mild. Your not going to have %50 more HPs and DPS just because you are in a raiding guild (as an aside, one of the main reasons that ToA was such a bad idea, imo).

  7. Grim, I agree with you about the illusion of class balance. However, there comes a point where the data starts stacking to indicate a real problem with one class.

    For example, polling the top 100 2vs2 Arena, there are four dominant classes. Warriors, paladins, warlocks, and shadow priests. Digging a bit further, the Warriors and Paladins are always grouped togehter. The Shadow Priests and Warlocks are always grouped together. Keep digging and the classes start stacking even more.

    Class balance is an illusion, because it can never exist with the "human" variable behind the keyboard. But as the data shows, sometimes that "human" variable doesn't mean a thing and that is when class balance is a hard reality, err, the lack of balance is a hard reality :P

  8. People would hate it but maybe Blizzard should impliment something in the battlegrounds where when you enter you get a generic set of armor. Would that not help? Perhaps skill would start to show?

  9. I have thought about that Bill for Arenas. Currently, the Arena PvP gear is just insanely overpowered and easy to get with a bit of time invested. Seriously, win or lose, a player can get their epics from Arenas. Unfortunately, for players that are not level 70 currently or have not done Arenas, that will all change in 2.3 and you will be out of luck for getting easy, powerful epics.

    I believe that Arena's should be a fair fight of player skill, not gear. Strip players of all gear upon entering and allow them to use Arena only PvP gear while in the Arena. It would level the playing field and actually make Arenas a test of skill and not gear.

    Blizzard is trying to make it so Arena teams are matched based on gear level, but it is doubtful the system will work as no one is going to want to wait forever to get into Arena matches.

    I like the idea of Arena gear only useable while in the Arena the more I think about it. Battlegrounds can stay the way they are for all I care, Blizzard has pretty shown they are done with them as a failed concept.

  10. Nothing like a easy mode warlock talking smack about ganking people in the anon post :)

    Ok Ok I threw a flame in the fire, but had to be done

  11. Anonymous7:41 AM

    I agree with you mate here,one thing i don't understand is why people play WoW so masochistically,when i realized that WOW is and never will be pvp game i just stopped playing,you should do the same if you don't like it its better for your health. =)

  12. Anonymous8:16 PM

    They haven't forgotten about battlegrounds just yet. Here's why besides the 2.3 changes and something they neglected to tell everyone in the patch notes.

    The shit storm brewing, in case anyone didn't know, is the silent little change Blizzard made to their code that now allows script writers access to ReportPlayerIsPVPAFK().

    So, in addition to the manual report placed in the players' hands which sucks, we now have an addon that reports them automatically for you.

    In any event, it would be a good thing to have this Cattleprod in your arsenal of addons if you need honor and don't want to be frustrated by jackasses.

    Here it is below with the download sites:

    CATTLEPROD - CattleProd allows you to add a monitor to automatically report AFK users.

    Cattleprod -

    Alternate download:

    Author's Site:

    I'd say shameless plug, but I can't take the credit for it.


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