I’ve been slacking on WAR blogging. I think my head has been spinning over the transfer from Praag to Badlands, not sure what to make of 1.3.1 either for that matter. Forums have been blazing with whiny Destro players about how bad their classes are. Granted, some are actually bad. The cesspool of vitriol however is a cancer among our dwindling population. It’s really discouraging to see a post near daily about someone leaving for a different game. It’s not a lack of material that I’m facing, but a large amount of things that I don’t really want to talk about. I’ve been active on the official forums and keeping up with the blog community. I was at the new Keep testing for the last two assaults, and the antics of Mythicben and Mythicjames. This game has really turned into a living organism that I have under a microscope.
I guess the biggest thing that I’ve been doing is trying, with a couple others, to quell the anger over the Praag-Badlands-Dark Crag transfers. People use Warheap as a means to justify their anger towards Mythic because they show BL as having a significantly lower ACTIVE population of Destro. I see this and it’s just the same cycle the game has been going through since launch. If people win too much, or lose too much, they’re going to leave. Both sides of the coin suck because you don’t have anyone to fight in a meaningful way. The Tyranid Swarm (i.e. Zerg), prevails over all. There’s few points on each server where balance is attained, and the people revel in the victories of the day, as the future becomes uncertain. These days, many servers see the future as an enslavement beneath the Order zerg as it will forever and always win. The mentality here is a mistake. The short term vision is too prominent. The long term, regardless of faction, is ever changing.
It’s a matter of scale, and when the balance tips too far, that scale doesn’t matter any more. There needs to be a mechanic to tip the scale up slightly for the losing faction to give them hope. A few are too small that have been introduced, and work in the wrong manner. Currently, when factions change in power it’s a combination of two things, one larger in contribution than the other.
First, the winning faction is so dominant that the losing faction leaves the battlefield save for a few dozen hardcore, and typically win the day. This puts the server into faction farm mode. Some good battles are had, but ultimately less players from the losing faction bother to fight unwinnable battles. Progression from this leads to less winning players over time bothering to log in for their umpteenth consecutive fort or city push.
Second, and to a much less degree, you have even more hardcore players that love to fight as the underdog. They switch factions, giving up all the loot they have gained over the months, and push a downtrodden and morale broken team to start winning. These players are leaders, and are fearless. Understanding losses over time build experience, and small victories in the right light build a positive attitude. Leaders like this understand the Tyranid Swarm. They understand that you have to be a winner, and prove it, to lead a faction to dominance.
These two things change servers. However, the cost is a slow bleed. Players who would typically log off and play an alt become complacent over time. One too many times, and they’ll log off for good. Some players simply love their faction, and can’t stand to be ‘eternally’ doomed to losing. Lacking the long term vision and an understanding of the patterns in place, they will also log off for good. Swearing to themselves they’ll be back for more. Finally, a larger and larger amount of people from the losing realm, as opposed to doing something more constructive, will demand heads to roll for their blatant failures. This is the worst circumstance, as many people can relate to feelings of inadequacy and go along for the ride. Tossing in their hats and spewing any form of hate that will get their point across. These people are few, but effective. They are joined by some that have an interest in the game, and want to be constructive. Unfortunately they all get tossed into the mix.
It’s a dangerous game to try and appease everyone. It’s infinitely more dangerous to attempt balance when your classes are not mirrors, but your players assume they should be. Should an Engineer and a Magus do the same moves with different names and graphics? Is the White Lion and Maurader a mirror? Perhaps WL and Squig Herder? No no, the Shadow Warrior and SH is a mirror… or is it?
There are no mirror classes.
A BW and Sorc are similar, but not the same. A DoK and WP are similar, but not the same. A Chosen and KotBS are similar, but not the same. Tactics are different, abilities are different, trees are different. There is not one class in this game that is mirrored with each other. It’s by design. Can a Sorc out damage a BW? Maybe, but not every time. There’s enough variation in just ways to USE a class that could easily change your damage output. Let alone the fact that all their abilities don’t match up. How about looking at the DoK and WP for a second. They have many similar abilities, but in their mastery trees are two that I found interesting. Sigmar’s Shield and Devour Essence. They each cost 9 points in their respective trees, and drain their mechanic pool when in use. However, they do very different things. The Empire version turns the target into a pulsing self-heal on hit, and drains the WP of Righteous Fury per hit, whereas the Dark Elf ability turns the target into a pulsing 10′ AoE lifetap healing the target for half the damage done, but drains a constant amount of Soul Essence over the duration.
This is something I find common for a lot of conflicting abilities. When faced with these Destro almost always gets the more offensive version of the spell whereas Order gets the defensive version. Is this not balanced? In this example above, I would argue that Destro gets the nod. AoE lifetap > self heal on-hit. The self heal is a bit stronger, but the lifetap does damage and healing. Interesting though, the cost of it is greater for Destro, as it will drain Soul Essence to 0, where the Order cost is dependant on it going off. Subtle difference there, no? It’s not perfectly balanced, it’s not mirrored, but they make for a good example of cost and benefit.
Shaman and Archmage got balanced recently, lets take a gander at that. First, 9 points into the damage tree, then 13 points.
Shaman – 9 – Gorks Barbs Archmage – 9 – Scatter the Winds
Both Heal debuffs, but Destro damages the healer, where Order damages the player. I’ll give that to Destro. Indirectly nailing healers is better imo.
Shaman – 13 – Da Waaagh! Is Coming Archmage – 13 – Dissipating Energies
Both target based dots. Destro gets the spread around the damage, where Order gets an AoE. This one is all Order for the 30′ AoE, but the Destro one has great potential. Four abilities, none mirrored, yet still balanced.
This post is running a bit long. I’m not really sure how to wrap things up aside from this is what’s been going through my head lately. I think the solution to be made isn’t on the classes themselves, but how RvR should change for a losing faction as a whole. Even buffing the losing faction by overbalancing classes isn’t going to make them win against the Tyranid Swarm. They’ll still be outnumbered. If anything, it would indirectly help by attracting players that would switch to try out these classes again. It’s just not the kind of change that
will work both ways.
A better solution would be a faction-wide buff not unlike the renown bonuses for underpopulated servers. Or, alternatively, NPC reinforcements to the lakes to even up the numbers to a degree. Focus firing on classes to bolster a faction outnumbered just doesn’t make sense. Fix them, by all means, but people need to wait for their balance to come. It’s just not an immediate solution.