Saturday, July 22, 2006

I Call Shenanigans

I'll go out on a limb and declare the Blood Elf Paladin/Draenei Shaman a practical joke by the Blizzard team.

If both factions are the same, you cut down replayability of this game. If you decrease replayability, you reduce the length of time a player spends subscribed to WoW. If people are subscribed for a shorter time, Blizzard makes less money.

Right now, if a player tires of playing Alliance, they can roll Horde. Because the Horde have Shamans, the experience of the game, both in PvE and PvP, is different for each faction. If both factions have all classes, there is much less incentive to roll a new character, and more incentive to simply quit.

The majority of players do not raid, and thus are unaffected by faction imbalance. Solving faction imbalance in a way which reduces replayability for the majority of subscribers will negatively affect Blizzard's bottom line.

MMO's require subscriber retention. It is their entire reason for being. I believe there is no way any sane cost/benefit analysis would show that improving high-end raiding balance is worth the cost of decreased length of subscription time for a majority of the players.

That's just the financial reasons. I'm not even going to get into the damage this move would do to Blizzard's reputation as the masters of faction balance (see StarCraft).

Or the shattering of the balance of the 1-59 game, which most people believe is superior to the raiding game. Seriously, it's already hard enough finding a primary healer for a lower-level instance. How much harder will it be when only 2 of 9 classes are primary healers?

High-end raiding balance is simply not worth this price.

8 comments:

Inframike said...

But, how is this change personally going to affect how YOU play the game, and whether YOU continue to pay for and enjoy WoW?

IMHO, raiding needed to be equalized.

Objective-based PvP balance will be helped -- the ability of Pallies to defend a flag with BubbleHammer or a flag carrier with Lay on Hands, etc. is incredibly powerful. As an ally, I always hated slowing totems in WSG and thought they were game breaking.

People who don't want to swap servers or factions now have a reason, if they want it, to start another character.

People who do want to swap factions to experience that extra content (Foreman's Blackjack FTW!) can still roll a Tauren Shaman or Dwarf Priest, or even a Been Around All This Time Warlock of the race of their choice.

GSH said...

Raiding needs to be equalized. But here's the kicker: Non-raiding PvE is perfectly balanced. Balancing raiding by unbalancing non-raiding is not a good strategy. It's like using a sledgehammer instead of a scapel.

If you are really serious about balancing raiding, nerf Blessing of Salvation/Wisdom/Might. Remove Fear Ward.

As for PvP, my belief is that it is a matter of practice more than any ability-based advantage.

Anonymous said...

It's real. The beta invites have gone out, so I'd wager you can see for yourself in a matter of days.

You are looking at it backwards. As is, every major Alliance guild will need 2-3 Shaman in their raid, and thus are required to level and gear 4 Shaman. Every major Horde guild will need 3-4 Paladins and thus are required to level and gear 5 Paladins. They have essentially forced people to see new content, and the majority of people will not want to do so alone. A large number of players chose their faction based on which faction their friends were playing on, and thus did not get the chance to play the class they most wanted, Paladins and Shaman. This will allow these players to get that chance, and allow them to see the content BLizzard has just made.

Compare this to say, Zul Gurub. It was designed as a casual raid instance, but in order to ensure that players used content they spent money on, they forced them to go by placing the three best raiding enchants possible. Without those, no one would have gone if beyond a certain level of gear. The way it weas implemented, you are forced to go until you are exalted if you wish to stay top of the line.

GSH said...

Raiders constitute a minority of players. A very small minority. PlayOn estimates the number of raiders at less than 5%.

That's why this doesn't make sense. Why mess with the game that 95% of your players play, just to help 5%? Wouldn't it be easier to just change things that only affect the 5%?

I'm not saying that Blizzard should ignore the raiders. They are a small minority, but an important one. They are the hardcore, the cutting edge, the aspirational models. But at the same time, hurting the bulk of subscribers to help raiders is not a good call.

Honestly, if this change happens, imagine how hard it will be to find a druid or priest for instance running.

Anonymous said...

Those numbers are way off, and even Bizzard estimates that 50% of people have raided, and 20% do so every week. This is why they make the majority of changes based on raiding. Raiding is repeatable content. Leveling from 1-60 takes less than a week of game time, in some extreme cases characters have been leveled in 2-3 days played when applying to guilds on other servers.

Thus, leveling content takes up less than 5% of the game. Right now, the game is designed around max level characters gearing up.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this negatively affects replayability. It may actually enhance it.

I am horde and haven't played paladin yet. Two reasons why,

1) It's harder to twink him (send him money/equipment cross-faction)
2) I can't play with horde guild

Now, I can play paladin while remaining with my guild and having the luxury of sending stuff between characters.

Also, this move is great for Blizzard because it immediately addresses any faction imbalance. But it also lets the shaman and paladin grow into their own class. As it is now, because shaman-paladin are counter parts, everytime a paladin gets something, the shaman's are saying, why I don't get that? And vice versa.

Anonymous said...

Blizzard has stated that 20% of players have at least fought Ragnaros, so I'm going to put 20% of the population into the raiding category.

Second, it doesn't kill replayability at all. There are whole new quests, and zones, etc. on the horde side from the alliance side. I could go on.

Anonymous said...

This is a good change. I was playing on the horde side, but enjoyed my alt paladin immensly.
When I heard this, I was very very excited. I want to play a paladin, but play it on my server and in my guild.
This resolved all my issues and I'm looking forward to the expansion!