Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Gripe: Nerf-herders

The first recorded call for a nerf in a video game came in 1972, with the debut of Pong. After the game, the losing player wrote a letter, on his typewriter, to Atari. The letter demanded that Atari shorten Player 1's paddle, as it was giving Player 1 an unfair advantage.

Ok, I made that up. This weekend was WAR's preview weekend, which allowed at least 50,000 players to get a taste of the game. Soon after the the servers were brought up, the call for nerf's began.

It seems that at least half of the classes in the game have been called overpowered already. The majority of the classes mentioned have been on the Order side. One possibility for this is that many players have this impression: Order == WoW Alliance == kids & new players == less skilled. This tends to give some Destruction players (not all) a superiority complex.

When they (Order too) lose a battle, they can not fathom that they may have just been beaten by a better player, better strategy or just plain luck. So the call for nerf's go out, often times not even mentioning the classes mirror on their side (Order or Destruction). It is always the other side, not theirs.

All that being said, there are imbalances. Judging a classes power is not an easy thing to do though, especially in WAR. Some classes, like Engineer, have a power curve that only starts to get high in the later ranks. Classes like Bright Wizard have a power curve which starts getting higher earlier. The whole balance may shift in the subsequent ranks. WAR is also a team game. It is not and should not be balanced based on 1 vs 1 combat.

Be careful when crying nerf as it can have some unintended consequences. Star Wars: Galaxies, back before NGE, had all sorts of balancing issues. Players were constantly making pushes for nerfs and powering up of their own classes. This lead to a Flavor of the Month issue since the devs did try to appease the player base and eventually lead to NGE.* So please, keep in mind the overall health of the game before taking to the forums demanding a change.

*NOTE: I am not saying players are fully to blame for SWG, only partly. A better initial design would have gone a long way. NGE also had many other reasons ; class balance was just one contributing issue.


I'd also argue that three days worth of a taster of the game is hardly a time in which to determine what classes are overpowered.

Sure there are mentions that some of the various priests just won't die but keep in mind, while he's healspamming to survive your damage, he isn't killing you back.

While not a calling for a nerf, I certainly suffered spell envy in the 1-11 Khaines Embrace scenario. I get pretty runes.
Some sorceress dropped a chunk of ice on my noggin.
Her attack was by far more impressive visually.

I dont think anything is overpowered and worth a nerf yet from what I have seen briefly at the low levels as people havent yet gotten used to the rock/paper/scissors cubed approach.

After all, I smacked that sorceress around because I played better, not because I had superior dps or leet heelzorz

Yep, 3 days is not near enough time. In a PvP game, someone has to lose and it may be you. I wonder if the rampant nerf calls is a side-effect to the 'everyone gets a trophy' society that has developed.

What a strange coincidence, that the majority of the people playing are on Destruction side AND somehow the Order side is OP! STRANGE! BIZARRE!

I don't understand it because nobody has played the game fully yet. 1-40 plus RR80. Some classes come out strong in the beginning and peeder off and some start sucky and work their way to the top. People can't wait to put their 2 cents in. Mythic is going to fix CTD, and pet pathing, not 3 day beta tester class mechanics. When the NDA came down I stopped reading the forums because it is all speculation drama now.
I played X class and keep dieing in RvR, Y realm is overpowered... I got one word for them... -but I am too nice to say it-

We were quite over-run by Destruction in a lot of cases (closed beta for us, with template chars), however, by working together Order did get some neat victories.

I was in one T4 scenario where we won purely cos Dest had no idea what to do. And my husband ended up sieging the Inevitable City.

What I've noticed is that where the group plays smart, they win. So Dest totally owned us in T2 because they knew the scenarios better and went straight for healers.. once Order started to do the same it became apparent Dest had less healers and taking them out wasn't as big a problem..

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