Regional FlagRequest for Cataclysm: Coherent PhilosophySource
avatar
Zarko
Target Source
#0 - 2010/02/24 09:49:43 PM
I fully understand that Blizzard does not want to draw back the emerald curtain too much, but I think a lot of us would appreciate a little more coherent philosophy when it comes to tank balance.

Quite frankly, I don't care what it is that you choose to use. Balance around encounters, around EH, around utility, or fun or even around representation.

But I think that none of us can quite understand what the hell it is you balance tanks around. We don't know what's OP anymore. We don't understand why you do what you do. It feels like you guys are just playing darts and throwing stuff up there.

While I certainly understand the desire to keep things flexible, and the will to keep things fun, what you're doing right now isn't fun or in theme with our class. It feels like you're breaking the game, and you just don't care. Either warriors were okay 2 weeks ago or they weren't. Warriors are better off now than they were in ToC.

So just pick something, anything, and stick with it. If you have a consistent philosophy, we can at least understand it. But changing your minds every 2 weeks just makes you look stupid.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#14 - 2010/02/24 10:46:26 PM
Q u o t e:
I think you're asking for something which doesn't exist. They've said over and over that a lot of these calls are subjective. That they're going to make subjective calls in the interest of the game. They've said they don't balance by representation. EH is a metric players have created and is only one way to measure a subjective concept we'll call "survivability." Fun and Utility are important but not make-or-break points.

I feel like this post just means "I don't agree with the choices blizzard makes."

It's also worth mentioning that if you can't find something to point to and say "Yeah, that's too strong" then probably there isn't anything which is an outlier. When, say, DK tanks could raw tank Vezax right after Ulduar came out, everyone could point at that and say "yeah, that's too much"- if you can't now, it's probably a safe assumption that everything is within the margin of error granted by skill and other factors.


Yeah, that's not a bad response.

Remember, we're not asking you to balance the game for us. We're asking for your feedback on class design and what you enjoy or don't enjoy about the game. If you have feedback on something, this is a great place to provide it. But we've never asked the community to come up with numbers for us to plug in to the various classes, tank or otherwise.

I have given my opinion before that the community tends to try and balance around estimations and simulations instead of actual experience where it matters... on the bosses. Effective Health is a very powerful concept for purposes of choosing how to gear your character and even tank encounters. It has limitations when you use it as the one true measurement for "tankiness." The community is also quick to try and give the same abilities and mechanics to every class filling the same role. If you want to be on a similar page as us, I would steer away from those two things.

In general, my advice would be to worry more about the game and less about the design process. We're confident in our process. It's not without mistakes, but it has served us well for a long time.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#83 - 2010/02/25 05:21:33 AM
Q u o t e:
You guys seem to have a VERY binary view of the right hand side of this equation and a lot of players do not. success comes in many shades of grey, not just black and white.


No, we understand that "successful but just barely" or "successful with a lot more work" isn't the same thing as "successful." But it is very subjective. The game is enormously complex and impossible to boil down to simple numbers. You can't even accurately state the dps of a rogue or mage (because it all depends on encounter, gear, skill, comp, latency and blind luck) so how the heck can you accurately state the "tankiness" of a tank? I'm not saying that the formula is so complex that math is useless, but I am saying the formula is very complex.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#84 - 2010/02/25 05:29:03 AM
Q u o t e:
I mostly agree with everything you said except for the very last part. It is you who has homogenized abilities into classes of the same role. Once you went and started that trend, you kept it. The community now expects to see the same level of homogenization from time to time, especially when they truly feel they need a certain ability every other class for their role seems to have except for their own.


There are extremes. One is just giving everyone say block and parry and Last Stand and Demo Shout because heck those are useful, and no doubt some players would be thrilled by that. The other extreme is to be so stubborn and so scared of homogenization that we never make a change. It doesn't surprise me at all that when a player finds his dude wanting, then looks around and sees a sexy ability or mechanic on another class that that grass can look awfully green. I'm just pointing out that homogenization is often our very last solution when all else has failed.

A great deal of WoW's depth is because of the differences among the classes and among the various talent trees. We think it contributes to players not getting bored. We think it contributes to rerolling, perhaps trying another class when you get burned out instead of walking away from the game. It was cool for me the first time I healed a Feral druid in UBRS (if you're still playing, you rocked by the way) because she tanked things differently and I had to heal her differently. I felt like I was discovering something new in the game. I would have been sad if someone had pointed out, Ghost, dude, that was just bear art. Mechanically, she was blocking and Sundering (this was pre Devastate) and basically being a warrior.

Resisting homogenization may not be important to you, but it is very important to us. Understand the huge mountain you have to climb whenever you're asking us to put those concerns aside. You're thinking about how to make your character a better tank. We're thinking about how to keep this game popular for five more years, or even longer.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#85 - 2010/02/25 05:35:29 AM
Q u o t e:
Feedback that doesn't effect any change at all is completely pointless.


I wouldn't approach feedback as a vehicle for getting change. We look for feedback so we can make informed decisions. "I don't have fun tanking," is useful feedback, if perhaps a tad vague. You also have to understand that your feedback is one data point. The forums are not our only vehicle for data points either.

On the other hand, believe me, if I didn't get something out of this, I wouldn't be here. If Blizzard just wanted someone to pat forum posters on the back, they could get someone who wouldn't demand such outrageous perks as I do. Those cases of gin aren't cheap.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#86 - 2010/02/25 05:38:52 AM
Q u o t e:
If the perception was that the tanks were equal, a lot of other problems would go away.


Perhaps, but that's probably an unobtainable goal. Even you guys would get there, I believe, only by dismissing the opinions of folks you would consider ill-informed or unqualified to have an opinion. If you pronounced tank balance flawless, then someone would immediately disagree, or at least ask for more AE damage or Warbringer or Demo Shout or Ebon Plague or something. It's always going to be subjective to some degree. The measurement of "tankiness" does not exist.

(Again, that does not mean we should throw up our hands and give up on balance.)

Q u o t e:
Someone will produce a spreadsheet that shows Warriors 0.001% behind Paladins at something, and that will somehow trickle down to the general player base as "Warriors are way behind Paladins and need buffs!"

Now replace "Warriors" and "Paladins" with any two random tank classes and repeat.


Ya.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#130 - 2010/02/25 05:45:54 PM
Q u o t e:
How do you balance a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon against bottle of Pinot Noir? They are both wines, they both fill the same need in a meal (tasty alcoholic beverage) yet are different. .A cab/sav matches better with some meals, a Pinot with others. This is really only a problem when all the encounters in the game become something like steak, in this case a Cab/sav is probably a better match than a Pinot Noir, even though a Pinot would still be pretty good; this is what GC means when he says Blizz balances around encounters.


Pinot >> Cab. Just sayin.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#134 - 2010/02/25 05:53:09 PM
Q u o t e:
No, it would still be the defining trait, it would be equally balanced. The defining trait of DPS is damage over time. Yet they have all of this wonderful flavor, so much that we've "fooled" people into thinking that mages and warlocks and hunters are soo incredibly different...but when you boil it down, they're all player characters who can lob damaging attacks from a distance and have a few unique utility bits and playstyle mechanics as the only real difference.


Warlocks also tend to be better in some situations than mages and worse in others. That's what I meant about saying "Warlock dps is X" being a pointless statement, in the same way that saying "Warrior survivability is X" is a pointless statement. Though actually, I'd argue the latter is more pointless because the conditions tend to be even more variable.

Can you survive the encounter? Can do you do so within a reasonable degree of success and relative amount of work to another class? If so, then you're a fine tank for the encounter. Are there going to be better tanks for some encounters? Probably. As long as there aren't too many encounters in a row where you feel gimp, or as long as the most difficult encounter doesn't dramatically favor another class over you, then it's probably fine. Saying all tanks need to have their survivability within 1% of each other in all situations is as meaningless as it is unobtainable.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#137 - 2010/02/25 06:01:00 PM
Q u o t e:
Tell me, what can really be defined as skill? In my mind, you can use cooldowns when DBM/Bigwigs warns "OMG YOU GONNA DIE!" because something nasty is about to happen. Or you can have reflexes to use a cooldown when a healer's in trouble or you/someone else makes a mistake. The third and final thing is just playing the fight mechanics right, which 9/10 means moving off of interesting ground effects.


Players try to play that card a lot, that skill isn't a big deal because the mechanics are all pretty easy to understand, and therefore it's the class mechanics that are to blame, not the player. I don't buy it. I've seen the world first, or even server first kills of difficult bosses. Those players aren't just good, they are exceptionally good. They are probably ten times better than the guilds who get those kills a month or two later, and that's really no exaggeration. In fact, skill plays such a gigantic role that we have trouble balancing harder encounters. The skilled players can beat them without new gear while the second tier of players can never beat them. Now you can try to argue that all tanks are of about the same skill and it's the dps or healers that really make up the difference, but I don't buy that either. I've seen what the best tanks in the world do. They are really good. Don't dismiss them as being just lucky or dedicated.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#140 - 2010/02/25 06:09:00 PM
Q u o t e:
Right, I'm fine with this. I really am, if you're using that as a baseline for balance philosophy.

However, what encounters were DKs and Warriors struggling on that necessitated buffs? DKs were completing content, more in high end guilds than in upper middle class guilds. Warriors were highest in representation and had no detectable difference in success rates. Edit: and by any measure, were better tanks in ICC than in ToC.


It wasn't a change in philosophy. All along we said we'll monitor things and make adjustments as we see fit.

As I've said several times now, the Will of the Necropolis change wasn't an "OMG DKs are vanishing - let's buff" decision. A couple of designers looked at the cooldown, evaluated how often it really mattered, concluded not often, and thought the ability would be simpler to understand, less frustrating, and perhaps a small DK buff without the cooldown. The paladin and warrior health adjustments were a result of seeing progression on hard mode encounters, where bosses tend to melee for a lot all the time so health might trump cooldowns. Neither of them were huge changes and you can make the argument that things might have been fine without the changes at all. We thought a small adjustment was appropriate. I concede that these things are often subjective and others might have made a different call than we made.