Fix class balance!

General Discussion
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09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
I'm always surprised when I see strong reactions to things like "class balance" because I remember the days when it truly was in a bad place.
Honestly, it "feels" in a bad place to me.

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
The problem I find here though is, there is nothing specific being discussed.
Its mentioned that the "15 percent" difference you cited is not good enough, but did you realize you linked "all bosses?"
I did link all bosses on purpose. I understand different specs will preform differently based on spec strengths and weaknesses. That's why I chose an overall average of all bosses.

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
Do you think its realistic that over 8 bosses EVERY SINGLE SPEC is within 5 percent of each other?
Yes

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
This really isn't a balance issue though, and actually explains why this "problem" can never really be fixed.
It is a "problem" to me and many other customers. One worth working on to reduce subscription loss.

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
Every spec has a strength and weakness, as confirmed on Friday's AMA.
It was pointed out the Elemental does have mobility weaknesses (working as intended), but we were not told what our strengths are. What are they? They need to be large enough to overcome the level of weakness.

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
I hope this will put things in perspective a bit more, and help you guys understand first that "class balance" is not something that will ever be perfect. Its impossible to expect this, because there are just way too many variables and many types of combat.
Like I said in the OP, I don't expect perfect balance, no idea why you even make a point of this.

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
If so, cite some specific examples of when and where with evidence to support your statement.
And suggest ways the classes in question can be improved!
I did give the statistic showing the large spread in DPS.

My suggestion came in the form of a questions. Doesn't Blizzard have "adjustment knobs" for each class? If so, start turning them before you lose too many subscriptions.
09/19/2018 08:44 AMPosted by Misery
09/19/2018 08:37 AMPosted by Nayaga
...That is my point, the spread is too large.

Blizzard really needs to be able to adjust these difference in a timely manor.

What gives Blizzard?
Soon™
Wait for 8.1
We've been told this too many times. It is not a useful answer.
Elemental is getting reworked in 8.1 I don’t know what you are complaining about
09/19/2018 06:03 AMPosted by Nayaga
Didn't Blizzard add "adjustment knobs" to balance specs a few expansions ago? What happened to them?


You'd think after whining about this for years you would have gained some insight into how the process is done and why its not as basic as adjusting stats.

The "adjustment knobs" aren't the issue, its critical mass and balancing spreadsheet performance, in-game performance, and most importantly watching how performance changes as people put more time into a character.

The third point is impossible to test without time passing in current content. Its also, by far, the most important statistic.
09/19/2018 08:59 AMPosted by Paladonkey
Elemental is getting reworked in 8.1 I don’t know what you are complaining about
We don't know that.

Also, there are many others worse than Elemental.
09/19/2018 08:59 AMPosted by Mvura
You'd think after whining about this for years you would have gained some insight into how the process is done and why its not as basic as adjusting stats.
I looking for some insight, that's why I asked the question.

09/19/2018 08:59 AMPosted by Mvura
The third point is impossible to test without time passing in current content. Its also, by far, the most important statistic.
That might be true, does that mean the current spread in DPS ranking is as good as it gets?

Honest question.
I have been saying for years that Blizzard has a basic problem with math. It extends far beyond class balance and has huge negative impacts on every aspect of the game starting with loot distribution. There is really no excuse given the number of tools and quantity of data for there to still be the need for things like bad luck protection. If they are unwilling to make efforts to balance the simple ("look at a graph") problems how can we expect them to solve the more complex class balancing acts.
09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
I'm always surprised when I see strong reactions to things like "class balance" because I remember the days when it truly was in a bad place.

The days when WoD's ring helped make Arcane Mage effectively deal twice the damage of the median weren't that long ago but I suppose its easy to forget if you weren't interested in the things you are interested in now back then.

The problem I find here though is, there is nothing specific being discussed.
Its mentioned that the "15 percent" difference you cited is not good enough, but did you realize you linked "all bosses?"

Do you think its realistic that over 8 bosses EVERY SINGLE SPEC is within 5 percent of each other?

I think this is a much better example
https://www.warcraftlogs.com/zone/statistics/19#difficulty=4&aggregate=amount&boss=2134

There you will see 11.4k being the top and 9k being the bottom. That seems pretty good.
What doesn't seem great though is the difference in the Max range. I'm more worried about how yet again, the raid and most content will favor burst dps than sustain, and especially without multi target fights like we had all over ABT, some specs will struggle.

This really isn't a balance issue though, and actually explains why this "problem" can never really be fixed.

Every spec has a strength and weakness, as confirmed on Friday's AMA.
Some specs will do better on some encounters and others will do worse.
If the raid is made up of many of the encounters that a few specs do worse on, then it proliferates a trend that things aren't balanced properly.

But there is many other types of combat and content to consider as well.
What happens is a spec is very strong in raid, but very poor in M+?
Or now that things are how they are for PVP, what happens if their niche develops extremely well in PVP, but that niche doesn't apply well to pve?

I hope this will put things in perspective a bit more, and help you guys understand first that "class balance" is not something that will ever be perfect. Its impossible to expect this, because there are just way too many variables and many types of combat.

Either way, I think some historical perspective can help too.
https://www.warcraftlogs.com/zone/statistics/8#boss=1785
Check the max on that one, and it should help. That wasn't that long ago!

Considering all the new systems, types of content, and sources of power, I would say that balance in PVE has never been better.

That's just my opinion though.
Do you feel differently?

If so, cite some specific examples of when and where with evidence to support your statement.
And suggest ways the classes in question can be improved!

8.1 is right around the corner, so the perfect time for this discussion!

We can start with near impossible scenarios to balance like specs that rely heavily on doing another role’s job to perform well.

I don’t believe we need a Harvard case study linked to arrive at that common sense conclusion.

To be clear, it sounds more cynical that it is. I just find that they set themselves up for borderline impossible to balance situations.

Digging the Mythic+ videos. My cousin rolled a Blood DK and I told him to watch your stuff haha.
09/19/2018 09:09 AMPosted by Nayaga
09/19/2018 08:59 AMPosted by Paladonkey
Elemental is getting reworked in 8.1 I don’t know what you are complaining about
We don't know that.

Also, there are many others worse than Elemental.

They have literally posted changes they are making to elemental. Stop being a sensationalist
1% of the PvP ladder is DK. We don't have a viable PvP spec.

DK is one of the lowest played classes this expansion because of it, despite historically being one of the most popular classes.

I unsubbed until they fix this (among other things).
<span class="truncated">...</span>We don't know that.

Also, there are many others worse than Elemental.

They have literally posted changes they are making to elemental. Stop being a sensationalist
I honestly missed that. Can you link that? Thanks!

But again, many specs are worse than Elemental. I'm not asking specifically for Elemental "buffs", I'm inquiring to the overall balance methods and goals.
it will never be balanced
On a more positive note, Thanks to all the people who, while riding by, saw me struggling to down a normal pull mob and stopped to help. As Ele shaman I'll take all the pity help I can get. On many fights it would have been a long run back from the graveyard had they not shown up. If and when Blizz decides to level the playing field I promise to help the less fortunate when I can. There are still people with a heart in Azeroth and while game time is precious it's good to help others.
09/19/2018 08:35 AMPosted by Cyouskin

So, what is my point? "Balance" depends on the environment. Theorycrafting 101 concepts.


Sorry, that's just wrong. Balance is always big picture. It's a question of what classes and specs does your raid/mythic+/pvp group want to bring. The environments we're offered certainly have a big impact on these decisions, but Blizzard isn't designing encounters and objectives to ensure equitable "chances to shine".

Regardless of whatever vague assurances that Blizzard wants every class to feel powerful under certain situations, the problem still remains that certain specs are just waaaay stronger than others in pretty much EVERY situation. That's what people get frustrated about, and even more frustrating is the glacial pace that Blizzard goes about "fixing" them.

I almost quit WoW at the beginning of Legion because of how bad Frost Mages were. The spec was an unmitigated disaster and it took something like 6 weeks for them to even make a worthwhile numerical tuning pass. It wasn't until January/Feb (so 5 months into the expansion) before the spec was finally cleaned up to the point where it made sense and felt good to play in Nighthold.

This sort of lethargic after-the-fact balancing isn't appropriate for WoW and the content cycles it delivers. The theorycrafting community for this game is top notch, so when Ion says that they don't get enough data from beta to fix balancing problems that were obvious and extensively reported leading up to release, it doesn't look like they're even trying.
Demonology is 18th out of 24 on the fight you linked (Vectis)
Demonology is dead last on a few fights.
Demonology doesn't get above 15th on ANY fight.

Am I supposed to believe that everything is just peachy and working as intended?

There's a reason why Affliction has 177,779 parses and Demonology only has 8,209. There's a reason why Demonology is being turned away in M+ content.
There's a reason why the spec only has 61 parses on G'huun Heroic.

The spec is just awful from a damage standpoint.

For 8.1, the spec needs some serious attention. Starting with all the long casts associated with the spec. I propose instant cast Hand of Gul'dan and instant cast Dreadstalkers with a new talent to replace Demonic Calling. How about more damage given to Implosion? This is a very fun mechanic for a spec, but very lacking in damage for such a high investment cost (building 3 shards takes time, even with procs). Maybe instant cast shadow bolts (with reduced damage to compensate) so we can build shards as we move)?

Demonology is the most fun spec I've ever played (slightly ahead of Mists of Pandaria Elemental Shaman) and it was amazingly fun on beta before the spec was absolutely gutted (all because demo was too high in dungeons). Demo has had (2) 5% buffs to all abilities in the last month and a half and STILL remain at or near the bottom. For a spec that got so much attention going into alpha/beta for BFA, with how much fun the spec is, it's disheartening to see how poorly the spec does damage wise.

Make Demonology ok again™
09/19/2018 09:12 AMPosted by Paladonkey
09/19/2018 09:09 AMPosted by Nayaga
...We don't know that.

Also, there are many others worse than Elemental.

They have literally posted changes they are making to elemental. Stop being a sensationalist


Those changes will make him into a sensationalist. They're awful and do not fix any of the issues Elemental faces.
09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha

There you will see 11.4k being the top and 9k being the bottom. That seems pretty good.


Pretty good?

That's a 21.06% difference.
That is not ok. Ever.
09/19/2018 06:34 AMPosted by Hutta
Perfect balance is near impossible without homogenization, but it's not too difficult to balance classes within 5% of each other for PvE.


Homogenization is a meaningless buzzword left over from the era of the 'hybrid tax'. Roles need to do certain jobs. You might as well be complaining that all tanks have a taunt or all healers have heals. All dps'ers need to be able to do respectable damage both single target and aoe. There shouldn't be specs that do bad damage aoe or bad damage single target because it excludes them from content. It's just used to maintain an outdated status quo wherein biased people argue against giving other specs abilities they want exclusive or limited access to because it makes them objectively better. Sorta like arms has both good aoe and good single target. Shocker that you're making a homogenization argument!

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
I'm always surprised when I see strong reactions to things like "class balance" because I remember the days when it truly was in a bad place.


So because it was worse at one point, we're not allowed to complain about lack of balance now?

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
This really isn't a balance issue though, and actually explains why this "problem" can never really be fixed.


It absolutely is a balance issue. Saying it's not is intentionally sticking your head in the sand and choosing to ignore it. There are two problems right now that are important to me.

The first is one you already mentioned. Burst is just better in all situations than sustained. There's no encounter where anyone wants to be the guy with sustained damage because in the end your sustained damage isn't going to be better than the guy with burst damage, whether we're talking pvp or pve. If a spec does bad burst, if sustained is its thing, it should do more damage than burst classes over the long haul and right now they don't.

The second one goes to your next point...

09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha
Every spec has a strength and weakness, as confirmed on Friday's AMA.


No, that wasn't confirmed in the AMA. What was confirmed was high level design intent. Not how it actually works in game. I'll use obvious ones here to emphasize my point. What is demo's strength? What is affliction's weakness? Remember, strengths and weaknesses are only strengths and weaknesses in context of other performance. You have to compare them to something else. The problem is that comparing it to other specs results in demonstrating that there's no place where demo is actually strong and many places where demo is weak. Same with fire. The same with other specs. I'm just using those two because they are recognized pretty universally as being bad. For affliction there is no place where it's actually weak and many places where it's strong. Same with havoc. Same with BM. And so on. Saying "spec X is weak at Y!" doesn't mean anything if it's just "spec X does awesome single target but it's aoe isn't as good!" when if you compare spec X to spec Z and spec X does better aoe than spec Z when that's supposed to be its strength. In short, we have specs that are top tier everywhere and we have specs that are bottom tier everywhere, across all levels and types of content. That's a balance issue.

09/19/2018 09:40 AMPosted by Yam
09/19/2018 07:10 AMPosted by Metrohaha

There you will see 11.4k being the top and 9k being the bottom. That seems pretty good.


Pretty good?

That's a 21.06% difference.
That is not ok. Ever.


I agree. I'd be okay with 10% difference from top to bottom. But that means that different specs need to be on top on different encounter types and not the same specs on top on every encounter type and every spec on the bottom is the same across all encounter types also. Essentially they need to walk the walk and not talk the talk, I don't care what they say, I want them to do. Fix the specs that are just universally worse than other specs everywhere. Actually give each spec fight types where they shine and fight types where they don't. Until they do that I don't care what their design intent is, I care how things actually play out in game.
09/19/2018 09:35 AMPosted by Alkii
Those changes will make him into a sensationalist. They're awful and do not fix any of the issues Elemental faces.
Surge of power looks really fun.

However my concern is that it doesnt fix Elementals role as an extremely squishy turret. They're like playing a Warlock without a pet, and without the defensive cooldowns.
I agree, shifting their damage around might be a nice step, but its not really the most important one.

Every spec is supposed to have upsides and downsides right?
Being an extremely immobile turret made of paper with 90% hard casts is an enormous roster of downsides. Thats actually almost every downside from every other class rolled into one, the only way for it to be worse would be for Elemental to be Melee.
For how much Elemental is missing from their mobility and survivability you would expect them to be the hardest hitting class in the game, by a large margin.
09/19/2018 09:33 AMPosted by Amoc
Sorry, that's just wrong. Balance is always big picture. It's a question of what classes and specs does your raid/mythic+/pvp group want to bring.

Most of the game's content favors melee, as well as having mob health be at a point where melee's opener usually kills the enemy. Burst will always be king in that situation.

Is balance perfect right now? No, but it's not that bad either.

When you expand it to things like Mythic+, if enemies are dying still quickly, then burst will remain king. Balance Druid is a perfect example -- terrible at low keys because everything melts. At higher keys, enemies live longer enough for their damage to ramp up. And that's how many casters work.

When you start factoring things like AOE CC, you run into a different part of game balance.

I've been in the theorycrafting scene for 8+ years. Part of the issue is players don't want passive damage to define their spec. (Auto-attacks in particular for melee.) No one wants downtime, or they'd prefer to minimize it as much as possible. (There's always a button to press.) Then players want spenders to generate more DPS than fillers. (This means you're looking to create burst windows when you have high resources.)

And this is the product you get: Casters are ramping up. Melee are dumping resources. Casters reach their peak when the pull ends. Melee just start with full resources on the next pull.

This creates mechanical imbalances because these designs.

The melee specs who need to ramp up are suffering too, especially Feral.
The casters who don't need to ramp-up do just fine. (Destro Warlock, despite its low ST sustain because Incinerate is a wet noodle.)

Many issues can be resolved by simply giving casters full resources out of combat. For melee specs with ramp-up, they'd need a button to effectively skip that ramp-up. But this creates the issue that no one is special anymore. Homogenization makes balancing easy, but it ruins what makes specs unique.

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