Right now, if you go to the wikipedia page for WoW developer Tom Chilton, you have the following rather amusing picture accompanying the article:
*Edit – Obviously, this has been removed. It is preserved here for giggles*
The article currently states the following:
Although Chilton was on the developer panels at BlizzCon 2005 in October 2005, it is clear he has no sense of game balance, and shows blatant favoritism towards warlocks and rogues. It is no surprise that with this love comes a deep loathing for the mage class. His hatred for mages knows no bounds. Unsurprisingly, due to the fact that he was scarred by a mage as a child, every time he hears the word mage, he compulsively clutches to his precious nerf bat for dear life.
Obviously, somebody is a little bit bitter about something, and doesn’t know too much about World of Warcraft. Or any MMO, for that matter.
Let’s take a step back, and look at this from an objective angle for a bit.
Here we have WoW, probably the most successful computer game ever. Over 10 million people play this game. The developers of WoW (which includes Tom Chilton, fyi) must be doing something right.
The fact is this. WoW is an incredibly slick MMO with more polish and content in an expansion than most other MMO’s ever have. WoW has one of the best raid environments in any game, some of the most finely tuned and balanced PvP in any non shooter/RTS game, and tops it all off with an incredibly low amount of grinding.
I know some of you out there rolled your eyes at this, especially that last one. I know how that feels; I had to hit exalted with the Scryers too.
To be perfectly blunt: if you think the PvP in WoW is horribly imbalanced, and that it requires ridiculous amounts of grinding, you really don’t know much at all.
Go try the PvP in Everquest. Give it a shot in Guild Wars. Age of Conan. Give City of Heroes/Villains a try.
(Yes, I am fully aware that the PvP in EQ is intentionally gimped, as the developers have outright stated they don’t tune anything towards that aspect of the game. EQ is a purist PvE MMO.)
For those of you who haven’t tried out these games, the PvP in them is… stupid. Imagine a rock/paper/scissors type of thing. Some say WoW is like that, but they’re exaggerating. In WoW, some classes have obvious advantages over others, that’s just the way things work.
As a mage, I have a major advantage over Warriors, but I can still be killed by them.
As a mage, warlocks have a major advantage over me, but I can still kill them.
In these other MMOs, this type of difference is much starker, to the point where there are classes that you will never, ever be able to kill unless they just happen to be AFK. Some, like City of Heroes, have a class that can easily defeat absolutely anything (nerf Brawlers).
The fact is this. Any MMO where they feature different classes that have different abilities isn’t balanced nearly as well as WoW is.
Let’s look at Fury, and MMO I played hardcore for about a month and a half.
Fury is a purist PvP MMO. The closest you can get to PvE in this game is one battleground where you compete against other players to kill bots. These bots all emulate the player classes.
The PvP in this game works incredibly well. It is, by far, the most balanced PvP I have ever experienced in an MMO.
And the reason why it works is because every class is almost exactly the same as every other class. Every class functions by creating and using up charges, so everyone effectively has unlimited resources with which to use abilities.
Every class has roughly the exact same abilities. Obviously, all the abilities look different and do different things, but in all practicality they do they exact same function.
For example. Every melee class has the ability to instantly close with an adversary. Some of them rush straight at them (i.e. a warrior’s charge), and some drag the enemy to themselves. All the ranged classes have very similar abilities to escape melee, all the healers have HoT’s, direct heals, AoE heals…
It works because everything is uniform.
WoW is not uniform, and I would utterly loathe it if it was.
I like WoW with asymmetrical classes. I like Starcraft for the exact same reason. Sure, there were some imbalances, some things that were overpowered and some that were underpowered. The beauty of it is that the developers of this game worked long and hard, tweaking this, adjusting that, to arrive at a game that can only be described as “finely tuned”.
The same thing is being done with WoW. All these little changes here and there, a slight adjustment to this ability, a tiny mechanic change here… in general, most changes are incredibly small. Occasionally there are “big” changes. Big is a relative word.
A big change in WoW would be adding diminishing returns to Fear. A big change in WoW is increasing the coefficient of fireball by 5%.
Compare this to Star Wars Galaxies. A big change here would be removing Fear from the game. A big change here would be increasing the coefficient of fireball by 120%.
We World of Warcraft players have it good. We have an excellent MMO in our hands.
Sure, it has it’s problems, as do all MMO’s. They just happen to be much smaller than in other MMO’s. I personally have only one major gripe with WoW. Which is great since all other MMO’s I’ve played I usually have at least seven.
Do we really need to be this bitter and pissed off over the best MMO in the world?
We do. And this is a good thing.
The fact that people can become so passionate, one way or the other, about a freakin’ GAME is quite a feat.
It’s not often a game comes along where people can play for 10 minutes a week, or 10 hours a day, and still experience the same game fully.
How many games can produce a forum community so bitter and vile it makes 4chan seem friendly, and yet still inspire such a massive and (generall) friendly blogosphere? How many games are so incredibly simple, a four year old can succeed and have fun, and yet complicated enough for calculus professors to spend hours deriving formulas on how one spell works?
What I’m getting to here in this long arse post…
The newest Batman movie is awesome. Go see it. Bring your whole family, even if you have to hogtie them to do so.