Balancing the Borderlands

There was a post in the SPvP forums a few days ago now where a developer replied that the will be trying to split WvW skills from PvE in the next update and obviously moving onwards from then.

While I support their efforts with balancing to an extent I really don’t actually support this approach. I personal don’t think every class should be able to theoretically beat all the others as counters open up a deeper more strategic play. There needs to be a certain variability in the classes so they aren’t just disguised clones of each other with mere cosmetic differences but deep and complex with their own sublties.

There are some classes that need more roles and viable builds that enable them to actively compete in wvw but right now it seems like most have quite a strong defined role within WvW that they perform better then others. Wariors and Guardians for the charge, Necros condition spreading and area control through marks and wells, Mesmers and their utilities, thieves and scouting and roaming, eles boon share, fields, and roamers as well, engies have some decent finishers, a lot of aoe, and are slippery buggers to catch. The only ones that really need decent balancing are rangers. Nerf Mesmers though… Hard. :p

The reason though that I don’t support any drastic balancing within only WvW is that most of the time it is the imbalances that makes WvW fun. It might sound weird that someone gains fun from the unbalanced and chaotic nature of WvW but I can already get a more balanced, structured (still a fair few issues) PvP approach in the SPvP area and still have that dynamic fun PvP provides which makes WvW kind of unique in it’s own way.

Open world pvp, from which WvW is conceived from is fundamentally unfair. There is never going to be perfect balance, that is a completely futile goal. Experience, skill, coordination, numbers, classes and so much more play a huge part in how the short fights, and week long matches unfold. It is supposed to be chaotic and unpredictable as that is a big part of the enjoyable. This is Emergeant gameplay and the many factors involved adds to the dynamic nature of it, the battlefield and the fights you have are meant to be ever changing. Losing is a part of it, as is learning from those experiences. Part of the reason I think that makes WvW so enjoyable over the long term is that you never know what the next hour of gameplay is going to be like.

I even liked the unpredictability and stupidity that many of the consumables added to WvW. They were fun to use and the creative ways players found to use them was really quite interesting. They just gave players and classes more options in combat and variations on your usual playstyle. I never would have expected a thief to be carrying a wooden plank that would knock me off a cliff but I still laughed when it happened. While most could have used a cooldown I don’t think they needed to be removed as there is no balance issues involved since they are available to everyone.

One big problem with balancing aims is that any big changes that do happen are likely going to be the result of forum whining and which area is the loudest. There is no way an individual can get a grasp of how such a large scale fighting area is playing out which which makes forum qq quite dangerous. Going from it right now I see changes incoming to thieves and possibly confusion Mesmers, I personally don’t think they’re op but that’s the current punching bag. Anet have been rather good at sticking to their own ideas and information as was seen in their dismissal of night capping, which is both a bad and good thing so it might be ok. I would much rather them adding skills and such as a way to balance but so far their efforts in WvW balance have just been to remove offending mechanics which makes me a tad sceptical.

Any big class balance changes make little sense to me as they are only a small difference in combat. The biggest discrepancy between players I see is coming from their level and gear rather then skill imbalances or consumable use and this difference can obscure any real or imagined issues. Then It is very much the builds people are taking into wvw which just aren’t suited to it, lots of squishies and untested builds out there. And then there is the experience level and level of knowledge about the classes where people are unaware of counters that cause a lot of rage. It’s quite easy to qq about confusion if you don’t have much condition removal, or thieves if your without a stunning break.

Overall I would rather they have a minimal and more general approach towards balancing the classes. Right now many classes are still rather broken with messily designed or pointless traits that would possibly need a rework before any serious balance is aimed for. Seems like Anet once again trying to run when they have yet to master the crawl.

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