Class Identity and the Necessity of Balance

| Friday, April 27, 2012
Does class balance matter more or less if you're strongly attached to your class?
When I speak of attachment, I mean mentally or emotionally: you like the playstyle, the way it fills its role, the lore, or have gotten the muscle memory firmly embedded and nothing will shake it.  This is not about the convenience of switching classes.

It matters less
If I really enjoy a class for how it plays, then a bit of variance in balance isn't such a problem.  The innate fun of the class acts as a buffer against balance variance.  It's similar to how adding 1 to 10 is 10%, but adding 1 to 100 is only 1%.  People often see the world in percentages, which is why a dollar isn't a dollar, so that for one person a dollar is .004% of a year while for another it is .000001% of a year.  Which person is going to react more to a dollar?  Similarly, if my class loses a bit of damage output, that is a small percentage change in my overall fun.

It matters more
If we're tied to a particular class, then any imbalance is made worse by a reduced ability to adapt, by which I mean switch classes.  In effect, the emotional attachment acts as an anchor, keeping us in place.  It can have the same effect as if it were extremely time-consuming to reroll.  Why would we reroll?  Perhaps we can no longer find groups, so that a small change in class balance forces us out of groups, mandating a reroll, and if we're so tied to a class, then even if the reroll itself had a low cost (let's imagine there are free 85s in full 378 gear), we're still pushed into a lower tier of fun.


Ephemeron said...

It matters more, because the emotional attachment is not additive with the variance in balance - it's multiplicative. The greater one's emotional investment, the greater the impact of any particular change becomes.

For example, a small balance change to a couple of units in Starcraft II multiplayer can be easily missed by a casual player, yet it might be a huge deal to a top-notch professional whose favorite strategy is based on said unit. On other hand, if Blizzard decides to halve or quadruple the DPS of all Zerg units tomorrow, this will have no effect on me, since zero interest multiplied by anything is still zero.

Klepsacovic said...

If you never play as or against zerg, then the damage of zerg units won't matter, but otherwise, the relative power of zerg does matter.

Post a Comment

Comments in posts older than 21 days will be moderated to prevent spam. Comments in posts younger than 21 days will be checked for ID.

Powered by Blogger.