Grandstanding for 1 min

| Thursday, April 30, 2009
Kleps recently made a big post about why people blog, or why he blogs, or something. I think Penny-Arcade summed it up a lot more succinctly recently, seen here. We like to talk about WoW, for whatever reason, and while that's allegedly what the forums are for, those are more about whining, usually stupidly.

One of the most annoying things about the forums is the whole 'bandwagon' phenomenon. Someone says something dumb and a bunch of people repeat it as though it were true until the end of time.

One example is 'Arena is ruining PvE because blizzard balances everything around arena!' This particular attitude is annoying enough that it gets it's own post. See, this breaks down in a lot of places.

1) Blizzard has always balanced the game around PvP as well as PvE, this was true before arenas came along.

2) Up until WotLK started, there really hadn't been any case of this being true. Challenge anyone to name a change from Season 1's start till 3.0 that was made to improve arena balance and negatively affected raiding balance and... no one has ever been able to give an answer. Some try to say 'what about illumination?!' and conveniently forget that every healer was crying for illumination nerfs because paladins didn't run oom in karazhan. Some people point out stuff like reducing Cyclone's range, or nerfing Hand of Freedom, and that's assinine because those spells weren't being used in PvE (back then Cyclone even had DRs in PvE).

3) Since WotLK started, there have been some, ah, emergency nerfs to get pvp under control. Conflagrate and Arcane Barrage mainly. Most of the nerfs, like to rogues or DK cooldowns, were compensated at the same time with pve buffs, making them actually stronger in pve. I acknowledge that there have been a few times where nerfs to PvP meant undeserved nerfs to PvE since LK shipped though.

4) There have been lots of times where raiding balance has had a negative effect on pvp balance. Probably a lot more than the other way around, frankly. Lifebloom's HoT wasn't nerfed until 3.0 simply because blizzard was afraid of costing resto druids their pve viability. DKs similarly should have had their damage reduced a while ago. Divine Plea started out as overpowered as it was for holy because paladins complained that they couldn't use it at all in raids. Ret paladin damage has similarly been an issue, with exorcism going live as usable in pvp because it was needed in raids.

I just wish people would accept the fact that the game has both pvp and pve, and that you're going to see changes to game balance made for the sake of both. Sometimes, though not often, they're going to negatively affect each other. Usually, the 2 are well separated, and I expect most of the issues pvp nerfs have recently caused will be rectified in an upcoming patch (there is plenty of wiggle room in destro talents to make up the lost damage elsewhere, like empowered imp or pyroclasm).

But what it comes down to, in my opinion, is that when you demand the game be balanced totally around raiding because pvp isn't important (or vice versa) you're just being selfish. Both sides of the game are important to people, both are important to the game, and despite what idiots say, they can co-exist just fine.



Klepsacovic said...

I feel like the introduction of your post was made purely to point out that I am bad at writing.

I agree with your point, which seemed to just be a long-winded statement of fact, but am obligated by contract to point out that arenas are lame.

Anonymous said...

Changes to drinking and eating that require you to sit and eat for longer time to get the full benefit. Affects everyone from new players to hardcore raiders just so to balance drinking/eating in arenas.

Changes/nerfs to the various mana drain effects (now affected by resil. so less of an issue). Also not really affecting raids until they throw a boss at us that requires mana draining (think that guy from AQ20)

Cyclone range nerf hurt 5 man heroic groups that lacked other forms of CC. Not important after 3.0 and the pull -> AOE everything became the way to run 5 mans.

Lot's more as well. I am sure if you look over just about every large patch that was pushed out from 2.1->3.0 you can find something in there.

Iapetes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iapetes said...

the eating/drinking change only applied to while in arenas.

mana drains have not been part of any encounter in tBC or WotLK, and if they were they'd obviously be balanced around how those spells function now.

cyclone nerf had a negligible effect on 5 man content (it already had DRs and a short duration so it was mostly useless in pve, and moving 10 yards closer is not hard at all). And 5 man content is negligible to begin with. No one was ever like 'oh man, we can't bring this resto druid to heroic BF because he has to be 20 yards away from a mob to cyclone him now!'

Complaining about stuff like that is just whining for the sake of whining.

Kevinjohn Gallagher said...

Hi Kleps and Iapetes,

Great blog thing you’ve got going here.

I think though that you’ve made quite a few leaps and generalisations on this post. For example, I totally agree that “Arena is ruining PvE because blizzard balances everything around arena!” is a nonsense idea, but the suggestion that “Arena is not causing balancing issues in PvE” is also nonsense.

1) Blizzard has always balanced the game around PvP as well as PvE, this was true before arenas came along.

Well, this is partly true, and a bit of a generalisation. To start with, being a tad pedantic, organised PvP in wow didn’t arrive until WSG, so the game originally as just PvE balanced.

Yes there were PvP realms, and I understand some form of modest balancing act went on, but anyone who lived through the Tauren wind fury + war stomps era will probably take umbrage with “Blizzard has always balanced the game around PvP as well as PvE”.

(Other examples would be the rogue stunlock build, which was allowed to roam free for 19 months).

What a lot of people fail to realise is that when gear had a small difference in stats (say in vanilla WoW or initial lvl 70 gear), small discrepancies in specs/roles/balancing were not that apparent. When Alterac Valley lasted a (minimum?) 6 hours and could last up to two days – PvP balancing became less of an issue to the point that it didn’t’ really happen. Unless something was SO overpowered that it made the game unplayable, there were very few PvP nerfs, or indeed PvP changes that in any way affected PvE.

2) Up until WotLK started, there really hadn't been any case of this being true.

Ah here is where I think you’re making the crucial flaw in your argument. You’re looking for someone to turn round and say X got nerfed because of arenas and QQ, now I can’t raid.

But that was not your original premise; you’ve changed it to suit your needs. The premise was that Arena balancing is not nerfing PvE (soloing, 5 mans, heroics, raids). Simply giving a time frame of half of the TBC expansion (after 2.1 to 3.0), and further narrowing it down asking for things that “negatively affected raiding balance” is kind of making sure you get the answer you want by lowering where the data comes from.

Lets flip the question around, and ask it a different way: “ Since the inception of Areans’s, how many changes to talents that could/would/were used in a PvE environment were changed due to Arena/PvP Balancing issues? “

See it’s the same question, but it is far more open to answers.

You yourself list a few, but I’m sure if you asked someone of each class/spec they’d be able to give you a list. Now I’m not against balancing the game, and yes PvP and Arena’s need balancing so they are fun, but you can’t have a premise that Arena’s have not highlighted issues in a way that Battlegrounds outdoor PvP could never do, to the point that Blizzard made balancing changes that affected PvE.

By your own example: We refused to take a boomkin to magisters Terrace due to the cyclone nerf. There was an annoying and vocal mage in LFG, and while we didn’t like him, it was the better option. Was it true across the board for every druid out there? Maybe not. But can you categorically state that it didn’t have a negative impact for any druid out there? Definitely not.

Statements like “because those spells weren't being used in PvE” is where your argument falls down. If we take Blizzard’s word that there are 11 million accounts, how can you as a rational person state categorically that certain spells weren’t being used in PvE? It’s this sort of generalisation that you claim to dislike on the realm forums.

My prot paladin for example, used Hand of Freedom quite a bit in sticky situations (remember pre3.0 we could not do any dps) – that nerf made quite a difference to me in PvE. In raiding? Nope. In 5mans? Can only think of one occasion. But soloing PvE content? Yeah it did. That arena-based pvp-orientated-nerf impacted my PvE play.

I think it’s the point of the counter arguments that you’re missing mate. PvE is not just raiding, so yeah Arena/PvP nerfs have made an impact on PvE.

3) The reason your time frame is wrong.

Using Seasons 1 & 2 (and probably 3) as an example is the wrong way to do it. 2s, 3s and 5s were all popular in the first 3 seasons, and while certain classes/specs were better than others, it wasn’t an instant loss if you took X class to an Arena game.

As time moved on, and as more and more gear and theory crafting and tactics were produced, certain classes and certain abilities rose to the top.

To that end, *most* of the balancing act’s (nerfs) done based on Arena’s came from season 3/4 onwards.

So ask yourself this: How many PvP based changes to talents used in PvE were there before patch 2.3? And how many have there been since 2.3?

Quantify that by asking this: Have the number of PvP based changes to talents used in PvE increased or decreased since season 3 onwards?

This is why people think Arena is having a negative impact on PvE.

4) The final issue:

I’ll gladly admit that this one is based on player perception, and therefore very open to flaws.

Let me quote Ghost crawler a sec:

“" I think the concern is because we were slow to fix some balance problems in the past so players are concerned that if we don't fix the problem now that they will be dealing with it for many tiers to come.

It is a totally valid response given our history."”

The general wacraft playing public are sadly used to, and now predisposed, to the idea that balancing issues take forever to sort out – and we can’t blame them. So when a PvP based change affects PvE used talents people automatically think the worst.

When all of those changes stem from 1 place (in this case Arena’s), well ofc people are going to blame it. It’s hard not to. In the same way it was hard not to blame only 1 mage spot in Sunwell on the warlock/shaman stacking.

If you played vanillaWoW, and I’m presuming you both did based on the “patch2.0 as recent comment”, then you should take into account that most people have not, and there fore all they know is this the current (lets say since tbc) mess that patches versus balancing has become.

Pre-TBC, each ‘patch’ fixed 1 class, with very little changes for the others. In comparison, 2.0 (preTBC), 2.2, 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, 3.11a All refunded all talent points to all classes. The amount of balancing that’s gone on since Arena season 2 is huge, and infact well out of sync with what has gone on before.

If you look at :

Patches 3.11, 3.0.9, 3.0.8, 3.0.2, 2.3.2, 2.2, – all non-major patches include balancing changes. There’s not one patch who’s major purpose was “balancing” before the Arena’s came out. I’m not saying that the sheer amount of balancing is the fault of Arena’s (not saying that at all), but you can forgive people who may think that given the empirical data.

5) In conclusion

You are right to say that “Arena is ruining PvE because blizzard balances everything around arena!” is wrong. But to suggest that it’s not having a negative impact on PvE would be just as wrong a statement.

To quantify this by saying that “no-one” can give an example is both wrong and a massive generalisation (especially given that you write two yourself – lol?). To further quantify this by saying that “those spells weren't being used in PvE” is crazy, and stinks of exactly the same generalisation and stubborn point of view you don’t like on the realm forums.

Given that the hardest part of any game (especially an MMO) is balancing classes/specs/roles/gear etc. Every time something is scrutinised beyond belief in an Arena environment and changed to balance PvP, there is a subsequent change to PvE outcomes.

If a spell is changed, it’s changed for both PvP and PvE.
If a talent is changed, it’s changed for both PvP and PvE.

The suggestion that a nerf for one, is not a nerf for the other is kind of preposterous; regardless of the validity of the change.

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