Posted by: Erbse | March 8, 2010

People and their mindsets

Lately I happened to read more and more crap about Warhammer, certain classes, how to play the game and all the other good stuff good trolls love to dwell themselves in, the worst part however is that people are actually serious with what they say majority of the time, despite how ridiculous it is. Undoubtedly the Warhammer community seems quite bitter and aggressive, even under such circumstances however I’d expect people to grow above themselves at some points.

What is it that drives people to spout their nonsense in the aggressive they manner they do? Their own ignorance, stupidity, or simply inexperience?

Just a while back I found a true diamond, an @-thread whose sole purpose it was to tell someone to L2P even though the OP obviously lost the fight. Yes, you read correctly. “But that’s absurd!” any semi rational person would scream, and probably agree upon, Warhammer however seems to be full of people that are quite emotional and possibly deal with anger management issues.

One thing that will always boggle my mind however is the approach of balance that was done in this game, a sober run down would look like this.

  • The game offers 3 Archtypes, Healer, DPS and Range DPS.
  • The game has two mitigation systems, Physical damage and Magical damage.
    • Physical mitigation cap is set to 75%, additionally a stat exists that enables piercing said armor.
    • Magical mitigation cap is set to 40%, additionally there’s no further penetration stat.
  • Archtypes vastly surpass what one would typically combine with said Archtype.
    • Creates an everyone can do it all environment.
  • Every class has their own class mechanic attached to it.
    • Stance mechanics.
    • Combustion.
    • Auras.
    • Ying-Yang balance mechanic.
    • Rage-o-Meter
  • Mirrored abilities / tactics are often misplaced.

Now, I guess that list is fairly accurate, and no one would disagree with that. What’s so bad about that? Well it’s simple. Lets start with the Archtypes.

Tanks in Warhammer hit incredibly hard, in fact hard enough to threaten any class out there if played correctly. Their DPS <-> Survivability ratio is through the roof leaving them to be one of the most powerful Archtype available there is. Some of the Tank classes even get the benefit of dealing Magical damage, and hence deal with less mitigation than some actual DPS classes.

Healers in Warhammer heal, some better than others, and some not at all. Wait, they don’t heal? Exactly, because they’re busy DPS’ing, or in extreme cases they do both equally well. Undoubtedly healers get the least survivability stat wise in the grander scheme of things, but also the best kiting tools while, yet again, dealing Magical damage to everything they touch, outside of staff attacks. Then there’s the category of ‘Meele Healers’ in Warhammer, those pretty much function as Lifetap Healers, for themselves as well the realm mates around them. Weird enough however their damage is so high that they can rival actual DPS classes while maintaining the ability to heal themselves, fairly good on top, if the correct targets are picked. Needless to say that those melee healers, to top it off, are granted to run around in medium armor.

The DPS bracket consists of two medium armor DPS classes and 6 light armor classes of whom 2 get the ‘benefit’ of having a stealth ability. Most those classes have either a 50 – 100% armor ignore attack or a proc, while other deal solely Magical damage. The classes that get shafted are those that neither get an armor bypass, nor reliable Magical attacks while others initial Magical damage is simply subpar.

The mechanics, a really fun thing in Warhammer. For majority of the classes their mechanics are a hindrance rather than a benefit. In a Shadow Warriors case for example (and probably Marauders) stances were created to give them the ability to act tactically in combat, and swap as it’s demanded. The funny thing about that is, that certain abilities are tied to certain stances, needless to say that those abilities are key abilities that every other class can use without any sort of restriction attached to it. Sword Masters and Black Orcs have a dynamic, yet passive stance system they have to regularly cycle through through. This, too, causes the problem of not always having all key abilities available to them when needed, unlike most other available classes.

The pets are quite entertaining to be honest, lastly because their pathing is so off and they can ignore object sin the game world, making them insane harassers. Also the damage they deal isn’t at all negligible, in fact it’s more threatening than the pet owners damage at time, surely a nice combination of things in their favor. I definitely enjoy abusing it on my little Squiggy 😉

Auras are a neat little thing, in fact something that should never exist in a game in the first place. Auras are passive AoE debuffs that do not cost you a thing. While they debuff your enemies in said AoE radius, they buff your allies for the same amount, those that are around you anyway.

A healers balance mechanic; Everytime a healer heals the gets an essence, essences can be stacked up to 5 (might be 4), which enables them to cast a DPS spell of their choice and making it instant cast. If it’s an instant cast to begin with, such as a DoT, the damage is boosted and the duration in altered. In return, if a healer is DPS’ing the stacks essences to do the above mentioned, but with healing abilities instead of DPS’ing ones.

The Combustion mechanic, a true shiny in terms of games balance created in MMO history. Combustion is gathered by casting skills and abilities, it causes your abilities to deal more damage, your crits to crit higher and your chance to crit is raised. In fact the mechanic offers you 35% crit rating and additional 50% crit damage upon a crit, for the cost of 35% chance to deal damage to yourself on every cast.

Lastly the Rage-o-Meter – a mechanic shared by Slayers and Choppas. As they enrage their deal more damage (+25% at first, +50% in the end) but lose half their survivability in the process. When fully enrage their damage is increased by 50% but their defenses are cut down in half.

So, what does that tell us? Soberly put, some mechanics are nice additions, some shouldn’t exist, and some are a hindrance, needless to say that some are clearly superior to others. This fact alone is evidence that the game will suffer from class imbalance. By that I do not mean realm imbalances by any means, but disparity between classes within their own realm for example. Some classes can be played by monkeys and still succeeded far better than a rocket scientist on one of the ‘gimp’ classes, probably one of the main reasons Warhammer has lost as many subscribers as it did.

Now, the mitigation system. What does that exactly mean? Simply put, some classes have to face up to 75% mitigation at times while their piercing stat is applied multiplicative on their targets mitigation % while other classes have to face 40% at best, and do not need an additional stat for further penetration. With that said, most debuffs effectively cut down resists by a flat ~20%, cutting your mitigation down to half, assuming you were capped initially. This means that whoever in this game deals Magical damage has a vast advantage over Physical damaging classes. Magical damage is not reserved for specific classes but available across the board, even on Tanks. The biggest problem only now comes into play, the mitigation cap is the same on all classes, which makes rock-scissor-paper non existent. For example the backline nukers, Bright Wizard, Sorcs, Squig Herders and Shadow Warriors. Due to Bright Wizards and Sorcs dealing Magical damage and everyone having the same mitigation they can hit and crit everyone for the same damage, or almost the same damage due to the toughness of the individual. Tanks can regularly get crit for 3-5k, much as the healer can regularly get crit for the same amount. While Shadow Warriors and Squiggies have more immediate burst (assuming there was a lack of combustion for the Sorc / BW) they cannot nearly hit as hard on any targets due to healers typically already having more than 40% armor mitigation. Those physical ranged classes face ~40% mitigation on squishies, ~60% on medium armor targets and up to 75% on tank. The problem with this game should be fairly evident for everyone right now.

On a last note in that regard I went on the test server the other day and stripped all characters naked, which made me discover something terrible. Tanks at R40 RR80 naked have a stats pool of a total of ~1650 stat points available to them, while DPS have ~1470 stats and casters ~1430. So the Mythics approach was to simply give certain Archtype additional stats, so they can fulfill their Archtype roles. Well, I could rant countless hours about how stupid and wrong that is, but I shall not 😉

Well, I shall stop sharing my insights at this point, as I think my point has gotten through. Though a Shadow Warrior may be my main, it’s rather unrelated to the facts I’ve stated. Ultimately the problem many player face in this game is an identity crisis. Sword Masters wonder themselves why they didn’t roll a Knight as a Knight offers a lot more utility and damage that’s about as threatening, though a bit less bursty. Shadow Warrior, Squiggies, Magi and Engis ask themselves why they didn’t roll a Sorcerer or Bright Wizard, as both usually yield a lot of utility on their own while having the higher across the board damage available to them. The mediocre meele DPS classes wonder why they didn’t roll a meele ‘healer’, as they DPS about as hard while healing themselves and their mates.

All in all it’s questionable whether or not Mythic ever had a layout for this game, a serious one, mind you. It all reminds me to one shaky project that was clustered together without much second thought, and instead of serious revamps only half assed changes were done, and still are being done.

The tip of the iceberg however is the recently growing dueling scene in this game. With balance across the board being as borked, weird and broken as it is people actually have to confirm their own skills by dueling on classes that are (if looked at individually) as overpowered a MMO class could possibly be. Needless to say that at the end of the day, despite their glorious 1on1 triumphs this game remains a team / zerg game, and as good you might be in duels, that’s a complete different ball game 😉

This is it for now, it’s late here, so excuse possible grammar breakdowns, I will fix them as I find them.

If you can’t enjoy Warhammer for what it is (a broken piece of junk :p ) do not hope / wait for it to change, as Mythic has made it clear that that will never happen.

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Responses

  1. Good post.. you are right, when you say that it’s not a realm/mirror discussion, but a general mechanic/career design problem we are facing in WAR.

    I’ve given up the hope that Mythic can balance the careers in any way, but I still enjoy the game very much.. maybe because I gave up the hope. 😉


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