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The Challenges of Class Balance In MMOGs 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the stupid-druids dept.
Karen Hertzberg writes "Balancing classes in MMOGs may be one of the most daunting challenges of the industry. Few games are immune, and no game has ever claimed complete, perfect balance. So how does a developing company deal with the ever-impending demand to keep their games fair in both PvE and PvP environments? Ten Ton Hammer spoke with four industry professionals about the issue in an effort to glean some answers. Age of Conan's Craig Morrison said, 'It is part science and part intuition and experience, I think. We do, of course, have all the ... "spreadsheet" work in the back-end and development tools that calculate as many of the parameters as possible. On top of that, though, you then have the knowledge and skill of the designers involved. Working with a system, you have the general overview of how things interact and how players tend to behave in your game. Sometimes nothing beats spending time in the game itself and actually seeing how the players have been using the skills and abilities you have provided for them. Players are nothing if not inventive, and they never cease to surprise designers with their ingenuity, so it is vital that the designers are also watching and learning themselves.' "
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The Challenges of Class Balance In MMOGs

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  • by anarchyboy (720565) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @06:59AM (#29103837)
    wow already has a spec system that allows players to choose talents for a specific play style as they progress in the game, they are divded into 3 groups for each class, selecting talents from all 3 generally gives a weak end result while focusing on one or two gives a much stronger charchter. The only difference is that the available talents are different for each class so your choice of class still restricts you to some rolls and your choice of talents (which can be changed later) allow you to specialise and gain ability in one area.
  • Class Balance in WOW (Score:3, Informative)

    by ukyoCE (106879) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @09:41AM (#29105623) Journal

    If you enjoy reading about class balance, you can see a lot of insight from the WOW game designers (especially Ghostcrawler, lately) at the following sites:

    http://www.mmo-champion.com/ [mmo-champion.com]

    http://blue.mmo-champion.com/ [mmo-champion.com]

    The latter is a compilation of every Blizzard post in the WOW forums, while the former is just the highlights of meaningful class changes and discussion.

    The Blizzard devs used to be much quieter, but coming into the latest expansion Ghostcrawler started exposing a lot of detailed reasons behind their design and balance decision. Of course everyone still QQs massively when their class gets nerfed.

    But anyone willing to take a step back and think about game balance has all the design reasons there in the forums to explain why they make the changes they do. Blizzard even had a "Class Q&A" recently that covered a lot of questions about the design goals and directions for each class.

    Unfortunately the blizzard devs get a ton of trolls and QQ in response to anything they do (no matter how kind or innocent). So be sure to watch this peephole into the design process while you can, before the whiners get Blizzard to revert to silence about their design reasons and goals.

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