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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