My Class SUCKS

Lady Sinestra Heroic World First Kill Video
Paragon released a video of their world first kill of Lady Sinestra, the Heroic-Only boss of the Bastion of Twilight!

There’s a big problem in Cataclysm right now, and it’s due to world-class guilds. These guilds, more than anything else in the game, may cause the extinction of some classes and specs. Before we get to the “why”, let’s look at the present situation.

Patch after patch, World of Warcraft releases a new raid dungeon for the world to tackle. For the first month, you can hear the sound of foreheads bashing against keyboards reverberating worldwide due to wipes, lost gear rolls, and unreasonably long strategy explanations for people who should’ve read up on the goddamn fight.

But there’s also the constant stream of boss kill news on high-exposure websites like MMO-Champion and WoW Insider. They have a constant pulse on the bleeding-edge raiding scene to make sure the world knows about boss deaths the second their lifeless bodies hit the floor. The websites do a spectacular job of this. And it’s a very good thing to see, because it gives us non-sponsored amateurs an idea of the kind of headaches we’ll have to go through.

These boss kill announcements go out with pictures, logs, and movies chock-full of tantalizing data.

Now imagine you’re a raider. You see a boss kill plastered everywhere. You’d probably feel compelled to dig in and ask “Huh, I wonder where I stack up on the DPS/HPS/tanking performance totem pole?” Well, most people who looked at the logs from these bleeding-edge guilds saw their curiosity lead to severe disappointment.

Blizzard made some significant balance missteps in this raiding cycle. The trend so far has been “stack the ranged classes, and stack them HARD” and “this class is severely imba (imbalanced), let’s take 10 of them!” That’s bad design, but you could chock it up to players’ creativity when trying to work around mechanics. But these missteps have caused a string of ill will that might stick with Cataclysm through its lifespan.

People analyzing these boss kills take this data as the state of the game, much like people take NFL stats and use them as measures of how football should be played. Therefore, when you see your class at the bottom of the charts (or not there at all), that creates ground for players to voice serious complaints about the state of the game.

In Sinestra’s kill above, you might notice something peculiar (if you raid). Don’t see it? Here, I’ll give you the logs. What you’re looking for is the absence of navy blue. Yes, in the world-first kill of Sinestra, there was not a single Shaman represented in the raid (of any spec). You might also notice the healing meters don’t show a hint of a Resto Druid. That’s 4 specs (out of 30) omitted outright due to “inferior performance relative to other classes.” In more base terms, that’s imbalance. Paragon stacked up the best classes and took her to town. And this wasn’t the first boss they stacked for. Do you remember Nefarian and the 10 dancing bears?

Method’s world-2nd kill doesn’t look any better. We see 2 Shaman at the bottom of their respective charts, and still no Resto Druids.

As you’d expect, Shaman are up in arms that their class sucks. Resto Druids are paranoid about their raid spots. Nearly every class except Death Knights are in “bitchfest” mode. “BALANCE MUST BE RESTORED. ALL CLASSES MUST BE REPRESENTED! I WILL NOT BE KICKED OUT OF MY RAIDS BECAUSE OF BLIZZARD’S INABILITY TO BALANCE CLASSES!” is the chant across forums. Raiders are on the verge of abandoning their characters in droves unless some major balance changes are in the works- and patch 4.0.6 (currently being tested) isn’t really a PvE balancing patch. Oh noes.

All this fury from 2 boss kills and maybe 10 combat logs.

Now here’s my 2 cents on the issue. It’s not unlike the WoW player base to severely overreact to things, and this is one of those instances. People are taking very niche information and applying sweeping generalizations about the state of the game.

For one, people are basing the “state of the game” on a handful of world-class guilds and 2 boss kills- Nefarian and Sinestra. One is the end-boss with a special mechanic when you enter later phases. The other is the end of the current raiding tier and a hardcore-only boss (also with a special mechanic in a later phase). It’s right to complain about balance where it’s out of sync, but you can’t just ignore scope.

These bosses have mechanics that severely favor classes with certain abilities or stat prioritizations. More importantly, we’re talking about sponsored raiding guilds who have not only the most skilled and knowledgable players, but also endless player resources to try any combination and strategy they can theorize. Your guild probably isn’t full of professional-level gamers. Nor is it full of 10 of each spec ready to raid hard-mode content on demand at any hour. These guilds are anomalies of the raiding world. They exist purely to rush from Point A to Point Z, in any way they can.

You, the individual raider, are likely part of a much more limited guild. You play with friends. You don’t play 8+ hours a day while theorizing damage enhancement through spreadsheets on the side. Long story short, the numbers you see posted from these world-first kills are terrible markers of the state of a class. A much better source is a website like State of DPS that gives top-200 average parses, but even that’s the top 200 players in the world of any given class. There are 1 million WoW subscribers in the USA. That’s .02% of the playing population. Probably .2% of the raiding population.

You can have as many delusions you wish about you being a star player (much like how people have delusions they’re above-average drivers), but the reality is you’re using unrealistic circumstantial data to make sweeping generalizations about your class. And that’s bad.

It’s important when looking at this data to consider your own situation. Consider who you play with. Consider their perfomance. Consider your own skill. It’s fine to demand balance, but demand balance that makes sense for you. I can nearly assure you the majority of players complaining are not seeing the behavior exhibited above in their own raids and are just extrapolating this will be what happens when they reac that content. That’s not the case. It’s never been the case.

As long as Blizzard designed encounters to be doable with many combinations of classes (even if it means you’ll need more gear or practice to down it), they succeeded at their job. It is not their job to make every encounter equally difficult with every level of gear and every class present in the raid.

Do you feel the effects of an NBA rule change if you play at your local gym? No? The same thought process applies to raiding.

Put down the pitchforks. Stop blaming world-class guilds. Stop blaming Blizzard. Put your arguments in perspective. Play the damn game and let the world-class guilds do their thing.


4 Comments on “My Class SUCKS”

  1. Kuri says:

    That’s fair enough. RPGs definitely have their place, but the social/multiplayer is what draws me to WoW. It’s not just about the balance and difficulty, although that’s a big part. Part of any multiplayer game though is balance… and not nailing it means there’s a lot of angry (and let down) players.

  2. TeaKJackson says:

    This is why I play single player RPGs. I don’t have to care that the Geomancers suck, I’m playing to have fun. Hell sometimes I’ll unequip various skills that I grinded hours for just to make the game harder

  3. Coal says:

    In response to Tea, dude… the Geomancer can be good in one instance. Making Agrias a Geomancer. Although you don’t even use the Geomancers skills in that case, you just take advantage of being able to equip Phys. Att. boosting equipment and since Geomancers can equip swords normally you can have the “attack up” skill set since the sword requirement for Agrias’ Holy sword skill is met. This only become less effective late game when you get access to the Knight Swords, which Geomancers can’t equip.Also, Thread Hijack. This thread is now about FFT. lol

  4. TeaKJackson says:

    Well, durr. I'm talking about using Geomancers purely on their own. Honestly I equipped the Nature's Wrath reaction ability just for the fun of it even though any other counter ability I have could instant KO an attacker. Although seriously, it's still got the area effect and can hit them with status effects like doom. It's just fun.

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