Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Hate You So Much Right Now

That's one way of looking at it...

Hunters. There's a reason so many people play them.

They are, like it or not, incredibly easy to grasp. They require little or no skill to cope with at low levels. My eight year old can do a very decent job of one, because her pet does most of the work ahead of her. In effect, if you wanted to start playing the game from scratch, a Hunter would probably be your best choice. It's why, back in Vanilla, most gold farmers picked them as tractors. [*] And yes, the respondent has a point. Hunters have pretty much zero penalty for movement. The problems arise with the skill of players being able to grasp this mechanic along with all the others, not get killed by the mob/s we're attacking, making sure we're actually facing what needs to die while we do that and being able to stay alive to maintain a rotation that sustains damage. In that regard, there is balance, because being able to move is all well and good, but actually doing that and then dps is entirely a different matter.

When you look at balance in certain lights, it will appear to be anything but, only because you are yourself not considering the impact of player skill in grasping that class to begin with. The one factor that most players complaining singularly fail to factor into their equations is their own ability versus that of everyone else. In shock news, not only are you probably not as good as you think you are, you can guarantee everyone else isn't either. In most cases, it doesn't actually matter if you are or not, as long as the other 9-24 players around you bring their A Game to the fight you're trying to crush. Then it's down to the meters/the combat log/the perceptions of your peers as to whether or not you're packing the goods, and if you're not then you're probably looking for somewhere else to raid. The exception of course is LFR, where the only thing that matters in most cases is making it from A to B in the quickest time possible and with the fewest wipes, and in a lot of cases that's got nothing to do with moving and everything to do with simply understanding what the heck is going on.

It's not about the class, it is the player, but feel free to blame balance if you're looking for an easy comeback.

BIIIIG Difference.

The place where skill and balance begins to really show is PvP, like it or not, and this is inevitably why PvE gets the shaft so often, because someone who can really play a lot better than most of us has worked out a way to use 'balance' to their advantage, in a way that actually makes the possibility of imbalance across the board feasible. So, everyone gets nerfed and everybody cries a bit inside because nobody likes to feel they are any less than they are, except that most classes bear very little relationship to what they started as when the game began anyway so it doesn't actually matter in the giant scheme of things. Everyone is made equal these days, because if they aren't no-one plays at all. Oh, except Warriors, who have always been broken and Rogues who no-one can ever find to change to begin with. Apart from that, everyone is equal. No, really they are.

That's the key here. You can play just about anything and if you do it properly, it's great. This is the best it's ever been.

Except HANG ON I hear you say, I can't do that because I'm 90 and I've been on the Timeless Isle since yesterday afternoon and it's taking a week to kill anything! The other issue many people conveniently forget when moaning about playing this game, apart from the fact that Hunters are OP and Warriors are broken and no-one's seen a Rogue since Cataclysm is that YOU HAVE TO DO STUFF TO MAKE IT WORK. Go back to paragraph three and grasp the truth that your ability matters in this equation: that means decent gear, which you'll need to pick up or purchase, and that means understanding basics like hit. However, Blizzard have now grasped that giving players these tasks to fulfil is too tough an ask in many cases, and just for you whingers in the upcoming Expansion you won't need to worry about either multiple sets of gear or having to make certain numbers appear in your character screens. All you need to worry is about making some new, cool-sounding numbers as big as possible. That's not difficult, now is it?

At some point you might stop moaning and actually start playing, but somehow I doubt it, because the notion of things actually being right isn't something some people will ever be ready to accept, despite every indication to the contrary.

Stat inflation. It's a pig.

When I read someone complaining about balance, I more often than not find myself wishing they'd just stop. Not because they're wrong, and not because I don't accept the right of that person to legitimately air their concerns, but because of the inevitable consequences. Words like 'button bloat' stopped being criticism and become acceptable concerns, even though I like all my buttons and am annoyed they keep getting fiddled with. The more people moan, the less finesse is required to boot, because over time the stuff that's too hard simply gets shaved away, and in twenty years time we'll wake up playing Warcraft with one finger on a screen, a la Flappy Bird, and then people will start complaining how easy things are and how they miss the great days when YOU ACTUALLY HAD TO THINK TO PLAY. That's the biggest issue of all, at least for me. There is balance, and there is bland. There is variety, and there is homogeneous. At some point, if you people keep complaining, you'll ruin it for everybody, because you'll wake up and we'll all just have shoot and heal as our two spells and the only way you'll tell us apart is that we dress differently. If the Rogues have any sense by that point they will have completely vanished anyway.

Yes, I'm being deliberately extreme, but you get the point.

The next time you open your mouth and decide you need to air a concern, remember who you are. Yes, you have the right to complain, of course you do, but every word you utter has potential consequences you might not even have considered if placed next to others. You are indeed but one cog in a machine but you could be the person who changes everything, who tips the balance finally... but not in the way you'd hoped. Wishing for easy is all well and good, but aspiring to hard and challenging is not just something you should do in the Real World. You can learn a lot about people by how they play their games, and you can learn a lot more by what makes them passionate, sometimes to the point of completely forgetting that what may be good for them isn't for someone else.

Just because you think something is broken doesn't mean it needs fixing. Maybe you just need to reconsider your position to begin with. If someone finds the Rogues, tell them we understand, but if they become any less than they are, they then won't be Rogues to begin with...


[*] Back when Gold Farmers actually farmed in places such as The Burning Steppes and didn't just pick clean inactive accounts for cash.


ep said...

Did you see the exchange between Celestalon and some Elemental Shaman - the shaman was complaining that RNG changes his damage between fights by a lot and posted logs to prove it, and Celestalon's like, "not RNG, you died and even before you died, you spent less time actually casting" and the shaman's response was "you must not be a raider if you can't tell that it was ALL RNG!"?

Or there was a post recently on the forums by a guy who says "it's unfair Asia gets to upgrade 4/4!" and someone else replied "yeah, but their bosses are harder so they need the 4/4" and the first guy was like, "but if they have better gear it's easier for them!"

People get so caught up in what *they* want and what *they* think that they have a hard time stepping back and actually paying attention to the way things *actually* are, and have a hard time letting other thoughts in (also this may mean that they'd have to admit they might not be right...)

-knitten / equus_peduus

TheGrumpyElf said...

The thing people that do not play hunters do not understand is that there is some skill involved in moving and doing DPS. Sure, a hunter can move and keep their rotation going with 100% up time. Now, how many hunters do you think can actually do that? I'll give you a hint, very few.

Casters hit harder because they are land locked for their big bomb abilties. Chaos blots for 1.8M say hello. Hunters have no abilties that hit like that. All their abilties hit for smaller amounts, much smaller amounts.

It evens out and is balanced around hunters moving. People need to understand that. While a hunter will never see one of their abilties hit for 1.8M and a lock will see those numbers dozens of times during a fight, it is by design because a warlock needs to stop to do that damage and a hunter never needs to stop.

It is also why you see more great locks than you see great hunters. It is a hell of a lot easier to stand still and shoot one ability that hits for 1.8M than to move while following a priority and procs and shooting 3 shots that will only hit for maybe half that combined.

Anyone that complains that hunters can attack while moving are just not playing their own class well enough. Every class in the game can, if played well, destroy a hunter unless the hunter is in the hands of a very skilled player.

Grimmtooth said...

"At some point you might stop moaning and actually start playing, but somehow I doubt it, because the notion of things actually being right isn't something some people will ever be ready to accept, despite every indication to the contrary."

"Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program." - Agent Smith

The Wachowskis know more about human nature than most people give them credit for.

mindofyngwe said...

"The Wachowskis know more about human nature than most people give them credit for."

I shudder to think about the implications of that statement given The Matrix 2 & 3 and Speed Racer.

Fiannor said...

I admit when I rolled a hunter as my very first WoW character, it was on the advice of someone who said hunters are "easy to play." But when I started raiding back in Wrath, I discovered the incredible fun and challenge of a hunter's movement abilities. (And that was when we had to do the "stutter step" to be effective.)

TGE's comments were spot on. It takes immense skill to be able to constantly move on a hunter AND maintain high dps. It's unfortunate that Blizz seems to be seriously considering taking that full movement away from us. Hunters have a couple of boss-specific useful shots (tranq, for example) and some pet-provided non-unique raid buffs, but really the one distinguishing feature for us is the potential for constant damage even while moving. We have pretty puny "burst" dps, and what we did have disappeared with the removal of Readiness (in the name of PvP "balancing").

What we are left with is the ability to put more shots on target over fairly long periods of time. And the more skilled we are, the more shots we can launch down range. A good hunter should almost always be above 90% for effective time in combat, on a par with tanks.

Blizz, have a heart, leave us something for crying out loud. I don't need a cosmetic quiver in WoD, I need to keep a real hunter identity and unique raid contribution.

R said...


On the subject of hunters, in my experience there's less of a delta between hunters and other ranged than there is between ranged and melee (that can go either way but generally pro-ranged, I think). I will say it's a fair argument that hunters are more able to be consistently good on all fights than either ranged or melee but it's not a significant advantage and finicky pets help even things out... you see a LOT more folks looking to pug dps looking for rdps than ones looking specifically for hunters. If hunters were the answers to all problems, they'd be the only class being requested... it just doesn't happen.

Rades said...

Unrelated to actual balance issues, it's important people realize that since Hunters *are* the most mobile class (which they are, there's no argument about it), they ALSO are the ones who most often get saddled with the unusual jobs that give them added responsibility and often hinder their DPS. Just in Highmaul ALONE Hunters are tasked to:

• Move in and out for Butcher (no real DPS loss)
• Handle Flamethrowers on Brackenspore (potential DPS loss or gain, depending on skill, but still extra work required)
• Handle the Arcane Brand on Imperator (potentially DPS loss, no potential gain)

And as new fights come out, hunters will be called upon to do more of these miscellaneous tasks - activate a switch, kite a mob, etc.

So are they the most mobile class? Sure. But that also means they have to do more odd jobs that a mage or a warlock typically won't get asked to do.