Greedy Goblin

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ghostcrawler telling nothing at all

Ghostcrawler wrote a pretty unclear post about warriors being underpowered. Actually he told nothing at all. Considering that he usually stand up for his point and even openly accepts when he messed something up (bubble+wings), it's strange. Now he just mention something blurry about "class representation".

However such lying, slacking on balancing and talking nonsense is no stranger to goblins. We hear it all the time from politicians, and for the very same reason: because the truth is politically incorrect.

At first, one would expect the market leading MMO company to be able to create a balanced game. In PvP it's possible that there is a strange combination of spells that can be used to provide unmatched burst damage for seconds. Since a player has around 25K HP, this burst damage can be enough to destroy a player. So in a game with thousands of spells it's possible that they miss a loophole and players find it. The bubble+all cooldowns before paladin nerf was one such loophole, they intended bubble to be a defensive "oh shit" button, instead of major attack skill.

However PvE is pure mathematics. Burst damage does not matter to the multi-million HP boss, the average spell damages with the average stats from gear give an average DPS. These DPS-es should be equal, with pure classes being a bit stronger. These are simple calculations, I doubt that Blizzard is unable to do them, but if they did, they could notice their mistake on the first PTR raid. So why do they nerf and buff spells every patch? What is the politically incorrect truth?

The truth is that Blizzard balances the average player's class! That's the magical "representation".

What? What the hell is "average player's class". Aren't we play the same classes? No. In Ulduar hard mode guilds there is a class called "warlock" that cast incinerate, conflagrate and immolate. The average player has a completely different "warlock", which has only shadowbolt and curse of agony.

The buffs and nerfs are aimed to make sure that the average player's warlock is balanced against the average player's rogue and enhancement shaman. Of course it turns the Ulduar warlock unbalanced against Ulduar rogues and shamans.

I believe Ghostcrawler is honestly sad about it and really wants to help the underpowered raiding protection warriors, just has no idea how to do it without overbuffing the "average prot warriors"

Considering equal gear, someone's DPS is theoretical_DPS*skill. Assuming that warlock players are not dumber or smarter than rogue players, we have to find out why is "average skill" lower for certain classes. Some ideas (incomplete list):
  • movement required. While the average warlock can stay in one spot (as long as the healer is stronger than the fire), the average rogue must move or getting "facing the wrong way" or "out of range".
  • novelty of the class or spec. In 3 years the "average player" has learned to click on the sunder armor icon while tanking. The DK tanks only have months of experience, we really cannot expect them to have the slightest idea what blade barrier is for, can we?
  • the persistence of common misbeliefs. While spec X can be known by EJ readers to be superior, if the mass still believes in something that was true back in vanilla, they will spec that way. ("moonkins are weak and run OOM" said the leader of an OS pug when I asked why he did not invited a full T7.5 moonkin)
If the average player's classes are unbalanced, Stupidrogue notices that he damages less than his buddy, Stupidmage. So he says: mages are overpowered, rogues are weak, fukk Blizz. Blizzard cannot send him a letter: "Dear Valued Customer Stupidrogue, rogues are exactly as strong as mages, just check the WWS of Uberguild on Algalon. The problem is that you are way too stupid to keep up even an acceptable spell rotation, roll a mage or a balance druid, you will still suck, but at least you can damage slightly more than the tank".

Blizzard cannot send this letter since Stupidrogue is just as a paying customer as us and insulting a customer never helps. They cannot let him suffer his much-lower-than-stupidmage damage since he leaves as "Blizz hates rogs this game suxx cocz".

What can Blizzard do? At first builds up a record of the DPS of all classes. I mean record every damage done in every HC-s and raids. Average these results. They find for example that an average mage does 1500DPS, while an average rogue does just 1100. (if you think these numbers are too low, just go to a PuG without asking for achievements and check armory for misenchants and empty gem slots) So they nerf mages and buff rogues.

To make things worse for Blizzard, people has the ability to learn. Even dumb ones has it, otherwise they couldn't turn on the computer and start WoW. Therefore if rogues are mathematically stronger than mages, then by learning the use of S&D, buffed Stupidrogue can seriously outdamage nerfed Stupidmage who just noticed that Pyro is instant when Hot streak is up. So in months rogues will significantly outdamage mages, and then a new buff/nerf round is in order.

Is it some kind of QQ post, telling "Blizzard does not care about us, let's leave"? It's a post about "see how it works and abuse it". Businessmen around the world get rich on politician's lies:
  • read EJ and if they have numbers that class/spec X is stronger than Y, believe it's true and not just QQ
  • a new class, or completely revamped class will surely be overpowered for months
  • if you want to keep a spot, have two similar classes like mage/warlock, holy pala/holy priest, one of them will be overpowered in every patch.


Anonymous said...

I have seen a few people from every class do over 7k dps. Of course, all of these people know and often go to elitist jerks to find the best rotations, specs, gear, and stats. If the average wow player would put in a tiny bit of effort to learn their class they could do that too. unfortunately the second you ask them to do that they scream "zomg efirt in video gaem lololol i kasual, no teim 4 dat lololol". it is sad really. if the supposed casuals would spend 1/500th of the time they spent on wow looking up their class on elitist jerks their dps would improve several times over and they would actually progress more as a player. It is too bad they do not care about effort. just their one button spams and social connections with people who live hundreds of miles away.

William said...

lol @ warren troll

"We hear it all the time from politicians, and for the very same reason: because the truth is politically incorrect."
--from Gevlon's post is very applicable here.

Gevlon could just pretend the average player understands his gear, rotation, or has even a semblance of an idea of how to play their class, but instead he just tells it like it is. Yes, it's politcally incorrect, but also true.

Anonymous said...

In all my years on the internet, I've yet to meet someone who talks like "zomg efirt in video gaem lololol i kasual, no teim 4 dat lololol"

Seriously, where do you meet these people?

Quicksilver said...

We must keep in mind here who the "average player" is: a dumb 15 year old kid.

Most kids at that age dont understand mathematics nor the principle of spell rotation...

Hell, I remember from when I was 15 about how other guys were at that age. They're dumb, spoiled, they dont give a fuck about anything but themselves, they're only willing to prove how socially great they are, etc... This reflects exactly what you see in game.

@warren and comments related.

I actually believe that warren has a point. Gevlon is disgusted by the average wow player. Just like I described it above, why shouldnt I be disgusted by their stupidity...

I am in a weird dilemma: I like the game, as in mechanics, class and encounter design, pvp etc, but I'm starting to hate the players I have to deal with every day.

They're just dumb kids anyway (dumber than the average kid, as usually intelligent kids dont play as much videogames)... Have you ever took a little while to read the trade channel, especially in the summer? If you have... then you will undestand why the "average player" is how he is...

mookey said...

Hahahaha Gevlon - straight to the point...

I wish you make some kind of Goblin Translator of Blue Tracker, and convert all their bullshits to what they actually wanted to say.

WoW population:
5% Full Hardcore
Reason why we have so fast new content as soon as they beat it.

10% Semi hardcore
Chasing above

15% Casual Hardcore
"Riders of the Nerf Bat", those that clear content just before the nerf bat comes to play. They are proud of that, also they know that it's kinda good that they clean everything before it's nerfed.

25% Guild Hoppers
Those that are going from guild to guild in order to get better guild, not teaming up with anyone, going always further and further but not actually gaining anything, but their behavior is destroying guilds that are actually becoming a part of the stairway and stagnating @ same position.

50% M&S

Sean said...

I'm surprised that you came up with a whole 'conspiracy theory' about Blizzard catering to casuals at the expense of the hardcore.

Anyways, the most likely reason that GC is vague (and politicians as well) is that a lot of people hang unto his every word as fact.

If he says something and blizzard doesn't follow through with it, he'll get shot down later. Any small mistake (or misrepresentation) will get picked on, with people missing the bigger picture.

It's no wonder that he's vague and noncommittal.

Carra said...

I've regularly topped the damage charts as a mage, warlock, hunter and deathknight from vanilla WoW to TLK. "My class is weak" is usually an excuse for being a bad player. I've heard mages complain how nerfed they are while I had seen a mage in a pug do double their damage the week before. Weak class? Yeah right.

I wouldn't call the calculations simple though. You'll usually end up with a simulation as most numbers are random. But still, I can only assume that Blizzard has got their own fight simulators where they can just insert a class, build, rotation, gear, mob level, mob statistics (health, armor rating, resistances,...), movement on a fight and after a few hours of testing an average DPS comes out. But as you can see from the number of variables, it is NOT simple. Take movement for example, how do you add that to your calculations?

And as you point out, how do you buff the "average" player without making the top players imba? It's far from simple but I think Blizzard does a good job with it. But I understand that players who just happened to be that class which was overnerfed for most of an expansion think differently about that...

Kristine said...

From a goblins point of view I have a hard time seeing how you argue against balancing based on casuals. When only a minority (a few %) have cleared Ulduar, why should you cater to the minority? By catering to the casuals you are catering to those who put greens in your pocket. Seems like Goblin 101 to me. That mr. goblin himself decides to QQ about such a decision seems a bit off.

As for classbalance, if you dont take into account that specific classes and abilities scale differently, buffing/nerfing seems easy. Its not rocket surgery, but you are dumbing it down unnecessary.

If you start with the presumtion that the majority of players are stupid, you will find them to be. After all, you will never give people the benefit of doubt and any misunderstanding would be attributed to The M&S Syndrome.

@ Okrane
"We must keep in mind here who the "average player" is: a dumb 15 year old kid."

The inverted brackets are important here. Any userstudy done of MMO players shows that average age is around 25. However, treat your average player as a 15 yearold and I am sure you wont find much maturity in return.

Wooly said...


I am in a weird dilemma: I like the game, as in mechanics, class and encounter design, pvp etc, but I'm starting to hate the players I have to deal with every day.

Sounds very familiar

ZachPruckowski said...

The other problem is gear. They have to balance not just "good" and "dumb", but also at the Heroics level, the T7 level, the T7.5/T8 level, the T8.5 level, and now at the Coliseum level. They can't balance rogues and mages in the Coliseum using a method that castrates rogues in T7 (relative to mages).

And then the fact is that there's just so small of a margin. The QQ-threshold is something crazy like 5%.

Anonymous said...

If you look at their original design pitches I think you'll understand why they can't balance the game. One of their goals was this.

"All classes will feel overpowered."

This is goal is still being carried forward just like: "Being able to solo to max level". This makes balance hard.

Anonymous said...

1. It's impossible to balance a game of this magnitude. With such extreme min/maxing, I can't imagine the amount of variables involved with regard to balance.

2. I find it hilarious that random bloggers (and commenters of said bloggers) have all of the solutions and deduce that Blizzard has no clue.

3. Not every aspect of this game is made for the "hardcore", as you call them. Fortunately, you have the luxury of complaining about "M&S" from your pedestal...Blizzard isn't afforded this luxury.

Disgusted by the average player? Really? This isn't professional sports. It's a game. Complain about the average player all you want, but it's Blizzard's burden to juggle such extreme player-types.

Carl said...

I know you reuse posts from time to time, but even reusing the same picture? Tsk tsk...

Unknown said...

@Anon supporting Blizzard's challenge...

It's refreshing to see a different perspective, which the average customer completely neglects to understand. NOTHING in real life is simple to balance and provide equal opportunity.

Not to digress but take a look at Communism, great on paper but reality is it will never work with the human species.

mikwolf said...

The average wow player is in their 20's. Now who's dumb?

Even if the average player was a teenager, this game has been out for over four years. Your 'dumb teenager' is now in college, congratulations.

The guy talking trash in /2 is more likely to be someone like the antagonist in 'make love not warcraft'.

I'm sure those 1.5k dps mages I meet in heroics on a daily basis are actually old people who weren't gamers as kids, and they probably clickers. The people who play this game for the social aspect are often much older than those 'play to win'.


"Actually he told nothing at all"

Seems sorta like your post. You wrote twelve paragraphs about the game being difficult to balance because 80% of the player base has no clue how to play their class properly.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell cares about balancing in PvE, that's the easy content. Balancing is about PvP 1v1 and it's been said before that blizzard don't care about balancing 1v1 or 2v2, 3v3 is where it's better. Warriors are screwed 1v1 but give them a healer and it all changes. You only had to look at the graphs of top arena players that were displayed elsewhere, there were no warriors or druids whereas there were alot of DKs,mages and paladins.

Balancing just seems to make every class more like each other.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with all of Gevlon's post, but I do think one point is especially correct: that Blizzard tries to balance around an average DPS, not a theoretical maximum DPS.

Why? Because no one reaches the maximum theoretical DPS. At best only people from like Ensidia can. It's pointless to balance around something the vast majority of people will never reach.

That said, I do think Blizzard doesn't take into account the ungemmed/unenchanted or the Hunter wearing SP gear. I think they examine people who have a reasonable idea of what they're doing and how they should gear, which means that the variation on DPS should then be things like player skill or the effect of movement, which is stuff they have a hard time simulating.

MyName said...

The problem with this posting is that Gevlon was talking about stupid DPS and Ghostcrawler was talking about tanking. The warrior tanks think they are lagging behind the DK/Druid tanks for some reason for hard modes in 25 man. I don't think they are by much (maybe around that 5% QQ threshold).

I think Ghostcrawler was trying to communicate that, even if they were lagging behind druids, they aren't going to nerf druids anymore because there's not that many left that tank in 25 mans.

Did he communicate this badly? Maybe? Is he sometimes evasive because he doesn't want to get in a situation where he's promising one thing and the developer people are saying that it's a bad idea, definitely.

Anonymous said...


You can't just rest the blame on younger people alone. I myself am 15 and I am in the top two heals of my guild, know to check elitist jerks, gear correctly, and have a 1950 rated holy pally/ele shaman 2's team. The truth is there are M&S in every age group.

Yaggle said...

The only balance I believe in is for PvP. And even then, I don't believe every class should be equal vs. every class. As far as PvE goes, I don't think Blizzard owes the players anything. They should work to make sure at least some minimum percentage of each class is represented by the players, for whatever reason. That reason could be having nothing to do with grouping or raiding necessarily. In other words, it is perfectly fine for a class to be almost useless in groups or raids, as long as some players are playing that class for some reason. If a player does not like what their class is useful for, they should not play that class. Blizzard is worrying more and more (too much) what each player is complaining about. It is in people's nature to want and complain again and again until they get what they want too much and then get bored of it.

Nathan said...

Pretty much off topic, but I am a balance druid. I went to do a PuG OS +1 last night. I am in a mix of 8.5, Ulduar, and a few pre Ulduar BiS items that I haven't been fortunate enough to replace yet. Anyway, I join said PuG and get kicked 5 min later because my gear wasn't good enough. I think I would have rather been denied the spot for being an oomkin. At least I can understand being an oomkin, I DO have some short fight/pvp oomkin specs.

Rob Dejournett said...

I think what GC really meant was that since there are so many warriors its hard to tweak them without making them godlike or worthless. Balance is also very tricky; they only balance at the current level of progression, and if things become unbalanced while leveling, well its okay (for hypothetical example, a level 50 mage is better at PVP/E than a level 50 warrior).

Anyway i get that some classes are better or worse than other classes at some things. Very few people seem to appreciate that their class while great for PVP or soloing, may be a few percent behind another class in raids.

In 3.0, Hunters ruled, and just destroyed meters. They were nerfed to hell and beyond (some say). I still play my hunter and get pretty great dps. Maybe not top of the raid, but pretty good (esp now that the game is older and my naxx gear is getting dated). I could probably be competitive dps-wise with any other class if I was at a similiar gear level. However, I appreciate that we are pretty bad in arena, so I stay out of arena. This isn't a cry that hunters need more pvp buffs.

Warriors; fine now there are 4 tanks, and they have to deal with it. However, in the PUGs, tanking is often given to the warrior bc it is expected that the player is not a faceroller. If their dps isn't that great, tough shit. They are great tanks, they have very strong arena representation. There should not be the expectation that a tank class has awesome dps as well.

DKs are an aberation. They started off kings of everything, and just awesome-sauce. However, every patch is a new DK nerf, and eventually they will be brought back to status quo. The problem is that blizz designed them to be great soloists, great in PVP, and have many many tanking skills. So by design they are just awesome.

Anyway this got a little long, but how about thinking about the big picture instead of 'class x needs buff y'.

Sid said...


I respectfully disagree 100% with your comment.

Your way of thinking about "the bigger picture" makes me think of the old and ugly Vanilla-BC design philosophy:

In those days, classes/specs had very specific niches that they couldn't move out of. If you played a Paladin for PvE, you could heal or tank, but NOT dps. Then why do we have the Retribution tree? only for PvP? You fail Blizz. Shamans had awesome buffs, therefore it was "justified" that they dps was very low compared to other classes. Pallys were excellent AoE/Thrash tanks, but they couldn't MT, that niche was reserved for Warriors.

My point is, it sucked. I like more they new philosophy: Bring the player, not the class. And their idea to make all specs be able to do a god job in their role.

Arcane was buffed from crappy-complementary tree to a great option for both PvE and PvP. The same with survival and retribution.

DK's are the pinnacle of this philosophy: Every talent tree can tank/dps/pvp as long as you spec correctly.

Call me a death-tard, but this design is not a "problem" for me as you say, IMO it's pure win!

Smeg said...

as azzur said. GC is probably one of the most articulate posters that they have, i expect he has a writing/grammar/english degree to be able to spin the way he does. he says something but nothing at the same time: "we hear you and we're listening and we've done this" but really for a net outcome of zero.

brilliant spin doctor. my $20/month has gone back to cheap wine and lemonade.

Anonymous said...

it IS all about skill.

1. Our resident raid Kitty dps, same gear level as the rest of us (~4500 gearscore), managed 10k dps on hodir, and regularly 8k dps on other bosses. Kitty dps trailing pure dps classes my ass.

2. Some random H-VH pug, invited a mage with a 2600 gearscore. Now on the normal pugger, that sort of gearscore would equate to 1500-1800dps tops. This guy managed to pump out 2.5k, 2.9k on the last boss. Pretty impressive for a 5man.

Anonymous said...

Right on Gevlon, and it's getting worse with every patch.

I personally believe they are deliberately watering WoW down to be a kids game where everyone eventually will be equal regardless of IQ/effort/skill (Or in other words everything will be balanced based on the lowest common denominator, namely the 6 year old who plays once a week)

To go with ths their yet to be announced new MMO Franchise will be aimed at a more hardcore crowd ofc.

Whats my Main Again? said...

The problem with Warrior tanking is that the TPS is based off of heroic strike spam. In order to keep up with other tanks, warriors need to use Heroic Strike on every weapon swing. With as much haste going around in raids these days, that means you are looking at a 1 second swing timer.

So in 3 seconds a warrior has to hit 5 buttons (2 gcd abilities and 3 heroic strikes) where as every other class only has to hit 2 (or 3 ish as a druid)

If they buff the threat on other Warrior abilities then those who do spam heroic strike will see insane TPS. Ghostcrawlers reactions make it seem like they are very hesitant to balance around the average player in this case.

Really though redesigning by removing the heroic strike spam would make balancing both the average and the top end a lot easier but it is such a core ability.