I’ve only been back for a few weeks but already an old problem has cropped up, one that rears its ugly head fairly often for numerous different classes at various points in time. Always a sad event heralded by much QQ on the forums, official or otherwise. I speak, of course, of the dreaded nerf. This time around it was the warrior crowd receiving a swipe of the bat as they had their ability to break roots and snares pruned back thanks to a Warbringer nerf. Why did this have to happen? Why couldn’t the warriors continue merrily breaking movement impairing effects in order to be better tanks during raids and dungeons? Because of three little letters: PvP.
Now anyone who knows me knows that I am definitely not a fan of the PvP at all. I much more enjoy getting loot from raids and the camaraderie of other players as opposed to small thirty second bursts where I’m frenetically trying to cast damage spells while getting stun locked for the entire “match”. Arena is definitely not a place for the priestly crowd and I was more than willing to stay away and still am. The problem though is not that there is PvP in the world, but rather that it is effecting even those who decide to avoid it, making it something of a pox upon the raiding community.
Look, the deal is that when you have these two systems that are so very wildly different, you simply can not balance them between the two without destroying the integrity of one or the other. Either you overbalance one class by giving them a PvE ability that causes them to absolutely own at arena (see: Death Knights 3.0) and overbalances the population in their favor, or you do what was done to warriors and nerf them back, making them balanced in the arena but killing some of their fun in other places. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation that Blizzard continually tries to make work, often leading to a river of nerdly tears and asthmatic angst.
The main problem is that Blizzard continually tries to balance these systems even though they’re obviously not working together and it’s gotten to the point that people just aren’t surprised by it anymore. Oh, there’s still plenty of grousing going on and the blogs and forums definitely light up as the news filters down through the WoW community, but for the most part it’s met with a ho-hum sort of response with most people saying something along the lines of “this blows, but it’s what Blizzard does to us”. This complacent acceptance must end!
The thing is, there’s an easy enough solution, one so simple that I’d be extremely surprised to find out is only being proposed here on my lonely corner of the web for the first time. Blizzard, why don’t you simply make some abilities unavailable in arena? I mean, if you can write into the code the ability to make mounts unavailable once you cross an invisible line to become indoors, why can’t you do it so that specific talents or abilities disappear once you enter arena? I’ll admit that I’m not a programmer, but that seems like something that could be implemented that could go a long way to solve the problem.
Let’s go back to our warrior example real quick. The talent Warbringer allows a warrior to use charge and a few other abilities while in combat that they could not before. If they did, then those abilities would break any movement impairing effect in addition to their usual effect. Because this was allowing warriors to break roots and snares in arena, which was considered an unfair advantage, Blizzard removed the impairment breaking effect. Now it may be a little too much to ask for Blizzard to dissect a talent like this and remove part of the effect (breaking impairment) and leaving the other (using abilities in combat), but imagine how easy and cleanly the problem could have been fixed if they had done that.
Perhaps they could simply add two new talents or spells/abilities for every class with one only working in arena and one only working in PvE, then they can work on balancing those and leave the other stuff alone. If they wanted to go even more extreme, they could introduce a brand new PvP talent tree designed to countermand PvE talents, or even simply introduce new talents into the existing trees. A specced Mind Flay where the snare effect can not be broken would both cancel out the warrior’s talent and allow it be used in PvE at the same time. Thing is, Blizzard is not a fan of solving problems like this, preferring more of a slash and burn method where they simply throw out what doesn’t work between the two.
I’ll reiterate it again and even go further: I’m not a video game programer or a dev. I don’t fully know what goes on behind the scenes in Blizzard’s clandestine halls. Perhaps what I’m suggesting here is so monumentally difficult it teeters on the realm of impossibility. But the fact of the matter, Blizzard, is that you can not solve your PvP balance issues by removing PvE abilities from other classes because then you’re stifling a vibrant and, by your own admission, vitally important portion of the game. This is compounded by the fact that those most effected by the nerf usually don’t even participate in arena.
Look, monsters don’t complain any time they feel like any particular class has an advantage over them, but I get that players do, and constantly. However, any time a class is weakened as a whole in an attempt to placate the arena crowd, it effects not just the individual players of that class, but also the raid dynamic of their guilds and possibly even strats and gems and enchants. You can’t justify such a massive shift simply because you’re not willing to seek alternative solutions to problems, at least not as frequently as it’s done in WoW. So Blizzard, I think it’s time to put down the bat, take a breath of fresh air, and solve your problems with some common sense. Ready? Good. Now put an arrow on the front of the circle that pops up under someone when you select them and give us back our inky black ball of doom, you sacks of shit.