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Debate: Character Specialization vs. Balance

Discussion in 'MMO Debates' started by quinn, Sep 8, 2011.

Who put forth the better debate?

  1. Quinn

    14 vote(s)
    58.3%
  2. FunnyGamer

    11 vote(s)
    45.8%
  1. quinn

    quinn Starcatcher Ogre Veteran

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    No, you can keep posting. It's just that there's been enough debating for voters to make an informed decision, so we might as well put it up.


    I thought this time we were going to reformat the poll to be phrased as 'Who put forth the better debate?' or similar? Oh well.

    Anyways, I shall refrain from voting...good luck! :)
     
  2. Admin Post
    ogreman

    ogreman Ogre In Charge Staff Member GameOgre Admin

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  3. Mordekaiser

    Mordekaiser Dealer of Death Ogre Veteran

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  4. funnygamer

    funnygamer Clubbed

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    Your statement about specialization and teamwork might work well in a group PVE context, meaning when you are doing PVE with a team.

    But if you are doing solo PVE, solo PVP, and group PVP, specialization without balance is not a good thing. Let me explain why.

    In solo PVE, a tanker or a healer generally takes more time when killing a mob. Sometimes, these classes can't even solo a boss. As such, some people become bored playing these classes, which results to an abundance of DPS classes and a lack of support classes like tanks and healers. Granted, there are some people who will still play these classes regardless of this situation because they really want to play that role. However, the system discourages other players who might have been interested in taking those roles. But because killing is more tedious and more solo-unfriendly, some players are forced to choose the DPS classes.

    In solo PVP, things get even worse. Without balance, winning will depend mostly on your chosen class and not on your skill. If we pit into battle an archer and a priest, my bet will go to the archer all the way. There's no way a priest can outheal the damage done by archers, and cause damage to the archer at the same time. What if this priest wants to do solo PVP? What if there are items that can only be acquired through PVP? What will this poor priest do? Given your specialization system over balance system, all she can do is cry.

    In group PVP, I disagree with your statement that balance has nothing to do with teamwork. I will reiterate that balance has something to do with teamwork or at least, has something to do with the outcome of the group PVP battle. To make this statement clearer, let's take a hypothetical example of damage and cures. Let's say there are two teams with four players with 2000 HP each (DPS and Healers are both squishy anyways). One team consists of 4 DPS characters while the other has 3 DPS and 1 healer. Let's say a DPS deals 200 damage per second while a healer can heal 100 damage per second (reiterating my point that damage is usually higher than heals in most games). I'll leave the computation since it will take long, but if the team with 4 DPS classes take down the healer first, computation will say that the full DPS party will be able to wipe the other party first. If you say that a healer should be able to heal equal amount of HP as the damage done by DPS, then you're arguing for balance.
     
  5. funnygamer

    funnygamer Clubbed

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    Oh. Since quinn will not vote, I won't vote either to be fair. XD
     
  6. Kingsfield

    Kingsfield On Another Long Vacation The Pit

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    Quinn, I am afraid funnygamer got you on this one. As always I like your way of debating but this time my vote goes to funnygamer. Good Debate!
     
  7. MMOWiz

    MMOWiz Well-Known Member Ogre Veteran

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    agreed, i liked the debate.
     
  8. Admin Post
    ogreman

    ogreman Ogre In Charge Staff Member GameOgre Admin

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    Quinn can continue the debate. It is his turn:).
     
  9. kashiegamer

    kashiegamer New Member

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    I forgot what my next suggestion for a debate would be...so yeah, continue on with the debate first. LOL.

    I like the debate, too. But to be honest it is very confusing to decide what is better when just focusing on the topic alone. The votes on the debate this time rest solely on who gave a better point/argument, unlike other debates which inherently relies on a personal bias of the listener.
     
  10. Kingsfield

    Kingsfield On Another Long Vacation The Pit

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    That's the way we want it to be :)
    Now the one who gets more votes will really have put forth the best debate :)
     
  11. quinn

    quinn Starcatcher Ogre Veteran

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    If you are a solo-oriented player, than why would you choose a class that is only good at helping others? The whole point of specialization is to give the players options they enjoy. I also would not worry about the group PvP teams being too imbalanced, either. Your numbers are simply made up, a lot of testing goes into any major MMO to make sure that the game works...there is a world of difference between having balanced, specialized classes, and balanced, balanced classes. Every game is going to require 'balance', in its simplest form, in one way or another. A completely unbalanced game is just not fun for anyone. However, having specialized classes is different than having all completely balanced classes. The way they are balanced is what makes them different.

    I'd like to refer to an interesting paper on the different types of players by Richard Bartle (if you don't know his name, I am saddened.): Richard A. Bartle: Players Who Suit MUDs
    His paper was written about MUDs, but it applies greatly to modern MMOs, as well. The different types of players on the spectrum are not going to enjoy the same thing, in all likeliness...players that interact with the world, for example, are likely to choose a different class than those that enjoy interacting with players (probably a healer class). Having the same character, just slightly reskinned, for all players, does not make sense. Unless your game is oriented towards one player-type.
    ___________________________
    People sometimes get a side they don't necessarily agree with because everyone usually agrees with the same side of the debate...in debate competitions in real life, it's the same way, isn't it?
     
  12. funnygamer

    funnygamer Clubbed

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    Your first two statements are somewhat contradictory. First, you asked why would a player choose a class that is only for helping other people if he's a solo player? Then your second statement says that specialization is something that gives players the options that they want.

    The two statements contradict because if I'll believe your first statement, then specialization does not give the players the options that they want. Your first statement assumes that if you're a solo player, you should not choose classes that are for helping other people. Putting it into the trio class context, you should not play as a tank or as a healer if you're a solo player. You should choose DPS. That doesn't look like giving players a choice. Specialization, in fact, limits my choices depending on what kind of player I am.

    On the contrary, balance will provide you those options. Since classes are balanced, even if I am a solo player, I can choose whichever class I want. I can choose to become an archer, a warrior, or a mage even if I'm a solo player because those classes are balanced anyway. I think this gives the player more options.


    About the Bartle argument, players can't be classified as simple as that. One of the games under development right now is called Wildstar. It gives a new kind of system in which players can choose a path (Explorer, Scientist, Settler, and Soldier), which is pretty much like Bartle's classification and a good example of a highly specialized class system. If you choose an explorer, majority of your quests are about exploring, etc. In the forums, I read quite a number of this kind of statement, "I'm not just an explorer. I want to explore, but I want to fight too. And also craft every now and then." This is a clear example that a gamer isn't just one of those four classifications. Forcing someone to play a specialized class according to his type of gaming, limits his gaming experience.

    So, disagreeing with your last statement, having the same character that is just reskinned, actually makes sense. My class doesn't hinder me in doing what I want anyway. As such, if I am playing the game to interact, I can choose whichever class, then talk to people. If I'm here to fight, I can choose whichever class, and still do well at fighting. If I want to explore, I can choose whichever class, and go to whichever town or cave I want to go. Balance, more often than not, is more able to satisfy what I want and need without the limits given by specialization.
     
  13. kashiegamer

    kashiegamer New Member

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    This is getting interesting... This kinda reminds me of the interview for a certain japanese game developer where he differentiated Tactics Ogre from Final Fantasy Tactics. He said that TO is more of a strategy (chess) game while FFT was more of a role playing game. If you think about it, the game design differences make sense.

    In connection here, it's like the debate is going towards the question/comparison of role-playing(game based) vs role-playing(player based). I personally call them classic rpg vs modern rpg. The classic rpg is role-playing a certain character/class, meaning you forget who you are, and role-play a specific character within the gaming world (as seen in NWN, Diablo, and other classic RPGs). On the other hand, modern rpg is role-playing by transferring your personality into a character within a game, meaning, you are trying your best to role-play yourself in a given gameworld (as seen in Elder Scrolls and other games like this).

    You may say this is offtopic, but to be clear about it, I think it isn't. The thing is, the debate arguments are currently not contained within one gaming school of thought. I think that's where the confusion (at least for my part) in picking a choice is coming from.

    offtopic:
    My "classic rpg" vs "modern rpg" can be a possible suggestion for the next debate. But since I just coined these topics (and i am aware that the terms I used can produce bias), maybe a better suggestion would be (which is an offspring of classic vs modern debate) "class based game" vs "skill based game" (what skills a player can have is determined by the class vs players can freely pick what skills they want their character to have).
     
  14. Webber

    Webber Well-Known Member Ogre Veteran

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    When will the debate end?
     
  15. quinn

    quinn Starcatcher Ogre Veteran

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    I beg to differ. There is a very real aspect of having different classes, further than just roleplay. Having different classes allows for different playstyles, too..this is deeper down than just roleplay, which is pretty much dead in most modern RPGs, to be honest.

    I think you misunderstood me. Different players will want different things. That is their options. One player might love a single class, and not need all of those. The way it was meant was to state that there are options. If a solo player wants to be a fighter, that option is there. Each player has their own opinions, and it's important for all of them to be able to enjoy the game equally. The statement is not contradictory.

    If your game is balanced as we've defined it for this debate, there are no choices. Specialization gives players those choices. Some players might not need that choice...but if all the classes are the same, those socializer players who want to be a cleric are going to be left out.
    I simply posted that to show the vast realm of player archetypes. Also, if you had read the article, you'd see that it states within that players typically fit into more than one of the categories, as well. A game that forces players to choose one archetype may have some issues, to be sure.
     
  16. Admin Post
    ogreman

    ogreman Ogre In Charge Staff Member GameOgre Admin

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    The score is currently tied:).
     
  17. funnygamer

    funnygamer Clubbed

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    Oh ok. Indeed, if the player wants to be a fighter, the option is there if we have specialized classes. But the option is also there if we have balanced classes. And I've explained it clearly in my previous arguments.

    Saying that in a balanced class system, there are no choices makes no sense. You didn't even provide proof of that. With the socializer-cleric example that you said, why would they be left out? Choosing a class doesn't mean you can't talk to other people. Are the clerics the only ones who talk in-game?
     
  18. quinn

    quinn Starcatcher Ogre Veteran

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    Sure, you can talk to people, but that's just not the same as being an epic bard sitting behind your best buddy and flinging songs at them while talking to them.

    Sure, there may be some choices in a completely balanced game, but you can't argue that there aren't less choices, at least.
     
  19. funnygamer

    funnygamer Clubbed

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    Your first statement might be true, but surely, I don't think a lot of people really care if they just chat or chat while playing music as a bard.

    For your second statement, I also don't think there is less choices. As I mentioned earlier, specialization also limits player choices.

    Given these two statements, having a specialized class system doesn't give much advantage after all, compared to having balanced classes.

    To summarize most of the points, I surely would love to play a game with no complaints about unequal classes and lets me choose whichever class I want and still do well both in PVP and PVE, rather than a game that lets me chat with players with accompanying music since that what's my class is good at, while all the others are complaining that the class he loves isn't good at PVP at all, even if he wants to do PVP. Saying that one should choose a PVP class if he loves PVP is limiting. Surely, there are people who love solo PVP but love to play as Clerics too. Would you deny them of that for the sake of specialization?

    I'd go for balance all the way. The pros definitely outweigh the cons, as compared to having specialization.
     
  20. Joker

    Joker Well-Known Member Ogre Veteran

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    I tied up the vote:p.
     

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