The cries for the nerfing and buffing of classes echo across the official Blizzard forums. It is an ever raging dispute between players
over which classes are over powered, which need serious fixing, and how Blizzard should handle the supposed problem. Some are firmly on the side of nerfing, others demand a buff to better balance out the classes, while some say that no change at all is needed.
How Blizzard makes the ultimate decision to nerf or buff a class or classes is simply beyond me. Sometimes I feel as if they flip a coin, call it in the air, and carry out the changes based on that sole coin flip. I am quite sure that the decision process is far more complex than that, but is there really an ongoing problem with balance between the classes? Is this constant cycle of buffing and nerfing really necessary and if so which is the better course, buffing or nerfing?
I personally feel that balance has always been, and will continue to be a problem in World of Warcraft. While balance between the classes has drastically improved since the early days of the game, (being able to legitimately play a Shadow Priest stands testament to that), true balance has still not been reached. There are two classes in particular that stand out above the rest, and I’m sure most players know exactly what they are; the Death Knight and the Paladin.
These two classes are without a doubt the thorn in the side of the balance that Blizzard is attempting to achieve. I am in no way trying to bash these classes, I personally have a Death Knight alt and I rather enjoy playing it, however it cannot be denied that these two classes are overpowered in almost every sense of the word. There is a reason that players of Paladins and Death Knights are at the receiving end of many of the easy to play jokes.
To further prove the point that Death Knights and Paladins are more appealing than other classes one must simply look at the numbers. Using the invaluable resources at Warcraft Census one can easily see that the number Paladins and Death Knights (level 80 only) are roughly ten to twenty percent more than any other class. Perhaps these numbers only show that Paladins and Death Knights are more enjoyable to play than any other class. I would argue that the enjoyment of a class comes partly from the ease of playing it, and the benefits you gain from playing it. Who wants to play a class that does terrible damage, has lackluster abilities, or simply is unwanted in raids?
That in no way means that Death Knights and Paladins are the only classes with issues. An excellent way to find out if a class is in need of fix is to simply take the time to read the forums. While some posts about classes are nothing more than huge walls of anger and nonsense, others are well thought out and make very valid points. A good rule of thumb I have found is if more than a few people are talking about the same thing, and the postings don’t look like the ranting of an angry ogre, then there may very well be something that actually needs fixed with that particular class.
Now that we have established that there are problems with the balance between classes, what exactly should Blizzard’s course of action be? Should they nerf classes like Death Knights and Paladins? Or should they buff all the other classes to make them more on par with the standards set forth by the power classes?
I know opinions are much like the Vendor…I mean Thunderstrike from Molten Core, everyone has one but no one really wants it, but I’m going to give mine anyway. I feel that the nerfing of classes is an inherently bad idea.. I don’t know anyone who looks forward to, or enjoys their class being nerfed. I know in several patches I have been very unhappy (insert unhappy face here) with the changes made to my class for one reason or another.
Depending on the size and severity of the nerf it can sometimes completely throw a class off. A once enjoyable, and much sought after class could now find themselves rendered almost useless. Not all nerfs are so devastating, some are hardly noticeable, but I still feel that the nerfing of a class is just not the way to go. Buffing of the weaker classes to match the power of the more prominent classes appeals to me far more. There is still danger here, as buffing all the classes too much has the potential to make the game so easy that Candyland would be more of a challenge. It still seems to me that this is the better course of action though.
Buffing of all the classes would mean that no class would ever run the risk of becoming obsolete. How many people have had a friend say “When this new nerf hits I‘m switching classes” after being hit with a huge nerf stick? While I do know that most people don’t actually switch classes, preferring to ride out the bad times rather than starting over again, many more actually do. There have been several times in World of Warcraft’s history when certain classes have been near impossible to find, simply because no one wanted to play them. I can recall a time when Druids were almost a myth, and my wife was the only Druid in our 40 man raid. A rather sad state of affairs if I may say so.
Buffing the classes would also help open the door for less common classes and specs to move to the forefront. I would love to see every single class and spec become viable for play in any situation. It’s no bueno to be told that you are not wanted simply because of the way you prefer to play.
Overall I feel that Blizzard is well on their way to balancing out the classes, and has seemingly stepped away from using the giant nerf sticks of the past. I do think that true balance between the classes will never be achieved, but a certain harmony can be reached with some hard work and a few buffs (cross your fingers) along the way. Join us on our forums to share your opinion on which is better, nerfs or buffs, and which classes need it.
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