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Reloading... Balancing a Battleship

Posted Wed, Jun 22, 2011 by Ethec

Our E3 Awards take center stage in today's Reloading..., plus commentary on the recent WoW 4.2 dev blog, an uptick for Rift, and will the Harry Potter MMO finally take off its invisibilty cloak?

Welcome to the 21st edition of Reloading…

"When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons! What the hell are these?! Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!” -- Cave Johnson, Portal 2

Everyone can use a feel good moment to start the day. Let’s go with this…

--

Patch 4.2 continues to cast a shadow over WoW players like one of those alien ships in Independence Day. We all think we know what we are going to get, but nobody is completely sure. Greg Street, the Lead Systems Designer for WoW has updated his blog to enlighten us on how hard it truly is to “Balance a Battleship”.

“Player feedback certainly plays a role in our deciding to make balance changes, but it’s just one small part. (And remember that our public forums are not the only place where players voice their opinions.) We also do a lot of internal testing, both simulations and actual character performance, and we collect a lot of external data, which needs to include players at a wide variety of skill levels.”

Players don’t realise how important the above statement is. Every player worries about their own experience. The way the game “feels” for other players never crosses their mind. Most just assume that it feels the same way for everyone; it doesn’t. A PvP-centric player has a much different view of the game than a PvE player. A skilled player sees the game differently than a newbie. Blizzard isn’t just balancing around classes, they are balancing around a spectrum of player skill that is larger than even, dare I say, Kirstie Alley’s appetite.

So, how do you even begin to balance something with so many variables? Blizzard does it like this…

“Also realize that we don’t believe in the existence of any single thermometer for estimating character performance. By that I mean there is no single relatively-accurate measurement of real and true DPS (or tanking, or healing) upon which most players agree. Everything from simulations to target dummy DPS to Arena comp percentages to the top 100 raid parses all count as pieces of the puzzle, and you really have to consider the totality of all of that information in the proper context.”
I suggest strongly that you read his entire blog entry to get a feel for just how your class is going to be impacted by the 4.2 changes.

In other MMO news, Rift was on sale for $9.99 over the weekend. That little sale along with the numerous free giveaway trials is a sure-fire sign that subscriptions have plateaued and the process of subscriber retention has hit full steam.

The Harry Potter MMO may soon be unveiled. A website is up at Pottermore.com that suggests something is coming our way soon.

Share your thoughts on something from the column today or just in general. Will World of Harry Potter Craft soon be on our doorstep?

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That video got me looking at other related videos of soldier homecomings, some of which made me cry. Ergo, Reloading... made me cry. Thanks a lot, Boomjack.

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