Forums » Pantheon Classes

Philosophy of Class Balance

    • 2 posts
    December 27, 2020 10:40 AM PST

    I'm of the opinion that class balance is when all classes are overpowered sometimes, but never always. Is this the general perception of balance in pantheon? It seems like the different racial acclimations suggest the devs are leaning in this direction.  

    • 432 posts
    December 27, 2020 11:35 AM PST

    That is an interesting perspective but not at all what I think about when I hear the words class balance. Class balance to me makes me think of PVP and all classes being whittled down till there is nothing truly unique left. I have been taught to fear the words class balance and instead I prefer ever class to be fun to play.

    I will be interested to read what others think of your statement.

    • 2 posts
    December 27, 2020 12:08 PM PST

    I'm also afraid of the idea that all classes are "balanced" in a bland/generic sense. I don't like the idea that every class is medocore w/o any standout "overpowered" abilities. I was reading the enchanter forum, specifically a discussion about Charm, and how broken it is in everquest. It makes me hope they balance that ability in a way that keeps it fun and strong. I always like the idea that everyone is really strong in specific situations. When I see complaints along the lines of "the enchanter charm pet is stronger than the summoner pet - unfair, should be nerfed", I worry about the slippery slope of watering down abilities. It makes more sense to me to keep an ability strong but add risk to using it. Dial up the risk, and keep the power.

    • 1388 posts
    December 27, 2020 12:53 PM PST

    I think that class balance has meaning in a PvP game, as in "on any given day, any class COULD beat any other class" and therefore the classes are balanced. In a PvE game, particularly in a team-focused one, the only quantative balancing I see as meaningful is between different memebers of the same group-role. I.E. between Tanks, Healers, etc.

    Unfortunately player perception seems to have more to do with most discussions about class balance than numbers do, and oftens seems to revolve around attempted comparisons of 'apples to oranges'.

    I believe VR is headed - or at least has said in the past that they are heading - for something like what you first described. They've said that they want real differences between different classes in the same role, and therefore they are aiming for the goals of 1) all classes in a given role being capable of fully doing the job for a group, with 2) each class doing it differently, thus 3) every class will find some situations that are easier for them than for the other classes in their role and some situations that are harder.

    Which of course will be fine feat of 'balancing' to accomplish.

    I hope this makes things clearer ROFL!


    This post was edited by Jothany at December 27, 2020 6:05 PM PST
    • 500 posts
    December 27, 2020 5:46 PM PST

    When I hear class balance, I think of how a role should be fillable by any class who's primary core focus is that role and that the class should be able to fill the role to equivilent levels of performance, although through different means.

    That is to say: Any class that is a "tank" should be able to fill that role and perform to the same degree as any other class that would otherwise fill that role using it's own class skill set. You should be able to interchangably use any tank class in any given group or raid situation and have the tank perform at an adaquate level of performance. No one tank should ever be REQUIRED to do any specific piece of content. One might be slightly better suited, but only slightly so. Never so much more so that they would be the only "allowed" option for this content. Such as how Warriors were "required" as main tanks for nearly all EQ raids.

    The classes should perform their roles differently and be unique, but no one class should ever outperform another to such a degree as to make that class the "only viable option".

    • 1120 posts
    December 28, 2020 2:54 PM PST

    I second what Jothany said.  But I will also add that even class balancing within the same "role" will be near impossible and I hope that they do away with even trying because it will eventually weaken the game's integrity (having to continuously make changes throughout the life of the game).  There will always be content that players will find a way to engage differently than intended (and the devs encourage this gameplay within the scope of the game mechanics) but those variants will cause changes (or stagnation if not changed) that will have ripple effects.  Not necessarily game mechanic effects (although likely) but social effects that can create stigma or ostrasizing other players due to the class (or maybe even race) they are playing based on previous experiences.  Then you end up with patch after patch of changes that make some people happy and others ragequit... which was acceptable 10+ years ago, but in today's age, social opinion can destroy a game.  i.e. I think Cyberpunk2077 is amazing, but enough negative comments went out that the developers had lawsuits against them in the first week of release... again, I think the game is great.  The gaming community isn't what it use to be.  Better to under promise and over deliver than promise the impossible.

    • 1900 posts
    December 28, 2020 9:13 PM PST

    Darch said:

      i.e. I think Cyberpunk2077 is amazing, but enough negative comments went out that the developers had lawsuits against them in the first week of release... again, I think the game is great.  The gaming community isn't what it use to be.  Better to under promise and over deliver than promise the impossible.

     

    The lawsuit is unrelated to vocal opinions or community. It's about CD projekt red pretending the game was running on current gen consoles while it didn't, that until launch day, and having refused to send copies to console testers and such to hide it. Console stores had to remove and refund it because it was simply not working at all.

     

    It's not an issue related to bugs or whatever bad performance/scripts we can have as PC players, as we can play it whatever happens.

    • 1120 posts
    December 29, 2020 6:41 AM PST

    @Mauvais - The lawsuit is because of "public" outcry in the first day of release; the game is fine now after a couple of patches even on PS4, but they still lost millions due to public complaints.  Without vocal opinions or community, nobody would've known that the game was that buggy on day one (the lawsuit didn't magically appear out of the air 6 days after launch without massive public complaints).  But that was just an example of public complaints generating class action lawsuits, not that class balance (or imbalance) will generate that much chatter, but just pointing out that community expectations being met does make a big difference and it is sometimes better to under-promise and over-deliver than the opposite.  Add:  So if they simply stated "classes will not be perfectly balanced - even within roles" they would cover their expectation bases, and if the classes did turn out to be balanced - great, if they were completely imbalanced - doesn't matter.

     


    This post was edited by Darch at December 29, 2020 6:56 AM PST
    • 1900 posts
    December 30, 2020 9:02 AM PST

    Well that's obvious that a game you pay/pre order for and do not work at all due to lies and hidden information is not due it's worth, but apparently since you're not concerned it's not an issue to you and is just public opinion shaming :).

    • 1 posts
    January 7, 2021 4:20 PM PST

    Well this thread got off-topic fast. Anyway, back to class balancing, there are essentially two ways that this can be handled, and both have their downsides: a balance focused design, and a class fantasy design.

    With the balance design, we essentially see the following:

    Pros:

    • All classes are viable, with generally only a small, single-digit % difference between them
    • Players can stick to the class they like throughout the life of the game and know it can do all content
    • Players can easily pick up new members or play with friends/family without having to worry about what they play

    Cons:

    • Classes can often feel samey and lose what makes them unique in order to shore up class weaknesses
    • Level/boss designers are restricted in what they can create, as it has to be "fair" for all classes

    This is what we generally see in all current-gen MMORPGs, such as retail WoW, FFXIV, ESO, etc. And with the class fantasy design, we essentially see it inverted, where some classes will simply not be wanted for some content, but will thrive in other content. We see this in older MMORPGs such as classic WoW, EQ1 and FFXI. Neither are wrong, but both have their pitfalls.

    As someone who did world first/region first raiding for a long time on multiple games, I PERSONALLY prefer a class-balanced approach. I remember the days of class-stacking because a certain job was simply god-mode for x content (why bring an organized party when you can just bring more Black Mages?) and never taking another job because it was trash at it, and it sucks, especially when a game locks one character to one class. However, I also feel that classes need to feel unique to play. This is my biggest problem with retail WoW, as all classes have essentially become proc slot machines, where you have 2-3 short cooldowns, 1 spender, 1 spammer, and a bunch of procs that can light up. FFXIV has tried to alleviate this in their game by making jobs have unique rotations and systems (switching between Astral/Umbral for Black Mage, having some jobs be built around strict rotations and some around procs, etc) but in the end each job has to have a similar output/outcome or the players will get mad.

     

    TLDR: Balance is hard and will always have issues, no matter what route they go down.


    This post was edited by LeoStrut at January 7, 2021 4:20 PM PST
    • 86 posts
    January 8, 2021 6:54 AM PST

    @LeoStrut: Good summary of the consequences in the more ... elite regions of the game. For this, class balanced approach makes more sense. 

    Personally, i see all these downsides of the fantasy based approach, but i still like it much more. Groups feel different, starting a toon feels different, and so on. I also dont see such a big issue in the casual world, but i might be wrong. 

    • 1120 posts
    January 11, 2021 6:46 AM PST

    @LeoStrut - I can wholeheartedly agree with your Pros & Cons.  My hope is that there is enough content that the game will not require us to all do the same content (specific raids for example) in order to get the coolest or best experiences and gear.  I say this because they are trying to balance class roles, and that will be an incredible challenge without ostracizing specific classes from some content in the future. 

    Some people will argue that they just want to play casually and don't care about experiencing all that the game has to offer, or being "capable" of being as good as another class in the same role - but when I see that, I PERSONALLY see someone that will not be with the game very long (unless they luck out and happen to pick a class that doesn't fall into that category).

    This is why my opinion is either have balance or don't, but don't try to make classes "similar" without balance because that will EVENTUALLY create animosity and ostracizing of classes whether justified or not (particularly in the tank and heal roles).  If the perception of a large enough % of the community KNOWS that the classes are created differently and experiences that class xyz cannot perform the same in an encounter, that's it for that class in that content (wheter justified or not).  How long before player A quits after seeing player B get groups in minutes even though player A has been LFG for hours for the same content (and that is the content that they really want to do)?

    I can already see this in the community forums in other areas - take the Monk's FD for instance.  People are already hyper focused on the Monk being "the puller" based purely on this mechanic, but I am willing to bet that other classes will be very good at pulling too.  In my opinion, I think the rogue will be even better at split pulling, and judging by descriptions I've read so far, it would appear that all of the melee DPS roles (ranger/rogue/monk) are being designed with abilities that can split pull.  

    IMO: Either have balance or don't to avoid future animosity.

    • 2264 posts
    January 17, 2021 1:44 PM PST

    Banksouth said:

    I'm of the opinion that class balance is when all classes are overpowered sometimes, but never always. Is this the general perception of balance in pantheon? It seems like the different racial acclimations suggest the devs are leaning in this direction.  

    Go back to the earliest days of Pantheon (circa late 2013/early 2014) and you'll understand VR's view of class balance.  There isn't going to be class balance.  There is going to be Archetype balance.  VR has said that all classes within an archetype will perform their primary function equally but via different methods and means.  So depending upon the content you're facing, VR has stated that you may want to have one tank class, for example, over another.  All will work well, but one will deal with it just a bit better.

    At the same time, VR has said that the tanks, for example, are set up such that there will be flavor(s) of content against which they are better suited.  The typical one is using a Paladin when you're in an area where undead represent the highest percentage of NPCs.  But if you can use a warrior equally well, then there is no benefit for using a Paladin in such a situation. 

    I'm not sure that VR can really balance these two approaches as they seem mutually exclusive.

    • 1900 posts
    January 17, 2021 3:17 PM PST

    Vandraad said:

    Banksouth said:

    I'm of the opinion that class balance is when all classes are overpowered sometimes, but never always. Is this the general perception of balance in pantheon? It seems like the different racial acclimations suggest the devs are leaning in this direction.  

    Go back to the earliest days of Pantheon (circa late 2013/early 2014) and you'll understand VR's view of class balance.  There isn't going to be class balance.  There is going to be Archetype balance.  VR has said that all classes within an archetype will perform their primary function equally but via different methods and means.  So depending upon the content you're facing, VR has stated that you may want to have one tank class, for example, over another.  All will work well, but one will deal with it just a bit better.

    At the same time, VR has said that the tanks, for example, are set up such that there will be flavor(s) of content against which they are better suited.  The typical one is using a Paladin when you're in an area where undead represent the highest percentage of NPCs.  But if you can use a warrior equally well, then there is no benefit for using a Paladin in such a situation. 

    I'm not sure that VR can really balance these two approaches as they seem mutually exclusive.

     

    I don't think  balancing them would be necessary if situations where a class shine are equally (or close to equally) represented and vastly interesting on the same scale. If all the hardest and edgiest content is undead then it would be a mess, but if it's split decently it will be enough to make it a good plus but not a necessity.

    • 79 posts
    January 19, 2021 4:56 PM PST

    LeoStrut that was a summary, and I agree there will probably never be a proper class balance.

    There are only two areas that I think are worth stating.

    1) Make sure that no other class is allowed to overtake a classes primary function, essentially making that class redundant and uncessary.

    2) Make sure content is dynamic enough to allow various classes to shine.  A single mob might be easier to kill with certain classes and dificiult for others, but in a dungeon there should be enough varied encounters that only a diverse group would be able to complete it well.

     

    • 680 posts
    January 20, 2021 4:24 AM PST

    Tahoe said: "Make sure that no other class is allowed to overtake a classes primary function, essentially making that class redundant and uncessary(sic)"

    While I wouldn't have used the term 'Primary Function' I do understand the main gist of what you are getting at. To me, Primary function is being the Tank or Healer or DPS or Support, and since we know that each of these Primary Functions will have multiple classes. By standard practice there is class redundancy in regards of Primary Function.

    What I think you really mean is not having one class overtake another classes 'Unique function'.

    VR has referred to things they call 'Iconic Abilities' which Chris 'Joppa' Perkins discussed with Bazgrim in his interview about Classes back in:

    ------------
    April 10, 2018 (source)

    Bazgrim said: "So on the class descriptions on the website I see this term used in each one of them called an 'Iconic Ability'. So what is an Iconic Ability?

    Joppa said: ”We decided to set up the class reveals that way, number one to highlight the fact that we are committed to class interdependence so classes are going to have a very strong identity in the game. Part of that is having abilities that are very iconic. It doesn’t mean, not to be confused with Epic abilities which would be these very powerful abilities that are difficult to gain. These are abilities that could be fairly mundane, fairly common, but just have a lot of flavour that is unique to that class. So Feign Death for example is the Monk iconic ability and it doesn’t mean that Feign Death is some crazy difficult to obtain ability that has all these powerful effects to it. It’s a bread and butter ability of the Monk, but it absolutely defines the Monk in a very unique iconic way. That’s what we mean by that.”

    Bazgrim said: ”So if the Monk’s iconic ability is Feign death, does that mean that the Monk will be the only class that has that ability.”

    Joppa said: ”It doesn’t mean that they will be the only class that has that ability. It means that that ability is, for the Monk, one of their main kind of identifiers in their toolset for what makes a Monk a Monk. It also means that if there are other abilities that are similar to Feign Death it will be to a lesser extent, they won’t be quite as full or as powerful as Feign Death is for the Monk.”
    ------------

    So we know that VR does plan on having these Unique functions to each class that will set them apart from the other classes. Each class will have at least 1 or more Iconic Abilities that 'define the class in a unique iconic way'.

    So the point you make: They need to make sure that no class can overtake another classes 'Iconic Ability'.

    Joppa did mention that other classes may have 'Similar' abilities. In reference to the Monk Iconic Feign Death, we just saw in the latest Cohh stream that Rogues do have an ability called Flash Bomb that does have a similar function that will drop them out of combat completely and making enemies forget about you. 

    This ability also automatically activates Shadow Walk, which causes Stealth effect, which allows the Rogue to continue walking around (slower of course) without being seen by the enemy. This 'seems' to be superior to Feign Death, which simply makes you fall over to end combat and forces you to stay in that one spot pretending to be dead without any ability to walk away.

    But I will note that Flash Bomb has a 30 second cooldown and requires 1 Opportunity point, which you can only gain while in stealth. This means the Rogue must have been in stealth recently to gain some Opportunity points, and then make sure he 'saves' at least 1 of those points during combat if he is going to need to use Flash Bomb to get himself out of combat. We also know that there is a weakness to stealth when you attempt to use it near light sources, as the light makes the stealth fail.

    We will have to see what, if any, weaknesses Feign Death has; and also how long the cooldown is; and what the resource cost is on Feign Death before we can try to compare it with Flash Bomb to see which one will actually be Superior. But going by what Joppa said back in his Interview with Bazgrim the Monk's Feign Death ability is an Iconic Ability and should be balanced to be Superior. As Joppa put it... Flash Bomb could be similar to Feign Death but will be "to a lesser extent" and "won’t be quite as full or as powerful as Feign Death". So we will have to wait and see how VR decides to do this and make Feign Death more powerful than Flash Bomb. Perhaps they have some added functionality to Feign Death that we just haven't seen before.

    Of course after saying all that I should point out that since the game is still in Pre-Alpha things could still change and so it is entirely possible that this 'Iconic Ability' idea could have been scrapped and no longer part of the plan. But I will point out that on the main website FAQ page: What are Pantheons Tenets they still list "Classes have distinct identities" as the number 2 Tenet. So I am hopeful that this Iconic Abilities is still part of the plan.


    This post was edited by GoofyWarriorGuy at January 20, 2021 4:36 AM PST
    • 112 posts
    February 1, 2021 6:13 PM PST

    We where talking about  classes and diversty this weekend. What came up from games we have played in the past mostly eq/wow. In these games my wife liked slower classes  she loved her eq cleric was good at, she would have never played a bard to fast to ABC for her. I loved my bard and shaman but she found the shaman to be alot to keep track of I thought life on a cleric was dull. Then  in wow she played a holy pally loved it was good PVE /raided really liked it. Then stopped with the catta healer change when they added the littel mini games and sped up the casting speed made them all very active. I liked the rogue and preist found them to be have a nice pace. 

    I think the roles need to balance but it would be nice if we had a slower playing healer and faster playing  as long as the slower cleric with big steady  heals and the fast playing shaman both can preform the job of healer  and both have places they excel. then agian the same with tanks and dps if you want the slower pace you can play the slower pace class and if you like to be more active play a more active class just because one is slower "Easier" does not mean the other has to be Better. 


    This post was edited by Vixx at February 1, 2021 6:15 PM PST
    • 15 posts
    February 3, 2021 7:42 AM PST

    LeoStrut said:

    Well this thread got off-topic fast. Anyway, back to class balancing, there are essentially two ways that this can be handled, and both have their downsides: a balance focused design, and a class fantasy design.

    With the balance design, we essentially see the following:

    Pros:

    • All classes are viable, with generally only a small, single-digit % difference between them
    • Players can stick to the class they like throughout the life of the game and know it can do all content
    • Players can easily pick up new members or play with friends/family without having to worry about what they play

    Cons:

    • Classes can often feel samey and lose what makes them unique in order to shore up class weaknesses

     

    I would like to disagree with your assesement in the Con section for Class balance. I just made a thread about this, "A Method for Class Balance". I'll go ahead and post what I find to be the best definition for what is and what is not class balance. 


    Class balance promotes a robust class identity, competition with classes who share their respective roles and creates more diversity, rather than limiting or homogenizing all those elements. 

     

    Let’s define what is NOT Class Balance.

    - Homogenization

    - Mass utility distribution to every class of the same types of utility. *Utility = stuns, snares, roots, interrupts, silences, fear, self-heals, buffs, debuffs and nullifies (lose control of character, hard CC)

    - Same damage/healing outputs and mitigation input.



    Let’s define what IS Class Balance. (The scale of balance should represent the strength and weaknesses, not the distribution)

    - Class abilities have specific strengths that are balanced with their specific weaknesses.

    - The tool kit for every class/role are different, no mass utility distribution of the same utility. Includes, ability type, ability power, frequency of ability used, resource cost of ability etc.

    - Roles of classes have clear strengths and weaknesses opposed to classes that share the same role and have different roles. DPS should have clear strengths and weaknesses, Tanks and Healers or any other core role in the game should share that philosophy. 


    Let’s define what a Class is. – A class is an avatar of a role with a unique thematic tool kit that best represents that classes identity and role.


    This post was edited by Eronakis at February 3, 2021 7:43 AM PST