Friday, September 25, 2009


No, the WoW servers aren't down. I've actually been spending a lot of time playing Champions Online. I've been trying new builds, different character concepts, and checking out the player community.

But I have to say that the player community is probably the worst part. Maybe I'm not used to it because I hardly ever go to the WoW forums. But each and every post I see is negativity about the game's changes since launch. Everyone is either a doomsayer or a troll. They're leaving because the game is doomed, or just bitching because the game is doomed, and regardless of my own opinion, it's hard to even browse through all of that crap.

A lot of these people don't have valid arguments, either. Mini-mines and the ability to hold something with ice by just blocking 100% of the time was just plain cheap, and the -only- reason so many people used it was because word got around, and it was just the easy way to play.

Naturally, when something too powerful gets nerfed, there are people who can't adapt. And then the QQ starts. And my bottle of aspirin gets popped open.

This kind of reminds me of the biggest nerf I ever experienced to a class/AT I actually played. Back in City of Heroes, I played a Fire Tanker, long before the power sets were transferred to scrappers (melee dps). And we had something that seriously destroyed wave after wave of mobs: burn.

Burn was an interesting ability. All it did was drop a patch of fire at your feet. Because you were a tank, you taunted your enemies into melee range, drop the burn patch, and throw one more taunt while the single patch ate away at their health. All of it. Admittedly, it was overpowered, but it was the general assumption that this high AoE dps tool had been given to us because of our rather low survivability (for a tank, that is). And that is not something that even the devs argued with the community: Fire tanks were fundamentally inferior for tanking purposes. I myself found a lot of situations where the objection was to kill the large group that I pulled before the incoming damage took me down.

They kept adjusting it, and the community continued to shrug off the changes. They adjusted it's cooldown, damage, number of ticks, threw a hit roll in, anything they could think of to keep it in line with other AoE powers. And then they broke it. Devs don't break very many things, mind you. In my opinion, the average player will claim a broken mechanic when they don't get their way. This is far from the case. They added a 'fear' component to the burn patch, so that enemies would run away from you when you dropped it, and in some cases, targeted other characters.

There are two problems with this fear component. All enemies have a ranged attack in City of Heroes. So, when you drop a Burn patch, they all get out of the way (which takes them out of range of all the rest of your attacks, which are melee range only), and start firing at range. The goal of a tank in City of Heroes is simple: grab agro of a large group of villains, and hold them together while the group takes care of them. Yes, there's knockback, and there's a target limit on taunt, and all kinds of things to make it interesting. But all of the Fire AT's -big- AoE threat generators are melee range. If you scatter them, it makes it infinitely harder to do your job, especially since villains, once ranged, have a tendency to stay at range.

The second problem is the sometimes wonky threat mechanic. Sometimes, mobs at range will randomly begin attacking non-tank team members. And when it's the squishies, this becomes a dangerous scenario. All because they wandered away from your burn patch.

Here's my problem: Because the ability Burn was too powerful, they changed it into something that a tank would never use. It doesn't fit into the tank mentality. You need to stand there and eat melee damage to the face, and keep your team safe. Using this ability, with no attack power upgrades, will scatter the enemy and turn a controlled situation into chaos. Cryptic Studios very effectively removed the power from the power set entirely, because there was little to no way to make use of it's damage or it's threat implications.

And so I say, they broke a rather important power in the fire tanker set. What's all this mean? I don't know. Maybe I'm trying to say that I know what it's like to see a power or power set broken. And that's not what's happening now, in Champions. People need to chill the hell out. I got on without Burn, and I made something of my Fire Tanker, that wowed every single person I teamed with.

I think the servers are finally up. Time to beat up some bad guys.

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