Quote of the Day: On scaling with gear

Scaling awesomely with gear as compensation for doing bad damage when undergeared is not good game design.

-Ghostcrawler

This quote, in a nutshell, describes the issues with gear scaling.

The idea that you start off weaker in return for being stronger later on sounds like a payoff that most people understand. A lot of players make these assumptions too — if a character is easier/ faster to level they feel that there should be some kind of built-in cost. It just doesn’t work in an MMO with multiple classes who are all required to end up at around the same level.

Or rather, because everything in MMOs is weighted towards endgame, there is no amount of weakness early on that could really make up for being overpowered at the end. One is just more important than the other. Plus it makes the early game miserable.

In this quote, he’s talking about Fury warriors. (I wish mine did that sort of damage. I think I lost my Fury mojo from doing too much tanking … or something.) But this also represents the challenges of Cataclysm. Blizzard is going to try to make all classes scale evenly and equally with gear. That isn’t currently the case, and it’s accepted as an issue. So good luck to them on that. Unfortunately it isn’t the kind of flashy player-pleasing fix that grabs headlines and draws in the crowds, but it’s probably the biggest long term endgame fix that they’ve ever made to the game.

But do you agree with the quote? Surely in a gear based game, being able to scale awesomely with gear is one of the great motivating factors to progress your character?

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4 thoughts on “Quote of the Day: On scaling with gear

  1. The problem is not scaling, the problem is if different classes doing the same job, scale differently.
    So i do not *fully* agree with GC, at least in the sense that you use the quote.

    What I do agree with, is that scaling is bad in the sense that new players will be left out if they need gear to even do the slightest dent in the latest tier of dungeons.

  2. The system is flawed by default and inherently based on stat gain, levelling up, everything +1. Expect more bandaids like gear resets and easy badge gear for attending the daily quests to enable people to progress and finish the entry tier to gear up for the next tier.

    MMO gamers must get over the primitive gear progression addiction as “motivating factor”.

    Fancier gear instead of gear with better stats works for some games already.

  3. Considering I was at the top of the game in vanilla and BC, I would have to say I completely agree with Ghostcrawler.

    Specifically because that is always how that game has worked. If they WANTED people to be able to gear out correctly before MC, they would have had more solo content so people could work out the gear issues beforehand. I didn’t go to one of my two hundred or so raids of MC or later BWL without carrying someone, because they had bad gear. This is to say, Warcraft has really really poor design. Incompetence is it own, delicious strawberry flavored issue. But I cannot take issue with strawberry. It is the best. It is a pirate fact.

    If I still really cared about the game I might even find his post laughable, considering actual balance takes forever. In fact, it took about four years before pretty much all trees were viable. Even then, because of their confused design, things still weren’t even.

    They really need to go with a simpler understanding of the classes and build from there, not say “oh hey we have another expansion coming out what useless ability should we give X class now?”

    Maybe Valve could give them lessons? TF2 is pretty much the complete opposite in terms of design. Having a hundred buttons that just do different levels of the same ability (healing) isn’t necessary. Hell they could steal an idea from Champions and have a charge up bar that goes off whenever you stop charging. Anything would be an improvement, but they just keep adding to the Jenga and they wonder why it’s wobbly and has so many holes. I’m not sure who is to blame for the accepting of the tower, but Blizzard is definitely adding more blocks from other boxes.

    I expect when Warcraft finally has a competitor that steals away a substantial amount of players, it will collapse. Its real stability is not the game itself, it’s the interaction. It might as well be a chatbox with a fancy character creator. Even the obnoxious kids help sell the subconscious idea that this game needs to be played so you can be better than the snot nosed brat that just made fun of your mom. To be fair, “doth bear the mark of Chef Boyardee upon her flesh” was totally funny. (Joke totally stolen.)

  4. Scaling is fine, but starting at crap isn’t any good. Nor is scaling faster than others, because then you end up with an unfun situation like “start out tanking because your damage is terrible, switch to arms at 4.8k GS, then go fury at 5.2k GS”, even if you don’t like arms or don’t like fury.

    @Myopic Vitriol: Sinfest ftw!

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