Thursday, April 1, 2010

Seekers v. Sentinels

I've had it, Blizzard.

When you first announced Saturn Six, you swore that you'd take everything you learned from WoW in terms of MMO design and do your best not to repeat mistakes you made in the past. Well, guess what! You repeated a big one!

Remember back when WoW was first released and the paladin and shaman classes were faction-specific? That split made it too hard to balance the classes. All of the abilities had to be homogenous or else players complained. You had to balance encounters around those variables, too. Would the Alliance still be able to beat an encounter without Windfury? Would the Horde be able to without Blessing of Salvation?

And yet, somehow, for S6, you decided to make faction-specific classes. A bunch of them, in fact. And as a Kapzen, it's hard enough getting groups together -- you know everyone plays USDF or Colonist anyway -- without having to worry about the horrible imbalance between the USDF Sentinels and our Seekers.

I get it. The USDF is pure military. They should have some kind of advantage when it comes to weaponry or defenses. But Seekers are our only pure Support class, and their group buffs are downright awful. You already know this, too. You've been giving Heat Tracking tiny buffs in every patch since launch, and Focus Fire has been the subject of hot debate on the forums.

Let's look at the numbers:

Heat Tracking: All of the Seeker's squad members receive a chance to fire a second round after hitting a humanoid or mechanical target. This round is guaranteed to hit and pierces armor but will do half normal damage.

It sounds fine on its face. But theorycrafters on discovered that the proc chance was close to 5%. Why is that a big deal?

Cluster Fire: All of the Sentinel's squad members receive a chance for their shots to chain 50% weapon damage to surrounding humanoid or mechanical targets within ten meters of the target.

Essix says that the proc chance for Cluster Fire is closer to 10%. That's twice as many procs as Heat Tracking. Yes, Cluster Fire is fine for single-target encounters, but when was the last time you designed a single-target encounter at the endgame? I'll help: never. Cluster Fire is leaps and bounds more useful for add fights (read: all of them).

I mean, for God's sake, even the Colonists get a better shot buff than we do, and they're building their equipment out of old lawnmowers and refrigerators. And don't even get me started on Focus Fire. Ah, what the heck, get me started.

Focus Fire: All of the Seeker's squad members receive an additional 10% bonus to weapon accuracy.

Again, fine on its own. But the Sentinel buff?

Radar Boost: All of the Sentinel's squad members receive an additional 7% chance accuracy to all attacks.

This is just simple numbers. Not every class is weapon-heavy, and not all attacks are weapon-based. It's insulting. Don't make me roll USDF just so I can go on city raids.

Just buff Seekers, or nerf Sentinels. I don't care which. Just do something.