Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Introducing troll and dwarf druids

... isn't going to happen. But Michael Zenke from MMOG Nation has an interesting post up on the popularity of races and classes in WoW, and it shows that some races and some classes are overly popular or underpopulated. Apparently troll warriors are very rare, makes me feel special, because my level 70 warrior is a troll. :)

But I did notice in the past that the availability of certain classes to certain races affects the class distribution in WoW. If you look for example at warriors and druids, you'll find that there are more warriors than druids. Which looks strange, because druids are much more powerful than warriors. Given equal level of gear a druid tanks as well as a warrior, but then the druid can switch to be a healer or a spellcaster, which the warrior can't. So why are warriors more played? Because nearly every race offers the option to be a warrior, and only one race per faction offers the option to be a druid. If Blizzard really introduced troll and dwarf druids, the number of trolls, dwarves, and druids would go up. If Blizzard let more races play druids and priests, maybe we would have less of a healer shortage?

While it is unlikely that Blizzard will do any changes to the existing races and classes, there is one important event coming up where a decision has to be taken: What races will be allowed to play deathknights? Again taking an extreme example, think of the difference it would make if either only the two most unpopular races (trolls and dwarves) could make deathknights, or only the two popular elven races could make deathknights, or *every* race could make deathknights. It is easy to see how these three options would lead to very different numbers of deathknights played. (I want to play a gnome deathknight, it sounds so silly!). I shudder at the thought of 50% of all characters online being deathknights, with the inevitable "LF2M no more deathknights, please" shouts in the chat channels. What races would you let play a deathknight?
I don't think race is going to have much affect on death knight population. Remember that people rolling death knights are experienced players, given the unlocking nature. These guys want a death knight and they'll simply choose whichever race suits them best.

For base characters, I think you're correct. Players choosing first or second characters tend to care more about race and let it influence their class. So there could conceivably be more druids if there were more races open.

On the other hand, when experienced players create alts or new mains, they select the race secondarily or because of racial skills. Look at the classes a troll can play and tell me why you'd make a troll over a UD or tauren.
Actually the perceived power of a class out weighs by far the race available in determining selection. Once the class is chosen then race becomes and issue especially now that racial abilities mater so much.

To use your example druids nowadays are no where near as under populated as it was the first two years of wow. Up until right before TBC my full feral druid hit like a level 50 resto spec druid and the healing only got good enough around the time of MC. So at launch no one wanted to play one except those of us who kept holding on to the promise of better things and like paladins only healed. Also before TBC you only had one viable tank option and that was the warrior so everyone who wanted a tank was one hence why there are so many now.

This is further evident with warlocks and hunters as well. Once their huge upgrade patches came out and everyone saw how easy they were to solo level they became the new FOTM and you saw them everywhere. At the same time in beta Paladins were like OMGWTFBBQ strong. Then right before it went live they changed all the mechanics. However most people did not realize this all they heard were the awesome reviews of paladins. So when the game launched there were like 100000000000000 of them but then once everyone got to about 30 - 40 and realized they were horrible to level and none of the seals worked right they almost became the dodo.

Anyway my 2cp
I personally think it should be limited to only the races that could be paladins, plus a couple extra for the Horde.

This would be Draenai, Humans, and Dwarfs on the Alliance side. I'd suggest Undead, Blood Elfs, and probably Orcs (because of their history with the Necromancy-type spells).

It seems to make sense to me that some of the prettier (Night Elf) and/or earthier and shamanistic (Tauren) races could not be deathknights because of visual and lore incompatibilities.

I do know this, they have some very hard working designers and storytellers, and they should be able to make anything work with a minimum of problems.
"Given equal level of gear a druid tanks as well as a warrior"

This isn't true. While a handful of fights led themselves to a druid instead of a warrior, the vast majority of bosses are far, far more advantageous to have a warrior tank them especially if they have the same level of gear. This is b/c any boss that can crushing blow, a warrior will take less burst damage than that of a druid and on any boss that has a significant magic damage element a warrior has superior itemization as well as an innate 10% magic damage reduction from defensive stance that can be speced into 16%.

So the reason you see more warriors than druids is b/c warriors are more powerful tanks. Rogues are more powerful dpsers. Mages/Locks are more powerful casters. Really only Tree Druids can claim any superiority and that's only in the case of party healing... Tree Druids make terrible 5 man healers in fact... which is the frustration in general of being a druid. Jack of all trades, master of none.
Blizzard has maintained for a while that all races will be able to be DKs. I don't really think it makes a difference myself; I agree with notmercury that by the time players are rolling DK, they'll roll the class no matter what races are available.
I'm certain that Blizzard will give everybody what they want and let all races become Deathknights.

I'm not sure why they implemented certain race/class restrictions in the 1st place. You might argue that some combinations don't fit with common sense (e.g. Undead Hunter, Tauren Rogue), but that didn't prevent Gnome Warriors from being available.

So, get ready to see swarms of cute-as-a-button Gnome Deathknights with pink hair buns running around this fall. Try not to scream.
Whilst it's perfectly understandable why some races can't start as particular classes for cultural reasons, there's no obvious reason why (for example) a troll couldn't be taught how to be a warlock by orcs.

I'd like to see the option for characters to retrain to a new class, provided that you are exalted with a race that has it. So a human who had studied night elf lore and was a friend of the people may well be allowed to train as a druid. Such a retrained character would start again at a low level, but would retains their appearance, professions and goods (although some may no be unusable).

There might be a few exceptions to that, where a class/race combination would be inappropriate lore wise (e.g. undead druids), but there are plenty that could be allowed.
Every race save gnome (and orc?..can't remember...) can be a preist, so there has more to the popularity of warrior over priests than race/ class comboes. That's only one less race than warrior.

There are also four potential healing classes, and you very rarely run into a Druid, Shammy, or Paladin that's heal specced. Any of the four can heal their way through a five man just as well as a preist. Much like the bear vs protection warrior, you only need the specialist for high end raid encounters, possibly heroics.

The sad and unfortunate truth, I suspect, is that most players don't like to play healers.

More than two choices for druid would certainly be nice, however.
I play horde, and have discovered that of all the classes (and I've tried many) I really love playing a druid. Except... I HATE being a tauren! I tend to hide in cheetah form when I'm not fighting because I can't stand to look at myself.
tree druids are fine 5 man healers, thank you very much. i have not ever had issues with her healing.

as for druids not being as a good as a warrior -- you're sound as if you are a min/maxing raider. guess what -- most aren't!

bear tanks are in most cases BETTER than a warrior for 90% of the things people do in this game as a group.
actually anonymous I've played druid since shortly after launch and am now playing a priest.
Druids are easier for lazy healers to heal. Thus the perception they are better tanks.

Priests have far more utility in 5 mans than druids any day.

Don't get me wrong I love druids. But I'll take a good protection specced warrior or a good priest over a druid anyday. The key being "good". If the player is just mediocre he's better off playing the druid.
You shouldn't be ashamed to be a tauren. Sure, they're cows, but remember that their traditions are loosely based on Native American tribes which is kind of interesting. Also, you wanna try being some of the other Horde races. If you're an Undead, the quests you get given largely seem to involve poisoning and using germ warfare against the poor unsuspecting human populations nearby. Doesn't exactly make you feel good about yourself.
Every race save gnome (and orc?..can't remember...)

Orcs, gnomes, and Tauren can't be priests.

As for who I would allow to be death knights, probably humans, dwarves, undead, and orcs. Humans and dwarves because they have paladins and have been around in the world long enough for several to have been corrupted, undead for similar reasons (most undead being human based undead, or freed from the group that creates death knights), and orcs because some of the class seems warcraft 2 based, and to equalize the class between alliance and horde.
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