Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
 
WoW bard hero class

Feedburner shows a surprising number of hits to my blog today coming from people searching for WoW bards. It turns out that this is the "official" Blizzard April Fool's Day joke, an announcement of a second hero class: the bard. Who, due to the Activision Blizzard merger is going to be played using the Guitar Hero controller. :)

Sadly that is selling the idea short. Just yesterday I was talking with a player who has a druid, and who finds the idea that the next hero class could be an archdruid not fun at all. If a hero class is sold as being a more powerful version of an existing class, the existing players of that class get upset. It's a much better idea to create hero classes that are totally different from existing classes, and a bard would have fitted that model well.

But however you call or market them, new classes will almost always be perceived as threat from existing players. Not only due to fears of the new class being better than the old one, but also because of competition for the same loot. I have no idea how a deathknight compares to lets say a dps warrior in power, Blizzard is probably not even finished designing them yet. But I do know that the deathknight will start at high level, around 60, which will reduce the interest in creating new warriors. And I'm pretty certain that a deathknight will roll for plate armor loot with strength and stamina bonus like a dps warrior, and maybe even for plate armor with stamina and defense bonus like a tank warrior. You can easily extrapolate those problems to archdruids, archmages, or whatever else hero classes you can think off that are based on existing classes. A bard wouldn't bother any existing class.
Comments:
With the simplistic design of the trininty of classes any class they create is going to compete with some other class.

I still am amazed at the stupidity of the Death Knight as a hero class. It's like telling someone that wants to play a superhero that they get the honor of playing Lex Luthor.

I guess they were trying to stick to the lore but IMHO they should have just given the horde deathknights instead of Pallies in BC and then given the alliance something else. Just another place where PVP is screwing up the PVE game. Everything gets Homogenized in the name of PVP balance.
 
Giving the horde death knights would just create a bunch of other balance headaches, since Death knights would have to what what paladins do as effectively as paladins do. Plus, Death knights in the horde wouldn't make sense from a back story sense either. (Think about the paladin/shaman issues at the beginning of burning crusade, to get some sense of how the death knight/paladin issues would play out.)

Making death knights a separate class allows them to use their own types of skills.

I also don't get a lot of the "Death knights competing with warriors for loot" issues. The level thing does make it likely that death knights would be in groups out of proportion to what a well balanced group would have otherwise, but in things like raids, the same amount of people would be in the group, with loot dropping at about the same rate, the only issue is that there would be slightly more competition over melee weapons and plate armor, which can easily be fixed by slightly increasing these item's chances to drop in comparison to other items.
 
And this is why I think they dropped the ball with the current implementation of hero classes.

Rather than adding another 10 levels in the next expansion, they should have instead created a 5-10 chapter (levels) journey for players to take their existing characters to "hero" status.

The journey could have been an epic mix of solo and group PvE/PvP...

Instead, you're getting 10 more levels and a new class labeled as a hero but not really different in any way from traditional MMORPG expansion classes.
 
I remember all the Paladin shaman issues and yet everythign played fine.

In my opinion they should have had and maintained differences between the factions. I think horde should have had Warlocks and shammies and Alliance should have had mages and Palladins.

then we could have had Deathknights for the horde and Archdruids or some other class for the alliance in the expansion.

Honestly balance was never really a huge issue till PVP became the casual answer to raiding. And it's slowly strangling the game. Homogenization is easier but its really really bad from a fun factor.
Why roll the other side if its just the same?
 
I remember all the Paladin shaman issues and yet everything played fine.

In my opinion they should have had and maintained differences between the factions. I think horde should have had Warlocks and shammies and Alliance should have had mages and Paladins.


The issue with Paladins and shamans was that the two classes had to be balanced to do the same functions, instead of being allowed to diverge.

I do agree with you that if they had wanted to separate the factions based on class, they would have needed to have several classes as different, similar to how strategy games handle different units on a side that manage to overlap to cover all functions.
 
I wish they had stuck to the original idea of the 'hero' class being like prestige classes in D&D. Something you take in addition to your core class. It would make much more sense for Druids to take the Archdruid hero class, than for there to just be an Archdruid hero class by itself.
 
The other Blizzard April Fool's jokes are funny too. Tauren Space Marines in Starcraft 2, and Molten Core for consoles (with a brilliant video trailer), are brilliant.

The LOTRO chicken class is also a good April Fool's joke. The Battle for Amon Hen! Nice production value.
 
My complaints about the way Hero classes is being implemented is based on the fact that if they only have one maybe two classes you won't see another fekkin thing aside from those two for atleast the first couple of months. people will want to try out the new classes because (in theory) they are something different.

They need more of them to prevent that happening (I also don't like the idea of an entirely seperate class, but thats for a different post).
 
"Just another place where PVP is screwing up the PVE game. Everything gets Homogenized in the name of PVP balance."

Horde wanted paladins for raiding not so much for pvp. Constantly on every forum there'd be whining that alliance was ahead because of "ezmode raiding" thanks to pallies and fear ward.

Alliance wanted shamans for pvp mainly though.
 
My biggest issue with the whole "hero class" thing is that the existing toons are already supposed to be save-the-world heroes, leaving some questions...
How will a 'hero class' be tangibly different than 'normal heroes'?
Is 'hero class' simply a euphemism for '/level'?
Class balance... or not...?

From the scarce information available right now, the WoW "hero class" Deathknight is described as a "tank or DPS" hybrid that uses runes to power abilities.

Several speculations follow...

I'm guessing that a rune is like an uber-gem that fits into the weapon, but the rune itself has a large number of slots (akin to gem slots). Build your rune with gems, meta-gems, and maybe super-gems with great power like a new ability. Collect a second rune with a heroic feat. Build that rune to swap out as the need dictates (tank, DPS).

So 'Runes' (in the case of Deathknight) may be the replacement for (or extension of) the 'talent tree' after level 70.
But who knows?

Maybe...
- A Deathknight uses runes to transition from tank to DPS as a way around the current respect issue
- This could obviously be seen by current tank classes variously as a potential threat or replacement for their current class
- It is possible that there will be more gear competition; however, I see it as more likely that it will mean more gear fragmentation (in other words, a whole new set of gear for each hero class)
- It is remotely possible that all classes will 'feed into' hero classes, and will replace the current 'talent point' design with something more flexible (runes in the case of Deathknight)

And of course...
A "healer or DPS" hybrid is a natural counterpart for a second "hero class"

But will Blizzard *really* go out on a limb and get innovative...?
 
I find it ironic that the masses are crying "we need tanks." Then when Blizzard introdues a Hero class to fill the void, we hear "omg! everyone is going to play a deathknigh! what are we to do??!!".

BTW, from a lore perspective, both Horde and Alliance don't really have a claim on DKs. The original DK is Arthas and he never had any ties to either of the current playable factions. I'll be interested to see how they rewrite lore again to fit in the playable class.
 
We already have a bard class. it's called a shaman. shh, don't tell the shaman's though.
 
well sid its because we know that adding another class that can tank won't help the tanking shortage. It's not a shortage of tank capable toons. It's a shortage of people willing to tank...

@Yunkndatwunk I know that the horde was screaming for pallies for PVE. But they didn't get them because of PVE they got them because blizzard was trying to make both sides the same as they attempted to balance thier PVP game. IMHO that's been the crux of every mistake they've made since BC. It's like trying to make apples taste like oranges.

One of the great things about the game at launch was how different the two sides felt. that is long gone. both sides are the exact same.
 
I think Sam hit the nail on the head there. The problem is that people don't want to play tanks. Why is this? Well PUGs, bluntly.

Tanking for a group of skilled players is a joy. Tanking for a random group of idiots who continuously break CC, pull before you are ready, etc is just unpleasant. The trouble is, PUGs are where people learn their trade and decide whether they like their class. If your experience is "these idiots foul up and then blame me", you'll give up and solo (at which point you realise that prot warriors are lousy soloers and give up completely).

My solution? Give tanks CC powers over their own party! How about:
- Hold idiot: pevents the targeted party member from attacking anything for ten seconds
- Incitement: forces all party members to attack your targte for 30 seconds.

Well, I can dream can't I?
 
Monk please.
 
As a side note, one of my personal annoyances is when people suggest any of the following as a class without any suggestions as to how that character would play differently:

Bard
Barbarian
Martial arts monk
Berserker
Runemaster

In world of warcraft, there is also;

Blademaster
Brewmaster
keeper of the Grove, Far seer, Witch doctor, and any other classes who's main mechanics and spells have been foldded into one of the main 9 classes.

Some of these are annoying just because it seems people were playing too much everquest or dungeons and Dragons, or something else, and just expect to see the same characters repeated. Some are annoying because any mechanics and playstyle the class would have are already folded into another class.

With that out of the way:

Yunkndatwunk I know that the horde was screaming for pallies for PVE. But they didn't get them because of PVE they got them because blizzard was trying to make both sides the same as they attempted to balance thier PVP game. IMHO that's been the crux of every mistake they've made since BC. It's like trying to make apples taste like oranges.

Again, you're missing the issue of balance in raids, small groups, and other types of PvE class roles. If the two sides only have 1 class different from each other, than those two classes will have ot fill the same roles, and as a result will end up playing the same way and have an extra limit on what they can do. Giving shamans and paladins to the other side allows the classes to be taken different directions with still balanced PvE content and less role overlap.

I'm guessing that a rune is like an uber-gem that fits into the weapon, but the rune itself has a large number of slots (akin to gem slots). Build your rune with gems, meta-gems, and maybe super-gems with great power like a new ability. Collect a second rune with a heroic feat. Build that rune to swap out as the need dictates (tank, DPS).

From what I've read about how this works, runes are the deathknight equivalent of mana, rage, or energy. The death knight applies a certain combination of runes to the weapon outside of combat, which than allow the death knights to use abilities, probably with more runes allowing more use of associated abilities. the runes themselves seem like they would just be made out of nothing by the death knight, possibly it would just be an "apply ***** rune" skill, but that is just a guess that seems likely based on other stuff I've heard.
 
I agree with some of the other posters, they should have allowed transition from a normal class into a Hero class, or you can continue on your current track without doing the quests and take your normal class to a different area.

I mean, Arthas became a Death Knight by his own actions, not by anyone else.

Also, as a long time fan of The Bard's Tale computer game, a Bard would have been pretty good fun.
 
If you just ignore the word "hero" in the description then half of these concerns seem to go away.

WoW is my first MMO and only my second RPG so I don't know where the term "Hero Class" stems from (can anyone elaborate?) but it certainly doesn't seem to have the connotations for me that most of you are assigning it.

I kind of though "Evolution of a paladin/warrior" when I heard the term as it's immediately obvious that a game with 1 "uber" class and 9 other ordinary ones could not work.
 
I've said it time and time again, but Blizzard is being silly by just releasing one hero class per expansion. Everyone will roll that "hero" class. Quotes on hero because this class will be on par with current classes, making it an additional class, not a hero class. When I saw the Bard yesterday I got excited for about three seconds, thinking blizzard finally came to their scenes and was holding back info from us, and they would be releasing atleast two hero class....but then I remembered what day it was.
 
Sid67 said:
BTW, from a lore perspective, both Horde and Alliance don't really have a claim on DKs. The original DK is Arthas and he never had any ties to either of the current playable factions. I'll be interested to see how they rewrite lore again to fit in the playable class.

Not quite.. the original Death Knights showed up in Warcraft 2, created by the Orc Warlock Gul'Dan out of the bodies of his fellow Warlockss. Blizz just reused the idea for Arthas (who was created by the Lich King, formerly Nerzhul, another Orc Warlock). So the Horde do have a real claim on the Death Knight role.
 
What would actually be cool is if Death Knights and Forsaken broke off to form their own faction. It would be rather unbalanced.. but maybe a cool event to last for a month before they go back. It would provide some in-game lore about why death knights are part of both factions too instead of part of the Scourge.
 
It wouldnt' be unbalanced if the blood elves went with them and the goblins joined the horde....

but then they'd be keeping thier original promise about a dynamic changing world. Dev's keeping thier promises wouldn't be WOW .....:-P
 
on second thought. It shouldn't be goblins. Dark iron dwarves would make much better hordies.
 
I actually believed that there was going to be a Bard class, as i read the page after April fools... Its when I saw the artwork depicting a Dwarf holding an electric guitar with his foot on an amp that I came to my senses.

For shame...
 
first of all, blizzard has pulled off a lot of amazing things with this mmorpg, so they are probably going to make a way that the two classes will be separate, and so they will probably make some sort of shadow bonuses, and make that critical in their gear, but for the bard being a joke, i saw one of the blizzard employees saying that this was actually turning into a possibility because of all the response they had gotten from it, but personally i see no way how that would work, what if you aggro something else... i mean that would kind of ruin the heart of the game, this is still an rpg, and i dont believe that this would work out very well, i mean what gear would actually work for them? i just do not see this as being something that would improve the game, rather i think it could easily ruin the higher level experience
 
Well i can speculate on how a bard would play differently if done right, and as a hero class.

You would have a primary healer character with a string of auras that can be interchanged depending on the situation, sort of like a holy paladin or a restoration shaman.

What would make it unique is that the bard would be able to stealth (if its true to the dnd origins of bard, bards were rogue/fighter/druid mixtures) and use crowd control while hidden. Their crowd control would be a far improved version of preist mind control where you set an enemey against its friends but are able to control your character.

This would fill a very big strategey gap in the game, quite frankly, there is no viable way to charm monsters in the game right now, aside from Mind Control which 9/10 is a detrimint if cast.

Just my two cents.
 
As a follow-up i think it would help with the lack of healers in the game as well - instead of just sitting in the back casting flash heal over and over again, you can charm your own mob and buff it, contributing as an offtank. You could also be up on the front lines during a pre-pull setting up some form of crowd control in stealth with the rogues.

It would just make a more entertaining avenue to playing a primary healer, and i think overall it would be a godsend.
 
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