Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 4

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

A Word on Classes and Roles
What is the difference between a Warrior and a Fighter?

In D&D there are two classes which to a WoW player would be exactly the same: the Warrior and the Fighter. Both wear heavy armor, can use every weapon in the game, and get nearly identical skills and talent points. The difference between the two of them lies in how they can spend those points.

The D&D Fighter class gets bonus feats unlike any other class in the game and it is this that allows the Fighter to get the 8-feat prerequisite powerful cleaving lightning whirlwind attack which hits for 54D6+8D10+STR damage.

The Warrior class on the other hand can spend his bonus feats on the Turtle Shield wall technique and become basically immune to all damage.

The classes in this case are the “same” but the roles are “different.” The fighter is the “DD” role and the warrior is the “DR” role. A WoW example would be that the Fighter is a Fury warrior whereas the Warrior is a Protection warrior.

The Warrior is NOT the Fighter because of HOW they put points in their class to determines what they do.

What is the difference between a Warrior and a Death Knight?
Ah, finally, direct talk about WoW, something people have probably been waiting for. What IS exactly the difference between a warrior and a Death Knight? Allow me to rephrase that question: What is the SINGULAR difference between the warrior and the Death Knight? The answer: Stylization.

Warrior tanks are all about steady mitigation over long periods of time. They have VERY FEW cooldowns that they can use in emergency situations and place priority on reducing damage rather than outright preventing it. A warrior should never tank like a Death Knight because it’s not how his class was designed to function in the role of a tank.

A juxtaposition of Warriors and Death Knights in the realm of DPS will yield the exact same results: Warriors are not meant to deal damage like a Death Knight because it is not how the Death Knight was designed.

Warriors are NOT Death Knights and should NEVER work like them as it is against the initial design concept of the Warrior.

That’s not how I Role
Both Warriors and Death Knights tank, which puts them both (potentially) in the role of the DR (Damage Receiver). The question then is: “How do I balance tanking from a Warrior’s perspective versus a Death Knight’s and vice-versa?”

This question has no simple answer. You can only balance it out by either adding things to a class or removing things from a class. When you choose to add, you must stay true to the idea of your original class mechanic; when you subtract, you have to add something to take the place of what you removed.

The difficulty here though is that not only Warriors and Death Knights tank, but also Druids and Paladins. How do you balance the 4 classes in the same role? Do you make all of them virtually the same, or only 2 of the four the same? Do you favor one over the other? Do you give one more health but less mitigation?

The sad truth is that NONE of those answers are right. Doing anything I mentioned above is balancing the role instead of balancing the class. “DK’s have more cooldowns,” cries the warrior. “Warriors have Shields!” Retorts the DK. It’s part of playing the class.

Warriors don’t have Icebound Fortitude. Tough. We don’t have shields or shield-block (which is NOT useless. Stop saying that.), get over it.

Balancing classes according to their role is BAD GAME DESIGN. Refer to Part 3.

Up next in Part 5: The Meat of the Issue


13 Responses to Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 4

  1. Balthazar says:

    Uhm, what edition of D&D are you talking about? Because in 3 and 3.5, the Warrior in D&D is an NPC class, not intended to be used by players at all. And in 4th Ed, the Fighter exists, but there’s no warrior at all in the core rules. If it exists in some supplement or another, that’s relatively unimportant.

    If you’re talking 2nd Ed, it gets even more confusing, and none of what you’re talking about is accurate there, either. You’re basically lying here. I’m not sure why.

  2. […] Part 4 – How class balancing by role ruins games […]

  3. […] Part 4 – How class balancing by role ruins games […]

  4. […] Part 4 – How class balancing by role ruins games […]

  5. Justin says:

    The Warrior class was never truly intended for PC use, this is true and actually mentioned by WotC themselves in the DMG for 3.0 and 3.5.

    If however you read Dragon Magazine, you will find an article (I think it was in dragon 590) about how it is possible to make the Warrior class fit for PC consumption, and the way that WotC’s Dragon writers suggest doing this is through making a shining definition between the Warrior and the Fighter by giving one a focus on offensive capability and the other a focus on reactive combat (tanking).

  6. […] Part 4 – How class balancing by role ruins games […]

  7. Krohnos says:

    Erm, are you bored dude? What is this article about? I started to read and i was like what the f*** is this? It’s completely about NOTHING! You ask questions all the time like a starter journalist…

  8. […] Part 4 – How class balancing by role ruins games […]

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