Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 7

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

A Last Glance Behind: Star Wars Galaxies in Retrospect
Yes, it is important. Read it.

Unlike a lot of WoW players, I played SWG before the “Jump to Lightspeed” patch was even conceived. I was playing SWG on the Tarquinnis server before the first combat “upgrade,” and it was one of the most fun MMOs I’ve ever played.

For me it was the crafting system that made the game fun. However, others found more joy in the PvP aspect of the game — silly as it was. There was virtually no threat mechanic, and endgame PvE content just plain didn’t exist as we think of it today (think back to EQ1).

Still, for a long time, SWG was fun. Immersing oneself in the lore of Star Wars and choosing a side (Rebel v. Imperial) were some of the best game ideas to hit the MMO market. Unfortunately it also came with one of the worst ideas to hit the MMO market: Jedi.

Jedi were, at the release of the class, over-powered. They were designed to exist in very small numbers and required a complicated, lore-filled series of quests — HIDDEN QUESTS MIND YOU! — to become one. Jedi had abilities that blew other classes out of the water. They were what a hero class is supposed to be.

The justification for Jedi was that a world full of Star Wars lore would not be complete without them, and they should exist in some fashion. Fair enough.

The problems arose when some idiot actually figured out how to unlock Jedi and made a forum post detailing how to do it. Wonderful. Now you have a balance issue. This, of course, leads to what is referred to publicly as The Worst Game Decision Ever Made in the History of MMORPGs to date.

Yeah. It was that bad.

SoE decided that they were going to balance the entire combat system around ONE class: The Jedi. This yielded the “Combat Upgrade” content patch along with a new looking UI and an overhaul of the Jedi class all rolled up into one miserable ball. Within weeks, SWG lost 85% of its player subscriptions. The remaining 15% would slowly leave over the next 10 weeks.

SoE removed the individuality of the classes by balancing them to roles centered around ONE class. Refer to Part 6

______________________________________________________
Up next in Part 8: Recap: Normalization Doesn’t Create Balance

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13 Responses to Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 7

  1. Gorgola says:

    Star Wars Galaxies was my first MMO and I played it starting on launch day and lasted almost a year. At first I was in awe as this whole MMO thing was new to me. but then the wonder faded and I saw just how broke and poorly balanced SWG really was. I left before they got flooded with Jedi and I’m glad I did.

    I jumped over to Everquest 2 and enjoyed it immensely. I also remember when I began losing interest in it. I was a big fan of the movement to unlock the Froglok race that SOE assured everyone was in the game and was unlockable. There were hints and clues provided by devs and a LOT of folks were enjoying trying to figure this out. Then SOE comes along and says, “Yeah, they were never in game and could never be unlocked but if you now do this stupidly easy quest you can unlock them.”

    These two experiences are what has completely soured me to Sony Online Entertainment.

    BTW Surazc, thanks for digging up the old memories of pain and anguish. I’m going to go cry myself to sleep now.

  2. Justin says:

    No problem.

  3. Taurias says:

    Awww. Good ol’ tarq. I miss the good old days on that server and in the game. Played from nearly the beginning until the nge. Good lesson for other mmo’s to learn from.
    Swg was where I learned to love tank specs.

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  8. […] Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 7 « I’m Tanking What?! Says: March 5, 2009 at 8:09 am […]

  9. […] Part 7 – A case study of how Star Wars Galaxies ruined the game by balancing around one class […]

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  11. […] Part 7 – A case study of how Star Wars Galaxies ruined the game by balancing around one class […]

  12. […] Part 7 – A case study of how Star Wars Galaxies ruined the game by balancing around one class […]

  13. […] Part 7 – A case study of how Star Wars Galaxies ruined the game by balancing around one class […]

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