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I have made an account specifically for the purpose of making this thread. Infact this whole accounts existence aside from the small discussions I will make here and there on this forum, only exist because I needed to discuss this topic with others and get opinions from others.
First off I would like to just say that I completely understand that some mmo's need to make money to keep their servers running, even free mmo's. I understand that this is the main reason why mmo's tend to the masses and don't always target a specific audiance or end up targeting a specific audiance at first, finding out that they could get more money by tending to the mass general public instead, and then end up changing the game based on the audiance that begins to play the game later on and no longer focus on the initial group that was targeted by the game in the first place, creating great disappointment to those people and making a new community populate the game instead.
Before I reach the main point I created this topic for, which is my views on why balancing a game is actually not balancing the game as much as the game designers believe it is, I must say that whenever a game ends up tending to the larger needs of a larger community instead of tending to the larger needs of the initial community that was targeted, it ends up destroying the game and the old version of the game is never released playable again to the old community that was there in the first place. A good example of this would be runescape, although they clearly learned from their mistakes and understood that there is more then one community that made the game up in the first place. People incorrectly believe that this is an asymetrical state of matters. If this was an asymetrical state of matters then everyone would be exactly the same, like exactly the samething, and there would probably only be one game to tend to the needs of everyone which updates based on what 100% of the community would agree on because they would all be exactly the same.
People like different things and a community based on a specific thing that those people like should stay about what those people like. Imagine if the majority of the world found economics and marketing to be fun, but, everyone who liked economics and marketing also liked mmorpgs, however not everyone who liked mmorpgs likes economics and marketing. Because the larger amount of the community at mmorpg.com ends up liking economics and marketing, a vast majority begin making topics about how awesome it would be if there was more topics based around economics and marketing and because it is the vast majority, the forum slowly begins turning into a "lets talk about economics and marketing most of the time" and will decrease the amount of people actually dicussing video games that they enjoy video games and not economics and marketing. It might not seem like a big deal to the reader, but, because everything isn't always black and white, it would completely alter the way that this forum works and how people socialize about video games including people disagreeing with eachother most of the time because half the community likes something the other half doesn't and attempts to force that community to change because they are the bigger community.
Back on topic, I have noticed in most of the games that I play, the character that I would be the best at would end up getting "balanced" as the game designers proclaim, in order to make up for the lacking abilities of the other characters in the game. Here is the two main things that are looked at in a character when balancing a character. First is the characters ability to have a fair fight, second is the characters ability to perform their specific task that they existed for in the first place. We will take team fortress 2 for example. The medics job is to heal and support, The snipers job is to kill things from a distance that are out in the open, The spys job is to decieve the enemy team, The engineers job is to create stationary defense weapons and maintain them, The pyros job is the ambush specific classes of vulnerable enemies, the demomans job is to set up traps for the larger and less vulnerable enemies, the soldier and scouts job is to assault the enemy, and the heavy is a mobile defensive weapon that is mobile at the expense that it is not a machine like the engineers defensive weapons. Each of these classes have a specific task and the game is not just a normal first person shooter, but, a tactical team effort to win the game, hints team fortress 2. Each person in the world might be very good at one class while not so good at another class in the game. In every event in the game, the main objective, no matter what it is, will involve the killing of the enemy team or enemy units. Because every class has a specific purpose in the game, not all classes in the game will be able to have a fair fight in a combat scenario. Because not everyone can use other classes as effectively that would give them an advantage in combat, a majority of people end up demanding that the assault classes get weakened and that the non-assault classes get stronger to make up for the lack of combat abilities, while still maintaining their special abilities in the game. At the end of it all, all the characters in team fortress two stand a fair chance against eachother in a fight, while defeating the whole purpose of them having the unique abilities in the first place or being a unique class in the first place. This is another example of tending to a different community then the initial community, being as the game actually changes to tend to the needs of the "new majority".
Imagine that I created a program that tested the skills at first person shooting that a player has. Imagine that the program also can rate a players ability to be successful in a game. The program breaks the community into percentiles, making the top five percent stand out to the lower ninty-five percent. Alright, now imagine that a new game came out with multiple classes and everyone was allowed to use any class they wanted to use. As the game continues becoming popular, it begins a "tend to the masses" effect and the game begins to get balanced and the initial purpose of the game begins to fade or become ruined. After the tend to the masses occurs, the top five percent of the people who are successful in the game decide that they are going to select a specific class out of all the "perfectly balanced classes". This is the class that they will use a majority of the time. Let us say that there are 32 classes in the game for whatever reason. Before, an equal amount of players had selected each of the classes to play as a majority of the time. Now, the top five percent and most hardcore tabacco chewing sigar smoking wine drinking gamers are now rocking only one class and no other class on purpose. Because all of the classes are balanced in combat effectiveness, it means that at the end of the day, its all about your real life skill and ability to succeed. Because the top five percent of an entire community rock a single class, guess which class is now over powered to the 95% of people who don't know how to play a game? Thats right, the 5% class. That means that people will be losing most of the time to a specific class and that when they play as that class, they won't actually get better results because the class is actually balanced perfectly with all the other classes. So now what?
"Game developers, there is a specific class that is over powered and you guys need to nurf it"-95% of the gaming population. Thats correct! The class will just get nurfed and become a weaker class, at which point if this theoretical 5% of cowboy boot wearing, fedora sporting, leather jacket weilding game masters could easily switch to a new class that they will be using, and rock the class that got nurfed and everyone else at the same time.
So what am I trying to say about why balancing a game is actually unbalancing a game? It destroys the community and you are only tending to the majority of people, who unfortunantly weather you like it or not, are no good. When you tend to the masses, you aren't just tending to players that are no good at the game in the first place, but, you are also tending to players that might be good, but, are also from a different community which likes two things at once and not just one thing.
My proposal to the MMORPG community
I didn't just come here to gripe for a long long time and I know this will probably either be a hit or miss thread, but, my proposal is that if you like a game balls deep when it first comes out, that you should "push" it upon the forum and game developers of that game to make a topic specifically for "hardcore" fans of the "initial" game as to preserve it for its original state of balance and segregate those who like the initial game from those who like the "tend to the masses" version of the game. It is true that some games really are unbalanced, but, I do not understand why you should destroy the initial community through means a liminality instead of accepting that we don't all like the same thing and making a "distinction" in the different members of the community from the balls deep fans to the just the tip fans.