I'm reading over on the official Legends of Aria forums where someone suggested that the mages are overpowered and that perhaps the developer should implement the strategy of Rock/Paper/Scissors for balancing the game. Since my gut reaction is to oppose what everyone else is writing and to be a troll, I decided to post a contrary point of view.
So here, for the sake of a discussion and just for a thought exercise, what if we decided that balance just wasn't that important?
I'm not talking about a FPS here - I mean a full fledged MMORPG.
I'm wondering if the attempt to get 'balance' ends up ruining games more than helping and if really doesn't do anything for the player base.
People want balance because they want a fair fight in PvP encounters and they also want to make money in PvE at roughly the same rate as everyone else. When balance isn't in place people end up getting owned (Problem 1) and they end up chasing FOTM builds (Problem 2) which is exasperating for everyone involved.
I submit for your consideration that the solution of Rock/Paper/Scissors doesn't answer any of the problems it pretends to solve.
1: Rock will always get owned by Paper (ownage still happens)
2: Everyone ends up having at least 3 builds, pulling them out as populations change.
^--- In short, even the Gold Standard Strategy of balance ends up accomplishing very little.
In addition to introducing no real solution I wonder if attempts at balance create more problems than it is worth.
1: The expectation of balance (which will never occur) sours the player base.
2: The gameplay is turned to oatmeal - since every class can kills boss X easily there is no challenge along the lines of "sure, you did it with your mage but can you do it with your warrior?" The answer "sure I can, the developers have ensured balance." is BORING.
3: The constant tweaking to get balance is constantly changing the value of skills - I worked hard to get skill X leveled, oh, now it is nearly worthless. <-- LOTRO did ALOT of this for PvP.
It seems to me that chasing the balance unicorn can be more harmful than good.
Maybe just let class X be OP and allow those interested in a challenge/variety pursue the other classes?