Whether you are into player vs player or you never touch it everyone seems to share the same opinion in some way, that the game is always screwing over one aspect for another aspect. I would be willing to bet that any player that knows their class can give at least 10 cases where their class was screwed over for a change made to help PvP balance and the same goes the other way. I am sure any player that likes PvP can say that their class has taken a hit because of something that needed to be done for PvE.
It is not a small task to try and balance both of them so they both work at least kinda sorta well in both aspects of the game. No matter what your main focus of the game is it is fairly certain that you would agree with the statement that balancing for one always ends up screwing over the other.
If blizzard were ever forced to pick a side it would only make sense that PvE is the side they pick to balance. After all warcraft is a PvE game. It is not, has not ever been, and will never be a PvP focused game.
I am sure some would argue that fact but I could easily dismiss their argument with a few simple facts that prove warcraft is a PvE focused game. Quests offer PvE gear not PvP gear, so quests are PvE content. World drops, random greens, even white and grey items you get off mobs in the world are all PvE focused. Dungeons, raids, scenarios, basically any type of group content that does not take place in an arena or battleground is PvE focused and if the game was meant for PvP why would they waste the incredible amount of time it takes to create that type of instanced content if it were not the focus of the game. And then there are those battlegrounds and arenas.
If anything that is the nail in the coffin to the argument that warcraft is a PvP game. If it were a PvP game they would not have went out of their way to remove it from the world and place it somewhere that only the people that wanted to do it would be involved with it. If the game was meant to be PvP focused they would have added major objectives in the world for PvPers to aim for instead of sticking them away from everyone else in their private little world where they will only fight with others that wish to fight.
So if they were ever going to abandon part of the game in terms of balance and decide to balance for one aspect only it makes sense that it would be PvE that the game gets balanced for.
But wait, there is a bit of a double edged sword here. While warcraft is a PvE game and that can not be argued, PvP has a much wider player base that PvE. PvE really does not "matter" until the end game whereas you can PvP from the moment you hit 15 and enjoy it just as much as someone enjoys raiding at max level. In my opinion, that just makes PvP a much better designed part of the game and I would love to get into that more in a post some day about what PvE can learn from PvP.
In what is outdated information, but all I have to latch on to, I will paraphrase the last solid numbers I heard quoted from a developer. 7% of players participate in organized raiding (including LFR) at least once a week and 30% of players participate in battlegrounds at least once a week.
Now those numbers are old and I am sure the 7% PvE number has went up for various reasons such as the need to raid and raid a lot to get the cloak and blizzard removing any way to gear your character outside of raiding. This had to push a great deal of people into at least the LFR. But, and this is completely a guess with no facts to back it up, I would believe that more people still PvP at least once a week than raid at least once a week.
But, what if blizzard stopped trying to balance for both and just focused on one, that one being PvE?
If history shows us anything it is that in PvP people are more likely to reroll to a flavor of the month class. PvE players seem to get attached to their class and associate themselves with it more and are less likely to change. Now this does not mean there are no PvPers that feel attached to their classes and there are no PvEer that would not switch at a moments notice because they want to play a stronger class. But just the over all broad strokes show that PvPers are much more likely to switch to the power class.
So with that said, if the game was not balanced for PvP then the PvPers would just choose whatever class happens to translate best and is the most powerful. At least that is my opinion of what would happen. Over the years I have met and known many PvPers that are really into it and they switch classes whenever one is more powerful, heck they have even been known to switch factions, which means most of those serious PvPers I know are now horde.
Looking at those numbers I mentioned earlier we see that more people PvP than PvE over all but that is because the PvE numbers are counted for max level only and the PvP ones are for any level. PvP content is better content as it spans the entire life of the game. No doubt about that. It is also easier to design for because you do not need to do anything beside give people a place to fight. So while older raids become useless once new ones come out older battlegrounds are still as important to a PvPer at 15 as they are at 90.
So, being we see that PvP is popular at any level we already know, as an absolute fact, that PvPers have no real problem that would keep them from playing when it comes to things not being balanced. Balance is always created around max level and this means classes at lower levels are never balanced. If you do not believe me, roll a hunter or a disc priest and enter a low level battleground. If you want to talk about OP you can talk only after you have done so. Each of those classes have a wide range of levels where they are so over powered that when you see them you might as well just roll over and play dead because you are going to be dead soon.
This shows us, at least to some small extent, that PvPers are willing to accept certain classes or specs being over powered. Sure they might complain, but they deal with it. It is not like you ever hear a PvEer complaining that at level 60 he can not pull his weight in molten core and that mages are too over powered for the raid because at low levels people do not legitimately raid but they do legitimately PvP. And they do legitimately PvP with all that low level imbalance there.
So we have that prior knowledge that PvPers can deal with mismatched balance because they already do it all the time. My belief is, and it is only an opinion of course, that at max level it would work the same way. PvPers would just figure out which classes are the most powerful and if they wanted to win they would switch to that class. It is really that simple.
I think it would be a bad idea for blizzard to not try and balance both but being they refuse to do it the right way, or at least a decent way (there are many ways that I will go over some day but they won't do them) it would be interesting to see what might happen if they just stopped trying.
I decided to ask what would happen if they stopped balancing for PvP because I believe it would not hurt the game as much as if they stopped balancing for PvE. In the end they will lose some players but they would lose a hell of a lot more than if they stopped balancing for PvE, and after all, this is a PvE game.
Do you think that the game would be hurt really badly and people would quit in large numbers if they stopped balancing (attempting to) for PvP or do you think like I do, that the PvPers would all just roll the flavor of the month and keep moving along. What are the possible side effects of just designing balance for only PvE that you can think of?
Gear. Again. Still.
29 minutes ago