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balance vs. cenematics


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So I was l looking the other day and trying to determine if we, as an MMORPG community, really need “balance.” I mean, does balance really fit into an RPG? WOW did it after all, so maybe I just don’t really understand RPGs. While I was contemplating this, I happened to be watching the SWTOR trailer entitled “Hope.” It wasn’t until it was over that I realized that in the whole battle, I did not notice one smuggler, and possibly, not one Jedi Counselor. What I saw were troopers and fighting Jedi. Oddly, in a war were combat prowess and firepower mattered, not one non-combat oriented profession was present in the fighting. So, then I went and watched the trailer “Return.” There is a smuggler in that trailer, but oddly, he doesn’t shout, “YOU JEDI RUN FOR FREEDOM!! I WILL DESTROY THIS SITH LORD!!” In fact, other than is minor heroic moment in the hallway, his main focus is to get out of the area ASAP. Having read a good bit of the Star Wars novels, and obviously seeing all the movies, as well as most of the video games, I have realized that in most instances, smugglers run. They don’t charge into the heat of battle, cursing at the higher powers about the fact that some sith keeps killing them and whining, “it’s just not fair”. A smuggler’s only real interest in combat was who would pay more for weapons.


So then I began thinking about my days of pen and paper RPGs. You know, if I wanted to be a troll killer, I would roll a fighter, or later, a barbarian. If I decided to roll a thief or a mage, I didn’t do it thinking, “I can’t wait to see how this guy does in a sword fight.”


All that to say this, balance has no real basis in RPGs. If you want combat balance, play first person shooters. Heck, even talk to bioware about making a Star Wars shooter. But don’t play an RPG, roll a non-combat class, and then complain that he doesn’t do so well on the battlefield. Please, leave the RPG in RPGs. They are different Roles for a reason.

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