Skill & Game Balance - Midkemia Online Online Help

9.1.2 Skill & Game Balance

What Is Skill Balance?
Skill balance is the idea that, all things considered, any choice of class or specialization should be a viable choice. Midkemia Online tries to achieve skill balance for every class and specialization, and constantly makes tweaks, updates, additions and other changes to better achieve this goal -- see the Patchnotes news section for a complete listing, and to keep up to date on the latest changes.

Skill balance is a constantly evolving beast. It is never finished, and changes all the time due to changing game dynamics, as well as when players discover new tactics and combinations that might not have been previously considered. We think this speaks to the complexity and strategy involved in combat in Midkemia Online.

What Is Skill Balance Not?
Skill balance does not imply that two classes or specializations can stand toe-to-toe against each other, or that they will perform equally well in all situations. With over 1,000 spells and skills in Midkemia, it is simply impossible without homogenizing the classes to the point where there would be no difference between them. Each class and specialization has its own strengths and weaknesses, and adds diversity to Midkemia Online.

How Does Midkemia Balance Skills?
Midkemia Online's administrators make decisions regarding skill balance -- ultimately our Producer(s) makes the final decision on all questions of balance.

Midkemia Online generally balances around Transcendent skills. However, we keep in mind that many players are not Transcendent in all of their skills when making balance decisions. Even though we will not ultimately sacrifice top-tier balance in favor of top-vs-mid-tier balance, we still try to achieve some parity between players of relative skill when it is possible to do so.

We do not favor solo vs. group combat when determining skill balance. Both have their place, and both are prevalent. One class may be superior at solo combat, and another at group skirmishes, and we're okay with that. It allows different classes to shine in different situations.

We occasionally get requests from players to institute a system of player representatives to debate and collectively decide on balance questions. While player input and feedback is an important consideration for us, we will never implement a system where players decide balance issues, for several reasons. For one, design by consensus always tends towards the lowest common denominator, and results in boring and dull outcomes based on half-measures and compromises rather than addressing a problem head on. While these may be good outcomes for democracies, they don't lend themselves well to good game design. Secondly, they shut out large numbers of players from the process, requiring you to go through an intermediary to contribute feedback. We want anyone with a valid viewpoint and something interesting to say to feel free to speak out directly. And, finally, the administrators simply have a broader "10,000 foot view" perspective, and it is in our best interests to ensure that all class and specialization choices are equally viable, since that contributes to the overall health of Midkemia Online -- whereas even the most impartial and well-intentioned players are subject to a number of biases. In short, we don't believe in outsourcing game design or game balance.

How Can I Contribute To Skill Balance?
Use the forums (see HELP FORUMS)! We read the forums, though we cannot comment on every thread or discussion just due to the amount of time it would take (and, often, our comments derail an otherwise useful discussion). Players often raise interesting points that we haven't considered, and can be very influential in balance issues when those points are presented in a thoughtful way.

Before you post on the forums, however, please keep a few things in mind: 1.) We commonly see players posting about skills or perceived problems without first testing it extensively beforehand. This distracts from real issues, and makes you look silly and uninformed (especially if you are posting second-hand hearsay). 2.) If you are emotional or upset about an issue then take some time to cool off and gather your thoughts before posting on the forums. Thoughtful, constructive posts are much more likely to attract admin attention and discussion, and result in actual changes, than are angry, ranting or inflammatory posts.

Lastly, keep in mind that the number one thing you can do to improve your class or specialization is to improve your own tactics and strategy. While many of us (admins included!) hate to admit we're not the best we can be, working on improving your own mastery of combat is generally bound to have better outcomes than asking for buffs for your own class or nerfs to another class on the forums. Player skill is an overwhelming factor in any match-up. Be humble in victory, and graceful in defeat, and you'll often find there was something you missed where you can improve for next time.