Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fun Versus Balance?

Recently, City of Heroes released Issue 20, its first dive into end-game content. Here is the overview for that patch. The part that I am concerned about is the addition of the Incarnate powers. The Judgement power in particular is an ability with a relatively low cooldown, and as the power of a Blaster nuke (a long cooldown DPS, high level power that does a huge load of damage and causes a resource drain). The Judgement power, however, is on a lower cooldown, does more damage, and has no resource crash.

Now, this power is gained in a manner similar to how raid gear works: it's set in a higher tier of content and balanced for that tier. Like most raid gear, it makes the previous tiers far easier and in some cases trivial.

Here's the issue: Unlike raid progression, players of CoH still need the former tier of content for drops. This would be like WoW players who have gotten all their gear from Ulduar still needed items that dropped in Naxxramas. The content becomes trivial to the point of not even needing a full group to clear it.

Now, City of Heroes has always been fairly easy, all things considered. There are builds in the game based entirely around soloing incredibly difficult content, and the devs are on board with that idea. Even so, the Incarnate powers do a huge job in unbalancing the game. A single player can wipe out entire spawns of enemies in one attack. Now, the question is, should we really be concerned about this balance, or just appreciate the fact that it is fun to some people? Some enjoy steamrolling through on their own and this only encourages that. The hardest content still requires groups, so not all content is trvialized.

So, which is more important than? Enjoyment, or Balance?

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