Once per week, I podcast about Star Wars: The Old Republic. On the last episode, when the subject of “invisibility” style stealth for the recently revealed Imperial Agent class came up, I was adamant in my opposition to it. I hate when you are trying to PVP and thieves or burglers pop out of thin-air and do burst damage as if they had some kind of invisibility spell. I felt pretty sure they wouldn’t give invisibility stealth to Imperial Agents because, afterall, it wouldn’t be balanced for the Imperial Agent to have both cover and invisibility stealth when the counterpart, the Smuggler, does not. Well it seems I was wrong, because the folks at Darth Hater have seen video of an Imperial Agent go stealth with an non-timed toggle switch stealth.
How is this possible I wonder? One side of the fence has stealth, the other does not. It’s possible I think, because the game may not be designed around PVP balance.
Consider for a moment the Sith Warrior class vs it’s counterpart, the Jedi Knight. The Jedi Knight can buff their group, but the Sith Warrior can use thunder-clap style lightning attacks which stun multiple targets for a couple seconds. The Sith Warrior can force-choke an enemy to make them an easy target for their allies, but the Jedi Knight can probably tank better. In most games, player DPS is so high that a couple of seconds of being stunned will out-shine any group-wide buff.
Consider for a moment the Trooper and the Bounty Hunter. The Bounty Hunter can use his wrist-mounted flame-thrower to torch multiple opponents. While being burned alive, enemies will be forced to stop fighting and try to pat down the flames. The burning enemies are completely defenseless against allies attacks during this time. The Trooper does more DPS, by the sounds of it. But how much good will those big guns do if you’re on fire on the battlefield?
The question I’m left asking myself is…”How the heck are they going to balance this for PVP?”
How can they make it satisfy their customers who like games to have the word “war” in the title?
I know, I haven’t played the game yet, none of us have. I know, things are not yet in beta, much less finalized. I know Bioware has a proven track-record of amazingly fantastic blockbuster games. But by the Force, this game will be difficult to balance for PVP. With all the crowd control, “iconic” abilities, and lop-sided DPS, it’s going to be a challenge, even for Bioware, to make the two sides of the war balanced against each other.