Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pirate101: Disparity Between Witchdoctor and Buccaneer

I ran the Miranda instance in Pirate101 last night.  For those of you who don't know all the instances by name, this is the one where you have to collect cards for a poker game with Death.  The instance warning on this one says it could take up to 2 hours to complete.

I was running this on Witchdoctor last night who was level 35 at the time and it struck me how much easier this seemed since the last time I was here on my lvl 37-38 Buccaneer.  I think this has to do with the way the classes are designed.  Witchdoctors never really use their main attack after you get to a certain point in the game because they have an over abundance of abilities.  So many in fact, that developer Ratbeard has stated officially that part of the strategy with Witchdoctors is which abilities to discard and which to keep.  Buccaneers, on the other hand, barely have any abilities and fewer still that are direct attacks.  To compensate, they have high armor/dodge and a strong melee direct attack.

As I have stated before, Bucks need some help.  They are meant (based on their description) to be heavy armor wearing melee, so a tank in the traditional RPG mold.  However, one of the hallmarks of a tank is the ability to hold aggro, or to put it another way, to keep the enemy focused on them.  Then, they can mitigate all the damage they receive from this attention with the defensive abilities and heavy armor.  They won't hit as hard as every other class, but they should have a higher survival rate and their companions should last longer because the monsters stay more or less focused on the Buck.  Unfortunately, this isn't the case with the way the game is now.  With their lower damage and no real area of effect abilities to speak of inherent to the class, Bucks can't hold aggro and, in more difficult battles, can end up standing alone against the remaining enemies and, over the next 10-15 minutes, slowly winning the back and forth dodging war (particularly a problem in MooShu where enemies have a very high dodge rate).

Jumping from my witchdoctor to my buccaneer is always jarring in just how powerful my witchdoctor feels and how ineffective my Buccaneer feels.  I don't think it's a problem with my strategy and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on this game.  I know they have said that they are looking into the Buccaneer class, but I hope they do it soon.  I like playing tanks.  I don't mind battles taking a little longer because I have more defense than offense, but I don't like not being able to protect my companions, who are high damage/low armor (the damage has to be dealt by someone, after all) while my Buck rarely takes any damage at all.  Having to stack accuracy in favor of all other stats doesn't seem like a fun solution.

I love this game and I like the idea of Buccaneers, but I may have to take on another class as my main if playing as a buccaneer becomes too frustrating.  I'll revisit this again when I get further with the other three classes and, eventually, I'll do an in depth comparison of them all.  Until then, I have a lot of leveling to do!

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