There has been discussion on the European forums today about one topic that keeps coming back like an old penny. WoW racials are always sources of controversy, because of people feeling they’re overpowered or underpowered in given situations.
The specific racial under fire here is the human racial Every Man For Himself. A forum post questions whether this racial is so overpowered as to merit removal or amendment. Nakatoir’s response to that post was as follows:
Racials have an intrinsic inequality; it’s very hard to get away from that if we want to make them all very distinctive at the same time. I wouldn’t dare to insult your intelligence by defending that racials are all perfectly balanced. Clearly they are not, but we also need to realize that there are two sides to this game, and for PvE for example, EMFH suddenly just doesn’t seem so op anymore, except on very specific encounters where a “PvP trinket” effect would give you more uptime.
It has been stated before that devs aren’t too happy about racials and our most distinguishable anthropomorphic crabbie even went so far as to say that if he were to design WoW from scratch, there would be no racials. The thing is, racials have been a part of the game for so long that everyone likes them and is used to the differentiation they provide, racials were designed with the intent of being some of the most distinctive abilities in the game, shaping distinct traits and providing identity to each of the different races.
That is not to say that there’s nothing we can do about it, far from that, devs are already aware of this issue so you already have their attention, perfecting balance is part of the persistent balancing and tuning of WoW. Keep providing us with feedback and suggestions for different racial implementations that you feel are balanced and highly distinctive both for PvE and PvP at the same time, and I’m sure devs will appreciate it, good ideas are always welcome here at Blizzard and many good ideas that make it into our games can actually be traced back to our community.
Nakatoir’s point regarding the PvE viability of Every Man For Himself is very reasonable, given that outside of specific raid situations it is largely useless. But while it’s true that many other racials on the alliance side are totally useless in PvE as well as largely useless in PvP, the opposite could certainly be said for Horde racials.
The most recent world first race has seen Method, the last remaining of the top guilds in 25-man raiding who were on the Alliance side, change to Horde, to access the superior racials. Horde racials have long been thought of as the superior choice for raiding, with the various DPS boosts they provide, such as Berserker Rage or Blood Fury, and the addition of Touch of the Grave has made Undead very strong indeed for tanking.
The question more ought to be whether any races are underplayed because of their racials, whether there are any racials which are genuinely useless and add nothing to any gameplay situation. It seems that any racial which can remove CC is strong, such as the Human racial, Undead racial, or the Gnome racial to an extent. Racials which increase DPS such as the aforementioned Orc and Troll racials clearly have a use, as do ones which provide a CC such as Quaking Palm, Arcane Torrent or War Stomp. The use of Dwarves’ Stoneform is situational, but definitely beneficial, and the same applies for the Night Elf Shadowmeld, which does have its occasional uses in arena or as wipe recovery. The Worgen Speed Boost has its moments, in PvP, as has the Goblin Rocket Jump, which provides excellent mobility.
The least useful of these are probably Gnomes’ Escape Artist, Night Elf Shadowmeld and Dwarf Stoneform, whose uses are very situational. What’s your take on these racials? Are they totally useless? And what would you change?
Guild Wars 2 racials offer an interesting alternative, where the racial abilities can’t be used in PvP combat. Is this a viable alternative?