First, before I start off on my ill-tempered rant, I'd like to say Happy December! I'm really excited for my Christmas Party AND Christmas Day, and I know you probably are too! December is a great time of year; a time of giving, caring, and overall kindness, which is why I generally love it. However, I'd like to talk to you guys about one small thing before I move on with my loving and giving December mood:
Those of you who occupy Wizard101 Central every now and again might be familiar with this thread. If you don't want to read through that huge block of text, it's basically a Central user known as MLHagan who is "petitioning" for a Balance Shield. Hagan, a Sorcerer, mind you, wants KingsIsle to implement a Balance Shield ( a specific Shield that blocks -80% Balance Power) in hopes that, along with that Balance Shield, KingsIsle will ALSO create a Balance specific blade, trap, and possibly bubble. Hagan claims that Balance has been undermined by KingsIsle for far too long, and Hagan claims that it is time for these Balance specific charms. Hagan also tells us that Balance has the least amount of buffs and debuffs, and that a Balance Shield was actually hinted at by KingsIsle via the level 68 quest.
In my opinion, it is NOT time for Balance to gain school specific buffs and debuffs, and I don't quite believe it will ever really be time for them.
Now, before I begin, I'd like to state that I really am thankful for MLHagan. This W101Central user got me on the road to blogging, and without them, this blog post you're reading right now probably wouldn't have ever existed. They were my mentor for a long time, and we spent much a time theorycrafting and discussing different possibilities on new worlds and spells. So I hold a lot of respect and thanks to MLHagan.
That being said, a Balance Shield kinda defeats the purpose of a Balance Wizard. A Sorcerer is known for their many charms or enchantments that they can use on their allies and themselves to effectively take down their opponent. Thus, when you mix every blade, what do you get? You get a Balance Blade, HOWEVER, this Blade becomes Universal. Why? Why, when we mix all the blades, do we get a universal blade? To me it's obvious; since you mixed buffs from every school, it yields a single buff that can be used by all schools. I don't really know how much more basic that statement can get. While I understand Balance is a combinational school, not a universal school, combining all the schools often yields universal spells; spells that can be used by all schools of magic.
Behold Balance Blade, a Universal Card That's a Result of All Schools
Don't forget, we also have a universal shield to counteract that universal Balance Blade. Although trained in the Ice School, it's known as Tower Shield. Now why KingsIsle put Tower Shield in the Ice School, I don't know, nor do I quite agree with (even if it remained trainable, I honestly think it should be trained from Alhazred), however that's not my point; each blade has a counterpart. Fire Blade has Fire Shield, Life Blade has Life Shield, etc. It wouldn't make sense to implement a Balance Shield into the game; a shield with no "true" counterpart. A solution to that, made by the opposing argument, was to either make a Balance Damage Only Blade or make Balance Blade a Balance Damage Only Blade. However, this can't be. Why? For several reasons, one being it would simply stray from the support build of the class. It would teach Balance students to be more "selfish" if you will, to use charms on themselves rather than on the stronger players for the good of the team (hence why Sorcerers attacks aren't necessarily the strongest out there; it encourages them to buff other players to build STRONGER attacks). This fact is supported by other Support Classes; take Life for example. There is no such heal that can only be used to benefit Life Students (in other words, there's no heal that can only be exclusively casted on Life wizards. ) Sure, a Life Blade can in fact be cast on other wizards, HOWEVER, only a wizard of Life could truly put that Blade to its best use. Hence, Balance is encouraged to work for the team by possessing universal buffs and debuffs.
Whole Page in the Spell Book of a Sorcerer, Almost Completely Buffs.
Another reason why a Balance Damage Only Blade cannot exist is simply because it goes against the lore of the game. While the different schools of magic USUALLY come together to form a whole new school of magic (aka Balance), this is not always the case. Examples of this would be Spectral Minion, Spectral Blast, Hyrda, and more recently Chimera. These spells show that, when the different schools come together to make up a Balance Spell, the end result is not always a Balance based effect. This is the same case when it comes to Balance Blade, and to a degree, Tower Shield. Now obviously, KingsIsle is responsible for when the output of Balance combination is 1 (a Balance based effect) or a 0 (non Balance based effect). The same applies for the spell Hex.
An Example of a Combination of Schools That Has a Balance Based Effect Output.
An Example of a Combination of Schools That Has a Non Balance Based Effect Output.
Now should Balance have a power-boosting field bubble? My personal opinion is yes and no. While Balance has Power Play (+33% Power Pips; correct me if the percentage is wrong, but the general effect is what I'm looking to describe), they kinda got the short end of the stick when it came to the field bubbles. However, on a small tangent that I won't talk much about, they aren't the only ones, as some might say. Death got Doom and Gloom (once -50% healing, now -65% healing) and Life got Sanctuary (+50% healing), so it would not be accurate to say Balance was the only school to not get a power-boosting bubble. However, the reason I surface that argument is because of its relevancy to the topic. Life, a support group like Balance, gets a bubble that supports or encourages their role in a party. While Power Play does help a party in theory, it becomes less so in later levels, whereas that +50% healing is ALWAYS helpful. Therefore, I purpose that Balance get a power-boosting bubble to encourage their destined role in the party. HOWEVER, if this were to be implemented, it would HAVE to be a UNIVERSAL boost. This would encourage that support role meant for the Balance class while at the same time "even the playing field" for Balance Wizards. I've also been suggesting a Balance Prism for quite some time (transfers Balance Damage into random Life, Death, or Myth Damage) as have many players, however our attempts are obviously so far unsuccessful. However, I'm straying from the topic...
I also took the liberty a few days ago to go through each and every one of my characters' decks and count up the number of buffs each wizard had respective of their school (so, for example, spells such as Elemental Blades, Spiritual Blades, and Feint would only count for Balance and Death). I defined the term "buff" as the following: Any spell that increased the base statistic for a player in a positive way (thus, wards, dispels, or prisms, however, I did count any and all blading for minions). The results are as follows:
1. Fire: 4 (Fuel, Fire Blade, Fire Trap, WyldFire)
2. Ice: 3 (Balefrost, Ice Trap, Ice Blade)
3. Storm: 6 (Supercharge, Storm Blade, Storm Trap, Windstorm, Lightning Strike, DarkWind)
4. Life: 5 (Life Blade, Life Trap, Sanctuary, Guiding Light, Brilliant Light)
5. Myth: 4 (Myth Blade, Myth Trap, Time of Legend, Blade Minion)
6. Death: 5 (Death Blade, Death Trap, Feint, Curse, Dark Pact)
And now Balance...
7. Balance: 9 (Balance Blade, Hex, Elemental Blade, Spiritual Blade, Elemental Trap, Spiritual Trap, Bladestorm, Precision, and Power Play)
Another Wizard101 Central user know by the name egaad also went and counted up all the debuffs of each school. This list would include spells that nerf or buffer the base stats of a spell. Spells such as these would include removing wards or charms, dispels, or infection/weakness type spells. These would also include spells that not only do damage but have an effect that summons a debuff. Here's the run down:
1. Fire: 4 (Steal Charm, Quench, Smoke Screen, Efreet)
2. Ice: 2 (Steal Ward, Melt)
3. Storm: 5 (Disarm, Dissipate, Cleanse Charm, Sirens, Leviathan)
4. Life: 2 (Entangle, Gnomes!)
5. Myth: 5 (Earthquake, Shatter, Pierce, Cleanse Ward, Vaporize)
6. Death: 4 (Choke, Virulent Plague, Plague, Dr. Von's Monster)
And now Balance...
7. Balance: 6 (Power Nova, Weakness, Black Mantle, Unbalance, Spirit Diffuse, Elemental Diffuse)
So credit goes to egaad from W101Central for counting those up. So it's very apparent that Balance does not in fact have the least amount of buffs and debuffs; this also proves that buffing and debuffing allies and enemies is Balance's specialty.
Some say that a Balance Shield actually exists, however:
This picture, also seen at the top of the post, is a picture of the Balance bookshelf in the Hoarder's Tower in DragonSpyre; this is where you are sent to retrieve your class's Level 68 Spell. Some believe this is undeniable proof that this is a message from KingsIsle saying that a Balance Shield will come soon. My opinion? It's simply a decorative item to represent an idea. If they put a Tower Shield at the top of Balance's Bookshelf, it would be kind of confusing because the Global icon does not symbolize Balance. It was simply there to designate Balance's Bookshelf. Nothing more. But again, that's just my opinion.
Like This Creature ... Probably Never Going to See It, But It's There!
My underlying point is this; although there are other Support Classes in other MMOs and RPGs, Balance is very unique. It employs some different techniques that no other MMO has used before, which is hard to come up with (props on that, KingsIsle). So please; let KingsIsle make the decisions on what is "best" for Balance. While I'm not saying you should never speak up for what you believe to be wrong/right, KingsIsle knows what they're doing, and with the help of their great community, they'll see a problem and fix it thoroughly, as we've seen with all their admitted mistakes. Although we may not see a certain action proper, it may be part of KingsIsle plans in the future to make something even better!
So this post turned out to be longer than I expected. Sorry for that! ^_^! So with that, I walk into the cheery , joyous, and stress less month that is December! Please feel free to post your opinion on the topic below. Also, I'll be sure to clue you in on times and locations for my Christmas Party shortly. See you soon!