All told, I think this whole project has worked out rather well. We’re at the end of week one, and already I’ve caused certain vocal commentators to condemn this entire exercise as a complete waste of time, which must mean I’m doing something right :D
Time to reveal who makes it to the next round.
DEATH KNIGHT v DEMON HUNTER
I like my stats on Social media, and it is worth noting that of the 447 people who interacted with the Poll, only 256 voted, I’m assuming because they may not play either class. There were also 59 replies to the original post, the best of which we’ll now look at for an idea of what people wanted to say about these two Hero Classes:
It was a significant decision to play these two classes off against each other, not simply because of the decade’s worth of difference in terms of design and lore. When DK’s arrived back in Wrath, very few people had a good word to say about them, and the same can be said now for Demon Hunters: a fad, a cosmetic nod to the current desire for looks over ability, all about the animations and nothing to do with actual skill… and the list goes on. All the criticisms of DK’s are now the same as DH’s were back then. Time, it seems does little to change the perception of players.
Of the two, my vote goes with the DK’s (despite ever having played either class further than starting zone) because I now fundamentally object to how revisionist history is being utilised in game. Illidan was never a hero, and to have him now effectively dictating the course of Azeroth’s history is, in my mind, a real crime for the rest of the timeline. It also sets a dangerous precedent which is already being highlighted as what I thought was the past has suddenly become anything but. It is only one of many things that has been altered to allow new players an easy way to become part of a collective history, and inevitably my objections mean little or nothing in the grander scheme.
What seems to me to matter now, more than anything else, is playability over depth. That will be apparent too in our next set of results, yet in this case it is the historical background of the DK’s which wins the day. I had assumed that groundswell for the ‘fun’ class would increase their popularity and now realise that this poll probably was helped by the fact that the people who follow me are more interested in backstory when given a choice. One wonders what might have transpired, for instance, had I set DH’s against Druids, considering the range of comments that were received on them. In the end, in a straight fight between nostalgia and the present approach to it, the past won. Despite all the nerfs and tweaks to the class, DK’s remain the choice of those who voted.
PRIEST v DRUID
Again we have more interaction than votes here (603 looked, only 365 voted) and there were considerably more replies to the thread (78 in total) but this time, the gap between winner and runner up belie the devotion from both sets of respondents. This was always going to be a contentious matchup, with reasoning based on what Legion has done to both classes:
Both Priest and Druid have undergone significant alteration under the banner of ‘class fantasy’ with distinct play styles made even more so. In fact, for some that push into niche has been very hard to swallow: of all classes I know personally who have lost players this Expansion, these two have been the largest. In an attempt to make the distinctions between specs more pronounced, I have heard some say that what attracted them to the class in the first place is ultimately what has now driven them away: some people didn’t want these changes and when forced to work within them have struggled as a result.
The problem, of course, with reinventing a class ‘structure’ from the ground up is that you will never please everybody. For those who care about the lore, there is more than enough variety to choose from, but I hear a lot of muttering from those who feel that play style is still not ideal going forward. In that regard, both classes have their own shortcomings, but ultimately when you look at the sheer range of variety that a Druid can bring to the table, it is easy to see why certain Priests would feel this match up was doomed from the offset.
I’d urge you to go read all the Tweets Matt made on this, as he’s played both classes and sums up pretty well what other people had to say in terms of strengths/weaknesses for both. I’m also very sorry to all the Priests who felt that Druid ‘flexibility’ meant they lost out in the voting: I don’t believe that if people had wanted a Priest win, that really would have mattered. The three Priest specs are the most varied in the Class fantasy presented in Legion, at least in my opinion, but survivability as a cloth class compared with stealth and leather… I’m sorry, Priests, but I think whoever I stuck opposite Druids would have complained they weren’t in a fair fight.
Next week, on Tuesday and Thursday, we have the second round of matchups as follows:
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