Our bellowed community manager for Star Wars The Old Republic Eric Musco, took on the forums today answering an old question on nerfs vs. buffs off classes. Check it out:
Any time that nerfs happen during Class balance, there is a common question we receive “Instead of nerfing , why not buff all of the other Classes up to their performance?” This is a really good question and we want to try to explain to you why we handle balance this way. From that thread, the main point you need to understand is that we balance Classes/Disciplines based on specific DPS, HPS, and DTPS targets.
Now, those balance targets not only dictate Class/Discipline balance, but they dictate balance across all combat in the entire game. Every Mission, Operation boss, piece of gear, and more is all factored around those balance targets. Let’s say that our hypothetical target for Ranged Burst is 1000 DPS and that Arsenal Mercs are currently performing at 1,200 DPS. This means that they are killing everything in the game 20% faster than we intended them to. Again, that’s every boss and every Mission. The inverse is true of Classes that have lower than desired DPS.
If we took every Class and moved it so that it was equal to the highest performing one, now everyone would be way stronger than we intended based on our balance targets. PvE content in general would become too easy, the “time to kill” in PvP would go down quite a bit making for less counter-play. The only way we would be able to “move everyone up to the best Class” is if we simultaneously rebalanced the entire game to be equal to that new target. That kind of thing typically only happens when we increase the level cap, as it is a massive undertaking.
While we are at the topic on Class balancing, check out this video by our house friend VULKK: