Rock-Smaller Rock-Scissors: How to restore balance in the Class System

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You have probably already figured out what this article is going to talk about by the title as well as the polls I held on both the Forums and the JWA Discord a while back. Yeah, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: The Class System. It was introduced in Update 2.0 to make the Arena more diverse as well as more balanced. While they succeeded in the former, the latter has been an utter failure. There is one class that clearly dominates the system, pushing the other two back in viability. As people will no doubt bring up the facts that Boosts are also a problem, I want to specify immediately that while Boosts contribute to the problem, the core problem itself lies within the Class specification. There is a very clear power difference between the three classes, and this only gets amplified by Boosts. Now I will not talk about Boosts in this article. Rather, I’m going to focus on the core problem itself: The Class system. I will be going over on what I think is wrong with it, what the Community thinks is wrong with it, and how we, as a community, have suggestions to fix it.

Disclaimer: The polls I ran were ran through a period of 24 hours. I took the results and closed the polls so that they would not be influenced again. A total of 64 people voted on the JWA Discord, and a total of 100 players voted on the Forum. Any people that only filled in a part of the survey were omitted from the answers.

What is wrong?

The polls I ran in both the Forums and the JWA Discord asked people which move they thought was the most unbalanced: Fierce Strike, Cunning Strike or Resilient Strike. Almost unanimously Resilient Strike was picked in both places, with a whopping 95% (61 out of 64) on the JWA Discord and 86% (86 out of 100) on the Forums picking Resilient Strike as the most unbalanced move. This was in line with my main thought process when I started this research, as I hypothesised that Resilient Strike would be picked as the most unbalanced move. When I asked about what was wrong with Resilient Strike however, things took a different turn. There was a split between people thinking that Dodge/Cloak removal or the Deceleration was the problem. All in all, when I counted both sides, I saw that about 54.1% (91 out of 164) had chosen Dodge/Cloak Removal as the problem, while 26.8% chose the Deceleration was the issue. I’m not going to lie, this surprised me, as I really saw the Deceleration as the issue that made Resilient attacks unbalanced compared to other attacks.

In order to understand why people thought the way they did on this subject; I went to the comments on both the JWA Discord and the Forum. I will take two sample comments from both sides and show them here. I will also credit the people who made those comments.

Comments on Resilient Strike

Anti-Dodge Comments:

Forum user th3bub14: I feel that Resilient Strike should simply be precise, as it should beat cunnings, just not outright crush them, maybe let RR (edit: Resilient Rampage) keep full removal since it’s locked behind a delay

Forum user Funtime_dino: Got to agree decel has always been the way to deal with speedsters so I see no problem there but doing that while also nullifying dodge and speed increase. That is too much. Precise should be enough, again it should counter not destroy.

Deceleration comments:

JWA Discord member Flaren89: If a Resilient creature still need to have a slow, just replace then Resilient move to Superiority move.

Forum user Delta: I hear people say that reducing speed should be the counter to cunnings, but it really shouldn’t be. What should counter cunnings is high defence and health, since their attacks don’t pierce armour nor are, they all that strong. In an ideal game, speed removal should be a rare thing only a few of them have access to.

As you can see, both sides have arguments on why they think their solution is right. And as Forum user Funtime_dino also mentioned: the community has two different opinions on this subject. So, let’s analyse both options to see what the best solution would be.

Removing Dodge/Cloak removal abilities

Let’s say that we convinced Ludia to change Resilient Strike by making the Dodge/Cloak removal ability of Resilient Strike a Dodge/Cloak bypass. This would create an Arena experience in which Dodge and Cloak would become more prevalent, with creatures such as Eremoceros, Quetzorion, Smilonemys, both Indoraptors, Spinoconstrictor, Phorusaura and the Indominus duo becoming more popular due to their Dodging capabilities.

However, if we look at what some Resilient creatures have as a kit, we can see that a LOT of creatures already have another way to deal with Dodge rather than a Resilient attack. Creatures like Diorajasaur and Majundaboa have a Raking Counterattack that removes Dodge after every attack they take, we have creatures like Ceramagnus, Geminititan, Carbonemys and its many hybrids, Ankylodicurus, and many more creatures that I will not mention have moves that do either Definite or Precise damage. This means that they will have a way to deal with Dodge outside of Resilient Strike. Diorajasaur, Geminititan and the soon-to-be-seen Ceramagnus are three of the most popular Resilient creatures around, so they will still be able to deal massive damage to any dodger available.

On the flipside though, there will be creatures that will now have less opportunities to deal with Dodgers. Creatures such as Trykosaurus, Hadros Lux, Mammolania, Sarcorixis, Stegodeus, Ardentismaxima, Tenontorex and Mammotherium will not be able to deal with Dodge anymore, while still having some options to shrug off Distraction or take hits with their Armor, high Health, Shields, or Healing moves. So, there are two very clear sides to this change, and it almost feels like it creates a divide between the Resilient class: one that can deal with Dodge and one that cannot.

I do finally want to point out one very important thing: Out of all the 87 Cunning creatures around (this does include Cunning mixed with another archetype), only 31 of these has access to Evasive effects, and we add four extras, as both Indominus’ aren’t on this list with their Cloak abilities. There is also Marsupial Lion and Thylacotator that have Prowls. So, in total 35 creatures out of 240 have access to Dodge effects. About 10 of those (including Gorgotrebax) will be used in the upper Arena’s, and one of them is a heavy maybe, that being Spinoconstrictor, as that one relies on Distraction the most. And even then, with the Deceleration effect still there and the general decent damage output Resilient creatures have, most of these creatures will not have any real change if they are hit with two dodge-bypassing attacks back-to-back. Only the bulkiest of these creatures like Gorgotrebax, Indominus Rex and Thylacotator would stand a chance to survive two major hits, and even those three have major issues with the most powerful Resilient creatures: Ceramagnus and Hadros Lux.

Cunning creatures with Evasive abilities (Bold ones will become more viable)

  • Eremoceros
  • Eremotherium
  • Gorgotrebax
  • Indoraptor G2
  • Velosrhacos
  • Indominus Rex G2
  • Quetzorion
  • Smilocephalosaurus
  • Smilodon
  • Smilonemys
  • Thylacotator
  • Ovilophosaurus
  • Oviraptor
  • Blue
  • Aquilamimus
  • Grylenken
  • Indoraptor
  • Monomimus
  • Procerathomimus
  • Spinoconstrictor
  • Deinonychus
  • Gallimimus
  • Haast Eagle
  • Haast Eagle G2
  • Kelenken
  • Ornithomimus
  • Poukaidei
  • Poukandactylus
  • Dilophoboa
  • Marsupial Lion
  • Erlidominus
  • Indominus Rex
  • Phorusaura
  • Phorusrhacos
  • Dakotaraptor

Remove Deceleration Ability

Another fix for Resilient Strike is the removal of Deceleration. But before I start, I want to point out that all the ‘class moves’ as I will call them have a pattern. They all Cleanse one thing the opposing class does well in, remove one or two things the opposing class can throw at them and apply an effect (or two) or bypass something on them. If you don’t believe me, here you will see all effects next to each other.

Fierce Strike Cunning Strike Resilient Strike
Cleanse Vulnerability Cleanse Damage over Time Cleanse Distraction
Remove Shields Remove Damage/Crit Increase Remove Dodge/Cloak
Remove Taunt Apply 100% Critical Chance reduction for 2 attacks, 1 Turn Remove Speedup
Bypass Armor Apply 50% Distraction for 2 attacks, 1 turn Apply 50% Deceleration for 1 turn

This shows that all these ‘class moves’ have four effects they do. To keep it balanced, let’s assume that when Deceleration is removed, Ludia will replace it by making Resilient Strike apply Vulnerability for 1 turn instead.

When the Deceleration effect is removed, this means that now Resilient creatures cannot slow the Cunnings with Resilient Strike anymore. They need to switch to another move such as Decelerating Impact, Group Decelerating Rampage and Slowing Impact if they want to slow the opponent down now. However, this comes at the cost of not being able to Cleanse Distraction anymore while Slowing the opponent down. This makes the Resilient creature have to decide between Slowing and less damage, or more damage but no Slowing.

Slowing however is just one of the counters that Resilient has to Cunning. Resilient also has many Shields, Armor, and High Health. If you would look up how many creatures have a Resilient attack, you will see that a total of 65 creatures have it. Out of those 65, 29 creatures would still have a way of Deceleration to deal with Cunnings. And out of those 65 you have 36 that have Armor, 33 would have high Health (4500 or more) and 44 that have Shields. You also have creatures like Tenontorex, Mammolania, Testacornibus and Bajatonodon that can Heal off damage that they received, giving them effectively more Health while also Cleansing any debuffs. 

If we look at the entirety of the 109 Resilient creatures in this game, almost every single one would have a way to deal with Cunnings that doesn’t involve around Deceleration through Resilient attacks. Creatures like Kentrosaurus and Antarctopelta have Decelerating Counters, creatures like Ankylosaurus and Carbonemys have high Armor stats, the Rhinos offer Shields, Health and Armor, Sauropods offer high Health and Decelerating attacks that aren’t Resilient attacks; I could continue for a while. Removing Deceleration from the list of effects that Resilient Strike does would hardly impact on how good the Resilient class is able to counter the Cunning class. Giving it Vulnerability would increase its damage output, but if we look at how many and what creatures have Vulnerability resistances, we see that the majority of this group consisting of 76 creatures is either Fierce or Resilient, the two types that Vulnerability shouldn’t even be that effective on. As a reference, 66 creatures are Resistant to Distraction, so there aren't even that many creatures that have a Resistance to Vulnerability. So, in that sense, having Resilient Strike apply Vulnerability would not make that much of an impact on the Meta, as the creatures that are supposed to counter it will have an easier time with it than the creatures that are supposed to be countered by it.

If you want more information on how each Resilient creature counters the Cunning class without the Resilient Strike Deceleration, you can find a full list in the accordion down below.

How each Resilient creature counters Cunning without Resilient Strike Deceleration

  • Alankylosaurus (High Armor, High Health, Shields
  • Alanqa (Shields, Health)
  • Amargasaurus (Decel, Health)
  • Ankylocodon (Armor, Shields, Decel)
  • Apatosaurus (Health, Decel)
  • Ankyntrosaurus (Decel, Armor)
  • Arambourgiania (Shields)
  • Ardentismaxima (Health, Decel, Shields)
  • Argentinosaurus (Decel, Health)
  • Bajatonodon (Health, heal, Shield)
  • Brachiosaurus (Armor, Health, Shield)
  • Ceramagnus (Health, Armor)
  • Concavenator (Shield)
  • Darwezopteryx (Shield)
  • Diorajasaur (Shields, Armor, Health)
  • Diplodocus (Health, Decel, Shield)
  • Doedicurus (Armor, Shield)
  • Einiasuchus (Shield, Armor)
  • Einiosaurus  (Armor)
  • Geminititan (Health, Shield, Decel)
  • Gigaspikasaur (Armor, Shield, Decel)
  • Giraffatitan (Decel, Shield, Health, Armor)
  • Hadros Lux (Health)
  • Hatzegopteryx (Health, Shield)
  • Kentrosaurus (Decel)
  • Koolabourgiana (Health, shield)
  • Majundasuchus (Shield)
  • Majungasaurus (Shield)
  • Megalosaurus (Shield)
  • Moschops (Health, Armor, Decel)
  • Nodopatosaurus (Health, Armor, Decel, Shield)
  • Nodopatotitan (Health, Armor, Decel, Shield)
  • Quetzalcoatlus (Health, Shield)
  • Rajakylosaurus (Armor, Shields)
  • Rajasaurus (Shields)
  • Sarcorixis (Armor)
  • Scutosaurus (Armor, Health, Shield, Decel)
  • Sinoceratops (Shield, Armor)
  • Skoolasaurus (Armor, Shield)
  • Skoonasaurus (Health, Armor, Shield, Decel)
  • Sonorasaurus (Health)
  • Stegoceratops (Shield, Armor, Decel)
  • Stegodeus (Health, Armor, Decel, Shields)
  • Stegosaurus (Armor, Decel)
  • Stygidaryx (Shields, Health)
  • Tenontorex (Health)
  • Titanoboa (Health, Decel)
  • Triceratops (Shields, Armor)
  • Triceratops G2 (Armor)
  • Tuojiangosaurus (Decel)
  • Wuerhosaurus (Armor, Decel, Shield, Health)
  • Glyptodon (Armor)
  • Mammolania (Armor, Decel, Shield)
  • Parasaurolophus Lux (nothing)
  • Ankylodicurus (decel, Decel, Shield)
  • Brontolasmus (Shield, Armor, Decel)
  • Brontotherium (Armor, Shield)
  • Dracorex (Decel, Health)
  • Edmontoguanodon (Health)
  • Edmontosaurus (Health)
  • Elasmotherium (Armor, Shield, Health)
  • Mammotherium (Armor, Shield, Decel)
  • Testacornibus (Armor, Shield, Decel)
  • Trykosaurus (Armor, Shield)
  • Woolly Rhino (Armor, Health, Shield)

Why Deceleration is the main issue

So, as you might know, I am on the side of the part of the community that thinks that the Deceleration is the main issue, and not the Dodge/Cloak Removal like many other people in the community think. I already know that a lot of people will not agree with me on this matter and will say: ‘But the majority of the community wants the Dodge/Cloak removal to become a Dodge/Cloak bypass! Then Resilient Strike will be balanced!’ However, I want to point out that the majority opinion is not always the right opinion. I understand where you all are coming from, but Deceleration is the main issue that Resilient Strike has, and I will try to explain why Deceleration is the main issue, not the Dodge/Cloak removal.

The main thing you need to know about Deceleration is that unless you have a Resistance, you will be forced to take at least two hits back-to-back after being Decelerated. With the overall weaker Health Stats Cunning creatures have, this will be a major blow to their effectivity in the Arena. Generally, each Cunning creature has about 3000 Health or less, with some exceptions being made. So, if the Resilient creature in question has any form of Resilient and either an Impact or Rampage, this would likely mean that the Cunning creature they are facing will be knocked out. Even Fierce creatures have a major problem against this combination, as sometimes the damage output of the Resilient creature is so high, that they can two-hit KO the Fierce creature. Think of creatures like Hadros Lux and Ceramagnus with their 1500 attack stat, or Diorajasaur with its 1200 attack and Counterattack. This creates an imbalance in the Class system, as Resilient will be able to competently face not only Cunning, but also Fierce.

Now in a situation of Rock-Paper-Scissors like Ludia intended to create, you would expect to have the ‘Class moves’ counter each other. So, giving Fierce Strike the ability to Cleanse Deceleration instead of Vulnerability would be the fix, right? Well, no. I’m going to quote my fellow GamePress writer OrigamiRobot here, as he worded the entire case quite well:

“Every Class move now clears the debuffs of another class move, except in the case of Resilient and Deceleration. This makes Resilient inherently more powerful than either of the other classes. But granting Fierce the ability to Cleanse Deceleration wouldn’t do much to make things more balanced because by the time the Fierce creature is Slowed, it is too late for Cleansing that Deceleration to be effective. Creating a situation for taking two turns in a row is without a doubt the strongest ability in the game. This means that Deceleration is too powerful to be a representative debuff of any class.”

As Origami pointed out, Cleansing the Deceleration would only fix the problem after it has already done the damage. The ability to create a situation where you can attack two times in a row is way too strong for any class to have unless it is kept to a lower standard. Vulnerability is less impactful to the meta and would also create the rock-paper-scissors effect Ludia is desiring to have. Fierce already Cleanses Vulnerability, so giving Resilient Strike Vulnerability instead of Deceleration would cause the class move balance to be restored.

Plea to Ludia and Parting Words

Ludia, I really hope you will do something with the feedback we as a community have given to you. The community really wants to enjoy the game and is not only being negative to just troll. We genuinely care about this game, and we hope to see it improved. Ludia, I hope that the promise of better communication after Piere’s open letter a couple months back wasn’t an empty promise, and that we genuinely see improvement on this.

I want to thank everyone who filled in the polls on both the JWA Discord and the Forums for aiding me in this endeavour, your input is greatly appreciated! If anyone wants to discuss further, either tag me on the Forum or on the JWA Discord (latter is the easiest!) so that we can talk about this subject. Please share this article with friends and other JWA enthusiasts so that it becomes as widespread as possible, so that maybe we can let Ludia see this piece for them to take feedback from!

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About the Author(s)

University student and scouts leader with a love for dinosaurs and Italian cuisine. Quetzorion=Tyrant. Change my mind.