In other mmo's and rpg's in general, there are some lore based design choices that make perfect sense in pen and paper tabletop gaming. Some of these have very stretching consequences in video games, and I'm happy to see them gone. Let's list them up, and pull some conclusions. This is by no means limited to WoW but actually almost every RPG I played had this problem:
- stand still while casting
- face target while casting
- casters "should" do high damage and aoe
- melee attacks by default, these attacks are good
- melee has high armor, casters wear bikini's
- casters have a limited mana pool while melee can generate rage/points/combo's to fight indefinitely
This leads to a playstyle that's not fun for either. A warrior/thief/melee type of character doesn't have many skills. On the other hand they do high damage with auto attacks, which makes sense in a lore-based way. This leads to extremely bland gameplay for melee characters. So they focus their button mashing into circle strafing and jumping, if only to break boredom.
This conflicts with the lore based design of casters. who have to stand still and take a pounding, while looking at their target. On paper, this immediately makes any melee by default the rock-paper-scissors counter to any caster, simply because melee does more damage to casters. Since a good melee player can avoid any and all lore designed caster damage, this problem grows.
This forces casters to become better classes on paper to defeat the better classes by lore design. Caster spells are higher damage, more sure to hit and have less ways of avoidance by stats. This all compensates for the avoidance of a good melee player. So if a caster gets better he actually starts crushing melee because spells by default have to be overpowered to be balanced...
skilled caster >>> skilled melee >>> noob melee >>> noob caster
This flip flopped of character power based on personal skill and lore based design makes balancing most RPG games next to impossible. Will you balance skilled players => you nerf noob casters. Balance around noobs? Skilled casters become insanely overpowered.
These things make perfect sense in the Lord of the Rings books. They make perfect sense in AD&D. They don't make any sense in an mmo. I'm happy to see that running, dodging and jumping while casting is possible in gw2. This took a while to get used to ! But it's a very nice change of pace to the oldskool combat system where melee by default wins against casters.