That being said, while the term OP comes up a lot the fact is that I'm not really very sure what that means. Overpowered requires a context in order to be well defined, which is required before such a thing can be reasonably discussed.
When we say a class is OP what do we really mean? Often we mean that another class walked all over us in a warzone or a 1v1 and we consider ourselves good players so the only explanation is that the class must be overpowered.
At the heart of this complaint though is a feeling that classes should be balanced for 1v1 encounters. In such situations clearly classes that require team support to function properly are going to feel underpowered and classes that are well equipped to win 1v1 encounters are going to seem overpowered. This may account for the large cryouts of nerf we on the forums for Maras/Sents, PTs/VGs, and occasionally Sniper's/Gunslingers.
I'm going to stop you right there, because I disagree. At the heart of the complaint is the feeling of "I couldn't do anything to stop that." Obviously it takes some amount of class knowledge (both yours and the attacker's) to spot what could have been done better, so it's often a L2P issue, but when you go over the fight, you look at what killed you, what didn't work against the other guy and you just go "I couldn't have done anything else. There's no answer to that." That is OverPowered in the proper sense of the term, not the L2P QQ meaning.
But then someone will come along and rightly say that this game focuses on objective based PVP not 1v1 death matches. In this case, a class could be rightly considered overpowered if it can contribute significantly more to success in these objective based games over other classes. But whereas it's very easy to point out when a class is OPd 1v1 (can they reasonably expect to win any 1v1 encounter they run into against other classes? Probably OPd) contribution to objectives is a much more nebulous concept.
It is this concept that I'd like BW to define for us. What do they consider good balance in this context? From this standpoint we not only have to look at classes' roles but how those roles contribute to the objectives of the various warzones and more importantly the other abilities those classes have seemingly independent of their role of DPS, Tank, or Healer, as well as how each AC is able to contribute to it's stated role.
As an example, BW has stated several times that their metrics have all classes performing within their 5% window for damage. I play a DPS commando which most would agree is underpowered atm, but I know from my performance in PVE that from a damage perspective they're absolutely right. Yet my ability to consistently fulfill a DPS role in warzones is nonexistent (the consistency that is, possibly a L2P issue) and when we look at things beyond simply dealing damage there are even more glaring issues.
Lets look at some of the classes and their ability to contribute to their role, as well as the extra utility they can bring to different warzones.
Juggs/Guardians: Can tank or DPS. Arguably the best ball carriers in Hutt Ball due to decent defensive cooldowns and most importanty their crazy mobility with the ability to leap to friend and foe alike. In the tank role they are sturdy enough, but of the three tanks I don't consider them the best for solo guarding an objective.
Shadows/Assasins: Can tank or DPS. Arguably right now their best PVP spec is actually a hybrid spec, but they are definitely some of the best solo guards in the game which is a utility which can't be overstated enough. The ability to survive solo in a 2v1 or even 3v1 situation and prevent caps is a powerful one. In addition while their resiliance and speed boosts make them ok ball carriers, they really shine in hutt ball in their ability to stealth to the endzone, receive a pass, and then force speed into the endzone cleansing all snares on their way (with resilliance up to prevent further roots/snares. From a tank perspective they are the squishiest of the three tanks because BW designed their mitigation around shielding and defense chance, both of which are very subpar in PVP. Shield especially due to the large number of attacks that are simply unshieldable. The ability to stealth in any spec is a powerful tool in any warzone however as winning the contested node is often about drawing defenders away to the off node and shadows do this extremely well.
Vanguards/Powertechs: Can Tank or DPS. Of the three tanks the VG/PT is the only one you hear for the nerf cries from the DPS perspective. This is because they have very very high burst that requires very little set up time which is exactly what's most valued in PVP. They are the worst ball carriers of the three tanks, but their grapple, which is available on any spec, is a very powerful defensive tool which shouldn't be overlooked. They are some of the sturdiest tanks if you need someone to survive without many defensive cooldowns, and in their most popular DPS spec they are the definition of a glass cannon.
Now if we look at the three tanks there is a very real argument that neither is OPd compared to the others in that regard. If we look at the utility they bring they each contribute something relatively unique. This is good balance among tanking classes. They each have a variety of useful tools and each is decently differentiated from the others. The only issue here I think is the lack of viability of shield tanking which makes Shadows less attractive in that role, but their 1v1 capabilities and ability to either solo assault or solo guard a node makes up for it in large part (this is a matter worthy of debate in my opinion, and also where I'd like BW to chime in).
That was an example, certainly not an exhaustive list of each classes abilities, but looking at it with a very cursory glance I don't see any glaring issues of balance from a PVP perspective.
This brings us to the real sources of contention which are DPS and Healers.
On the DPS side I may just have to give up and assume that BW doesn't want all ACs viable in all possible roles in all aspects of the game. I may QQ about how lackluster Commando DPS is in PVP due to what I see is a lack of tools needed to reach our damage potential, but then on the PVE side of things I have one of the best sustained DPS classes in the game. Conversely, while DPS Operatives remain one of the good PVP DPS specs in the game (if played right, I know you guys have had a lot of nerfs) they're pretty much non existent in endgame PVE because Operative sustained DPS is pretty crap and while the good players can do ok they'd be much better switching to a class with better sustained damage, preferably ranged.
That might not sit well when we consider that a class like sentinel is viable in both aspects, but then that's the one and only time I'll concede the argument that sentinels can only do one thing has any real validity (I'm not saying this makes it ok. I don't think it does, but at least here that line of reasoning might possibly have a place).
Ok I'm rambling a bit. What am I trying to say?
I'm saying that BW needs to give us clear goals for class balance in PVP.It doesn't matter if all classes can do the same amount of damage if some classes don't have the tools necessary to do that damage (if balancing for massive DPS battles). It doesn't matter that some classes don't have the tools to deal damage if they bring added, and invaluable, utility in an objective (if balancing for objective based PVP). As an example I see constantly that Operative DPS needs help. The little buggers annoy me but I'll concede that maybe they do. Nevertheless that 8s ranged AoE 8s mez can and often is the difference between getting the cap or not getting the cap. If balancing for objectives thats something to take into consideration. If balancing for damage it's not.
But in order for those of us on the forums to have any reasonable discussions we need to know what BW is trying to balance for and have some way to reasonably discuss, possibly even quantify, how well each class is balanced in that regard. Otherwise all those metrics are just worthless raw data that doesn't actually help anything.
Ok look I feel like I'm just rambling right now, but I guess what I'm saying is, we need to know what BW wants classes to contribute before we can really say how operatives should be nerfed again.
I underlined three key points that stood out, first being that Bioware was too ambitious with the classes. As much as people say they want to move away from the trinity of DPS/Tank/Heals, when they're given that, they cry foul and complain. Every class is so unique and brings something different to the table that people choose DPS, see another DPS and cry that they can't do what that other guy is doing. That's how it's DESIGNED and for some reason people don't like that. They do want to have it all, as the second underline states. That's what people want and what they don't receive, so they cry.
For the third underline, this is communication. All Bioware ever says is some vague stuff about metrics. TALK TO US, tell us specifically what goal they're meant to hit and where each class is currently standing. They've said before that Sage/Sorc need to L2P, Commando DPS is designed to be immobile as tradeoff for the great damage they do, that Operatives aren't supposed to stunlock people from 100% to 0% and that Infiltration Shadows are hit-and-run and shouldn't be taking damage. This is all by design, but there's not enough of that kind of specific "Look, this is what the class is envisioned, this is what this spec gives you the option for, if you don't like it, there's this spec or this other class." They need a class guide/description that's not all fluff and has actual in-game relevance, preferably replacing the text that you get when you choose your AC.