Posted by Reygahnci on Sunday, November 13, 2011
Before I get into the stats, I thought I would share some thoughts on this little quote about MS-effects:
We dropped the healing debuff from 50% to 10% some time ago, but were convinced at 10% that it was hard to appreciate the effect at all. We want to try Mortal Strike et al. at 25% to see if it feels useful but not mandatory. If 25% is too much and 10% is too little, then it may mean the entire mechanic may not have much of a future. We decided to only change the debuff for the warrior, rogue, and hunter, restoring the original relationship between “strong” and “weak” MS that we had in Lich King.Essentially, Rogues, Warriors, and Hunters will once again have the most potent healing debuffs in the game. At 25%, however, they are half as powerful as they were in Cataclysm. What strikes me as interesting in this change is the question of source - where does Blizzard see a lack of warrior, rogues, and hunters in high-end PvP? To be fair, I have been out of the game for a few months now and have honestly not kept up with the flavors of the month and who is on top, so it could very well be that I simply am not noticing that caster-cleaves are back in force or that DK+Spriest+Druid is the best threes comp around. I simply do not know; however, I would still guess that Rogue/Warrior/Hunter representation in the arenas is more than adequate with their 10% healing debuff.
In any case, the most interesting bit here is the suggestion that MS-effects may end up being removed entirely if 25% turns out to be too strong. The reason that this intrigues me, other than the fact that these overpowered mechanics are finally on the chopping block, is that Blizzard is not willing to delve any deeper than numbers. They suggest that if 10% is too weak, and 25% is too strong, then it is a problem that they refuse to solve by trying again at 15 or 20%. On the one hand, I think this is because Blizzard does not want to disenfranchise players by changing this value every other week, but on the other hand it may be more to the intrinsic problem that is anti-scaling.
I have discussed MS-effects ad nauseum, so I will try and keep this brief - at the core, MS-effects scale inversely with a healer's power, and while a healer's power scales pretty linearly with gear (which scale exponentially during the course of an expansion, but is pretty much static during a season), MS-effects cut that growth in half (or by a tenth, or a quarter - whatever the value of MS is at the time). What ends up bring the issue is that at some point MS-effects are either powerful enough to cause concern for a healer, or they are simply a mana-burn in that the healer has to use more mana than in the absence. Either way, this put teams without an MS-effect at a disadvantage, unless they can do 10% (or 25% or whatever MS is) more damage overall and therefore cause the same healing requirement of the opposing healer. For the longest time, the former was true, and for a very brief period in Cataclysm, the latter was true. I fear that going to a 25% MS will bring back the "non-MS teams will be at a disadvantage", and ultimately Blizzard will have to scrap the effect as the suggested in the quote.
To the stats! Blizzard had a "dev's watercooler" discussion about stats. Particularly, the issue of exponential stat growth was discussed. This is something that I talk about at every expansion, it seems - the public gets a glimpse of some of the gear that is released and goes bonkers over the absurd stats on each piece. Way back when TBC was released, we saw greens that had three times the amount of stam on them than tanking purples from Black Wing Lair. Then in wrath we saw the same thing but with primary stats like intellect and agility. This cycle continues every single expansion; how else could Blizzard get the public to buy those expansions unless the gear upgrade continued growing and forcing the out-dating of one's current gear?
In this, we see a growing problem - each expansion shows damage increasing in an exponential fashion. In Vanilla landing a 200 was a big hit; in TBC 2000 was huge; in Wrath we saw some caster cleaves dropping 10ks on people in a gcd; and finally, we are in Cataclysm now and I quite some months ago while dropping 30ks on Mages with FB or Ravage fairly regularly. While this damage is not going up exponentially (as my mathematically inclined readers will note), it is definitely going up in a non-linear fashion, and growing roughly with our stats on gear. If we look to MoP, then those 30ks that I can drop may well be 50 or even 75k hits, which would mean people should have something like 250k hp... some bosses in Vanilla did not have that much HP.
So, Blizzard has basically discussed two options: 1) the "MEGA DAMAGE" option and 2) the "squish" option. Basically, mega damage would be allowing the trend to continue, but updating the scrolling combat text and whatever else to accommodate "10M damage" (to show 10 million damage, as an example; I would imagine that 10K would be more inline with MoP) in the far future. I am not a fan of this method because it honestly does not fix anything. Damage will still be growing at this ridiculous rate and while people will be excited about seeing huge numbers, they will not be killing anything any faster, so it will not really matter.
The squish option basically acknowledges that each expansion's end-game content always causes exponential growth (as you can see in the image to left which I am borrowing from MMO-Champion). Notice that the growth while grinding is usually very small and the end-game makes everything crazy.
The squish method aims to resolve this issue by retroactively reducing the ilvl (or just flat stats) of each previous tier, thus reducing almost all the "current" gear into greens/blues from the next expansion.
As an example, when MoP comes out, if this were to be done, then our current gear would drop from ilvl 391 to perhaps ilvl 99, and MoP's gear would start at 100.
Also notice that the last tier, MoP (represented in red), has a HUGELY steep growth in the end-game when compared to the previous "squished" tiers. This is the interesting bit - the end-game tier would still grow exponentially at the time it was new, but once a new expansion comes out, all that gear basically gets squished down into blues/greens of the first level in the next expansion. This is exactly what happens at present, but it is done by the next tier being as strong as that exponentially grown tier of purples before it while the squish method essentially artificially does this by spot-reducing the end-game gear of the then-defunct expansion.
Blizzard rightly worries about causing players stress under this model by having us going from 30k crits at level 85 to 5k crits at level 90. However, if the HP pools support it, we are still simply doing a portion of our target's health, and the actual numbers do not really matter except to make the player feel better when they are huge. Personally, I like this method the best as it actually aims to wrangle in the out of control growth.