Posted by Reygahnci on Monday, January 31, 2011
Okay, Boubouille over at MMO-Champion does not believe that the 4.0.6 patch will be deployed to live realms tomorrow. He is basing this on the fact that his inside sources have not told him that this would be the case, that he has a yet-to-be-deployed PTR build, and that there is no extended maintenance scheduled for tomorrow. Based on these facts, I think we can say without much doubt that tomorrow is not patch day. Horray! At least one week's reprieve from the cruel nerfbat. I can hold out hope that perhaps there will be a Hail Mary type patch where the shapeshifting nerfs are entirely reverted or some defensive cooldowns are added for Ferals. We shall see.
We picked up a Frost Mage yesterday for some 3v3 funsies. I haven't started recording yet, but I probably will soon. Feral+Frost+Disc is horribly fun and the control is pretty strong. I really like this comp more than run-downs like Kittycleave or DK+Feral+Healer just because your control is what defines your victories, not your ability to crunch unhealable damage into an opponent. I will, hopefully, have some videos of us grinding our rating up soon.
Posted by Reygahnci on Friday, January 28, 2011
In case anyone was curious, this is what the new one looks like...
To be clear... I MIGHT have deserved this one. Essentially, if you view the image fully (which you should be able to do by right-clicking and hitting "view image" as it's cropped here), you should be able to see that the thread was about "The Frost Mage Mantra" which only had one line in it akin to:
Every class will be balanced, Mages will just be more balanced.
... or something like that. I didn't even post in this thread (I think... don't quote me on that), but I DO remember finding out that there was a button in the upper-right-hand-corner that says "Nominate for Sticky". Curiosity, more than anything, got the better of me and I clicked it. Apparently, the mods were not amused by my antics.
I shall try less dickery next week.
Posted by Reygahnci on Thursday, January 27, 2011
Probably as-is, too. I suggest waiting until this actually happens, but when it does, I will no longer be playing World of Warcraft. I do not enjoy any other aspect of the game except Player vs. Player, and I only enjoy that as Feral. I have played a Warlock and Rogue to high ratings as well, but they simply are not the fun that I have experienced while playing Feral. I know this all sounds rather melodramatic, but it has been a long time coming.
I really should be better at this, but I am a sucker; what can I say? Blizzard weens me along during the game where I receive no support from the developers and nothing but nerfs to the few abilities which actually make my play-style somewhat work. They follow this treatment with promises of things being better in the next expansion and they will definitely stop hurting me, and like an idiotic housewife who continues to return to her husband despite all the abuse she has suffered at his hands. What is worse is that I come back smiling, every single time. If you look at the posts I make during betas, they are all positive and full of hope and every single first-season into the expansion, everything we have gets nerfed and/or all the specs which counter us get buffed.
It has to stop, now. I simply cannot take this any longer. Blizzard is clearly moving the game in a completely different direction than the one they claimed at the last Blizzcon (every Blizzcon, really). The powers that be simply do not care if Feral or Balance Druids are represented in the arenas or are even a viable alternative to a Warrior or Mage, respectively. Furthermore, it seems that if either of these two actually do make a dent on the arena scene and can actually face off against one of the pure classes with somewhat reasonable representation, they will be nerfed back to where they belong in the developers' collective eyes: Resto. That is an aspect of the game I am simply unwilling to play. I do not like Resto, I tried it for a bit in TBC when Feral was a joke and hated it (though I did hit some decent ratings).
Further, Blizzard has made is clear time and time again that while they say they value their customers' feedback, they do not use it in any way or form. Particularly, in Cataclysm it seems that changes are made entirely at random, and are largely at odds with public statements made by members of the development team. Greg Street said verbatim that "Frost Mage control is too strong and [they] would be looking at Ring of Frost and Frost Nova," but in truth nothing was done to either of these abilities save for the area of effect for Ring of Frost was reduced a tiny amount. Additionally, the original quote from him implied that Ferals were too hard to peel, so Berserk would likely have the Fear immunity removed from it. This is a huge change by itself, but removing the root-breaking aspect of Shapeshifting on top of this with little-to-no time to test these changes in a competitive PvP environment is, for lack of a better word, asinine.
What is more annoying by this is the verbiage used. The development team suggests that Ferals are too hard to peel effectively, so every single thing which we can counter is removed except for our immunity to Polymorph and Hex abilities while other classes are given, or currently have, immunities exactly like those which have been stripped from us:
DK - IBF (Stun break and immune; lasts 12 seconds), Lichborne (fear/charm/sleep immunity for 10 seconds), and AMS (essentially all CC immunity for 5 seconds).
Rogue - Cloak of Shadows (essentially all CC immunity and root-breaker; lasts 5 seconds), Vanish (will break CC casts and roots).
Enhance - Spirit Walk (breaks roots/snares when wolves are up), Earthbind Totem (breaks snares), Grounding Totem (redirects a CC cast), Shamanistic Rage Glyphed (breaks all dispelable magic on you, can be used while stunned), Tremor Totem (Fear break)
Ret - Hand of Freedom (root/snare break), Self-cleanse (root/snare break), Bubble (everything-break except Cyclone), Hand of Protection (non-magic break except Cyclone).
Warrior - Brostorm (talented root/snare break), Heroic Fury (talented root break), Warbringer (talented root/snare break), Berserker Rage (Fear/Sap/Incap-break, lasts 10 seconds on a 30s CD).
Every single melee has a break... except Ferals next patch. We will be, essentially, as dispel-reliant as Warriors were in TBC except that we do not have nearly the damage output of a Warrior, the longevity of a Warrior, the mobility of a Warrior, or the utility of a Warrior.
I am sorry to say it, but if 4.0.6 goes live without any quality of life improvements for Ferals given the shapeshifting nerf, I will not be playing the game anymore.
Posted by Reygahnci on Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Polymorph and many other CC abilities are being reduced to 8-second durations as well. I showed you the latest shaman changes coming in the next round of patch notes. It's important to note though that the next draft of the 4.0.6 patch notes to be posted are double the size of the notes currently on the home page of our website. There are many new notes for virtually every class yet to be posted.
Great googly-moogly... I never thought I would see the day. We will have to wait and see what Blizz ends up doing, but supposedly tonight the PTR will be updated (as well as the patch notes) and they will be "double the size" of the current notes... which are already quite long.
I will, of course, post my thoughts on all the changes to come, but one thing I have to note here is that all the CCs which are not currently longer than 8 seconds in duration will be seeing a relative buff versus those CCs which are over 8 seconds in duration (Cyclone and Psychic Scream come to mind).
Well, that was entirely too long a break to not have posted a comment on the changes that went up on the PTR on Thursday night. Essentially, no real changes went up on the PTR except for this bombshell:
Shapeshifts: Entering or leaving a shapeshift no longer cancels root effects. It continues to cancel movement slowing effects.
Eventually, Blizzard realized that this would be a pretty harsh nerf to all specs of Druid, so they added the following two quotes:
Disentanglement (new specialization): Causes shapeshifting to remove roots in addition to snares.
We will share additional information with you regarding our plans for Balance as soon as we can, though it'll probably have to wait until after the holiday weekend.
So, we can read this pretty plainly: "Feral's ability to self-break root effects is overpowered." I must admit that I do see both sides of this argument: on the one hand, it is hard to balance a game where Feral can entirely counter a class reliant on roots, so there ends up being an arms race there that is unfair to the other melees; on the other hand, Feral being able to shapeshift out of root effect for the last 6 years has only been considered overpowered for about four days by the devs... why the change?
There is a thread on the PTR boards that I suggest all my readers hit and post their feedback. The post-cap has been bumped a number of times now, and as of this writing we are up to ~95 pages of responses, mainly from Druids suggesting that this change makes no sense or is unfair, partially from morons who make mouth-breather-esque comments akin to "Druids immunity to all forms of CC ends with this patch", and then there are some posts by myself and others (mainly Miirkat, though there are others) who try and make suggestions to further this change to improve balance in the game.
I would like to point out that every melee class in the game has at least 2-3 abilities on top of their trinket to break a root effect and/or stop incoming magic if they do get rooted:
Warrior - Brostorm breaks roots, Spell Reflect can stop roots or magic spells when the Warrior is rooted.
Rogue - Vanish, Cloak of Shadows, Shadowstep (talent), Improved Sprint (talent), Smoke Bomb (will keep them from casting on you while rooted).
DK - AMS, AMZ (talent), Gnaw, Strangulate, Deathgrip (as an interrupt).
Enhance - Grounding Totem, Windshear.
Ret - self-Cleanse (talent), Hand of Freedom, Hand of Protection (for physical root effects only), Bubble.
Feral - Nothing
In this vein, I have decided to be proactive and try to suggest some things that Feral would need in order to continue doing PvP if this change goes through. Let us look, first, to the problem areas.
1) Feral is the only melee in the game now which has no root break and/or no way to stop incoming magic spells.
2) Stampeding Roar is a useless ability for Feral PvP (again, this is an old topic, but we should bring it up again: Costs 30 energy which is too much, only increases run speed by a 40% non-stacking amount which is less than Feral's normal movement speed, has a 2min CD which is too long, only has a 10y range which is tiny in most PvP scenarios, and only lasts six seconds). To put this into perspective, I decided to perform an experiment: I have not trained Stampeding Roar or Mushrooms (and had Guntir not suggested we run instances while grinding I would not have purchased Thrash either... but here we are).
3) Feral damage is too dependent on ramp-up which is directly proportional to up-time. We need to get bleeds on a target BEFORE we can deal real damage and that takes the majority of our resources. In addition to this, once we have dealt significant damage to a target, we are almost always energy-starved or CP-starved; landing a killing blow on a target at or below 25% HP is nigh-impossible against resilience-wearing targets... particularly ones in Plate with a Shield.
1) Add a new major glyph to the Druid class: Glyph of Stampeding Roar - Reduces the cooldown on Stampeding Roar by 60 seconds and the cost by 20 energy.
2) Add the following text to the Feral-only talent "Stampede" - In addition, the range of your Stampeding Roar is increased by 10y, and causes your Stampeding Roar to grant you immunity to movement impairing effects for the duration.
3) Change Glyph of Mangle - "Increases the damage done by your Mangle by 10% and causes your Mangle (Cat) to award an additional combo point when used."
4) Change Blood in the Water - "Additionally, when your target is at or below 25% HP, your Ferocious Bite will ignore 100% of the target's armor."
1+2) This will give Ferals a 1min CD Stampeding Roar which will ONLY break and immune Roots/Snares on themselves for 6 seconds while improving the range to something more likely in a PvP scenario and reducing the cost to a reasonable price. This makes the ability more like a utility-button like Cloak of Shadows (though CloS is free and doesn't require glyphing). Now, Ferals can break Roots once a minute when their healer is pressured or use it offensively (like CloS can be) and stay in a Mage's grill.
3) Mangle needs to be the button of choice for PvP Ferals. In order for it to do this the damage either needs to be on par with Shred (which it isn't, even when glyphed), or it needs to combat the problem differently. In this case, providing more combo points to use our vast finishing moves on will be a welcomed change. We cannot hardly use Ferocious Bite or Maim in PvP scenarios because we must keep Rip up 100% to deal appropriate damage. Additionally, Shred deals more damage, but when there are multiple targets to swap between, going from a target with Mangle, Rake, and Rip up to a target with nothing up means that in order to deal the best possible damage, 3 GCDs minimum have to be used before full-damage Shreds can be used (Mangle, Rake, and FFFx3... could be worse if you don't have 2/2 Feral Aggression). Obviously, using a Mangle-centric build will allow for faster swaps (you would still hit Mangle/Rake/FFF first, but that first Mangle will have dealt your big damage, and your next attack wouldn't require you to get behind them). Further, the positioning aspect of PvP is always tricky for Ferals, even while we currently HAVE the ability to break roots; this gets much more difficult when we cannot break them... Mangle-centric builds simply mean that we will have to make range on the target and can start dealing damage.
4) Again, we have tons of trouble actually landing a killing blow against someone because the majority of our damage comes from our bleeds, which become rather healable once resilience comes into play (instead of 6-12k Rip ticks, I get something like 3-6k Rip ticks). That being said, Blood in the Water is a difficult-to-use ability in PvP simply because of the timing required, which is why I believe a lot of Ferals do not take it now. Changing this to be a button you can use on a target even if Rip isn't applied would be a welcomed change, and having SOME ability to pressure a plate+shield class when they hit the red zone is something Feral has needed forever.
Again, these are ideas that I think should be considered IN ADDITION TO the root-breaking nerf to Shapeshifting. If you have ideas on how to keep Feral from becoming a free kill again in PvP, please feel free to post them here OR (probably the better option, though I will re-post any good ideas on the PTR and give credit to commenters) post the ideas directly in the thread on the official PTR boards. Here is the link again: Please, Blizzard, don't remove powershift!
Posted by Reygahnci on Thursday, January 6, 2011
My writeup to come shortly after lunch.
Okay... let's talk turkey!
Balances across the board:
Bloodlust, Heroism, Time Warp and Ancient Hysteria can no longer be cast while in Arenas.This is an awesome change that has been a LONG TIME coming. It is by far and large the most game-breaking buff in PvP and it is finally being removed from competitive play. HORRAY FOR ALL!
The night elf racial trait Shadowmeld can now be used while shapeshifted.
The tauren racial trait War Stomp can now be used while shapeshifted.
Kittystomp is going to be awesome.
Barkskin is no longer dispellable.
Lacerate damage has been reduced by approximately 20%.
Mangle (Bear Form) weapon damage (at level 80+) has been reduced to 235%, down from 300%.
Mangle (Cat Form) weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased to 460%, up from 360%.
Maul damage has been reduced by approximately 20%.
Rake damage has been reduced by 10%.
Rip damage has been reduced by 10%.
Shred weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased to 450%, up from 350%.
Okay, honestly I have done ZERO dungeons or raiding in this expansion (and I love it, btw), so I cannot really comment on the Bear nerfs. We do not really go Bear all that often in the arenas anyway, so I do not think it will impact us. Barkskin going undispellable again is a welcomed sight for facing dispel-cleave teams who train me.
The big hitters here are Mangle and Shred getting basically a 22% damage upgrade while Rake and Rip get a 10% damage nerf. Many people have been going over napkin maths on this and there is still no conclusion. I feel like this will largely be a net-zero change against low armored targets and a slight (read: slight) nerf against high-armored targets. All things considered, I am not worried about this, I feel like this is a perfectly acceptable nerf.
Berserk (instant Mangle proc) now has a new Spell Alert identifier. In addition, Berserk no longer breaks Fear or makes the druid immune to Fear.
This is going to play rather strong; it just means that opening with Berserk is no longer going to be the desired play-style... which I hated doing anyway. A decent healer on your team will be able to keep you roughly un-CC'd throughout the Berserk duration, as well. Smart Ferals will find this nerf somewhat annoying at first, but largely a non-issue later. Bad Ferals will continue the QQ while rolling a DK.
Ring of Frost: Radius shrunk to 8 yards, and inner "safe" radius is now 4.7 yards (exactly matching graphic). Dispelling the effect of Ring of Frost will now make the target immune to being refrozen for 3 seconds. If a second Ring of Frost is cast by the same mage while the first is still active (via Cold Snap), the first will now disappear and cease functioning.
Bwah ha ha. The duration is still rather long, but being able to actually escape a Ring of Frost via dispel is going to be nice, also the smaller radius will make it less overpowered as well.
Smoke Bomb now lasts for 5 seconds, down from 10 seconds.
Called it. A five second smoke bomb will basically keep Rogue teams from killing non-healers in the opener. I love it.
Curse of Exhaustion now reduces movement speed by 30%, down from 50%.
Drain Mana has been removed from the game.
Unstable Affliction's silence effect has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 5.
Glyph of Soul Swap cooldown has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 10 seconds.
Inferno no longer increases the radius of Hellfire.
All awesome; I never understood why Curse of Exhaustion was changed to a 50% snare given that it was spammable and had a 40 yard range. Affliction Locks took a bit of the nerf-bat in this PTR, and everything there was well-deserved.
EDIT: There was a question in a comment about what I meant here in terms of "well-deserved". Let me be specific on each of these points: 1) Curse of Exhaustion was too powerful given that the damage lost from using it was not super-strong, and while I feel like having a 30% snare at range is not useless, it probably will not be utilized by most locks after the patch; 2) Drain Mana was an overpowered ability in the 2s setting and nigh-useless in 3s, 5s, and bgs; 3) Glyph of Soul Swap is again a situation where Locks could abuse the 2s setting and keep all their DoTs up indefinitely on both targets when they are not being spam-dispelled (and I contend that really only Shammies can spam-dispel because of Cleansing Waters and they can remove Curses), and the increased cooldown will make that still possible, but harder to do with some interruption; 4) Inferno was stupid in that it would allow you to run around spamming an ability which would knock stealthies out from 20 yards away... it would make sapping a Warlock nearly impossible.
Charge now shares diminishing returns with stun effects.
Cleave damage has been reduced by 20%.
Heroic Strike damage has been reduced by 20%.
Juggernaut no longer increases the cooldown on Charge, but instead increases the duration of the Charge stun by 2 seconds. In addition, Charge is usable in all stances, however, the talent now causes Charge and Intercept to share a cooldown.
Lambs to the Slaughter: Instead of granting 10/20/30% damage to the next Mortal Strike, Overpower, or Execute, it now grants a 10% buff to any Mortal Strike, Overpower, Slam, or Execute that stacks 1/2/3 times.
Charge sharing diminishing returns with other stuns means that landing a Charge followed by Colossus Smash + Throwdown + Overpower + Execute + Brostorm will never happen again, or at least that Throwdown will only last 2.5 seconds. The Cleave and Heroic Strike damage nerfs just make the abilities look like rage-sinks, as they are supposed to be.
Juggernaut is an interesting change. Essentially, Charge gets a 3 second stun duration and the warrior will have it up every 14 seconds (making warriors an even more beastly mobility machine than before), but the extra mobility of having both Charge and Intercept is lost. Guntir believes this is a Warrior mobility nerf, but I believe it only nerfs good Warriors while scrub Warriors actually see a buff.
Lambs to the Slaughter, I have to assume, will have a duration since it was simply "your next" before and will be "while up, you deal 10/20/30% more damage depending on the stacks". I personally do not see how this talent will play out. It seems overpowered at the moment.
Icebound Fortitude now breaks stuns when used, in addition to providing immunity to them.
Desecration is now also triggered by Necrotic Strike.
Okay... so Fear immunity and a Fear break on a 3min cooldown is overpowered but Stun immunity and a stun break on a 3min cooldown that also provides 50% damage reduction is fine? GG DKs. Also, putting Desecration on Necrotic Strike is ridiculous... there are Unholy DKs who simply ignore Scourge Strike because of how powerful Necrotic Strike is, and they should be punished for this by NOT having an auto-apply snare pooped all over the arena floor.
Wild Mushroom is now instant cast, down from 0.5 seconds. In addition, the radius of detonation has been increased to 6 yards, up from 3, and damage done increased by 15%.
WOOOO, still not going to train it.
Divine Plea now lasts for 9 seconds, down from 15. It grants 4% mana per tick, instead of 2%, for a total of 12% mana, up from 10%.
Wat? They are improving Holy Pally mana longevity? In what universe does that make any sense and how do I stay away from it?
The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
The mana cost of Renew has been reduced by 24%.
The mana cost of Shadow Protection has been reduced by approximately 65%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
Focused Will now procs when the priest is critically hit, in addition to its current effect.
Improved Power Word: Shield now also increases the amount absorbed by an additional 15/30% when cast on oneself.
Pain Suppression is no longer dispellable.
ARRRRG, FINALLY! PW:S is going to be more expensive, which is a problem, but making it an entirely useful ability is going to be sweet. This basically means that PW:S will absorb almost double the damage at 31% more mana... awesome!
Focused Will is another buff that should have happened in Beta. Every Priest I knew was making reports along these lines "you only get Focused Will against Destro Locks and Frost Mages... it never procs against melees". Keep in mind that these statements were made before Envenom specs became the way of the world (and they are). Lastly, non-dispellable Pain Suppression... again, a no-brainer.
Last, I leave you with perhaps the biggest buff in the entire patch... and it's for PvP Priests:
The PvP Priest 4-piece set bonus has been redesigned. When Power Word: Shield is cast on the priest, movement speed reduction effects are temporally suppressed for 4 seconds.
... oh man ... 4 second duration Hand of Freedom? Maybe Holy Priests will become something of an awesome PvP Healer. 60% movement speed AND 4-sec snare immunity?
Here's a post from Yawning (the Feral expert in the field of maths) showing a SLIGHT dps buff overall from the changes:
NB: I do not have exact coefficients and base damage values for Rake/Rip. I assumed a flat 10% reduction to both. This is also subject to change.
10000 iterations of 300 seconds, with encounter duration randomized to have a stddev of 30
With 359 raid gear (Premade from beta).
DPS: 22012.83665 +/- 10.23135 StdDev: 522.00765
White Damage (%) : 19.8423
Fury Swipes Damage (%): 3.99312
Ravage Damage (%): 0.47929
Mangle Damage (%): 2.09392
Shred Damage (%): 18.62851
Rake Damage (%): 22.18143
Rip Damage (%): 28.3959
Bite Damage (%): 4.38553
DPS: 22024.55286 +/- 10.61514 StdDev: 541.58861
White Damage (%) : 19.81473
Fury Swipes Damage (%): 3.97554
Ravage Damage (%): 0.483
Mangle Damage (%): 2.60498
Shred Damage (%): 23.25153
Rake Damage (%): 19.96006
Rip Damage (%): 25.52282
Bite Damage (%): 4.38734
Stat valuation changes:
Haste goes from being one of our worst secondary stats (Hit/Expertise actually model as slightly better once raid geared, yes Haste on live starts to suck once you have decent gear) to being better than Crit (By 0.4 DPS/point, so saying that Crit ~= Haste is probably reasonably accurate for this gear set. 0.99 DPS/point vs 0.95 DPS/point).
Mastery is still king, though it's devalued slightly (1.23 DPS/point -> 1.11 DPS/point).
Weapon DPS predictably shoots up in value (4.11 DPS/point -> 4.61 DPS/point).
Beta Premade (346 gear): 16773 DPS -> 16813 DPS
Beta Premade (Rare PvP gear + 359 weapon): 15390 DPS -> 15424 DPS
My live gear: 21251 DPS -> 21166 DPS
Beta Premade (359 gear): 22012 DPS -> 22024 DPS
Haste should be consistently good now as opposed to "ok till you have enough energy regen/cp generation to maintain full bleeds, then it totally sucks".
Sustained raid DPS is virtually unchanged across several gear points (+- 100 DPS). Rake/Rip still have massively higher DPE over Mangle/Shred so there's no reason to alter the basic priority list.
No massive re-gearing after these changes, and the priority system should be unchanged. You could reforge again to prioritize Haste over Crit, but I doubt it would be noticeable.
Posted by Reygahnci on Monday, January 3, 2011
Let me get the basics out of the way first:
Happy Christmas/Holidays I Cannot Spell and New Year!
I took two weeks off from work and subsequently ignored any/all emails and this blog. The latter of the things I ignored was somewhat unintentional, but I took the time off as a brief window for getting things done that I had been putting off for far too long. I did manage to get some arena in and play some WoW over my break (it was a vacation after all), but I think I could have largely gotten more done. First things first, Guntir and I (if I already wrote this much up, just move on to the next paragraph, I didn't bother rereading my last post as I just wanted something fresh up) started running the 2v2s bracket as Feral+Disc right as we had left off in season eight. The one thing I will note about Feral+Disc in this expansion, so far, is that even with the amazing about of peels and damage that Feral and put out, Disc is by far and large the weakest healer in the game and absolutely the most trainable. If a melee decided that Guntir needed to die, there was little that could be done to deter that melee's efforts. Because of this sad truth, Guntir decided to see if Shadow was a decent spec worthy of grinding us up to a respectable rating while we could sit on points until Disc was fixed.
Being as we had run a bit of Shadowclaw in season eight when we got bored, we knew the general idea of the comp and how to play it and since most of the teams we face these days are double-dps with about 1000 resilience, we were merely curb-stomping the vast majority of them. However, Shadow and Feral still have a great deal of problems dealing with Paladin healers who know what they are doing. The main point to make here is that Holy Paladins are essentially invincible until their melee of choice downs an opponent (in double-dps setups anyway). We faced a HPally+DK team which took about four minutes to kill Guntir after we had dropped the Pally to 1000 hp at least a few times. Holy Pallies are, and always have been, the only healer in the game wearing Plate, wearing a shield, and given 3-4 "oh shit"-buttons. Whenever we got the pally into a near-death situation, he had a button to press which would guarantee his survival.
In that same vein, I would like to make a small comment on the state of survivability as it pertains to armor class. Blizzard had stated early-on (as well as late) during development of Cataclysm that they wanted armor value to play a smaller roll (or rather, there should be a smaller impact from wearing cloth versus plate) in PvP, and while I think Resilience is going to end up being the largest determining factor in damage-dealt by all classes, armor value remains a rather large leg-up for Plate-wearing classes. The damage difference between a Shred critical against a Holy Pally versus a Disc Priest is still rather astounding with no reasonable end in sight.
While dancing on the topic of promises not kept, I have to express my distaste for the decision to give Mages yet another form of unbelievably overpowered crowd control. Ring of Frost has got to be the "last straw" in terms of obviously broken abilities given to obviously overpowered classes. With the addition of this and Smoke Bomb, I have to say that the 3s game (more on this in a second, but "the only blizzard-recognized bracket of arena) has become "do you run RMPally? Freewins!" I watched a 2900's video of running the new flavor of RMP and it boils down to "Rogue opens with Garrote on a caster then immediately drops a Smoke Bomb, Mage un-invises in the middle of the Smoke Bomb and uses Ring of Frost, Pally spams Exorcisms into the kill target while Rogue and Mage do their thing." If the healer wants to heal the kill-target, they have to come into the Smoke Bomb, which means going through the Ring of Frost, which means a guaranteed 8seconds of being Frozen which shares DR with nothing and that is if they trinket the 10s first one. The mere fact that these two abilities were put into the game with essentially zero arena-testing is staggering... it has essentially solidified my stance on "Blizzard is officially trying to silently kill off arenas in favor of rated bgs."
Rated BGs, of course, do not matter as much about killing as much as it does about completing objectives. In my opinion, BGs are not so much player-versus-player combat as much as they are multiplayer strategy-based questing, and I simply am not amused by this aspect of the game. Please do not misunderstand my meaning as "BGs take no skill," as BGs certainly require skill and coordination, but so does flash-mobbing, and I have no interest in that, either.
Alright... so Feral+Disc did not end up working out all that well, so we tried Feral+Shadow and found a better stay in this comp while people have low resilience and admittedly poor coordination. Guntir, however, loves being a healer and would not stand idly by while Disc (and we tried Holy as well, but it's arguably worse-off) could offer no healing prospects, so he decided to continue grinding his Shammy (who had hit 80 just prior to Cataclysm going live). Almost as soon as his Shammy hit 85 and got a PvP trinket, we stepped into the arena as Feral+RShammy. Without any pretense of over-hyping of this particular makeup I can say this much: once his Shammy gets some resilience gear, we will be nigh-unstoppable.
Feral+RShammy relies on a couple things that Feral+Disc cannot: first, RShammies essentially never run out of mana if played well; second, Feral puts out rather strong damage and provides enough peels for the Shammy to escape any melee except another Feral; and third, RShammy healing absolutely leaves Disc/Holy in its dust. Other aspects of the comp are amazing as well in the "Bash+Cyclone+Hex" combos lining up reasonably strong CC rotations while the kill-target is taking strong Bleed damage, and the fact that Feral and RShammies both bring interrupts against casters/healers which almost always pays off (interrupting UA against Afflic+Healer essentially nullifies their damage output), and RShammies keep the team nearly immune to Fear all the time (which is totally foreign feeling, but ultimately awesome).
Okay... so after the first few weeks of PvP play being available, I have to comment on Ghostcrawler's latest commentary on the state of the game and proposed upcoming changes. I suppose the easiest way to address these things would be on an item-by-item basis, so here we go (PvP-only stuff, btw):
The larger health pools, decreased impact of Mortal Strike debuffs, and slower healing are all having the desired effect in PvP. Burst damage has its place, but doesn’t determine the outcome of every encounter. There are several individual abilities that we aren’t happy with in PvP.
Hopefully, this is referring to Frost Mage and Warrior burst... they can do 80-90% of an HP pool in a 5s stun.
We’re keeping a close eye on dispels. We still like the design of making dispels more of a commitment rather than liberally sprinkling around dispel resistance or consequences for every class. Defensive dispels (removing a debuff) generally feel good, but we think offensive dispels (removing an enemy buff) feel too powerful, especially for DPS specs. In particular, Purge and Spellsteal will probably get nerfed.
We’re also looking at crowd control, interrupts, and self-healing in PvP. It’s possible we’ll reduce the durations of some crowd control effects, especially the area effect ones, and decrease the duration of interrupts.
Reducing the durations of some crowd control effects is a good thing, and suggesting "especially the area of effect ones" means Hungering Cold and Ring of Frost (are there any others? I guess you MIGHT be able to consider Frost Nova one...).
Priests are a little weak in PvP, especially at mobile healing. We have made some changes to glyphs and talents to enhance their survivability and instant healing.
This is almost entirely Priests' problem at the moment. Guntir believes that GC is missing (or misstating) a key point in that it isn't Priests' mobile-healing, but mobility that is lacking. Having played both Disc and now Resto Shammy (as well as a Holy Pally in Wrath), the problem seems to be that while every healer can make distance on melees, Priests simply have to tank damage rather than escape. Having the ability to heal better on the run is nothing to scoff at, but neither is it the entire problem. Additionally, Guntir feels that Penance will be made "able to be used while moving" with these changes.
Even after we fixed their mastery, Feral druid bleeds still do a lot of damage and are undispellable. We plan to shift some of that damage back to main attacks. They are also a little too hard to control. Given that they are already hard to root, snare, or polymorph, we think the fear immunity from Berserk is too much.
Ouch. I agree that Feral bleeds still do a lot of damage and I agree that they are undispellable. What I do not understand is how they plan on "shift[ing] some of that damage back to main attacks" (presumably White Swings, Shred, and Ferocious Bite to name a few). I feel that one possible change that is most certainly coming is that the Feral Mastery is going to change. Likely, a 50% reduction in the capacity of bleed damage is going to be removed from the Mastery bonus for Ferals just to keep the bleeds in line. One possible change I could (but do not expect to) see as well is tacking on some amount of direct damage component to Feral Mastery so-as to not unbalance the stat in the weak direction.
The Fear immunity being removed from Berserk is, in my opinion, going to hurt at first, but ultimately make for a more balanced game. The only hope I have is that abilities like Hibernate and Scare Beast are made to no longer work on Feral Forms, but I would not be surprised if the only thing in the patch notes is "Berserk no longer grants the Feral Fear immunity." Although, for such a long cooldown, I would expect it to grant us something to allow our up-time to remain good, given that other 31-point talents for dps classes work this way already *cough*brostorm*cough*.
Arms warrior burst damage might still be too high in PvP, while we don’t have a great way to adjust their sustained damage for PvE. The Lambs to the Slaughter talent is a good place to address this. We also might nerf warrior stuns.
Lovely! Warrior stuns are a bit insane... I have no idea why they were given Throwdown when they already had a number of stuns via gap-closers, Improved Hamstring (which is not a stun, but might as well be for healers), and Pummel now being useable in Battle Stance. Nerfing Lambs to the Slaughter is a good place to start, given I continue seeing MS+Overpower combos dealing 20-25k damage every 6 seconds or so thanks to Taste for Blood.
We think Arms and Fury warriors are getting too much damage out of Heroic Strike. We want it to be clear that it’s a rage dump and not make it the hardest hitting ability.
For Holy priests, we’re increasing Chakra’s duration and changing Surge of Light so it can now benefit from Flash Heal and Greater Heal and can crit.
We’re making some additional buffs, such as Pain Suppression and Barkskin, undispellable.
This is only funny because for the entirety of the Cataclysm Beta up until it was closed down, Barkskin was undispellable. Once Cataclysm went live, we noticed that Barkskin was magically dispellable again, and I think we all assumed it was a bug given that there were no announcements that it would be changed back and (again) it was undispellable the day the Beta was taken down. Oh well... yay "buffs", right?
We’re buffing Wild Mushroom. It’s a cool spell that isn’t getting enough play.
I have not trained this ability because of how amazingly terrible it is... I do not see a change they can make that would entice me to spend the gold. On that same note, I have still not trained Stampeding Roar, and based on it not being mentioned in this post, I assume I never will.
Empowered Touch will now benefit from Regrowth as well. We’re also buffing the Glyph of Regrowth.
We are looking at Holy Concentration (after our most recent buff) and Omen of Clarity to make sure they don’t account for too much mana savings.
We are probably going to remove Drain Mana from warlocks. It is incredibly situational in PvE but causes problems in PvP. This might mean we need to evaluate Mana Burn as well.
It is about god-damned time. Giving a DPS-class a mana-drain is unfair, much like giving a DPS-class an offensive dispel; good riddance to the both of these problems (hopefully). Removing Mana Burn is more tricky given that Priests are in such terrible shape at the moment and Shadow cannot afford to give up damage for mana burning. To quote Guntir "I hope they remove Mana Burn from that game; I am tired of having my mana longevity [or lack thereof, in my opinion -Rey] balanced around my ability to land Mana Burns."
Inferno will no longer increase the radius of Hellfire.
Duh. I think we all saw that QQ-train coming when this one went live; Warlocks can knock you out of stealth without line of sight simply because Hellfire would hit you from 30 yards away.
Shadow and Flame can now proc from Incinerate in addition to Shadow Bolt.
We want to redesign Improved Soulfire.
Censure will no longer break Repentance.
As part of the Marks and Beastmaster buffs, we’re buffing Aimed Shot, Kill Shot, Chimera Shot, and Kill Command.
That makes sense as basically everything but Survival is in terrible shape at the moment.
To reduce mage control, we are discussing reducing the duration of Frost Nova and Ring of Frost.
I think I speak for everyone on the planet when I say "you had better be doing more than 'discussing' reducing the duration of Frost Nova and Ring of Frost."
We want to make it clear that Combat is intended to use fast off-hand weapons. We also want to polish Revealing Strike a bit.
We want to make sure Enhancement shaman avoid caster weapons.
We want to make sure Unholy DKs prefer two-handed weapons.
Necrotic Strike needs to be affected by resilience.
Understatement of the expansion; woo, got hit for 8k and it's going to absorb 9-10k more healing... ya!
For Cataclysm, we changed Death Strike almost completely into an ability for Blood DK tanks, which is a bit unfortunate. We want to make sure it is still a useful button for Frost or Unholy DKs who need healing.
Did they not say (above) something akin to "we want to lower self-healing for dps classes"? Maybe I am just not getting it here, but it seems like that classes with the best self-healing are also the ones getting more self-healing love... just sayin'.
We also want to address DK mobility in PvP.
In terms of mobility for melees, the ranking looks like this:
Feral > Warrior > DK > Enhance > Rogue > Ret Pally
If they want to "address" DK mobility, it better be in the context of how popping AMS and IBF at the same time is nigh-equivalent to using Bubble in terms of being able to be stopped or slowed.
We think we overnerfed Every Man for Himself, and are reverting it back to a 2-minute cooldown again. We might evaluate other racials after we’ve seen more PvP.
... maybe ... It really depends on how strong the trinkets are from PvE. The main problem was when you would go against a human mage (or something) who had two amazing trinkets from heroic lich king encounters dropping ridiculous burst damage because of them. If the PvP trinkets actually upgrade from season to season, then at the very least EMFH will not be so game-breaking because the stats should be a wash.
“GC, is this the final list of changes? Does this mean I can expect no changes for my class? Does this mean you don’t care about me?”
No. This is some stuff we are looking at so that you’ll have some context if you see changes on a future PTR. The final list of class patch notes for the next patch will doubtless be much longer.
I hope so... there is something to be desired amongst these brief glimpses into the next big thing. Again, I still have not trained Stampeding Roar for how awful it is, and I do not plan to unless completely overhauled.