Ugghhhh... I got into work yesterday and had, in essence, an all day emergency with a production machine, which is why I did not get a chance to write up a post. Additionally, I went home and drank in excess and did not have the capacity for rational thought, let alone decent writing. However, it is now Tuesday, and I am feeling well (sort of) and it is about time I kick this pig, as they say.

First, let me give up an update and an apology for last week's novel of a post. Ultimately, I think that removing Vengeance from PvP is probably a decent decision balance-wise, I simply take issue with the precedent it sets. Well, I have finally updated my kit to include a season eleven first tier weapon, so my damage per second has gone up by at least 100. With nothing else said, this damage upgrade is somewhat shocking, but when I look at the damage output of other classes, I can understand it. There are essentially two types of damage-dealers in the PvP game right now: those based on control and therefore low damage, and those based on high damage and less control. Feral happens to blur that line ever so slightly with Cyclone, but is leaning much more towards the high-damage and less control side.

I got home from work last Tuesday around 3:45p. Guntir does not normally get home from work until 5:30p, so I did both of my LFRs (and was lucky enough to simply get in on the last boss of each and down each on the first attempt; woo!) and collected my 500 "dragon-points". I realized a while ago that those points simply do not get me anything I care too much about, so I traded them in for Conquest Points, which go against my weekly total, but also give me earned points against my season, so that put me 500 points closer to my tier one weapon, which I could get that day by knocking out some games.

So, now I'm sitting there at 4:15p thinking "if only i knew some people who would run 5s with me for points, I could have my weapon ready for games tonight." So, I get into trade chat and start spamming "2300 exp Feral, LF 5s, pst". I get a few tells from 1800-rated guys saying that the server was dead and the only few good PvP'rs are already on teams and what-not. So, I am sitting there a bit discouraged, but not too bad; I sort of knew that the server we were on was not very lively. Then, out of the blue having not spammed trade chat for at least ten minutes, I get a tell:

"Hey, we might have a spot on our 5s for you." - some Rogue

Hmmm, well, let's see what he's got. His achievements had him listed as a 2200+ player in 2s and 3s, but he has no Duelist title... hmm. I respond and explain that I am really just trying to get points today for my weapon, but I would run 5s with him. Then he starts explaining to me how he had rolled this Rogue up two seasons ago because he wanted to play a Rogue instead of his Warlock, who is a multi-gladiator. Whoa, did not see that one coming. Anyway, we started running FRP, and while we still have some kinks to work out, we are playing very well. We have yet to run the 5s team, but I am excited to see how we play together, given that his priest friend is also a multi-gladiator (Guntir would be playing his shaman).

The thing I notice the most about playing with a gladiator-caliber player is just how coordinated he makes the game-play. I am not specifically talking about calling out everything he does and making smart moves and target-calls, though that is definitely part of it; I am mostly talking about how having a teammate who plays so well affects how well we play. He will apply pressure so instantly that I will have an opportunity to apply pressure on a different target via Cyclone or a stun, which will allow Guntir to land the perfect fear-bomb. Just getting everything to click is much easier and it allows us the opportunity to beat teams we have had trouble with in the past, such as caster-cleaves and hard-core melee-cleaves. Seeing him Shadowstep to a healer to land a kick and follow it with a full blind while running back to the kill target is something beautiful to behold, and it makes my Cyclones that much more powerful.

Okay, while that is exciting, I want to talk about Symbiosis. Obviously, we are slowly marching toward MoP and are likely to hear more and more about the level-87 abilities for various classes. Symbiosis is nice in that it is not outwardly obvious how it will operate, which leaves people like me miles of room to speculate. Symbiosis is also nice in that it sets the tone for how the ability should work in theory, and it is expressed in a way that makes it seem like two possible scenarios could unfold:

First, I see the scenario where it is basically a useless ability. We are all hoping that this is not the case, obviously, but I really could see the Daily Blink's rendition (gives everyone Seal Form while we take useless spells like Fortitude or Shiv) coming to fruition. Why would Blizzard do it this way? Well, simply because the alternative to this scenario is, to put it bluntly, scary.

The other scenario I see for Symbiosis is that it acts exactly as worded, and it is blatantly overpowered and inherently unable to be balanced. Think about the following use-case: I cast Symbiosis on Guntir in 2s; I gain Leap of Faith, and he gains Healing Touch. At face value, Leap of Faith for me is not a huge boon, but when you consider the fact that I have Wild Charge at my disposal, it becomes a game-changer. If we are fighting on Blade's Edge, Guntir can now jump down to try and pull down a melee, and I can grip him back up. Alternatively, if I chase a Warlock down from the bridge and Guntir follows to heal, then the healer might follow as well. When the Lock teleports back to the bridge, I can Wild Charge up to the Warlock, and grip Guntir up to follow to keep me healed up. More-over, Guntir can run in to Fear-bomb a group without much worry at least once a match, because I will be able to grip him back to a pillar if need be. There is also the case where Guntir gets into a full Kidney Shot from a Rogue and the Rogue starts his Shadowdance; I would be able to pull him out and waste most of that dance.

So, there is a really interesting bit of play there, but what is more interesting is that I gave Guntir Healing Touch. Why is that interesting? Well, if Guntir has a melee on him and he needs to heal, he can just start spamming Healing Touch. If the melee kicks him, he would be kicked on Nature and could continue to cast his normal disc/holy spells. There is definitely a case to be made for giving a healer a heal, that would otherwise be useless to me, especially if that heal is in a completely different school and therefore would not be locked out from kicks (or vise versa).

Additionally, since the tooltip reads "grants the Druid one ability from the target's class, varying by the Druid's specialization", it would not be a stretch of the imagination to see that Rogues, as a class - not a spec, get Evasion, Sap, Recuperate, Gouge, Vanish, Dismantle, Cloak of Shadows, Redirect, and Smoke Bomb, just to name a few. I feel that it is easiest to visualize the swap with a Rogue, since our play-kits are so similar, but even a warrior would have Execute, Overpower, Berserker Rage, and Shattering Throw to trade. Obviously, when we start looking at other classes with completely different resource systems, we have to stretch our imaginations a bit more to see how it would work.

I expect that any abilities we gain from Symbiosis (and abilities we give) would have to be class/role specific. That is, we might get Overpower, but it would be the same functionality, but a different spell built around our scaling and mechanics. It might read "Overpower - Requires Cat Form - Instant - Instantly overpower the enemy, causing 540% damage [same damage as a Shred, but doesn't require being behind target]. Only useable after the target dodges. The Overpower cannot be blocked, dodged, or parried."

Of abilities we could give a Warrior or a Rogue that would be useful, Stampeding Roar comes to mind. The problem I see is that we simply do not have a number of utility skills that would not make for a completely broken rotation for another class. If we give Warriors Rake, for example, they now have another ability in their rotation that provides a strong damage over time bleed; would that give a Warrior/Rogue/Dk/etc the upper-hand dps-wise in a PvE environment? What about Dash? Could we give a Warrior Dash without it being overpowered? I am honestly struggling with what we could give a Warrior that would not be either useless or overpowered.