MMO-Champion - Tier 11 Mini-Preview, Ghouls vs Peacebloom, Blue Posts
Tier 11 Mini-Preview - Druids and Rogues
The latest build teach us a little more about Tier 11 sets, we already had the set bonuses, we now have an early preview of the models of the Rogue and Druid sets and the name of all the sets. Shanai already posted the preview on forums and I'll just steal it for the moment because the streaming client still hurts my workflow on a few things.

The sets are obviously unfinished, so there're a few graphical glitches and bugs.



Peacebloom Vs. Ghouls
A lot of people wondered what the "Peacebloom vs. Ghouls" achievements from the latest beta build are and we finally have an answer. Have you ever played Plants vs. Zombies? No? Cataclysm will give you a chance to fix that! A new quest was added to the game in the latest beta build, it's a brand new mini-game heavily based on Plants vs Zombies and I'm sure a lot of players will waste an insane amount of time on it.




Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment


WoWTal - Build 12984
It looks like we had a small issue with the update during the latest beta build, the Cataclysm Talent Calculator has been updated to Build 12984.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment


Running Wild / No Worgen Mounts
This isn't a matter of saving time. The animations still had to be made in order to make this feel cool.

It's a matter of preference and creating an immersive gameplay experience. Giving the worgen a distinct creature to ride just didn't feel right, but they can still ride other mounts if they meet the criteria. Right now we're okay with the fact that this particular race is different when it comes to mounts. We feel that makes it interesting, even if the Alliance gets less racial mounts as a result. There are plenty of mounts out there and we can always add more. (Source)

Saturday PTR/Beta Patch and bugs
We didn't have people working Saturday so we could push the patch. People were working Saturday so we decided to push the patch. Given how much work is going into this expansion right now, many changes are added to the system seven days a week. It is better that we collect those changes by creating new builds and releasing them to test the content, at this point, than it is to thoroughly bug test each new build internally. We know it can create various issues each new patch which can be sort of rough on testers, but we appreciate you working through these things with us because it's helping to shape Cataclysm to be the best expansion possible. (Source)

Stats balancing
As an almost universal rule, we don't want to solve "I don't like that stat" problems by just not making gear with that stat. The eventual result of such a design would be that all of your gear looks alike. That's a problem WoW has in general, so we like to actually get the most out of what few stats we have.

Several players could get in a state where they were hit capped in LK and then just kept getting more and more hit on higher level items. We are trying to fix that this time around in a number of ways:

1) Making all stats more attractive, rather than having the good stat vs. the garbage stat.
2) Getting rid of so many passive hit buffs, such as the draenei racial and class raid buffs.
3) Requiring higher combat ratings for additional content tiers. What hit caps you for 4.0 won't be sufficient in 4.1, so the extra budge on the 4.1 gear will be helpful.
4) Reforging. If all else fails and you just find yourself over the hit cap (or over-enriched in any other stats) you can remove part of the less desirable stat.

In all of these cases I'm talking about stats that actually show up on your gear. It's fine if mages don't care about Agi or warriors don't care about Spirit. But crit, haste and mastery should be universally desirable, and one of those should not trump the other two by being 2x more valuable. (Source)

Healing (I strongly suggest reading the whole post about healers)
Medium Heals Nerf
As others have pointed out, we nerfed all of the medium heals.

Very early in beta, some healers were freaking out about running out of mana. To counter this, we made the medium heals really cost effective. We probably overdid it, because more recently, healers were able to handle almost everything with just that one heal. We want it to be part of your package, not your whole package. (Source)

Is it intended that our efficient heals only have about 20% more HPM than our big heals? Or should we expect those to be nerfed as well soon?
If healers stop casting the medium heals completely, then it's likely we nerfed them too far. Up until this change they weren't using the big heals enough.

We had the numbers set at what we thought made sense from a cost per benefit standpoint, but reality is always a little more complicated. Perhaps it was just easier using a single heal and being a B+ healer rather than having to worry about which of multiple heals to use in order to be an A+ healer. (Source)

Big Heals
The big heals get a decent amount of use, and they don't seem to run players out of mana unless the rest of the group is taking unnecessary damage (by say ignoring all the encounter mechanics because they can do so when running Heroic Nexus today).

If there's a heal we're worried about, it's the flash heals, but that's partially because so many of the talented or spec heals are also emergency heals that fill a similar niche -- things like Swiftmend, Penance and Holy Shock. (Source)

Triage
You're fortunate if you have to triage. Many healers don't today. The typical experience is to use your fastest heal on everyone who takes any damage. You may get some amount of triage by choosing who to heal, but you won't be losing that either. If you are really choosing today which of your many heals to use, then A) you're in the minority, and B) you won't really have to relearn things for Cataclysm. You'll be ahead of the game.

The Lich King game today has additional problems. Since overhealing doesn't matter, mana regen doesn't matter. Since overhealing is typical, large heals also don't matter, which means critical heals are often wasted. This makes two of the stats that appear on your gear (Spirit and crit) not attractive, which in turn makes the minigame of choosing which piece to use and how to gem and enchant them less compelling as well.

If you just really think it's fun to just cast one heal over and over with no real repercussions for doing so while stacking a single stat on all your gear, then I guess I'll just have to accept that. It's hard for us to understand why you find that satisfying though. (Source)

Healing spam
When we say "spammy" in this context, we mean using the same spell over and over. We're not talking about sitting around on your hands waiting for your mana to come back (and without the five second rule, that won't do much for you anyway).

Think of playing a healer like a real time strategy game. In the Lich King environment, your strategy is basically to crank out infantry as fast as you can and never let up. No matter what your opponent does, your job is to counter him with infantry. It doesn't matter what kinds of units he makes or whether he's going for a fast or slow buildup. Just make infantry. If your race has upgrades that affect things other than infantry, obviously they are of no use to you and you should ignore them. Cost is largely irrelevant too, since you are making one solider over and over.

In the Cataclysm environment, we want you to make a variety of units. Sometimes infantry will do the job well. Other times you may need to mix in some cavalry or siege units as well. In fact, you need to tailor what you're making to the environment. Sometimes you want cheap units. Sometimes you want expensive ones. We want you to consider your upgrades as well. Investing all of them on infantry will make less sense because you have other types of units as well. Yet you won't have enough resources so you'll have to make a decision.

That is really what we're trying to get out of the new healing model: making decisions. We think players have more fun when they are making decisions. When you make the right decision based on the information available, you feel smart. When you make the wrong decision, you feel dumb, and you might cause the rest of the group to have to work harder, or even ultimately cause a wipe.

Blizzard is investing a lot into this change... they must have better reasons then that! I want them to sell it! Front page headline "New Improved Healing System". If they can't do that, then maybe they should question all the hard work they are doing. (Source)

[...] For the most part, you'll still be constantly casting. We do want to buy a little bit of bandwidth though. Making decisions takes actual time (fractions of seconds perhaps, but still time). In the LK healing environment even if you had a variety of effective healing spells, by the time you looked at someone's bar, decided what heal would be most appropriate, and started to cast it, the dude could very well be dead.

In Cataclysm, large health pools will keep most players up for a few hits. That gives you the opportunity to decide if someone needs a little heal or a big heal, or a slow heal or a fast heal, or if they are likely to live long enough for a powerful spell to finish its cooldown. If you use the wrong spell, the target is unlikely to die immediately, but over time you'll realize that your mana has really started to dwindle and the boss has a large health bar still left.

I've said this before, but I remember when tanking back in vanilla, a priest would call out on Vent, announcing that he had a big Greater Heal being cast. Other healers might call out when they were healing someone who suddenly took a lot of unexpected damage. That kind of coordination is very hard in today's raids because you'd only get through the B in "Big heal coming," before the target would be dead.

It's possible to slow down combat enough to provide room for decision making and communication without going to the extreme where healers are doing nothing for large stretches of time because they are so paranoid about running out of mana if they cast a heal that isn't at 100% efficiency or doesn't save a life at that moment. (Source)

Healer mana efficiency in solo
Keep in mind that we're not super concerned with healer mana efficiency when not in a group. Fights are pretty short when you're solo and there are a lot of breaks. What I'm getting at is we're not super concerned with how you perform when self-buffed, so long as you're functional. We're more concerned with how you perform when group buffed, since all of the most rewarding endgame content requires groups. (Source)

Val'anyr competitive @ LVL 85?
Let's put it this way... if it is competitive at level 85, it won't be for long. (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Runic Empowerment
We think Runic Empowerment is an important mechanic because without it, the rotation becomes very predictable perhaps even metronome-like. We are trying to make sure all specs have some random mechanics so that they need to react to what happens instead of just pressing the same buttons over and over as fast as they can. Some players react badly to random mechanics because they make the rotations less predictable and therefore more challenging to manage. That's the entire point.

However, coming out of LK, Frost had a more random rotation that was more about priorities than set rotations, and Unholy was the opposite. This let players gravitate towards the play style they preferred and made the specs feel more different when you swapped from one for the other (more than just replacing Frost damage with Shadow damage). We are working on an Unholy talent that will essentially turn off the Runic Empowerment system in place of something more predictable, like the runes just refreshing more quickly. Ideally the talent would be optional, so that Unholy DKs could stick with Runic Empowerment if they prefer it. It will still require you to keep on your toes a little bit rather than letting you know for certainty what buttons you will be hitting at second 148 a battle. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Replenishment on Lifebloom
We gave Replenishment to Restoration because we took it away from Survival hunters. It didn't make a lot of sense for a non-mana class to offer mana. We want to make sure Replenishment is easily available, though to be fair it is about half as effective as it was in Lich King. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Protection Damage / Shield Slam damage nerf
We also buffed Revenge back to a 30% coefficient. We weren't trying to nerf Prot's damage overall -- just make sure that the other attacks actually did something besides consume GCDs waiting for the next Shield Slam.

We're happy with Heavy Repercussions. It lets you use a defensive cooldown offensively when you don't need it defensively.

I'm not sure it makes sense for Heroic Leap to hit harder than anything else a Prot warrior could do. It might make you want to do things like move out of melee and leap back in all the time. It might make you use a utility ability only for dps. (I don't think that's the same thing as Shield Block, because you're not literally giving up its defensive uses with Heavy Repercussions.) (Source)

The MMO Report
It's monday, and it's time for your weekly MMO Report.



Comics
Dark Legacy Comic #256 and Teh Gladiators #168 are out!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Tier 11 Mini-Preview, Ghouls vs Peacebloom, Blue Posts started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 172 Comments
  1. Direknyte's Avatar
    Is it just me, or do the T11 set bonuses seem really lackluster and weak across the board? I'm disappointed in them.
  1. Riboflavin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaerix View Post
    Yea, I'm a bit fearful of the impending healing changes. I've done all 3 roles on my Paladin in the current raids of the time, and realized that as Holy I spend the most time staring at my raid UI instead of the actual game. As a tank or DPS, I at least have the ability to look at the environment without deadly consequences, but as a healer my time breaks up to about 70% Staring at Raid UI, 10% Running out of Raid Damage, 20% DPSing/Doing nothing because I don't need to heal (XT's heart phase, Icehowl's stun from charge, etc.). If I don't focus on the UI when just the tank is taking damage, he usually dies because I missed a heal by about 0.3 seconds. Yea, healing burns me out much faster than Tanking or DPSing. And when things go wrong, guess who gets blamed. DPS stands in fire? HEALER SHOULD HAVE HEALED ME! Tank doesn't pop cds when the boss uses a big attack? HEALERS SHOULD HAVE SAVED ME!

    Maybe I'm just bitter but healers have always seemed to get the hardest job and the least amount of credit. A tank does superior tanking, he gets "good job". A dps does an incredible amount of damage, he gets "nice work". A healer saves the group from a wipe, he gets "Well if you healed better we wouldn't have even been in danger."
    That's just what you learn to accept as a healer, even though you can link that X died from 2 40k attacks from the boss and there was no way to save them as that was more than their total hp. Hopefully healing assignments will make a return along with healer communication, which is something I've really missed in WOTLK. As it is now, healing assignments normally don't go out until the important people die a couple of times. In classic and TBC we had a healing channel for the raid in which we would discuss who was buffing which group, who was healing whom, and if it was an endurance fight we would set up a healing rotation so the healers would get time to regen. If there were problems it was discussed in the healing channel instead of some tirade in raid/vent.
    A big downside to a possible return to complex healing is the return of tunnel vision aka Grid-lock, where you just see the raid ui of group members and don't really see what's going on around you. My best example of this is in classic and I got lost in MC as I had never really got to look around the place, just watch health bars.

    As blizzard has put in many talents where the healer can dps and get mana, haste, heal someone for the damage of the smite etc, it makes me think there will be a few fights where healers can do some dps, or may even need to do dps in the case of talents that restore mana during a fight.
  1. Sariena's Avatar
    Awesome, I'll be wasting a few moments on PvG
  1. Difuid's Avatar
    The mage fire talent tree in wowtal is still messed up and has been for a while!
  1. mikisulu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Riboflavin View Post
    .... I got lost in MC as I had never really got to look around the place, just watch health bars.....
    That is to me the worst part of playing healer, you never get to see the awesome boss or the nifty graphics in his spells. A healer sees a bunch of green bars and thats it. For a healer wow could easier be a this.
  1. Devidose's Avatar
    The DLC in-joke was a nice touch.
  1. brianem's Avatar
    I beat the first couple of quests this morning for the plants vs zombie thing, pretty awesome. Got my ass kicked fighting the boss though...I'm going to blame it on bugs! <grin>

    ---------- Post added 2010-09-20 at 07:40 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Riboflavin View Post
    As blizzard has put in many talents where the healer can dps and get mana, haste, heal someone for the damage of the smite etc, it makes me think there will be a few fights where healers can do some dps, or may even need to do dps in the case of talents that restore mana during a fight.
    Those talents are all fail. I've tried, and I cant hit anything on my resto shaman. Unless they want to go in and give us hit bonuses based on spirit or something (deep in healing trees), they're complete and total fail, you only waste more mana missing and not healing.
  1. Tricsun's Avatar
    Humm, NE rogue camel toe. Strange design choice.
  1. Baz's Avatar
    Plants vs Zombies is win.
  1. Riboflavin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tricsun View Post
    Humm, NE rogue camel toe. Strange design choice.
    that's a blood elf, the peach toned skin is a dead give away.
  1. Kuri-tan's Avatar
    I really, REALLY don't get why people are getting their panties in a bunch over having TWO FEWER mounts... as if there weren't ENOUGH mounts in the game already. I really don't think it'll be THAT HARD to get the new mount whoring achievement.

    People that are that upset should really be concerned for themselves :P I, for one, support the running wild. I think it's a really neat mechanic, and you DON'T HAVE TO USE IT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO. You can still ride other mounts, so I'm really just at a loss for words as to why people are so upset about it.

    I'm not sure how much I'll use it on my druid after I faction change since I love my Raven Lord, but it'll definitely be fun to do when running around cities :] As long as they make it look good... I don't want to be a human mounted on a white worgen's arm...
  1. Scratchee's Avatar
    I still think Dark Flight should have them run on all fours and give worgen a mount. I have mountain of mounts already but am still upset that we cannot get anything spiffy from gilneas rep. And it makes no sense to me why they don't want them to have their own mounts when they are able to use others.
  1. Katana Angel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Riboflavin View Post
    A big downside to a possible return to complex healing is the return of tunnel vision aka Grid-lock, where you just see the raid ui of group members and don't really see what's going on around you. My best example of this is in classic and I got lost in MC as I had never really got to look around the place, just watch health bars.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaerix View Post
    Yea, I'm a bit fearful of the impending healing changes. I've done all 3 roles on my Paladin in the current raids of the time, and realized that as Holy I spend the most time staring at my raid UI instead of the actual game. As a tank or DPS, I at least have the ability to look at the environment without deadly consequences, but as a healer my time breaks up to about 70% Staring at Raid UI, 10% Running out of Raid Damage, 20% DPSing/Doing nothing...
    Zaerix, Riboflavin, I agree entirely with your sentiment. I know they have said in the past they wanted to "avoid" that healer tunnel-vision, but it's really... hard to do that, even with what changes they've added thus far with the UI (which is apparently just a now Grid-like interface).
    I do like a challenge, so I will probably end up going back to healing once Cata raiding starts up. I just hope it isn't a ludicrous ramp-up from what I've been used to.
  1. Bogrim's Avatar
    What does it seriously matter what other races than Worgen can get from their faction? The point of adding a new race isn't 5-6 mounts you'll never use because everyone already rides them, and achievements such as Mountain of Mounts is just a generic number. Furthermore, there's already tons of new cool mounts being added, such as that amazing lion and those cool reputation dragons.

    Game feel is what matters. Worgens are werewolves. It's pretty darn awesome they can utilize their speed to run as fast as a mount. As an upcoming Worgen player, that's just something I'll be looking so much forward to - and that's what really matters.
  1. styopa's Avatar
    Er, if each set has (2) and (4)-piece bonuses, and if we're all locked into a spec from the moment we plop in our first talent point, why have different sets per spec at all?

    I mean, why not just have the Shammy gear get +X of primary stat, +Y of secondary stat, with X, Y, 2- and 4-piece bonuses all determined by what spec you are?

    Kind of the armor-equivalent of the mastery bonus - it 'reads' your spec and grants you the bonus appropriate to you.

    Seems a lot simpler than making umpteen sets of armor.
  1. xnickybx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by DtsM View Post
    A rogue is an assassin class; who hides in the shadows with daggers/swords, ready to strike unsuspecting opponents. Dark colors with maybe some red has always suited this type of class. Instead we will get a tier that makes us look like a rainbow...
    Combat rogue says hi.

    An assassin is a rogue, but not all rogues are assassins.

    I for one, welcome the change. It's hard to be a pirate when all they give you is ninja costumes.
  1. DrgnDancer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by styopa View Post
    Er, if each set has (2) and (4)-piece bonuses, and if we're all locked into a spec from the moment we plop in our first talent point, why have different sets per spec at all?

    I mean, why not just have the Shammy gear get +X of primary stat, +Y of secondary stat, with X, Y, 2- and 4-piece bonuses all determined by what spec you are?

    Kind of the armor-equivalent of the mastery bonus - it 'reads' your spec and grants you the bonus appropriate to you.

    Seems a lot simpler than making umpteen sets of armor.
    Well your choice of classes for your example answers your question. If we put, say, +Int and +Spi on Shammy gear, what will Enhance Shammies think?
    It would be easy enough to tailor the bonuses that way, but primary stats won't work for "full" hybrids (Druids, Shamans, and Paladins). You couldn't even really fudge it by changing your "primary" and "secondary" stat based on spec. Casters really need to get Int, Spirit, and Stam on gear, Phys and Melee DPS want *either* Agi or Str (but not both), then Stam. There's not even the same number of stats to work with.

    Edit: And *really* DPS casters would rather not have spirit, though it won't be awful for them if the plan to use it as hit proceeds. So there's even more differentiation there.
  1. Sevrid's Avatar
    the druid tier 11 looks exactly like the zealot armor from warhammer online that came out years ago. They blatantly stole it.
  1. Blazzez's Avatar
    goddamn blizzard keeps failing at making rogue tiers -.-
    t6 was still best made rogue tier
    rogue ar assasins not goddamn genie from a goddamn lamb -.- gief some real epix rogue look alike gear that says TERROR!
  1. Duster505's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Katana Angel View Post
    Zaerix, Riboflavin, I agree entirely with your sentiment. I know they have said in the past they wanted to "avoid" that healer tunnel-vision, but it's really... hard to do that, even with what changes they've added thus far with the UI (which is apparently just a now Grid-like interface).
    I do like a challenge, so I will probably end up going back to healing once Cata raiding starts up. I just hope it isn't a ludicrous ramp-up from what I've been used to.
    You saying that dps and tanks are more challenging atm than healers? Cause they are not. Healing is more challenging in WOTLK than ever before in terms of staying focused. Do the wrong thing and a player dies. That is ... in a hard enough content. ATM the problem is that noone can die since some healing classes dont have the tools to handle it in 5 man (so they have to be extra easy). This ofc leads to AOE and no need for CC content that are even more easy for the AOE healers.

    There is nothing hard or complicated about healing. It just takes much more out of ppl than tanking and damaging. Now Blizzard is focusing on making healing much more complicated for the sake of balancing the DIFFICULTY of the content. The progress of Cata is gonna be based soly on healing ability and it will lead to more ppl quitting healing than those that come back to it. We are no longer in Vanilla with 40 ppl raids. We are in 25 man raids and assigning healers sounds like smart idea for some content....exept that it doesn't work no more cause alot of movement and beeing out of range is now part and parcel of the game.

    Blizzard really need to refocus their effort on healing and realise that watching bars 99% of the time is not fun. They havn't change that. Now they have just added one more bar that needs to be watched more than before - and thats the mana bar.

    What happens if a DPS class runs out of mana? What happens if a Tank class runs out of mana (after 10 sec of fighting)? And... what happens if the healer runs out of mana? And who asks why the healer is running out of mana ? Maybe cause he needs to heal much more than he should have cause the dps and tank are taking more dmg than they should - IF they watched out for not taking extra dmg ?

    Why not let the dps classes start watching the threat meters more ? Or tanks ? Holding treat now is like taking a pee... its effortless after you start (for most) - stealing threat is almost impossible... I dont see any dps classes having to watch their big dmg spells to prevent taking agro in 2 or 3 hits... Why not... Why is ALL the content balanced ONLY on the healers ?

    WHat happens if a DPS class hits the wrong dmg button ? Absolutly nothing. What happens if the tank hits the wrong threat button ? Absolutoly nothing ? What happens if the healer hits the wrong healing button ? Everything....

    Holding agro should be hard - doing dmg without pulling agro should be hard. Healing should not be any harder than those two. THIS was the reality in Vanilla. If ppl want to take healing back to Vanilla - then why on earth not punish everyone for hitting the wrong buttons ?

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