Saturday, 19 July 2008

WotLK - Druid Changes

I am a fail... an EPIC FAIL! I promised myself I wouldn't get caught up in the WotLK hype and speculation until at least PTR Beta, because everything was going to change. I promised myself faithfully that I wouldn't. Epic Fail!
  • Survival of the Fittest - Now reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by 6% at rank 3.

In other words, crit proof without any +defense. I can hear the Warrior and Pally QQ already, but I'm not convinced blizz will be breaking out the nerf bat. Blizz have already said that they want to simplify itemisation - combining spell and healing power, making +hit apply to both melee and spell etc. Without this change, Ferals would be the only class in the game needing +defense on leather which would complicate itemisation again.

I'm not sure that I like the 6% figure though - bears can be crit proof before they've even reached 350 defense?. We could still get some defense from rings, cloaks, weapons, trinkets etc. so setting it at 5% would mean a wannabe tank would still have some work to do to get that extra 0.6%.

I'm going to pick up a number of changes together now...

  • Feral Instinct - No longer a passive threat increase but an increase in damage done by swipe
  • Mangle - Now increases damage done by Maul as well as Shred

Blizz are making a number of changes to threat mechanics to a lot of classes - Pally's Blessing of Salvation has been changed to a single target reactive spell and the Greater version has gone completely, Shammies Tranquil Air totem has been removed with the comment in the patch notes "Threat is being addressed by modifications to the base threat of players and/or "baked" into tanking abilities".

Interestingly, warrior threat hasn't had the same change as Feral Instinct. Defiance has been removed but Defensive stance now has +45% innate threat - broadly similar to now.

I have to be honest here and say that, on single target tank assignments, it's boring being a bear. Unless your dps are much better geared than you are Mangle, Lacerate x3, rinse and repeat with Maul as a rage soak and "Hey guys, you just try getting aggro away from me, go ahead it ain't gonna happen". So making things a bit more interesting here is no bad thing.

However, when it comes to multiple targets, we already struggle even with tab swipe. Now maybe the increased damage from swipe will balance things out and maybe the changes to the UI to make threat more visible will help dps to manage things better. I guess only time will tell.

  • Omen of Clarity - Now passive, procs on spells and has an internal cooldown of 10s with a 6% proc rate
Phae has already done some theorycrafting on this for casters over at resto4life. If I'm interpreting it correctly for melee we should be seeing about 2.25 procs per minute. I couldn't find a definitive answer on the current proc rate but the consensus seems to be about 2 ppm, so the change looks balanced. Making it passive is welcome and long overdue and the ability to proc on spells means we might even get a proc on that FF or Hurricane pull!

  • Primal Tenacity - Now reduces damage taken while stunned and reduces the amount of time you are feared. This used to be a straight stun and fear resistance.
Other classes have had similar changes. For PvP I think it's an improvement; certainly against rogues anyway. What happens if I resist his stun opener? He just waits a GCD and tries again. Now at least, I've got some damage reduction for when he does pull it off.

For PvE, again, probably an improvement - 15% less damage from Maiden? I'll take that. I stand by my original view on this mechanic in PvE though - it sucks!

[Blizz designer 1] Hey these guys are killing instance bosses too easy what can we do?
[Blizz designer 2] I know, let's take control away from the player to make it harder for them
[Blizz designer 3] Hey, even better... let's take control away from the player and GIVE IT TO THE INSTANCE BOSS so they kill each other

GG blizz, GG!

  • Feral Charge - Will work in cat form.

Rocket kitteh, ftw! This will be fantastic in PvP. Being able to get away from that MS warrior while interrupting a healer at the same time is pure awesome sauce.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

New Physics Engine

One of the things that was only briefly mentioned at the recent WWI was the new physics engine. Just my guess here, but I reckon that WoW and Diablo III will be sharing a common physics engine; in Diablo III "environments will be interactive and destructible"; Lake Wintergrasp will have "destructible elements such as bridges and keeps". So it's worth keeping an eye on Diablo III and WotLK features to see what might get shared across.

One of the things that players loved about Age of Conan was the knockback. For those who haven't played, this allowed you to throw mobs in front of you back a few feet with a temporary stun - way cool fun even if it had its problems with positioning in a game which had collision detection. Now what do I see here? Death Knights have a Death Grip ability "drawing the target toward the Death Knight".

You heard it here first... Blizzard will reverse that mechanic in a future patch to bring knockback to WoW. Funcom must be so pissed!

And in the new Dalaran arena "a blast of water will push people out of the pipe"? That's not as new as the DK ability I admit. Anybody who's been to Magister's Terrace has had their toon pushed around or floated in anti-gravity... heck, even Baron Geddon was pushing us around (up) back in the day.

What is new, though, is the ability for players to start doing these things to the mobs instead of the other way around.
  • Healer's Haven - Holy Priest Talent - The priest explodes with divine light throwing back any attackers and temporarily stunning them.
  • Breathing Space - Prot Warrior Ability - The warrior spins in a crushing arc slamming attackers to the ground.
  • Force of Nature - Shaman Totem - Lasts 30 seconds. The totem pulses every 5 seconds pushing back nearby attackers.
  • Fatal Attraction - Prot Paladin Talent - The paladin's charisma shines forth, dragging nearby enemies toward them in a daze which slows their attack speed.
Heck, I'm no game designer but I'm sure you guys can think of other potential for this mechanic as well.