Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blue Post: Celestial Steed, Mastery & Multiple Trees, Combatlog and raids

Quote from Blizzard staff
Celestial Steed (not) limited quantity
The store itself does not act as a generator for loot codes, so a set number of codes had to be added to the store. That number is very high. If it's ever reached, we can add more. The item offer isn't intended to be of a limited quantity. (Source)

Mastery and multiple trees
If you are a 5/20/51 Ret paladin, you get mastery bonuses for spending 51 points in Retribution, and nothing else.

If a rogue is 55/21/0, they get mastery bonuses for spending 51-55 points in Assassination and nothing else.
We went back and forth on this for a bit, but Emogenheap's examples are correct. Basically it came down to two things:

We could do cooler bonuses (like Balance and Shadow) if we knew it would be restricted to those guys only and not all members of that class.

Several hybrids would have trouble finding enough attractive in other trees. Why does the Elemental shaman want better melee damage or healing? Meanwhile the Fury warrior happily dips into Arms to pick up their bonuses too. (It's fine to sub-spec into other trees is there are sexy talents there, even if they are different roles. We just didn't want someone to potentially get 9 different passive bonuses from doing so.) (Source)

Passive Mastery Benefits
On the broader topic of whether more creative or more passive mastery benefits are more fun, we just need to get players in there in beta and trying them out. The risk of more passive bonuses (like the current Enhancement one) is that it's just a little dry. Since your spell damage tends to scale roughly (roughly) with your gear, it risks just feeling like more damage. On the other hand, bonuses like Shadow and Balance affect gameplay an awful lot and may end up being just one too many things to monitor. We wanted to split the difference for now and see what feels the best. It could be that we spice up some of the passive ones or it could be we tone down some of the crazier ones, or we continue to offer a mix and let players gravitate towards what they like. I can see how the more creative ones might just sound more exciting, but then again getting 12 new abilities might sound exciting too until you're struggling with how to learn the nuance of when to use each one (if that lousy analogy makes sense). (Source)

Showing absorbs in combat log
We're still working on showing absorbs. It's technically very challenging. It's not information we currently pass down to the client, and while passing that information down isn't too tricky itself, making sure we can share it without affecting your performance is less trivial. (Source)

Vengeance Mastery Bonus
If you've spent much time on this forum in the last several months, you'd have noticed a common theme is that tanks start to have threat problems again at extreme levels of gear. The problem really isn't that surprising. Say that tanks start out doing half the damage of DPS specs. All is well. But the DPS specs continue to improve their DPS stats while tanks continue to improve their survival stats. Even if tanks spend a little effort on threat stats (some of which they get naturally on their gear), they still can't keep up with the DPS specs. It's a gear scaling problem.

We considered, and rejected, many other solutions to the problem, such as increasing threat modifier or choosing to no longer make tanking gear. Ultimately we decided that there were good things about the way rage works on warriors and bears (translating incoming damage into threat) and the way the mage talent, Incanter's Absorption turned damage taken into damage done. It just provides the damage increase in a way that's controllable.

Vengeance is NOT there so that you no longer have to ever worry about threat. It's fine with us if you have to consider threat a little bit at the start of a fight. Again, if we wanted to make threat not a factor in WoW, we'd just remove it and have mobs always stick to you rather than just cranking the threat numbers up so high that you don't have to take it very seriously.

Vengeance is also not designed to keep tank dps high no matter what in any circumstances. It's designed so that when you're being hit, your damage stays elevated. The damage done scales with your health, essentially allowing tank DPS to increase as DPS specs DPS increases. It scales a little bit with damage being taken too so that you don't turn into a juggernaut if a rogue sticks you with a dagger in PvP. (Source)

Encounter design and raid composition
Encounter design will always favor someone over someone else. It's probably impossible to make things absolutely even across every class (or even every tank class) on encounters that are tuned this tightly. And really, we wouldn't put that kind of constraint on the encounter designers. It's tough enough coming up with mechanics that you guys aren't totally sick of seeing while still giving you enough flexibility to bring whoever you want.

If we thought it was impossible or even really, really difficulty for some classes to tank some encounters, then that would cross the line for us. Death knights coming off of Sarth and going into Ulduar crossed the line because the advantages they had seemed like they were giving them an advantage on every fight. Blocking made too much of a difference on Anub, and we probably won't use that mechanic again. The Lich King hits so freaking hard on 25 heroic mode that a giant health pool is pretty useful. But the three guilds that have killed him now have used pretty different comps and even different tanks, so that seems pretty successful. So few guilds have anything approaching a reasonable shot of being able to handle that fight until the buff stack gets much higher that it seems a little silly to worry about it too much. (Props if you guys think you're close.) Meanwhile, you can do every other encounter in the game with the tank of your choice without being at a major disadvantage. Doesn't sound that bad overall. (Source)

Yes. Actual downranking had two problems though. One, it was a pretty obtuse concept for new players. If you're super elite you might dismiss that concern, but it was something players had to figure out (typically be reading forums or something) and worked nothing else like anything in the game.

Even more of a concern, a lot of players downranked not only to conserve mana when they didn't need to heal much but because at some point in gear the coefficient starts to matter a lot more than the base points. They could essentially get a fairly powerful heal off at a lower cost.

We think the decision of when to use a big heal and when to use a small heal is a fun one -- it was fun for players for vanilla and BC. Healing might be too bland if you literally only had those spells, but nobody will. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Paladin Healing model
We talked a lot about keeping the paladin model inverted, where the small heal is super efficient. There is probably a way it could still work. In the end we were just concerned that it would end up biting us in the rear. Somewhere along the way we'd have to make special rules to handle the paladin, who would risk being too mana efficient or too incapable of healing when forced to heal outside of their mana-efficient comfort zone. Could we have designed it? Probably. But frankly I'd rather spend our time on more interesting mechanics and spells. I'd rather the new AE heal really make paladins feel like they can AE heal rather than really making sure FoL felt small, cheap and fast. I agree it erodes a little bit of distinction among the classes, but only a little bit. There are far more interesting ways to make healers feel unique than in the relative mana efficiency of their small spell. (Source)

Divine Storm
Divine Storm will get the Whirlwind treatment (less damage per target but unlimited targets).

The difference is that paladins fit their rotations around cooldowns while warriors do so around a limited resource. So it's entirely possible a paladin will still use DS when other attacks are on cooldown. (It will depend on what exactly the Ret rotation looks like, which we're still developing.) Divine Storm also provides a little healing too, so it's not exactly the same as Whirlwind. We probably wouldn't want to get to the point where Rets feel the need to have their single target spec without DS and the cleave spec with DS. (And without knowing the numbers, it's going to be difficult for any of you to insist that this will or will not happen.)

In general, we don't want buttons that are good against single targets to just be better against groups of targets. It makes rotations too static and makes numbers hard to balance since "cleavey" specs can do so much more damage against tight packs of enemies. Some higher damage is fine. It just too extreme right now.

These are previews, not patch notes. Just because we didn't mention anything doesn't mean there is no chance of it changing. (Source)

Blessings / Blessing of Sanctuary
Kings and Might can just be raid wide. There should be no need to target individuals. We're trying to make sure there isn't a circumstance where one dude would prefer the opposite buff to everyone else.

Bo Sanc could just be Kings with an extra mana component (for the paladin). We're also considering making it a passive that gives the paladin mana and provides the 3% damage reduction buff raid-wide which is currently brought by Renewed Hope (the Disc talent). (Source)

Scaling back AoE Tanking Capabilities of Paladins
That's still the goal. I guess I'm unclear of what part of the paladin preview you took to mean that we're keeping the same or even enhancing the ability for paladins to AE tank.

We tried to stay away from numbers as much as possible in the previews, except to give you a vague sense of the intent for some of the new abilities in terms of whether something has a short cooldown or a long cooldown.

[...] No, it's not really that. We just have a couple of different avenues we're exploring and we didn't want to have say models A, B and C in different large paragraphs. The ideas just need a little more time to bake.

And I'm not entirely sure how you're using "niches" but I am talking about wanting Prot paladins to use slightly different rotations against single targets than against groups. The addition of Crusader Strike (and maybe Holy Shock?) alone start to provide that. (Source)

Critical Healing Effect
There also seems to be some confusion about Critical Healing Effect which simply means a critical heal can do more than 150%. (Think of talents like Ruin for warlocks.) We wanted to keep some of the feel of Holy paladins getting big critical heals and caring about crit in general. This mechanic wouldn’t really have worked in Wrath of the Lich King because big crits just translated into overhealing. In Cataclysm that shouldn’t be the case. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Talent Calculator)
Enhancement Concerns
The previews have only been out a short while, and we're not ready to go from there yet to going into a lot of detail on every talent tree. There are some Enhancement mechanics you haven't seen yet.

To deal with two specific concerns....

We agree that Enhancement benefits too much from just auto attacking. This isn't a "nerf shaman" issue. We just think having more yellow damage makes the spec more interesting, a little harder to master (in the sense of letting really good players eek out a little more dps) and ultimately easier to balance.

On the mastery talent tree bonus, it might very well end up as all Elemental damage. We're not really trying to get Enhance to shift from Fire damage to more Lightning Bolts or anything at higher tiers of gear. We didn't go that way initially because it looked odd for Enhancement's bonus to be "Elemental damage" and also because Survival's bonus was also Elemental damage, and we want all 30 to be unique. But there are ways around that, including doing a different one for Survival. (Source)

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