A Bloody (Well-Deserved?) Nerf

12 09 2009

If you haven’t heard, Blood is getting a bit of a nerf in 3.2.2. This is the proposed change: “Heart Strike: Secondary targets of Heart Strike now take half as much damage.” (source) The reasoning, apparently, is that we shouldn’t be able to do extremely good AoE damage without somehow losing out on single-target DPS.

While I, like anyone else, dislike getting nerfed, I agree with this philosophy. One discrepancy that bothers me is the case of Ret Paladins. In their regular rotation they use two powerful AoE moves, Divine Storm and Consecration. If there are 3-4 targets around, Ret Pally AoE begins to really outshine DK DPS without even having to break from regular rotation. DKs currently still have to use Pestilence to spread diseases in order to make AoE truly effective, so the reasoning is a bit fuzzy to me.

I wonder, though, if we deserve some other way to boost DPS in place of this nerf? Blood has pretty bad AoE damage (especially with the nerf). The best suggestion I saw was something on the EJ forums: that Blood Strike should get an AoE component through a talent deep in the Blood tree. That way in order to do AoE DPS, we’d have to sacrifice some single-target damage to get more cleave.

Making a change like this allows for more choices to be made during Blood DPS, akin to the way Frost works. That’s the one thing I think Blood is really missing. Aside from cooldowns, the Blood rotation is very set in stone which makes it a bit less fun to play with.





Faulty Thinking And The Armor Penetration Nerf

5 09 2009

In a recent blue post, Ghostcrawler stated that the ArPen nerf going live in 3.2.2 (on PTR now) was intentional. He claims the reason for this nerf is that people were focusing on ArPen at the expense of all other stats. So it needed to be nerfed to make sure that melee DPS and MM hunters wanted other stats.

Does anyone else see the faulty thinking involved? Ever since I hit 80, I’ve been gemming pretty much purely for Strength at the cost of socket bonuses and other stats. As it stands now, especially with the ArPen nerf, Strength eclipses Crit, Haste, and ArPen. So why are they nerfing ArPen as opposed to buffing Haste and Crit to make them valuable stats for DKs?

Instead of avoiding gear without ArPen, as GC stated was the case, I often find myself choosing gear with sockets and caring very little about the stats, be they Haste, Crit or ArPen. How is that any better? I’d prefer it if they were useful rather than simply stuff that isn’t Strength on gear. That’s what I like about my Mage – Crit and Haste are both valuable stats, which makes gearing choices a bit more interesting than simply taking whatever has the most Intellect, or whatever it might be.

The only gems that matter

The only gems that matter





The Fix That Wasn’t

22 06 2009

Blizzard has made a few strange decisions regarding Wintergrasp and arena. Today I want to talk about why I don’t like the way Blizzard has gone about making these nerfs/changes/whatevers to Wintergrasp and the 2v2 arena bracket. I’ll start off with Wintergrasp (it sounds more frosty than arena, I guess?).

The problem with Wintergrasp: too damn busy (i.e. too damn laggy, but is it performance lag or network lag?)

The WG fix: make Wintergrasp battles less attractive, hopefully drawing fewer people per battle

The WG problem redux: the fix didn’t do anything

My future is uncertain!

My future is uncertain!


The problem with this “fix” overall is that it really wasn’t a fix but a way to get players to stop using content. Blizzard is now changing Wintergrasp to a BG-like queue system (which you can read about here if you’re out of the loop) that will allow only 100 people from each faction to participate in the battle at the time. Will they in turn change the weeklies back to dailies? I doubt it – but since the change was (at least partially) done to disincentivize WG, it’s a possibility. But why didn’t Blizzard simply make it a queue from the start? Did they really expect people to go only once a week to do dailies? That seems preposterous. The queue system is a much better idea of a fix, though in practice I don’t think it will make a difference.

Here’s why: I had a 5-year old laptop a few weeks ago, and have since gotten a new one that can actually handle WoW. On the old one, I could barely move in Wintergrasp Fortress during a battle. Rarely were there more than 99 people of my faction in the keep with me, so that won’t change. Given 50 Horde and 50 Alliance fighting in one place, though, and my old laptop would just hide in the corner weeping and I’d get around 2-3 FPS, if that. With my new computer, not a single lag issue in WG (except for once when the whole zone experienced a few second delay, but that was the exception not the rule). Also, in a recent WG, my GM was with us and counted out how many people were in the battle: 120 Alliance. A cut to 100 won’t change the amount of performance lag, since there will still be 100 (less on my server) running around killing us and making our FPS low.

The new “fix” is more of a fix, but still not likely to change anything about Wintergrasp. Those with old computers will probably still feel the lag.

The problem with 2v2 arena: it’s not balanced, FotM (flavour of the month), it’s too fast-paced

The fix: 2v2 rating no longer allows you to buy the newest season of arena gear

The problem with the fix: it’s not a fix

So what Blizzard seems to be saying here is that they are giving up caring about 2v2 arena, a bracket that many care strongly about and others enjoy playing (I fall into thse second group, I find it to be fun and easier to setup than 3v3 or 5v5). In 3.2, where you won’t be able to get gear from 2v2, it seems like Blizzard will use this as an excuse to give up attempts at balancing it. Like the first WG “fix” this change wants you to stop playing 2v2. The message that this sends out is possibly a dire one: if something is broke, don’t fix it. There have always been broken elements of the game, like one class being overpowered either in PvE or PvP or another being underpowered, but Blizzard’s always taken the approach of fixing classes rather than saying “ummm don’t play that class anymore, okay?”

The 2v2 arena “fix” and the recent changes to WG are sort of like making Paladins unusable in PvP. Of course, that’s taking it to the extreme, but that’s what it feels like to me. If something isn’t working properly, well, fuck it and move on. But unlike Exorcism, which has been changed so much in the last few patches it’s hard to remember what it started out as, 2v2 seems to be going the way of the dodo. WG on the other hand will likely see more change or be instanced, eventually.

P.S.

You may have noticed a lack of discussion of 3.2 DK-specific changes. Every time I think about writing something about them, my thought always ends in “but we’ll have to see how it looks on the PTR.” Blizzard has been pretty vague as to the specifics of the changes, specifically how the new dual-wield talent will really work and what the buff to Blood Strike really means. So… check back when the PTR pops up and results from tests start flowing in.





3.1.3, or How Will I Tank With 20% Less Bonus Armour?

26 05 2009

So tonight the patch notes for 3.13 dropped onto the interwebs from wherever Blizzard keeps them. Here are the two important Death Knight-related changes:

Frost Presence: Armor bonus is now 60% down from 80%.

Death Knight PvP Gauntlets: The chance to refresh a Frost Rune when casting Chains of Ice has been removed. When equipped, these gloves now generate 5 additional runic power whenever Chains of Ice is used.

I may look angry but nerfs make me cry on the inside.

I may look angry but nerfs make me cry on the inside.

The armour nerf (owie)

I’m not sure where this came from, to be honest. I also don’t know if this is aimed at PvP or PvE. The main complaint about DK tanking seemed to always be about the ability to negate burst magic damage through IBF, Bone Shield and AMS. This nerf won’t do anything to change these strengths. If the nerf is PvP-related, I can see the reasoning behind it. Being able to gain a ridiculous amount of armor with no real loss of damage dealing is very strong against Rogues, Warriors, and other melee classes. I know that’s my strategy in arenas, anyways. So much of tank-damage is magical these days that I’m not sure this will have a game-breaking effect on PvE DK tanks, but I’ll have to see if I notice a difference when the patch hits.

Onoes my PvP gloves!

I saw this coming a mile away. Granted, I didn’t expect a glove bonus that I would be incredibly meh about, but such is life as a DK. Ghostcrawler has been responding to QQ posts on the forums saying things like “What if it [the problem] is the glove bonus” (Source)? Granted, the current incarnation of the glove bonus was probably too strong, and likely a result of Blizzard not really knowing what is OP and what isn’t for DKs. For another example of this, see the original t7.5 bonus (+10 RP on Obliterate, Death Strike and Scourge Strike) which turned out to be incredibly awesome. Then look at the t8.5 4-piece, which is pretty much trash and barely even worth considering, especially as Frost.

Although I am not enamored of the new glove bonus, I am wary of it becoming powerful. The nerf means we can’t cast CoI quite as much, but we’ll also be generating more runic power, an ability which can often get out of control. See again the t7.5 bonus. I don’t think this nerf will damage a DK’s ability to kite all that much, but it might force more strategic use of Death Runes. Rather than always using them on a Scourge Strike or whatever attack your spec uses, it might be better to save the runes for casting Chains.

A happy note

Since this post has otherwise been about nerfs, here is a change that may make you happy if you are a raider.

The flight time of Rocket Strikes has been increased, and Rocket Strikes will try to prefer players at range.

The Leviathan Mk II component of the V-07-TR-0N will become stunned during Phase 4 when the VX-001 component begins to cast the P3Wx2 Laser Barrage ability.

Proximity mines now deal less damage and have a lower duration. A small arming time has also been added so proximity mines will not immediately detonate on creation.

All extremely convenient (and not uber-nerfs) to the Mimiron encounter. I hated running back to the boss only to randomly get mines tossed into my path killing me before I could move. Stupid mechano-gnome and his Voltron powersuit thing.








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