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Filed under: Forums

Bornakk clarifies rage generation formulas

In a response to concerns on the forums about warrior rage generation, Bornakk replies that the formula is working fine - it's just using different numbers than the players who tested it. Two of the more interesting parts of his statement were as follows:

  • In the formulas people are using, there is a constant value which is labeled as 'c'. At some point in the past, someone calculated a formula for determining c based on their level and that formula is not correct past level 70 as this value needs retuning from time to time like when a new expansion comes out. The value listed for c is 320.6 when it is actually 453.3.
  • Some of the testing was done with ungeared characters hitting for very small amounts. There is a component to the calculation we haven't previously mentioned that will make the rage gained from those attacks sometimes not match the formula. Basically, the normal formula is Rage = (7.5d/c+f*s)/2. However, that result can never be larger than (7.5d/c)*2. This essentially means that very low damage attacks have a limit on how much they can be averaged up by the f*s component of the equation.
It seems odd to me that this change to 'c' was left hidden for so long and only came to light following the changes to warriors in 3.1: one possibly explanation would be that rage generation via damage before the nerfs was good enough to obscure the issue. Nevertheless since I posted about the issue this week, I felt obligated to mention Bornakk's explanation of the discrepancy.

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Blizz wants your class questions

Blizzard gets more and more communicative every week recently. I love it. They recently announced that they're seeking questions for a community question and answer series, with a separate thread for each class. They'll be going through the class threads in order, answering questions and generally being awesome (one hopes). Afterwards everything will be gathered into one big blue pile of answers and presented to the community.

Nethaera is going to be the organizer of this little event, it seems. She warns us that it is "probably going to be a couple of weeks" before we start getting answers, because they want to give sufficient time for WoW players around the world to get their questions in. She also says she's going to try to get "the most prominent questions" answered, as well as questions that have been around for a long time without being addressed.

This is a great time to get your class questions and concerns addressed, so if you have anything you've always wanted to ask a dev, go find the Q&A thread for your class (in your class forum) and post away.

Filed under: Classes, Forums

Should Arena rankings be determined by class?


An interesting thread popped up on the forums regarding Arena representation, noting class disparity and how it might be possible to rate performance based on a player's class. Balancing all the classes is an ongoing struggle and has been one of Blizzard's greatest headaches in PvP design. In Season 5, Holy Paladins and Death Knights dominated the Arenas, with Warriors getting the very short end of the stick and having the lowest number of Season 5 Gladiators. The original poster points out Blizzard's continual, active revision of the Arena ratings system and suggests that the system itself might be flawed. Because the rating system is "blind" to class or even classes in team compositions, for that matter, players using an "OP" class have an advantage.

The poster goes on to suggest that rankings be based on the class, rather than overall Arena population. This means that the percentile used to determine end-of-season rewards will be applied on a per class basis, thereby granting all classes conceptually equal representation. Ghostcrawler gives the suggestion some merit, even going so far as to say Blizzard isn't "above iteration on the design" of the Arena system as evidenced by their proactive adjustments to it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums, Arena

The woes of Block

In a discussion of tanking mechanics on the forums, Ghostcrawler made a long and in depth post about various subjects that helped consolidate one of the real problems with block and block value in Wrath of the Lich King. Not only is blocking something that only two of the four tanking classes do, but it's a pretty lackluster stat for boss tanking.

  • Block as a mechanic is somewhere between avoidance and mitigation. Ideally it removes a fair amount of damage (vs. all damage) reasonably often (vs. rarely). If block is up 100% of the time it just becomes armor that you improve through a different stat. We have let block chances creep up frankly because the amount blocked is pretty trivial when bosses are hitting for 40% of your health pool every swing. If this still strikes you as too RNG, imagine abilities like Shield Block and Holy Shield that could guarantee 100% chance to block for a short period of time.
  • We don't think block is cutting it as a mechanic, but the direction we are likely to take it is probably more of a change than you are considering.
The problem with block (which is really two mechanics in one, block rating which determines how often you block, and block value, which determines how much damage you subtract from a hit when you block it) is that for trash, it's inflated due to the block chance creeping upwards that GC mentions above. But for boss fights where a boss can either hit you physically for far, far more than you could ever block or hits you with massive magical damage that block does nothing at all against (well, unless you're a warrior in Tier 8 with the four piece set bonus) block has simply fallen behind the curve.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Forums

Shifting Perspectives: Restoration and the Tree Druid's future

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, rather than plagiarizing from Stephen Hawking, we plagiarize from ourselves, and for the second time in column history, we shelve our Previously Scheduled Guide in favor of an emergency summit concerning Tree conservation.

A question for Druids from Ghostcrawler himself; is Tree of Life form fun?

I'd like to get the question a bit more exposure both here and on the forums, because it's a thought-provoking issue. No other healer, as he observes, has to sacrifice anything in order to use a key talent in their healing tree/s, and from how Ghostcrawler's worded his post, it seems pretty clear that the PvE and PvP healing output of the Restoration spec is explicitly balanced around the use of Tree of Life. That's fine -- it is our 41-point talent, and a good one at that. It's not unreasonable for Blizzard to expect that we'll use it. However, It does have implications for game balance when 3 of 4 healing classes retain all of their offensive capabilities, crowd-control, and interrupts while healing, and the Druid relinquishes all of the above in order to provide the same level of healing throughput.

I took a look at the thread in question, and if you want my honest opinion, some of the issues being described are the logical evolution of problems from October 2005 when Tree of Life went live. The game has changed, and while the flagship Restoration talent has slowly changed alongside it, the inherent design of the form still reflects realities from the classic game rather than Wrath. Interestingly, many of these same problems affect moonkin as well.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Forums

Forum post of the day: The end of big guilds

Oldmaveric of Azgalor posed the question on the General Discussion Forum: are Big guilds on their way out due to easy WoW? He suggested that easier content on 10 man raids and regular content nerfs has led to the breakdown of some of the top guilds and caused players to quit the game.

Savvage of Spinebreaker quickly responded that big guilds have their place, but "People can now play in closer more tightly-knit groups..." For many players, raiding offers sufficient challenge while being more enjoyable than it once was. The raiding experience is not only more accessible, but also more fun. Smaller guilds can afford to be more selective of the online personalities of their membership, while still being able to to make progress.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

The disappearance (maybe) of faction pride


Kinka of Spinebreaker posts a question that I haven't seen anyone ask for a while; does the Horde really have more faction pride? Various reasons are this feeling are offered, from the lack of a strong Alliance-side leader (with Varian Wrynn feeling like a shoehorned, and controversial claimant to that position), to the less unified Alliance leveling experience, to more philosophical assertions from Filara of Terenas concerning early Horde differences continuing to exercise an influence to this day. In classic WoW, Filara observes, the Horde population on each server was typically small and outgunned. People knew each other, could network easily, banded together againt superior Alliance numbers in world PvP, and -- when battlegrounds became available -- could typically get games significantly faster than their Alliance counterparts. Add the numbers up and it's easy to see how faction difference became part of WoW's conventional wisdom.

What interests me more is how rarely we see this question come up nowadays. During and shortly after classic WoW, comparison of the two factions was both inevitable and the source of major fights on the forums. Despite being outnumbered on the vast majority of servers, Horde routinely encountered more battleground success -- or so went the popular theory. As BC went on and the Alliance slowly lost a bit (though by no means all) of its population advantage thanks (let's be perfectly honest here) to the influx of Blood Elves to the Horde, it's possible that some of both factions' finer "cultural" distinctions have been somewhat eroded, if they ever existed at all.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Forums, Battlegrounds

Forum post of the day: Nerf Pop-Tarts

This is a few days old, but still a quality post. The original poster has a bad experience with a Pop-Tart, leading to nerf calls against fire damage - apparently a pastry being able to take his tongue down to 60% in one GCD is just too much burst. Of course, if the opponents hadn't been running a Pop-Tart/Toaster combo, this never would have happened; burn damage is highly situational.

It's a good set-up, but the thread really starts to shine when later posters get into it, like "You didn't specify the flavour of the pop tart, so we can't exactly see what the problem was. If it was strawberry that's kinda understandable since it is considered a hero class, but if it was brown sugar, yeah, you're making this up." You heard it here first: Strawberry is the Death Knight of toaster snacks.

What do you think: do Pop-Tarts need nerfs, or do you side with the poster who says that "Pop Tarts are fine. l2eat"?

Filed under: Humor, Forums

Totem Talk: Mystery DPS leak?


As I mentioned last week, they're hotfixing Lightning Overload: The chance for the Lightning Overload talent to be triggered is being increased from 7/13/20% to 11/22/33%. The reason this change is going live is a little more confusing. It's going live because elemental shaman DPS is low, but the developers can find no reason for it.

I find this interesting because it's illustrative of the complexity of the game itself and also of the elemental shaman and the way the class interacts with others for its damage potential. We can assume that the damage loss moving from Naxxramas to Ulduar is real, because the developers are already hotfixing a change to compensate for it (something they have not done for other classes that have demonstrated DPS loss in Ulduar) and so we're left with something of a mystery. Why is elemental shaman DPS decreasing since patch 3.1?

I won't pretend I know better than anyone else. If the people who work to predict and design these systems didn't see this one coming, and it's not due to an obvious nerf (which it's not) then it baffles me. But we can still muse about possible culprits. (By we, I really mean we here. I want to see what you guys think, because I have to admit, I cannot figure this out. I've looked at raid WWS for my guild and our elemental shaman does seem to be lower, but he and I discussed it and he has no more of a clue than I do. Since all my gear is resto, I offspec elemental but am by no means an expert yet.)

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Raiding, Buffs, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Forums

Design your own holiday

Crygil wants to know: if you could design a new holiday for the game, what would it be? I don't think I've ever heard the question asked before -- holidays are really just optional fun for more players, and Blizzard has always covered the basics (Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc.), and even added in some of their own by giving real-world holidays some Azerothian flavor (Midsummer Fire Festival, and of course Brewfest). Are there really any holidays they missed?

I guess Labor Day and Memorial Day are the two biggest ones -- maybe all of the NPCs could take a day off, there could be giant barbeques set up in the capital cities, or players could take a day to remember those fallen in the past wars. Or you could go another route and just make up your own holiday: Grumpyfool of Azjol-Nerub recommends Gnome Appreciation Week (a whole week?), where Azeroth's shortest denizens can get some love of their own. A more recently based holiday might be fun, too -- maybe once a year we could remember Arthas' (it was Arthas, right?) zombie attack on our homeland.

I doubt this is going to be used to determine actual Blizzard policy. Seems more like just a fun thought experiment. But there are definitely some interesting ideas in there -- if Blizzard ever wants to add yet another holiday to the calendar, there are plenty of ideas.

Filed under: Items, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Forums

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Warrior DPS Blues


If you've been reading this column over the past few weeks you know I've been threatening to rant about fury DPS being too low. I've stopped myself because I dislike mindless griping and rant posts (I've done them in the past, that doesn't make them any more palatable to me) and I wanted to wait and see how things shook out with better gear.

By now I have some of the best gear you can get before hard modes in 25 man, and my general opinion is that both arms and fury DPS is too low. I linked to that post because, despite the fact that it states that fury and arms will see buffs, it not only has no specifics to offer yet but it also fails to address why such staggering nerfs were implemented in the first place.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Raiding, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Forums

Forum post of the day: Why did you /gquit

There are many different reasons for why we join guilds: to raid; to meet girls (well, not usually to meet girls). We also have numerous reasons why we quit guilds. I was kind of amazed by Oreooze of Dalaran's list of reasons for why he /gquit.

1. He wasn't congratulated on his achievements.
2. He doesn't trust people online.
3. He didn't get invited to raids.
4. He didn't want to get Ventrilo he prefers not to use voice chat.

It sounds to me that the OP was not terribly interested in being a part of a team. I have to admit, I would have a hard time inviting people to raids that absolutely refused to get into Vent. I'm sorry, my friend, but real time communication is very important to success in raids. It is positively infuriating when someone wipes a raid because they missed an important instruction. I'm sure that some guilds can get by raiding without voice chat, but it's very frustrating not to have 24 people who can listen in and work with the team.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Breakfast topic: Your priority list

We got an email from a reader concerned with the amount of time he spends playing WoW. It seems to be negatively impacting his school and social lives. Most of us manage to balance out WoW time with our real life obligations, but there is a strong possibility that addiction can set in. I cannot stress enough the importance of balance.

I think that one of the keys to keeping both your WoW life and your real life balanced is by identifying your priority list. Every once in a while do a reality check and make sure you're keeping it in line. For me WoW sits somewhere between work and sleep (then again, I've never slept much). My guildies know that I will not be on on Friday nights, that's "sister time." I do play WoW when I'm on work trips, but I never go anywhere particularly exciting.

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Filed under: Tips, Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, Forums

Forum post of the day: Tank Haiku

Kyleface of Garona started a thread in the tank forums on Tank Haiku. It seemed that some of the responders prefered to write Haikus abut how they don't like Haikus:

Nancee of Dark Iron submitted a Haiku on Death Knights:

Death and Decay time!
Missing the cower-in-fear!
Hit with the nerf bat...

Avanaco of Misha added in a two verse lament on druid tanking:

Q Q warrior
At least you have some proper
Itemization

Your items may suck
At least you don't have to wear
Hunter and rogue gear

There are a few other little gems in the thread. Take a moment to take a peek at it.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Humor, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

PvP trinket is mandatory

There's a short, five-page locked thread over at the official forums that starts out by quoting Ghostcrawler although the OP doesn't quite make his point clear. I think what he's trying to say is that there's too much crowd control in the game, so much in fact, that a PvP trinket is mandatory. The discussion devolves into a criticism of the prevalance of crowd control in PvP. This is arguably exemplified by one of the most enduring and successful 3v3 team composition in Arenas, the RMP or Rogue-Mage-Priest comp which has access to a good number of crowd control (and interrupt or silence) abilities.

Ghostcrawler pops in to give his two centavos worth (apparently he can sift through QQ much better than I could) to say that "crowd control abilities are part of WoW," and is actually a little surprised at the reaction. "If you don't like being CC'd," he chides, "use your PvP trinket." He goes on to say that too much crowd control isn't good for the game, and also acknowledges that too much burst and too much healing aren't palatable, either. A little later down the thread, he gives a little illumination behind developer philosophy about crowd control design and distribution. Newsflash: it isn't equal.

By not being equal, I mean that some classes have more CC than others, while some have access to more CC breaks than others. But the accusation was that this made the game unbalanced, and this is what our favorite crab disagreed with. Despite the trend towards a little class homogeneity (e.g., identical or non-stacking buffs), he draws the line at making classes carbon copies of each other. He admits that "making classes identical or even very similar makes the game easier to balance," but he also astutely points out that "it also makes it boring."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums

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