Aug 14th 2008 4:39PM Weeblebel,
Let me see if I can address some of your concerns. You are certainly correct--there are talents or abilities that provided a limited measure of regeneration for non-mana classes. However, I think your analysis and comparison does not go far enough.
Warriors (and Bear form Druids) work based upon rage. To that extent, they have a great benefit over other classes in that as the fight goes on, they continually generate more power. Such a tank, with a warrior in tow, is in no danger of running out of power. It is certainly a big advantage.
Conversely, however, they also suffer from the restriction that, aside from certain abilities, they begin the fight without ANY power. This is a huge disadvantage, relatively speaking, to a mana user.
Rage caps at 100, meaning that abilities cannot become too expensive, lest they never be used. Furthermore, I think that most players of all classes would agree that a tank without rage is a bad thing.
Rogues (and Cat form Druids) use the second power system, energy. This energy bar, like mana and unlike rage, has the benefit of being completely full at the beginning of a fight.
Energy, like rage, is capped at 100 (untalented, 110 for Assassination Rogues). Therefore, like rage-users, the abilities of energy-users cannot become overly expensive, lest they never be able to use them. Unlike Rage, which builds with damage taken and dealt, Energy currently builds on a tick system, and there is no stat that can be stacked to increase this.
Mana is very different. Like Energy, mana begins full at the start of the fight (chain pulling, etc., notwithstanding). Mana is also "not" capped. By this, I mean that you can continue to stack Intellect, and cause your available mana pool to increase. Furthermore, unlike Energy, Mana regeneration rate can be increased by stacking Spirit.
Now, you specifically want to address talents and abilities that increase energy or rage regeneration, but it is important for us to realize several important truths.
First, most of these abilities are available via talents. These abilities are therefore not available to all members of that class, and indeed are often (though not always) mutually exclusive.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, we must remember that such abilities really are available to most classes. Some form of Clearcasting is often available by talents. The same can be said of basic cost-reduction talents.
Conversely, some talents do the opposite: increasing the effectiveness of an ability rather than reducing it's cost. You see this frequently in some caster talents (Arcane Mages coming to mind, for example). Remember that there are two ways to get more bang for your buck: reduce the bucks involved, or increase the bang.
Third, lets keep in mind that many of these abilities and talents are also tied to cooldowns, either explicit or internal, or to other penalties. For example, Adrenaline Rush, a major increase to Rogue Energy regeneration, is on a five minute cooldown. Enrage, a Druid ability used to generate additional rage, causes an armor reduction.
There are several important things to take away from our brief discussion here.
First, World of Warcraft is not a zero-sum game. Somebody else winning does not mean you are losing. Sometimes the world really is a better place if we only use the term "nerf" when referring to actual foam projectiles.
Second, all of the classes work together. A reduction in rage generation for your tank is reduction in his maximum threat, which in turn is a reduction in the maximum DPS put out by other members of the raid. A "buff" to another class very likely may be a buff to your's as well.
Third, none of the changes mentioned in the Wrath of the Licking are final. Anything might change between here and there.
Fourth, as C.S Lewis once said, "Growth is the synthesis of change and continuity." In other words, to really grow, some things will stay the same, but other things must change. WoW is a growing and developing game, and we will all be able to adjust accordingly.
And finally, this long discussion has strayed far from the original topic, the elimination of downranking.
As I stated elsewhere, there seem to be good things and bad things about this change, but in the end, we can all adapt either way. We can probably all agree that we're excited about seeing where things will go as we head into the Licking.
Aug 14th 2008 9:47AM I would just like to point out that, while Cat/Bear abilities do no cost more as you level, neither does your pool of available energy/rage increase. Casters have MUCH more mana available at higher levels, while a Cat has the same 100 energy that he had at level 20. A caster, therefore, has a lot more with which to start.
By the same token, casters are able to increase their regeneration rate in a way basically unavailable to their physical counterparts. Warriors and Bears generate Rage based upon damage taken and dealth, and Rogues and Cats are tied to the same "tick" system they've been using all along. Contrast this with a caster who can stack (depending upon talents, etc.) mp5, Spirit, and/or Intellect to replenish their energy more quickly.
Finally, keep in mind that the cost of shapeshifting for a Druid DOES increase with leveling, because shapeshifting costs a percentage of base mana.
So, while I think your first paragraph is completely misinformed, I do agree with your second. It certainly takes a good amount of skill and knowledge to effectively use downranking to give yourself an advantage.
Aug 14th 2008 9:41AM Overall, this does seem like a good improvement as applied to mana conservation for most things (for example, casting a lower rank of Greater Heal to avoid overhealing and save mana). I understood (and even appreciated) this sort of downranking, but it certainly makes for clutter, and some could easily argue that it detracts from the actual game by forcing you to focus on the "Okay, he only needs XXXX healing, so I need to use Rank N and...."
That said, I find myself saddened at losing the ability to use lower-ranked spells to gain beneficial buffs. For example, a Priest could cast a low-ranked healing spell in an attempt to get a critical hit, boosting the tank's armor with the Inspiration talent. A Shaman might use a lower-ranked spell to apply the Healing Way buff. As I understand this change, this practice will no longer be viable.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly to me, this change will remove some important utility from spells. For example, a Mage will no longer be able to cast Arcane Explosion (Rank 1) to break stealth on nearby Rogues. A Paladin's Consecration (Rank 1) is another excellent example of this.
In the end, all three of examples (avoiding overhealing, applying buffs, and low-cost AoE damage) do come down to mana conservation. I understand why Blizzard is doing this (and in fact completely agree in the first case, avoiding overhealing). I just wish it wasn't quite so sweeping across the board on low-cost AoE and (especially) applying buffs.
Jul 29th 2008 12:57PM While I certainly understand the mentality of this and the desire to see the number of high-end raid consumables limited, I do have an additional concern here beyond the possible penalty to the income level of Alchemists.
Potions do a wide range of things. I can understand this sort of debuff for something like a Health or Mana potion. I might even be able to understand this for something like a Haste or Destruction potion. What I can't understand is the decision this forces between the two. Taking a Haste potion to increase your DPS, for example, shouldn't require you to forfeit a Mana potion for the entirety of an eight minute raid encounter.
One possible alternative to this could be a sort of Battle/Guardian-type division in potions. Some, like Health or Mana potions, replenish you a la a Guardian Elixir, while other potions enhance you. Could they be divided so that this debuff applies only to one or the other? Are we getting to complicated at this point?
I like the idea here, but I don't like some of these broader implications.
Jul 11th 2008 10:27AM In the first case, let's dispense with this pointless prattle about how Druids are a "hybrid" class. What is a hybrid? It is a class that can do more than one thing. We can stick different suffixes to that definition, but the basic truth remains the same. By that definition, our "classic hybrids" (Druids, Shaman, and Paladins) are, in fact, not the only hybrids in the game. Priests can DPS or heal. Warriors can DPS or tank. Soon, with the introduction of the Wrath of the Licking, Death Knights will be able to DPS or tank. The only "pure" classes in the game are our DPS friends--the Mage, Rogue, Warlock, and Hunter--none of which can tank or heal.
Don't you dare come to me and say that Druids shouldn't be as good of a tank because they're hybrids. I can apply that same argument to any role for any such hybrid class--that is, any class (including Warrior) that can accomplish more than one thing.
Furthermore, I have very little patience for Warriors in general. I won't deny that there are phenomenally skilled Warrior tanks worth their weight in gold. (Though technically, as a virtual being, they have no weight, but that's neither here nor there). The problem is that the vast majority of the Warrior class--at least judging by the profuse whining I hear--is composed of "Rogues in plate" who either care only for the DPS role or haven't the skill to face complicated tanking scenarios.
I can't believe I'm about to use this expression, but in the min/max world of the end-game, the classic hybrids (Paladins, Shaman, and Druids) are still viewed as nerfed in anything except healing. This is a dinosaur's view of the world. By the same argument against hybrids, they should be lacking in healing ability compared to a Priest. Yet every good raid team knows that a good healing team carries diversity.
In fact, this whole argument is an issue of diversity. Blizzard seems set on having a separate niche for each tank in raid content--which seems threatening to Warriors because progression tanking has been their almost exclusive domain.
More than just this diversity, though, it's the notion that there should be flexibility for raids--and players--with acquiring tanks. Why shouldn't there be four classes equally capable of tanking, yet each with their own speciality? What if, God forbid, the Warrior would love a night off to just DPS? If the Druid cannot tank in his stead, the Warrior's lot is determined. What if, by some stretch of the imagination, the geared Tankadin is unable to attend raids for a week? The guild must forgo raiding in his absense.
As for the elimination of the crushing mechanic, which began this whole discussion, I applaud it. I don't like any gimmick mechanic--be it crushing blows or huge magic direct damage that pretty much requires a shield to reflect--that limits the diversity of tanks and the flexibility of groups when approaching encounters. The ability for more classes to tank effectively--particularly in progression--is a boon to all players of the game. This is not some zero-sum game where somebody else's benefit is to your detriment. That's a childish outlook on life, and it's time that you moved beyond it.
Jul 7th 2008 11:22AM This was an excellent post, although I think it aroused in me some of my own frustrations--especially at being a level 70 Druid!
I will say that, given the racial traits of the Horde races, I would probably choose Tauren if I wanted to tank--and Druids haven't any other option.
Arathi Basin is, I firmly believe, equally unpleasant for all sides. While the Alliance, at least on my battlegroup, does have a slight advantage in numbers (I think), the quality of those numbers leaves much to be desired. I am always amazed at the number of players who repeatedly fight away from the flags and have a strange facination with the Farm.
It is indeed the Wrath of the Licking. Blizzard will soon be appropriating icons from the Rolling Stones.
And lastly, I will say this. I don't remember the last time I (a Feral Druid) went to a serious instance or raid for DPS only. Like you, I find few things as frustrating as the DPS warrior, Shadow Priest, and Retribution Paladin. You must pay your dues before you get to complain about the dearth of tanking and healing.
Thanks for your great posting.