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Breakfast Topic: Do you enjoy strategic healing? {WoW}

Mar 5th 2012 8:55AM To reply to myself, the introductory Cata heroics were an even worse example of this mechanic, despite arguably being the -best- overall showcase for strategic healing.

Almost uniformly, the heroic bosses had some kind of "get out of the crap" mechanic. But it wasn't "get out of the crap or you'll die," it was "get out of the crap or you'll take 50k damage and your healer will run out of mana and *the tank* will die."

Good groups which didn't have a mechanics fail did get to experience strategic healing as intended; it was quite dynamic. But for a run-of-the-mill group, healing was a highly frustrating experience. Personally, it drove me away from heroics for several months after release.

Breakfast Topic: Do you enjoy strategic healing? {WoW}

Mar 5th 2012 8:51AM In principle, I enjoyed strategic healing while we still had it.

In practice, combining strategic healing with punishments for dps-mistakes was a serious mistake. It demands more-than-perfect healing from the healer, and it's frustrating for everyone else for having much less of a health-cushion to absorb mistakes.

Look at the Lord Rhyolith fight for a decent example of this. Ideally, the healing here is -very- strategic. In phase one, the unavoidable AoE is fairly weak, and the bulk of the damage is concentrated on the add tank. That all changes if someone happens to walk through a lava stream; that's 75k sudden damage. If the player was "strategically" hovering around half health, that would kill them outright. More importantly, from the healer's perspective this damage was *random*, with no way to preemptively heal the player about to take a walk in the lava stream.

If Blizzard returns to the strategic healing model in Mists, then they *must* also stop using healing as the buffer against player mistakes. Doing so just shifts the blame for a failure from the player who made a mistake to the healer who couldn't adequately compensate for it, especially in random groups.

Breakfast Topic: Has the early Cataclysm gearing model failed? {WoW}

Feb 1st 2012 8:38AM The gearing model failed, but that's because Blizzard quite deftly solved the wrong problem.

Back at the start of Wrath -- especially pre-dungeon-finder -- gearing wasn't trivial. Doing heroics in iLevel 187-200 gear wasn't overly difficult, but it wasn't trivial either. But when players have access to gear two or three tiers higher and are -still- running the same heroics... yeah. Balanced-for-iLevel-187 instances -must- become faceroll parties when characters drop in with gear 50 item levels higher.

Fast forward to Cataclysm, and Blizzard very, very successfully makes it hard to get your foot in the door of heroics. Quests may possibly (or may not, depending on class and spec) get you to the barest item level requirement for heroics, and a dungeon-finder group full of characters in that kind of gear is going to have a hard time of it. Of course, patch and gear cycles being what they are, we still have the same problem; it's just that nobody -needs- to go back to the tier-zero heroics anymore for gearing purposes.

It's a challenging problem. The patch/raid cycle needs distinct, improving tiers of gear in order to function. But characters overgeared by more than a tier and a half or so are simply not going to clear old content in anything like the intended manner; forcing them to do that is unfun. The solution is probably to stagger dungeons like Blizzard currently does raids -- release 3-4 each patch cycle -- but who here would be happy with an expansion release that only includes the four "starter" heroics?

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