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Posts with tag Melee

Mobility and disparity

We know that change is coming to cast on the move. Let's talk about it, and why I think it's necessary.

Casters want melee mobility reduced in PvP so that they can turret down melee. Melee want caster mobility in PvP reduced so they can avoid being kited. Ranged want cast on the move mechanics to remain in PvE because without them, they have to stop casting when fights force movement. Melee want those mechanics gone because they're part of why ranged are brought to raids over melee - melee can't DPS on the move nearly as effectively, between having to stay in range of bosses and having a positional requirement ranged don't have. If the boss drops fire on himself, the ranged don't care, but the melee have to either stop DPS or die.

We know some or all of these things are going to be addressed in Warlords. The perennial fight between ranged and melee in PvP (ranged want to stay the heck out of melee range, melee desperately need to get into that range) and the constant tug of war that is raiding (where balancing between ranged and melee tends to always favor ramged - most raids bring twice as many ranged players if at all possible) will be affected by the expansion's sweeping changes. To quote CM Lore's twitter feed:

So let's look at one proposed change and discuss how it will affect the game, namely, the trimming down of cast on the move mechanics.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

How do we define 'melee friendly'?

How do we define 'melee friendly' nowadays
This week, we got a special treat - Blizzard released a video with Encounter Developer Ion Hazzikostas (who is seriously my secret crush over at Blizz - my trapper keeper is full of little hearts drawn around his name), Production Director J. Allen Brack and Game Director Tom Chilton (they're dreamy too, but Ion's my fave) and it's got a cornucopia of interesting information in it for you all. However, one line of the interview, summed up by our Adam Koebel, caught my eye immediately.

They realize raids need to be more melee friendly in the future and they are working on it, but they feel that Siege of Orgrimmar is one of the most melee friendly raids in recent memory.

When I first saw this line, I chuckled bitterly to myself. Siege is melee friendly? This got me to wondering how we define melee friendly. Is it just the ability for melee players to contribute solid DPS? Because by that standard, Siege has some good fights for melee - the Fallen Protectors, Sha of Pride, Galakras and even Spoils of Pandaria are certainly fights where melee DPS can contribute a good deal of positive damage to an encounter. Phase 1 Garrosh is a place where melee with good cleave potential absolutely shines. So by that standard, a case could absolutely be made that Siege is melee friendly.

Now, in terms of melee staying alive without making the healers hate every single one of them that the raid brings to the party? Siege of Orgrimmar continues in a grand tradition of blowing up the melee. By that standard, SoO is absolutely not melee friendly.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

How bad is raiding for melee?

How bad is raiding for melee
It's no secret, I raid as melee DPS right now. It's also no secret I tend to die a lot. Despite constantly rotating in Enraged Regeneration, Shield Wall, Die by the Sword and the draenei racial Gift of the Naaru, I tend to explode. I'm hardly unique in this, either. I see dead melee in pretty much every successful kill, but some fights are really bad. Fights like Kor'kron Dark Shaman especially seem designed and engineered to annihilate melee players, or keep them too busy running away to actually hit anything.

I was talking to Joe "Lodur" Perez about the tendency of melee characters to die on Twitter the other day, and he made some good points about how healers are conditioned to let DPS die. It made sense but it left me wondering if it's more or less of a problem in a particular raid size, if it's universal, if some groups run heavy melee and love it or if it's always better to run high ranged and if so, what can/should be done about it. I don't have a lot of answers for it, but I do think it's a question worth asking. Do raid leaders stack ranged preferentially over melee? Do healers prefer to see a high ranged count in the roster? What are your experiences with the subject as players?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Which race has the best animations?

Breakfast Topic Which race has the best animations
When I was struggling not too long ago over what race to make my new caster, the collected wisdom of Twitter seemed to distill into one simple principle: Choose whatever race you think has the best casting animations. Ultimately, I made my choice based on a corollary, choosing a race whose casting animations carried whiffs of a nostalgically sweet time in my WoW life. Objective achieved: What I see over and over while I play makes me happy.

Here's your chance to represent with your favorites. Casting animations, melee animations, resting animations -– cast your vote in multiple polls after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Totem Talk: Enhance DPS on the move

Rich Maloy, master of the turn-around-Frost-Shock, nerd-rager of the Big Crits (week 7 coming next week), and blogger of the enhancement variety prides himself on keeping the pressure on the boss at all times. He encourages you to work on your turn-around jump shot this week.

I love being melee. I love being up in the middle of the fray right on the boss' heel, breathing in the fumes of battle and mashing my abilities as fast as global cooldowns will allow. But the cost of being in the heart of the action are cleaves. And whirlwinds. And tail swipes, dragon breaths, shock vortexes, running around the room chasing ads, and oh yeah, dodging cleaves. Did I mention whirlwinds yet?

Granted, there's not as much hate on melee in Wrath as there was in The Burning Crusade, but our DPS is still limited by time on target. We are after all, melee. Yet the great thing about enhance is when we're not in melee range, we can still lob some spells and drop some fire bombs all while running around dodging those whirlwinds.

It was Sindragosa's Permeating Chill that first got me thinking about maximizing my damage output while I'm not doing melee attacks. Also, her Blistering Cold got me wondering about ways to keep damage on boss even while running in the complete opposite direction. What follows are some of my simple strategies for maximizing time on target and keeping the damage pumping even while running around.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Ghostcrawler on DKs: "It is a melee class"

No, it's not just a case of the obvious being stated. In a discussion of DK design in arenas, Dr. Street comments to clarify the intended role of death knights in arena and other factors. He also makes a good point about the forums in general that bears repeating for emphasis.
"We don't intend for these forums to be the primary way the team communicates our vision for the game and upcoming changes to the community. You'll get a little of that on a few select subjects through the forums and sadly that's all you're ever going to get. It's not that we don't care. It's that forums are not a great medium for that kind of mass communication. I wish sometimes you guys could be satisfied with the fact that we used to not communicate at all and now are able to communicate a little."
Moving on to the specific issue at hand in this thread, the discussion is the old shadow/frost spec that turned the death knight into a much more ranged caster, generating runic power quickly and then converting that runic power into Death Coils at range. It wasn't intended for the class. They have no problem with Death Coil itself being a popular attack, as long as the death knight has to put an effort into staying in melee with its attendant disadvantages to do so.
"The DK that runs around and does nothing but Icy Touch or Howling Blast or Death Coil feels like a rogue who forgoes combo points and openers and everything just to spam Fan of Knives and nothing else."
It's interesting to see players managing to find ways to bend the class out of the original design intent and how Blizzard responds to that: specs like shadow/frost or diseaseless blood DPS were adjusted quickly to put the class back to where Blizzard intended it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Death Knight

Patch 3.3 PTR: Slight leveling Priest buffs


So we got some patch 3.3 PTR notes and information on our hands. Let's talk about these buffs. Do they help us do our job in some way? Well, no not really. We're not getting any spell power buffs or mana buffs or anything remotely useful. Instead, we get this:

Glancing Blows: The mage, warlock, and priest classes no longer have an increased chance for their melee attacks to be glancing blows; and the damage penalty due to their glancing blows is the same as for other classes.

How's that, eh? This was a much needed buff for the Priest class. Now I can finally become a battle priest and not be completely handicapped if I have to resort to hand to hand combat!

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Filed under: Priest, Patches, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Armor Penetration to be capped at 100%

I'll admit it: Armor Penetration has always confused me. I understand it moderately well - it makes your attacks act as if your opponent had less armor. The conversions from numbers to percentages, and the corresponding DPS increase, can be found at various places on the internet. But due to the fact that armor doesn't scale linearly, neither does ArP: going from 50% to 51% ArP helps you much more than going from 10% to 11%. This makes it pretty hard for me to get a good feel for.

As a consequence of the non-linear nature of ArP, getting very high amounts of it can lead to insanely boosted damage - as an unattainable example, I'm told that 300% ArP would mean thousands of times more damage. To keep ArP from getting out of control, then, Ghostcrawler has announced that they plan on capping ArP at 100%, meaning armor could no longer go negative (which it can now).

This was made with an eye towards future tiers; at the moment, it's impossible to get to 100% unless you have very specific gear and two trinkets proc at the same time. So this should have very little impact, if any, on current DPS. However, we may see a day in Icecrown when ArP, like Hit, is a completely worthless stat after you have enough of it. This strikes me as an awkward situation, but short of removing the stat entirely (which, sadly, I don't think they're going to do), I can't see a much better solution.

Filed under: News items

Phat Loot Phriday: Ironsoul


As much as Martin Fury would have been appropriate here today, we'll stick to actual player items for now. Here's a nice big scary mace to hope for from Ulduar's first boss this weekend.

Name: Ironsoul (Wowhead, Thottbot, Armory)
Type: Two-hand Epic Mace
Damage/Speed: 594 - 892 / 3.50 (212.3 DPS)
Attributes:
  • +105 Strength, +126 Stamina
  • Improves crit strike rating by 69 and armor penetration rating by 84.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday

Crygil wants to know what you think of class roles

CM Crygil has posted a very general thread over on the forums asking players what they think of the various class roles out there: "Ranged/Melee/DPS, Tanking and Healing." As you probably have noticed, those three roles make up what are often called the Holy Trinity in role-playing games and MMOs: either you do damage, prevent damage, or recover from damage, and those three roles make up the basics of most roleplaying combat systems, including the battles in World of Warcraft.

But as quite a few people in the thread say, they're not quite sure just why Crygil is asking for this information. Sure, there are lots of good and informative answers in here (most people actually spread out "the trinity" to four roles, splitting melee/close combat and ranged/magic combat into two parts), but as there has always been, there's really nothing outside of the kind of thinking that's been done before on the subject -- anytime developers try to break out a new part of the trinity of roles, they either fall right back into the stereotypes (a bard that casts magic damage "songs" is really just a dressed up Mage), or they end up breaking the game (mind control/crowd controller is a new class idea that's been played around with before, but as Blizzard has discovered, it's extremely hard to balance that exactly right).

As Crygil later says, these questions are his, not Blizzard's -- he just wants to get some perspective on what the forums dwellers think of how the current roles work. And he promises that CC is "on its way back," so maybe Blizzard will try to do some more experimenting with the different types of roles classes can play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Forums

Ghostcrawler explains the DK aura changes

When the first set of 3.1 patch notes popped up, many Death Knights were surprised to see that their auras were being reworked into something that, well, just isn't an aura at all.

Instead, the effects are being rolled into talents so that, if talented, the Death Knight herself still gains the benefit, but does not extend it to party or raid members.

Although they will now be called, for example, Improved Blood Presence, the benefits will be applied regardless of the presence assumed by the character.

I have to admit that my first reaction to the change was a negative one. It feels weird to me switching from a Holy Paladin to a character that simply does not have a comparable range of buffs and auras to offer.

That's when my roomie and addict of WoW forums and websites, piped in with the why. Today, Ghostcrawler gives an official explanation.

Unholy Aura, which grants a 15% movement speed increase, was slowly "becoming mandatory as a raid buff." The ability is not only handy for long corpse runs, as well as fights where movement speed and reaction time are critical, but it seriously impacts the overall damage done by the meleeing crowd.

Melee characters spend an annoying amount of time backing out of range because of AoE or ground effects, running around the mobs to always stay behind them, following after a mobile tank, and the like. This disrupts their damage, and because this has always been the case, classes and encounters are balanced assuming that this is still going on.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Talents, Death Knight

The Ten Commandments for DPS

As you might expect, I tend to be on the lookout for sites that talk about DPSing as a warrior. My blog overlord recently pointed out DPS Plate to me. It's a solid site that for now seems to be arms warrior focused and is even looking for paladin and DK contributors to help expand what they talk about. Since I'm all for a one stop shop for DPS discussion among the plate wearing set, I figured I would mention that. Go send Weryl an email if you're interested.

The post that caught my attention first was this set of commandments for DPS. While it's clearly focused on melee, a lot of it can be useful for anyone just starting out in raids as a damage dealer. My personal favorites are:
  • III. Do not overtax your healers by taking undue raid damage. In this spirit, do not stand in front of the Big Nasty, nor should you stand in any nastiness the Big Nasty has strewn on the floor
  • VII. If you have a buff to share with melee, use it. This includes debuffs to the Big Nasty and anything that mitigates damage on the Tank. Though he is unintelligent and stands in front of the Big Nasty and probably smells a little funny, he is your melee brethren.
As I have been (and still am) unintelligent enough to slap on a shield and stand in front of the big nasty from time to time, I laughed. All in all it's a good basic primer for anyone starting out as DPS, things you should know after a few raids but it won't hurt you to be reminded of them either.

Filed under: Paladin, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Death Knight

Rogue, cat, arms warrior DPS to be buffed

As of WoW 3.0, all DPS specs are supposed to be providing competitive DPS; this is one component of "bring the player, not the class." Overall I'd say this has turned out pretty well, although within class it still has some issues - almost every mage seems to be Frostfire right now, for instance, and Mutilate rogues are far and away out-damaging other rogue specs. To a certain extent this is probably by design; Subtlety's strengths in PvP, for instance, might make up for its lower raid DPS.

However, there are some melee that Ghostcrawler has just said are "a little low" in DPS:

  • Rogue
  • Cat Druid
  • Arms Warrior

The more awake among you may have noticed that "Rogue" is not a spec. However, I'm reading that as "Combat (and possibly Subtlety) rogue," since the blues have said in a few other places that they're pretty happy with where Mut is right now and that Combat is underperforming.

Ghostcrawler goes on to say that changes are coming to these classes/specs, although of course we don't have specifics to share with you at this time. When we do, you know where to find us. But until then, what changes do you think would help even out the low DPS? And no, "reroll Death Knight" doesn't count (as much as I love mine).

Filed under: Druid, Rogue, Warrior

GC on the Deterrence change and the future of Hunter melee

When the Hunter changes dropped earlier this week, I understood the Volley change, and I even got the Kill Shot cooldown drop, but the one I really didn't understand was the Deterrence change. Like BRK said, it seemed pretty useless: sure, becoming immune to damage for five seconds helps survivability in the Arenas, but what's to stop people from just continuing the kill after that. And the directional effect was just perplexing as well.

Now, Ghostcrawler has provided some background on the change, and while it still doesn't make much sense, at least we have an idea of where Blizzard is coming from. First things last, the directional ability is still being tested and may not make it to the live game. But the ability itself is designed specifically for Arena, as we'd guessed. And even more strangely, he says the reason they wanted to change the spell was to make it different visually -- letting the Hunter see themselves parrying every single attack while their backup helps them out. That argument may not find much ground in the numbers-driven Arena crowd, but GC says lots of times, a strong visual can give what seems like a useless spell a lot of use. Interesting look into Blizzard's design philosophy -- they don't program the numbers, they program how it plays.

Finally, he says that Hunter melee damage is being looked at -- they are primarily a ranged class, but the problem now is that it's all or nothing. Either you're in a Hunter's barrage or you've closed to melee and they're not a threat. If they can put the sting back in melee, GC says (within a few patches -- this is long term), then they'll give them more viability "to flee or stand and fight." We'll have to see what Hunter's think about that one when we get more specifics.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Lichborne: A Death Knight statistics primer

Death Knight Itemization: This guy is doing it wrong.
Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column by professor Daniel Whitcomb, who totally has a PhD in Death-Knightology from Ebon Hold University. It's the truth, I swear.

I've seen a lot of people asking these questions as we've been getting into the expansion: Now that I am trying to gear by Death Knights, what stats should I get? What's good for a Death Knight? Which armor should I take. We've started getting in that somewhat in the last few columns, with advice on reputation gear and starting zone gear, but I figured today we should delve a little bit more into the why of Death Knight stats.

Today's column will double as a little bit of primer on how Death Knights get their power, and what stats you should be looking for on armor in general to make your Death Knight the best it can be. It's not completely in depth, but it should get you well on the road to understanding just how Death Knights get all that awesome power and sexiness.

We'll have 3 sections today. The Good are stats that are excellent choices for DPS, Tanks, or both. The So-So are stats which still do us some good, but are pretty situational or conditional in their usefulness. The Outcasts are those stats that you should avoid -- Well, I'd say avoid like the plague, but we're Death Knights. We like the plague around here. So I'll just say you should avoid them.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Raiding, Leveling, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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