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Posts with tag dev-watercooler

Dev Watercooler: Bloody mitigation

In Ghostcrawler's last Dev Watercooler blog entry, tanking and threat were given a new focus when it came to World of Warcraft encounter design and gameplay experience. Threat for tanks was greatly increased, and the focus for tanks in the future seemed to hinge on active mitigation versus a combination of threat generation and damage mitigation.

Today, Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer Greg Street) posted more thoughts about overhauling tanking. He delves into what active mitigation means for the WoW team, some potential models that the future of tanking can hold for many tanking classes, and a deep, introspective look into what it means to hit buttons as a tank. Plus, he goes in-depth on how these major changes ahead will affect death knights first.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

The new tanking threat paradigm and you

If you're wondering what all the fuss about Ghostcrawler's latest dev watercooler post is about, well, you should probably go read it. Some of these changes have already gone live on the realms, while others won't until the next patch. The basic gist is as follows:
  1. Threat generated by tanks has been increased from 300% of damage dealt to 500%. What this means in practice is if your tank is doing 5k DPS, you'd need to do over 25k DPS to pull threat off of him or her. (You need to do roughly 110% of tank threat to pull once he or she has aggro, so you'd actually need to do 27.5k DPS to pull off of a tank doing 5k DPS.) This change was hotfixed in, so if you're noticing your tank is suddenly doing a lot more threat per second, that's why.
  2. The way Vengeance stacks is going to be streamlined. Vengeance currently ramps up somewhat slowly. In the current model, every time you take damage as a tank, you gain 5% of the damage you take as attack power. So if you're hit for 20,000 damage, you gain 1,000 attack power. As you take more and more damage, this stacks up to a maximum of 10% of your health, so for a tank with 165,000 health, this caps at 16,500 attack power. In the new version, when a tank takes that 20,000 damage, he or she will gain one-third of the damage of the attack as attack power immediately, or 6,600 AP. This is more than six times as much attack power gained as in the current model. Vengeance will otherwise work the way it does now.
These two things combined by themselves mean that, except in cases where the DPS simply blows all their cooldowns immediately upon seeing the trash coming or as soon as they see the boss while the tank is sitting down to eat, threat will be almost trivial for a tank to gain and maintain. In addition to this revelation (which we are already starting to play with right now, as I experienced in a recent pickup Zul'Gurub instance), Ghostcrawler talks about how tanking will be redesigned to remain active with this new design philosophy.

This is really groundbreaking stuff, and it means that patch 4.3 will see the complete dismantling of the legacy of vanilla WoW tanking design. Once, gaining and keeping threat was the most important role of the tank, more important even that survival, and many endgame tanks were warriors 31/5/15 specced into Defiance in the protection tree to ensure threat. These changes can be seen as driving a final nail into that kind of tanking's coffin.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler discusses massive changes to threat

The Dev Watercooler returns with a long, meaty, and controversial post from Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street all about threat stats and the ever-changing role threat plays in World of Warcraft encounter design. In this newest blog, Ghostcrawler muses about last December, when he and his team were preparing to revisit and rework threat stats to make them more compelling for tanks. Since then, the developers have changed their minds about the role of threat completely, almost eliminating threat altogether.

Ghostcrawler addresses the biggest point with the most passion -- threat isn't fun. It never has been, and threat stats aren't fun to balance. Personally, as a tank, the most contempt and frustration I have for World of Warcraft comes from my inability to control DPSers who can't stop pressing their buttons for a second. It's just not fun to get mad at unskilled players. Ghostcrawler wants interaction between new and experienced players to be positive, and when DPSers blame undergeared or new tanks for threat issues when they have successfully beaten Ragnaros to a pulp and taken his gear, it doesn't make for a positive experience.

With patch 4.3, threat is going to become largely a non-issue. Threat is being increased to five times damage, up from three times damage. Each tank will be given new active defense cooldowns, much like death knight's Death Strike. Warriors, it seems, will be getting the biggest redesign of the bunch, with rage causing a big problem with how warriors need to spend resources to maximize survivability. DPSers will largely be unaffected and will, in fact, have less time when they have to stop attacking or stop their rotations, because threat will be less of an issue.

Check out the full blog post for more information on the huge changes coming to threat in patch 4.3. There is a lot coming in the future, and we will be testing this stuff heavily on the PTR and have more information when it becomes available.

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Dev Watercooler: Content for the casual 85

The newest Dev Watercooler column gives King Crab a break and instead lets us peek into the mind of Dave "Fargo" Kosak, lead quest designer for World of Warcraft. You might remember Fargo from Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth and GameSpy days. Fargo's Dev Watercooler is all about experiencing World of Warcraft as a non-raider and what Blizzard's expectations are for level 85s who aren't bashing down Ragnaros' door.

One of the weirdest statements that I have to make to many people who are new to the MMO genre is that "the game begins at 85." While we know that isn't factually correct, since there are 85 levels of content previous to hitting the magic number, it still makes sense from a "never-ending world" point of view. There is no end, so the game begins at the "current" end.

Fargo makes the case that all players are entitled to an epic storyline, engaging content, and a feeling of continual power growth. The new patch 4.2 Firelands daily quest hubs in the Molten Front and the Regrowth are tailor-made to hit these points and provide a personal, continuing experience for players who don't participate in the raid game. With dailies being randomized and your personal tree growing at your own pace, players are rewarded based on their efforts alone.

Personally, I like this direction for solo questing experiences. The Molten Front and the Regrowth seem like better, more advanced, and more evolved versions of the reputation grinds we were previously chugging away at to open up gear and other rewards, but with less of a "watch a bar go up" mentality. Here, we have engaging choices and rotating sets of random tasks that keep us coming back for more, all the while physically changing the world around us. Now we just need to care about the cause. I think Firelands is going to push us a good way forward in that regard.

Check out Fargo's first contribution to the Dev Watercooler series, after the jump.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler discusses the number of player abilities

In his continuing conversational blog series Dev Watercooler, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (lead systems designer) muses about the number of abilities players have, what the sweet spot is in terms of quantity, the need for all classes to have a viable AoE rotation, and the difference between rotational abilities and situational abilities. From a game design perspective, this might be the coolest Dev Watercooler yet.

Read this full Dev Watercooler after the break, or check out the other Dev Watercoolers with Ghostcrawler:

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler talks critical hits (and misses)

The Dev Watercooler, Ghostcrawler's conversational community blog series, continues with a look at the theories behind critical hits. After a bit on the history of critical strikes in WoW, Ghostcrawler gets down to business with an awesome discussion about the homogenization of classes, the issue with healer critical hits, and the pros and cons of homogenizing critical hits across the board.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Ghostcrawler chats about interrupts at the Dev Watercooler

Ghostcrawler (WoW lead systems designer) is blogging up a storm over at the WoW community site, with a new series called Dev Watercooler. The aim of this new column is to have candid chats with the community discussing game mechanics and pose questions that relate to the ongoing development of World of Warcraft. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that this is pretty cool.

In his first Dev Watercooler, Ghostcrawler talks about interrupts, where interrupt mechanics are going, and what he hopes they can look like over time.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

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