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Posts with tag gc

The role of the Priest

Well, this is really a first for Blizzard (ever since the game was initially released and the class descriptions written, anyway). Ghostcrawler has noticed that there are a lot of questions saying people don't understand what the role of the Priest is right now. Accordingly, he has gone and written up "what [Blizzard] think of as the role of the priest class." I think it's interesting enough to reproduce in its entirety; I'll go through it one paragraph at a time.

The priest is a caster class that uses Holy and Shadow magic. Priests can only wear cloth armor and have a limited selection of weapons, but do most of their damage and healing from range. They make up for their low armor with spells that offer protection and healing.

This is obvious enough to anyone who has been a member of the Priest community long enough ("one tough cookie," anyone?). Still, it's nice to see it spelled out, I guess. And it does emphasize that our defenses are more in terms of "protection and healing," instead of in terms of escape skills like a Rogue (for example) has.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion

Analysis of stated 3.1 rogue changes

All right, rogues. So by now some of you have likely read our list of 3.1 changes for our bloodthirsty class, and if not, you should! Right now! Make no mistake, these are some very cool changes, and even if this is the whole list (it's not), I'm pretty happy with how things are shaping up--not just for rogues, but for all the classes mentioned so far.

If you haven't read through them yet or if you're not a big theorycrafter, you can take a moment and read through our analysis of how 3.1 will (so far) affect you, the rogue.

Let's have a look!

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Filed under: Rogue, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

GC answers Hunter questions

Hunters, do you have questions about your class? Well, Ghostcrawler's got some answers. Not all of them, of course, but Big Red Kitty can probably handle the rest. Our favorite crab has been chatting a bit about the Hunter class on the official forums. Let's take a look at what he's been saying.

  • As far as DPS numbers, Blizzard balances in terms of absolutes, not relatives. This means Blizzards wants people with X quality gear to be doing Y DPS on fight Z, so things like "I got 5th on the meters" aren't as relevant - they're looking at specifically how much DPS you do. (source for this and the next three points)

  • Pets are balanced using "a trade-off between damage and utility." Some pets, like wasps, bring bonuses that your 5- or 10-man groups may be missing, and thus it is justified that they do less DPS. That said, "more parity among pets is something [the devs] want to pursue."

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches

Blizz wants more Frost and Blood, working on EP fix

This is a slightly esoteric Death Knight issue, so those of you not yet converted might want to just move along. It is also an issue close to my own heart, as I am pretty enamored of my Unholy DPS DK. What am I talking about? Ebon Plague stacking, of course. The other two main DK diseases, Blood Plague and Frost Fever, stack just fine, but if you've got two UH DKs with the talent in your raid, only one of them at a time gets to have EP applied to the target. This lowers the DPS of any DKs that don't have it applied, since so many of our skills do damage based on the number of diseases we have applied to the target. Most sources estimate the DPS loss as not very high, but it's still annoying as heck.

Ghostcrawler has finally addressed this problem, and says they plan on fixing it by making EP count as a third disease for everyone that's talented for it, regardless of who cast it (if I'm reading correctly). But he does note that this fix is not top-priority, saying "our priority right now is making sure more DKs spec Frost or Blood, not how to reward groups that bring multiple Unholy DKs," going on to say that they nevertheless will fix this bug.

According to Armory Musings (thanks to the Scarlet Mathematician for pointing me to that site), Unholy does account for almost half of all Death Knights, so it makes sense that Blizz would be trying to up the market share of the other specs some. Still, I love the Unholy play style, so I hope they fix EP sooner rather than later.

Filed under: Bugs, Death Knight

Replenishment: What are the odds?

There was a recent flurry of interest surrounding the Replenishment mechanic due to Ghostcrawler's statement that "we assume that you have Replenishment available to your raid." He said that it doesn't mean raids will be undoable without it, but that they're tuned assuming you have it, and if you don't, you'll need to out-gear or out-skill the raid, or else you'll have problems.

In this post, I'd like to look at just how easy it is to get Replenishment in your raid. There are three Replenishment specs: Retribution Paladin, Shadow Priest, and Survival Hunter. As you can see, they're all DPS specs. Historically speaking, these specs were probably selected because they had been viewed as suboptimal for raiding (in the case of Survival and Ret), or because they had been valued for their mana regeneration (in the case of Shadow), although at the moment all three of these specs have competitive DPS and don't really need group utility to prop them up.

Unfortunately, GC never clarified whether he was talking about 10- or 25-person raiding, so I'll examine both. I will make the simplifying assumption that the 30 specs are equally distributed in the raiding population: any given character is 1/30 likely to be of any given spec. Put another way, each spec enjoys a 3.3% share of the character base. I know this is not actually true, but it's a very helpful simplification and I don't think it will distort my numbers too much. Edit: Yes, I'm also assuming every Survival, Shadow, and Retribution raider has the relevant Replenishment talents. I think this is a pretty safe assumption.

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Filed under: Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Classes

Ghostcrawler on the state of the Mage

The tension between PvP balance and PvE balance is once more giving the developers a hard time. Ghostcrawler has made a post on the state of the Mage, and it runs roughly as follows. They're happy that Arcane is "starting to feel like a viable alternative" to Frostfire for raid DPS. However, they're concerned that Arcane does too much burst in PvP, and they need to figure out how to fix that without hurting Arcane too much in PvE. Argh! Can we just introduce different rule sets for PvP and PvE and be done with it? The devs have been saying similar things for Rogues since LK launched: too low in PvE, but we can't make them any higher in PvP or they'll be imbalanced.

He also touches on a few more points that don't make me want to hit things. The Improved Scorch debuff is "too much of a unique snowflake" in the new buff system, forcing exactly one mage per raid to spec for it and spend a fair amount of time casting Scorch to apply the debuff (compare Winter's Chill, which is applied passively); presumably, it is going to be addressed by making it easier to apply for Fire and/or castable by Arcane and/or other classes. Making frost-based Frostfire specs competitive is also "definitely a concern, but lower priority than these other issues."

Finally (and going back to PvE vs PvP), they would like to find some way to make Frostbolt builds competitive in PvE again (the phrase GC uses is "'Shatter combo' vibe"). However, so far, they haven't thought of a way to achieve this without buffing Cone of Cold Ice Lance [thanks, Bubsa], which they don't want to buff in PvP. Wouldn't it be simple enough to remove PvP from the game just make Lance do less damage or whatever in PvP?

Filed under: Mage, Forums

PvP upgrades incoming for Shadow Priests

I have to be honest, this sort of falls into the realm of non-news here, but it piqued my interest anyway. Ghostcrawler recently hinted about some PvP upgrades for Shadow Priests, and it came up again last night. GC didn't give any specifics, only said that they hoped to announce the details 'soon.'

Despite the lack of details, I'm really looking forward to these announcements. I'm a Shadow Priest at heart, and while I'm perfectly fine with respeccing for different parts of the game, it would be nice if I didn't need to respec Discipline if I wanted to be truly effective in PvP. The biggest thing I'd like to see is some more debuff protection. Yeah, we could use more survivability for sure, but right now I think a lot of classes have that issue. My biggest Shadow Priest specific annoyance is not being able to keep DoTs up on a target reliably.

So we'll see what happens. Whatever it is, I'm looking forward to it. It is fun to go Discipline now and then, but being able to hold my own as Shadow would be pretty nice.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.

Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Battlegrounds, Arena

GC seeks feedback on totems, warlock spells

Since somewhat before the Wrath beta, we've been seeing a much more interactive Blizzard development team. The level of open communication with and feedback gathering from the community has been raised significantly, and with people like Ghostcrawler giving straight answers as much as he can, I'm feeling a lot better about the lines of communication between developers and players.

At the moment, Ghostcrawler is specifically asking for feedback on the following two issues:

  • Warlocks, which spells do you never use? Please don't clutter up the thread with extraneous issues. I actually think they did a pretty good job with the Spellstone/Firestone change of getting rid of two previously useless spells; I can't think of many obvious candidates off the top of my head. Eye of Kilrogg maybe, but I wouldn't want to lose that. Shadow Ward is used pretty infrequently.
  • Shamans: Totems, totems, totems. Again, please do not talk about extraneous issues in that thread - just talk about totems. They're not going to remove or sideline them, but they are interested in making them "cooler," which is certainly much-needed.

So go on and post your feedback in GC's threads (warlock, shaman). Or feel free to talk about it here, whatever. I do think totems feel clunky, but I can't think of how to fix them exactly - I guess that's why I'm not a game designer.

Filed under: Shaman, Warlock, Forums

Ghostcrawler's tips on Loken

We've known that heroic Loken is currently the hardest mob in the game for a bit now. Alex broke the story a couple weeks ago, and Loken is currently killing approximately 1.8 times as many players as the next hardest boss, Sapphiron. That statistic is skewed a bit too, considering Sapphiron is a 10/25 man fight, and Loken is only a 5 man.

One of the chief complaints about Holy Paladins has been their relative lack of AoE heals. This becomes particularly evident when a Paladin attempts to heal Loken in the Halls of Lightning. It should be noted however, as Ghostcrawler does and I can attest to, it can be done with a Paladin healing.

It's on this note that Ghostcrawler has provided some tips on the strategy used to defeat heroic Loken. And while these appeared in discussion about Holy Paladins, they apply to any class equally well.

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Filed under: Paladin, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Instances, Bosses

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

Changes to AoE in patch 3.0.4

Ghostcrawler let us all know today of a few changes for classes that are being left out of the "AoE fun." He's only talking in relatively broad terms right now, and will give specifics later when things are more locked down.

Some of the changes include:
  • Shaman: Removing threat from the Fire Nova Totem and Magma Totem, and increasing the damage done by the Magma Totem.
  • Rogue: Fan of Knives cooldown removed. Daggers more useful for Fan of Knives.
  • Druid: Swipe will now be a baseline ability.
He mentions that these changes will be seen in the next minor content patch. Ghostcrawler also hints that they will be available in the next PTR push (which we're expecting relatively soon)

Filed under: Druid, Rogue, Shaman, Patches, Instances, Classes

Ghostcrawler speaks! about talents, the forums, and his whiteboard has captured the elusive Ghostcrawler in his native habitat: answering questions about class balance. This creature has only been caught in blurry pictures and fleeting glances before, so it's awesome to get a nice, good look at Greg Street, the man who singlehandedly nerfed Paladins to the ground, baby (we kid, we kid).

He talks about what it was like coming from working on Age of Empires III for Ensemble Studios, and Blizzard's theory of "concentrated coolness" -- they want there to be cool everywhere you look in the game. He says dispel and spell pushback mechanics are still due for updates, and of course he talks about talent changes (this is Ghostcrawler, what did you expect): Destruction Warlocks and Ret Pallys get mentioned, and he says there's a whiteboard in his office with a list of things he wants to fix. Affliction Warlocks, you're next. Beware of ending up on Ghostcrawler's nerfboard!

We're kidding again. GC also talks about the long-awaited dual-spec feature, and says that they're thinking of building in costs like the Mage table, where everyone will have to click on something to change a spec, or there may be a consumable charge. He specifically mentions a "trash" build versus a "boss" build, so we'll have to see how that works out -- it would be a little weird to have to get a full raid together to change over to your PvP spec. And lastly, he talks about the forums -- their goal there is to have people talk to each other, not yell at each other. And good luck with that. Very nice interview.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Raiding, Talents, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

The truth about Ret fixes

Rumors and unsubstantiated news have been floating through the ether like confetti since last night, when Ghostcrawler predicted Ret was going to be nerfed. Today he's finally out and said what they've hotfixed in and what's coming in the future:

  • Nerfs:
    • Divine Storm now does physical damage instead of holy (live).
    • Repentance down to 6 seconds in PvP (from 10, live).
  • Buff:
    • Righteous Vengeance now applies a DoT "similar to Deep Wounds" instead of upping crit damage. GC calls it "a significant buff to the ability to make up for the damage lost to Divine Storm, but is also less bursty." The DoT will not break Repentance. (coming before Wrath) Update: "It should end up at something like 10% of the crit damage each tick for 4 ticks of 2 seconds each (+40% and 8 sec total)."
  • Neutral:
    • Art of War improves damage done by Judgments, Crusader Strike, and Divine storm, instead of upping crit rate. GC says "net dps should be about the same but less bursty" (coming before Wrath).
    • Glyph of Crusader Strike now reduces mana cost, since the devs felt pallies were able to do too much damage on stunned targets (coming before Wrath).
    • Fixed a bug with Seal and Judgment of Light that would result in too much healing. Technically a nerf, but since it's a bug fix I can't really put it in that category. (live)

Overall, GC assures us that sustained Ret DPS remains the same as before this storm of changes; it's just less bursty at the front end of a PvP fight. He also says "if we overdid it, we'll be happy to back off some of the changes," so we'll just have to see how it works out, I suppose.

One more thing. This isn't directly a Paladin change, but it will primarly affect Paladins, I think: the damage reduction Warlocks get from having their Felguard out with Master Demonologist is being extended to include Holy.

Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Wrath of the Lich King

Ret to be nerfed "to the ground"

Now Ret pallies, don't panic. Ghostcrawler was joking in that quote, but it was too good not to use for a headline. As most people have figured out by now, Retribution's damage post-patch, especially in PvP, is a little overpowered. GC says that Blizz is worried specifically about the burst damage potential, and the fact that it's Holy damage, which resistances typically do not affect. It took them a while to diagnose this particular balance issue, because there was a bug with weapon equipping; now that that's fixed, Blizz is in a much better position to figure exactly what needs to be done.

GC also says that they think Ret DPS is good in PvE right now. They want to make sure that sustained PvE damage is not negatively impacted, and they don't want to over-nerf PvP either. That said, there are going to be some changes soon, "perhaps even hotfixes." I doubt anyone is very surprised. How would you adjust the situation, dear readers?

Filed under: Paladin, PvP

Ghostcrawler introduced to BlizzCon

One of everyone's favorite people in the beta is Ghostcrawler. He's out there all the time interacting with fans, talking to developers, bringing back good information and discussion. Today Tom Chilton introduced him at the class panel. He got the largest applause of the day. Everyone was very excited to get to see him and hear what he had to say.

Ghostcrawler, a.k.a Greg Street, is the lead game systems designer for WoW. Basically that's designing the classes and other systems in the game.

He handled the crowed very well. He probably could do some stand up with his wit. When people booed about something they didn't like he'd make a joke and have them laughing the very next second. Perhaps the best moment is when he jokingly said to a question about retribution paladins: "Don't nerf me, bro!"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, BlizzCon

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