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Posts with tag raid-stacking

How should classes be balanced?

Ghostcrawler comments on raid stacking and balancing
If you've visited the official beta forums lately, there've been lots of complaints about how powerful monk (and paladin, to a lesser extent) healing currently is in the Mists of Pandaria beta. A good blog post from Beruthiel, an expert druid healer, indicated that she was never able to beat a monk or paladin healer, no matter how hard she tried.

On Sunday, one player went so far to began discussing what specs his raiding guild was planning to "bench" for Mists of Pandaria, which triggered a response from Ghostcrawler last night.

Ghostcrawler
Quote:

When I'm being outhealed by a factor of two by any Joe Schmoe paladin or monk who happens to wander into a raid...I'm sorry, but skill is simply not going to overcome that.

It's probably not possible to overcome that much of a difference. Fortunately, you don't have to, because paladins and monks both had some egregious bugs that inflated their healing. We actually hotfixed those bugs but then a new build broke them again. Until you get a new build or we hotfix the issues again, you are probably better off comparing druid, priest and shaman healing. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Overall, I would recommend not deciding who you're going to bench based on beta testing until we are very close to ship. It's not a great strategy to try to get your character buffed either. :)


This is an absolutely key thing to remember -- enough so that it's worth a reminder. For those who haven't been around for an expansion launch before, there will likely be heaps of balancing hotfixes that go out at the same time patch 5.0 is released. I distinctly remember my feral druid topping DPS meters in ICC, hitting rock bottom as soon as 4.0.6 was released, then coming back up to mid-pack after a slew of hotfixes a few days later. The developers are still prioritizing testing mechanics, not balancing numbers; if you're in the beta, you should be doing the same.

From there, the discussion took a turn from raid balancing to raid stacking, in reference to Paragon's bringing 11 druids to their world-first heroic Nefarian kill.

Ghostcrawler
Quote:

Also one thing to consider is that benching and stacking of classes in the top guilds has less to do with SimCraft numbers and more of certain mechanics being very powerful on certain fights.
Case in point: Paragon's 11 Druids on their first Heroic Nefarian kill.

Agreed. Remember guilds in those world first situations are doing content very undergeared compared to what we expect because they are skipping the weeks of farming. In those situations players have to resort to some unusual strategies to make up the difference. In general (though not always depending on what they feel like they have to do) those type of machinations are fun for the guilds in questions and very few players are affected overall.

When we see widespread stacking, that crosses the line. In retrospect, the dependence on quick burst for a fight like Spine might cross the line. Overall, we didn't see a ton of stacking or sitting for the Cataclysm raids and we'll try to do even better for the new content.


In situations like this, it's important to consider the game developers' perspective. They have to ensure content is balanced for all levels of skill, not just those on the top end, while still creating encounters that are varied and entertaining. For the most part, I think they do a pretty good job, and it's always refreshing to see when they admit mistakes in their design.

What's your take on the matter? Should Blizzard balance classes based around their theoretical maximum performance, or should they balance around what the average class member can typically accomplish?

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The Heart of the Wild controversy: Should players be allowed to change specs in combat?

Image
In a recent Mists of Pandaria beta build, the tooltip for one of the currently inaccessible druid talents, Heart of the Wild, was significantly rewritten and updated. The full tooltip is long, but the key assumption is that every six minutes, a druid of any spec can click a button and automatically be able change to another combat role for 45 seconds, with little drop-off in effectiveness. Restoration druids can start dealing damage, DPSers of either persuasion can throw around some heals or tank an add, and guardian tanks can even spread around a few HoTs without having to leave Bear Form and turn into paste. That's the theory, anyway.

As you can imagine, this idea generated some heated debate in the druid blogger community. The noted Lissanna of Restokin called it "(likely) the the least used talent out of any talent tree in the history of the game" Murmurs also agreed, saying "HotW has a pure functionality problem. It can never truly fulfill the position that it is attempting to grasp."

In opposition, Tangedyn, the co-creator of the Mew feral druid simulator and frequent contributor to The Inconspicuous Bear, wrote "... there's no reason to deny druids that want the versatility the capability to perform to their best of their abilities."

So who's right? Well, let's take a closer look at both sides of the argument, since this debate brings up several important issues to any WoW raider.

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Mists of Pandaria

Give Bloodlust to Rogues

The idea behind "Bring the player, not the class" is that raid stacking shouldn't be as big of a deal as it was during, oh, say, Sunwell. For each buff and debuff, we have a few different classes that can provide it, so raid leaders don't have to go too far out of their way to get good coverage.

However, what single buff was the biggest factor causing guilds to stack a particular class in Sunwell? Ten points if you said "Bloodlust/Heroism." And that is, irritatingly enough, one of the few remaining buffs that no other class has; if you want Bloodlust, you need a shaman, period.

Read more →

Filed under: Rogue, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Buffs

Check your raid comp


As you probably know by now, buffs and debuffs are changing significantly in patch 3.0.2, which is expected to hit next Tuesday, October 14. Most buffs that are only provided by one class are going to be provided by several, mana return from Shadow Priests is getting nerfed and spread out, you won't be able to stack Heroism/Bloodlust the same way, and so on. In general Blizz's goal was to make raid formation less about stacking the right classes, and more about bringing friends and good players.

However, all the new buffs and debuffs can make a raid leader's head spin, in case they do decide they want to organize a raid so as to optimize buff coverage (and surely some raid leaders will want to do that). Fortunately, MMO-Champion has made an outstanding web tool to help you figure out your raid composition. Just drag-and-drop specs into the raid groups, and check the right-hand column to see what buffs and debuffs you'll get.

It will also tell you whether you have the best buff in a given category; in my sample raid comp (my last Karazhan run), for instance, we only have Battle Shout, which is not as good of an AP buff as Blessing of Might. If you're missing a buff and want to see how you could get it, just mouse-over the buff, and it'll tell you what classes bring it. The one thing I really wish this tool had that it doesn't is a corresponding ability for specs: mouse over the spec and it'll tell you what buffs they bring. Overall though, this is really useful; I'm not a min-maxing raid leader (or a raid leader at all, actually), but I'm probably going to make use of it just to check what my raids and groups be getting. And because it's really cool.

Filed under: Raiding, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Horn of Winter

Horn of Winter is a Death Knight skill that was added in a recent build. Much like the Shaman's Strength of Earth Totem, this skill will give a strength and agility buff to nearby party or raid members -- 155 at the highest rank, to be exact.

It has advantages over Strength of Earth to be sure. It lasts 2 minutes like the totem, but unlike the totem, it's quite a bit more mobile, being a straight-up buff. If there's one drawback to the skill, it's finding the time to cast it.

A Death Knight nearly never sits idle while DPSing. Every global cooldown is precious as you strive to use your runes as soon as they refresh and shed runic power as soon as you have enough for your chosen runic power dump. Some Death Knights think that shoehorning Horn of Winter into there might be asking a bit much, and want it to, at the least, not cost any runic power.

Still, it's a very nice "upgraded" version of the Shaman's Strength of Earth totem, and 20 runic power (10 with a glyph) isn't that bad a cost, so if you're in a physical DPS heavy group or raid, and any Shamans aren't putting out that specific totem, it's worth using it. Any slight hiccup in your damage rotation is probably worth all the nice extra AP and melee critical strike rating you'll get from the buff. Just skip a couple Rune Strikes and cast it already!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Expansions, Guides, Buffs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: What are you looking forward to in 3.0.2?

So we're expecting the new pre-Wrath content patch any week now, and with it a whole flood of new mechanics and abilities, such as raid buff stacking. It should be interesting to see how all this new stuff fits in to the current Burning Crusade end game, and how people adapt to it as they prepare to plunge into Wrath. Of course, many will probably get a head start on Inscription, while others may already have a new haircut picked out.

Myself, I'm looking forward to playing around with the new changes to my Hunter. Disengage and the new Freezing Trap mechanics are looking delicious enough to me that I may just see if I can get back into Arenas for a few weeks to check them out. I'm also pretty interested to see how the Aspect of the Viper changes feel on some big boss battles. It'll be nice to have to essentially have no mana regeneration worries ever again, assuming the current version stays as is.

What about you? Given everything we'll likely see in patch 3.0.2, what are you looking forward to doing while you wait for Wrath?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, The Burning Crusade, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

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