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Posts with tag tank-shortage

The healer shortage and how to fix it

The Tank Shortage is a topic that's come up a few times before, though thankfully, since the release of Wrath, Death Knights have more or less solved the situation. But the issue facing us now is just as dire: a Healer Shortage. Ghostcrawler acknowledges that there may be such a shortage on the forums, and he gives two reasons: first, lots of people are still working their way up to level 80, and the majority of healers may still be leveling through Northrend. And second, they've beefed up and changed a lot of DPS builds lately, so many pre-Wrath healers may have respecced DPS to try it or to level a bit, and haven't gone back yet.

Later, he backpedals a bit -- not everyone is experiencing a healer shortage, and while he's already told us Blizzard is working on ways to make healing more "fun," he also points out that some people enjoy the whack-a-mole game. Still, just because a problem isn't affecting everyone doesn't mean it's a problem: it's true that lots of groups are having trouble finding healers, and lots of healers would rather not watch health bars all day.

We're very curious to see what changes Blizzard might have in mind for healing -- we discussed quite a few on the healer podcast a while back, including making healing spells a little less attention-intensive, and giving healers some UI ways to keep their eyes on the fight rather than their party members. And of course, if the rumors are true, we'll hopefully have a new healer Hero class to come and fill in the blanks. GC says this isn't a matter of tweaking things in one patch, so we are definitely a few patches away, but there is hope for healers on the horizon.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Raiding, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Breakfast Topic: The tanking shortage


One of Blizzard's avowed aims with the creation of the Death Knight class was tackling the chronic tanking shortage for 5-mans. While it was the opinion of many players that the tanking shortage had a lot more to do with tanks' unwillingness to suffer messy and expensive (and sometimes stupid) PuG's, there was no way around the fact that only 3 of 9 available classes could tank (and that 2 of them were just as frequently specced to heal). Providing a new, cool-looking tanking class that had tanking talents in all three trees and could use Warrior gear was Blizzard's contribution. Post-release, the rest is up to the players.

I've seen several Death Knights already at 80 on my realm (and to my everlasting horror, two of them in my guild beat me to 80), but haven't noticed any real difference in the number of tells in trade and LFG searching for a tank. Whenever I see these, it's hard not to wonder what's going on. While it's much too early for the majority of leveling DK's to have had a big impact on 5-man tanking between 70 and 80, most of the ones I've seen at 80 are rerolled DPS and have continued in that role. Some would like to tank but just don't have the gear to withstand the damage of a high-level dungeon. Others have privately admitted that, while they're willing to give tanking a try, having to learn it at 80 with an impatient group that just wants to get through a dungeon is a daunting prospect. Still others really do just prefer to DPS.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Features, Death Knight

Be careful what you ask for

Amidst all the excitement surrounding the coming of Wrath and the beta testing revelations, I have a question. Does anybody care that Death Knights will be OP? I disagree with my fellow bloggers when they surmise that the upcoming Wrath world will not be overpopulated by Death Knights. On the contrary, I think you won't be able to sneeze without three Death Knights around you to say Gesundheit. And what's more I think they won't be a flash-in-the-pan like the Blood Elves and Draenei overpopulations were.

I believe this because I hate tanking and have never liked playing melee classes (my main is an elemental shaman and my highest alt is a warlock) and yet I'm having HUGE fun in the beta realm playing a Death Knight. I've played the class PvE to level 65, trying all three specs multiple times. I no longer fear dueling. I solo group quests that are above my level. I can approach elites one level higher than myself, alone and with no fear. I just run into a group of mobs with little strategy and almost always survive.

Although I think the clarity of the purpose for each spec is still a bit muddy, I see Death Knights mostly filling a tanking role. (Perhaps this was Blizzard's response to the tank shortage? Make a tank so fun to play that lots of people will play them?) And yet Death Knights have soloing capabilities like warlocks and hunters -- only they survive better. They are by far the best soloing class I've tried. For illustration purposes, I even made a goofy movie showing how badly you can play a Death Knight and still take some serious names without dying once.

Blizzard has proved that it knows what it's doing over the last four years. However, the current class system even without Death Knights has always had complaints about balance. As even Blizzard itself has admitted, adding a new class is not easy. Perhaps I am wrong and the tweaks they are making to the existing classes for Wrath will make everyone feel like they are overpowered. As it is, though, playing my new Death Knight gives me such a feeling of power that I've never had in the game before that I can't imagine that there won't be a lot of other players like me when Wrath hits the shelves this fall. Will this be good for class balance? More importantly, will anybody care?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

WWI '08 Panel: Death Knight

Understandably, everyone is begging to know more about the Death Knight class. At WWI, the Blizzard developers discussed the class in depth at both the main Development panel as well as at the Q&A panel. So you don't have to go fishing everywhere to find what you want to know, here's a roundup of new information about Death Knights from WWI so far.

Starting Area

The Death Knight starting area will be an extended area in Northern Plaguelands. The developers feel strongly about keeping people interested in playing in the Old World so they are creating this new zone. I personally hate every zone that has the word "plague" associated with it. Admittedly, I didn't reach either of the current Plaguelands until after I'd upgraded to The Burning Crusade, which meant I really had no time for grinding there since Outland awaited alluringly. However, it will be interesting to see if they make changes to the existing Western and Eastern Plaguelands along with adding content to the North to make these areas more interesting to players -- be they Death Knights or not.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, News items, Expansions, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

WWI '08 Panel: Hunters

The first WoW panel has come and gone at the Worldwide Invitational. It was focused on class abilities in WoTLK, and there was some absolutely juicy stuff, especially for Hunters. As the proud player of a 70 Hunter, I'm feeling amazingly awesome about my class right now. Two of the biggest, most universal Hunter complaints have not only been answered, but answered in a way that I think a lot of Hunter players are going to be incredibly excited about.

Steady Shot Clipping

First up, it looks like Shot Rotations as we know them will soon become a thing of the past, or at least be incredibly simplified, as Steady Shots will no longer clip Auto Shots. This is actually an issue that has gained some blue post love in the past, but it's nice to see it so directly confronted and dealt with.

There may still be a shot rotation of a type for fitting in Arcane Shot and various stings, but it looks like Hunter DPS will no longer be a complicated dance of weapon speed, haste rating, macros, and server latency. That in itself is amazing news.

Pet Talent Trees and Uniqueness

One of the other major complaints of Hunters is the lack of pet diversity. It is generally expected that if you are min-maxing, you will go for a Cat, Ravager, or Scorpid and nothing else, because they are the only pet families that have the right combination of ability and DPS to get their jobs done. Some pet classes, like Sporebats, languished due to a complete lack of useful family skills.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Events, News items, Expansions, Talents, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

Blizzard changes the description of the Death Knight talent trees

Curse has noticed a very intriguing change to the Death Knight information page. The descriptions of each of the talent trees has been changed. Here are the old descriptions:

  • Blood: Talents in this tree focus on damage dealing abilities. Blood Presence increases damage output by a percentage.
  • Frost: Talents in this tree focus on tanking abilities. Frost Presence increases threat and lowers damage taken by a percentage.
  • Unholy: Talents in this tree have a variety of functions including summons, diseases, and PvP-focused abilities. Unholy Presence increases attack speed and reduces the global cooldown on death knight abilities.

And now, the new descriptions:

  • Blood: Talents in this tree focus on weapons, armor, and strikes.
  • Frost: Talents in this tree focus on control, counters, and combos.
  • Unholy: Talents in this tree focus on spells, summons, and diseases.

This is quite a drastic change, but what could it mean? Let's look at the possibilities after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Rookie: Forming a Group


In the last two weeks we've discussed where to go for an instance and what to do once you get there. Since dungeon runs usually require five members, this week we'll talk about how to find people to go with you. Remember that the typical instance group is made up of a tank, a healer, and three DPS members. It's not always easy to find people that match those requirements.

Since there is a shortage of tanks, it's probably easiest for tank classes to find a group. That also means it's hardest if you are not a tank to find someone to play that role. The next most difficult is a healer. There's usually plenty of DPS to go around. It can take some time to make a group, but since dungeons provide excellent loot and good experience it's usually worthwhile to stick with it.

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Instances, Guides, Classes, WoW Rookie, Alts

Breakfast Topic: Wipeout Poll

It's amazing to me exactly how hard instances can be. Not the mobs, but the group. We've all been in ugh-PUGs before. Some players don't understand how to use their class or play nicely in an instance. That's only on regular dungeons; heroics have their own set of potential disasters. Sometimes you just have to give up.

Putting a group together for instance can be extremely difficult, and sometimes you have to take what you can get. While there are many excellent tanks out there, the shortage on my server makes for slim pickings. Folks who think that pulling aggro off the tank is an honor make up another problem. I am occasionally guilty of trying to heal and DPS at the same time. I'll admit to causing a wipe or two because of it.

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Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances

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