Saturday, March 08, 2014

WARLORDS :: Don't Get Me Wrong

First principles. Grasp your arena.

So, a day later than last week and with the minimum of announcement the second Dev Watercooler arrived late yesterday afternoon and if you heal in game, this one is for you. As I'll be required to summarise this for the News Podcast on Tuesday, doing a bit of legwork on that front now shouldn't be too much of a stretch. If you're healing in Warlords, here's what you should be preparing to expect:

  • Less Spells to choose from (probably): We're promised a 20% reduction in class abilities. This should also mean healers :D
  • Less Instant Cast Spells: Many AoE Heals are being given a cast timer... because. Yes, it's a PvP thing but it's also because, in the eyes of the designers, it's quite easy to heal things currently (though those in LFR might disagree) especially on the move.
  • Reduction of 'Critical Strike' Healing: You can only expect your heals to do 200% of your maximum heal potential in PvE situations, and only 150% in PvP. This means less 'burst' healing for the people hitting each other.
  • Healing Output is lowered relative to player's overall health: for those of you who remember, we're being steered back to what was referred to as 'triage' healing in Cataclysm. That is, damage should not desperately reduce everyone's health instantly, but simply reduce a lower proportion of health. Therefore healers will need to consider who to heal first and for how long, and spend more time prioritising who most requires the attention.

As @Jasyla_ therefore quite rightly points out, you can stop your cries of 'nerf' because when EVERYONE gets the same treatment across multiple classes, no-one is better than anyone else. This is indeed a significant overhaul, which has been prompted by a number of factors, not simply (one assumes) the reduction of mathematical values across the board for Warlords. It makes me wonder what things might have been like if Ghostcrawler's Dev Watercooler on item squish before Pandaria had been the starting point for the reduction in player, boss, mob and item reduction. Why did Blizzard decide to wait an entire Expansion to change that?

Sage wisdom from the Snackster.

I was discussing yesterday that this Healing rethink could have happened regardless of stat squish before Pandaria hit. We didn't need to go through the process an Expansion ago, but we do now, but the healing changes could have happened regardless because the maths isn't affecting the changes we're seeing. Now that may well be true, but there's a VERY important psychological change that's going to take place because of what is being asked now, that the maths actually makes necessary. EVERYONE is going to feel less powerful across all three major roles, and that's going to mean some deliberate compensation across the board to give people an opportunity not simply to adjust to the changes, but to evolve with the environment. We've spoken this week about that concept in game, and I actually think Blizzard's choice NOT to adopt the squish for Padaria was the right one, because it will place EVERYONE in the same position in terms of re-education. Healers may think this is a lot to take in, but the reality is likely to be a lot less about change and more focused around adaptation. 

It's also pretty impossible to exactly tell how this will affect healing in game until players have the changes to play with. CAN WE HAVE A BETA NOW PLEASE.


From a personal standpoint, I was encouraged enough by the 'design philosophy' behind these changes to actively want to get my priest to 90 and be ready to have her standing by to level once Warlords hits as a matter of some priority. I sense yet another return to the healing style of TBC where paying attention in fights actually mattered and you weren't simply here to get moaned at by the dps for not keeping up. Making players individually responsible for their output has been pretty much a permanent complaint from Pandaria, and although this may concern some healers, I would hope that most will already be considering their options and preparing themselves to meet the oncoming challenges. Of course, what this does mean is that tanks are likely to be getting similar treatment, and if everyone is having to relearn stuff, we'll all be in this together. 

From a personal standpoint, I'm disappointed that we didn't get the Q&A at the level we did for the first Watercooler (but there are questions that have been answered via Twitter, Wowhead has a list) but it's not really a surprise on reflection. These aren't changes to discuss, these need to be actively tested to understand them, and the sooner we get the discussion out of the way, the more likely we are that will actually happen.

As the nice candle says, there will be more. We'll just have to wait and see what we get next.


catinglasses said...

Ah, yes.. Triage healing.. been there, done that, hated it. It appears I need to look into getting a handle on full-time spriesting.

Raymond Hafner II said...

This is the same group of devs who promised Cata would go well, plus a returning dev have no trust or love for means I don't believe or trust the devs to actually do anything but punish healers.

Bartosz Szafarz said...

I think that part of the essence of WoW is that things change. Often. And I actually like it, regardless of whether a particular change will turn out subjectively fun or not, the change itself is interesting. The fact that there's something happening constantly. That there's discussion and stirrup in community. That there's controversy, different opinions clashing, news, speculation. That we're not just sitting comfortably on our butts. That WoW is a living and breathing environment. All of this constant evolution gets me super excited. Especially during the time of expansion transition. I don't fear the fact that I have to relearn something: I've been playing my elemental shammy for a year now, everything's too familiar, sometimes boring. And now things will become fresh!