My Thoughts on Blizzcon…

At the risk of bombarding you with more information today, I just wanted to say a few words on what I saw with the Virtual Ticket.  A lot of sound issues.

All jokes aside, a ton of information was revealed at Blizzcon on a great number of exciting new games and the oldies.  Some of it good, some of it not so good, in relative terms of course.  As an avid Dota 2 player myself, I am super excited for Heroes of the Swarm.  Wow did those character models look awesome.  Blizz made a great move bringing back all those iconic Warcraft characters to the game!  I am super excited to play this game.  Also, as a D3 player, my voice was one in the chorus of jubilation when they announced the closing of the Auction House back a few weeks ago and all of the news at Blizzcon just made it feel like D3: RoS is going to be what the original game should have been.  In my impression, Blizz has always listened to the community however, just like the community differs on certain things, the same occurs within the Blizzard company.  Thus the outcome of their decisions is not always suited to the majority of the players.  In this tho, they certainly made the right move.  How about that costume contest?  I shed a sad tear when the Feral Druid costume didn’t win 😦  a sad and fluffy tear.  All in all, it’s great to see people who have a huge passion for Blizzard games and to see the people behind the games.  A true Blizzcon experience can not be conveyed through the Virtual Ticket.  Here’s to next year!

So on to WoW related news. The level 100 talents were revealed at Blizzcon and can be viewed on Wowhead.  I’ll just list them here for your convenience.

  • The Light Within: Beacon can now be places on two targets.
  • Seal of Faith: Fills you with Holy Light, causing you to gain Faith equal to all damage dealt. Faith acts as spell power toward the next healing spell you cast.  While Seal of Faith is active, all damage dealt is increased by 30%.
  • Divine Conviction: (Saved by the Light) When you or your Beacon of Light target drop below 30% health, you instantly grant the injured target a protective shield, absorbing up to 30% of their maximum health for 10 sec. You cannot shield the same person this way twice within 60 sec.

The Light Within

Despite how overpowered this looks, the spell deserves a second glance.  Lets assume that the placement of these two beacons is similar to that of the mage bomb, Living Bomb, which has a max limit of 3.  With the application of a 4th mage bomb, its always the first one that’s applied which drops off.  My guess is if this spell goes live, this will be how this spell will work.  One way to make this spell not have such a clunky application method is to have two separate spells for applying beacon (Beacon of Light, Anuthabeacon of Light) so that you can always keep one on active tanks while the other one is swapped around to players in the raid who are taking damage.  The other way is to have the spell be able to overlap on each other.  Either way, two beacons sounds nice but the application method must be worked out.
The other thing about this spell is that Beacon has always had a huge amount of overhealing (50+%).  In 25M the situation is most likely worse.  In 10M, the second beacon may be quite powerful if utilized correctly.  Since you don’t have to worry about removing that padding on the active tank, you can swap around the other beacon actively and get a lot of use out of it from placing it on members with DoTs or who are taking consistent damage.  However, in some situations where people are taking large nukes for example, swapping your beacon to them does not really provide a mitigation effect.  It may look better in terms of our HPS if we can swap it intelligently but I think this is a weird method of play especially if the the application method is clumsy.  You shouldn’t think of this second beacon as providing 2x the healing of your current beacon spell but more like 75% if not 50% of it or less.  Unless a majority of the fights in the next raid tier are dual tank fights, which doesn’t so far seem to be the case according to SoO, it may be quite situational when this spell is useful.  I’ve said before that beacon swapping is one aspect of holy paladin play which isn’t talked about enough.  It’s ideal and probably in most cases optimal to leave the beacon on tanks but with this new talent, it will be even more important how well we’re able to predict incoming damage and react to it by swapping our beacon around.

Seal of Faith

I’m not quite sure how the Faith spell will be accrued but basically this spell is a way for holy paladins to do DPS.  Now let me remind you of some ways holy paladins can do DPS because you and I probably don’t even remember.

  • Denounce -9.4% base mana, 1.5 second cast
  • Holy Shock – 8% base mana, instant cast
  • Judgment – 12% base mana, instant cast
  • Crusader Strike – 15% base mana, instant cast
  • Tier 6 talents – 5.4% mana in case of HP, else free, all instant cast
  • Glyph of Denounce – each cast of HS decreases next cast time of Denounce
  • Glyph of Word of Glory – increases your damage by 3% per HP spend on Word of Glory or Eternal Flame healing
  • Glyph of Holy Shock – decreases the healing of Holy Shock 50% but increases its damage by 50%
  • Glyph of Harsh Words – your Word of Glory can now be used on enemies, causing holy damage equal to the amount it would’ve healed

We have a decent amount of DPS spells and probably potential to deal out a lot of damage.  Faith seems like an interesting way to play a holy paladin but at this point, the translation from damage to healing doesn’t seem too great.  What is the purpose of doing a bunch of DPS for a super buff to a spell that will be overhealed?  What is the purpose of doing small increments of damage interspersed with healing unless the scaling of Faith is amazing and what would the purpose of that small 50K dps be when it could’ve been spent doing a lot more healing? This is an interesting concept and I think a lot of paladin community has long awaited the return of the shockadin but in this form, I don’t believe as a holy paladin I will be taking this spell.  I’m interested in seeing where this goes though.

Divine Conviction

This spell feels like something that belongs in the tier of talents with damage reduction purposes (lvl 60).  The spell kind of serves like a weird form of Ardent Defender.  With the Beacon of Light glyph, granted that you are quick enough, you can basically use it to put an Ardent Defender on anyone who is about to die.  With a 1 minute cooldown, this places this spell in a better position than Ardent Defender which has a 3 minute cooldown.  In its form this is a pretty powerful cooldown if someone in your raid is about to die all the the time.  Realistically, this spell may come in use around 1-2 times per fight if someone falls that low (and in those cases, a number of other classes have simple cooldowns which don’t take up the 100th tier of talents).  I think this spell could be buffed to something like putting a 30% absorb on a player once every minute rather than if they die.  This would be more preemptive and also serve practically the same purpose in addition to being useful for other hard hitting attacks.  I think this spell needs to be adjusted to be useful but in terms of choosing the lesser of three evils, this would probably be my choice.

After taking player input, the talents that the expansion releases will likely be very different from the current form but those are my thoughts on the current spells.  All three of these level 100 talents fall kind of in to a different class.  The first one being more of a healing throughput increase, the second being god knows what, and the third being a damage mitigation ability.  That fact is interesting to me because it provides different routes that all may be viable depending on the fight.  It’s a good idea but the spells need to be tweaked, especially compared to the tier 7 spells of other healing classes.

10M Heroic Raiding GONE

Well I think a large part of the community knew that this change was going to happen.  It does make sense from several points.
1. Blizzard has always spent a portion of its resources on providing as balanced a setting as they can between 25 and 10 man raids. By taking the portion spent on 10 man and applying it to make a 20 man raid better for all heroic raiders seems like a good thing to do.  Making 20 man raids easier to tune also allows developers to put their extra time in to bettering other areas of the game.
2. This also helps with class balance since 10 vs 25 man settings also affect this.  It’s easier to balance classes around one heroic setting.  Especially in the case of healers or tanks who in a 10 vs 25 man setting may have widely different spell and stat priorities due to the damage.
3. 10 man raids still have the opportunity to raid, just not do heroics.  It may seem like a quick and easy solution to just join up two 10 man raids at around the same progression for a 20 man heroic raid.
That’s all understandable.  But this 10 man change is a really large charge, and that’s an understatement.
It’s not so easy to join together two 10 man groups and make them work together. Hell I tried to do this back in BC for the same exact reason, Tempest Keep was 25 man only and most guilds were raiding Zul’Aman as 10 man.  That move was one of the main reasons I quit the game.  The two groups would just not cooperate and it’s even worse when it’s a one sided thing.  Here you are trying to work things out and one side or a group of people just don’t stand for it either because of skill difference or attitudes clashing.  The thing about 10 man groups, and maybe this is just my perspective, but the 10 mans I’ve been in are all close knit groups.  Not to say that in 25 mans there is no sense of companionship but it’s just not likely that you will connect on a higher level with 20 other people in your group.  By breaking 10 mans apart or forcing them in to  larger groups, it’s like breaking apart bonds that have been forged over months or even years, forcing them to socialize with players who they don’t know and don’t understand.  Of course the perfect scenario can occur where both guilds have highly tolerant attitudes and they just meld together perfectly.  To the 10 man groups out there, I hope that’s how it will go.  But if you’ve played this game long enough, you know that enjoyment from this game does not come purely out of the game itself, but the social networks that the game gives the opportunity to form.  People need to feel that they aren’t being forced to rip and reform those connections.  I personally have nothing against the 20 man form although it may likely mean that my guild will break apart since many members of our 10 man don’t enjoy raiding with people they don’t know.  But I felt that Blizzard handled this situation kind of poorly.  In the many questions that were asked at Blizzon, the answer was “we realize it’s a problem but you’ll just have to deal with it.”  How about a solution or an answer with more clarity of the reasons behind the change?  This is the thing, I’m betting a lot of Heroic raiders are intelligent people and realize that the change is for the better.  A part of them with the response at Blizzcon to the inquiries will simply see this as an act of screwing up WoW to be blunt.
Anyways, enough rambling.  For the 10 mans out there, I encourage you right now to start looking for those 10 mans out there looking to merge and run some practice 25 mans with them if you’ve got enough people.  You want to do trials before you sign on with it.  Just because the two groups are at the same skill level does not mean their guilds are at the same maturity level or have the same attitude.  I’m guessing more than a few members who raid 10 man heroics will simply quit the game.  Many people who raid 10 man aren’t extremely hard core players, they have other things they enjoy doing outside of the game more and sometimes raiding, is purely for enjoying the time with friends.  They will see this in effect as taking that away.  Warlords of Draenor has a lot of new content to give.  If you can look past the change to the raiding scene and the lack of a new class or race, then I’m sure you will find interesting things to do. New challenge modes? Yes please! New raid to kill Grommash Hellscream?  Don’t tell me you’re not interested in how that plays out.  A chance to see what Durotan was like?  Every expansion is not perfect and this is not an exception.  But my advice is don’t give up just because your raiding situation doesn’t work out.  Find a new group of people to tag along with that you like and you will make new friends.  You never know until you try it out 🙂
What do you guys think of the new changes?