News Round Up: Stat Changes and Scroll of Resurrection
With the recent
on Dungeons and Raids, as well as the blog on
, there's been a lot of discussion on all the changes--the blue responses today cover a lot of controversial decisions on these topics.
But on to the really exciting news: it looks like there's a new Scroll of Resurrection program! It was accessible on live servers earlier today (via your Real ID list), but looks to be down for maintenance now. It's a pretty sweet deal to draw your friends back in--the recruited friend gets a free faction change, server transfer, and copy of Cataclysm, as well as a character instantly boosted to 80. This could explain all those ilvl 232 armor pieces and weapons we datamined back in 4.3--like the
--your fresh 80 will need some new gear.
Discuss the new Scroll of Resurrection over here as well as see the huge FAQ
I'd like to jump back in here to address a common concern we've been reading, which is that we're trying to oversimplify the stat system in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience.
One of our design philosophies is:
simple to learn, difficult to master.
We don’t believe in obfuscating information just to create a barrier between players who understand the rules and those who don’t. We do like to have lots of depth to our systems however, and we’re totally fine with veteran or knowledgeable players knowing a lot of nuance, exceptions, and tricks to the basic rules. To use an older example, armor penetration wasn’t our most shining moment in item design. At the base level, it was pretty easy to understand (physical attacks do more damage). However, the way a point of armor penetration rating translated into damage was mathematically complex. And to make matters worse, it was such a good stat that it made sense to stack it even if you didn't understand the mathematical basis for why it was a good stat. Armor penetration was difficult to learn (what does it do?) but easy to master (it’s overpowered). You can make similar examples with "capping" block for paladin and warrior tanks.
On the other hand, haste and crit aren’t that hard to understand. Haste is "you can do more." Crit is "you do stuff bigger, but not 100% of the time." The depth comes from deciding if your play style is more about doing lots of stuff, or about occasionally getting bigger heals and hits. If you’re intolerant of randomness, then crit might be unappealing. If you run out of mana a lot as a healer, then spending mana faster through haste might be unappealing. Both stats can impact rotations as well, depending on individual spec mechanics. These are the types of stats we feel add a decent amount of depth to the system in terms of how you want to build your character, yet they're quite easy to understand on a fundamental level.
I feel like I should take some time to better relay the development team's intentions when it comes to how PvP stats will work in Mists.
There are two important changes to PvP itemization coming:
1. We're splitting Resilience into an offensive and defensive component.
2. All players will have at least 30% damage reduction versus other players.
If you want to do more damage to other players in Mists, you have two options. You can get better PvE gear with more offensive stats, or you can get better PvP gear with slightly smaller offensive stats built in(because PvP gear is lower item level), but which will also give you more damage against players specifically. In today's game, stacking PvE gear is really the only way to do more damage to other players in PvP since Resilience only supplies a defensive bonus. These are completely made up numbers, but imagine PvE gear is 100% effective in PvE and 75% effective in PvP. PvP gear is 50% effective in PvE, but 100% effective in PvP -- despite its lower item level, it wins out over PvE gear when used for its intended purpose.
Here are some examples:
Ders the rogue: wears PvE gear.
Jillian the hunter: wears PvP gear.
In Cataclysm PvE, Ders does much better damage than Jillian in PvE, because her PvP gear “wastes” stat budget on Resilience.
In Cataclysm PvP, Ders does better damage than Jillian for the same reason. However, when Jillian hits Ders, he doesn’t mitigate her damage at all. The result is high burst damage on both sides.
In Mists PvE, Ders still does better damage than Jillian, because his higher ilevel PvE gear has more offensive stats. The difference is smaller however because Jillian’s PvP stats aren't part of the item budget.
The item level difference is the main distinction.
In Mists PvP, they both do about the same amount of raw damage to each other, with a slight edge for Jillian. Her power stat offsets Ders's PvE stats. Jillian takes less damage because of her PvP Defense (let’s say it’s 50% damage reduction), but Ders still has 30% damage reduction innately, so he doesn’t blow up either. Again the difference is smaller. If Ders wants to get serious about PvP, he’s eventually going to want PvP gear, and Jillian will want more PvE gear to do PvE.
Another way to think about it is that we are pushing PvP and PvE gear closer together with two changes: A player in PvE gear always has some base PvP defense (it's like a little PvP gear for free). A player in PvP gear can do more damage and healing than today in PvP because of the new Power stat (it's like a little PvE gear for free).
There were two primary problems with spell resistance.
First, the mechanic was implemented in a really confusing way. We could describe it all here, but it would take paragraphs, so instead we invite you to look it up on one of the fansites. The way a point of resistance leads to decreased damage is not an easy system for even experienced players to understand. We certainly could have redesigned the system, but to what end? Gearing for resistance sacrificed so many other stats that it was really only beneficial on those fights that the designers decided ahead of time would be "resistance fights," which generally meant getting a whole set of Nature (or Fire or Shadow, etc.) resistance gear. It felt more like an annoying speed bump to being able to progress to the next boss, rather than a fun challenge.
Secondly, the various resistance auras were passive things you'd just throw up, and pretty easy for any group larger than 5 to have. In designer parlance, we balanced around the assumption of their presence, rather than them feeling like awesome bonuses when you got to use, say, Fire Resist Aura. There isn't a ton of interesting gameplay there.
As we said in the blog, in some alternate universe, we could imagine a World of Warcraft itemization design where resistances are nearly as meaningful as stats like haste or crit. In that game there would be a lot of mobs that cast spells or use magical attacks, and stacking resistance might be an interesting trade off to stacking Stamina and armor. In the abstract, resistances could be cool. They aren't currently very cool in the actual World of Warcraft. We could spend a lot of design attention to make them cool -- and maybe someday we'll take that challenge on again -- but for Mists, we'd rather spend more attention on making sure the talent tree and spec revamps are as cool as they can possibly be.
There is often a razor’s edge between optional and mandatory. While earning a little more Conquest or Valor might feel like an option for a player who has some free time at the end of a week, it feels mandatory for a Gladiator-type PvPer or realm-first raider who wants to stay competitive with other players at that level. And of course, whenever we bring about the possibility of earning gear faster, we have to assume that players will take advantage of it. To use an extreme case, if you could complete all of your Conquest or Valor gear in one week (even if it took you nearly all of your waking time to do so), then PvP and PvE would have to be balanced with that level of gear in mind, in addition to the fact that players who quickly consumed the content by finishing their gear progression so quickly would then be looking around for something else to do.
We do try to balance time investment with skill in the game. If there was no reward just for playing (time investment), then only the most skilled players would win Arenas or BGs or kill raid bosses and there would be no catch-up mechanism for the rest of us. This would demoralize and discourage players from participating, and the highly-skilled players would have no one to oppose in the BG or join in raiding.
Of course, if we overly reward time investment, then the value of skill gets diminished, which is very unsatisfying. The design we typically follow is to give the most skilled players the opportunity to accomplish things first, but let other players get there by eventually acquiring the gear and familiarity to accomplish the same (boss kill / acquisition of desirable piece of armor / achievement).
But we don’t like it when players run out of things to do. That's something that is always on our list of things to do to improve WoW. We’re not sure that removing caps is the right solution. We have discussed ideas like having diminish returns on Valor and Conquest, such that you always could earn more, but at some point the effort per reward becomes less and less desirable. Maybe under that model very dedicated players could continue to earn additional points, without creating a new standard for everyone. It’s tricky though, because we have to go with an option that doesn't quickly slide into something that feels mandatory.
Talent Update: Priests
We've been following this thread (and others) very closely. Here are a few notes regarding where we currently are in Mists priest development.
Prayer of Healing can be used by Holy and Discipline once again. We realized that the goal of making Holy Nova an effective AE healing tool was problematic. It meant that we would have to change Holy Nova so thoroughly, that it was becoming a second Prayer of Healing. Remember: we aren’t even in beta yet, and we want to retain as much opportunity as possible to respond to player feedback throughout the rest of this process. Things will change for priests, and every other class, over the coming weeks.
There is some speculation that Discipline is intended only as a PvP spec or only as a tank-healing spec. Neither of those is our design intent. Both Holy and Discipline should be effective at group healing or single-target healing, and if we do our jobs right, both can have a role in PvP. The main difference between them is that Discipline relies more on absorption mechanics, such as Power Word: Shield, Power Word: Barrier, Divine Aegis and the new Spirit Shell. Holy priests should place more emphasis on heals over time and have more area healing mechanics (e.g. Circle of Healing, Holy Word: Sanctuary), but those are intended to offset the incredible benefit of absorbs and not to make Holy the only option for handling AE damage. We see both in use a lot in PvE in Cataclysm, and we intend for that model to continue.
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