Q&A Feedback – Part 1

July 2, 2009 at 3:02 pm (Uncategorized)

Okay, further review suggests it’s a bit better than I thought.  Gotta say, not much “there” there.

I am passing on PvP discussion, because as I’ve mentioned, I don’t PvP, so others will be able to evaluate the answers there far better than I can.

Lich King made the warlock pets more interesting but we think there is still a lot of opportunity here. Some of the pets have abilities that just don’t get much use (Imp Fire Shield anyone?) while other pets could benefit from a couple more abilities. The voidwalker for example does all of his damage through just a simple autoattack. While we are slightly positioning the imp as a Destruction pet and the felhound as an Affliction pet, we think we can make the choice of what demon to use at a particular time more interesting. The succubus has too narrow a niche, and the voidwalker is still used mostly as a level-up pet.

Last I checked, the succubus was the highest DPS pet (post 3.2) for an affliction lock.  Felhunter’s only use that I can think of is eating the bone shields in Military Quarter.  And I’m not really sure Wrath made our pets more interesting.  More essential, yes, and a bit more likely to live through a boss fight, but not more interesting.

As we have hinted on occasion, we have a revamp of the entire system in the works. This is a big change, beyond the scope of the 3.2 patch, but we are confident — CONFIDENT — that the new system will be something warlocks finally enjoy. (I’m sure I will never, ever regret saying that.) We hope to be able to talk more about it at BlizzCon, but the basic idea is that shards provide a combat boost when needed without becoming a resource that needs to be farmed. Currently too many of the shard abilities are maintenance-like things such as demons and stones. Blowing a shard should be a big deal — an exciting moment. We want to make shards fun and remove the hassle, but we want to make them a core part of the warlock experience and not a marginalized feature.

I’m intrigued, but again, there’s no actual information here.  And the band-aid changes they have made are (unless you’re Affliction) steps in exactly the wrong direction (as I’ve said before, farming them is not really easier, it’s just impossible to prepare ahead of raid time to the extent we used to).

Q. As a follow-up to the last question, would we consider giving warlocks a better “aggro dump” ability? Currently, their one “aggro dump,” Soulshatter, has a long cooldown and costs a reagent.
A.We are going to lower the cooldown of Soulshatter to three minutes. We don’t think the shard cost is a big expense in PvE situations. Threat-dump abilities are tricky to balance. We don’t want these spells to feel rotational — you aren’t supposed to do say Curse of Agony, Immolate, Soulshatter, Curse of Agony, Immolate, Soulshatter. They are there for emergencies.

This is crap.  Cooldowns accomplish the emergency-only thing (and three minutes will more than suffice for that).  The shard cost is a big expense, because (particularly after a long night of wipes on a progression boss) you’re stuck between having to either provide your utility to the raid (healthstones, soulstones, summons), or using Soulshatter to avoid dying.  Or, in the alternative,  you can gimp your DPS (something no DPSer in their right mind should be doing on progression content) to farm shards off the boss mid-raid (which appears to be what Blizzard thinks we should be doing).  Yeah, yeah, I know, big changes coming, whatever – this is a problem right now, and the fix is trivial – remove the reagent cost from soulshatter (and drop it to three minutes, which is already being done).  Problem solved.  No game balance issues (particularly since this much-vaunted soul shard revamp is going to make the whole thing irrelevant “soon”, right?  Because this will happen soon, and isn’t Blizzard just jerking our chain – right?  Bueller?)

Two related questions:

A.There are a couple of situations like this in the warlock tree. The essential problem is we want locks to be able to go down their different trees. When you have something important like threat-reduction or range, it either needs to go very high in the trees where everyone can reach it, or you need to have duplicate talents that essentially accomplish the same thing. The problem with the latter approach is that confusing things can happen when you get both talents — either they stack (which is too powerful) or they don’t stack (which can be confusing or make talent builds difficult). The way we have tried to solve the latter problem is having some talents affect Fire / Destro and some affect Shadow / Affliction. Of course the problem with that approach is that warlocks use both kinds of damage spells. We recognize that we need to solve this problem, but sliding a lot of talents around is not the right way to do it, and also beyond the scope of 3.2. See below for a partial solution for the threat problem though.

A.This is the same problem I mentioned above. Moving the talent up higher is one solution, but it would have to be very high and whatever talents are there now would have to come down. This then becomes a pretty significant re-architecture of the talent tree. It is something we want to address, but probably isn’t a 3.2 change.

Okay, they’re acknowledging the problem exists.  The problem is fundamental to the class, though – frost mages don’t do half their DPS with fire spells.  Shadow preists don’t do half their DPS with holy spells.  Why the frack are affliction locks doing half their DPS with destruction spells (and vice versa, though less so)?  They seem to grasp the size of the issue, but at some point, we have to acknowledge that, as with the soul shard issue, all the “big plans” that are twelve patches out don’t fix things now (things that have been broken for some time, and soul shards have been a crap mechanic since the game launched).  They’ve been talking about the “big changes” to come in soul shards since Wrath launched.  It wasn’t fixed in 3.1.  It’s not going to be fixed in 3.2.  Why not?  Ditto the threat/range talent issue.  These are not new issues.  I get that they take time to fix, but WoW isn’t exactly a spring chicken.  At this rate the game will be at the end of its life cycle (it’s already well into middle age as it is).  And Blizzard’s we’re-going-to-find-a-neat-way-to-fix-this plans so often end up as nothing – anybody remember how they were going to spare us from having to equip our riding crops in our trinket slots?  They wanted to fix it the right way.  Instead, they threw up their hands and completely ditched letting us increase our mount speed at all (unless you’re an unholy DK or Paladin.)  Which meant a lot of vendored riding crops.  Having faith the Blizzard will fix this, given how long they’ve allegedly been working on it, is to have considerably more confidence in Blizzard’s competence than they have, I think, earned.

No discussion of Metamorphosis, a neat-but-useless 51-point talent, particularly compared to Haunt and Chaos Bolt, which are staples of their respective rotations.  I use it when solo-farming instances to kill a bunch of low level mobs.  That’s it.  That’s inadequate for a 51-point talent.

On a cosmetic level – green fire and a warlock-specific flying mount.  First, green fire would be nice, but I’d rather have a reasonable soul shard system than a cosmetic tweak.  However, it sounds like they want to do that wrong too:

A.We wouldn’t do it through a minor glyph. Originally, we were going to make the minor glyphs mostly cosmetic like this, but as we evolved the glyph feature we found that some spells just didn’t make sense to have a major glyph, so these became minors. We definitely understand some (many? all?) warlocks would love to have green fire and we’ll try and find a cool way to deliver on this. At this point, we’d probably rather do it with a flashy new spell rather than just change up an existing one, but we’ll have to see. As with the new druid forms, after waiting so long, we’d want to do it right.

So, Chaos Bolt, basically (which is green fire).  Great.  I think they’re missing the point – the green fire fetishists don’t want a green fire spell, they want all our fire spells to be green, so we don’t look like freaking mages.  Aesthetic distinction is the point.  As to the mount:

A.I think it fits the warlock kit pretty well to have some kind of crazy flying demon. We don’t have any art for such a creature yet, but we’ll keep it in mind. You’d have to go back to Dire Maul to get it. Okay, not really…

Cute opportunity for a joke, but “We’ll keep it in mind” means “Not going to happen”.  Can you really imagine any patch coming along where they don’t have something bigger or better to focus their attention on?  Yeah, me either.

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