Ah, such wonderful flame-bait, blogger-bait, and diversive material; how-do-we-define-melee-friendly from WoW Insider’s post and the related interview from Blizzard. I’m blogging it as it is an ongoing joke amongst some of the melee folks I regularly chat with. I love it when I hear a fight is melee friendly, especially when it comes from a non-melee (really healer, its not easy up the backside of this giant ogre). The WI blog is a long post, and worth a read if you have not looked.
Then join me here as I meander through my thoughts a bit…
Q. How do you know if a fight is melee friendly?
A. If the dps contribution on excellent attempts or a range of kills does not have melee behind in the overall damage done then the fight is probably not unfriendly to melee or range.
Any other measure is not based on what the players are doing, and should be questioned. It is overly melee friendly if the range dps cannot keep up with the melee, and vice-versa.
Q. How do you design for melee (or range) friendly?
A. At a high level view, not in a minute by minute breakdown.
I think it is ok for fights to have bias. The balance should be across the raid instance content, and also hopefully across the phases; but not stress about within one phase, or even one fight.
I love a good melee fight. Primarily that is because a lot of my time over the years has been played on a Death Knight. Before that I played on a Warlock or a Paladin, but only rarely did dps as the Paladin because early days the Pallys were not so hot in dps. So at the time that Wrath came out I switched to a DK and have only hooched around on a Boomkin, Warlock, or Shadow Priest as range dps since.
Secondly I’ll add to that I’m a little lazy these days in fights, or said another way I prefer fights that have mechanics that make sense, and that when combined form complexity in the encounter.
A principal example is Lei-Shen from Throne of Thunder. I think it is a great fight because:
- As an end boss it is unforgiving of mistakes. Good. It frustrates the absolute crap out of me that a player can grief his team by repeatedly making mistakes, and sometimes even dedicated players make mistakes (that might feel like griefing), but it is worse when a fight is too easy, and I support end bosses being tough.
- Almost every attack or mechanic has been used before on the raiders in trash, pve areas, or a previous boss. Bloody excellent. No excuse for not understanding the basics. The complexity comes when responding to multiples at the same time.
- With the exception of the “blue swirls of ephemeral bad” near the boss, the bad poo on the floor is blisteringly obvious. When one quarter of the floor space lights up and sparkles just after the lightning reactors overload…yes, you, you’re standing in bad stuff. MOVE. B-res pls lol.
- If done well, both Range Dps and Melee Dps have roles to do which means that no style is significantly disadvantaged. In LFR and Normal that is, I never saw Heroic mode, but can imagine it is as much fun, expect with razor blade thick-shakes and booster rockets.
So in that vein – what other fights are memorable as charming melee fights:
- Emperors at the end of Mogu’sun Vaults, where the melee needed to do the switch-a-roo side dance or get half pasted to the floor. Range for the most part should have been switched to the other mobs, but sometimes they can stand an ping-ping-ping the bosses. I didn’t like it, but I did like that through education I could dance through it and still Dps. I think that happened once. Tanking it was worse.
- Some strats require Melee to focus on interrupts to the point where the Dps we do is not as important. That is ok as long as the boss overall is more about survival, and not intentionally a dps race. e.g. Before we over-geared the Council fight in the Throne of Thunder that shitty job of always burning and interrupting Sul was a bit dull. That said, once we could just burn, I loved killing Sul.
- Patchwork from Naxx…still the definition of stay still and kill. Yeah sure the tanks have some stuff to manage about his hurtful strikes, but that is non-dps’ish things (who’s on threat).
That also means we should:
- Ignore any mechanic in a phase where the melee’s role is made harder if another role does not do their job properly. e.g. Tank leaves the boss standing in or too near the goo on the floor.
- Ignore a mechanic which requires everyone to react. Almost all classes cannot dps well while constantly on the move, especially if that movement needs to be fast. I think (?) Hunters and Ele-Shammy can still dps while goose-stepping around bad stuff, but a DK is often badly affected. Thankfully we have disease DoTs to help, and sometimes a pet if we so choose.
- hate with fiery passion any boss who has a tiny hitbox. Those bloody twin shaman in the new SoO are actually using half of the the gnome character model hitbox. That said, it is a fantastic fight overall. So I’d give it a pass.
And lastly I didn’t like too much:
- I think Garalon might have been better for range, except if you were one of the saps doing the pheromone sprint.
- The Celestial Bosses on the Isle of Collecting Coins are shitty, especially that mid-phase stage for the giant Ox, cow or whatever the shaggy thing is. It spends the better parts of two minutes running around the area where the range can blather away happily but the melee need to stand well back unless we wish to be crushed like grass. I do like killing that cow. Revenge.
- I think there is a case to answer for Elegon being a tad too much running in and out, and not enough stabby-stabby.
- probably any boss who paths through their own pools of goo, like Prof Putricide, should be slapped. Hey, an old boss, but I do remember running around and around those pools to get the blobs.
Anyway, hope you are loving whatever you’re Dps’ing. And if you’re not a Dps then a double thank you too, just to keep you from crowding the boss’s behind.
Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew