DK Tank note in MoP beta build 16048

If the title was not janky enough with abbreviations and miscellaneous numbers then read the full patch notes for the recent Beta build dropping soon. I expect the stead series of adjustments to continue for at least a month after MoP release. Just enjoy the variety people, for now is the time to test out all the odd stuff and enjoy the game before we’re meant to be serious again.

We get more tweaks via MMO Champion, for Blood Tanks we have this change:

  • Death Strike now does 280% weapon damage, up from 230%. Damage increased by 43%.
  • Heart Strike now does 115% weapon damage, down from 170%. Damage reduced by 54%.

What does it mean? Apparently Blood DK damage was too high on multi-target. No effect on base healing effect from DS. I know that this is certainly not what I am seeing in current game, so keep in mind this is level 90 content based feedback (what do you mean you’re spending your time farming for rares and not in beta?… me too).

Warrior Tanks get a few buffs too, which should make them happy. Paladin Tanks I think will still suffer a bit at the moment, although that is an impression based upon rants and wanderings rather than analysis and posts.

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Has SWToR Tanked? Is that even a balanced question?

Star Wars: The Old Republic

MMO Melting Pot article took a somewhat imprudent view on SWToR’s longevity since the recent server merges – and asked “how’s the SWTOR server transfer experience treating you and your friends?

Responses from comments and community are mixed, although while the fan base is obviously diminished, there is certainly hope.

A view on longevity really depends on how far the owning company wants to stretch, and what is considered a profitable player base. As a market commodity there is probably value in keeping The Old Republic going for as long as possible, as an extension of the franchise. Much of the Star Wars brand strength comes from the many sources of direct connection it has from the fans, and there is a value to having an active MMO, especially if the costs can be curtailed to a moderate profit.

The server merges come along with some seriously large redundancies in the dev staff too. Large sections of the team have been let go, and while that too is initially a worry it actually is to be expected. The dev team size needed for a game once it a few months post-launch are far less than when it is being built. Devs, testers, managers, and all others should expect to either move to new projects, or move on. That is the reality in software development.

It depends on what you consider a failure too. It is fair to say that Conan did not survive, but Rift continues regardless of the fact that a very large number of people have “tanked” the game. Perhaps a few hundred thousand people paying the equivalent of five coffee breaks a month is enough to continue a game franchise. In Jan 2012 the Rift publishers declared that they’d made over $100 Million from the game. Tanked? Not really, and they’re now letting folks play to level 20 for free. That’s the best demo around, and other game creators should take note.

I have friends who were fanatics about the Star Wars game, quit all other gaming aspects, and then have now relinquished their fanaticism. Others still play regularly, and some never even started but still love the brand.

I played while the free weekends were in session, but didn’t subscribe as Blizzard has locked me into the annual pass for a while longer. Nice strategy there by Blizzard, although many forum posts now tell me that their time in the sun has faded too. If they fade like Rift tanked then World of Warcraft will be around for a long time to come.

What is a tanked game anyway? Eve is another game that plays well still, after so many years and expansions; and so many declarations of death by corners of the gaming community. A player-base far smaller that the megalithic World of Warcraft, but still  successful.

The Star Wars dev have started talking about SW-ToR going free to play upto level 15, akin to the free pass for WoW/Rift. I like this idea a lot as I’ll get to play more of the story lore, but it may not be enough to get me to subscribe every month. More likely is that I’ll play each class till level 15 and then stop. Is that really a good idea – well it is if you consider playing the game is the best ad a game can have.

So we won’t know really the game has tanked until the servers shut-off and the podcasts fade. The Old Republic might slowly fade from the MMO market over time. I hope it stays around long enough to add a few more features which get absorbed into the “standard” mmo feature set. It’s focus on story was certainly controversial, and bloody enjoyable.

I’ll leave you with this cartoon by Scott Johnson, on ExtraLife. No Comment. Kek.

Hate: Constantly moving tanks

Today’s post is a little rant to get something off my chest: Tank moving mobs too much. I hate it. A lot.

Recently in a LFD run the tank was constantly moving the creatures. Now I don’t mean slowly moving them in a reverse circle to gather them up (bears do this, it makes sense), or a tank moving so that nothing is flanking them. Or even adjusting because shitty dps don’t know not to stand in front while the baddies cleave or use flame breaths – I mean constant changing where they stand randomly.

This idiot tank walked forwards, backwards, and sideways through the monster’s hit box so that both he and mobs needed to switch facing all the time. The entire fight against multi-mobs, he walked around constantly. Showing his flank to the mobs, switching around, even bloody jumping from time to time. It was like watching a pvp battle. What made it funny (in a sad way) is that he totally ignored the two melee asking him to stay still. That request just seemed to make him spin and dance more, which made the fights longer, and I suspect he took some serious damage from it too. Yup, an idiot.

I don’t get it, and think its a sign of a bad tank and a player who does not understand the mechanics of tanking.

The tank tip: Gather the melee baddies so they are all in your face, none behind you, and preferably all your team are behind them. ie:

(Tank)–> <— (Angry mobs) <— (melee) <— (healers and range)

This way the melee can hit from behind happily, you can see when the mobs move away, your healers are protected by the melee, and nobody has to move anywhere. All cleaves and spells will only affect the Tank.

Compelling talents, real choices, and diversity.

Stubborn at the Dead Good Tanking Guide posted a great response to the request for class feedback. What impressed me the most was the comment:

Compelling talent choices not on offer elsewhere, mobility other melee dream about and unique utility that can change the face of an encounter.

Oh hell, he said it so bloody well.

To me this mean keeping the play styles of the tanks different. Keep each tank type as different and we’ll see choices again. Those choices might might one class better than others for specific encounters, but overall we’ll have an interesting diversity. The same can be applied to Heals and Dps too. Choice empowers and supports class selection, where limiting controls prohibit it.

That does not mean that classes should not have some parity in abilities though. We do not want a scenario where a single Tank class is so much better (unless its the dks -joke!). Each tank class should have principally the same set of core controls, but the implementation of those controls can be different.

Think of it as the difference between a Requirement and and Solution. The Requirement is a statement of need, typically based upon on a set of broad goals. The solution is the specific method whereby that need will be satisfied.

In Stubborn’s example there is a goal to provide competitive dps, a requirement to allow Warriors to move through the battlefield efficiently, and a requirement to maintain the movement style of the Warrior class. The solution is to grant Warriors a set of abilities and talents that have them charge and leap amongst the melee. That is a key part of the feel of the Warrior way. Some other classes also have charge abilities, or leap abilities, but not all by a long way.

Paladins by example seem to call opponents to them. The Avengers Shield, Consecrate, and such play like a more stoic class. They might be “slower”, but that could also be seen as less “jittery” as well. Your mileage will vary.

Bears have a range of abilities that imitate many of the Warrior abilities, although they have a sub-set that is slightly better suited to AoE. Death Knights are again different, and that is excellent. I’d hate to see Warriors get a Death Grip style ability, and likewise it would not make sense.

Now that my third Tank is level 85 I’m seeing enforcement of my previous opinion that each is totally viable and very different. They all have taunts, AoE capacity, facing issues, movement considerations, cooldowns, resource shortages, and special tricks. Each is pretty darn good at a base level, yet diverse.

I’d like to see an expansion in the diversity, so that the choice of what to do and play remains (or returns to) a valid and powerful choice.

Happy gaming.

At least a few upgrades

Last week I was finally able to purchase the third t12 item, and I decided to craft the 365 weapons rather than waiting for either a price drop, or a totally lucky drop in Firelands. It feels good to have some upgrades.

It took me a long time to get the third t12 item, and I worked hard for it – was it casual? Yup. But you can get stuffed if you think it didn’t take a very long time. I’m not the best geared in my guild at all, but considering that I have never had a raid upgrade in Firelands, and have barely stepped in there, being around position 12 to 14 on the guild list is a small achievement.

Today I read news that the t13 items will not be available for purchase with Valor, but other gear will be. Initially I was totally disenfranchised by this. I think this is OK as long as the gear is almost the same as the tier gear. A tad less powerful is fine (eg. missing a Tier set bonus), but if the items are no more powerful than the 5 man rewards, then I will not be grinding Valor at all – and cannot see a reason to do the 5 mans beyond the basic gear-ups.

That will have a drastic affect on the tank population, and the amount of players we’ll see – so much so that I doubt it is even plausible for the Valor gear not to be almost as good. Not granting t13 rewards makes having those items more special, and I like that. If you are a raider and you got lucky enough to get them, then kudos. Just don’t penalise my role in the raid because I’ve geared a few items using Valor. That would be stupid.

So what does this all mean? It means I’m watching closing the announcements for gear as part of 4.3. Very closely.

Should DPS Death Knights learn to Tank?

Good topic on wow insider a while ago asking if Healing priests should learn shadow, and it has resonance with a DK’s dps role. So I’ll rhetorically ask:

Should DPS Death Knights learn to Tank? And vice versa?

I’d like to give you a balanced and well rounded opinion on this, complete with examples and war stories, but I can’t. The answer is so bloody obvious it makes me wonder how you could have the opposite view – my answer is by hell and damnation they should.

Everyone will play better and understand roles better when they have a wider set of experience. If you have not done it, go try a different role in 5 mans. Do 20 runs in each role, and then see if it changed your attitude.

Disagree? Please tell me why.