What a week to have off

Welcome back boys and girls, to the show… that stops temporarily at times. Maybe next time I decide to take a break, I’ll figure it out ahead of time and try to get some guest bloggers or something (that’s the hip, cool thing to do right?).

I picked a hell of a week to go on blogger-vacation as it pertains to Warhammer. We saw a slew of information thrown at all of us between patch notes, community announcements, and information in general. For the sake of posterity, and on the off chance that I’m the only WAR blogger you read, you can check out the patch notes here, and the incorporation of the official forums into BioWare’s community here.

It can go without saying, but there’s a ton of information in this patch, and as you can surmise from taking a quick look over, the focus is on two things.  Open RvR and class balance, two things which are intrinsically entwined in this game, and have been on top of players hit-lists for a while now. I’m happy to say, that as a whole, these steps are in the right direction. Even better, has been the fact that a lot of these concepts were made known to the playerbase ahead of time in the various in-development posts. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but Mythic continually impresses me with just how much information they give out, and how communicative they are with the players. I never recall seeing SOE, Blizzard, or any other company put out ideas and get feedback from the general population that actually affects decisions like I’ve seen from Mythic. It’s an incredibly heartening activity that is an extra personal touch from the development studio. Say what you will about response time, or implementation, they show routinely that they listen. As a blogger, and a player, that’s a soothing lozenge to my proverbial sore-throat.

Well, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the stuff you all actually want to talk about: Class changes. Always a hot-button topic of epic proportions, a conversation and process that is sure to make Career leads pull out hair, and spend a little extra time fondling that bottle of cognac, as they await the slings and arrows of their constituency. This is going to cover a lot of ground, so put on your hiking shoes.

The very first thing that hit, as I read down the list was the stealth change.

  • The maximum range for detecting stealthed enemies has been reduced. As a result, stealthed players must now be much closer before they can be detected.

WH and WE rejoicing was heard everywhere. I hear, read, and stumble over the frustrations of these rogues about how broken and unreliable stealth is. It often catches me, even when I see them stealth, and know they are around, but hey, they’re the experts. Now just make them unable to stealth while DoT’d and I’ll be a happy man.

Next up, the Close Quarters/Expert Skirmisher change!

  • Close Quarters: This Tactic has been redesigned, and will now reduce cast times when under 20 feet from your target.
  • Expert Skirmisher: This Tactic has been redesigned and will now reduce cast times when under 20 feet from your target.

This will have an immediate change in some tactics and playstyles of the RDPS careers for sure. For the casters, it means that bombing is going to see another shift and evolution. It’s long-term viability will be up in the air until actual testing occurs, and I see Shadow Warriors as being viable members of a bomb-team now with 1-second Lileath’s Arrows.

The Blackguard saw some significant changes, and the biggest point of contention swirled tightly with joy is the armor debuff, followed in close second by the new Strength/Willpower Buff.

  • Brutal Smash: This ability is now available at Rank 9. The ability will now deal damage instantly and buff Strength and Willpower of the caster and their Dark Protected ally.
  • Horrific Wound: This ability is now available at rank 12. The ability will now deal damage instantly and reduce the victim’s armor based on Hatred.

Brutal Smash’s adjustment is a hit to every hate-machine that loved being the glaive in the side of every enemy caster on the field. Horrific Wound changed to an armor debuff is overall appreciated, but the loss of their Morale eater makes the spiky hate-balls cry big fat tears of sadness. As much as I may dislike loosing what they lost, it DOES bring the career mirrors closer together, and in the long run, that’s the better choice.

Black Orcs and Swordmasters had a new tool introduced to their utility belt, a non GCD, baseline, upward stance adjuster. Essentially, it will let the careers jump forward without having to use an attack, opening up the next line of abilities.

  • Sudden Shift/(Changin’ Da Plan): This new ability allows you to shift from No Balance (No Plan) to Improved Balance (Da Good Plan), Improved Balance (Da Good Plan) to Perfect Balance (Da Best Plan), or Perfect Balance (Da Best Plan) to Improved Balance (Da Good Plan). It can be trained at Rank 3.

Knights and Chosen have had the debuff portion of their resist auras brought down:

  • Discordant Instability/(Gather Your Resolve!): The amount that this ability reduces enemy resistances by has been reduced.

I’m sad to see it go, but it is desperately needed. This is going to be another tweak to caster-bomb groups, as dropping resists of enemies is going to be a lot more difficult than it currently is. In the whole, I think Destruction on Gorfang is going to be hit by this a lot harder than Order. Knights are definitely a common class, but they don’t have the vast, overwhelming majority presence like Chosen do. I will say, hearing Chosen complain about it in regards to their spirit damage makes me giggle. Welcome to dealing damage like a Knight, at least you don’t have to slot a tactic. When is Blazing Blade going to be made into a mirror of Ravage? Is there really any reason not to? /rant_over

Engineers got some sweet Barry White lovin’ as well. Not having played one much, I know from talking to others in the Core tester and on my server that, for the whole, they are happy. It’s baby steps for them, but it’s going in the right direction.

  • Minimum range has been removed from all abilities.
  • Bugman’s Best: The value of the healing from this ability has been increased. Healing from this ability will now gain contribution from the Engineer and will be correctly displayed on Scenario scoreboards.
  • Field Repair: The value of the healing from this ability has been increased.
  • Lightning Rod: The damage from this ability will now gain contribution from the Engineer’s stats.
  • Trench Fighting: This new Tactic replaces the Tactic Runes of Warding at seven points into the Path of the Tinkerer. It will now increase damage, if under 45 feet from your target.
  • Well-Oiled Machine: This Tactic will now also reduce Redeploy’s Action Point cost to zero

As a whole, we’re seeing all the shooter careers have their minimum range removed, their base career stats applied across more of their abilities under different circumstances, and a damage replacement inserted to replace the loss of Expert Skirmisher. This is the action of Mythic when they said they want to bring down the casters some, and bring up the Shooters, and have them meet in the middle. It’s incremental when seen from one vantage point, but significant when looking at the overall gap being closed. I couldn’t be happier.

The Magus got a lot of changes as well, and I’m so woefully inadequate to explain them, I’ll just do a copypasta here. The little bit I can make sense of seems to be the closer mirroring to the Engineer, and the distinction that the Magus is not in the same boat of power as the BW/Sorc is. Beyond that, I know almost nothing about this career. You should all bug Keagan to write more, and explain them to us all. Oh wait, he did that! Read the expert.

  • Aegis of Orange Fire: The Wounds increase from this ability has been doubled in effectiveness. The damage shield portion of the ability will now trigger on all direct attacks, at a rate of 25%, and the damage value has been increased.
  • Chaotic Attunement: This Tactic will now also reduce Resummon’s Action Point cost to zero.
  • Daemonic Fire: This pet ability will now also decrease the Elemental resistance of its target.
  • Daemonic Contract: This Tactic is now available at seven points into the Path of Daemonology. It will now increase damage, if under 45 feet from your target.
  • Daemonic Pact: This Tactic is now available at eleven points into the Path of Daemonology.
  • Indigo Fire of Change: This ability will no longer summon a daemon upon the victim’s death. Instead, the Magus will now receive Action Points in return for the victim’s death.
  • Perils of the Warp: This ability has had its effect changed, and will now disarm the victim. Additionally, it now builds up instantly, has had its Action Point cost reduced, and has had a brief cooldown timer added.
  • Strengthen Thrall: The value of the healing from this ability has been increased.

The Rune Priest and zealot had a total revamp and overhaul of how they function. They have been given forms of stances that affect their stats and how they are contributed from gear. Basically, they have a damage stance, and a heal stance.

  • Rune of Breaking: This new toggled ability is available at Rank 1. While toggled off, this ability converts several damage-oriented stats on items (Intelligence, Magic Power, and Magic Crit Chance) into their healing-oriented counterparts (Willpower, Healing Power, and Healing Crit Chance) at 50% of the original values. When toggled on, it will do the opposite, and convert the same healing-oriented stats on gear into their damage-oriented counterparts at 50% of the original values.

I’m glad to see these two classes get some type of acknowledgement and variety in play. They suffered from a similar problem as Shadow Warriors. They’re trees lacked focus on function, and instead were based on application. Both Zealot and Rune Priest had trees based on Single Target, Over Time, and AoE effects. Mixed in those trees were damage and healing spells. No matter what tree they went, they remained unable to specialize. This should hopefully help provide options, and options are good!

The White Lion was given an absolutely sick ability.

  • Force Opportunity: This ability has had its effect changed, and is now an undefendable attack that deals damage instantly and reduces the target’s armor. It is now available nine points into the Path of the Axeman.

Undefendable, 1600 armor debuff. That’s stupid strong. It’s mirrored over from the Marauder. This is a biggie to the career. People WILL QQ over it, there is no question. The only downside is that I hear it’s stacking with the debuff from the pet, which probably shouldn’t happen. 

I saved my favoritist for last. My sweet, sweet Shadow Warrior.

  • Minimum range has been removed from all abilities.
  • Assault Stance: When in this Stance, the Shadow Warrior will now also gain Melee Power equal to their Ranged Power from items, and Melee Critical chance equal to their Ranged Critical chance from items.
  • Charge Forth: This Tactic has been renamed to Powerful Draw, and will now increase the range of Skirmish abilities.
  • No Respite: This Tactic is now available at seven points into the Path of Assault and will now increase damage when under 45 feet from your target.
  • Sinister Assault: This Tactic is now available at three points into the Path of Assault.

Holy googley, moogely! Good stuff. We all saw this a bit ago, but I’m happy to see them more formalized in an official Patch Notes post. Like I said before, the options that are available to the Shadow Warrior just increased substantially. I don’t think that the two mirrors are quite on par yet, but the gap just got a lot smaller. The biggest differential remaining is the damage output. The variance between what the styles of the SW do compared to the SH are not NEARLY enough to make up for the damage and utility the squig brings to the table. The long-ago stat contribution to pets created a large chasm in damage potential that has yet to be bridged. As an aside: some of these changes were carried over to the Squig Herder as well. The stat conversion in Assault was brought to Squig Armor, Sneaky Stabbin’ mirrors No Respite, and they also saw the removal of minimum ranges.

This post is getting significantly long in tooth, so I’ll cut it off here, and start writing a part two to cover the rest of the patch. Mule these changes over, and feel free to chime in!

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9 Responses to What a week to have off

  1. zizlak says:

    Just a short note on the Runepriest/Zelot changes..
    Approx. 1 out of 50 likes the changes to the career.. the trend is that some Runepriests like the change and all Zelots don’t like it.

    I think this change is going in the wrong direction.. It just doesn’t feel right from a healer-point-of-view.. I hope that Mythic will adjust/change this mechanic.

    • shadowwar says:

      Can you quantify the dislike a bit more? From what I see, the base ability of pure healing is getting a very slight improvement, and gearing up is becoming less restrictive, allowing for an easier variety in playstyle, with the only requirement being a “quasi-stance” that is off GCD and has a cooldown in only one direction. I’d love to hear what the specific dislikes are.

      • Domorak says:

        Well for once, with the stances not only adding on 50% of the stats of the coresponding stance, but negating the otherone, you will have like 150 int in heal stance, wich will make our stagger nearly impossible to apply cause of disrupt, and what do we get in return? about 50 aditional willpower yay!.

        Another thing is, with the new souv sets having either only will or int, the mechanic will be kinda useless while wearing those.

        Then especialy for dps zealots, the loss of the corp debuff realy hurts, in adition our leech heal spell still has a 5sec cooldown while the rp one does not, the only tactic effecting this change works with direct damage spells only, but is high up in the dot path, and i could go on and on about alot more of that littel stuff.

  2. zizlak says:

    Well.. first of..The new mechanic improves the itemization problems people get when wearing Conquerer/Invader gear, which are both offensive sets. Like someone said in the forums.. “Fixing poor itemization with a new mechanic is wrong”.

    So.. those “low level” Runepriests/Zelots gain some buff to their healing. That’s ok.. but no reason for a “woohoo”. What about the better geared healers… Well. they are more forced to the healbot role, as all the anyways low offensive stats are getting lowered as int is transfered to willpower. So..how likely will it be that e.g. a stagger will not get disrupted? It’s right now one of the most important tools RP have..Zelots also use it a lot. With barely any int you can forget about stagger, silence, knockback or just a dot.. They are quiet worthless with this new mechanic. So you have mastery trees filled with a mix of healing and damage-spells and you can now only use one sort, because the stats for the other one are ..gone. Even a dps-dok can throw out a group heal, but if you rely only on the racial bonus you can forget that as a dps RP/Zelot. So this mechanic narrows done gameplay by a great amount instead of making it more flexible. The buffs are close to irrelevant and the nerf is quiet heavy for the gameplay this careers used to have, i.e. heal/support.

    The Zelots cry out even more as the two most important tools in their offensive set are gone without any compensation. So their offensive power is brought down to RP-level, which overall isn’t that much compared to e.g. dps-dok/AM.

    The mechanic is somewhat advertised as focusing on the problems of the mastery tree layout which is focused on the way of delivering damage/healing and therefore a mixture of damage/heal spells in every tree. When geared for healing most of the spells don’t have much impact (tactics play another role), but you can do something to annoy the other side. Instead of widening the options this new mechanic now narrows the way those careers can be played. You heal or you do damage.. there’s no way you can do both in a reasonable manner. That’s the reason why most RP/Zelots aren’t that happy about the changes. Few RP think that they are boosted (which I don’t think) and almost every Zelot thinks, that they are getting nerfed.. Therefore there are some quiet unhappy posts in the healer forums. The new mechanic is useless and a perceived nerf.. and with a new mechanic you can expect to stay that way for a loooong time, as there are other careers which are on the love-list for the next patches.. That’s frustrating.

    (This is just a spontaneous comment.. Maybe I should blog about it and sort my thoughts 😉 )

    • shadowwar says:

      A blog post would probably be good.

      I will say this: I think the intent is that you not be able to do BOTH at the same time. Having to pick to do one or the other is the desired outcome from the conversations I’ve seen come from the development team.

      • zizlak says:

        Well.. I do 1-10k dmg in a scenario.. which is in no way too much if you ask me 😉
        Most other healers do more than Runepriests or Zelots (which are specced for healing).

        I’m not asking for a damage-increase while healing.. I’m asking not to get my survivability taken away…

        The dev-team had several posts were they thought that the stance-mechanic several careers have in WAR is too restricting (marauders and shadow warriors may raise their hands here 😉 ).. and so they bring another “stance”-mechanic with no bonus (i might call it even nerf), but add restrictions to the playing of that career?

        I have to test if there is a tactic-set bound to the stance..if not.. this mechanic is even more a waste of dev-time than I already think.

      • shadowwar says:

        The stance thing is my greatest concern too. Having dealt with my own for more time than I liked to remember, it’s a giant hassle. Also, you can count on tactics being stagnant, that’s been a cry since launch of Shadow Warriors.

        That said, would you still have an issue with this if the other healers weren’t as powerful as they are? DoKs, AMs, Shamans, WPs (in that order of high/low power) are capable of doing damage and healing. Personally, I’d like to see their damage potential lower significantly in their damage focus portions. Sadly, they were designed more as hybrids from the ground up.

        I’d suggest playing with it on the test server, but with everyone in full sov, RR80, it won’t be a very accurate depiction of live play.

  3. Rikker says:

    Gotta agree with Zizlak on this one.

    My main is a Zealot, and I am definitely convinced that, for the most part, this patch is a nerf for us.
    To lay the groundwork:
    I am specced,geared, tactics for healing.
    First the good:
    Rituals being instant cast for more AP: Good idea. It wasn’t usually worth the cast time, but i’ll gladly drop a little AP in exchange for the extra 1.5 seconds in combat.

    Also, manipulation/transference changes aren’t terrible either, at the very least they could be interesting.

    Warping the Spirit: Cool tactic change. Most likely worth putting in a rotation in favor of the +armor it offers (I believe it procs off of HoTs). This does, however, cost a tactic slot, possibly causing AP problems or overall healing output problems.

    Tzeentch’s Grip: (Ancestor’s Echo) – may be worth it depending on the amount of the shield… if it’s too small I’ll be staying with Blessing of Chaos, thank you very much.
    It is most likely NOT worth slotting both of those tactics due to loss of others (depending on RR/playstyle). Again, slotting both definitely causes AP/ heal output issues, that I don’t think the shield will make up for.

    Now the bad:
    1)I use the Harbinger ALL THE TIME. It is a rather nice corp debuff (main damage dealers do corp damage…), so it’s a way to help them out.
    That will be gone as of 1.3.6

    2)Very slight improvement in healing in exchange for effective loss of all damage dealing abilities, and some defensive/possibly offensive ones (dots useless even as small assistance, no more staggers, silence, etc.)

    Before anyone asks, yes I do think that those two bads outweigh the good. If they take everything else out except the Ritual changes, I would be perfectly happy.

  4. zizlak says:

    Yes, as Rikker already said.. with the loss of int we lose some tools which help as in supporting dd’s (without doing much damage) or/and which increase our defense.
    A 100ft stagger can be used for taking out the healing of a melee-assist-train for 9s which can be used to break it.. or it can be used to stagger a thread to once life (RP-view .. nothing is as much fun as staggering a Witch elf or Choppa when they run towards you ; )).. Both very nice abilities which are taken away without any compensation.

    Actually all healers are designed as hybrids.. Just look at the mechanics or mastery trees.. And no healer will be as restricted now as RP/Zelot with this new mechanic (if Mythic doesn’t adjust it before it goes live).

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