What a week to have off
July 26, 2010 9 Comments
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!