Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Anything, including off-topic posts

Moderators: Fridmarr, Worldie, Aergis, Sabindeus, PsiVen

Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Klaudandus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:19 am

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/3401304

What Active Mitigation Actually Means, and the Future of the Blood Death Knight

We recently buffed tank threat significantly and suggested that we would fill in any potential lost gameplay with new gameplay. What I meant by that was that if tanks don’t need to hit their buttons to generate threat, they may realize they don’t need to hit most of their buttons at all, and just stand there waiting until the right time to Shield Wall. Going a GCD or two without using a combat ability is fine with us. Standing around much longer than that gets boring quickly.

What we proposed is that tanks should ideally want to hit their buttons because it keeps them alive. I didn’t elaborate on that too much except to say it would feel more like the Blood DK method of tanking, which prompted some players to state that they didn’t like the DK model, or to point out that the DK model is not just active but reactive. Fair enough.

To better explain what we meant by that we need to define active mitigation. We define it as hitting buttons regularly that have a meaningful impact on your future mitigation. You should occasionally alter your rotation depending on what is going on in the fight, but you should still mitigate regularly and not save everything for the really big, predictable hits. DKs have a little of this, but Death Strike is ultimately a heal, which is a response to damage, not damage prevention. I also think the DK model gets a bad rap because of some other mechanical problems, which aren’t really problems with active mitigation per se. So let me go into a bit more hand-waving about what active mitigation could mean for other tanks, and then I’ll share a little DK info.



Some Active Mitigation Models

Here are three different models for why hitting buttons can matter to tanks. It's easy to come up with alternative models, and none of these are perfect, nor are we ready to announce which is the one we’re going to try first. But these ideas can get some discussions going.

Model One: Tank DPS matters

This one really isn't active mitigation per se, but it is a way to make pushing buttons matter. We have berserk timers or other DPS checks on a lot of our encounters. Typically tank DPS isn’t taken seriously on these fights, which is a little puzzling at first glance. Yes, the tank may not be able to match the Enhance shaman for damage done, but also consider that the Enhance shaman would absolutely love it if she could improve her DPS by a paltry 3K. That 3K may be enough to meet that DPS check. Note that I’m not talking about tanks being able to beat out skilled DPS players; I think most of us agree that would be a little bizarre. But that doesn’t mean tank damage has to be a non-factor either. Sure, the Feral tank may be doing 16K DPS to the shaman’s 30K, but 3K is 3K.

I polled all of the class designers who raid Heroic content (which is all of them, I believe) and only one had ever given his tanks a hard time for low DPS. Sometimes it’s just not possible because of the fight dynamics. In other cases it is, but as a community, we tend to not focus on tank DPS. We sometimes ask healers to Shadow Word: Pain, even though the contribution is trivial. Go figure. Maybe we assume tanks already have enough on their plate. Maybe they really are prima donnas and we don’t want them to /ragequit. (I kid.)

One potential downside of this model is that it's just the old threat rotations but with the emphasis on DPS rather than threat per second. Ultimately, we want tanks to feel like their rotations are related to tanking and that they aren't just doing a DPS rotation with the occasional long cooldown. Another is that it makes not only stats like hit and expertise desirable, but also crit and haste, which aren’t typically on plate tanking gear. We want to make tank itemization more interesting than just “stack mastery,” but we don’t want it to be baffling either.

Model Two: DPS buttons provide mitigation

This is the model that several players in the community have predicted will be our approach, and the idea has some merit. Under this model, imagine that a warrior wants to hit Shield Slam because it makes his next Shield Block larger. Imagine Revenge procs a short parry buff. Devastate and Thunder Clap already have roles applying debuffs. This model we think could feel pretty intuitive. One downside is that each individual button might feel less impactful and make the experience less visceral. Shield Block feels awesome because when you push it, the damage numbers go way down, and you feel “safe” for the duration. If you replace one slice of that pie with Revenge and Shield Slam, then everything gets watered down. If the rotation is very simple, then it feels like passive mitigation; if not then it’s a stressful juggling act. Another potential downside is that keeping up multiple buffs and debuffs can be tedious. Rather than it feeling like a bonus to get those procs, it can feel like a penalty whenever they’re not up. Even if you are hit and expertise capped, sometimes you have to move away from the boss to avoid a fire ring, or you need to leave to pick up an add. If you can’t bank the mitigation benefit, then the risk is you feel like you don’t really have control over your survivability.

Model Three: DPS buttons build up resources

This model lets you bank the benefits. Imagine you have to build up a resource to use on short-term cooldowns. We couldn't include the Shield Walls and their ilk here, because an "oh snap" button needs to be available immediately and not in the future once you've earned some resources. But weaker cooldowns such as Shield Block and Holy Shield could certainly work this way. Imagine the paladin tank needs Crusader Strike to land to generate Holy Power, and can then decide to spend that Holy Power on Holy Shield Block or Word of Glory. Neither of those would have a cooldown in this design, so more hits landing will always be better -- it's not just a matter of hitting enough to have 100% uptime. (You'd probably also need the ability to save Holy Power more than you can today so that there was less pressure to spend a cooldown as soon as it became available.)

The choice can then become whether to use Holy Shield Block or Word of Glory. Holy Shield Block is probably your first choice, but if you screw it up or the damage is magical, or you need a reactive button instead of an active one, then Word of Glory might be a better choice. Either way, there shouldn’t be any simple answers. (As a counterpoint, deciding to spend that Holy Power on threat instead of mitigation is just never going to be interesting -- smart tanks will always use it to survive, as we saw before Protection had a Word of Glory cooldown.)

As an aside, the Feral druid's mitigation is arguably the most passive right now, and we’d want to change things like Savage Defense to be active buttons under this model. One downside of Model Three is the risk that the rotation could be too formulaic: AAAAB, for example. It could also be asking a lot of tanks -- rather than just hitting buttons to generate threat, tanks would need to pay active attention to managing a resource. No more infinite rage just for getting beat on. We want tanking to be fun, and we think that needs to include a certain degree of risk of failure for not playing well, but that doesn't mean it needs to be frustrating. Challenging and frustrating don't need to go together.

Again, these aren't the kind of change we will hotfix in. It's going to take a lot of thought and a lot of feedback from players to get things feeling right. As a comparison, we still stand behind the mana adjustments we made for healers for Cataclysm. We think the healer gameplay is more engaging than it was at the end of Lich King, but that's obviously very subjective and took a lot of getting used to, even for seasoned players. We'd like to introduce the tanking changes more smoothly, but we still want to introduce them.



Bloody Death Knights

The risk of talking about one particular spec in a blog is then everyone will wonder when BM hunters or Disc priests are going to get "their" blog. It's not going to work like that, but since I referenced the DK tanking style so much in the previous tanking blog, I feel like it's appropriate to go into a little more detail about what we don't like about DK tanking (and how we’re going to fix it) so that all tanks have a better idea of what the future might hold for their own character.

Outbreak

One of the fundamental tensions in DK tanking is deciding whether to spend a rune on diseases (which offer necessary tanking debuffs) or save the rune for Death Strike. Our hope was that choosing how to spend the resources would be interesting. A rogue for example has to decide on whether to spend resources on Slice and Dice or Eviscerate (or a number of other things). In reality though, we don’t think this decision has been a fun one. You feel cheated if you refresh diseases and then need to Death Strike a moment later, and you feel like a bad tank if you just neglect diseases. For 4.3, we’re going to give Blood DKs a 30 second Outbreak, so they will never have to manually apply diseases to a single target. Yes, that can lead to even more Death Strikes but we think adding a fun alternative to Death Strike is not the kind of thing we can easily change for 4.3.

I feel the need to point out that we’re not just being lazy here. We understand that many players get really worn down by constant class design change, especially mid-expansion, even if they end up improving the experience overall. Deciding when to make serious changes and when to wait is a major challenge of MMO game design. I’ll try and explore this more in a future blog.

Blade Barrier

We originally designed this talent to encourage DKs to not sit on their runes, and it worked fine for that. However, the current model of Death Strike, which we also like, is that the timing of the Death Strike matters a great deal, encouraging you to… you guessed it… sit on your runes. We’re just going to change Blade Barrier to something more passive (and yes, temporarily more boring) for 4.3.

Death Strike

It sucks when Death Strike misses. "Stack hit and expertise" is an answer to that, but not one that's really viable or even fair given that other tanks will care even less about hit and expertise in the short term. Rather than making Death Strike always hit, we're going to let it always proc Blood Shield even when it misses. This kind of tweak may very well be an interim solution given that everything I said above was that we want tanks to care about hitting to drive their mitigation. But we don’t think it’s fair to penalize the DK for working the “new way” while everyone else is still working the “old way,” and it’s too much of a change for 4.3 to apply the "new way" to the other three classes. In the long term, as in the Protadin example above, the rotation can't just be Death Strike, Death Strike, Death Strike... Death Strike.

Bone Shield

This change is something we’re exploring but may not pan out, so no claiming we "promised" this *cough*Abyssal Maw*cough*. So… CAVEAT: this may not come to pass. What we’re considering doing with Bone Shield is have it mitigate damage spikes. DKs are prone to spikes more so than the other tanks, particularly the paladin and warrior who can "block cap" (I assume most of you know what that entails, if not, a helpful explanation if someone asks in the comments would be appreciated). Death Strike can theoretically handle the spikes, but if you miss (less of an issue with the above change) or time your DS poorly, you might take much higher damage than other tanks from a single hit. Our idea is that Bone Shield would expend a charge to dampen those spikes specifically. If a single attack did a huge percent of your total health, then some of that attack would be automatically lessened for the cost of a charge. Smaller hits wouldn’t spend a charge.

Blood Shield

This is an even longer-term change. Death Strike feeling reactive is fun, and one of the things we like about how the DK tanks. Death Striking after a big hit can heal you more than Death Striking before a big hit, so you should ideally pay attention to what the boss is doing instead of just mashing buttons as soon as the runes come up. When you heal a novice DK, you may just notice they take a lot of damage. When you get in sync with a talented DK, you come to know when they are going to Death Strike and recover from big hits. However, sometimes inevitably the tank is going to hit DS too soon and not have it available a second later. Our idea is to somehow turn Blood Shield into more of a pool that you actively try to build and maintain. A system where you’re able to add to a pool of absorption would provide more granularity, which in turn would be more forgiving of errors or streaks of bad luck.




There you have it. When we're ready for the 4.3 PTR, you’ll hopefully see some of these DK changes in place. The blog we wrote that dove into our thought process for the 4.2 patch notes ended up being the most positively received blog that the class team has ever done, so we’ll definitely do one of those again for 4.3. As I mentioned, more active mitigation will probably wait for farther in the future. We might talk about how we decide on when a change is more appropriate for a hotfix, patch, or full expansion in the next developer blog. While it might be short on upcoming class changes, hopefully it will still prove interesting to some of you.
The Element of Forum Hyperbole
Image
---
Flüttershy - Draenei Protection Paladin, Aerie Peak
Klaudandus - BE Protection Paladin, Feathermoon (Semi-retired)
User avatar
Klaudandus
 
Posts: 11219
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:08 am
Location: Texas' Armpit

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Shoju » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:26 am

I am very interested to play with the new changes. VERY interested.
User avatar
Shoju
 
Posts: 6388
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 7:15 am

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Klaudandus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:37 am

I guess... RIP SotR? =(

They would have to prove that they can fix DK before I actually believe that these changes will work.

We want tanking to be fun, and we think that needs to include a certain degree of risk of failure for not playing well, but that doesn't mean it needs to be frustrating. Challenging and frustrating don't need to go together.


They'll have to do it really well or they'll lose even more tanks and the DPS will cry even more
The Element of Forum Hyperbole
Image
---
Flüttershy - Draenei Protection Paladin, Aerie Peak
Klaudandus - BE Protection Paladin, Feathermoon (Semi-retired)
User avatar
Klaudandus
 
Posts: 11219
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:08 am
Location: Texas' Armpit

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Cogglamp » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:56 am

Seems like some cool changes for the DKs.

As to SotR, they could just untie it to HoPo and have it more akin to Shield Slam and have it buffed when Holy Shield is up. Yes, it makes us more like warriors but I realize I'm not a unique snowflake anymore. SotR isn't what makes me play a paladin at the end of the day.
Cogglamp
 
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:04 am

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Nikachelle » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:59 am

What they might be trying to do is get dps players more interested in tanking (which... fuck man... how many times have they tried this now?). So if a tank does more active damage, or their damage matters, maybe that will interest dps players to role tanks? I have no idea. I like my role and how it is. I hope they don't try turning us into another role in an attempt to entice others.

I don't understand the point in saying "welp, we've decided that threat means nothing so we're going to buff it and make sure you get your aggros on", only to turn around a few weeks later and say "well NOW you have more time on your hands, so let's figure out what to slot in there." Honestly, what was the point in that? You trade one thing to focus our attentions on for another and pray we like the change? (Granted, it's not like we had to focus on threat after 30 seconds into the fight.)

He said pretty clearly that people tend to get frustrated with too many class switch-ups mid-expansion and I hope they pay attention to the fact that they actually said that.
User avatar
Nikachelle
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 11003
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:39 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Eroslight » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:01 pm

Anybody else slightly worried that tank balance is going to go out the window again in 4.3? Especially with the new changes on heroic content - yeah it seems to me that the likelihood of Blizzard balancing the "new DK" with the other tanks is slim to none (especially given their history).

I'd much rather have them push out everything all at once... I dunno - just me

I'm thinking that we're going to be Holy Warriors (totally okay with me) and that my GM (who plays blood) is going to sit me more come 4.3.

Just a thought
Eroslight
 
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:17 am

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Klaudandus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:03 pm

Nikachelle wrote:What they might be trying to do is get dps players more interested in tanking (which... fuck man... how many times have they tried this now?). So if a tank does more active damage, or their damage matters, maybe that will interest dps players to role tanks? I have no idea. I like my role and how it is. I hope they don't try turning us into another role in an attempt to entice others.

I don't understand the point in saying "welp, we've decided that threat means nothing so we're going to buff it and make sure you get your aggros on", only to turn around a few weeks later and say "well NOW you have more time on your hands, so let's figure out what to slot in there." Honestly, what was the point in that? You trade one thing to focus our attentions on for another and pray we like the change? (Granted, it's not like we had to focus on threat after 30 seconds into the fight.)

He said pretty clearly that people tend to get frustrated with too many class switch-ups mid-expansion and I hope they pay attention to the fact that they actually said that.


Just waiting on the DPS to start complaining about the longer queue lines come those changes... It seems that's the only way for them to realize they screwed things up.

Role population changes is one of the biggest metrics they do pay attention to.
The Element of Forum Hyperbole
Image
---
Flüttershy - Draenei Protection Paladin, Aerie Peak
Klaudandus - BE Protection Paladin, Feathermoon (Semi-retired)
User avatar
Klaudandus
 
Posts: 11219
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:08 am
Location: Texas' Armpit

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Shoju » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:07 pm

Eroslight wrote:Anybody else slightly worried that tank balance is going to go out the window again in 4.3? Especially with the new changes on heroic content - yeah it seems to me that the likelihood of Blizzard balancing the "new DK" with the other tanks is slim to none (especially given their history).

I'd much rather have them push out everything all at once... I dunno - just me

I'm thinking that we're going to be Holy Warriors (totally okay with me) and that my GM (who plays blood) is going to sit me more come 4.3.

Just a thought



I will be happy when DK's aren't being sat for progression bosses in Heroic Raid Content for the simple fact that they are a DK and can get globalled by a Heroic Firelands Boss.
User avatar
Shoju
 
Posts: 6388
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 7:15 am

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Nikachelle » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:11 pm

Klaudandus wrote:
Nikachelle wrote:What they might be trying to do is get dps players more interested in tanking (which... fuck man... how many times have they tried this now?). So if a tank does more active damage, or their damage matters, maybe that will interest dps players to role tanks? I have no idea. I like my role and how it is. I hope they don't try turning us into another role in an attempt to entice others.

I don't understand the point in saying "welp, we've decided that threat means nothing so we're going to buff it and make sure you get your aggros on", only to turn around a few weeks later and say "well NOW you have more time on your hands, so let's figure out what to slot in there." Honestly, what was the point in that? You trade one thing to focus our attentions on for another and pray we like the change? (Granted, it's not like we had to focus on threat after 30 seconds into the fight.)

He said pretty clearly that people tend to get frustrated with too many class switch-ups mid-expansion and I hope they pay attention to the fact that they actually said that.


Just waiting on the DPS to start complaining about the longer queue lines come those changes... It seems that's the only way for them to realize they screwed things up.

Role population changes is one of the biggest metrics they do pay attention to.

Well it depends on the effect it has on the casual/non-raiding population. Raiders don't really run heroics (unless it's for the first two weeks or so of new content and you're not downing all the bosses), so they don't really give a damn about queue times.

For the average joe shmuck running his weekly dungeons... they're not going to notice a difference I don't think. Other than that hitting a different button might make them easier to heal.

If they're going to go the route that tank dps matters... then they'd have to buff all the dungeon encounters - which they're never going to do. So the casual dungeon tank isn't going to notice a difference there either.

The only real substantial difference it's going to make is to raiders. And raiders don't really fill the dungeon queues unless they're on alts. So I honestly can't see this having a huge impact on RDF.
User avatar
Nikachelle
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 11003
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:39 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Cogglamp » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:14 pm

Longer queue lines doesn't necessarily mean tanks switching to dps, it's just that a lot of the tanks aren't using the RDF. I don't know a single tank that has gone dps. Granted that's anecdotal at best but looking at people's responses here on this site when the goodie bag came out, most continue to avoid it regardless of the bonus loot.

Tanks just wait for guild runs to avoid the inherent problems with random people playing randomly.
Cogglamp
 
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:04 am

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Klaudandus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:19 pm

Ok, but what about the casual players or the new tanks? If they don't like the changes, they will just go do something else. Even raiding tanks might get turned off to the idea.

Remember those healers I lost back when Cata came in? They never came back due to the healing changes, they just decided to do dps and stop being frustrated
The Element of Forum Hyperbole
Image
---
Flüttershy - Draenei Protection Paladin, Aerie Peak
Klaudandus - BE Protection Paladin, Feathermoon (Semi-retired)
User avatar
Klaudandus
 
Posts: 11219
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:08 am
Location: Texas' Armpit

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Nikachelle » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:25 pm

But that's what I'm saying. New players won't know the difference and casual players probably won't notice it either. (My example for this is I play my death knight casually - I was a frost tank in Wrath and now she's blood - I don't know her mechanics really. I have a general idea of it but I don't know how she's supposed to actually play - people in dungeons correct me on her all the time - and that's fine. But it hasn't put me off playing her just because she's slightly different now. And because I'm not overly intimate with that character I just don't notice the changes because they don't have THAT much of an impact on how I play her in a dungeon.)

And honestly, at this point, we just don't know how subtle the changes are going to be - they've only provided us with possible models. They could be so minutely different that nobody really cares. Your point about your healers quitting cuz they hated the new style was valid, but until we play it, we just won't know.
User avatar
Nikachelle
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 11003
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:39 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby fuzzygeek » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:25 pm

On the plus side, they are actively trying to design to make button presses matter. It's just a question as to whether they can balance it such that "matter" isn't the difference between 30% and 40% overheal ... in which case, it still doesn't "matter."

I guess a tank who Knows Their Shit will allow you to swap one healer for one dps, perhaps?
Image
User avatar
fuzzygeek
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 5130
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:58 pm

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Cogglamp » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:30 pm

New tanks aren't going to face the same problems as raid tanks. Raid tanks will need to be on top of their game in order to stay alive. New tanks don't have to worry about active mitigation on normal dungeons and heroic dungeons (outside of Trolls).

If a new tank gets flattened and they want to get better, they'll get better. They'll ask around on what to do, how to gem/gear/glyph/talent and somehow, someway, if they're dedicated enough, then they'll find their way here, or tankspot, or ej. Those are the tanks you want and no amount of failure/speedbumps are going to stop them.

The ones that want to faceroll, get frustrated, and quit, well, they weren't tanks in the first place in my opinion.

It's a steady progression for people and you can't assume that new tanks are instantly going to be stuck in a scenario where you have to do X ability at Y time or face certain death. Blizzard has lots of options for newer tanks to get their feet wet and the internet has more than enough information to help them out.

As for the healers, I don't know what to say. Going from infinite mana in WotLK to mana management in Cata was an adjustment but it made the game more engaging in my opinion. However, as we're scaling, mana management is becoming even less and less of an issue.
Last edited by Cogglamp on Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cogglamp
 
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:04 am

Re: Dev Watercooler - Bloody Mitigation (Active Mitigation)

Postby Nikachelle » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:36 pm

Was going to say... if the healers who quit at the beginning of Cata actually went back to healing now they'd probably enjoy it a lot more.
User avatar
Nikachelle
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 11003
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:39 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Next

Return to General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Who is online

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 380 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:28 pm

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest