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Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Darielle » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:23 am

I honestly think the simplest solution is to eliminate distinct talent trees from "pure" DPS classes altogether. This way, instead of expending countless man hours designing distinction between talent trees on classes where most people tend to just pick the one that is performing the best, they can instead work at making them overall fun to play, and better balanced. Shift default talent tree based abilities back into the talent trees (i.e. Water Elemental).

Naturally, this may make some unhappy (i.e. those who have significant emotional attachment to specific talent tree), but it ultimately seems like a lot of effort to make "distinctions" in the talent specs that just doesn't bear out to better gameplay, in my opinion.


Here's the thing with that. Not every "pure" DPS works in a similar way with different buttons - (e.g. Mages with AB, Frostbolt and Fireball, with a couple of relatively tiny modifications). You can't really consolidate Warlocks without destroying playstyles that people enjoy. Most of the issues they have with specs have nothing to do with playstyles - they just get numbers wrong or wind up failing on an encounter level (like Ultraxion not being hittable from behind which means if you're Sub, you respec Combat. Then Spine requires ridiculous burst dps so Arcane Mages and Sub Rogues go in and Locks and Hunters get on their alt Mages and Rogues).
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Archeth » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:57 am

Blizzard did erode a few of these playstyle differences on their own (Cataclysm destruction warlocks playing essentially like affliction with different colored DoTs, eg.) for no good reason, but that just means getting rid of these specs isn't the simplest solution at all considering they mostly have or had working differences designed already, but just failed when it came to numbers balancing et al.

Some issues also come from the PvE <-> PvP distinction and they're trying to address this at least partially with the new talent system. Obviously balancing more DPS specs is more work, but there's room for unique playstyles in pure DPS classes and it would be quite insane to gimp these classes' flexibility further by reducing them to one spec per class.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Darielle » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:05 am

Eh, you can oversimply things by a lot in that regard (you can oversimply basically everything to "apply X, then hit Y").

What I mean is stuff like pet twisting, or Combat being cyclical-cooldowns-based, and so on. For everyone who plays those classes, there's that one playstyle within it that they actually enjoy the most, and while they'll use say Combat for progression or because the fight allows Cleave or whatever, they'll still be in the position where they LIKE Sub more, and taking away that playstyle is not going to help.

What IS the actual problem is, when they design fights, they need to look at them and go "Where's this going to lead". No one particularly enjoys stacking Mages and Rogues for X, or Boomkins for Y, or saying that melee-heavy on this fight sucks, and all that stuff - but sometimes it's like the Encounter Design gets carried away with not taking the actual classes into account. Sure, it's possible that say, Spine was designed so that you would have to go 3 Cycles to do Heroic, but with some classes that are able to do what it takes to get it down in 2, and some who find it impossible to meet that, that's CLEARLY a problem. One that leads to ... Class Stacking issues. Whereas if the Tendon had submerged at 50% (or 66% if designed for 3), then those cycles are enforced. Having dots tick on the Tendon - that would have not alienated dot classes. And so on. The encounter was the issue - not the classes. The differences in classes are fine IF the encounters are designed up front to not cause issues because of the differences in class design.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Archeth » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:52 am

I'm fully aware where the differences are in specs, thank you very much. Yet I didn't disagree with your earlier comment, but wanted to point out that Blizzard is partially at fault for making specs appear more closely related than necessary which adds to the perception that pure classes could as well use one or two similar specs less (ie. "model 5").

That they then fail to design encounters with all specs in mind, or even just most of them just reinforces the views of people who feel like 3 "samey" specs per class is too hard to balance (when it's not really a balance issue in the first place) to be used for "model 1" or "model 2".

Although I'm really wondering why after dozens of encounters and these issues not being new, they still manage to come up with new ideas on how to screw over whole classes or specs in (usually heroic mode) encounters. Their "model 2" hinges on encounter design (apart from "fair" distribution of niches) a lot, and Cataclysm didn't really seem to improve on that front.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Skye1013 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:57 am

Blizzard wrote:Hey guys... we totally got this... we'll give all melee an extra 5% AP buff and that'll fix our inability to design encounters that aren't ranged preferred!
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Darielle » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:10 am

I'm fully aware where the differences are in specs, thank you very much. Yet I didn't disagree with your earlier comment, but wanted to point out that Blizzard is partially at fault for making specs appear more closely related than necessary which adds to the perception that pure classes could as well use one or two similar specs less (ie. "model 5").


Yeah, but that's the part I disagree with. All they did was make Destruction actually have a couple of things that altered what was basically a simple and stale rotation beforehand - they didn't actually make it play more like Affliction. Destruction already had dot interplay, doing almost completely Fire damage instead of Shadow etc., the differences between it and Affliction or the magnitude of them didn't really get altered.

The encounter-model interaction stays the same no matter what - even if they decide "Yo, we're going to Abolish Arms and Fury and have one spec of DPS Warrior", that one spec of DPS Warrior vs that one spec of Rogue will still have issues if encounter design isn't smart. I just think the Role discussion is the wrong thing for them to be discussing at all - there are SOME cases where the classes have flaws (Combat and cleave is just flawed, DK's and AMS doesn't work etc.), but by and large the issues are there because they are looking at the wrong thing and ignoring the real root of the problem.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby benebarba » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:20 am

Archeth wrote:Although I'm really wondering why after dozens of encounters and these issues not being new, they still manage to come up with new ideas on how to screw over whole classes or specs in (usually heroic mode) encounters. Their "model 2" hinges on encounter design (apart from "fair" distribution of niches) a lot, and Cataclysm didn't really seem to improve on that front.


Part of the issue I think they realize is that compared to the number of folks making attempts and thus determining optimal compositions/specs/etc., Blizz has far fewer folks working on ensuring things are balanced. As such, it is quite likely that an unforeseen solution may present itself.

But then they also have problems that seem to be unavoidable due to class design. For example: ranged DPS being favored on fights (not just in raids, either - but few in the community care about balance in 5-mans) over melee because they can change targets faster (especially if they are not all in melee range of one another), far enough away to see what's happening easier (ok, not always), and the boss moving really has no impact on them. And those are some of the basic things they do to make not every fight a tank and spank DPS-fest.

One solution they've done is to have ranged have to deal with mechanics that melee don't, say zapping some add or item that wrecks anyone in melee range, having attacks that only target people far away, debuffs on ranged attacks, etc. But if every fight had those, it would feel contrived/'samey' or you end up with stacking strats that cause a disadvantage to only a single ranged class (hunters due to minimum range at least until MoP).
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Archeth » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:36 am

Not coming up with every possible clever combination is one thing, but designing fights to outright punish pet classes eg. (of which they have at least two, then some specs with "bonus" pets, and stuff like priests' mana regeneration being tied to a pet) is hard to justify.

Skye1013 wrote:
Blizzard wrote:Hey guys... we totally got this... we'll give all melee an extra 5% AP buff and that'll fix our inability to design encounters that aren't ranged preferred!

Considering where rogues and warriors usually ended up in the last 1-2 tiers of every expansion so far and taking other contributing factors like a (ranged) caster DPS-only legendary in T12 into account, I'm not sure that's such a massive problem. In the past ranged DPS had significant penalties for having to move, but to let players deal with today's raids full of "move ASAP" situations, Blizzard added a lot of on-the-move stuff reducing this difference.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Arnock » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:04 pm

Overall, I like option number 5 the best, with pure dps being able to do 2 roles(with ranged dps and melee dps being considered two different roles) and having the 3rd tree be a dedicated ‘pvp tree’ focusing on mobility, debuffs, and burst. I know that it wouldn’t exactly be the most popular idea, and that blizzard is extremely unlikely to change the game at such a fundamental level, but I’m really bored and I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands, so I’m going to liberally engage in wishful thinking here.

Note: I played wow from ~patch 2.1 to shortly before cata’s release, so I’m not really familiar with how much the game has changed since then, and some of what I’m suggesting might already be implemented.

One potential issue with this system, is the question of what to do with the current hybrid classes, would they just suffer from an inability to pvp without a dedicated tree? I would try to rework talent trees so that there would be PVP talents incorporated into the regular trees, but somehow make those talents mutually exclusive so that one couldn’t have both the high-damage, rotational pve abilities and still have the high pvp utility.

Now, I wouldn’t go out of my way to make PVP specs incapable of any PVE, or vice versa, but let the ‘base class’ be strong enough that a PVP player should be capable of running 5-mans or LFR, and a PVE player would contribute more than a free kill in a battleground or world PVP(perhaps playing like a glass cannon, with high damage and low mobility/survivability)

For tanking, I would balance the tanks around the idea that, against a ‘target dummy boss’ with constistant autoattack damage they would all require the same total amount of healing despite differences in armor, avoidance, and migitation(for flavor purposes). "Tank killing damage" would all be unmigitateable/unavoidable.

At any rate, here’s how I would remake the classes in my image
    Death knight
  • Blood: Tank tree, emphasis on high health with self healing and lifesteal effects.
  • Frost: Melee dps, perhaps the tree could split between DW spec and 2h spec
  • Unholy: PVP melee dps, emphasis on diseases and ghouls

    Druid
  • Class would remain largely as is
  • Bear: Tanking emphasis on having high health, high armor, and lower avoidance (bears aren’t exactly nimble beasts, yo.)


    Hunter
  • Beast mastery: Melee dps, BM hunters’ rotational abilities would be ‘casted’ by the pet. Emphasis on short duration buffs that the hunter and pet cast on one another.
  • Marksmanship: Ranged dps, marks hunters would either have no pet or very limited control over their pet.
  • Survival: PVP ranged dps, emphasis on traps and stings. Perhaps surv hunters could have a vanish/stealth that has a short duration and longer cooldown, and traps placed under this stealth are buffed somehow.

    Mage
  • Fire: Melee dps. Autoattack damage would come from a weapon imbue that does fire damage per hit. Dragon’s breath, blast wave, and other short-range fire abilities would become core rotational skills instead of situational abilities
  • Arcane: PVE ranged dps, emphasis on mana management, alternating between a high damage, high mana cost “burn rotation” and a lower damage rotation that regenerates mana, somehow.
  • Frost: PVP ranged dps, focus on snares, cc, and shatter combos

    Paladin:
  • Class would remain largely as-is
  • Protection: Emphasis on high block chance with flat block value. Block cap would not be attainable without heroic gear from an expansion’s final raid.

    Priest:
  • Shadow: Ranged dps
  • Holy: PVE healing spec
  • Disc: PVP healing spec

    Rogue:
  • Combat: Tank, combat rogues would be able to equip mail armor, and would focus on having high avoidance, especially parry, and lower armor
  • Assasination: PVE melee dps
  • Subtlety: PVP melee dps

    Shaman
  • Class would remain largely as-is

    Warlock
  • Demonology: Melee dps with permanent demon form. While in demon form, autoattacks would function like a rogue’s, with damage scaling directly from intellect instead of agility/strength. Demo locks would be able to instantly swap pets mid combat as situations change, and perhaps be able to have multiple active pets
  • Destruction: PVE ranged dps, emphasis on alternating between a shadow rotation and a fire rotation, limited pet control
  • Affliction: PVP ranged dps, style would try to recapture the TBC SL/SL specs

    Warrior
  • Arms: PVE melee dps, emphasis on bleeds and weapon strikes
  • Fury: PVP melee dps, emphasis on shouts, mobility, and autoattack.
  • Protection: Tank, emphasis on high block value with a flat block chance
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Koatanga » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:33 pm

Darielle wrote:Here's the thing with that. Not every "pure" DPS works in a similar way with different buttons - (e.g. Mages with AB, Frostbolt and Fireball, with a couple of relatively tiny modifications). You can't really consolidate Warlocks without destroying playstyles that people enjoy. Most of the issues they have with specs have nothing to do with playstyles - they just get numbers wrong or wind up failing on an encounter level (like Ultraxion not being hittable from behind which means if you're Sub, you respec Combat. Then Spine requires ridiculous burst dps so Arcane Mages and Sub Rogues go in and Locks and Hunters get on their alt Mages and Rogues).

And yet with each expansion, the playstyle changes, and often there are specs that people used to like to play that they don't anymore.

Destro used to be for warlocks who didn't want to have to manage dots. Not so much anymore. I used to like being a boomkin until Cata, then I stopped playing my druid because the whole eclipse thing was so unwieldly. Paladins got Holy Combo Points, and had we not pitched a fit would have had huge holes in our "rotation". Subtlety rogues have been best, worst, and in-between for rogue DPS even within the same xpac (see: Wrath). Enhancement shaman used two-hand weapons, then magic weapons, then physical, then back to magic, then back to physical... DKs used to tank in Frost spec, now it's blood...

So even if they can't consolidate Warlocks without destroying playstyles, I don't know that would stop anyone from doing it. They destroy playstyles all the time "just because".

Heck, they even change group playstyles. First we CCd everything, then we just mowed everything down without thought, then we CCd stuff again, and now we once again mow stuff down. Healers had to budget mana, then it was plentiful, then back to budget, and now it's plentiful again. It used to be if the DPS died, it was their own fault for standing in the fire - now there are more encounters where the DPS take the same damage regardless of what they do, or are supposed to stand in the fire in order to share it. Then there's tank threat...

The game changes all the time, and playstyle preservation does not seem to be an important consideration.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Kelaan » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:01 pm

Blood was always the DK tank tree, unless it was different in beta -- Frost presence was the tanking presence's name, which is understandably confusing (hence why they changed it).
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Flex » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:05 pm

Arguably DKs could tank in any of the three trees but led to balance issues and Will of the Necropolis redesign made Blood the defacto progression tanking tree.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:06 pm

Kelaan wrote:Blood was always the DK tank tree, unless it was different in beta -- Frost presence was the tanking presence's name, which is understandably confusing (hence why they changed it).


Actually, thru just about all of wrath, all three trees were both for tanking and dps, a la feral tree with druids.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Kelaan » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:35 pm

You're right! It was just the presence that swapped it. Shame on me for spreading misinformation, though unintentionally. I forgot the complaints when they made it a single tree. (Was that 4.0 when they changed it? Because I recall people tanking in frost, but Blood always seemed significantly better, even before 4.0, to me.)
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Role of Role

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:46 pm

Kelaan wrote:You're right! It was just the presence that swapped it. Shame on me for spreading misinformation, though unintentionally. I forgot the complaints when they made it a single tree. (Was that 4.0 when they changed it? Because I recall people tanking in frost, but Blood always seemed significantly better, even before 4.0, to me.)


Yes, it was when 4.0 rolled in, the exact same time we got Holy Power.
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