Friday, July 31, 2009

WoW's Biggest Flaw?

Browsing the forums I came upon a thread asking what the single biggest flaw is in WoW. I pondered on it. I started to say something about PvP class balance, but Blizzard does much better than other games. Then I started to say that raids have gotten too gimmicky, but that's TOO subjective. I thought about a bunch of minor inconsistencies I just didn't like, but they're... minor. But then I thought back to the primary thing I liked about Warhammer Online... the world PvP and that got me thinking on a longer train of thought...

My biggest gripe is probably the fact thatBlizzard has over-compartmentalized the game. Especially in Wrath.

You want to raid? Go into THIS portal.
PvP? Go into THIS portal.
Want world PvP? Wait until THIS time and go to THIS place for THIS many minutes. Otherwise we'll discourage you with a zerg of guards.

There needs to be random mob attacks on player cities where everyone bands together to kill a baddie like with Overlord Kruul. There needs to be more crossover between PvE and PvP like the old AV. There needs to be more perpetually contested world PvP content (This is the ONLY area I feel Mythic has trumped Blizzard. Warhammer Online kicked ass in this regard) Holding certain objectives should give players bonuses like in Hellfire Peninsula. World bosses need to make a comeback. More rare spawns. More difficult outdoor group content like the Silithus elemental lords. Instancing is a great technology, but when used too liberally you lose a certain sense of cohesion.

Blizz can do it right if they'd get out of this super-compartmentalized mindset.
The world as a whole needs more cohesion. They have good lore and great world, a smooth combat system, interesting classes, most everything works rather well. It just needs that extra little kick to take it away from the gold/gear grind and towards a more vibrant, world that feels like it might really exist in some alternate universe.

Again, more cohesion, less compartmentalization. I'm not saying BGs or raids need to go. They work fine. Just don't make everything important be packed into those little bite size boxes you call instances.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Generic DPS Caster PvP Tweaks

It's no secret that DPS casters as a whole are hurting in PvP as a whole. The forums have been abuzz the past few weeks on this issue and I'll take a moment to lay down two changes I think would help fix the problem. I have more ideas, but I feel these two are shoe-ins and should be implemented, and if further changes are necessary, then do so.

  1. Spell school lockout effects reduced to 2 seconds. Tooltips of Mind Freeze, Kick, Pummel, etc changed to state that lockout duration is doubled against healing spells to make it no effective change against heals, but a buff to DPS. *Healing spells being pure heals that aren't tied to another utility/damage spell. IE Drain Life, glyphed Evocation, Pennance if used offensively, etc. aren't considered healing spells in this sense.
  2. Facing checks at the end of spellcast are removed if the target is within 10 yards. Run-through interrupts are silly. Even the most skilled caster on a great connection can get screwed by this mechanic simply due to the ever-so-slight difference between where the melee class is on your screen and where the server thinks it is.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Objective Based Honor & Rated Battlegrounds

As seen here

Basic Honor Changes

These are intended to foster more objective oriented games. Numbers are of course tweakable to match our current honor income per game, but proportions seem quite fair.

    -20 honor per kill in midfield.
    -30 honor per kill near a neutral or enemy point/ flag/ boss. (Honorable Attacker buff)
    -50 honor per kill near a friendly point/ flag/ boss. (Honorable Defender buff)

    -200 honor for being within 50 yards of a flag being captured/returned, a point being captured, or a key BG NPC being killed.
    -2000 bonus honor at the end of the game, multiplied by your team's overall progress. So if you win with 2000 resources in AB you get +2000 honor. Lose with 1 flag cap in WSG? +667 honor. AV could be handled by giving the winning team 2000 and the losing team can have their bonus honor determined by number of points/graveyards controlled.

Ranked Battlegrounds & "Glory Points"
The basic idea, coming from the idea that Blizz is adding ranked BGs, is that Glory points are earned based on your personal contribution to a BG. Arena points would then be consolidated into the same system of glory points and they would have a combined maximum pool that can be earned per week.
Glory points per BG are determined by your relative honor gains, with a multiplier in there if your team wins. Each BG has a total amount of glory points that are distributed amongst all the players based on their relative performances, with an exponential distribution divided between 4 quartiles. Bottom quartile gets x. 2nd quartile get 2x. 3rd quartile gets 4x. Top quartile gets 8x. Take this "70's Show" themed 4v4 "battleground" the Alliance just won as an example. Honor/glory amounts are completely arbitrary and irrelevant other than to display the proportions. Actual amounts tweaked as necessary

    Total Honor
    Donna (Alliance): 90
    Eric (Alliance): 80
    Fez (Alliance): 70
    Kitty: (Alliance): 50

    Red: (Horde): 100
    Stephen (Horde): 90
    Michael (Horde): 30
    Jacki (Horde): 10

    Adjusted Honor For Glory Calculation (*1.2 for the winning team)
    Donna (Alliance): 108
    Eric (Alliance): 96
    Fez (Alliance): 84
    Kitty (Alliance): 60

    Red (Horde): 100
    Stephen (Horde): 90
    Michael (Horde): 30
    Jacki (Horde): 10

    Glory Points Received (based on 100 points total given out for this battleground. 100 is arbitrary and used only as an example)
    Donna: 26.4
    Red: 26.4
    Eric: 13.2
    Stephen: 13.2
    Fez: 6.6
    Kitty: 6.6
    Michael: 3.3
    Jacki: 3.3

A different distribution could of course be used, but doubling everything was easy enough and it supports the gearing philosophy outlined below well enough. Do take note that the most strongly performing players get x8 more glory pts per battleground than "the baddies"

Glory Point Rewards
The idea here is to combine aspects of "the honor grind" and "purely skilled based rewards" into one fluid system where anyone can buy a piece of gear, but the costs would be so incredibly high and disparity in potential points earned so huge that terrible players might spend a whole season of fervent BG grinding just to receive very few current season items. Great players would be able to accrue points so quickly that they could have a full set well before a season is over. A few notes...

    -Max glory per week from BGs would be 1500, likewise for arenas(as current). Absolute max glory per week from a player in the top 5v5 in their battlegroup and who maxes out their BG glory, would be 3000.
    -Glory (arena) points cap raised to 12,000.
    -Deadly and Furious gear would cost 2x its current arena(glory) pt cost.
    -Hateful gear would remain unchanged and simply bought with honor.

Let's take a quick look at Furious Gladiator's Claymore(2350 weapon): costs 8500 glory. The most expensive/rating intensive item.

Examples of gear accrual via player ability/playstyle:

    -Amazing hardcore playerA in top 3000 rated 5v5 takes 1500 arena glory. He kicks ass in BGs and hit the 1500 cap after not too much time due to being in the top percentile. For a combined glory of 3000 a week, and buys his Claymore after the third week, with 500 in change to spend later.

    -Meanwhile, the moron with zero life, playerB, grinds out the BGs, making roughly 1/8 the glory per BG that amazing playerA makes. Playing day and night he maxes out his BG honor at 1500, but is so bad he doesn't want to get humiliated in the arena. End of the week he has 1500 BG glory. 6 weeks later he gets his Claymore and 500 in change.

    -Casual playerC doesn't get as much game time as B, and isn't quite as good as A, but manages his time well and is pretty skilled. He plays smart, focuses on objectives, peels for his teammates, etc and regularly places in the 75% quartile. He gets the same BG glory in 1/4 the time as B, but only gets 1/3 the play time. He gets 1125 BG glory per week. He then goes and plays in his 1900 rated 3v3 team and gets 804 arena glory for the week. Totaling 1929 glory for the week his gets his claymore after 5 weeks, with 1100 glory in change.

What about arenas you ask? Won't people ignore them? Absolutely not =D

    -Arenas would absolutely be the best glory per hour.
    -They comprise half of the potential glory points per week. Doing well in the arena greatly influences your maximum glory per week.
    -Top arena teams would still have exclusive titles/mounts.

Further Suggestions

    -Contribution in each BG could be tracked behind the scenes. At the end of a season the top 5% BG achievers (via average placement) would be privy to unique mounts/titles, similar to, but different than gladiator titles/mounts.
    -BG glory points could be redeemable for battleground-specific flasks (+Resilience/HP), high quality gems, etc. Getting near the cap and the week isn't over? Buy a couple flasks, gem your gear, or sell gems to buy potions, etc. on the AH.

Overall I feel this system would be an excellent addition to World of Warcraft as it combines the best of both the worlds of the arena and the BG system. Suggestions are welcome!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Simple World PvP Zone Idea

So I was thinking that Venture Bay really seems like a waste of potential world PvP action. Just to brainstorm here I was thinking of something similar to Southshore/Tarren Mill with the constant back and forth being rather fun- especially if it were a perpetual event that you can always go and do, unlike Wintergrasp, but consuming far less server resources. So what if Venture Bay were revamped to have a sort of tug-of-war capture-able point system similar to the symmetrical TF2 control point maps?

One tower north of the respective horde/alliance bases already present (1), one AB style capture-able point near the start of each dock (2) and the main point where the Venture Bay Vendor is (3) In order to capture any point you must control a connecting point. So, if the horde want to take 2a they must hold 3, if they want to tank 3 they must already control 2h. If they want to take 2h they have to control 1h. 1h, if not controlled, can be taken at any time by the horde. Etc. Likewise for the alliance but vice-versa.

-The 1s would have a flight point on top of a tower, but would take much longer to capture/recapture. If captured by the opposing faction you lose that flight point.

-The 2s wouldn't give you anything special unless you control both 2s, at which point a graveyard between the two opens up for your faction.

-3 is the primary focus. Whoever holds the 3 gains a server wide buff for their faction, increasing honor gains by 10% and increasing daily quest gold rewards by some amount as well. Also, when 3 is captured a few moderate strength elite NPCs to guard the area. Nothing wimpy- strong enough to be feared, but not so strong as to need tanks/healers to take them down.

Tenacity could be added in, and flying mounts disabled over this region. IMO it could be really fun. Just an idea!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Random (Semi)Creative Moment

So you guys remember the Voidwalkers around the big white stone in Nagrand? Remember that ability they use called "Pain Spike"? I always thought it was a pretty interesting ability and figured it could do rather well (with some tweaks) as a new Warlock ability next expansion.

Void Strike. Instant cast. 30s cooldown. Deals X shadow damage and instantly heals the Warlock for Y% of the damage done. The target regains health lost from this ability after 10 seconds.

* X = a relatively large number for an instant nuke.
* Y= 50% ish of X?

The interesting aspect of this ability is it has a little something every spec can appreciate and improve upon for solo/PvP play, though it admittedly is lacking for raiding except for Demonology. The second trained ability would definitely need to be raid oriented. I digress...

-Affliction would have a new talent to increase the healing done by Void Strike by a pretty significant amount. +100/200% healing from the ability. (Fits the self healing theme of Affliction)

-Demonology would have a talent to outright eliminate the drawback of the ability. -50/100% damage healed back. (Removes the temporary damage aspect and simply turns it into a hard hitting instant nuke. IE turns a situational ability into a more useful one, much like how Decimation makes Soul Fire pretty sexy.)

-Destruction would have a talent to reduce the cooldown by several seconds. 5/10 second shorter cooldown. (Gives Destro more opportunities to finish targets off with burst chains)

Overall I think it would be a very interesting spell, especially since it could have such unique attributes depending on what talent tree you're specced into. It's a shame something like this wasn't done for Shadowflame...


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back, But In A Different Way

As you probably noticed there was a severe lack of updating on here for a while during May/June. That was due to finals, looking for a job(still no luck on that...), plus a general disinterest in WoW raiding, being stuck to an obligation for 3 hours, wiping repeatedly to Yogg, especially with an incredibly dull phase 1... ugh. I just couldn't take much more of it. Not reguarly at least...

But then a few weeks back I started playing the game more again. Alts/dailies/etc at first but then upon reading some of the 3.2 patch notes (notably the Resilience tweaks and pet scaling) I fired up a Haunt/Soul Link spec (which I had not yet tried as I havent spent more than a few hours PvPing since the Wrath beta) and gave it a try in the battlegrounds. I was pleasantly surprised by the overall style and tempo of it. It seemed to strike the right balance between the two PvP specs I ran in Burning Crusade: UA/Shadowburn and SL/SL. It's not quite so hard hitting as the former, and not as tanky as the latter, but has a nice balance between the two and definitely more buttons than SL/SL *snooze*. It's a lot of fun!

So after running BGs and Wintergrasp pretty hardcore for a week or so to gear up and generally get back in the groove of things I started looking around for 3v3 arena comps that looked fun and doable for Affliction. Unholy Deathknight definitely seemed like a strong pair for Affliction due to Ebon Plaguebringer, and good control/peels, but wasn't quite sure what healer to add to the mix. The choice, for me, was between Holy Paladin and Resto Druid. They both naturally have their strengths with the Paly having much better "oh shit" buttons and the Druid sporting strong HoTs and CC. After asking around for opinions between the two it seemed like a wash so I figured either one could work well so I asked one of the best healadins I know, Bruenorr to fill out the healer slot, and oddly enough he was itchin' for some PvP too after being out of the loop since BC as well. Holy DoTs Batman became our creation (Aff/Holy/Unholy). We're doing reasonably well considering we're running mostly raid gear, but I'm not expecting much to happen this season. I look at it as more of a catch up round to work on our gear and teamwork, with the real fun starting next season.

So yeah, that's a lowdown on WoW for me lately. You'll probably see much more content on here about my PvP exploits and PvP balance commentary, and less so on PvE related issues. Certainly not a terrible change of pace ;)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Speculating On Upcoming Soul Shard Change

Figured I'd brainstorm/speculate on the changes in development...

    To start off with general changes:

    -Warlocks limited to X Soul Shards maximum. (10?)
    -Soul Shards stack.
    -No abilities directly use soul shards any longer.

New ability "Soul Infusion" consumes 1 Soul Shard to provide a 10 second buff, Soul Infusion. 1 minute cooldown. Many commonly used abilities will be given a secondary effect if you're under the effects of Soul Infusion.

    -Incinerate/Shadowbolt: Increased critical strike chance by X%.
    -Drain Life: Reduces damage taken by X%.
    -Curses: Adds X% Dispel protection for debuff curses and X% more damage for Agony/Doom.
    -Any summon/conjure spell: Cast time and mana cost reduced by 50%.
    -Conflagrate: Cooldown for next Conflagrate reduced by 2 seconds.
    -Haunt: Instant cast.
    -Demonic Empowerment: Resets your pets cooldowns.
    -Shadowfury: Adds 1 second to the stun.
    -Metamorphosis: Lasts 5 more seconds.


Naturally, these can all be rather powerful effects. The idea wouldn't be for this to make Warlocks more powerful, there would definitely have to be some toning down done for when Soul Infusion isn't active, but overall it would create a much more interesting gameplay experience.