Friday, June 19, 2009

Patch End of the World

I do get a small giggle out of all of the "Sky is Falling!" posts, comments, and complaints. It happens on every patch, to greater or lesser degrees; if anyone or anything is being decreased at all, *someone* will complain. Often, if something is increased, *someone else* will complain, too!

I don't spend time on the PTR, and by the time it's gone through the first few rounds of PTR changes, things will have again changed or been polished to a degree. Once things get down to the final countdown for live release, then I'll really look into what the changes mean and how I--and my friends and raid--will have to adapt to them.

Just because something is going on the PTR doesn't mean it's going to be in the live game.

It's a test realm. Thousands of players will be checking it out, and developers will be looking over the results to see what worked and what didn't. Blizzard isn't out to destroy a class; if they really wanted to destroy a class, they'd remove it from the game. Yes, they may make mistakes, but they have smaller patches and hotfixes for that. In the end, it shakes loose those players who were in the class as a "flavor of the season," and those still with the class will adapt to the changes and move on. If you truly love playing the class, you will find a way to make it work.

We saw it with the addition of (omg ugly and slow and no HT rank 4's!) tree form, we saw it with the nerfs to lifebloom and regrowth glyph, we saw it with the destruction of using down-ranked spells, and we saw it with the holy pallies' previous mana regen nerfs, just to name a few examples.

This early in PTR development, nothing is final. If you're fretting over changes, the best thing you can do is to think hard on how you'd adapt to such changes, then get on the PTR and really test things out. See what works and what doesn't, then accurately summarize on a forum/blog post how the changes affected your playing style, what things you did to accommodate for the changes, and if you were still able to perform your role in the situations you tested. Such a description will go over far better than an untested, aggressive rant.

That said, here is a run-down of my comments on the current PTR patchnotes.

- Argent Tournament:
While many may've held off on turning in the final quest to become Champion of their last race-faction in order to keep the dailies available, it will now be time to finally turn it in and get that Crusader title, as doing so will now make a whole new set of dailies and quests available. I am looking forward to the hearthing tabard and the addition of yet another pet!

- Zepplin Org - TB:
This seems to be the horde version of the boat from Auberdine to Stormwind, allowing lowbies to quickly cross the world to reach the most popular city of their faction.

- Stair of Destiny Portals:
It will be very nice having a quick port from Stormwind/Org to the Blasted Lands, particularly for those players ~58. I wish this had been added back when Karazhan was a popular raid, but ah well :)

- Mailboxes:
Let there be moar.

- Dalaran Children's Week:
A bit late, but I suppose better for that it gave us all time to get all of those PvP achievements for the previous Childrens' Week out of the way.

- PvP:
While the Commander/Justicar Kae within me chides me for this, I'm honestly not that interested in the PvP changes. I did listen to that former PvPer in me, though, and at least gazed down the battlegrounds changes. Things of interest include the support of "Twinks" by being able to turn off experience gains (they are a significant enough chunk of the player base, apparently), the lowering of battleground durations to 1600 points/resources or 20 minutes for WSG, and the reduction of the amount of time it took to cap a resource node or pick up the EotS flag.

- Orc Racial:
Enhancement Orc Shammies rejoice, fist weapons are now included.

- Emblems:
Emblems of Conquest for EVERYONE! Tis like a gumball machine. Heroic 5-man? CONQUEST! Naxx 10? Conquest!! Want something from valor/heroism vendor? Just convert em! I'm just waiting for the time to come that they combine the vendors into one all using Conquest badges, like some crazy reverse NPC mitosis.

- Mounts:
Covered by other bloggers in most cases, so I will be brief on this. Yay for faster, younger scraggedy crow-form, and yay for level 16 cheetahs. Zoom Zoom. For those in Northrend, you will be interested in the removal of the "no flight" zones over Dalaran and Wintergrasp, provided you stay "a healthy distance above the ground" while flying.

- Mana Regen:
Mp5 on items increased by 25% in power. Poor spirit.

- Replenishment:
Small nerf on the amount of mana it returns, though it will also be less spammy for those that have replenishment gains showing up in their combat text.

- Chef's Hat:
Increases cooking speed!

- Blackened Dragonfin:
Now only takes 1 fish per, rather than 2. The melee will rejoice.

- Waterlogged Recipe:
New reward chance from fishing daily in Dalaran, earns "several" Dalaran cooking awards when turned in. Tradeable.

- Raptor Hatchling Pets:
Baby raptor pets drop off of rare and elite raptors around the game now; one can also be purchased from Brianni in Dalaran.

- Druids -
- Innervate:
Got cut in half. You can have half now, and half in 3 minutes. This means you only restore 7,866 mana per innervate at level 80, so you won't want to wait until you're almost OoM before using it, like we did before.

- Lifebloom:
Bloom nerfed again. Syll said it best, I think, with "But it seems that in Blizzard’s juggling act, most of our spells are hackey sacks and Lifebloom is a flaming bowling ball." 20% of the bloom has been reduced by 20% on the base and on the spell power coefficient." Pity, I was just adapting to using the bloom as a heal! But, as it is usually all overheal anyway (except when I use it on Vezax ><) this probably won't be a big deal to PvE raiding druids.

- Feral:
Had a nerf coming. I was out-DPSing better geared players on my feral druid, and my guildie feral was indeed a beast on DPS. This is not to say I haven't seen terribad ferals as well; feral does take some skill to play well, as they juggle all of the DoTs, buff, and the positionally-dependant Shred. I just hope that through PTR testing, the nerf results in them being brought into line, rather than drug through the dirt with a muzzle and declawed.

- Balance of Power:
Reduction to spell damage taken, as opposed to reduction to chance to be hit by spells. I'm not sure how this will affect the turkeys as far as spell damage they take in a PvE raid, but I imagine it'll be nice as a small damage reduction in the boss AoE.

- Eclipse:
Wrath and Starfire have been split to separate cooldown timers, and cannot be active at the same time. So, conceivably, you can pew pew with one buff up, then get a crit on the last buffed spellcast and proc the other one. It should result in more time spent with one eclipse or the other procced, as you would want to get a proc off of one while the other is on CD. In a way, this may make Moonkin spell use even more confusing to learn, but overall increase the DPS done.

- Empowered Touch:
A straight buff to Nourish. I already specced for this talent, since I use NS+HT quite a lot in my ten-mans, so I am looking forward to having this talent provide a buff to my nourish as well.

- Imp Barkskin:
The patch change is again a PvP change, making the dispel-reduction only work for the Barkskin buff itself. This doesn't change anything for PvE.

- Glyph of the Claw
For the baby ferals.

- Other Classes' changes of Druid interest -

- Hunter Traps:
Each type is now on a separate cooldown, rather than shared. This means they can ice-trap that aggroed mob on you even if they just laid down an explosive trap.

- Rogues + Axes:
Rogues rolling on axes. WTF. Like we trees really needed more axes being swung around the raid. Seriously? ;)

- Shammies:
Chain heal got buffed, and they can now put 4 totems down all at once, rather than in separate GCDs. Their NS is now also at a 2-minute cooldown, rather than 3min: be jealous!

- Warlocks:
Banish can now be canceled on a target by recasting banish at it. No more waiting for the banish to wear off!


Aertimus said...

Yeah... I'm totally counting my chicks while the are hatching and falling out of the sky on my head...

I have a busy friend's wedding weekend and don't know if I will get to the PTR any time soon, but I do know MANY THINGS are BOUND to change. I look forward to your PTR insights!

Kae said...

Congratulations to your friend, and I hope the weekend weather behaves for their wedding!

Averna said...

Aw, but it's FUN to speculate and talk about how the sky is falling! It gives me something to blog about, heh.