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The Queue: Icecrown Radiance


Welcome back to The Queue,'s daily Q&A column where the team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky be your host today.

One question that has been coming up a lot lately: What are we going to do when Cataclysm's open beta starts? The answer is The Queue is going to turn back into its original inception of Ask a Beta Tester, except we're still going to leave the name as The Queue.

Today's Queue will focus on the multitude of questions we've received about Chill of the Throne, or more snarkingly called, Icecrown Radiance. Read on for questions and answers, and a tale of Little Jimmy using his obesity to mitigate the damage caused by his brother.

Good times!

A couple million people complained...

"Won't the 20% dodge nerf from Icecrown Radiance make tanking impossible in patch 3.3?"

TL;DR version: NO.

Extended answer: Chill of the Throne is going to decrease dodge by 20%. If you had 50% dodge, you're now going to have 30% dodge. Remember that WoW exists on a scale -- where there is damage in, there needs to be healing in. Where there is a nerf, there needs to be a buff. The ratio in a perfectly balanced game in this delicate act will be 1:1, for every nerf there is a buff.

So with this nerf to dodge, there is going to be a "buff" to the spike damage (at least in the eyes of a healers, although the terminology doesn't exactly fit here -- which is why nerf and buff can be such bad words in game design discussions, even though everyone uses them all the time). The spike damage of bosses in Icecrown Citadel is going to be decreased significantly. This is going to have two major effects:

  1. Healers are going to have less twitch response in their healing. Healing will become less like a FPS action and more like a D&D action. Yes, those are extreme examples, but they get the point across.
  2. Bosses are going to hit faster, but not as hard. Where it might have taken two big hits to drop a tank without appropriate HoTs on him, it's now going to take three. Even though all the hits are going to equal the same amount of damage overall, the extra time in the equation will make healing the tank easier.
It's important to note that these changes are just on the PTR and are not active yet on the live realms. And even when they do hit the live realms, they're only going to be present in Icecrown Citadel raids. Not Naxx, not Ulduar, not Molten Core. And because the change is still on the PTR, it can change at any minute. If you don't like Icecrown Radiance, go and discuss the change on the role forums -- I guarantee you that the developers are listening to the discussion over there.

Litte Jimmy Asked...

"Why did they make Chill of the Throne/Icecrown Radiance?"

Tanks have two primary schools of damage reductions: avoidance and mitigation. Avoidance is where you avoid the attack entirely. You know when your brother takes a swing at you for stealing his ice cream, Jimmy? And you know when you duck out of the way and he slams his fist into the wall instead? You avoided an attack; you dodged it. That's what avoidance is.

And you know how sometimes when your brother punches you in your butt, but it doesn't hurt because all that ice cream you were eating has made you a fat little porker? That's mitigation - taking a hit but the hit doesn't hurt as much because there's lot of padding (fat) there.

Now according to Blizzard, you're ducking out of the way of your brother's punches too much. So they're making the floor really sticky, which means you won't be able duck and doge as easily. This means instead of dodging all the attacks, you're going to have to take a few punches where you've packed on the pounds instead.

And Jimmy? I'd tell your mom about your brother. She needs to have a talk with him. And get on a treadmill, for Elune's sake.

Angry WoW commenters asked...

"If they're making Chill of the Throne in response to all the avoidance we have, why give it to us in the first place?"

That's a very valid question and complaint, although the way it was phrased by so many people left a lot to be desired. According to statements made by Ghostcrawler, they didn't originally intend for tanks to have so much avoidance at the final leg of Wrath (where we are now). The extra avoidance came about through the extra tiers of gear that were dropped in heroic modes.

And they made all the extra heroic modes because people really responded well to them.

So what happened was, through the natural itemization of tanking gear, tanks had too much avoidance, leading to both too spiky damage and too much dodging and parrying. Instead of reworking all the gear, which would likely necessitate re-balancing the majority of boss encounters (which would take months), they instead decided to apply Chill of the Throne to Icecrown Citadel raids.

That's why it happened. You might not agree with it, but there it is.

Now is it Blizzard's fault for not seeing this far enough in the future to avoid the mistakes of Sunwell Radiance again? Yes, at the end of the day it is. But it's important to remember a few things.

  1. This is just a game.
  2. Sunwell was still cleared and played with by guilds that were appropriately geared, just as Icecrown Citadel will be.
  3. Blizzard could not have predicated the success of the various heroic modes.
So this game we play changes, and the ideas in it are permutable concepts which can fluctuate from patch to patch. We might not like when some things like Icecrown Radiance happens, but at the end of the day it keeps the game from getting too stale, and keeps us all here for five+ years.

Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column! Leave your questions in the comments and we'll do our best to answer 'em!

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