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The Daily Blues


Each day, takes you through all the blue posts and other Blizzard news from around the internet. From the latest posts from Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer) to the lowdown on StarCraft II and Diablo III, we'll keep you informed.

To quote Ghostcrawler: "We just have it in for survival hunters." You heard it here first folks -- he admits it, a total slap in the face! Worst thing we've ever heard. I'm canceling my subscription! Ghostcrawler doesn't care about survival hunters.

Table of contents


Ghostcrawler -- Hunter updates
We're still following this discussion. Some players are making some good points and we have addressed some of these in our most recent builds. Here is a quick update on some of the issues being discussed:

Focus -- We think we're in a much better spot for focus regen now. Our goal has been for focus to be a resource you spend on your higher damage shots, which is regenerated passively at a rate lower than energy regen, but faster than energy if you are using Steady / Cobra (which can only be done while stationary). At the lower regen rates, we found it felt bad if you couldn't Steady / Cobra rather than Steady / Cobra feeling like a bonus. We think we're closer to the sweet spot now, but please let us know (preferably after you've actually tried it rather than prophesizing doom).

Aspects -- We're not happy with the way the Hawk vs. Fox choice is playing out. We think that ultimately either damage or focus regen is going to win out and the other aspect won't get much use. For now, we are going back to Hawk being used for damage and regen. We'll discuss other potential uses for Fox. Changing Aspects will not affect focus regen.

Mobile damage -- This is always a touchy subject. In our testing, we found that it wasn't fun with the current implementation when hunters had to move around a lot, especially in PvP. This is why we are giving up on the current Aspect of the Fox design. We also significantly reduced the focus cost per damage of Arcane Shot, so that it is usable under almost all circumstances. We've also removed the focus costs on several utility abilities (e.g. Concussive Shot, Intimidation, Bestial Wrath, Scatter Shot, etc.) One potential use for Aspect of the Fox is to generate additional focus when you take damage, but we don't want to get back into a world where you are "aspect twisting" when someone comes into melee with you in PvP.

Survival -- We're still iterating a lot on this tree in particular. We agree it's probably the least polished of the hunter trees so far. The reason is that we just have it in for Survival hunters.

Pets -- As I posted in another thread recently, a pet scaling pass is underway. We still plan to do passes on the hunter pet talents and abilities as well. With the design that allows you to swap pets often in the field, we want to make sure that there are some interesting choices in which pet you use for a given situation. Provided they are all crabs.

In case I need to say it, the last two sentences of the last two paragraphs are not meant to be taken seriously. :)

Ghostcrawler -- Hunter pets
Pet scaling is getting a massive overhaul at the moment. For starters, we still intend for pets to scale with all of the master's stats for things like hit, haste and crit. For the big stats, our current plan is something like this:

Ferocity (damage) -- 50% of master's AP, 40% health, 50% armor
Tenacity (tanking) -- 35% of master's AP, 50% health, 70% armor
Cunning (utility) -- 40% of master's AP, 40% health, 60% armor

Warlock pets will be getting a similar pass. In general, we want pet dps to be 20-30% of player dps. Note that this is a lot lower than current BM and Demo lock numbers. Pet damage as BM will still be higher than Marks or Survival though, and we want BM to be competitive overall with Marks and Survival. (Ditto for locks.)

Ghostcrawler -- Moonkin form
We've had a lot of discussions about Moonkin form, as you might guess. We know opinions range among the player base from "cut it" to "make me stay in my adorable form all the time." At first we were trying to make it more of an option, so that cuddly-hating Balance druids could choose the spec without the shapeshift. After much discussion though, we're going to go back to a Balance druid = Moonkin Form design. We'll put some more damage into the Moonkin Form.

Ghostcrawler -- Shadowpriests
Phantasm -- Having a 2 sec immunity is something we may consider, but we also don't want snares in PvP to be quiet as prevalent as they are today.

Mind Melt -- The timing of the Mind Melt buff interaction with Mind Spike sounds like a bug and will be fixed.

Shadowy Apparition -- It sounds like there are a lot of bugs still with the implementation. The way we intend for it to work is that the Apparitions are shades of your character and will attack the correct target (the one with SW:Pain on it). We have already fixed several bugs relating to Shadowy Apparition interacting with Shadow Orbs and Mind Blast.

Ghostcrawler -- Silencing shot
We're going to take the damage off of Silencing Shot. It's supposed to be a situational utility ability, not something you macro into every shot.

Ghostcrawler -- Class design

Perhaps I'm looking too deep into it, however looking back on it now it seems that GC never really said "We want Paladins to be able to AOE heal." I'm sure that he's always said they want us to be able to heal the raid, but raid healing is something completely different.

We try not to divide classes / specs into such discrete buckets. Our overriding design is to try and have classes feel diverse, such that rerolling or adding a new class to your group feels interesting, but still give you the tools to fill your role. If any healer is too good at one thing, they tend to get stacked, and if a healer is too weak at anything, they risk being unwanted.

Put another way, we used to have this design that say DKs were the magic tank and paladins were the AE tank. The thought was that if you had a paladin in your group you were happy when you had an AE fight but that you'd be fine with anyone else. In reality, this didn't play out so well. Players felt compelled to swap players in and out of their groups, or be reluctant to run a 5-player dungeon with the "wrong" tank. We decided that tanks need to be tanks.

Likewise, our model for healers for a long time has been that everyone has their little niche. We now think healers should just be healers. We just have to make sure that they still feel different enough that you'd prefer to have as many different healers as you can. The big difference is that raids have more healers than tanks, so we have a little bit of room to make the healers more differentiated from each other than the tanks are. But only a little bit, and that space is going to be even smaller in Cataclysm than it was in LK.

Ghostcrawler -- Resto Druids

Bless you for fighting the good fight Lissanna, however unless there are 15,000 angry posters nothing will change because of "feedback" alone. I think Wrath beta and "The Nourish Incident" proved that - yeah lets give a hot healer a 3rd direct heal....makes perfect sense....if you are HIGH. They could have just revamped Healing Touch so it was actually used for more than 1 gimic fight 3/4 of the way through the expansion.

Uh... no. It only takes one good post to change our minds, if it's a good post. Lissanna's are always worth a read. :)

As far as the history goes here, we thought at the time (and still think!) that the Resto druid wasn't going to be well served as a "I only care about hots and nothing else" healer. It's just too extreme a design. Any time when hots are good (by which I mean both individual encounters and periods in the game as a whole) the druid is going to dominate. Any time when hots are terrible, so will be druids. We probably, in retrospect, didn't push Nourish enough, because we still ended up in a raid healing situation where druids used Rejuv and Wild Growth and were loathe to use any other button.

We are going to push even harder in Cataclysm. Druids will still have exceptional hots, but will need to cast direct heals as well. I usually get a lot of responses after such a post from druids saying "But I only want to cast hots!" I'm not sure how to respond to that, because we just don't think it works. :(

As far as the AE healing goes, it's definitely something to keep an eye on, but we're not worried about it yet. We are trying to cut back (yet again) on the dominance of the smart AE heals. The cooldowns of CoH and WG need to stay high. We do have some room to lower the mana cost on WG, and probably will.

It's also worth mentioning that Efflorescence does some great AE healing, and is probably overpowered at the moment.

One change we are going to make is reintroducing the talent that lowers Rejuv to a 1 sec GCD. Since haste affects Rejuv ticks and since druids will be casting cast-time spells that benefit from haste, we're not as worried about druids turning up their noses at haste. This will let you get Rejuvs up on more people when you want to, though it still should be mana-inefficient to just do so at random. We think hots are going to be enormous in the Cataclysm healing model just because they won't be overhealing nearly as much as they are now.

We like the way Nourish interacts with hots. Yes, it's different from the way priests, paladins and shaman use their heals, but we do want the classes to play differently, as long as those differences aren't so extreme that you can't use a druid on some dungeon or raid fights.

I suspect we won't end up keeping the snare on Tree of Life. We knew that we could try snare and then remove it. We would have a hard time trying no snare and then adding one. Our intent was to make you think about when was the best time to push ToL rather that just hitting it the second it's off cooldown. In practice though we just think it feels crappy so even if it accomplishes our goal, it's probably not worth it.

We're still working on the Resto tree (and druids in general). You were missing the talent to lower the cast time of Nourish and Healing Touch, which is a pretty painful thing to live without. We're also considering changing Furor to provide intellect to caster form too so it is attractive to both caster trees. We agree that too much of the early Resto tree felt like it was there for Feral.

I'm talking PvE in almost all of this, since that was the original thrust of the thread.


This seems really at odds with the increase in Rejuv's mana cost. We're not supposed to pre-HoT the raid, but you're adding in a talent designed to let us do exactly that? I'm very confused by this.

We don't like prehotting (or pre-shielding) as a general strategy. On certain fights where you know that the damage is going to come fast and furious then maybe it's appropriate, but we don't want the current LK style to continue. I've healed a lot as both Resto and Disc, so I know the power of prehealing, though it's not as if you need first-hand experience to understand how useful and powerful it is.

On the other hand, if a lot of people take damage at once, we have no problem with getting a Rejuv out on several of them at once, and a lower GCD will help there. It's still possible to screw that up (by which I mean we want healing to have some player decision-making as part of the gameplay) by using too much mana on Rejuvs or casting too many Rejuvs when the situation called for something else.


I am still concerned about the proc-rate of Efflorescence, however, and hope it isn't underpowered at lower gear levels and then overpowered in higher gear levels.

It's okay -- to a point -- if some talents are more useful at different gear levels than others. It's interesting if you consider changing talent specs rather than having one that serves you well in almost all stages of the game. But we don't want the extremes either, where it never procs as you're leveling and is up 100% of the time so that you fish for it in the endgame. Definitely something to keep an eye on. We also might take the wounded restriction off of Nature's Bounty, so that Regrowth just crits a lot.


I'm going to assume that the lowered GCD is to allow for situations where Players A, B, and C got him by a small AOE and were taken down to 70% health. Nourish is too slow to heal all three, Regrowth is too expensive for that little damage, and Wild Growth costs too much for just three targets. So instead you just toss a Rejuv on each of them and move on. This is much different than the current model where you would just keep as many players Rejuv'd as possible with WG on cooldown.


Ghostcrawler -- Crafted gear is not done

I think people are mostly pointing at some of the crafted things shown on MMO-Champion. They're all (and by 'all' I mean chestpieces) 341 Str/Agi/Int, 512 Stam, and then 228 in two different ratings. I'm still guessing placeholder numbers.

Yes. We are focusing on getting the tradeskill recipes in place so that we can adjust skill leveling rates and reagent costs and the like. We haven't made an attempt to get the proper stats in place yet.

This is why I wanted specific examples. I'd compare the dungeon gear at this point, and not worry about the crafted gear.

Ghostcrawler -- Disc priests in Cataclysm
Some of you guys can be so extreme sometimes. :) Less emphasis on shields doesn't have to mean never, ever cast shields. Your mastery doesn't have to be junk just because you cast actual heals sometimes.

A typical Icecrown Disc priest today might have a healing breakdown that looks something like this:

40% Power Word: Shield
35% Divine Aegis
8% Glyph of PW:S
7% Prayer of Mending
4% Divine Hymn
2% Flash Heal
1% Penance
3% Other

Imagine that instead of 75% shields, you do 50-60% shields and the rest is made up by Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal and Penance. So instead of doing most of your healing, shields are down to doing only a majority of your healing. :)

Ghostcrawler -- Shamans in Cataclysm

When will ele not have to run into melee to do aoe?

When you're casting Earthquake?


Are resto shaman now the only healer being forced to spec into a hit talent to supplement their active mana recovery ability? Paladins now apparently get the hit that was in enlightened judgements for free?

Our goal was to not have all of the healer talent trees to be mirror images of each other. So a priest might get one thing for free and have to talent into something else. As long as the end result is pretty similar (e.g. the priest can't get everything for free and just be able to spend talent points on candy) then it should be fine.


Personally, I'd like to know the rationale behind the fact that the Elemental Shamans did not recieve any spells that alter their rotation on 'primary' targets. Their level 10 effect was something halfway between a mana restore, an AoE, and a pvp gimmick. Our capstone of the talent tree is an AoE. I can't think of any other dps spec that doesn't get something 'unique' that changes their rotation from the other specs.

That's just part of the shaman design though, namely that Enhancement still cares a lot about spells instead of being a 100% melee weapon class. I'd argue that Enhance and Elemental still play fairly differently (such that you do have to adjust when respeccing). I'm not sure the mage design, where there is virtually no overlap among talent trees, is a superior model. It's just a different model.


Mana - I've heard mana has recently begun to be an issue for Enhancement in the last few beta builds. Will the ultimate solution just be to tweak Primal Wisdom s'more? Oh, and what about all that discussion about moving Primal Wisdom to being part of Enhancement's lvl 10 skillset? It's going to be hellish on new Enhancers not having their primary mana restoration technique until much later. Also on the table here, and I'm sorry it touches on totems again - a full set of totems or an AoE rotation kills Enhancement's mana very very quickly. It'd be nice if the mana cost got reduced on some of these abilities.

It's not the intent that Enhancement has to worry about mana a lot. Generally you should have enough mana to do what you want to do. It's a model we're still adjusting. We haven't quite established a base regen for the casters and healers that we're happy with and every time we tweak that, it affects the Ret paladins and Enhancement shaman, who aren't really supposed to be mana-constrained.


This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. Tier 1 of Enhance is one of the bigger culprits. While tier 2 has one talent that's really attractive (nigh on required for Elemental and Enhance), tier 1 is pretty bland. People would prefer to skip over Imp Shields, and Elemental Weapons is a flat spell power buff that scales with level rather than gear.

The model we're trying to use for all the classes is that you can't just soak up no-brainer talents in the first few tiers. Often there is a dps talent, and then a survival talent and then maybe an efficiency talent. You definitely get the first one, but you often need to get one of the others to progress down. This is what we mean about not being able to cherry pick just throughput-oriented talents and skipping everything else that is utility, etc. It's an evolving process though. I'm not sure I could point to a class yet and say "There. We nailed it."


Also, Enhance has 9 "required" points in Elemental - would be 10 if it weren't for Ancestral Swiftness - on top of their own tree being filled up, which highly limits their utility options (well, to be more specific, limits them to 0). Even if an additional point or two were freed up, they may feel obligated to spend those to grab the third point in Acuity (which I don't like as 3 points to start with - it creates a 'floater' point in Elemental specs rather than getting us stuck around tier 4 needing to pick a full utility talent, which I think is a good thing. But I digress), or Improved Shields, even though all three are fairly marginal DPS gains.

Yup. This is a challenge. As I mentioned above, Enhancement likes spell damage so it's hard to put anything in Elemental that Elemental wants that Enhancement also doesn't want.


Lightning and Water shield do not seem that useful for Elemental in many ways.

Agreed. This is something we're discussing. A new shield doesn't have to be the answer though.


I consider this line pretty insulting.

Blue Long-term forum posters know that busting out the "I'm insulted" is a good way to get me to skip over your posts. If anything about a game insults you, then you're taking it more seriously than I am, and I take it pretty seriously, seeing as how this game pays my yacht slip fees. :)

There are a half-dozen similar threads on totems, and I figured some shaman players felt like their non-totem concerns were getting shouted down.


- Nature's Blessing doesn't feel like a bonus when healing earth shielded targets, it feels like a penalty when healing targets without it. If the intent is to make shamans better tank healers, perhaps make it work in some other way. Perhaps change it to Earthliving or Riptide instead of Earth Shield?

This is the kind of feedback we struggle with a lot on most classes. As soon as something grants a bonus, it feels like a penalty when it's not up because players are very efficiency-focused. If it was say Riptide, wouldn't it feel like a penalty whenever Riptide wasn't available? Or a penalty because every heal cost that extra GCD for Riptide in order to behave at maximum efficiency?


Honestly GC when our dps is competitive with the other hybrid specs you barely ever see us whine. We just really want to be as good as others. It's when it isn't that we come out in masses to whine about everything. Since our totems are our thing they are what is an easy target for our QQ. I guarantee you that if we do competitive DPS and never fall behind the endless Shaman crying will be puddles instead of rivers.

I agree with that. I think a lot of the complaints about "we're the only class" or "are buffs aren't awesome enough" only come to bear when dps is low. As I said recently, we think Enhancement dps was competitive when there wasn't a lot of movement involved and when you weren't competing with guys using orange weapons. We can fix the movement problem. We don't think we need to fix the legendary "problem" because those Shadowmournes will all be banked at level 85.


I honestly don't see how healing rains AND chain heal are needed. Both are AoE heals fill the same role (heal people grouped together).

They are different spells with different niches. Chain Heal excels when you have a small number of players injured and Healing Rain is more for those big bursts when everyone takes damage. There are enough occasions when you need to heal say more than just the tank that we think healers can stand to have several different strategies to deal with it.


Any chance that the stoneclaw glyph can become baseline or something? I'm mostly fine with the totem utility vs. buff thing, but it seems fairly weird to have this non-scaling bubble as a secondary effect of a totem. If it can't be baseline, is it being compensated for? Hance isn't exactly a survivability powerhouse.

We are changing a lot of glyphs. It's too early to know which ones we are keeping. If this one dies then we might consider putting in the functionality elsewhere.


At this point tho, after getting the current tier hit/spirit cap, I'm pretty much forced to handpick items with no or little crit rating however. Mastery and haste just seem so overwhelmingly better.

That's not the intent. Hit / spirit can be capped, but if you start viewing haste, crit or mastery as junk compared to another stat, then we need to change something. It's fine if one stat is slightly better than another. Remember that crit values overall are going to be far lower than the 70%+ that some players can reach in current content. Lava Burst crits, sure, but you cast a lot of spells besides Lava Burst.


Whether it will continue to attack stuff we are not in combat with (especially if it's range is increased).

This is something we are trying to fix. We already have the totem choosing your target. Next we need to make sure it doesn't "helpfully" grab additional mobs.

Ghostcrawler -- Inner rage
The numbers on Inner Rage are very easy to adjust. I wouldn't obsess over the current ones too much.

We don't want warriors to sit around autoattacking until they proc Inner Rage all of the time. We also don't want them to be bummed when they slip into it. It's there so that if you get 100 rage and can't spend it fast enough that you aren't overly penalized. I realize some of you think that can't ever, ever happen with the new numbers, but we haven't seen enough high-end PvP or raiding to be convinced yet.

The numbers just need to be such that you play normally until you get Inner Rage and continue to play normally if it happens. Changing your behavior to try and hit it ASAP or avoid it isn't what we're going for.


Zarhym -- Graphical issues

it really pisses me off. i saw something about collision, which i think we need collision of objects, not people. Im sick of my cape cutting my mount in half like im some kind of chris angel wannabe, im sick of my axe slicing my cape and going in an out like it has no physical mass, im sick of equipment crossing into eachother. It's really annoying to watch and really pulls me out of the game. has anybody else noticed this? or do u just ignore it?

We do try to minimize these types of graphical issues as much as possible. When you consider how many more armor sets, weapon types, weapons, etc. are present in World of Warcraft compared to the typical console game, it gets more understandable. It takes an incredible amount of work to animate, say, a cloak to account for every scenario in which that cloak will interact with other objects. We try to consider all race body types and hairstyles, the animations and movements all races and classes are capable of, different mounts, other pieces of gear, weapons, etc.

We want you to be immersed in the game world, and we go to great lengths developing with that in mind as much as is logistically feasible.


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