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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 2 and Diablo 3, we'll keep you informed.

Ghostcrawler spent the weekend answering retribution paladin questions. That must have been "fun."

Table of contents


Ghostcrawler -- Multishot
Our current version of Multi-Shot has not target cap. It's a little like Fan of Knives.

Ghostcrawler -- Lightwell
[Range of] 15 yards.


Healthstones are good and good players use them. If bad players continue to ignore Lightwell, we can live with that. If it becomes as useful as a Healthstone, perfect.

Also note that ignoring a Healthstone (or Lightwell) will be essentially like casting a mana drain on your healer, which is not the case today.

Ghostcrawler -- Defined roles? Not so fast...
You guys worry way too much about what buckets you're supposed to be in. It seems every time I come to the forums, I am asked to define someone's role. :)

In PvE, the only roles are tank, dps and healing. In PvP, the only roles are dps and healing (except for very specific circumstances like tanking Drek in AV). Situationally you might be called upon to carry a flag or defend a tower, but that's what you're doing at the moment, not what your talent spec is all about. There are 30 talent trees. They're all a little different. PvP doesn't have positions like quarterback, grenadier, left fielder, drum major or striker. Use all of the abilities you have in order to support your allies and be successful. If you're a Ret paladin, you should focus on melee dps, because that's where your strongest abilities lie.

Sometimes when I do try and explain how we think a spec should work, I often regret it. I'll say something like how Ret is supposed to be a melee dps class, and keep getting asked "Then why do we have heals?" or "Why should someone take me over a rogue if I'm just melee?" Trying too hard to label things is always going to result in a simplistic answer.

I'm not trying to dismiss the question. It's just not the way we think about things.

Ghostcrawler -- Feral DPS

How can I become a better player and use shred on Kologarn?

When we make an entire instance full of Kologarns then it will be a problem. I think you'll be fine if you can't manage maximum dps on every raid boss. I think the game loses far more when we can't make original bosses with unusual mechanics that we gain by having every dps spec do about the same relative damage on every fight.


any further insight to why there is a discussion on this? i am trying to see the arguments to keep it, but i can't come up with any.

Many buffs can be dispelled because they are magical effects and because it's strategic to do so. Some buffs can't be dispelled either because it doesn't make sense, because the class couldn't function without the buff, or both. Slice and Dice can't be dispelled, but Savage Roar and Inquisition can be. We might decide to make or all or none of them dispellable. We really need to see more end-game PvP to make that determination.


The thing is, Shred produces the highest potential damage compared to Mangle. Unless Mangle is made to put out the same damage long term, mangling instead of shredding means we will be in a less than 100% potential.

PvP is rarely ever decided by someone's long term sustained dps though. It has a lot more to do with making the right decision at the right time.

In PvE there is no question that Shred is superior, but in most fights you can Shred. Those few fights where you can't Shred aren't ubiquitous enough to feel like a big deal. If you just find it too difficult to always get behind a creature to be able to Shred, then I'm not sure what to tell you. We don't think this problem is so widespread that Ferals are at a huge disadvantage overall. We agree that Feral has a really high skill cap in Lich King, but that's more do to the John Madden nature of the rotation than to Shred's positional requirement, and it's also something we've taken steps to improve in Cataclysm.

Many specs can't perform their highest 100% potential when mobs are moving or when they have to step out of the fire, but we aren't about to change those in order to make things easier on the player. I think raiding is plenty easy to be honest, unless you're talking about the more challenging heroic-mode encounters in which, yeah, we're asking you to step it up a little.


Innervate is now based on YOUR mana, not the target's mana. GC specifically stated this makes Innervate useless for Ferals, as they do not want Ferals helping Healers in their mana management.

That's not actually what I said. I said that we wanted Feral's Innervate to be less powerful than Balance and Restoration, because we don't want "stack Ferals" to be the solution for healers who overheal a lot. Your Innervate will still be valued (probably more valued, all things considered), but it won't be and shouldn't be the magic pill that gets you a raid slot.

Ghostcrawler -- Retribution rotation

Ret paladins in Cataclysm will have a virtual hardcap of haste that they will NEED to hit to be effective. Once they hit that point, there will no point to get any more.

That is based around the talent Crusader Strike. There was a talent to reduce it's cooldown to 3 seconds. Now you accomplish the same thing, but through haste mechanics. Firstly, doubt a Ret will be able to lower its CD to 1.5. There is no middle ground. It will be XXX haste or bust (using 750 as an example), any more then that will cause clashes or "waiting", say 755. This isn't even a "spare GCD" to do something else, it will be about .2 seconds or so where you can do nothing. Any less will be even worse that that will cause more clashes like 740.

Seriously, is there no way to have paladins desire to have haste other then this move? Rouges get more energy, DKs get more Runes, Warriors get more rage, all based on a linear scale that the player themselves can decide.

My proposal would be to have autoswings a chance to generate Holy Power w/ Divine Purpose. Faster haste would allow for more swings, thus more chances at Holy Power.

I see this comment a lot, but I don't understand it. Can you explain to me why a 4.4 Crusader Strike is not strictly better than a 4.5 Crusader Strike? That might be the case if your rotation was so jam packed that you can't fit in another Crusader Strike until its cooldown drops by an entire 1.5 global cooldown, but we've gone on record saying that the rotation won't work that way. Hitting Crusader Strike even a fraction of a second sooner means a Templar's Verdict comes that sooner, letting you start the rotation again. That's a dps increase.

Haste is valuable above and beyond the Sanctity of Battle talent of course. Swinging more often is a dps increase alone, and can also lead to more frequent Art of War procs or Seal ticks.

Templar's Verdict at less than 3 stacks will almost never make sense unless you're in a situation where perhaps someone is running away (and for whatever reason you can't stun them etc.) so you might as well hit them now.


0.0 - Crusader Strike (with 4.4 second cooldown)
1.5 - Judgement
3.0 - Exorcism
4.4 - (Crusader Strike off cooldown) <--------------- what's the point of this?
4.5 - Crusader Strike

If this was your set rotation, then it would be a problem, but this isn't an actual rotation. The next time around, Judgement will still be on cooldown and the Exorcisms are unpredictable anyway. (You could hard cast them, but that would be a dps loss given that it stops your white swings, and it would drain your mana anyway.)

Imagine you did nothing but Crusader Strike and Templar's Verdict. With no haste, you can do a Templar's Verdict every 13.5 seconds. With enough haste to lower Crusader Strike to 4.4 seconds, you can do a Templar's Verdict every 13.2 seconds. In the space in between Crusader Strikes you will be able to Judge and use Holy Wrath and sometimes get Exorcism procs. You might also use free cycles for utility abilities depending on the situation. But your rotation should never be so full that every Crusader Strike must land every 4.5 sec or its wasted. It might be wasted sometimes, but not so often that Sanctity of Battle is an unattractive talent.


But the problem is you dont get to hit Crusader Strike any sooner b/c of the global cooldown. With a 4.5 sec cooldown on crusader strike the rotation will always be CS, X, Y, CS, X, Y

What are X and Y though? Those abilities don't exist. Judgement can be X every 8 sec. Holy Wrath can be Y every 15 sec. Exorcism can be X or Y when it procs. In Cataclysm, Ret doesn't have a 12341234 rotation. There is more going on.


A 0s: Crusader Strike
B 1.5s: Judgement (Won't be back until 9.5)
C 3.0: Holy Wrath (Won't be back until 18)
A 4.5: Crusader Strike
B 6.0: Exorcism (Won't be back until 12+)
C 7.5:
A 9.0: Crusader Strike
B 10.5: Inquisition (won't need recasting until 40.5)
C 12.0: Judgement (won't be back until 20)
A 13.5: Crusader Strike
B 15.0: Exorcism (won't be back until 21)
C 16.5:
A 18.0: Crusader Strike
B 19.5: Holy Wrath (wont' be back until 34.5)
C 21.0: Judgement (won't be back until 29)
A 22.5: Crusader Strike
B 24.0: Templar's Verdict
C 25.5: Exorcism (won't be back until 31.5)
A 27.0: Crusader Strike
B 28.5:
C 30.0: Judgement (won't be back until 38)

I'm going to leave out the Exorcisms, because they aren't predictable.

Here is a 4.5 cooldown:

0s: Crusader Strike (back at 4.5)
1.5: Judgement (back at 9.5)
3.0: Holy Wrath (back at 18)
4.5: Crusader Strike (back at 9)
6.0: (Hopefully Exorcism)
9.0: Crusader Strike (back at 13.5)
10.5: Inquisition (back at 40.5)
12.0: Judgement (back at 20)
13.5: Crusader Strike (back at 18)
15.0: (Hopefully Exorcism)
18.0: Crusader Strike (back at 22.5)
19.5: Holy Wrath (back at 34.5)
21.0: Judgement (back at 29)
22.5: Crusader Strike (back at 27)
24.0: Templar's Verdict
27.0: Crusader Strike (back at 31.5)
29.0: Judgement (back at 37)

Here is a 4.2 cooldown:

0s: Crusader Strike (back at 4.2)
1.5: Judgement (back at 9.5)
3.0: Holy Wrath (back at 18)
4.5: Crusader Strike (back at 8.7)
6.0: (Hopefully Exorcism)
8.7: Crusader Strike (back at 12.9)
10.2: Inquisition (back 40.2)
11.7: Judgement (back at 19.7)
13.2: Crusader Strike (back at 17.4)
15.7: (Hopefully Exorcism)
17.4 : Crusader Strike (back at 21.6)
18.9: Holy Wrath (back at 33.9)
20.4: Judgement (back at 28.4)
21.9: Crusader Strike (back at 26.3)
23.4: Templar's Verdict

Like Snozberries, I did that math quickly so I may have screwed up somewhere, but assuming I did not, your hardest hitting ability is available 0.6 sec earlier. Not a huge dps increase overtime, but probably comparable to an equivalent amount of crit rating (given that this is not the only haste benefit).


Sorry GC - but many long term rets are really worried with your direction for Ret in cata - tbh most think we're looking pretty weak atm :-(

There's no evidence of that though. You're just fretting. We nerfed Seal damage recently because Ret paladins were beating everyone on damage meters. We aren't spending much effort on numbers yet, but we need them to be reasonable enough so that playtesters don't do unusual things that they wouldn't do when the numbers are tuned more accurately.


If ret stacks haste in PVP; they'll be dropping huge TVs too quickly... which will result in a PVP nerf and then subsequently a PVE nerf.

If hitting TV after 23 seconds qualifies as burst, then I think we'll be fine. Yes, once in awhile a Ret might get off a 32K Templar's Verdict, but that's not going to global anyone.


I just don't understand how all other talents that did this were shifted from talents to baseline, but than Ret is given the exact same thing as a talent. This is the only talent left in the game that directly says Y ability now benefits from Haste. Please just make this baseline, there is no reason for it not to be and no class needs to spec so that a core stat like Haste will scale.

Haste for most melee grants them more resources. Ret still isn't super dependent on mana though. It will be limiting enough that you can't spam heals or expensive spells like Consecrate, but it won't be so attractive that if we incorporated a haste to mana mechanic that it would at all be attractive.

Haste for casters makes their spells cast faster, but again you're doing so little of that that it won't be something you really need.

So neither of those mechanics works for Ret paladins. You'll get more damage from autoattacks of course, but so do the other melee. Tying haste to Crusader Strike cooldown is more consistent with the "haste lets you do more" model for the other melee. (There are no general mechanics that let haste lower the cooldown of something, so you're technically inaccurate in that sense.)

Finally, we could have just made the haste affects Crusader Strike cooldown a core mechanic. We made it a talent because we found in playtesting that some players liked CS at a predictable 4.5 sec cooldown and others appreciated having the cooldown come faster with haste.


As someone thats been testing ret, thats been hitting target dummies, and mobs, and pulling packs of 5 things so I can test out target swapping and the like, we do not have an interesting rotation, we do not have a complex rotation, we do not have anything more requiring skill than the current live rotation, only we have to sit and do nothing far more often.

"Interesting" is in the eye of the beholder, so that's sort of a hard point to argue. We do think it's more complex though. Part of the problem is it's rather difficult for anyone to screw up the Ret rotation on live. If you hit things when they come off cooldown, you'll do pretty competitive damage. You have no resource to worry about and it's pretty hard to throw your rotation off for very long.

The change to Holy Power and adding spells like Inquisition and Zealotry means there is a lot more to juggle. If you let Inquisition fall or you aren't prepared to maximize Zealotry uptime, then you aren't playing to your full potential. If you don't hit TV when you get 3 Holy Power, or if you religiously hit TV but eclipse buttons like Judgement in the meantime, then you're not playing optimally.

Basically we are now engineering opportunities for players to make a mistake. If nobody can make a mistake, then there really is no test of skill and no opportunity for anyone to get better. That's the "faceroll" rep that the tree sometimes gets saddled with -- no matter what you do, you'll end up doing high damage. In Cataclysm, that won't be the case.

If you find you can master the new rotation trivially, then congratulations, you'll be one of the better paladins out there. I am very confident however that not everyone will be able to do so, and so Ret paladins who do a lot of damage will get more respect for being good players than for having picked the right class on the character select screen.


It kind of feels like Blizzard is in complete denial about some specs being GCD capped. I know death knights have felt like that almost the entire alpha and beta. =(

DKs are often GCD capped on live. That was the primary reason for changing the rune model. They shouldn't be GCD capped in Cataclysm.


Is this not what reforging is for? If we can reforge haste into other secondary stats, who cares?

I mean as long as our dps is balanced to be on par with the other classes, haste being our worst stat but reforgeable, it doesn't really matter does it?

It's a matter of degree. Some players will reforge for a sub 1% dps gain, and that's their prerogative. We don't think the stats need to be that close, but they need to be somewhat close. If Ret paladins perfer crit to haste (or Enhacement prefer haste to mastery, etc. etc.) then that's okay so long as crit doesn't provide twice the dps per stat point as haste. If you're willing to take a previous tier's gear because the stat budget is more optimal, then we've got a problem, as we had a few times in the LK content.


Holy Wrath and Cons are AoE abilities and break CC. What are we ment to do if there is CC'd mobs around us? /afk ?

This is a consideration for many players though. A Prot warrior can't just merrily Thunder Clap no matter what -- they have to evaluate their surroundings, decide if it's appropriate to move slightly farther away, or if they just need to forgo their AE attack for the time being. If Crusader Strike constantly cleaved everything, then that would be really annoying. Having to sometimes drop a 15 sec cooldown ability out of your rotation (assuming you can't move or anything) shouldn't be that big a deal. There are no fights that I can remember off the top of my head where you need to keep a target CC'd in the middle of the melee for long periods of time, and if there are any, they are fairly rare. You should be thankful for the opportunity to sometimes respond to your surroundings by doing different things rather than always mashing the same buttons like you are dashing out a song on a piano.


Too much of this discussion feels like both sides going "Well, here's my rotation estimate. I've left out or very crudely modeled the RNG part.", when the RNG part has an enormous impact on it.

Now, I think if GC's point was to show how having one cooldown hasted amidst a bunch of unhasted cooldowns could still lead to damage increases, his estimate was fine. Some people are arguing against that, so it's a useful point to make.

Yeah, my example was not intended as a mathematical model. It was just an example for how lowering CS cooldowns can provide TVs more often. There are a lot of other variables that can affect the actual rotation, and many of them are very sensitive to rapidly-changing things like proc rates and other separate variables, which is why we need to see it in action. That does work both ways though, and why I wasn't buying the insistence that it's impossible for lowering CS cooldown through haste to be a dps increase.


1) What happened to the old model that I believe was tried in an early beta build, that had rets with a chance on white hit to gain Holy Power? Something like that also allows resource scaling with haste, in a way that is slightly less disruptive to the overall rotation (only really causing clashing cooldowns when crusader strike comes off cooldown at the same time that a white attack proc grants a 3rd stack of holy power). It honestly seemed like it was potentially more fluid that way.

Holy Power on white attacks was too unpredictable to the point of annoying. Imagine you have 2 Holy Power, start to push Crusader Strike and then at that instant get a white attack proc. Now you have wasted your 1.5 sec GCD *and* wasted Holy Power because you're technically at 4 now. Having Holy Power tied to yellow attacks is at least the kind of thing you can train yourself to watch out for. If you aren't hitting any buttons, then you aren't going to get Holy Power for example. You can notice after every button mash if you got that extra proc or not -- they aren't just happening out of the blue.

Ghostcrawler -- Exciting Cataclysm talent trees so far
There was another thread on this topic that kind of turned into the "DK neglect" thread, so I thought I would start a new one on the original topic.

We're interested in opinions on which current Cataclysm talent trees you find the most exciting.

Ground rules:

1) It isn't of much use to us if you like a talent tree because of one particular ability. That tells us little about the talent tree as a whole.

2 )Likewise, your opinion won't count as much (in our minds anyway) if you like a talent tree just because it has all the talents you wish *your* class had. In that same vein, this is probably one case where you're more objective when you find that you like your own talent tree rather than just being all wistful about someone else's toys.

3 )Please try and stick to the talent trees themselves and not use this thread for your laundry list of ideas to improve your class.

4) Brevity is the soul of wit.

Another way to think about this: Which classes benefited the most (in the sense of coolness, not necessarily raw power) from the talent overhaul?


The other blues were off eating pizza on Ghostcrawler's yacht.


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