Sunday, May 10, 2009

A few Posts to keep us Up-To-Date!

Well, Murmurs decided to make a post on the TMR forums and WoW forums asking for all raiding moonkin to show their parses. No matter how great or small in damage you dealt, he wanted to see it. There was a good reason for this, he wanted to try and find out if moonkin damage is to low. Instead we got a few blue responses to our plea!

Hello again.

I am here this time to make a plea, to beg, to grovel, and to pray for a change.

There is a significant portion of the Balance Druid community that is not happy. I cannot pretend to speak for all of them, merely those whom I know and read posts, blogs, and e-mails from, but given the small representation of our spec in all environments, I would venture to guess that I know a good enough amount.

But, I digress, I come here to beg for some communication, for some understanding, and, hopefully, for some dialogue. And I am not begging GC or any other developer, I am begging the Druid community - and the entire WoW community at that.

There are some Balance Druids that are of the mind set that Balance Druid DPS is too low, there are some that think we are just fine. It's a massive disconnect within the community where it's beginning to become difficult to discern what's real and what isn't.

So, what I want are numbers and information. I want to see reports of any kind of any variable of DPS. I want to see reports of Druids failing, or them succeeding. I want to know their rotations, their specs, their raid buffs, their gear, everything and anything.

There are an infinite number of ways to tweak or adjust Balance Druid DPS should it need to be, but without knowing if things need to change, then suggestions can't be made and the developers can't really know. Yes, Blizzard has their own tools, yes they probably, certainly know the situation better than anyone, but I want to know too.

If we can weed through all of the data, then perhaps we can come to a definite conclusion.

So, talk to me; I'm listening.

We think Balance dps is a little low on live, but changing Improved Moonkin Form to 30% Spirit to Spellpower in 3.1.2 should be something like a 5% spellpower boost to raid-buffed druids, which should be around a 5% dps increase. YMMV.

Also keep in mind that the Ulduar fights are pretty diverse. Fights like XT are a dream for melee, especially rogues and cats.

Please honor the spirit (rimshot) of the OP's thread though and confine this discussion to that topic and not try and switch gears to other druid issues or other class issues just because I posted here. :)

-----------Response 2
doesn't affect the base dmg of spells. Unless you're increasing those by 5% too

I'm sorry but I'm not quite sure what you're saying here. Are you worried about the damage done by Moonkin wearing no gear and no buffs? Usually when players are concerned about low PvE dps, it's an end-game raiding concern. Hardly anything affects the base damage of spells except the spell rank.

------------Response 3
As I've said a few times, it's pretty tricky to calculate "real" dps in Ulduar because there are so few Patchwerk-like fights. That is actually to some extent by design because it gets players to focus more on "How do I maximize my dps on this fight?" rather than "What's my dps?" But it does make estimating who is high or low tricky for both you and us. It's awesome you are taking names, and I'll attribute that to knowing how to gear and play your class. We do worry that the Scorch change hurt Balance and Elemental since we ended up partially compensating the mages.

The basic design problem for Balance, as I know you know, comes down to Wrath and Stafire just being very similar spells. One is always going to win out by virtue of damage or cast time. Eclipse was our attempt to make which one wins more dynamic. I think it accomplishes that, but I think it's also fair to say that there aren't a ton of druids who are in love with the talent. Or maybe it's more fair to say that there are druids who just can't stand it. It's also not swell that the talent has driven many druids to mods to help manage it.

We're not going to give you a rotation that ends up being something like SF, Wrath, SF, Wrath or even SF x4, Wrath x4. We just think that's too boring and ultimately bad for the game. You can argue that you like Balance because it's very predictable and macro-able, but it should be clear that we view that as a problem.

I'm in total hand-waving, brainstorm mode here. This is not a design we have cooking that we're all ready to implement, but imagine Eclipse worked something like this: Every Starfire you cast has a 20% cumulative chance of making your next Wrath do 30% more damage. So after SF1, the chance is 20%, but after SF5 the chance is 100%. That encourages you to swap spells somewhat randomly, but less random than the system we have now. The goal is to have something where you sometimes switch after SF 3 and sometimes after SF 5. Good druids would always switch at the right time and those who are still trying to maximize their potential could get better about switching at the right time. You could also have a system where every SF has a chance of making Wrath slightly better, with a stack on that effect, so that at some point it's the right time to switch. Don't feel the need to point out how you could game this system -- I spent all of 2 minutes coming up with it. If and when we decide to change it, we'd put far more work into the design.

--------------------------------More responses

Personally I'm beginning to disagree with measuring by this method. If every class is going to do the same dps on patchwerk, what happens when we fight a real boss? Some specs lose a lot more dps than others by moving, and you have to question what worth some specs have in a real encounter...

Yes. This is a tremendously important concept that a lot of players seem to miss. When you only focus on Patchwerk or training dummies or simcraft, you can come up with a number that may be higher or lower than other specs or classes. The problem is that number is meaningless in many other fights. Do you have to move? Do you have to deal with adds? Do you have to swap out gear to improve your health? Do you run OOM? Is your threat too high? Do you need to free NPCs? All of those are "real" considerations on the actual bosses you're trying to kill.

The real questions, which have somewhat frustratingly fuzzy answers, are: Do you justify a raiding slot? Are you pulling your weight? Would your group be better off replacing you? Does the rogue beat you because your class is undertuned or because it's a perfect fight for a rogue (or because you need to L2P)?

A Mechanic that I do like is the instant Fireball proc that Frost Mages get. When that ability procs, they have something like a 10-second window in which they can cast a Fireball instantly. That means that they aren't punished if they have to move, and they have some control over when they consume the buff. (Please note that's ignoring the fact that Frost PvE DPS is terrible right now).

Totally agree that Brain Freeze is a pretty good mechanic. It works though because Frost never wants to use Fireball normally. For Balance, we need to keep both nukes in play. The spec is less fun to play (for me anyway) when Starfire or Wrath clearly wins and you just nuke with that spell.

An ideal rotation, if we can make it work, would be more like SF x 3-6 then Wrath x 3-6, with Insect Swarm, Moonfire and the rest thrown in as needed. The "3-6" means that if you switch at the wrong time, your dps is still decent, but if you switch at the right time, your dps is better. But it can't be a 100% predictable number or there is no learning -- no opportunity to improve your game -- involved.

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