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Going Forward: Cataclysm Discussion

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With Cataclysm approaching and information being made available, it is reasonable that some discussion will take place. For now, we'll start off with one thread. As more information is published, I'll likely shift us to 3 threads, one per spec. In the mean time it is important that you all understand that only threads with "Cataclysm" in their titles are an appropriate place to talk about whatever the latest news is. Even the Simple Q&A thread is off-limits. If I catch you posting about Cataclysm in a WOTLK thread, I will eat your first born.

Additionally, let's try to follow these general guidelines for this thread:

  1. Don't just link a blue post. Talk about it. We're capable of reading as well as you are.
  2. Do not whine/bitch. There is only one bitch here, and that is me. Feedback is good, just keep it constructive.
  3. Don't make suggestions on what Blizzard should do. If you want a job in design, go apply to Blizzard.
  4. Keep in mind things will be changing all the time, so just because something is in doesn't mean it's staying and just because something isn't doesn't mean it won't be in the future.

Blue Posts by date:

4/5/2010 - Dispel Mechanics - Zarhym post

4/7/2010 - Is healing currently something you can do wrong? - GC post

4/9/2010 - Cataclysm Class Preview: Druid - Bashiok

4/27/2010 - HoTs in Cataclysm - GC

4/30/2010 - Healing Touch - GC

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From the Warlock preview:

All warlock damage-over-time (DoT) spells will benefit from crit and haste innately. Haste will no longer act to reduce the DoT's duration, but rather to add additional ticks. When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell, similar to how Everlasting Affliction currently works.

Here's hoping they do the same to our HoTs/Bleeds. Clipping isn't so relevant, but haste being a pure throughput increase at no tradeoff would be an amazing buff (and would destroy long threads of arguing over RR grlyph), and anything that makes crit more attractive to us would be welcomed!

Some very cool stuff in these first previews, can't wait to see ours!

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I will do my best to keep the blue posts linked in the first post of this thread. If you find one and I don't have it, please shoot me a PM. Thanks!

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GC comparing healing in BC, LK, and Cata: MMO-Champion BlueTracker | What a HORRIBLE philosophy!

Like he's said before, more time will be spent in between 100% and 0% HP. He talks about current "stringent healing rotations" and bringing back "triage". More influential decisions does sound fun, but won't HoTs become insanely effective in a "everyone is wounded" environment?

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They've mentioned that for energy, haste will make you regain energy faster. Given that I doubt seriously that they'd also make it so that dots could tick more often as well - at least not right away (I could see that being a tier bonus).

I'd imagine that the HoT/DoT for moonkin and resto is going to otherwise be pretty similar to locks; they've mentioned they want to make haste more awesome, and that's certainly one way to do it.

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From the Warlock preview:

Here's hoping they do the same to our HoTs/Bleeds. Clipping isn't so relevant, but haste being a pure throughput increase at no tradeoff would be an amazing buff (and would destroy long threads of arguing over RR grlyph), and anything that makes crit more attractive to us would be welcomed!

Some very cool stuff in these first previews, can't wait to see ours!

Not clipping DOTs for feral and continually being able to add onto the existing debuff would be pretty crazy. It would also make figuring out a proper rotation a bit strange too I'd imagine. Keep ripping with combo points until your stack is a a duration = to remainder of fight then just plain FB? Stack Rake at the start of the fight continually so you can just shred/FB during the heroism near the end? Could be neat.

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No way will they let you indefinitely stack a debuff like that. I'd expect something more like you can clip between the 2nd to last tick and the last and add it on once. The quote specifically mentions clipping the final tick.

That would be pretty nice though as you could maintain 100% uptime without accounting for latency.

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The general assumption is that it works like current mechanics that refresh DoTs and debuffs to their full duration. That is, casting a DoT before it runs out resets the duration to its maximum without interrupting the DoT ticks.

In this situation you can refresh your DoTs anytime you want without extending the time between ticks, but the motivation is to wait as long as possible so that you waste less time refreshing.

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They've already said that the 3rd mastery will be unique to each spec so don't expect to see that happening.

It would make sense for the DoT change (no more clipping, haste/crit effects) will be something every class will see, although in our case (being a hybrid) I'm almost certain we will need to talent into the haste/crit effect. While I can't say that HoTs will get the same treatment from Crit (I would hope so...) I do expect haste will. Haste as we currently have it is a slippery slope, but with the changes to health pools (no more 1 GCD deaths, basically) then I don't think that will be a problem any longer. From what I can tell, the Direct heals will be the "get out of danger" sort of healing while HoTs will be more to bring people into a comfort zone.

Essentially, it seems they are going with a setup where you would use Nourish (or Healing Touch if necessary) to get someone out of that dangerous 10% range to about 20%, then have Lifebloom/Rejuvenation/Regrowth take care of the rest. However, they haven't said much about where HoTs will fit into the healing equation with the exception of some vague references to how it would be more cost-effective to let a Druid's HoTs tick someone to full vs. a Priest/Paladin spending mana to do it. That has a danger of relegating Druids to raid healing duty though.

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The Priest preview seems to say that all HoTs and DoTs will be affected by crit/haste. The haste part is potentially problematic; there are going a whole bunch of odd breakpoints in the value of haste. That could be a huge pain for gearing actually.

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They can handle this by adding a mini tick at the end, or haste "leftovers" are converted to extra SP on those ticks. Since different hots have a different number of ticks, it won't even be a matter of aiming for the "right" values of haste, since each hot will have different extra tick haste values. In addition this will also mean gearing is affected by the many group buffs that, at least currently, affect haste, contrary to what they mentioned for hit buffs like misery.

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From the info on priests, i assume that moonkins need to shop for some extra hit as well (specifically considering the second sentence).

Misery will no longer affect spell Hit chance. We want players to be able to gear themselves around a Hit cap that isn't variable depending on group composition.

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Elemental shamans will have a deep talent that allows Spirit (which will appear on the gear they share with Restoration shaman) to boost their Hit rating.

As moonkins will be sharing gear with trees (as noted in a bluepost some weeks ago), I think it's safe to assume they will get a spirit -> hit conversion talent too.

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And yet if you read the whole of that post you would notice the following information:

If you are a Balance druid or Elemental shaman:

* You will still share gear with Restoration druids and shaman.

* Your gear will have Spirit on it. It won’t have Hit on it.

* You will have a talent that converts Spirit to Hit. We will adjust talents accordingly so that you want about as much Spirit as, say, a warlock wants Hit.

* Hit on rings and other such gear will still benefit you.

* Raid buffs will no longer boost Spirit, so you shouldn’t find yourself unexpectedly over the Hit cap because of buffs.

Why some people are acting like this is all new information is beyond me because it was clearly stated not long ago we would get exactly what they are now repeating.

It will be interesting to see if they end up adding a 3rd direct healing spell for us such as how Shamans and Priests have gotten thus far and how they decide to deal with the hot 'downranking' aspect considering we are so based on them for our healing - unless they try and push us further to being more direct heal based. They have to be somewhat cautious with us in the fact when players are not meant to be fully topped off all the time it will make hots very very strong and I would expect a fair increase in cost of them too.

Ideally I am looking for some inter-class synergy between our spells rather than any more new ones especially when Lifebloom has been somewhat abandoned over the expansion after being a fairly core aspect of our tank healing.

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They can handle this by adding a mini tick at the end, or haste "leftovers" are converted to extra SP on those ticks. Since different hots have a different number of ticks, it won't even be a matter of aiming for the "right" values of haste, since each hot will have different extra tick haste values. In addition this will also mean gearing is affected by the many group buffs that, at least currently, affect haste, contrary to what they mentioned for hit buffs like misery.

That would work, although might be a bit too mathy for a mechanic that's going to be constantly visible to all players. Also, the Warlock changes say something about being able to extend DoT's without clipping them, but it's not clear exactly how that will work.

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Well, GC did amend by saying

Preventing dot clipping is something we want to do in general. It obviously benefits Shadow priests just as much as warlocks.

This is obviously true to all other dot type specs (fire mages, ele shamans, boomkins). However, if they can apply it also to feral druids, then I don't see an issue. If what they said was that they want it to act like similar to Everlasting Affliction, then we will just be constantly refreshing our rips and rakes.

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It seems reasonable to assume LB-like behavior for anti-clipping, as in casting it resets the duration of the buff while not affecting the tick cycle.

Another option would be that haste will have these odd optimal values, at least for each hot. That can keep it more balanced compared to crit which obviously is underpowered in the currently known/assumed implementation (hots can crit, haste adds ticks). Too many elements are still missing, of course - rating conversions, crit-related talents etc.

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That would work, although might be a bit too mathy for a mechanic that's going to be constantly visible to all players. Also, the Warlock changes say something about being able to extend DoT's without clipping them, but it's not clear exactly how that will work.

They said like it does with everlasting affliction, which means that recasting a dot will just put it back to max duration but it won't reset the ticktimer itself.

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With the warrior preview out, a few things from a Feral Druid standpoint stands out:

1) Adding a mastery talent for all tanks called vengence

Vengeance: This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn't fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character's un-buffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Protection tree. These values will be smaller at lower levels. Remember, you only get this bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Protection tree, so you won't see Arms or Fury warriors running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today – there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so their Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but overall the goal is for all four tanks do about the same damage when tanking.

Basically it sounds like they are wanting us to be able to do about as much damage as the dps are (so instead of having 16-17 dps dpsing,we now have 19 dpsers). Considering Bears have innated dps stats, we are currently the highest dpsers of between the four tanks (in equal gear level).

Considering we don't have the exact numbers, I'm hypothesizing on the number they will most likely give feral druids. Say they give us 7% of our maximum health is added to our AP. In current ICC gear levels, Druids have about 7k AP and 70k health. By giving us the 7% of our health to AP that is equivalent to having 11,900 AP or 70% increase. I know on my druid, I'm able to do 6k dps in tanking rotation right now. By adding in the 70% to that, your talking about 10k dps which is almost on par with the rest of the melee (still behind but not by much).

At the same time, if this is the case, then I would not be surprised if they decide to lower the threat coefficients for our abilities. We may have to re-evaluate what those threat numbers are.

2) Lowering Sunder Armor's value

Sunder Armor will be reduced to three stacks instead of five, and still provide only a 4% reduction in armor per stack. We want to make this debuff easier to apply and less of a damage swing when it falls off.

Basically it sounds like they are trying to lower melee dps by lowering the amount of armor being reduced.

I would comment on the new Inner Rage ability, but it's too early to say if bear druids will have a similar talent or not.

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The warrior preview lists some information for Druids as well.

Notably:

Heroic Strike will no longer be an "on next swing" attack, as we are removing this mechanic in Cataclysm. To keep the niche of Heroic Strike as a Rage dump, it will become an instant attack, but will cost between 10 and 30 Rage. This ability will not be usable until you have 10 Rage, but if you have more than 10, it will consume up to 30, adding additional damage for each point of Rage consumed above the base 10. Other abilities, such as Cleave, Execute, and Maul (for druids) will work similarly. The goal is to provide players with an option where if you can't afford the Rage, you don't push the button, but if you have excess Rage, you can push it a lot.

Nice to get confirmation, but most of that could've been deducted from previous hints. Will be interesting to see the interaction between base Maul damage, added Maul damage from more Rage and the following:

Vengeance

The comment about 'more damage-dealing stats' makes me wonder if the revision they mentioned about actual Tank gear for Druids vs DPS gear will actually happen. Additionally, 10% AP on top of Bearform for a 50k Health Bear is massive on the, say, 8k AP an unbuffed Bear will have. It'll be even more extreme for the other classes. On top of that, I wonder how they'll deal with Prot PvP now, as they are (currently) already quite dangerous and this'll give them a further damage boost.

//edit2:

Another comment from Ghostcrawler, probably relevant to Cat druids. Wonder if this'll have any implications for Primal Gore and/or Rake:

Almost all dots will crit. The exception will be things like Deep Wounds and Ignite because those are already the product of a crit. Rend will crit.

We are really striving for scaling parity for the various specs and classes. This means that stats like haste and crit can't be awesome for some characters and terrible for others. Most abilities need to benefit from haste and crit.

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Regarding the haste/crit affecting HoT's in particular, (which we can assume will apply to us the same way it does for Priests) it seems to me this will be a great thing. Us Trees get "auto 4pT9", and the question of Rapid Rejuv. no longer becomes an issue. The way I understand the mechanic is that haste will not affect the duration of the spell, but will simply cause more ticks in the original duration. To me, that's the way I'd prefer Glyphed RR to work anyways; added HPS over the same time period, instead of simply more HPS over a shorter duration.

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With the warrior preview out, a few things from a Feral Druid standpoint stands out:

Basically it sounds like they are wanting us to be able to do about as much damage as the dps are (so instead of having 16-17 dps dpsing,we now have 19 dpsers). Considering Bears have innated dps stats, we are currently the highest dpsers of between the four tanks (in equal gear level).

I don't know that I'd be jumping to the conclusion so fast that tanks are now a hybird dps capable of tanking. Otherwise everyone could be a dps with insane survivability. I don't think the idea is to have everyone doing hard modes as tanks pushing 10k+.

I think the idea is to close the tanking threat problem when you have overgeared dps. The tank scaling isn't happening on the same level as dps. The different between what dps was pulling in Nax gear and what they are now pulling in ICC gear is a larger scale in comparison to tank damage in Nax and ICC.

I beleive the intent is not to create dping tanking but normalize tank dps around the board between the tanking classes. Also to have a build in mechanic that allows for a progressive increase in dmg/threat without having to do the consistent threat tweeks they have been doing in WOTLK (recent threat buffs to war/dks for example).

While tank dps will improve, I don't predict it will be anywhere near an actual dps spec.

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Depending on how things change in Cata, the AP addition is easy to check. Add 7% of your health as AP to an item in Rawr. My 5k dps goes up to 7500dps when adding 7% of my 62k health. Since I have zero heroic gear, you guys could expect to get past that, upwards of 8-9k dps, easily with 277 gear.

Edit: I went back and added whatever Rawr thought was BIS. 72k health, and the dps went from 5500 to 8000.

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Basically it sounds like they are wanting us to be able to do about as much damage as the dps are .

You've read them wrong, I think. If tanks had the same damage output as DPSers, DPSers in the tanking classes would be all but strictly inferior to tanks - no better for DPS, but much more vulnerable. The only reason you'd ever bring a Fury Warrior, Ret Paladin etc is if the tree had a unique high-end buff or debuff.

I think it's pretty clear from the statement "ensur[ing] tank damage and therefore threat doesn't fall behind" that Blizzard want to allow better threat generation without providing some high threat move or crazy multiplier that takes all the skill out of it. The easiest way to do that is to up tank damage a bit. In this way, tanks will have to practice a good rotation to maintain a threat lead just as DPS need to practice a good rotation to do their jobs.

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Might wanna read the fine print:

"Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff..."

You can scrap that 20 tanks raid now.

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