Thursday, October 16, 2008

How Do You Hotfix Burst...?

ADDED: Since writing I'm now aware of further nerfs, they are as follows:

-Judgment of light and seal of light reduced by around 50%
-Judgment of command dmg reduced by around 25%
-Divine storm dose 100% physical dmg instead of 100% holy dmg.

(the judgement nerfs are probably nerfs to its Attack Power coeff)


So they are obviously targeting Judgement damage and SoC for now. We shall see how this pans out, but totalled up they start to account for a very signifcant PvE DPS nerf (the full extent of changes need to be datamined as Blizzard is not talking about exactly what they are doing). This is where lack of communication will become most frustrating, so hopefully GC will be around to discuss things this afternoon/later in the week.


With paladins described as 'OP' by many, and apparently seen as over the top by Blizzard at lvl70, how do you hotfix burst without crippling sustained DPS? Well the first step has been taken by Blizzard and Divine Storm has been hotfixed to inflict Physical damage on the Live servers. The net effect is a drop of 1k or more damage on a critical effect against moderately armoured targets, significantly less of a drop on leather or cloth armour levels. And on the flip side means that Divine Storm can be used whilst Silenced (sorry Shadowpriests :( ).

This change really isn't that big a deal so long as the ~5% DPS loss for PvE raiding is made up elsewhere. We have to ask ourselves therefore if this will placate the screaming masses of 'Nerf Ret' claims? Short answer: No. Long answer:


Sorry, channeling Yahtzee again.

Anyway, the issue is that Paladin damage mechanics are inherently bursty (well, that and everyone and their dog believing Paladins doing damage is a crime against nature). Indeed their bursty mechanics are the only thing which makes them at all viable in PvP as part of a Cleave team, not BoP nor BoF nor heals or Divine Shield.

The DPS and PvP DPS roles working from the same mechanic playbook doesn't help. Rogues, Fury Warriors, Enhancement Shaman... all their DPS mechanics are more continuous DPS curves due to dual wielding. They fill a 10sec period with dozens of strikes, procs and auto-attacks, each one contributing a small amount to a large total. Paladins by comparison have maybe a dozen strikes plus procs total in a similar period, each contributing a significant amount to a similar DPS total. To put it simply, damage comes in huge chunks rather than small blobs and it will always be frontloaded to a much larger extent than any other class except perhaps the forthcoming Deathknight class.

There are a few things that can be done to eliminate Paladin burst in PvP, but I disagree with Rohan over removing Seal Procs from instant attacks being a solution. Weapon procs from instant attacks right now contribute significantly to Paladin DPS, and if you drop that DPS you're going to have to make up for it elsewhere. The problem is, there's not a lot elsewhere that you could make up that damage, we still only have 4 attacks in which to allocate this DPS delta: Auto-attack, Judgement, CS and DS all of which may be front-loaded. Nor do we have any DoT mechanics part of our general DPS rotation upon which to place this shortfall.

Another option could be to place a longer internal cooldown on Seal of Command on the order of 2 GCD's, or indeed removing it entirely. In such a circumstance one of the other Seals would take over in a PVP situation and our maximum burst potential - the 'once in a blue moon that very rarely happens but everyone has a screenshot of it bookmarked' occurrence - would be significantly reduced perhaps to acceptable levels. So, what's the issue with this?

It reduces our burst damage to around that of an Arms Warrior in PvP, but without any of the tools which make warriors such a force to be reckoned with in PvP such as MS, intercept, interrupts snares etc. Indeed arguably it would reduce our maximum burst DPS potential to below that in 2.4.3 /w Windfury at a time when Windfury as it used to be only exists for Shaman.

I think what I'm getting at is that there is no simple solution for PvP, and in PvE burst damage isn't really an issue. But Burst is all we have, take that away and we'll be just as good (or more accurately bad) in Arena PvP as we always were. The answer to this problem, if it is indeed that much of a problem (I'm still unconvinced it will be come 80), is going to take a whole lot more than a few discrete tweaks here and there, and may well warrant addressing the bizarre shortfall of Paladin PvP abilities.

All that said, Hand spells rock. Hotkey them all!

EDIT: Klepsacovic over at Troll Racials has a much more all encompassing approach. I'm not sure that distributing Crit Multiplier effects over all abilitites whilst reducing the multiplier would have the desired effect he seek, but I can certainly agree in principle to Divine Shield moving from a 50% attack speed slow to a damage reduction (I'd go further and drop it by 20+%).


Unknown 16/10/2008, 15:55  

So we are fucked again, and the "LOLRet you deserved it" tells will commence...

Sometimes I really hate this game and everyone who plays it...

Dradis 16/10/2008, 15:56  

Well put. Let's hope that the Blizz Dev Team has the fortitude to deal with all the massive QQing and do right by Pallys. I don't need to be God, but I don't want to be less threatening then a puff pastry.

Rohan 16/10/2008, 16:01  

Actually, I didn't make it explicit, but you'd have to dial damage of a couple of abilities (or maybe all) back up to compensate for removing Seal procs. But I think it would be better and more exciting.

Wouldn't you rather have a Crusader Strike that did 130% Weapon Damage? Or a Divine Storm that did 110% Holy damage?

As well, Seal damage could go up, and that would really help out Holy. Holy soloing is really anemic in comparison to both the other two specs.

Second, Seal of Command is huge burst, but very uncontrollable. Reducing the number of chances it has to proc reduces our burst, and also guarantees that you will see at least 3.5s or so between Command procs, rather than potentially getting nailed by 2 within 2 GCDS.

Suicidal Zebra 16/10/2008, 16:16  

Honestly, I think that it's the 'huge, but uncontrolled' nature of the damage which makes it viable in PvP. You're forcing the opponent to react to damage that you do, upsetting their rhythm and forcing them to do something about you. Yes, a lower amount of burst which is controlled may be more satisfying, but ultimately would be a lot less effective than proc-based abilities.

It's the same principle as crits: in PvP would you rather crit or do 33% more damage per attack? In practice the pseudo-random nature of high crit damage is what makes it so powerful as much as the higher damage itself, and is why Resilience initially targeted it particularly.

Chrom 16/10/2008, 19:59  

Fair or not, i really liked the fact that DS was delt as spell damage. No matter if i hit a warrior or a rogue it still hit for similar damage. nothing bothered me more than when i would CS a Frost Mage (when i could catch them) for 2k but then my next CS hits a warrior for 450. I would have liked to see DS kept as a spell damage and maybe had the coeficient dialed back a bit. That is the one thing that we have over warriors is that our abilities that are administered as spell damage hit everyone basically the same, plate or cloth. if they upped seal of command procs from 7 per minute to like 12, but lessening the spell damage,it would even out DPS for PVE and raids, but be way more predictable in pvp, negating the element of suprise or burst.
but if i wanted steady melee damage i would have rolled a fury warrior.

Suicidal Zebra 16/10/2008, 20:13  

To me the primary value of DS was against Resto Druids shifted into Bear form. Now it'll continue to be very difficult to deal with them.

Chrom 16/10/2008, 20:14  

Resto Druids for what reason?

Chrom 16/10/2008, 20:14  

NVM bear form=high armor

Suicidal Zebra 16/10/2008, 21:01  

Indeed :D

Unknown 16/10/2008, 22:34  

Just screw it.

Time to go Prot again. All the bear tanks are pissed and going Resto or rerolling, so there should be more tanks slots, at least until the DKs hit here.

Ironically, Bear tanks got nerfed hard because of the Resto druids going bear form in PVP.

So we aren't the only class getting nuked do to PVP.

As soon as I can gather a good Prot set, I'll head back. No reason to stay Ret now, it was hard enough getting in groups anyway.

Dradis 17/10/2008, 05:22  

@ Karl

I think you are being a little hasty. We are still awesome for PvE, as my last Heroic SH run can attest. I have also got several tells recently asking me to run instances as Ret in either a healing capacity for normal instances, or as DPS for Heroics. We are wanted more now, at least that is how it seems to me.

I do agree that PvP QQ is screwing us left and right. Maybe there is a problem with PvP that needs to addressed on the whole instead of at the Class/Spec level, especially when it affects PvE gameplay so much. Just my 2c.

Dradis 17/10/2008, 08:55  

what is with these gold spammers?

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