Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Class Thoughts at the End of Season 2

Holy crap discipline priests are ridiculous now. I also cannot step 3 feet without tripping over an AR/Prep rogue. Frost mages will soon be even more powerful than they currently are with icy veins. Seeing a pattern here? Our 3v3 team that we've been finishing up the season with has had more problems with Rogue/Mage/Priest (RMP) teams lately than anything. It was also by far the most common class matrix we fought against around the 22-2300 rating range. We came just shy of qualifying for gladiator last night by about 30 rating. Nuts. The competition for gladiator for 3v3, and other brackets I'd imagine, is absolutely fierce on BG9. Every fight seemed very intense, with the exception of the rare encounter with teams sold to scrubs who are losing their 10 games before the night is over.

Priests:

It's my firm belief that discipline priests are the new "warlocks" of healers. They have nearly all the mobility that druids do, with more offensive tools in the way of dispel and mass dispel. In addition, power infusion is pretty nuts to slap on a mage or warlock, and the new pain suppression is basically an 85% undispelable (as most priests take silent resolve) divine shield to anyone on their team or themselves. It also appears that in catering to the whines about how absolutely critical blessed resilience was to any healing priest build, that Blizzard caved into giving them a very similar talent with Focused Will. The downside to all this tremendous power? I guess their healing efficiency is down maybe 10% from the old 28/33 disc/holy build, but their overall utility has skyrocketed. Oh, and any other warlock will tell you how much BS prayer of mending is as well. That crap needs to at least heal for less after each jump. It's pretty sad that one single heal on a relatively short cooldown, can effectively protect 3 people from being completely dotted up. No opportunities for spell locking a big heal like you can on a paladin (which is their biggest weakness). Nope. Priests will always be the thorn in my warlocks side.

Paladins:

It's pretty telling when you almost never run into another group that uses a paladin unless it's paired with another healer + warrior. Their ability to be shut down and chain CCd is a pretty big problem, more so than any other class imo. Other than their craptastic holy shock which is on a 15s cooldown, Paladins really have NO way to save a teammate without winding up a cast-time heal at all. They are, by far, the easiest healer to shut down pretty much on command. The 10s bubble trick might work against scrubs that can't push past the 1500 mark, but that one tricky pony is a sitting duck for CC anytime outside of that window (which is a very, very small window at that). I think paladins need some help in this department. On the scale of difficulty from 1-10, 10 being difficult: Keeping a paladin from healing people reliably as a warlock is about a -2. It's that ridiculously easy. Unless they stack 250+ shadow resist, of course (but I'll get to that).

Mage:

Mages are a class that takes a lot of great twitch skill to be good at, and I have a lot of respect for good mages. They are essentially the key to many good 3v3 makeups. The skill of the mage will make or break the teams ability to progress more than any other member of the team imo. They have the job of shutting down healers at the right time, or shutting down CC'ers while they make the final burst and don't want to be interrupted. They have a big job of controlling enemy melee as much as they can, or slowing down mounted targets/runners so their melee can get to the target. They have the job of protecting their healer with poly/nova against those pesky warriors, and they have the job of knowing when to use their many "outs" such as ice block to keep themselves from getting CCd or outright killed at the right times. The icy veins and trainable ice block, in addition to multiple charge mana-gems is going to go a long way at making this class even more appealing for many teams.

Hunters:

I firmly believe that with the rise of rogue prominent teams, excellent hunters will become more and more sought after to counter them. Hunters have a plethora of excellent anti-rogue abilities that can make any rogue cry with frustration. Their dozen ways of snaring a target, be it through wing clips, concussive shots, or frost traps, in addition to being able to flare both defensively and offensively makes rogues really blow a ton of cooldowns just to get to their target. I would also like to point out that while Cloak of Shadows does indeed remove hunters mark and serpent sting, I've found that it will NOT prevent serpent sting from being reapplied with a 90% resist rate, yet rogue poisons do suffer from the resist check during cloak. Keep that in mind. In addition, I think once hunter pets become more survivable via pet resilience (and possibly other changes if deemed necessary), that hunter pets will become an invaluable tool to keep pushback pressure on some key targets such as warlocks and priests. Also, priests have no way to get rid of viper sting. The new arcane shot and lack of deadzone are definitely the nicest changes hunters got recently. This jury is still out on aimed shot providing an MS effect being that great in the arena or not. From what I've heard (and predicted), it hasn't made a difference for many hunter 2v2s at all. I'm guessing that it will be at least helpful and more viable in 5s. Not sure about 3s, though.

Rogues:

Rogues received countless nice buffs recently: The improvements to dirty deeds and hemo probably being the most notable. They have some pretty amazing survivability these days, and the amount of damage an AR/Prep rogue can dish out is quite noticeable. Double AR with a nasty new hemo and new dirty deeds means targets feel substantially squishier. That's the good news. The bad news is, even after the shadow step love, it's still missing something to make it a competitive spec. The main problem with shadow step is, if you're trying to use it on a fleeing target, the target can often still slip away from you. It's still not as good as intercept, but Blizzard doesn't want to homogenize the class skills to make them all the same. Shadow step is never going to automatically stun the target. My recommendation for a solution for this issue was simple: Make shadow step award a combo point, thus at the very least giving the rogue the option to deadly throw and snare the fleeing target. This idea was extremely well received, and I believe it should be making its way onto PTR very soon before 2.3.2 goes live. The other issue shadow step didn't solve, was that a nova'd or snared rogue is still nova'd or snared after using the ability. However, Blizzard believes (and I tend to agree) that if SS removed snares and/or roots basically every 30 seconds, it might be OP.

Warlocks:

I don't have too many complaints about this class, really. The main issue I was having lately were SR gear stacking opponents. There were a few days that we ran into SEVERAL of these teams, and it really felt pretty shitty to be "outplayed" by craftable BT gear. I finally had to drop most of my gems in my gear, and went with FIVE 10 spell pen gems to bring me up to 80 spell pen, and I was STILL getting resisted quite a bit by these teams. Warlocks and Shadow Priests suffer greatly from this cheesy strat, more so than anyone really. I realize that lots of spell pen gear is coming in s3, but we may require more than what's currently planned, or think about adding spell pen to the spriest and warlock sets. It really can be that bad. I'm also noticing a huge drop in effectiveness with drain mana since the soul siphon nerf. It just seemed like by the time I could get anyone drained, the battle had already been decided in many of the games last night. I once thought that drain mana was too OP for many of the classes that it worked so well on, but now I'm thinking that since other classes got buffed, they can do much more with the same amount of mana in less time, that the mana drain nerf probably hurt more than what was intended. I realize that drain mana's effectiveness stems from the fact that it can be chain cast from a class with (relatively) never ending mana, but it's not going to do you any good if the throughput is too slow to be of any real use when facing the massive amounts of burst some teams now possess.

Druids:

Druids are definitely a solid small format healer, no doubt about it. They also bring an extensive amount of anti-melee CC (and especially anti-rogue, as abolish poison is fantastic), and have superb mobility. Still, we seemed to have little trouble blowing up druids with the combination of mortal strike + stacks of dots + spell lock and deathcoil. They really require the rest of their team to do an excellent job at keeping would-be attackers off of them. If they are able to outlast your initial barrage of cooldowns, you can be in a world of hurt. They seem to be a very balanced healer in 3s.

Warriors:

Warriors are still a pretty solid class. With the correct support (and gear), they can be absolutely devastating. I definitely feel the slight nerf to mace spec, as it isn't quite as annoying as it was before. I've seen a lot of situations where warriors are CC'd into oblivion by mages and druids and basically kept out of the fight until the match is over, and I've also seen times when the lone warrior that was left managed to take out the remaining weakened 3 people on the opposing team. I think warriors are actually a pretty well-balanced class at the moment, and not the complete destroyer of rogues that they once were due to the many rogue improvements with gear/talents/itemization since TBC came out.

Shamans:

I don't really have a lot to say about Shamans, other than they need some help. I think the only ones we ever ran into over the past week or two were enhancement or maybe elemental shamans. Resto shamans are a rare breed. I honestly can't remember the last time we fought against one. Enhancement shamans just seemed like a joke and felt out of place on every team they were on, and elemental shaman DPS is so easily shut down by just focusing them, or slapping a tongues + pet on them. I think their lack of spell push-back protection is whats hurting elemental more than anything. I just find it much too easy to shut them down as is.

Edit: A friend of mine (Escabar) just made a suggestion to me that possibly adding some sort of lightning bolt push-back protection on lightning shield might be a good way to go for ele shamans. It's dispelable, but could prove to be a valuable tool in certain situations. This wouldn't do much with tongues + felhunter on you as it would probably just get autodevoured, but it would help in situatios beyond that for sure.

10 comments:

Vague said...

Excellent feedback, Leiah. I too agree with you on most counts. The only thing that seems to be a bit much is the druid compared to other healers. The combination of instant heals, and the powerful CC they have makes them a bit better than priests in the 3v3 bracket and a lot better in the 2v2 (I won't compare them with paladins or shamans because both really need help now, they can be CC'd into oblivion).

Shamans are in need of help atm, the problem is that you don't feel like they shine in any area (druids being masters of CC, and priests being masters of offensive healers). The big problem I see with shamans atm is that if they are focus fired, they don't have the same tools druids, paladins, or priests have (you can basically zerg a shaman to death without him having a single heal off, no HoTs, and no bubble).

We tried arena last night me (lock), hunter, and disc priest. We went up to 2300 rating, the hunter is pretty solid now, and we were winning all the matches he was being focused, we only started to lose when they started focusing me (SL/SL lock). In 5v5, hunters are pretty solid, traps, drains, mortal shot and the massive dps they have have brought them up to par with warrs in 5v5. We ran a successful 5v5 without a warr or rogue, went up to 2200 after the hunter changes (our highest was around 2100 pre-2.3).

I think Icy veins is a bit over the top, yet to see though. Mages are really strong in 3v3 and 5v5 atm, amd I'm guessing that something like Icy veins would make RMP teams unstoppable. Mages do need help in 2v2 though (like all other classes that don't start with "war" or don't shapeshift).

Finally, I agree that the warlock class is pretty solid, however, the lack of escape spell stil haunts the warlock, and all the successful 3v3 teams we faced so far focus the warlock, even if demo specced, and would win eventually. I still think that breaking the SL/SL spec and adding a true escape spell for the warlock should be the ultiamte goal for bliz (SL/SL should never have been allowed by blizz, it's simply too powerful). The problem now is, if SL/SL is nerfed then you will have a completly broken class that can't compete with any other offensive class, but if they add a defensive mechanism, then it can be abused by SL/SL if not added in the correct manner.

P.S. Leiah, is it possible to contant you via email/msn?

Bruj said...

I saw your comments on Disc, but whats your take on shadow priests? Disc/holy seems its becoming the only viable build. Shadow only shines in 2v2 and even then has little representation. A few players might make it work for them, but it seems pretty weak imo. They don't seem to bring much to the table that another priest can't do already. Silence and a 10% chance to stun before they get FF'd. Curious as to what you think. Good info and I agree with a lot of it.

Melaaf said...

Great article.
Please keep that blog alive ! =)

Melaaf (druid)
skunkworks (lock)

Anonymous said...

i completely disagree with your comments on priests. Being a 70 disc priest in PVP sucks. unless you have almost max resiliance and are dueling 1v1, all other equal geared matches in arena and battlegrounds are BS. sure, PS can't be dispelled easily, but you can still stack up your dots, or MS or whatever else your class has and just wait the few seconds it lasts and blow through our hp like we're nothing. The only thing disc/holy priests are good for in arena/pvp anymore is tossing in those few extra heals and mana burn (which i might add is easily juked with LoS and pushback). If anything, priests need some survivability help in group matches.

Anonymous said...

Leiah, you're an idiot.

Signed, furious priest.

Lisanne said...

Errm.. the discipline priest part is a bit... funny...

Anonymous said...

Hi there, have personally been playing WoW since release, and as a priest the entire way. After reading this, I felt compelled to post.

"It's my firm belief that discipline priests are the new "warlocks" of healers. They have nearly all the mobility that druids do,"

I'm going to stop you right there. I'm assuming you meant something else other than mobility, because lord knows we have no escape mechanisms save a very unreliable fear (unless you're shadow - in which case you have enough +hit to make this decent, but we're not talking about shadow priests here). We're quite vulnerable to CC mechanisms. Mace stuns happen to be my personal favorite as zero skill is involved in them.

"with more offensive tools in the way of dispel and mass dispel."

Whoa whoa whoa now. Us having dispel is nothing new. It's been that way since Nov. 04, so I'm assuming you're talking about Mass Dispel, which is mostly used for taking off immunity effects, and infrequently at any other time.


"In addition, power infusion is pretty nuts to slap on a mage or warlock, and the new pain suppression is basically an 85% undispelable (as most priests take silent resolve) divine shield to anyone on their team or themselves."

No, most priests don't take this talent, or at least I hope they don't. 20% dispel resistance for 5 points, especially when those 5 points can be better used elsewhere, is definitely not worth it. Don't say threat, nobody in their right mind specs full Disc for serious raiding. PS is a 40% reduction, which is far far far cry from immunity. It's enough to compensate for the reduced healing and the abundance of MS type effects for a short while. And PI is nothing new either, and really doesn't need changes. 20% isn't a tremendous boost, even on a large hit (3k frostbolt hitting for 3600 instead). Decent? Yes. Overpowered? With a 3 min cooldown and 15 sec duration, absolutely not.


It also appears that in catering to the whines about how absolutely critical blessed resilience was to any healing priest build, that Blizzard caved into giving them a very similar talent with Focused Will.

Considering we were having to spec Holy to get a survival talent instead of spec'ing Disc to get a survival talent, this change was absolutely needed. Frankly, it made zero sense that the "survival" tree provided less protection than the holy tree. The fact that FW is even there allows us to take the rest of the tree, hence the increased frequency of seeing Disc priests, which, I believe, was the intention of Blizzard in the first place.

"The downside to all this tremendous power? I guess their healing efficiency is down maybe 10% from the old 28/33 disc/holy build, but their overall utility has skyrocketed."

By taking disc you lose SG in addition to SH, and probably improved healing as well. Most also lose a couple of points in empowered healing as well. I won't even count in SoR or improved prayers. That comes out to quite a bit closer to 20%. I better have something decent to make up for the lack of escape mechanisms and low defense (cloth). Every other healing class has decent defensive mechanisms.

"Oh, and any other warlock will tell you how much BS prayer of mending is as well. That crap needs to at least heal for less after each jump. It's pretty sad that one single heal on a relatively short cooldown, can effectively protect 3 people from being completely dotted up. No opportunities for spell locking a big heal like you can on a paladin (which is their biggest weakness). Nope. Priests will always be the thorn in my warlocks side."

Don't DoT 3 people. I win just about every game against a warlock that DoTs multiple people. It' intended to counter DoTs and multiple damage sources. However, if that lock CoTs the healers and DoTs only the current focused target, then they've got a much much higher chance of winning. I see only about 1 in 20 that actually do this however.


Remember, we're anti casters. We're supposed to counter mages and warlocks (and certain caster hybrid specs). I have all kinds of classes than can counter me. I'm sure you can deal with one or two yourself. It's the nature of the game. If you had zero counters, then the game would be imbalanced.


-Belin/Cerin of Khadgar

Anonymous said...

i cant stand clueless people. this post is 80% crap.

Anonymous said...

A warlock complaining about priests.

Incredible. What a load of shit.

Anonymous said...

"They have nearly all the mobility that druids do"

How can you possibly say something this ignorant? I play a druid. Priests do not have NEARLY the mobility of a decent druid. They can't dispel crippling poison! They have no "feral charge" which serves as a nearly foolproof escape against a warrior who just intercepted. They can't CANCEL EVERY SINGLE SNARE/ROOT WITH A NO COOLDOWN ABILITY.

I simply don't understand how you can say that priests have the mobility of druids.