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Healin’ in Hyjal: Let’s talk Cataclysm

July 12, 2010
Mount Hyjal

(Picture of Hyjal only loosely related to topic.)

I’m not one to scour every last word of blue Blizzard posts for changes to the game due in Cataclysm; partially because these changes are often drastic, but mostly because I like to have some sense of discovery when I have the game in my carpal-tunneled little paws. I do keep up with the broad changes, and there are a few I’m really excited about. The new talent trees are exciting–I like the idea of slimming them down and streamlining so that I don’t have to choose between one crappy talent and another crappy talent. I always like seeing what they’re doing with professions, especially Engineering. What I’ve really been paying attention to lately, though, are changes in Healing.

Blizz is tossing around a couple of ideas that are really going to make it challenging for healers and tanks. The first major change to healers is the way our mana pools work. Their claim is that we healers have too easy a time with mana regeneration and large mana pools; I agree 100% with this. The hardest part of healing in WOTLK is dealing with the environmental dangers (fire shooting up from the floor, dragon tailswipes) or dealing with races against time (healing someone up quickly enough). I run out of mana more quickly on my mage than I ever do on my shaman.

On the other hand, I’m so used to it being cushy now, that despite thinking that it’s too easy, I will probably complain a lot the first time I’m out of mana.

The other thing I’m thinking about is threat decay. This is being implemented to make tanks work harder, but with lazy DPS used to magic tanking, it will be a challenge for healers as well. Threat decay basically means that threat will start to drop off after awhile and a tank will have to work to re-establish threat. It means no more faceroll tanking. That means when the hunter in your raid doesn’t use his misdirect properly and goes balls to the wall before the tank can establish threat, you will have to be on your toes–or, do what I do and let him die.

What do you think–are you excited to be returning to a healing challenge or tanking challenge? Are you ready for World of Warcraft to be difficult again–or, do you believe it will be?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. jomabivi89 permalink
    July 13, 2010 11:32 am

    I must say that I’m excited about Cataclysm for this very reason. I’ve played wow for almost six years, and for all this time I’ve played a healer (priest)… Until this spring that is. It has come so far that you actually have no problem to heal a heroic group being shadow specced… which is really depressing. And as you say, healing in raid, who ever looks at her/his mana bar nowadays? I remember in Molten Core and BWL, how you actually had to keep track on that blue stripe below your health indicator…
    I’m excited, and I hope Blizzard really makes it “harder” again, but I would probably use the word “fun” and “challenging” instead… because I really miss playing my priest.

  2. July 13, 2010 12:06 pm

    I have to agree. I also didn’t like the way that they made it so easy to gear up once you hit 80–I don’t think it’s good that you can go from blues and greens to level 245 epics in a week. It takes the sense of accomplishment out of it, especially since, as a healer, the play style is significantly easier.

    • jomabivi89 permalink
      July 13, 2010 1:42 pm

      Agreed. It should be an accomplishment to have “epic” gear. (I mean, what’s the name for otherwise…) In one way it is good that Blizzard are looking towards the “causal” player, but it should still take some time to achieve something. It shouldn’t be possible to gain a purple item at the wink of an eye. It didn’t used to be that way.. and it shouldn’t continue to. Some argue that Blizzard are “money”-focused. That they are making it easier to gain money from a broader audience. I suppose what they are now realizing, is that the audience they had are starting to bail out.
      I truly hope they make a good move with this expansion.

  3. July 13, 2010 1:59 pm

    Blizzard definitely went overboard trying to make it easier for the casuals. I think the division between 10 and 25 man for difficulty could have been a good idea to allow the casuals to experience content, but I think the difficulties were too close together. I think the 25 mans largely ended up being less difficult than the 10-mans when they should have been much more challenging for dedicated players. I’ve never been a “hardcore” player but when I do raid, I want it to be challenging. To me, having a challenging 10-man setting that a smaller guild could progress through, perhaps at a slower rate, would have been fine. I used to be in a smaller guild that wasn’t as raid focused, but in this time we could have easily progressed through the raid content and have been bored by the time ICC was introduced. I’m bored with the game until Cataclysm comes out.

    The other thing that I disliked about the 245 gear for emblems is that it made raid content obsolete quickly. Nobody has to run OS or Naxx or Ulduar anymore; I didn’t even finish Ulduar because TOC came out and we moved onto that. Plus, “core” raiders in guilds get to level up alts, gear them quickly, and push out other players from their roles. “Oh, I’m healing this week, don’t you have a DPS? No? Well, you can go next week I guess.” Before, it was a pain to get an alt geared up for raids; now people in my guild have three or four characters that are raid ready. I have alts, but only two are geared enough and I only raid with one because I like to focus on one character; now I have to share my gear and my spot with people who may not even play that character next week.

    • jomabivi89 permalink
      July 14, 2010 4:16 am

      I really never got the idea of having several alts and characters. I am the sort of person that only focuses on one character at a time.. and I’ve never liked the type that has 8 characters with top gear. Yes, their reasons are most likely “I’m bored”, but it still doesn’t make up for the other people in the guild. But this is more a matter of community issues rather than game mechanics. Though, I suppose the changes that has been done in WOTLK (mainly) has increased this behaviour. In vanilla you didn’t have the time to gear up several alts, more less the oppertunity to do it. 40 people in a raid takes more time to gear up than 10 (or 25).

      I agree that 25-man is actually easier than 10-man. Which is the clear opposite from what Blizzard’s ambitions were. Another thing that has got wow to become “different” is the whole gear score thing. Before gear score came along, you actually had to think a little… check the gear, talk with the person, but mostly you had to take a chance that the guy was good and capable… and sometimes you messed up – but that’s life, right? Now, gear score is mostly everything. If you don’t have 5K you’re not invited. The level of score/gear doesn’t say everything about the ability to handle a certain raid. Someone with top scores might be a lousy player, and someone with not as much might know exactly how to play his/her character. The only classes that gear score would be somewhat proportional to output dmg is meele classes. Caster’s don’t have that issue – they are more flexible in their possibilities to heal/dmg.. Though, I suppose… gear and skill has become more important in raids due to the low number of people required. 40 people in Molten Core with 10 “bad” ones, didn’t matter as much as 10 people in Ulduar with 3 “bad” ones. One can’t help but wonder… how pugs came to be more general than guild runs. Especially when the number of players needed has half of what it used to be.

      • July 14, 2010 3:14 pm

        I do think the changes in WOTLK are largely responsible for people leveling lots of alts and taking them to raids. My alts are not for raiding because I think I would stab myself in the eye if I were to grind out heroics enough to get ALL of them geared (they are more for profession purposes); but, some people are doing it, partly because they can do it fairly easily, partly because their main is already geared to the nines with EasyRaid® and they’re bored. I don’t like the way that has changed the guild raiding dynamic.

        GearScore is something that drives me insane, too, because people don’t recognize what it’s for. It doesn’t mean you’re skilled enough, it just means you have enough gear; if you suck at your class, you still won’t put out the numbers.

        10-mans *are* quite difficult due only to having 10 players, which is exactly why I think there should be a larger gap in difficulty between 10- and 25-man. If you are kind of a noob guild and you aren’t able to raid as much, it should be a lot easier (and the gear can be not nearly as good). Then the 25-mans can be much more difficult for the guild that is more serious about raiding; the encounters should also be quite a bit different, with more extra abilities by the boss and so forth, so that people don’t run the easy 10-man to get used to the fight for 25-man. As it is now, the difficulty levels are so similar that 10-mans seem harder because you have fewer people.

        The whole PuG thing isn’t an issue as much on my server, mostly because I am on a teeny tiny lil server where everyone pretty much knows everyone else. Some do still ask for GS, but a lot of the time they’ll look at your guild tag first. And we generally make fun of anybody who is trying to pug more than 1 – 2 players 😉

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