Archive for 4.1

Collateral Damage

Posted in News, Raids and Instances, Shadowpriest, Theory with tags , , on February 26, 2011 by Natarumah

When we refer to Collateral Damage, we mean the damage that is caused as a side-effect to actions we have taken. For example, if you drive your car into the front of your local store, you don’t just wreck the front but also hurt people and, of course, the service you will receive from then on is likely to be lousy.

And at this point I can’t shake the feeling that we are a bit “collateral” at the moment, and after patch 4.1. If you’ve checked some of the messages and data discovered over at MMO-Champion, you’ll see that there are a few things (PvP balance issues, what else?) that are going to be biting us in the robes again.

  • Dispel Magic can only be used on the casting priest as a baseline effect

And then in the Holy and Discipline trees:

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.

In other words, we Shadow Priests lose the ability to use Dispel Magic offensively, and we can’t help out our raid/party healers with it either. This means that in raids, we aren’t going to be bringing our Dispelling on anything but ourselves, which is quite a shame.

In the old days, knowing when to help the raids with a well-placed Power Word: Shield or Dispelling duty could make you stand out, could show you were more than a warlock-wannabe.

I am sure it’s all meant for PvP – but I can’t fathom what they wanted to balance out. I mean, our survivability is quite low because of the changes to VE, despite the increase in Power Word: Shield. Our damage is spikey and unreliable in PvP due to Mastery, and I don’t think Shadowpriest is a very popular spec to take into Arenas…

All priests lose the offensive Dispel, which basically limits it now to Shamans (I think) with their Purge, and sometimes the Mages if they can Spellsteal it. I can only imagine that the developers have tired of trying to balance the dispelling system, and simply said: “only Shamans can do offensive dispelling, and they can’t use Bloodlust in Arenas so it’s balanced”. That way they don’t have to balance it, since only Shamans can.

I feel a bit worried that more and more is sacrificed to the balance game, and that the game is more about “doing your role” rather than being smart and figuring out new things to do or making a difference as a person. If you combine the balancing done on classes since 3.0 (Bring the Player not the Class), 4.0 (Increased homogenization of classes, balacing of damage, Mastery used to smooth out differences) and now (Removal of dispels) all comes down to this:

“Abilities that allowed a player to stand out among his raid members other than through the accepted channels of Tank Peen/Healing meters/DPS Outputs have been removed.”

While the game has become more advanced, and the ways in which we play our roles have been greatly improved, I am getting the feeling more and more that it hardly matters who’s playing it. If you remove the “smart players die less/do more damage/heal more” argument (in other words, play with capable people), all you are left with is that they are pretty much interchangeable.

WoW has become much more easy to begin, and easy to learn – but standing out above the crowd, being truly excellent, is harder than ever. It has begun to lost its marvel, and it feels like the balancing has become a whip cracking over our backs, and fun is sacrified in the process.

But we’ll see how it pans out – it’s on the PTR, but a lot never made it past that phase before. Let’s hope that the developers keep us (you know, the third priest spec) in mind when dealing out the Black Ace of game balance.