Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Patch 4.1 - These buffs aren't good enough

A bunch of interesting patch notes have come up again, here are a few that stood out;

Various instances are being nerfed. It must be tricky for Blizzard to decide how and what to nerf, because there has to be some difficulty left to the fight or we will be back to where we were in Wrath where most classes could solo the heroic instances, making them not so heroic. On the other hand, they don't want us to continously avoid certain parts or grow tired of the instances overall just because some mechanics are so annoying. Even though I personally thought that the Ground Slam Ozruk did was challenging in a fun way, it was also quite unforgiving, and one mistake when poorly geared would lead to a wipe. I've been lucky, but I know people who've wiped some 10 times on that boss (before giving up probably), and that's just not fun when all you were looking for was a fast heroic before work. I have to shamely admit that I have jumped a couple of dungeons because I just didn't enjoy the prospect of having to run them through with people I couldn't count on getting things right, mostly Wailing Caverns. So although I'm not completely certain I like instance nerfs, I do understand why Blizzard does them.

Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.
Sanctuary has always been the iffiest of the different ground heals. Not only do you need to be in a certain Chakra stance to use it, it doesn't heal for very much and also has the same drawbacks as Healing Rain and Efflorescence in that you actually have to place it somewhere where people will stand, for it to be of any use at all. In a fight with alot of movement it adds a level of planning which can either be fun or not so fun, depending alot on what else there is to think about. Otherwise that can turn into some pretty badly used mana. This has made Sanctuary very situational, and I really welcome the rather big healing buff. This combined with the Chakra buff they're making might actually lure me back to holy healing again.

Death Knight
Desecration no longer triggers when an applicable strike hits a snare-immune target. This is primarily to avoid unnecessary spell effect clutter during boss encounters.
I remember having one hell of a time when tanking Commander Springvale in SFK, having an unholy dk dpsing. It was completely impossible to distinguish between his Desecration and that of the boss which made me pretty glad that I use DBM even for instances. I am glad they are fixing this, but I think they could've taken it even further, making the overall spell effect less noticeable. They don't have to remove the funny looking hands, but the rest feels less necessary for people to get the hint.

Cleansing Waters now has a 6-second internal cooldown.
I'm not sure if The Cleansing Waters talent made the shaman dispel OP from other classes dispels. Their  dispel is the cheapest of the bunch (well, equally cheap as the paladin one actually), and it also heals people. Priests can glyph their dispel to heal as well, and then it actually heals for more than Cleansing Waters and scales better with gear. The differences aren't gamebreakingly huge, and they never bothered me. I usually thought the shaman dispel was slightly better than everyone elses, but by a margin. With this change, I suppose the glyphed priest dispel will jump up to first position. Put on dispel duty again...

Nature's Swiftness now also increases the healing done by th eaffected nature spell by 50%.
All buffs are buffs. With that being said, I'm not sure what Blizzard wants us to think about this? The reason druids (and shamans) don't like NS today, is because it's a pretty shitty 3 min cd (shamans have 2 min cd though). With good gear and using your biggest spell (Healing Touch), you could bump someone up for 30k ish, non crit. Looking at saving a tank who has 200k hp and taking a blow for 100k, that's just not very impressive. It would've been ok with a 1,5 min cooldown, it's pretty bad with a 3 min cooldown. Even if they buff it with 50%, we're looking at 45k instead. Good enough for a 3 min cd? I don't think so. Compare it to cooldowns like Barrier (2 min cd), Divine Guardian (2 min cd, but getting 3), Pain Supression (3 min cd), Guardian Spirit (3 min cd) and so on. It doesn't measure up. I think they should either lower the cooldown, make NS actually heal alot (which might make it too much like LoH) or change the way it works. Maybe add an absorb/mitigation component?

Flask of Steelskin now grants 450 Stamina, up from 300. The Mixology bonus for alchemists remains at 120 stamina.
If it weren't for the cost, it was clearly superior to use two elixirs as tank over the stamina flask. 300 intellect is increasing my intellect by approximately 5%. This depends completely on what gear you've got, and since I am actually intellect heavy, my percentual gain from the flask is less than if I had had less intellect. Still, a good geared tank has alot more stamina than a good geared caster has intellect. Not to mention that 1 stamina is worth less than 1 intellect for sure. To most tanks the old 300 stamina added some 2-3% stamina, while the intellect flask added some 5-7% intellect, making the stamina flask half as good as the caster one (the Strength and Agi one being as the Intellect one in gain). 450 stamina is actually getting there, adding some 8-9% extra hp (which completely depends on your gear as mentioned, I've calculated it on 5000 stamina). It might make it worth more than elixirs, but it's on the edge, and I think well geared druids would still prefer an agi flask over the stamina one.


  1. Yeah, I still don't think I'll take Nature's Swiftness. There are too many good alternatives. Regrowth is almost always fine whenever a fast heal is needed.

    Maybe in the next tier, when mana is not as tight.

  2. The Shaman Cleansing Waters change is almost certainly a PVP nerf and priests most likely won't see the same nerf because they aren't quite as prevalent with the various cleave type teams at the top of ever bracket.

  3. Not to repeatedly comment, but as for the Natures Swiftness change, they can't make it too powerful since druids are already amazing healers in PVP, and the can't change it to just a direct heal, because one of the best uses for it is for an instant cast cyclone, which is sometimes the only way to get away from a persistent DK or warrior.

  4. @Will
    Yes, the pve-pvp balancing act at its finest...

    Priests did get a dispel nerf though, since they made it so shadow priests can only dispel themselves (or was it only dispel others?) now. I can imagine, as you say, that NS is alot more useful in pvp than pve, so they have to be careful what they do with it.