Saturday, March 12, 2011

Patch 4.1 - On cooldowns, stances and pets

Another week, another set of patch notes! No wait, they come way more often than once a week. So what have Blizzard put on the billboard for us this time?

Priests now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Divine Hymn and Hymn of Hope.
I remember Loves comment when he read this was "so you have great cooldowns and pushback protection on them?!" Yeah, but they're on 6 vs 8 minute cooldown. "So what, so is Tranquility" he said, and then he scrolled down to the tranquility change (more about that soon). My first thought was that why should we get a pushback protection to these skills? I feel like half the point of them are to find a good time to use them. There lies a moment of skill in being able to identify this time. On the other hand most fights have some sort of aoe damage going around which means there are rarely a good openig to use them, meaning most priests won't dare to use them at all or never ever get the full duration of them going, which in the end lowers their usefulness quite alot of course. Considering they are such long cooldowns, they might need pushback protection to actually feel like the "omgomgcd" that they are supposed to be (and also druids can use Barkskin for it).

The direct damage portion of Holy Fire can now trigger Evangelism.
With Glyph of Smite, Holy Fire has the potential to make Atonement really good. 20% extra healing is awesome if you're one of those priests who use Atonement. Problem was of course that we had no extra hit with Holy Fire and having to cast it at all was a huge gap in our healing output. That's 2 seconds of non-healing that might result in a miss and ultimately wasted mana and time. This change won't do anything about the hit problem unfortunately, which I would rather have seen tbh. But at least it is something.

Chakra now lasts until canceled, up from 1 minute.
One of the reasons I prefer disc over holy right now is actually because I thought Chakra was too much of a hassle. It worked like a buff, when it was actually nothing like a buff. Power Infusion is a buff, Archangel is a buff. Our healing works well without it, but it is great with our buffs. Chakra on the other hand is a necessity. Healing without it sucks. Having to juggle Chakra becomes second nature for holy priests after a while, but I know it scares new holy priests off. Having to think about recasting that thing all the time, and then cast the appropiate spell to get into the right stance (and too bad if your brain lapses for a second and you cast the wrong spell, only to be stuck in the wrong stance for 30 seconds) is asking too much. I'm not saying this is difficult, I am saying it feels like a meaningless extra strain. This is an awesome change. But. BUT! They must change how holy 4 set bonus works if they are doing this change. It was ridiculous before, this change would make it to a permanent 540 spirit bonus. That's just bad design.

Surge of Light can now also trigger from Binding Heal.
Remember when I told you that the constant mini-tweaks to spells would make us confused? See, I thought Sol already procced from BH, but I guess I was wrong! Or psychic.

Malfurion's Gift now reduces the cooldown of Tranquility by 2.5/5 minutes.
Druids are nervous that this is supposed to be the new, cool raid cooldown that Blizzard have been talking about giving them. Talking about promising sparkly ponies and not delivering. At least that is what the resto druid community thinks. Do I agree with them? Partially. I will probably expand on this thought in its own post, because it is a really interesting subject but in short: Should druids have their own raid cooldown? Sure, of course, everyone deserves cooldowns. Does it have to be a mitigation cooldown? Well I wish it didn't have to be, but Blizzard designs the game and the fights, and all healers need to be able to cope with those demands. Druids feel they are lacking, and in 10 mans they might definitely do so. I just don't like the idea of pushing all healers into the same categories. I actually like that all healers have their different roles and that they can complete different areas better than others. But it is difficult for Blizzard to combine the idea of uniqueness with "bring the player, not the class".

The troll druid models for Flight Form and Swift Flight Form has slimmed down to be more in scale with other druid flight forms.
Thank you! There were so many things about the new Bat form that just wasn't right. It was huge, it repeatedly would freeze its animations, if you bubbled it the bubble ended up underneath the model and so on...

    Bloodthirsty no longer generates Happiness.
    Carrion Feeder no longer restores Happiness.
    The Feed Pet ability now instantly heals 50% of the pet's health. Cannot be used in combat. Requires diet-appropriate food.
    Guard Dog no longer causes Growl to generate additional Happiness.
    The Happiness/Pet Loyalty System has been removed. Hunters will no longer have to manage Happiness for their pets, and the previous damage bonus for pets being happy will now be baseline for all tamed pets.
I read a funny comment on these patch notes on wowinsider saying "now if they could only remove pets alltogether I'd be a happy hunter" (paraphrased). I'm not sure what warrants these changes, because I don't know of any hunter who thinks their pets are a big problem. I understand the arrow change, and I like it. But caring for your pet was something of a thing about being a hunter. It made hunters unique. I only wish warlock demons needed to be fed with souls or something to deal more damage. Once upon a time pets were special. Now they're just a buff that can die.

A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses.
One of those designers choices one would think would come natural to have fixed like 6 years ago. But better late than never!


  1. "Glyph of Divine Accuracy now also affects Holy Fire in addition to Smite."

    Sure, Atonement looks more interesting now, but i do not like the way how atonement works.
    We killed Halfus HC and i do not use atonement and this is actually the boss to spam Smite as much as you can to get high hps.

    We have to drop such interesting talents to skill atonement, somthing like ToT or SoS.

    And SoS or ToT makes the disc more interssting as dealing dmg to heal something.

    I hope everyone will unterstand my german-english ;)


  2. @Hoppe
    Yeah, I know some priests hope or think that this might be the push Atonement need to be viable. Personally it would need a rather huge buff for me to use it. Right now it's not very good, but I don't like the way it works either. But on the other hand, if it worked well I might enjoy it more. I don't think this glyph will make much enough of a difference though.

  3. "But caring for your pet was something of a thing about being a hunter. It made hunters unique."

    I was starting to feel like I was the only one on my blogging circuit that wasn't enthused over the loss of the Happiness/Loyalty mechanic. One more reason I'm glad you're on my reading list. :)

    I gotta admit, got a little misty reading that ...

  4. They removed the happiness-system for pets because it was basically not a game mechanic anymore. It did not add anything to gameplay and you never had to even look at it.

    Why? Pets gained happiness automatically through their talents and through you glyphing your mend pet.

    Saying this is "dumbing down hunter gameplay" is not really accurate. Absolutely nothing has changed after this patch that will affect your gameplay. Saying that it removes flavor has some merit I guess but really, we never, ever, ever had to care about the happiness meter. How is it affecting the flavor if we don't even look at it?


  5. @Gav
    I agree that this step hardly was the "dumbing down" factor. But happiness did matter once upon a time. Happiness wasn't always provided through pet talents and glyphs. I'm not saying happiness and tending for your pet is all there is to hunters, hardly. Just that if you remove everything that made the pet special, then why keep it at all? It's like they're only preparing us for removing pets alltogether.

  6. Regarding your Chakra comment, I don't know what you use for healing, I happen to use VuhDo. On initial setup every time I do a fresh UI reload, I set Chakra on my Holy settings as an autotrigger, so it fires off every cooldown. This works wonderfully, and normally amplifies Heal, but during AOE heal phases, sets to the other one.... I am horrible with names, including Chakra states.


  7. You know, now that I think about it, I don't do too much "difficult" healing, my take on Chakra might not work if you HAD TO change states at certain times to effectively deal with the big something. But for 95% of the time, I am betting it would work perfect for most.