Friday, May 6, 2011

T12 Set Bonuses - Random Thoughts

We've got our first glance at the new t12 set bonuses, and they're definitely... interesting. I'm actually really happy about the design of the new priest tier, unlike some others. Maybe because I thought basically anything would be better than the t11 design, which I really didn't like nor get the idea behind. T12 is obviously designed to fit Firelands, which makes total sense and looks cool (although there apparently is a "green" set which doesn't have a speck of green in it). I won't be discouraged by the fact that the human model they use at mmo-champ looks like a total paint-licker, because I know they always do.

Yeah, that looks so much better.

Obviously we can't say much about how any set bonuses will turn out to work in practice, but have to evaluate them at face value. Also, we can assume that Blizzard will make some changes to them before they go live, just to give us bloggers more fodder to nerdrage muse about. Still, as always this gives us a hint about what Blizzard has planned for our class. Here are couple I'd like to comment about (which mainly is based on whether I have a clue about that class or not). As always, they don't seem all that balanced across the classes or roles.

Let me just start out by saying that I am happy that these bonuses are finally designed to be equally accessible to holy and discipline. This was definitely not the case with tier11. That doesn't mean I think the new set bonuses are all good however.
2 set Holy/Disc
"Your Flash Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal spells cause you to regenerate 2% of your base mana every 5 sec for 15 sec."
Solid and simple. Every healer got something in line with this, although in slightly different ways (which I'll get to). 2% base mana is ridiculously low of course, but to us at least this will work "passively" in that we don't have to think much about how to get this bonus. We'll just heal as normal and it'll be there. The question is rather how useful this bonus will turn out in the end. Although I still use Heal (and to a lesser extent FH and GH) quite a lot, we're moving away from these skills more and more. 2% base mana is roughly 400 mana, depending a little on what class you happen to be (druids have less, paladins and shamans have more) which means we'll regenerate 1200 mana each time this procs. Over the course of 15 seconds I might very well throw one or two more Heals, will I get 1200 additional mana,  or can I only have one of these buffs active at the time? Time will tell, and it will make all the difference.

4set Holy/Disc
"You have a chance when you cast a helpful spell to summon a Cauterizing Flame. Friendly raid and party members can use the Cauterizing Flame to be instantly healed for 4625 to 5375. Lasts for 45 sec sec or 10 charges. After using the Cauterizing Flame, players cannot benefit from it again for 10 sec."
This is interesting. In a way it's awful, because it doesn't actually increase our healing by jack shit. It allows us to allow other people to heal themselves, and we all know how much we like that kind of healing. It can be fricking awesome when people know to use the Lightwell (or Cauterizing Flame in this case), and it's useless when they don't. I like Lightwell because we have the choice not to use it if we don't want to - and focus more on the reliable heals (namely our own). This set bonus forces our healing to rely more on the group than ever before however, this seems to be what Blizzard want priest healing to be all about. To an extent, any healing relies a lot on the cooperation of the group. You don't want people to stand in bad stuff and you want them to move into good stuff. But anyone who's ever screamed at a person to use Lightwell knows it's a big step between having people move into a Healing Rain, and having them click that pretty thing. So many things about this set bonus will come down to how this Cauterizing Flame works. Eventhough they fixed Lightwell, it still has some issues. For instance it is both difficult to see and to target when close to a big boss, where we often have the most reason to place it. And with the Lightwell we can at least decide where to put it. Will we be able to with the CF? The wording implies that we won't. The design of the CF will determine how useful it is, but even if it worked exactly like an extra Lightwell I'm not all peaches about this set bonus. I would've preferred some straight up healing instead. I don't mind Blizzard giving us gimmicky set bonuses, in fact I think that that is what set bonuses should be all about, but they should be given to everyone then. This way everyone is sad - priests for having an unreliable set bonus, and everyone else for having boring ones.

4 set Feral
"Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to extend the duration of Berserk by 2 sec and your Barkskin ability grants an additional 10% chance to dodge for 12 sec."
Both the cat and the bear part of this set bonus raises some questions. Let's start with the bear part. Although getting an extra 10% dodge does sound really nice, if we look more closely we realize that this is a poor design choice. Since Barkskin lowers damage taken, adding dodge to that skill is devaluating the damage reduction buff. This means that the set bonus doesn't provide Barkskin damage reduction + 10% dodge, but actually a little less. It doesn't have to be a big issue, but it's still worth noting. Blizzard could probably have thought of something better there like - "once Barkskin drops off, you gain 10% dodge for 12 seconds". Or something that at least wasn't counter intuitive. We see the same issue with the protadin and prot warrior bonuses, while the blood dk bonus is exactly what the bonus should've looked like for all the tank classes - a real enhancement of a skill rather than this weird bonus.

Poor feral cats are going to have hell over their new set bonus. Extending the duration of Berserk is great, it's just the way it has to be done that is questionable. 2 seconds isn't very long, but of course, you can use several finishers within the duration of Berserk to extend it further. Theoretically you could extend it for quite some time if you're dang lucky with procs and just use Shred + Ferocious Bite over and over. Problem about it is that it kind of screws with the feral cat rotation - using a finisher is rarely the best course of action, actually in most cases it's lower dpe than to just continue to Shred. This leaves cats with the choice of using a lesser skill for a chance to extend the berserk, and in the end this might very well alter the entire cat rotation. There are so many "ifs" about this. It might be that it's only worth using when you have 5 cp, and that would mean only increasing berserk by a few seconds anyway. I'm glad I won't have to do the maths on this one.

2 set balance
"You have a chance to summon a Burning Treant to assist you in battle for 15 sec when you cast Wrath or Starfire."
I just hope it's not yet another friendly add that steals away heals from my Circle of Healing and ground heals...

4 set
"Your Tricks of the Trade ability also causes you to gain a 25% increase to one of your combat ratings at random for 30 sec."
I'll openly admit that the class I probably know the least about are rogues. I still think that their set bonus looks odd, to say the least. First of all, I wouldn't like any set bonus to rely on you being close to a certain target. TotT requires the rogue to be close to someone who wouldn't mind the extra threat, which nearly always is the tank. Sure, the rogue will most likely always be close to the tank in any case, but I don't like having it as a prerequisite. What would you healers enjoy it if your set bonus said something along the lines of "when you heal the person with the most max hp" or "when you're close to a mage". It just doesn't sound right. Also, 25% is a heck load, but as it stands now I imagine it could be to a combat rating that isn't worth very much, like hit or expertise. Or god forbid, block and resilience, but I don't think Blizzard would be that silly. I know I'd be fairly nerdragey if I managed to proc a 25% expertise bonus three times in a row. Let's just hope they've limited it to haste, mastery and crit chance bonuses. In which case this might instead be a little too good of a bonus.

2 set Holy
"Casting Flash of Light, Holy Light, or Divine Light on your Beacon of Light target has a 40% chance to grant you 2% of your base mana."
I can only imagine that the huge difference in quality between the paladin regen set bonus and all the other healers, is because Blizzard think paladins are having an easy time with mana. Personally I think mana is very little of an issue on my little holydin, but this little? Not only does the set bonus only have a chance to proc like the shaman and resto druid one, it has a target requirement unlike all the others. And yet again, 2% base mana is so very little, I just can't see how holydins will be bothered with this at all. We'll see if this turns out to be balanced, Blizzard has way more numbers than I do after all.


  1. I totally agree about the silly 4pc priest bonus. I have enough trouble getting people to click the lolwell when it's predictably placed and announced. Good luck getting them to notice that the fire has (randomly) spawned and click it.

  2. Tricks is 100 yards now and is used on cd atleast by me, so this will probably be a ok buff for rogues me thinks depending on what stat that will be boosted.

  3. An interesting idea that has been discussed elsewhere since the setbonuses were announced is the possibility of perhaps combining the healing priest 2-set bonus with the shadowpriest 2-set bonus which reduces the cooldown of shadowfiend by 75 seconds and adds some fire damage (20%) when it bitchslaps it's target. Depending on what pieces can be swapped and how much spirit will be there or be missing on them it could be a neat mana gain and an unorthodox idea for a setbonus that isn't completely quirky.

  4. I'm glad to see it modeled on a female character. Nothing irks me more than having my midsection showing.

    On the bonuses, I want that two piece right now! *grabby hands* The four bonus is interesting. I wonder how it is going to work. The heal from it is a drop in the bucket for our inflated health pools so I wonder if it will be modified by a spellpower and/or mastery.

  5. @Zel
    That's exactly what I'm thinking. I'm not even sure I'll notice it. And how often will it spawn? So many questions - and few things that hint that this will turn out to be awesome.

    Right, had totally forgotten about the tricks change, really should play my rogue more often ;) I do think Blizzard have put some thought into the combat rating procs, but it will be interesting to see. Could be awesome, could be awful!

    That's actually a really interesting idea. I'm usually not lucky enough to get enough tier pieces to ever get to try cool stuff like this (oh why do I have to share tier with paladins, they're everywhere...), but it would be fun to do some maths or musing around in any case. I can definitely see that that combo culd turn out to be more effective than the 4set currently is for healers.

    Yeah, I have a looong list of things I would like to have clarified about our 4set, but alas, I will just have to wait and hope for the best for now. I'm still optimistic enough to think that Blizzard wants to give us something useful.

  6. ... Wow, you really no nothing about rogues, huh?

    Tricks of the Trade has a 100-yard range and should be used every time it's off CD. Glyphed into it (as is standard) it's a free 10% damage buff for 6 seconds. Nothing special, but it's free and keeps threat off you in case you have it.

    In any case, rogues don't use crit, so I'd be more pissed if it was crit over expertise. Rogues (at least Assassin, which is what you should be using for PvE) stack first Hit (of course), Mastery, Haste, Expertise, THEN Crit.

    But that set bonus is absolutely broken. Granted, Hit would be worthless, but... you do realize that falls EXACTLY in line with ToT CD, right? That means this proc is a basically PERMANENT increase to a secondary stat. Every time the buff falls up all you have to do is hit ToT again and it's back up. It's an absolutely broken bonus, even if you do get unlucky and get hit a couple times or something.

  7. @Anon
    Exactly! That's what I get for trying to say things about stuff I have no idea about ;) But my point seems to be pretty accurate anyway, that there is something iffy about the bonus in either case - be it too good or too bad.