What will patch 1.05 mean for you

Right then, here’s the 1.05 patch notes. The big thing to note with these is that they are up on the test server, which means that they’re going to get some testing and possibly some tweaking before they go live. So love them or hate them, the sky has not fallen. If they turn out not to have the effect Mythic wanted on the test servers then there will be changes, these are not set in stone. If you have access to a test realm (ie. not in the EU) and are feeling sparky, go test and give feedback.

Having said that, we can certainly read through the patch notes and get an idea of the sorts of changes they want to make and how they see some of the classes and abilities at the moment.

A few bloggers have already summed up changes for classes they play: Regis discusses 1.05 and Warrior Priests, Syp discusses engineers, A Wall of Text talks over the non-class specific changes.

But because you can never have enough summaries, here’s mine!

Healers

Every healer has had their main HoT spell adjusted to do the same amount of healing as it does now, but spread over 24 seconds. So each tick will be ticking for less. This is a sizable healing nerf because the reason people have been getting such high healing numbers in scenarios is by HoTting up their whole team.

Healers have also had their damage adjusted upwards, which should help for soloing and make levelling much less painful.

I’m in two minds about these changes. Casting HoTs blindly on everyone is pretty dull, I much prefer keeping an eye on what’s going on around me and responding to that. On the other hand, dps is outdistancing healing in Tier 4 by quite a lot at the moment. No one thinks healers have too much survivability. So a patch where several classes get more damage and all healers get less healing could tip the balance even further away from support.

I’m hoping that Mythic plan to move towards more fun healing and away from the constant HoTs so we’ll see how these pan out on the test server. I’m very happy about the increased damage though. That was needed. There are also some bug fixes for various classes but that’s the main gist of the healing changes.

Damage Dealing

DoTs are being made more consistent which looks as though it means that most of them get a damage buff. The damage buff in most cases is to do with the spell getting more of an effect gear stats (ie. Int). But there are some spells that simply got a damage increase independent of gear.

All the abilities which reduced heals by more than 50% (affects Marauders and Witch Elves) now are being nerfed to 50% heal reductions.

Wizards and Sorceresses

The main nerfs here are:

  • the fact that root now has a chance to break on damage, so no rooting people and then nuking them down.
  • immunity on root which will leave these classes lower in survivability
  • combustion is slower to build
  • root now available at rank 12, not rank 10. (ie. not in Tier 1)
  • HoTs ticking for less makes it harder for healers to keep these guys up when they’re nuking at full combustion

Other than that, they got a solid damage buff with the DoT improvements. Not quite what people were expecting.

Squig Herders, Engineers, White Lions, Maguses (Magi?)

Lots of ‘this ability now does more damage’ buffs. So more damage across the boards. It looks as though pets are being buffed up as well, at least in their damage capability.

Bow classes now get to autoattack on the run while in their skirmish mode.

Tanks

Poor Ironbreakers, their ability to build up Grudge is being nerfed quite severely. Were they doing too much damage in Tier 4? I don’t know but it seems Mythic thinks so. On the bright side (is there one?) they can now use hammers.

All tanks get their root breaking ability at rank 12.

Guard now only works on players within the tank’s group.

Non Class Specific

  • Ability to set rally points in any warcamp
  • root effects can’t be stacked, and after you get rooted you have a 5s immunity to being rerooted
  • less likely to get the same scenario twice in a row
  • movement reductions etc will no longer stack
  • guaranteed to get 1 gold loot bag on every keep take PQ
  • everyone needs ward gear to fight encounter bosses, not just tanks

Overall

I see a lot more damage buffs across the board, and an across the board healing nerf to go with it. I hope they test this good and proper because it’s quite harsh as a healer in Tier 4 as it is and this isn’t going to help.

I feel bad for the Ironbreakers too.

Detaunt-tastic!

Wotcha everyone,

I had occasion to leave my pc, and venture out into the world yesterday.  And whilst on the bus, I saw a little vignette that stuck in my memory.

There was a cat sleeping on the downstairs window-sill of a terraced house, with an old lady unsuccessfully attempting to drag off a small, yappy dog that *just* couldn’t reach the cat (still calmly sleeping outside, on the window-sill), no matter how hard it strained and jumped.  I chuckled.  It was a perfect display of the age-old battle between cat and dog.

A while later, I am reminded of this state of affairs whilst engaging in Tier 2 scenarios with guildmates.  At one point, I am standing alongside a rune-priest guildmate, when we are attacked by an enemy tank each.

Now, the only thing slower than a healer/tank fight is healer on healer, but hey, we’re having fun, so why not?  We both decided to stick it out, so I detaunt the tank attacking me, start the mutual healing that really works between Rune Priest and Warrior Priest (The Healing That Dare Not Speak Its Name), and start smacking the tank that’s attacking my dwarf compatriot.

A couple of minutes later, the tank that had been chain detaunted by the both of us for the last couple of minutes just… left us.  No doubt crying, and looking for someone he could actually hurt.  Leaving us giggling like naughty schoolboys when we finally gain our tank kill a minute later.

So, there we have it.  Give me a detaunt, and I’ll use it.  And then ignore you, up on my window-sill.  In fact, I love my detaunt.  It has saved me so many times in PvE it’s silly, and means that being attacked by two mobs is no more scary than being attacked by one.

In RvR, it means I can survive a little longer when I’m jumped by a couple of people, hopefully long enough for help to arrive.  It means that fights are more tactical, and therefore more fun.  So I applaud it.  All games should have detaunts like this one.

Cheers,
Hawley.

First, do no harm…

Wotcha everyone,

Well, I can tick another of the boxes in the “I-Spy Book of Healing: Warhammer Online Edition”…

It’s the “Why didn’t you heal me?” box.  It’s one of my favourites, because it always has the unspoken addendum “Is it because you’re an idiot, or just a rubbish healer?”

I only ever hear this from people outside my guild.  Generally, it’s from a dps class.  Normally, it’s someone I’m grouped with.  Usually, they’ve just died.

Is it my fault they’ve died?  No.  But I am a contributing factor in their untimely, unseemly demise.

Let me explain further:

There is a belief amongst players that anyone with healing skills and abilities has a duty, a requirement, to heal all the time.  That by not spending every second healing, the healer is not only letting himself down, but his class and his calling.  Witness the screams of agony from World of Warcraft: Shamans who want to melee, and Druids who turn into anything other than a tree.  Their screams are the manifestation of the prejudice that sees a class *with* healing, and *only* sees the healing.

Hybrid classes will always get it rough.  The ability to perform two or three roles becomes the ability to do one, and not as well as a pure healer class.

There is also the belief that a healer should heal, no matter what the situation, or the danger to the healer themselves.  DPS classes do damage.  Well-played dps classes don’t draw too much aggro, and therefore don’t need silly amounts of healing, which then draws the aggro onto the healer.  In a standard mob fight this means the healer has to waste time keeping themselves alive, as well as everyone else.  In a boss fight, this usually means the healer gets one-shotted, followed by the rest of the group.

Finally, there is the belief that just because you’re in a group with a healer, you *deserve* healing.  That it is your unassailable right.

Sorry, but it isn’t.

I am not a healbot.  I’m not going to follow you around and heal you constantly, *just* because we’re in the same group.  As the one with the healing skills, I get to choose how and when to use them.  If you’re a dps class that is incapable of managing your aggro, you will annoy me, and that means less healing.  If you keep getting aggro where you shouldn’t, I will stop healing you.  And every so often, that means you get to “take one for the team”.  Especially if you’re taking my attention away from the tank in A Bad Way(tm).  Because the tank gets priority for heals every day of the week…

It’s a harsh truth, but truth all the same.

I would feel it to the day I die if I let a real person die.  I would feel awful if I let a small furry animal die.  I’d feel bad if I let down a friend.  Do I feel bad about letting a character in an online game die?  No.  Sometimes it makes me giggle.  Gosh, I am a bad, bad man.

Cheers,
Hawley.

How to read a Scenario Scoreboard

Most people, when presented with any kind of scoreboard, treat it as a competition. Who won?

The scenario scoreboard does show who won, but it also gives an idea of roughly what the players were doing during that scenario. Who was defending a flag vs who was following the zerg? Who was healing vs who was nuking? Who was sitting in the starting area afk?

Looking at the values of xp and renown awarded to players, we can also see what kinds of behaviours the scoring algorithm tends to reward. Below is a copy of part of the scoreboard from a close match in Nordenwatch, to illustrate this. I was third from the top in this one.

nord_res_annotated_sm

I always order the scores by healing done because I’m a healer and it makes me look better, and you can do this by clicking on the little + healing icon. Also, I’m most interested in comparing my play with the other healers to see how I can improve.

You could probably guess the classes here even if I didn’t tell you. The top healer was a Runepriest, you can see that he was healing exclusively by comparing his damage total to his healing. Only 1 death — that’s runepriests for you. Then two Archmages; from the numbers you can see that we were throwing out more dps than the other healers, but we also were higher rank which partly explains it.

Next down is a Zealot, and if he’d been healing more and nuking less Destruction would probably have won this match. The last 4 healers are all lower level Warrior Priests. The guy who healed the most of them was a rank 2. So rank does help a lot with putting out high healing and damage numbers, but it’s not the only important factor.

The scorecard isn’t purely dependent on healing/damage totals, and you can see that here. The renown/xp awarded depends on all the factors displayed here, and on who won the scenario. (I’m not sure that the solo kills or deathblows are worth much renown,  they may just show that for bragging rights). So I earned more renown from this particular scenario because I was nearer to the fighting for longer than the other healers (29 kills recorded in range compared with 24 for the runepriest). With the number of order Healers in this run, we probably should all have been playing a bit more aggressively. But hey, the scoreboard shows that we won in the end.

I did get a solo kill on this run which is something I usually try to avoid because it takes awhile and as a support class, that’s time when I should really be supporting my group. But just for the record, I think it was a DoK.

If you want good renown as a healer, follow the fighting. Throw out damage whenever you don’t absolutely need to heal. Whenever you absolutely do need to heal, HEAL. Stay alive. Don’t stress over the scoreboards, it’s more important to apply damage/healing to the right person at the right time than just to pad out the numbers, and the renown/xp reflects that.

Flaws with the Scoring

There are some things the scoreboard doesn’t show that I wish it did:

1. Resses. As a healer, I’d like people to see how many resses I successfully cast during a scenario.

2. Time spent defending a flag. I am not convinced that holding an objective scores as highly as following the fighting. This is easier to see in Khaine’s Embrace. I think this is the single biggest issue with renown scores in scenarios. You’ll get more renown from following the fighting than from going to solo ninja a scenario objective or from staying on your own to guard a flag, even though the latter might win the game for your side.

For Sigmar! For the Empire!

Wotcha everyone,

I have a sneaking suspicion that when Mythic first started to put the Warrior Priest together, they circulated a mugshot of my ugly face, and told everyone; “Make the class for this guy”.

Because they did.

I’ve always liked healers. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve played a lot of characters over many different games. But there’s something about playing a healer that calls to me. I think it’s because my first ever MMO character – an Everquest Shaman – showed me the joys of playing a class that could not only heal itself, but could heal others too. Knowing I could influence other people’s gaming through heals and buffs somehow made it *more* online, *more* massively, than a dps role, or a tank role. It meant I could influence other players, and therefore the world.

So here we are at Warhammer Online. I’ve more or less grown up with Warhammer, in one form or another. I remember during one boring chemistry lesson (sorry, Mr Judson) a mate first telling me all about Warhammer. I played the battle-game, and I was there when the role-playing game was released, as well as the science fiction version. I’ve also played the pc games, so coming to the MMO seems like a natural progression.

I decided to check out what classes were available. After all, what can one do when the game hasn’t even started taking applications for the Closed Beta? I needed a fix… So, here I am checking out classes. And of course, the first thing I do is check out the healers. Order or Destruction didn’t matter – that choice would most probably revolve around whom I would be playing with – so I checked them all.

My criteria were simple.

1) Must look cool.
2) Must be able to heal.
3) Forget “cool” – must look *really* cool.

And I found the Warrior Priest. A dangerous looking bald guy with heavy armour and a big stick.

Okay, the armour isn’t going to be as heavy as the Chosen’s plate, and the big stick won’t do as much damage as the Witch Hunter’s blade, and anyone can be bald. But I’m not playing the numbers, I’m following the cool looking avatar around the world, and if I don’t think he looks good, I won’t follow him for long.

Then there’s the mechanic. “Righteous Fury”. Even the name sounds cool. I build up Righteous Fury slowly between fights, in a walking ball of rage sort of way. And in combat, I build it up at speed by whacking my enemies, well, Righteously, with my big stick. I then use the Righteous Fury to heal my comrades.

So, for the first time in a long time (since my very short and disappointing time as a Cleric in Everquest 2), I get to play an honest-to-goodness front line healer. Even Lord of the RIngs Online didn’t let me do that with a Minstrel, and World of Warcraft seemed to have convinced the world that healers should wear tissue-paper based “armour”, stand at the back and shut up.

But would my rather brutal looking walking ball of rage stand up in combat?

Thanks to the Closed Beta, I got to find out. And I found out that he did. He did! My joy was released upon the world! I started kissing babies, I helped little old ladies across the road, I danced through fields of lavendar hand in hand with my bald-headed avatar… Ok, might be going a bit too far, there. But I was happy to note that I could go toe-to-toe in the front lines, and not go the way of the dodo inside ten seconds. I could last minutes. Which, in a PvP fight, is like saying “forever”. And whilst I was fighting, I was healing. How cool is that!

There are, however, a number of important caveats.

I had to learn how to play a Warrior Priest. Which I found refreshing. You don’t get a big direct heal to get you out of trouble. You get a big heal over time, and a few other “support” heals. They’re all small, and they’re there to supplement your heal over time, not replace it.

You will not be a healing powerhouse. At least, not at first. You can’t sit at the back and heal without a bit of practice. And knowing how to use your heals to their best effect will take time and effort to find out exactly what they do, and how they do it.

You will not be a damage powerhouse. That big stick looks scary, and the animations tend to be at just the right height to show your hammer smacking some misbegotten heretic in the face (in a remarkably satisfying way). But you’re like a tank, with none of the aggro-generation/survival skills. Your melee capabilities are mainly there to get you all Righteously Furious, not to turn the tide of a battle with your ‘leet dps’.

You are not a one-man army. You will still fold like a cheap suit when there’s a small gang of Destruction-based nastiness all over you. If you go toe-to-toe with someone, the fight will last a loooooong time. And against another healer, it could end up being more of a career than a fight.

Having said all that, I can’t think of a healer I’ve enjoyed this much for ages. I’m not even saying I’m any good at playing one, here. But I love the way that the melee capabilities mean I’m not easy meat for prowling dps, and the healing means I can play a role I really enjoy. At the same time, I get the fun of figuring out how best to play the class, without it feeling like I’ve just changed skins from my last online healer class.

Cheers,
Hawley.

notes on the goblin shaman

In their series of articles about Warhammer Online, Massively now starts to give us some information on classes in a bit more detail, concentrating on the goblin shaman and the dwarf engineer. We’ve taken a look at the Engineer info, so here’s a quick run-down on the Shaman for those of you who like Chaos!

  • Shaman is the DoT/healer for the Greenskins
  • Archmage is the mirror class for the Shaman
  • there are two flavours of Waaugh (Gork and Mork – one more cunning than fighty and the other reversed)

Ok, I have to break from bullets here… this mechanic is too cool. You get two stylised orc-y heads at the bottom of your screen, one for Gork and one for Mork. The more you use your Gork spells (DoTs, nukes, direct damage, etc) the more Mork offers incentives to use his spells (for he is green with envy – ha ha, green – Massively missed that joke ;p). Luckily, Mork’s spells are the healing ones and you can build up to four levels of bonus which can result in a variety of effects to increase your Mork spells. And vice versa. Which I’m guessing means that a Shaman left to heal a lot can unleash an almighty nuke if need be.

Go read the article for more shaman-y goodness. Sounds fun – to kill 🙂