While what will follow can be applied to all classes. Most examples will focus on the Wizard, as this class is the one with which I’ve the most experience and the most gear that allows me to test every build. The idea of builds incites the player to wisely choose his spells that will together create a synergy which will empower the player beyond the real value of each rune alone.
1 Boring / unbalanced runes
The runes shouldn’t be a pale copy from the basic spell with 1 goody that will change nearly nothing. The only rune that should be like the non-runed spell is the first rune. After this, all runes should be different enough from the basic spell to avoid any “competition” between those runes. Example: Besides Arcane Orbit and Celestial Orb, all runes make you shoot a ball that will explode on impact dealing X% damage in a Y radius for a Z cost. Therefore, one rune will most likely be more efficient than the 2 others in a majority of scenarios. This will make this rune “THE” rune and the other rune will simply be unused. Another example is Diamond Skin. Crystal shell gives such a great bonus that every other rune (beside Prism maybe...) can’t compare. Making the 21k absorb baseline and then value the special bonus, should be the way to go to promote build diversity and “personal gameplay”
In WoW Blizzard tried hard to remove boring talents. I think we have the same issue here: Boring runes. Reducing the cost, increasing the AoE radius (which is useless on champion packs most of the time) are boring runes. Even if Tap the Source is in my humble opinion the best rune with Celestial Orb, it is still a boring rune. Also, runes should be useful on a champion pack. Unless a player has so much gear that he can crush the content with blinded eyes, a rune shouldn’t be useless on bosses / pack. a Good example of useless runes against champions are “when target dies, X happens”. Except against an illusionist monster, these are useless and just “trash helper”.
2 Penalty versus bonus
Some spells / runes, in order to be more powerful, bring a drawback. Without this penalty the spell would be too powerful. This mechanic should be applied to more runes in order to address the boring runes issue. Here are some examples of spells that already have a penalty and some that could get one in addition to a new powerful bonus.
Hydra: You can only have one Hydra at time.
Blizzard: Doesn’t stack
Custom Engineering: You get a third turret but you have a longer cooldown.
Let’s take a look at an already existing rune. Arcane Orbit, we create 4 balls that explode when enemies are too close. This is overall a terrible AP dump because they take too much time to explode and it requires us to be in melee, the damage gain for such a requirement (for a wizard) is kinda terrible. So something new could be added and if this “new” thing turns out to be too powerful then a drawback should also be added to create some kind of balance. Arcane Orbit: create 4 orbs that detonate for 75% when hit by a direct attack (range or melee), the detonation also deflect the attack. Arcane Orbit now has a 15sec CD and last 30sec. So now we have some kind of new “diamond skin”, but it is not diamond skin. First it only protects from direct hits. So depending of the hits’ strength it can absorb quite a bit or nearly nothing. Second, it last 30sec but it doesn’t absorb plague, arcane, ice etc., nor will it be effective against monster hitting like @!##%@*!@ (I’m thinking about the lightning sparks). You can argue that it is better or worse than Diamond Skin in most scenarios (please remove CM from your mind when doing this, this passive breaks the game), but you cannot say it is the same, because it is not. They both bring something different and unique. The damage being mostly… “aesthetics” this is a real defensive tool.
Another example would be Hydra. Arcane and Poison do aoe but in a totally different way. We have lightning that focuses on a single target (that should be buffed btw) and frost who deals low range CC. What else could we make? We have 2 AoEs (3 with “low range frost) we have CC, we have dot, we have single target… Everything has been covered. A better single target would deny Lightning, a better CC would deny frost and better AoE would deny Poison/Arcane... And unless I’m stupid, I do not see what else could be covered. Why not make a super hydra with a cooldown then? At this point anything we make will be similar to the already existing hydra. Mammoth Hydra could simply be replaced by a 2min cooldown. Something like “Summon a 3-headed mammoth hydra that deals massive amounts of damage” which has special abilities (a mix of fireball and breath). The four other hydras cannot be “better” or “worse”. They’re balanced to be up all the time, this one is balanced to be up 15-20sec every 2min.
You can check my “spell change wish list” at the bottom for more ideas like this.
3 New gameplay mechanic
Right now there’s two main mechanics for skills. “Cast n Move” and “Channeling”. Some spells have slightly different ones such Sweeping Wind or Soul Harvest from. Armor / Aura are also slightly different spells. But there’s room for more. No spell uses charges nor “toggle on-off”. No spell lets you “channel” over a certain time to empower the spell without punishing you from moving. Few spells have a passive function that triggers and so on. Including such mechanics can greatly increase the rune choice and diversity. As said before, there’s a limited amount of “Arcane Nova” or “hydra” you can make. At some point we need to use new mechanics and different spells… “orientation” (offensive being defensive and vice-versa). For example, Ray of Frost – Sleet Storm could be a toggle on-off like spell. On activation consume 20AP then 15AP every swing. While “on” the Wizard could move and cast other spells. These kind of spells would turn “AP on hit” runes more appealing as you’d want as much AP as possible to keep it up all the time. Same goes for charges. Every 6sec you get a charge for X spell, casting the spell consumes the charge, you cannot cast the spell without charges.
4 AoE vs Single target
Maybe I’m wrong here, but it seems that Ray of Frost and MM are light years away to do damage interesting enough to be worth taking. Slowing one target is useless because the other monsters will simply run past. Therefore single target spells should have their damage increase, and not by 10%. It should do some real damage so when you take it and start blasting your “focus target”, it melts fast. 20% over AoE that will hit 5-6 target is not enough. Nobody will take a single target spell that barely does more damage than all his AoE goodies.
In my “spell change wish list” I made some changes to spells like ray of frost. You may think the numbers are too high. Maybe they are, but then ask yourself “even with 400%, would I still use this? A single target spell… when meteor can pull nearly 800% in AoE for the same cost”. If the answer is no, then maybe the number is still not high enough.
5 This broken passive: Critical Mass
Let’s face it, critical mass is broken. So broken that a fresh lvl60 Wizard will become unkillable once 25% -30% crit are being reached with some AP on crit. Crit (with crit damage ofc) is already the highest dps stat. Many skills proc special effects on crit and with this, we have no cooldown on any skill. CM procs quite a bit with DoT-like effect (Energy Twister, Walking Sparks or Meteor Liquify). Beside Archon, nothing can be good enough to replace WW/CM unless you play in low MP. The removal or at least nurf of this broken passive is the only way to bring some kind of spec diversity. And replacing “WW by Meteor Liquefy” isn’t spec diversity. You do the same thing, standstill while spamming your Diamond Skin and Frost Nova
6 Secondary VS Force
In my opinion, a good (if not the best) way to create a build diversity is to be sure that spells can coexist and have synergy. When we take a look at our Secondary and Force spells, their goal is clear for the first one and unclear for the second. Secondary allow you to spend your resource, if you have too much AP, press your secondary skill key. Unlike defensive skills, having more secondary skills are useless. Why would you have Arcane Torrent and Arcane Nova? You won’t pull more damage. You’ll simply waste a slot. When your wizard levels, they eventually get a Force spell. WoF is a mix of defense and offense, same for Blizzard, and Hydra is mostly a dps support skill. But Meteor and ET have no supportive point. They’re simply secondary skills. This is actually why you often see a mix of Blizzard and Hydra with other spells. But never Meteor or ET with something else (Explosive Blast can be considered a Force spell… pretty much like WoF without a punch back). Therefore, in order to give choices to the player, when the player chooses between more defensive skills and more “offensive skills”, Force spells should be the “more dps” skill option . Once again this is more personal preference. In my “spell change wish list” you can see some change ideas. Agreeing on the spell change I wish isn’t in my opinion really important. What is important is the synergy that should be created between Force and Secondary. Defensive skills should help the defense and Force should increase our Offense. Someone taking 2 Force spells should pull much more damage than someone having none.
On a side note; mastery should be imo long powerful cooldown.
Edited by Cmagik#1328 on 2/1/2013 12:38 PM PST
7 Proc chance issue
I could rewrite what has been discussed more than once but I will instead give a link to a post which makes an awesome point of what I would have written here. But to make it short, reducing proc chance of every single spell in order to reduce the power of critical mass just nurfs anything that is not WWCM and it is a poor alternative to a fix which would and should be the removal / rework / huge nurf of the passive causing all these troubles.
Spell change Wish List (pool of idea...)
I tried to do a photoshop of some spells to give a visual. Keep in mind that I’m just an amateur. You will not see any professional stuff.
Split: Damage increased to 85%. We should be rewarded for hitting three target, not punished for missing one.
Basic: Increase range by 50%. We’re so close from melee.
Fire Bolts: 1: Let’s shoot some real fire bolts and not some crappy red sparks
Lightning Sentry: Conjure a small lightning orb that will strike nearby opponent for 25%. Last 10sec (basically, a small hydra. Deals 250% and could make some “hydra lovers” happy).
Living Lightning: Just increasing the speed and range it goes would be a really cool addition.
I remember that before the game released, some asked if melee wizards would be viable. The blue answered that they do not think they’ll be as good as the ranged wizards but that they still added some tool to see what players could do, as spectral blade. Now we wonder if range wizards can be any good since we have melee wizards.
Spectral Shield: For three seconds after casting spectral blade you’re protected by a spectral shield (made of blades :D) that has 15% chance to block an attack for 200% of your int.
Can potentially make shield wizards more appealing. Unlike Healing Blade, this rune does not require high dps to be effective. Healing blade requires a high damage output to work well. Not this one.
Lightning Blast: Instead of giving it a weird animation why not make it like a “primary” disintegrate. Just a big lightning laser.
Surge of Power: Create a spark of lightning (where you click on the screen, like Meteor) that will explode (after 1.5sec) for 145% lightning damage.
Arc Lightning: Looks the same as Spectral Blade with less damage and less proc chance. If we raise the damage Spectral Blade, deep cuts won’t be taken. It needs a utility side. “Every 3 consecutive shocks foes are stunned for 1sec”
Ray of Frost
Ray of Frost, like Disintegrate and Arcane Torrent, suffer the “Stand Still” aspect. Very few people use these spells because they’re hard to use against Elites with Mortar, Ice, etc. That makes you move a lot. Also, this spell only slows one target. Making it hard to use against multiple targets. You slow, that’s cool, but you slow one target making the spell useless on elite packs and ineffective on trash. Just good for the few bosses that are not static and actually try to get close to you. On top of that, monster’s movement will usually make this spell a bad choice to actually burn down one target, considering the low damage you have over let say disintegrate or arcane nova…
Basic: “Project a beam of frozen ice that blasts 355% weapon damage as Cold to the first enemy it hits and spreads a cold mist to the nearby enemies, slowing their movement speed by 60% for 4 seconds.”
This way the spell remains a single target spell but at least when you focus down on something, you do not have to fear that the other monsters will reach you. While it may not be a good idea, I’ll consider a similar mechanic to be added for each of my rune review.
Bitting Chill: The mist now deals 55% every second.
Snow Blast:. “Channeling the ray releases a powerful blast every 3 “swings” dealing triple damage.” What is the real difference? The number should be tuned (triple may not be the exact good tuning) so that as long you standstill channeling, you’ll do as much damage with this x3 once every 3 swing as you’d do with the basic snowblast over a 10sec channel (or a bit less). The big difference would be that instead of doing your best to not move as long as possible and always want to doom the elite pack that makes you move every 3sec, you would only have to stand still for “3 swings”. Once the third swing has been launch, you can move because you’d need another 3 swing to do the big blast. The idea of “you need to stand still to do more damage” remains, because you actually need to stand still for 3 swings (roughly 1.5-2.5sec, depending of you AS), but once the blast is done you do not lose much dps from moving.. AS would make this rune extremely potent as you’d be able to dish out tons of “Blast” in a very short time. It would also have wonderful synergy with “Haste” (see the slow time rune ideas)
Ice Blast: Launch a spike of ice that deals 1265% damage and slow all targets in a 10yards radius by 60% for 4sec. The cost is increased to 50AP. It is okay that one rune break the “standstill” mechanic. 1200% may seem overkill? Well that’s still a single target skill for 50ap… you get 800% from meteor in aoe…
Sleet Storm: Once activated Ray of Frost consumes 15AP per swing until reactivated (turned off). While activated, Sleet Storm surrounds the caster with a Storm of Ice dealing 225% every swing and reduces enemy movement speed by 60%. Sleet Storm now has a 5sec CD. (damage could be tuned down to add a defensive component such as “reduce attack speed by 25%”.
Edited by Cmagik#1328 on 1/31/2013 9:14 PM PST
Arcane Orbit: Create 4 Arcane Orbs that orbit you, each orb absorbs a projectile or physical hit (can also be single target spell, like fireballs, do not work against AoE such as plague or Meteor). The orbs last 30sec, 15sec CD. 35AP
Arcane Pulse: Summon a small pulsing Orb that deals 600% over 7 second. The damage increase over time as the size of the orb to finally reach 20 yards.
Tap the Source: Increase the orb’s size and damage by holding the skill. 35 base cost + consume 20AP per swing. Increase damage by 150% per 20AP added. Max 100AP added (750% bonus, 925% if fully charged. OP? well do the math, it’s not as bad as Intensification once you’re charged. ). You’re also not “forced” to stand still. If you can’t you can simply use it as a regular Arcane Nova.
Arcane Torrent has been moved to Force spells
Energy Twister (Moved to Secondary)
BaseLine: Increase Twister’s speed and reduce their randomness. Cost reduced to 20AP.
Static Wind: Energy Twister now deals Lightning damage and periodically strikes the closest enemy for 55% every second.
Strong Wind: The Twister’s size has been increased. Also includes a puntback effect.
Hurricane: Engulf yourself in a large hurricane that deals 250% of your weapon damage every sec. This spell can be toggled on or off. 20AP/Swing. 5sec CD
Surcharge: Enemies hit by Disintegrate have 35% to release a burst of Arcane Energy dealing 75% to close targets.
Intensify: Every 3 swing the next swing does triple damage.
Frozen mist: Instead of Freezing your enemies, Frost Nova now surrounds you with a Frozen Mist that deals 150% per sec for 5sec and slow enemies movement speed by 60%. Moving leaves the mist on the ground for 5sec. 15sec CD 25AP
Congelation: When a hit brings you under 25% life, you release a Frost Nova that freezes close enemies for 3sec. Does not trigger Frost Nova’s cooldown. This effect has a 30sec CD.
Ice Tomb: Launch a Frozen Bolt that explodes on impact, freezing all surrounding foes for 3sec.(ranged frostnova)
Base: 21k. no more OP crystal shell
Crystal Shell: Diamond Skin absorbs only 11k now but has 8sec CD.
Prism: Reduce the AP cost of all your spells by 50% for the skin duration.
Mirror Skin: All non direct physical damage spells deal 50% less damage for the skin duration (Sentry, Magma, plagued and so on)
Hard Skin: When Diamond Skin isn’t on cooldown, not taking damage for 5sec hardens your skin, creating an absorbing shield that absorb 10% of your total life.
Real Diamond: Envelope yourself with an unbreakable diamond skin, preventing all damage for 3sec. CD increased to 20sec.
Baseline: 80% slow… it’s slow time… not a mere chill effect.
Time Shell: Can now be cast at range. (could also get its CD slightly reduced)
Haste: Instead of creating a Slow Time zone, you increase your movement speed by 50%, AS by 50% and AP regen by 50% for 6sec. 15sec CD
Time Stop: If enemies stay 3sec in the Slow Time zone, they’re stunned for 3sec.
Time Prison: The slow time zone is increased by 300%, duration to 12sec and cooldown to 22sec.
Calamity: Should attract enemies for “melee” Wizard that wants a taunt-like spell.
Fracture: Leave one image with a lot of life at the “starting” point
Safe passage: Also Grant immunity to all spells for 2-3sec also (against vortex)
Arcane Torrent (Massive rework here, too much similarity with Disintegrate right now. Moved to Force spell)
What did I have in mind when I thought about this?
First this spell is too much like Disintegrate. I wanted it to be a force spell. Something that if chosen, will make your dps sky rocket (like hydra). I thought of many things, but it was too closely similar to other spells. I thought that we had no “channeled Force spell”. So what could I do to make it different from Disintegrate, a good dps upgrade Force spell that require us to stand still. I didn’t want it to be free or else it would replace secondary spells. I wanted to give it charges generated by primary spells but it turned out to be weird (slow AS wouldn’t make charge fast enough nor would be able to spend them at a reasonable speed). Then I thought what could make the wizard “rewarded for being aggressive”? This is how I thought about “you get charges by generating AP”. So the whole gameplay of this spell is to actually burn as much AP as possible (and also generate as much as possible to get lots of charges). The spell can potentially replace a primary spell depending of your AS and rune choice. The numbers may seem “really high” but remember that you cannot “spam” this spell. You need to charge it and for most runes it is better to charge it quite a bit before using it.
base:Every time you generate 20AP you gain an Arcane Torrent charge. Arcane Torrent requires charges instead of Arcane Power to be cast. (damage increased to 325%). Up to 10 charges
Disruption: now increase “all damage taken” by 10% for 5sec
Overload: Consumes all your Arcane Torrent charges to generate an Arcane Anomaly that will detonate after 5sec dealing 250% per charge in a 20 yards radius.
Volatile Mines: Release 3 flying mines per charge that will seek nearby close enemies after a short time exploding for 55% in a 4 yards radius and slowing their movement speed by 60% for 4sec.
Arcane Infusion: Arcane Torrent does not generate charges anymore. Instead, your primary spells are now infused with Arcane Torrent. The infusions shoot 3 to 5 bolts dealing 45% damage in a 4 yards radius.
Arcane Barrage: You generate one charge every 15AP generated and consume them twice as fast. (the goal here is to have more charges and to be able to bump them really fast)
Lightning: damage increased and applies an increase damage taken debuff (15-20%). Always attack the lowest target available.
Mammoth: Summon a three Headed Mammoth Hydra with special abilities for 15sec. Hydra now has a 2min CD
Head1: Magmaball (long range)
“Hurl an explosive fireball that explode in a 16 yards radius doing 135%”
Head3: Flame Breath
“Breath in a cone in front of the head dealing 175% and reducing the target armor by 20%”
Base Line: Meteor now has a 6sec CD and cost 15AP to make it work like other Force spells.. The ground patch lasts 6sec. damage increased to 410% + 240 over6sec
Molten Impact: The burned ground increases damage taken by all foes by 20%.
Stellar Pact: Meteor now has no Cooldown but cost 50AP. Now deals Arcane Damage (becomes a secondary)
Armageddon(Meteor Shower): Meteor now has a 30sec CD. When cast, summons 60 smaller meteors over 5sec 125%. (impact zone widened to take a good portion of the screen)
Liquefy: The impact damage has been reduced to 240%, pool radius increase to 20yards and damage to 650% over 9sec.
Hail Storm: If the armor lasts more than 30sec, reactivating it will create a Hail Storm of 40yards radius, freezing enemies for 2sec on cast, slowing them for 3sec (snare refreshed during the storm) and dealing 750% over 10sec. Ice armor get a 1min CD. (the armor is refreshed however).
Base: Increase damage to 100-120%
Reactive Armor: Projectiles have 50% chances to be deflected
Power of the Storm: Make it -15% AP cost instead of -3. Will be more appealing for High AP costing spells
Shocking Storm: The storm bolt has 50% chance to stun for 1sec.
Brouillage: increase duration to 6sec
Rainstorm: If the armor lasts more than 30sec. Reactivating it will increase the rate lightning falls by 200% (3lightning per sec instead of 1) for 10sec. 1min CD. (2000% damage)
Base: Remove the -20AP and make the 25% all resist baseline
Absorption: increase it to 10-15AP
Energy Magnet Now increase by 50AP max and increase AP regen by 10% of your maximum AP.
Prismatic shield : Energy Armor can now be toggled on and off to increase your armor to 70% and all resist to 50% but cost 10AP per sec. This effect has a 5sec CD.
Burning: Your primary spells also burn enemies dealing 35% over 3sec and increase all damage taken by 10% for 5sec.
Choc: Your primary spells now have 15% chance to knockback enemies and deal an additional 50% lightning damage.
Conduction: Your primary spells now grant you AP on hit and deal an additional 25% arcane damage
Freezing: Your primary spells now chill your target slowing its movement by 60% for 3sec and deal an additional 35% frost damage.
Blood: Also grand your primary spell 350 life on hit
Edited by Cmagik#1328 on 1/31/2013 9:25 PM PST
Familiar (moved to mastery spells)
I moved the Familiar to the mastery section because I think it currently shares too much similarity with Magic Weapon. Also, the pet is a bit too passive currently and could be more active. While I do not want to compare it too much to a pet from the WD, you can see it as our own Gargantuan (except that it tanks nothing)
Base: damage from pet increased to 65% and doesn’t need us to attack to perform attack. Its AS is based on ours. The pet always shoots the target with the lowest health.
Sparkflint: No longer increase damage done by 12%. Instead now cast periodically Disintegrate dealing 125%. It’s fireball explodes in a 4 yards radius.
Revigor: HP regen based on total life (15%). Revigor attacks heal the caster for 50% of the damage done.
Antique Guardian: Doesn’t require the -50% life threshold, CD reduced to 5sec. Also, if the caster is slain, the Guardian Sacrifices himself, bringing back the Wizard to 50% life with a shield increasing armor and resist values by 100% for 7sec. Antique Guardian has a cooldown of 2min and cannot be resummoned. Antique Guardian does not attack but Disorients the closest enemy for 3sec every 5sec.
Arcanot: Arcanot gives 2ap per sec and casts Arcane Orb (like Arcane Hydra) instead of basic bolt dealing 75% aoe damage in a 7yards radius. When the Wizard is hit by a melee attack Arcanot casts Wave of Force (15sec CD).
Ice Heart: Ice Heart casts Ice Spike (see secondary) dealing 250% damage but has its AS reduced by half. If recast when lasting more than 30sec, Ice Heart dashs to the mouse’s location and casts Ice Tomb, exploding and dealing 155% frost damage and freezes all enemies for 3sec. This activation has a 15sec CD. Ice Heart comes back 10sec after “Ice Tomb”.
Base: Now has a 1min CD and doesn’t work as a defensive tool only. Images have 100% of the caster’s life and armor and can cast every spell (except Mirror Image). IA MUST be improved. They also have an increased chance to be focused by monsters. Images last 10sec and deal 50% of the wizard damage.
Simulacre: Now summon 3 illusions
Mesmer: Now summon 5 images that have 35% of the Wizard’s life but deal no damage and last 8sec. Cooldown reduced to 15sec.
True Illusion: Each time an enemy hits you, you change position with another image and only take 50% of the initial damage.
Illusionnist: Each time you cast Mirror Image you now summon an illusion that has 25% of your health and last 1min but has only 10% of your damage. Mirror Image now has 10sec CD. You can have up to 5 illusions activated at all times
Mirror Image: Images act the way you act and are perfect mirror. They’ll reproduce every single spell you do. (basically a 100% increase damage for 10sec)
Base: Archon is too vulnerable and forces us to “overgear” the content to be safe. Teleport and Slow Time are now baseline. Wave of Force should also be added.
Arcane Destruction: Also increases damage from Arcanic Discharge by 250%
True Power: Reduce to 90sec
Form Shift: Archon can now be toggled on and off. You get 1sec of Archon duration for every second you’re not in Archon. Up to 30sec.
Elemental Form: Depending on your current Armor spell, assume an elemental form with special abilities.
Ice Armor - Ice Form
Spells focus on CC and Snare
Lightning Armor - Ice Form
Spells focus on movement speed and stun
Primastic Armor - Prism Form
The wizard keeps his current spell but now has 50AP per sec and deal an additionnal 50% damage.
No Armor - Fire Form
Spell focus on offense. Highest DPS Archon, true carnage
Conflagration (massive rework)
All your Arcane Spell now deal fire damage. Increase all your fire damage by 10% and apply burn. Burn increases damage taken by 20% for 5sec. Any frost damage or chill effect by you will cancel the burn effect.
Instead of resetting. Now reduce the cooldown by 15sec. (to make it work properly with the new Mirror Image and Slow Time - Time Prison.
Power Hungry: Also gives 15AP on crit
Critical Mass: Removed or “now has a 2sec internal CD”
(new) Potent Sorcery: All your 2min CD spells now have a 30sec reduced CD and all your 1min CD spell now have a 15sec reduced CD.
Edited by Cmagik#1328 on 1/31/2013 9:29 PM PST
Just a quick mention with diamond skin. This is perhaps one of the most varied options the wizard has. Crystal shell is, of course, very popular. Prism as you mentioned is also useable in some builds, a big part of the meteor build just FYI. And shards are of course a part of the high risk high reward SNS CM wizzie build. 3 runes that people ACTUALLY use. The others are of course never touched, but that's above par for most skills really.
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