Save Alter Time!

Mage
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01/28/2014 11:34 AMPosted by Tearlag
Or more to the point, if the idea is to reduce ability bloat, how can we be expected to choose a button to eliminate if we don't know what's going to replace it?

The idea with reducing bloat is that you don't replace it with anything.

But here's a comment from the icy veins thread:
Alter Time does have it's drawbacks for sure, but it doesn't wipe raids

It can and has. In progression fights you can't afford any avoidable deaths, and Alter Time can place you in a random puddle of death, unless you are extremely careful and conservative with its use.

This is a pretty marginal spell. Mages would lose a bit of flavour with its removal, but I think it safely could be removed.


Play. Better.

Its not a marginal spell. Its integral to the class. It would be like asking a shaman to give up Bloodlust. Or a bm hunter Beastial Wrath. Its a defining characteristic in the class.
01/28/2014 11:34 AMPosted by Tearlag
Mages would lose a bit of flavour with its removal,


You mean a LOT of flavor. It is an AMAZINGLY fun spell that makes the class feel very unique instead of just "here's the dps increase button, hit it and dps goes up."

Any puddle of death that will wipe a raid you KNOW is going to come out soon. There are timers for that. If it's coming up, don't use alter time, it's that simple.

Ionization on jin'rok about to happen? Don't use alter time if there's less than 6 seconds left before he casts it! Need to stand in a projection on pride? Don't use AT when you know your pride will be too high after a swelling pride! Need to soak a pool on malk? Make sure you don't use it right as an arcing smash is going out!

Any raid wipes which someone says is preventable but AT makes it not? It's still preventable with AT, you just can't be an idiot and pop it whenever you feel like it.
01/28/2014 11:39 AMPosted by Jkspiritlink

Its not a marginal spell. Its integral to the class. It would be like asking a shaman to give up Bloodlust. Or a bm hunter Beastial Wrath. Its a defining characteristic in the class.


Except that Bloodlust is a spell that shaman had from early Vanilla, whereas alter time is actually a relatively brand new spell by comparison that mages have only had for a couple of years. Bestial Wrath is also an incredibly old spell.

Alter Time, instead, is in the same class as druid's symbiosis ability. I think it would be wrong to call druid's symbiosis ability is an iconic druid ability, since they went through Vanilla, Burning Crusade, Wrath, and Cataclysm without that "super iconic class-defining ability they couldn't possibly live without"." Instead, I think druid symbiosis is also it's a perfectly good candidate of an ability to cut, as a new and incredibly problematic tool.

The idea of Alter Time is neat. I liked the concept behind Alter Time. It was a fun new toy. It isn't what defined mages in Vanilla, Burning Crusade, Wrath, or Cataclysm. Taking away things like iceblock, fireball, or frostbolt would be taking away defining characteristics of the class.

Taking away Alter Time is not taking away the cake that defines mages, it is instead taking away the candied rose flourishes that some people would rather pick off their cake and not eat anyway. While flourishes can be nice, sometimes you just want chocolate cake that tastes different from Vanilla cake that tastes different from Carrot cake - without needing special flourishes on the cake to make them look different.
Except alter time doesn't make the cake look different, it adds moisture, perfect crumblyness and a taste that can't be beat by the generic grocery store cakes.

Man now i really want to make a cake.

Thanks.
01/28/2014 11:18 AMPosted by Lissanda


The bigger question for Blizzard has to come down to: is 24 abilities the number of abilities they want used in raiding situations? Are all 24 of those buttons so important, special, unique, and irreplaceable that removing any one of them is going to make the game so unfun and unplayable that the game couldn't survive its loss? Bashiok said something over the summer about how having 5 abilities can end up being better than having 30 abilities if the game play with those 5 buttons is more interesting and involved: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/9792649374?page=4#65

With the moonkin's removal of insect swarm for MOP, it turns out that a core DPS ability could be removed without hurting the game, particularly when the removal of that button helped make the moonkin's toolset easier to design and balance overall. My point is that: People loved insect swarm, but reducing button bloat for moonkin by removing a problematic button that couldn't really be balanced right in the rotation actually made the druid class better.

Blizzard has said many times at this point that their goal for MOP is to reduce "ability bloat", so the culling is going to happen (it may happen to different extents to different classes, but you will have fewer buttons in WOD than you do in MOP). I'm happy to have conversations about what should or shouldn't be removed. I just find "Save the buttons" campaigns to be unhelpful when the goal is to save a button rather than to help Blizzard make the tough choices by providing feedback they can actually use. The "save insect swarm" campaigns from MOP beta ended up not being listened to because game balance and better overall gameplay won out over people's love of a button.

I'm going to suggest cutting many more buttons than I actually expect to be cut because I don't expect every recommendation of button cutting to be actually implemented, and somewhere along the line, I expect to step on toes because everyone loves every ability and someone has voiced an opinion against every single change that Blizzard has ever made to the game, even when they turned out to be good ideas. Taking fragments of my arguments out of context to create petition campaigns, however, ends up not being particularly helpful to anyone involved.


I think it's important to differentiate between button bloat and ability bloat. I have many fewer issues with reducing botton bloat than I do with ability bloat. So far in this conversation I think the terms have been used interchangably, which really they shouldn't. Since Bashiok in his post specifically discussed buttons, and Blizzard has in the past addressed button bloat by merging abilites, I'll offer suggestions from that perspective:

1. Remove mage bomb as a separate spell and have it automatically apply with the casting of another spell.
2. Frostfire Bolt is a leftover relic from the days of talent trees. It now really doesn't serve any purpose that couldn't be served by a different spell in its place.
3. Arcane Brilliance could be turned into an aura. True, it's not a part of a rotation, but it's never not used, so Blizzard could save us a spot on our hotbars by turning it into an aura.

That's all I can come up with for now, but I think they're reasonable suggestions.
01/28/2014 11:53 AMPosted by Xiun
Except alter time doesn't make the cake look different, it adds moisture, perfect crumblyness and a taste that can't be beat by the generic grocery store cakes.

Man now i really want to make a cake.

Thanks.


I don't know why, but on my 16th birthday I got it in my head that I wanted to bake my own birthday cake. I forgot to add water, though, and when it came out of the oven it looked like this shriveled up flaky crap-encrusted !@# and it was really depressing to look at.

It tasted surprisingly good though. My family ate up the entire thing in one go.
01/28/2014 11:50 AMPosted by Lissanda
Except that Bloodlust is a spell that shaman had from early Vanilla, whereas alter time is actually a relatively brand new spell by comparison that mages have only had for a couple of years. Bestial Wrath is also an incredibly old spell.


I think basing a spells integrity on how long we've had it, is an awful idea. Just because its been around forever doesnt mean its not silly to keep around. I know, I know, nostalgia, but can you honestly tell me mana gem is going to be kept around for another expansion instead of alter time?

01/28/2014 11:50 AMPosted by Lissanda
Taking away Alter Time is not taking away the cake that defines mages, it is instead taking away the candied rose flourishes that some people would rather pick off their cake and not eat anyway. While flourishes can be nice, sometimes you just want chocolate cake that tastes different from Vanilla cake that tastes different from Carrot cake - without needing special flourishes on the cake to make them look different


I completely agree. Alter time was not the defining characteristic in TBC. Its a good thing TBC doesnt matter though.
01/28/2014 11:53 AMPosted by Xiun
Man now i really want to make a cake.


Dude. I was playing with our special effects equipment all day. i didnt take a lunch break cuz i was playing with lasers.
01/28/2014 11:34 AMPosted by Tearlag
Or more to the point, if the idea is to reduce ability bloat, how can we be expected to choose a button to eliminate if we don't know what's going to replace it?

The idea with reducing bloat is that you don't replace it with anything.


Let clarify why I said that: In WoD, presumably we're going to get new abilities as we level from 90 to 100, and presumably Blizzard is going to want to make these abilities that we use. So if you consider that some button reduction is going to be offset by the button additions of these new abilities, my comment about not knowing what to eliminate is more clear.
01/28/2014 11:58 AMPosted by Jkspiritlink
01/28/2014 11:50 AMPosted by Lissanda
Except that Bloodlust is a spell that shaman had from early Vanilla, whereas alter time is actually a relatively brand new spell by comparison that mages have only had for a couple of years. Bestial Wrath is also an incredibly old spell.


I think basing a spells integrity on how long we've had it, is an awful idea. Just because its been around forever doesnt mean its not silly to keep around. I know, I know, nostalgia, but can you honestly tell me mana gem is going to be kept around for another expansion instead of alter time?

01/28/2014 11:50 AMPosted by Lissanda
Taking away Alter Time is not taking away the cake that defines mages, it is instead taking away the candied rose flourishes that some people would rather pick off their cake and not eat anyway. While flourishes can be nice, sometimes you just want chocolate cake that tastes different from Vanilla cake that tastes different from Carrot cake - without needing special flourishes on the cake to make them look different


I completely agree. Alter time was not the defining characteristic in TBC. Its a good thing TBC doesnt matter though.


I was presented with three abilities: Two of which have always been part of the class (though both classes could live without those buttons - they could decide to eliminate bloodlust as a mechanic any time they wanted to, and shaman would still be a fun class to play - in fact, they gave away Bloodlust to mages since it's the exact same spell as Time Warp); and one that is different simply because it is newer.

So, I suppose I should have (instead) talked about how Bloodlust actually isn't a shaman class-defining feature because mages have bloodlust, too, but decided to go with age of the ability in terms of suggesting that a class could exist without it (because it already did for many years).

I'm still at work, so I'm responding faster & less thoughtfully than I would normally because I have actual work to do and don't really have time to be posting here.
I thought that WoD wasn't going to introduce new spells from 90 to 10, and instead just buff ones that already exist.
01/28/2014 12:05 PMPosted by Lissanda
, but decided to go with age of the ability in terms of suggesting that a class could exist without it (because it already did for many years).


Yeah but that's like giving me a piece of cake, letting me take a bite or two, then just taking it away and throwing it in the trash.

I'm going to feel very empty, cold, and hungry.

(PS lets keep going with these cake analogies im loving it).
01/28/2014 12:05 PMPosted by Lissanda
suggesting that a class could exist without it (because it already did for many years).


Yeah. And that is an awful awful terrible grotesque argument.

We lived without lungs for many years, maybe we should never have left the oceans.

The argument you SHOULD use is "its fun and exciting so lets keep it, its boring and a hassle, lets remove it." If it's Fun and exciting and its been around for years, hooray! if its boring and a hassle but its been around for years it should still be removed.

likewise, if its fun and exciting and only been around for 3 days, we should keep it. if its boring and a hassle and only been around for 3 days, we'll probably never even realize its gone.

01/28/2014 12:05 PMPosted by Lissanda
I'm still at work, so I'm responding faster & less thoughtfully than I would normally because I have actual work to do and don't really have time to be posting here.


im at work too friend. im currently patching ~700 lights and lighting equipment into our board.
If you died from Alter Time I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problem's, but Alter Time ain't one.
Giving up Alter Time means giving up the ability to rapid fire Pyroblasts.

Fire Mages do not even have that many DPS cooldowns.
Its not a marginal spell. Its integral to the class.

I strongly disagree with this. Even if I didn't, I'd caution you against using this as a pillar of your argument. the spell is relatively new and accounts for a very small DPS gain. It's more important in PVP than PVE, but further enforces the feast/famine game play with minimal casting that many seem to complain about.

Casted nukes are integral to the class, alter time is not. Alter time is a flavor ability.
Giving up Alter Time means giving up the ability to rapid fire Pyroblasts.

Fire Mages do not even have that many DPS cooldowns.

Removing it would likely mean a buff to combustion, since they would no longer be balancing the class with the understanding that you have fired off four+ pyros in a row before using combustion ;)
01/28/2014 01:06 PMPosted by Mumrit
Even if I didn't, I'd caution you against using this as a pillar of your argument. the spell is relatively new and accounts for a very small DPS gain.


"NEW" or "OLD" mean extremely little.

stop using those words.

dps gain isnt everything and PVP should not be overlooked.
01/28/2014 12:12 PMPosted by Jkspiritlink
likewise, if its fun and exciting and only been around for 3 days, we should keep it. if its boring and a hassle and only been around for 3 days, we'll probably never even realize its gone.

My points about the fact that Blizzard is going to remove abilities (and making suggestions about places where abilities should be cut) has been about 1% about alter time's problems, and 99% about general Blizzard design across classes. I've suggested removing abilities no one uses, but Blizzard has made strong assertions that they are NOT just removing buttons you don't drag onto your bar, but instead, are removing abilities from people's primary rotations that they DO use on a regular basis. Rune of Power is actually a better example than even Alter Time of an ability that should be cut (because it's really incompatible with what people are being asked to actually do in raiding encounters).

My original argument is that Alter Time should have been a PVP utility spell that didn't interact with damage procs, heroism/bloodlust, trinket procs, or other damage-increasing abilities for use in PVE, and I still wouldn't mind seeing Alter Time stay around as a PVP utility spell with little PVE uses outside of utility (e.g., restoring your health to full).

Removing alter time could still allow for other changes to the rotations that could keep mages interesting, fun, & unique without having to carry around the baggage of being crowd controlled to the ground in encounters such as flying on Alysrazor that are forcing heavy amounts of movement that make standing still a particularly bad idea and are becoming much more frequent.

That said, my primary objections to Alter Time is that: It sounds cool, but it's actually a particularly boring hassle (except for the fact it can kill you) that adds "bloat" and "clunkiness" to mage PVE rotations without actually being "fun and exciting" (but instead, is "dangerous to player survival" and "a giant game design problem"). While you would miss Alter Time for about a week, if Blizzard otherwise does a good job with class design, they can make fun PVE rotations for mages without needing alter time as a crutch to add the illusion of complexity.

With specific regards to PVE raiding, the mistakes that Blizzard made in adding Alter Time's clunkiness into the mage PVE rotations have actually hurt Blizzard's ability to balance the mage class (especially with how alter time interacts with Fire mage crit-based procs that have interacted poorly with how fire scales with gear), and has actually caused harm to the mage class this expansion. This has all happened while people thought Alter Time was cool because it sounded fun on paper. Instead, Alter Time is a cause of mage deaths in PVE situations (by dropping people into fires). Alter Time causes huge random (uncontrollable) DPS swings by either killing players, forcing you to cancel alter time when fires get dropped where you were standing several seconds ago, punishing you with lower DPS for not having exactly the right set of procs & buffs happen when AT comes off cooldown.

The difference between alter time's damage increasing components and other damage increase abilities is: Other damage increase abilities cause your damage to go up. Sometimes, Alter Time causes your damage to go down or kills you. While that seems unique, it's really not a functional part of the spell, and causes bigger class balance problems than it is worth. The PVP utility portion (e.g., health restore, returning you to the same spot) could still be a PVP spell without Alter Time needing to be part of the PVE damage rotation (and you could still potentially find utility uses for Alter Time that would allow for even greater creativity if you didn't just mash alter time when it came off cooldown and the button that said "hit me now" lit up).

Alter Time actually takes away control over your character by returning you to a previous location & state - regardless of how much the game's randomness has made that location or state undesirable to be in. Anything that takes away control from the player (but is supposed to be a "buff") is something I tend to object to. This is why I spent a lot of time arguing that Eclipse needed to be under player control for the druid class (rather than a totally random proc it was in the original design).

Thus, Alter Time is little more than a self-imposed crowd control ability that essentially roots you in place for the duration of the effect (since no matter how far you run, you will be sucked back to that spot), which can be undesirable in PVE encounters that require heavy movement and running around in circles (Alter Time in Cataclysm would have been impossible to use on Alysrazor if you were flying - because being moved away from the hoops to where you were several seconds ago would have killed you). Finally, it can erase beneficial procs & buffs (including heroism) from you if a clumsy party member in your LFR or Flex group decides to pop it right before your alter time expires, or your trinket randomly proc'd at a particularly inconvenient time in your rotation.

Given the long list of problems with regards to the implementation of Alter Time, and the fact that frost mages are really instructed just to macro alter time to other same-duration damage buffs actually means that the damage buff portion of Alter Time isn't really all that special, and instead, it would be easier to shift that damage elsewhere and still be competitive.

For something like Alter Time and Rune of Power that both artificially constrain the movement of mages, we're going to see it have really bad problems with WOD raiding, given that WOD raids are likely to be even more complicated and intricate dances in terms of who can stand in the right place at the right time while still putting out the most damage possible. Alter Time is going to interfere with PVE mages' ability to keep up with damage while moving appropriately at the appropriate times in WOD. Therefore, if Blizzard has to cut abilities, then Alter Time (and Rune of Power) would be a good ability to remove from PVE rotations because it is likely to interfere with WOD encounter mechanics, and is likely to keep killing people and wiping raids needlessly - without being any actual real index of skill because success with Alter Time is ultimately driven by forces outside of player control for PVE raiding (e.g., driven by the timing of when your abilities proc, or when boss mechanics happen, or if the fire is placed on your head vs someone else's head).

So, if I had to choose two mage abilities to cut (though I have absolutely zero say in what Blizzard ultimately decides), it would be Alter Time and Rune of Power because they both impose artificial movement constraints to mages that crowd control mages to spots on the ground and remove the ability for players to have real control over their characters in raiding PVE situations that require you to respond and move as quickly as 1 to 2 seconds after an effect is cast. These artificial movement constraints, however, are not imposed on other classes - but "can't move while casting" is not going to be something that can be a unique class defining characteristic when that characteristic can lead you to be sat from raids.

In conclusion, if Blizzard is going to cut abilities, I'm arguing that abilities/buttons should be cut if they are:
1) Redundant with other abilities/buttons (e.g., if you have 4 buttons that are all functionally the same, there is no need for 4 of them),
2) problematic in their interactions with other abilities or with boss mechanics (for example, root you to the ground in movement fights - such as Rune of Power),
3) would be difficult to actually fix them to work right (e.g., druid starfall)

In particular, things that get macro'd together should be examined to see if they are redundant, problematic, and difficult to fix - and then removing the button from the macro that is redundant, problematic, and difficult to fix would reduce the button bloat. In this case, Alter Time is just one of dozens of potential abilities across all the classes: that are: redundant, problematic, difficult to fix, or some combination of the three. With the goal of removing abilities being the primary goal in WOD class changes, I don't see the point in trying to keep around abilities that are problematic and redundant with other abilities - just because people think they like how the cake looks.
01/28/2014 01:29 PMPosted by Lissanda
My original argument is that Alter Time should have been a PVP utility spell that didn't interact with damage procs, heroism/bloodlust, trinket procs, or other damage-increasing abilities for use in PVE, and I still wouldn't mind seeing Alter Time stay around as a PVP utility spell with little PVE uses outside of utility (e.g., restoring your health to full).


No.

Alter time is perfect the way it is. What they should do is keep it exactly the same.

01/28/2014 01:29 PMPosted by Lissanda
Alter Time actually takes away control over your character by returning you to a previous location & state - regardless of how much the game's randomness has made that location or state undesirable to be in. Anything that takes away control from the player (but is supposed to be a "buff") is something I tend to object to


Then you are using it incorrectly. I control exactly where and how alter time puts me. It gives me more control over my character.

01/28/2014 01:29 PMPosted by Lissanda
Thus, Alter Time is little more than a self-imposed crowd control ability that essentially roots you in place for the duration of the effect


It is nothing like a self-imposed crowd control ability. It doesnt root you in place for the duration of the effect. it just bounces you back there later.

01/28/2014 01:29 PMPosted by Lissanda
(since no matter how far you run, you will be sucked back to that spot)


Which you can use to your advantage.

I'm sorry, but i dont think you understand the full awesomeness of Alter Time. And I dont think you should ask for it to be removed for no reason besides not understanding it. If you have questions about Alter Time, I would love to clarify anything.

01/28/2014 01:29 PMPosted by Lissanda
1) Redundant with other abilities/buttons (e.g., if you have 4 buttons that are all functionally the same, there is no need for 4 of them),
2) problematic in their interactions with other abilities or with boss mechanics (for example, root you to the ground in movement fights - such as Rune of Power),
3) would be difficult to actually fix them to work right (e.g., druid starfall)


1 and 3, yes. #2 no. There's nothing wrong with being gimped on certain fights. It sounds like overrall, we can expect more of a "plant your feet and cast" playstyle in WoD. If that means 2 or 3 fights per tier mage dps struggles, thats more than okay. Not everyone has to be good at everything.
01/28/2014 01:27 PMPosted by Jkspiritlink
01/28/2014 01:06 PMPosted by Mumrit
Even if I didn't, I'd caution you against using this as a pillar of your argument. the spell is relatively new and accounts for a very small DPS gain.


"NEW" or "OLD" mean extremely little.

stop using those words.

Then stop using words to describe the ability such as 'integral.' Integral implies the the ability is essential or fundamental to the mage design.

dps gain isnt everything and PVP should not be overlooked.

I didn't over look it. I commented on it.
It's more important in PVP than PVE, but further enforces the feast/famine game play with minimal casting that many seem to complain about.

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