Grand Crusader Design Thoughts

Summary: I like a lot of things about current paladin mechanics. I dislike that Grand Crusader procs, with Blizz's Spell Alerts, become a trap for Single Target optimal tanking. The pros may out weigh this, and if I had to bet money, I'd guess that all these thoughts have been discussed by GC's team. But I thought I'd make the thread anyways. :)

Grand Crusader is a great talent on some design levels, but it's odd at others. I'm not writing this from a balance or concerns for raiding. This is going to be about a casual players perspective on the talent and learning to use it - balanced against the depth and skill differences that should exist for someone who wants to learn to play "best." (A summary of the current rotational usages of the talent will follow to help our casual readers of the tank forum looking for information. Skip two paragraphs if you understand current optimal theory crafted rotations.).

In the current iteration with the 3 sec cool down on CS/HotR, Grand Crusader becomes a turning point that helps to separate our single target and AoE rotation. The current models show that for single target rotations we come out ahead by prioritizing Holy Power generation and minimizing loss of global cool downs - to such an extent that Grand Crusader procs are mostly ignored (but not entirely). CS-Judgment-CS-Avenger Shield / Holy Wrath - CS - ShotR. So a Grand crusader proc should only be used if you were about to use Holy Wrath instead.

For AoE, our main abilities are HotR, Consecration, Holy Wrath and Avenger's Shield. Since three out of the four have long cool downs (15-30 secs), Grand Crusader procs are a necessary and balanced part of our ability to put out strong threat (but HotR is strong enough that missing some procs will not kill us).

In the previous iteration where CS and HotR were on a 4.5 second cool down, Grand Crusader was more connected with our single target system. We would want to use it almost every time it procced. There were two down sides to this, 1) a large portion of testers did not enjoy the gaps that could occur in the rotation if procs were not incoming, and 2) there did not feel to be as distinct of differences between the single target and AoE rotation / priority systems.

So . . . here's what I like. I love that the current design does these things: 1) Players who do some research or math are going to play better than others - subjective calls on if the delta is enough are another question. 2) The single target and AoE rotations feel like I'm doing different things and caring about different ways of playing.

Here's what is bothering me. With the release of Blizzard's "Spell Alerts" / Power Auras, GC feels like a trap in single target fights. But I'm not familiar enough with playing many DPS classes to know how common it is for a proc to be a trap. Few other classes are as GCD capped as a Prot Paladin, and this may mitigate how much it matters to other classes. I'm worried though that changes (such as increasing the damaging of AS to make the proc worth using) would rip apart the current design where the two rotations feel more separate than singular.

Can someone post the thread from maintank or ej that ran so many simulations on this? I wanted to check what the difference was between optimal play and a style that attempts to use all procs. Part of evaluating the design would requiring how far from optimal the Spell Alert system pulls you. And I just can't remember that.

As an aside, I did some leveling on beta prior to the 3 second GCD change. I do not think the leveling will help to naturally lead a player to understand that using those procs will decrease the use of wasted cool downs at the top level - so the design fails to lead players to understand how the mechanics mix.
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What do you mean by trap? Do you mean that you feel forced to use it because it's your highest damage ability?

I like talents like this, that can reset your highest damage ability, or let you use something.
It mixes up the rotation. Before, paladin tanking was boring with the 969 rotation. It just felt far too robotic; you knew what your rotation was ahead of time. Heck, if you were lazy and terribad, you could even throw your entire rotation into one macro button.

Warriors and Bears have the same mechanic, although Shield Slam / Mangle has a much shorter cooldown than Avenger's Shield.

I think the paladin rotation is in an okay spot now. CS/HotR every other CD, with various abilities in between.

Blizz doesn't want tank rotations to be dull, but neither do they want them too complicated. Right now, DKs still have a boring rotation, although blizz did try to fix this with Death Coil resetting runes.

And with regards to GCD Capped. Well, to do max threat, Warriors and Druids are as well. Every single GCD is filled with an ability. In between Shield Slam / Mangle CDs, we are spamming Devastate / Lacerate, with a Revenge / Pulverize thrown in every once in a while.

Heck, we're more than GCD capped, we're even using abilities while the Global cooldown is going.

edit: your name makes me think of star trek
Edited by Jaime on 11/13/2010 11:32 AM PST
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85 Draenei Death Knight
7430
I was under the impression that the proc only shortened the cooldown, not gave a bonus of any form, similar to Runic Empowerment for DKs. Merely something nice to have but not mandatory to use.

Edit: I will admit the proc display does seem to make procs feel like they have to be used "NOW!"
Edited by Kalle on 11/13/2010 11:34 AM PST
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What do you mean by trap? Do you mean that you feel forced to use it because it's your highest damage ability?

I mean, a player who lacks knowledge will believe that it is optimal to use the ability when they see the Blizz Spell Alert. And that is not optimal when you are trying for single target threat.

That design, bothers me a bit. The systems that Blizz has designed pull players lacking knowledge away from playing the best they could.

This is not a problem for me . . . but its not a perfect system. The problem is that any fix for it - in either adding more cool down space or increasing its damage disrupts the separate single target and AoE rotations that currently exist. It's a complicated problem.

I haven't played on my druid or warrior since 4.0 hit. How often is it non-optimal for Warriors and Druids to hit a button when a Spell Alert pops up?
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85 Draenei Death Knight
7430
They've said they are okay with people being able to research their class and play better and not having everything be what I call "Barney'd."
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They've said they are okay with people being able to research their class and play better and not having everything be what I call "Barney'd."

I agree with this. And I included that as a positive to the current system.

But there is a difference to not having everything spelled out and having a system almost act to pull you in the wrong direction.
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What do you mean by trap? Do you mean that you feel forced to use it because it's your highest damage ability?

I mean, a player who lacks knowledge will believe that it is optimal to use the ability when they see the Blizz Spell Alert. And that is not optimal when you are trying for single target threat.

That design, bothers me a bit. The systems that Blizz has designed pull players lacking knowledge away from playing the best they could.

This is not a problem for me . . . but its not a perfect system. The problem is that any fix for it - in either adding more cool down space or increasing its damage disrupts the separate single target and AoE rotations that currently exist. It's a complicated problem.

I haven't played on my druid or warrior since 4.0 hit. How often is it non-optimal for Warriors and Druids to hit a button when a Spell Alert pops up?


ah i see. Thought AS did some considerable damage (well, less than ShotR at least).
How does the damage compare to alternate abilities you could use at the same time for AoE? Single target?

And Shield Slam / Mangle is one of hardest hitting abilities, not to mention the extra threat, for Warriors & Druids. Reapplying debuffs/buffs may take precedence though.
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ah i see. Thought AS did some considerable damage (well, less than ShotR at least).
How does the damage compare to alternate abilities you could use at the same time for AoE? Single target?

And Shield Slam / Mangle is one of hardest hitting abilities, not to mention the extra threat, for Warriors & Druids. Reapplying debuffs/buffs may take precedence though.

Complicated Answer. AS does do considerable damage. The reason it's non-optimal is because using it at the wrong time adds in GCD dead space in our rotation that does not need to be there. I'm trying to find the thread I saw on Maintankadin or Elitist Jerks that actually spelled out the damage difference over a long time. Because MAYBE the non-optimal play was close enough to the optimal play that this is all academic - so that it's really not that big of a deal.

For AoE: I'd rather hit HotR and Consecration (unless an enemy is far away or I'm about to lose threat), in comparing Holy Wrath and Avenger's Shield it gets complicated again. Holy Wrath hits all enemies, Avenger's Shield 3. Holy Wrath does a set amount of damage though that gets less as you hit more enemies. So you are always doing less damage (and consecutively even less damage to individuals the more enemies are there!) but at least you are hitting all of them for some threat instead of just a few. AoE, in my opinion, is in a great place. Feels very dynamic as you make judgment calls. It reminds me of Warrior AoE tanking on some level. If anything HotR on 3 sec cooldown makes it a little easy mode . . . but its okay.

For Single Target: we run into the GCD being disrupted problem. So ShoR, Crusader's Strike, and Judgment are all prioritized first. Not bad on its face . . . just awkward in my opinion.
Edited by Breenn on 11/13/2010 11:52 AM PST
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Edit: My bad. Meant to edit. Hit quote.
Edited by Breenn on 11/13/2010 11:51 AM PST
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Not wanting to bring pvp into a pve discussion, just want to make an observation.

AS + grand crusader must be beast for PvP. Multi-Target Interrupt / Silence + Daze if glyphed.

With a large pack of mobs leveling paladins might be facing, HotR would obviously be superior, but in between HotR hits, wouldn't AS be the best thing to hit for these situations? Besides Consecrate/Holy Wrath if it's off CD and they can afford the mana.
Edited by Jaime on 11/13/2010 11:55 AM PST
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I think HotR / CS is supposed to act a bit like Devastate / Lacerate / Death Coil for Paladins. It's something to be spammed in between your other abilities. Of course, it doesn't function exactly like this, but i think it might have been the design goal.
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90 Night Elf Druid
17755
For what it's worth, while AS could probably use a small boost to be updated for 3sec CS (or ShoR deemphasized), the actual effect of prioritizing AS on, say, a newbie tank should be more or less negligible.

And considering that in multi target situations, AS is pretty freaking godlike, he or she probably won't even notice the difference unless he bothers to read Theck's spreadsheet.
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For what it's worth, while AS could probably use a small boost to be updated for 3sec CS (or ShoR deemphasized), the actual effect of prioritizing AS on, say, a newbie tank should be more or less negligible.

And considering that in multi target situations, AS is pretty freaking godlike, he or she probably won't even notice the difference unless he bothers to read Theck's spreadsheet.

Yeah I just found his spreadsheet work again ... it does look fairly negligible. I suppose its worth the pros of the design. Just so weird that the Blizz Alert system runs counter to optimal threat play . . . Ah well.

Rotation | DPS | Empty | E% (don't know what this is)
    SD>ShoR>CS>J>AS>Cons>HW | 8746 | 30 | 0.0
    SD>ShoR>CS>J>AS>HW>Cons | 8709 | 16 | 0.0
    SD>ShoR>CS>AS>J8>HW>Cons | 8616 | 584 | 0.8
    AS>SD>ShoR>CS>J>HW>Cons | 8469 | 1127 | 2.4


From: http://maintankadin.failsafedesign.com/forum/index.php?p=593309&rb_v=viewtopic#p593309
Edited by Breenn on 11/13/2010 12:15 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Druid
17755
Well the system was conceived when CS was still a 4.5 second cooldown, so it really just comes down to numbers adjusting after the fact.
Edited by Slashlove on 11/13/2010 12:12 PM PST
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
4465
I know what yup mean. As silly as it sounds, I really do have to restrain myself from pressing the big glowing and flashing button when I should be building holy power.

I think there's an easy solution to this. Get rid of the glyph that increases damage of it but makes it only hit 1 target, and change the ability itself such that it works similar to the new holy wrath, in that it splits damage based on how many of it's 3 possible targets it hits.

So basically, give AS the 100% damage buff from the glyph, and then have it so that when there are 2-3 targets, it splits it's damage, doing the current amount at 3 targets.
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85 Tauren Paladin
6505
I know what yup mean. As silly as it sounds, I really do have to restrain myself from pressing the big glowing and flashing button when I should be building holy power.

I think there's an easy solution to this. Get rid of the glyph that increases damage of it but makes it only hit 1 target, and change the ability itself such that it works similar to the new holy wrath, in that it splits damage based on how many of it's 3 possible targets it hits.

So basically, give AS the 100% damage buff from the glyph, and then have it so that when there are 2-3 targets, it splits it's damage, doing the current amount at 3 targets.


I rather like this idea. They simply need to make GC procs more enticing somehow. I've seen lots of people mention ideas and some of them are really nice.

To be totally honest, I hate having to change that Glyph out depending on it being a boss or trash. I really do. Perhaps its just a quality of life issue, but it seems so silly. Especially silly if you forget (cuz it sucks if you forget either way, be it boss or trash).

To me, I like the idea of GC procs giving you HP after used. That, combined with this idea of making AS more like the new HW would be amazing. Perhaps GC proc rate would have to get lowered, or maybe it'd be fine at the current proc rate, but it would make you go "Oh, GC proc'd, MUST USE NOW", instead of just waiting for it to fit back into your rotation as normal.
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90 Night Elf Druid
17755
give AS the 100% damage buff from the glyph


Hint: the AS glyph gives 30% increased damage, not 100%.

We don't need another split-damage attack. One's enough >.<
Edited by Slashlove on 11/14/2010 11:51 AM PST
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100 Human Paladin
14055
Here's what I consider a very relevant question:

Do CS and Judgement (for Sacred Duty) still beat out using AS on proc even with ShoR's scaling cut to 60% from 120% (and base damage added) under the effects of full Vengeance?
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85 Draenei Warrior
0
they just need to change the proc to make AS available for use for 6 seconds without affecting its normal cooldown at all.

IE you proc a free AS if you want to use it without killing a possibly stored AS waiting for adds to spawn, etc.
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85 Tauren Paladin
6505
Here's what I consider a very relevant question:

Do CS and Judgement (for Sacred Duty) still beat out using AS on proc even with ShoR's scaling cut to 60% from 120% (and base damage added) under the effects of full Vengeance?


Am I missing something? ShoR is getting nerfed? If this is in regards to MMO-Champs tooltip thing that they datamined a few weeks back, that was just a tooltip being funky is all. If there is an incoming nerf to ShoR, you may be on to something, I dont know. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say CS and Judge would still outweigh AS, due to it accruing HP and keeping up HS (not like it'll fall off regularly, but still). Just my .02
Edited by Xenorun on 11/14/2010 12:00 PM PST
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