On Ranged and Mobility

90 Undead Mage
11870
I am addressing this from a pve, group-centric, perspective. What applies in this post may not also hold true in a pvp environment, as the requirements (needs) of pvp are different than pve.

I have spent a good amount of time putting thought into why some ranged specs / classes are given mobility, while others are not, or at the very least, reduced damage while moving.

The fundamental difference (which needs to be understood, imo) between a melee class and a ranged class in terms of damage while moving comes down to "time on target". A melee class, such as a DK, when forced off of a boss, often have no offensive capability. At best, they have a severely diminished ability to do damage to a boss. Since the area that a melee is capable of doing "full" damage to a boss is roughly 1/64th of the area that a ranged is capable of doing "full" damage to a boss (1/128th if you factor in positioning of the melee "behind" the boss), we can see the issue in terms of how encounters are designed. In order for the melee to be competitive with their ranged counterparts, there needs to be some way to balance the difference in movable area. This is generally accounted for with mechanics that force the ranged, or everyone, to move. A basic example is Attenuation. Everyone needs to move. This is "supposed" to have more of an impact on the ranged as a way to balance times when melee are forced out of their tiny area where they can do "full" dps. The trade off for a melee forced out of range is that if the time is short enough, they regen resources to unleash attacks when they do get back on the boss, negating some of the time spent doing 0 damage.

We currently have 6 classes that are capable of dpsing from range. Between them, they account for 12 (13 if you count holy priests) of the possible 34 specs.

Of those 6 classes, only 1 has the ability to retain 100% damage while on the move (hunters) For now, I will leave hunters out of this discussion as frankly, the system they are using for mobility makes zero sense to me.

Of the remaining 5 (looking at 5.2 here for clarification), only mages have the ability to cast a number of instant-cast spells to fulfill a sort of "moving rotation" without investing in a glyph or a talent. FYI - A mage's damage drops to roughly 15-40% of normal while moving (except for fire... who is the odd duck here - they retain about 65-75% of their damage).

We're now down to 4 classes. 1 of these can use a glyph that allows them to cast their "filler" spell while on the move (shaman). And 1 class has the ability to talent into the ability to cast everything on the move (warlocks). Both of these options have a drawback. Personally, I feel the drawback on either is fairly small, but I am sure that someone will disagree with me. To each their own.

This leaves us with just 2 classes that have no real "on the move" rotation. Nor do either of these classes have the ability to become more reliably mobile through the use of a glyph or a talent. I have begun to really wonder why these 2 classes were singled out for this. Then it occurred to me - both of these classes have a spammable dot. While that is nothing to brag about, as warlocks and mages (who don't take frost bomb) both have a spammable dot, the difference is that those dots don't have the direct damage component to them that moonfire / SW:P do.

So it occurs to me that Blizzard looked at the ranged classes, said "Ok, Priests and Moonkins have a dot that does damage. They can spam that while on the move, so it will make them comparable to a melee forced out of range. Seems good" They then looked at Warlocks and Mages and said "Well, mages have a number of instant cast spells. They can use those while on the move. While they will be better than a moonkin on the run, they'll still be pretty bad. So we're good there. But Warlocks... what do do with them... " Thus, KJC was born as a talent - a way for a warlock to still deliver some damage from range, with penalties to discourage extended casting while moving. The original incarnation of KJC was much steeper in terms of cost than the current one.

Blizzard then turned their attention to Ele Shaman and said "Well, what have we got for them? We can have them spam flame shock? Nope - 5 sec CD, that won't do. Its just too little. Well, we gave them that cast LB on the move glyph in Cata, want to let them keep that? Sure! LB is only a small portion of their overall damage, well, small enough that it will be ok" and tada! Shaman are now in line with your average melee when forced off the boss"

TL;DR So, in looking for an answer as to why some classes have more mobility than others, it seems to me that the original goal was to make movement for ranged approximately as punishing as leaving their target is for melee.

Thoughts? Alternative ideas?
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90 Troll Hunter
9050
I agree that hunter movement is a little ridiculous, no matter how much I love being able to just run around while performing at max potential, it does seem unfair to the other classes. I really hope blizzard brings back Sniper training in a later patch. Also I don't think many ele shamans are taking the glyph because 5% increased cast time for like a 2.5 second cast is pretty big and I imagine a significant DPS loss weather you are moving or not.

As for shadow and boomkin I think they need some mobility love... maybe make mind spike cast able while moving and for boomkins when they are in an eclipse make either wrath or starfire? be cast able while moving.

and also I think rune of power should follow the mage around.

Also I think melee should have a way of doing some DPS while out of range of the boss. Like rogues shuriken toss.

for paladins perhaps increase exorcism, judgement, and hammer of wrath's damage while at greater distance from the boss

ele shamans have their ascendance ability which gives their attacks a 30 yard range.

unholy DK's death coil could infect diseases on targets
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68 Undead Mage
0
02/17/2013 09:01 PMPosted by Howmanylichs
So, in looking for an answer as to why some classes have more mobility than others, it seems to me that the original goal was to make movement for ranged approximately as punishing as leaving their target is for melee.


I think this was the design idea... however I think largely it's fallen out of working order. As you said with hunters having no drawback on mobile damage, they might as well be 41 yard melee. And while they're the most extreme case of ranged mobility, they along with mages (especially fire) and warlocks all lose very little on the move, at least relative to what a melee loses having to be out of melee range.

It leads to an imbalance that's existed for years, but that there is no real way to avoid without killing a large portion of fun for ranged, where a ranged dps heavy group is almost always implicitly superior to a melee dps heavy group. (As an aside, it's worth noting that the movement and time off the boss factor isn't the only one, there are also benefits in being able to spread out more efficiently, being able to hit adds without moving to them, etc.)

What's even more interesting is if you look at an extremely immobile melee class like a Death Knight and compare them to, say, a hunter or a warlock talented for . If you look at it mechanically, a Hunter/warlock will have full personal (i.e. nonpet -- pet damage may or may not need to be removed from theirs depending on the space building mechanic) dps uptime so long as they are within 41 yards, making them extremely efficent in both movement situations and situations where the target to hit is suddenly far away (teleport, new target, etc.). Where as a Death Knight will have significantly reduced damage for the full walking duration to the target, as their 'gap closer' of sorts is a target pull that often times cannot be used safely in a raid.

Overall, the difference between mobile and immobile ranged is probably too large -- but it shouldn't be discounted the difference in mobility for melee. A warrior or WW monk can cross the battlefield 10 times over in the time it takes a Death Knight to, with rogues, rets, etc. sitting somewhere in the middle. So I would argue that's probably too large also.

[Random aside -- Dk's should probably have a glyph of death charge that makes you grip yourself to the target... ]
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90 Undead Mage
11870
02/17/2013 09:46 PMPosted by Rabindso
Also I don't think many ele shamans are taking the glyph because 5% increased cast time for like a 2.5 second cast is pretty big and I imagine a significant DPS loss weather you are moving or not.


Its a 2 sec cast, and the 5% cast penalty is balanced out with the 5% haste buff they provide. If a fight calls for nearly no movement (Empress would be my best suggestion for this tier) then it would make sense to not glyph LB. However, if you consider that if you move just 6% of the total time in a fight (22 seconds of a 6 minute fight) the glyph becomes superior. Most shaman I see that raid take it - I can't imagine why they wouldn't. It allows them to perform their full rotation on the move, only stopping long enough to cast a LvB that didn't proc. (Ascendance aside).

02/17/2013 09:51 PMPosted by Chillyassnow
So, in looking for an answer as to why some classes have more mobility than others, it seems to me that the original goal was to make movement for ranged approximately as punishing as leaving their target is for melee.


I think this was the design idea... however I think largely it's fallen out of working order. As you said with hunters having no drawback on mobile damage, they might as well be 41 yard melee. And while they're the most extreme case of ranged mobility, they along with mages (especially fire) and warlocks all lose very little on the move, at least relative to what a melee loses having to be out of melee range.


With 6 ranged classes, we have an effective "range" of 15% to 100% of normal dps while on the move. This I think is the main culprit for dissension in the ranks - "Why does X get to do 100% when I only get to do 20%?"

It leads to an imbalance that's existed for years, but that there is no real way to avoid without killing a large portion of fun for ranged, where a ranged dps heavy group is almost always implicitly superior to a melee dps heavy group. (As an aside, it's worth noting that the movement and time off the boss factor isn't the only one, there are also benefits in being able to spread out more efficiently, being able to hit adds without moving to them, etc.)

What's even more interesting is if you look at an extremely immobile melee class like a Death Knight and compare them to, say, a hunter or a warlock talented for . If you look at it mechanically, a Hunter/warlock will have full personal (i.e. nonpet -- pet damage may or may not need to be removed from theirs depending on the space building mechanic) dps uptime so long as they are within 41 yards, making them extremely efficent in both movement situations and situations where the target to hit is suddenly far away (teleport, new target, etc.). Where as a Death Knight will have significantly reduced damage for the full walking duration to the target, as their 'gap closer' of sorts is a target pull that often times cannot be used safely in a raid.

Overall, the difference between mobile and immobile ranged is probably too large -- but it shouldn't be discounted the difference in mobility for melee. A warrior or WW monk can cross the battlefield 10 times over in the time it takes a Death Knight to, with rogues, rets, etc. sitting somewhere in the middle. So I would argue that's probably too large also.

[Random aside -- Dk's should probably have a glyph of death charge that makes you grip yourself to the target... ]


I agree that the difference in travel time for melee makes for more punitive encounters for them when they need to switch to an add that's far away for example. A lot of that is alleviated by your guild's strat, or at the very least, countered by fight mechanics of other bosses - Empress' 'Cry of Terror' will never be cast on a melee (or a hunter for that matter).

A simple solution, an easy solution, an ideal solution (at least imo) would be to simply to "all spells are castable on the move now (even heals). While moving, your effectiveness is reduced by X% (60% for example). A simple debuff could be applied to the player when they moved while casting a spell, or casted a spell while moving. The debuff could last 1 second (refreshing as you move) as a means of encouraging "stand and deliver". Ofc, from a pvp perspective, you'd need to add in some additional code for a few select spells that would say "no longer causes <condition> if casting while moving (looking at frost bolt as an example - no longer snares when casting while moving).

This allows the devs to simply state "we want you doing X% of your normal damage while moving. It still allows you to plan, move, and plant with no real loss assuming the move is short enough, but for extended movement, we don't have class A pulling 110k and class B pulling 20k.
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90 Draenei Priest
6645
It's a tricky one. Blizzard have essentially painted themselves into a corner by letting two classes cast on the move, and having the rest stuck on the old paradigm.

For Arcane mages it makes sense I guess, because their dps seems to be balanced around turret+scoot. Other mages seem pretty mobile.

Balance, Elemental and Shadow suffer hard though. Balance at least got some big buffs in 5.2. Not sure about shadow yet.
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90 Undead Warlock
11815
The "Drawback" for us locks.... is pretty meh in PvE. I move and cast sometimes just because I can.
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1 Troll Rogue
0
Mage lvl 90 talents are essentially a choice on how to least gimp yourself.
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90 Undead Priest
9900
This is cute but Shadow mobility is actually getting nerfed.
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90 Troll Rogue
21045
02/17/2013 09:01 PMPosted by Howmanylichs
TL;DR So, in looking for an answer as to why some classes have more mobility than others, it seems to me that the original goal was to make movement for ranged approximately as punishing as leaving their target is for melee.

For the same reason different melee dps are punished differently for time off target. Using elegon for instance, the dps I suffer when I have to run out is more then that of a warrior and (if done properly) less then that of a ret pally.

Mobile dps for casters and mobility for melee dps are part of the broader toolkit that Blizzard ideally balances around. Obviously problems develop when a given class/spec has strengths in too many niches but in theory mobile dps is just another part of the overall ranged dps toolkit.
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90 Undead Mage
11870
02/18/2013 10:27 AMPosted by Fierydemise
TL;DR So, in looking for an answer as to why some classes have more mobility than others, it seems to me that the original goal was to make movement for ranged approximately as punishing as leaving their target is for melee.

For the same reason different melee dps are punished differently for time off target. Using elegon for instance, the dps I suffer when I have to run out is more then that of a warrior and (if done properly) less then that of a ret pally.

Mobile dps for casters and mobility for melee dps are part of the broader toolkit that Blizzard ideally balances around. Obviously problems develop when a given class/spec has strengths in too many niches but in theory mobile dps is just another part of the overall ranged dps toolkit.


I can agree that some melee classes are effected more by time off target than others. I have always known that - some classes do better when forced off. However, every melee suffers to a pretty serious extent - I'd venture that the best "out of melee dps" would be a frost DK who's using DC instead of frost strike. Its not ideal, but it beats the crap out of /throw. This is why every melee strives so hard to stay on target and they go so frustrated when forced out for a significant amount of time. Being out of melee ranges is a significant loss. If you have one melee (let's just say arms warriors for example) who were able to use all of their abilities (including auto attacks) from 35 yards, would they really care if they were forced off the boss? Probably not.

The point I would make here though is that every melee is heavily punished for being out of range. It is a steep hit to your damage to be out of range. However, not every ranged class is that way. If you run a test and you ask a ranged class to run and dps (no stopping) for a full minute, you would have classes that are capable of maintaining 100% of their dps, and some that can barely muster 15%. It is this discrepancy that bothers me, and the one in which I went looking for a "why".

I think the class mechanics were put into place before Blizzard gave any consideration to this. Again, with the exception of hunters who are "the" special snowflake of MoP. Blizzard then went ahead and shoe-horned in this small bit of mobility to each class - except, each class has wildly varied mechanics that don't mesh well with movement.

Some very easy solutions:

- Hunters need an incentive to sit still. Right now, there is no reason a hunter should ever stop moving. Ever. Sniper training won't be enough, and while it won't be popular, they need to make the cast time abilities they have require no movement. No more steady / cobra / aimed / barrage on the move.
- Shaman need to have Unleashed lightning baseline, with a different proc on LvB. It needs to be a reduced cast time still - perhaps cut the cast time in half? Enough so they still need to stop every once in a while, if even for 3/4 of a second.
- Warlocks need... idk. KJC needs to go back to what it was maybe? Harsher movement penalty? I honestly don't know what I would do with them.
- Mages need... if all of the above goes through, nothing. They could and should make scorch baseline - this solves mobility but still severely limits damage for extended movement.
- Moonkins need to be able to cast wrath while moving. That's it. It would really do enough for them in terms of mobile dps if we're bringing everyone in line.
- Shadow needs something that won't kill it in pvp. Mind spike while moving synergizes too well with their current glyphs. Perhaps: Glyph of Unleashed Spikes: Your mind spike can now be cast while moving. Cannot be used in conjunction with Glyph of Mind Spike.

Just throwing things at the wall here - but I do believe that would allow most ranged classes to deal about 40% of their DPS over extended periods of time (10+ seconds).
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90 Troll Rogue
21045
02/19/2013 10:57 PMPosted by Howmanylichs
However, every melee suffers to a pretty serious extent - I'd venture that the best "out of melee dps" would be a frost DK who's using DC instead of frost strike.

Sure if we all have equal time off target we all suffer to similar extents, it gets a bit complicated when you start dealing with exactly how long we are off target and how it lines up with damage profiles but lets simplfy and say all melee lose roughly equally given time off target. What is not true however is that all melee dps suffer equal time off target. A warrior can charge to an enemy every 20 seconds (with 2 charges if talented), intervene a friendly every 30, and heroic leap every 45. A warrior has 6.5 gap mobility abilities per minute whereas a rogue has a shadowstep every 24 and sprint every minute so 3.5 per minute if we assume all mobility increases are created equal. Therefore given a fight with a fair amount of time off target a warrior will tend to have more uptime because they have more mobility abilities.
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90 Goblin Warlock
0
02/17/2013 11:55 PMPosted by Luciferkrist
The "Drawback" for us locks.... is pretty meh in PvE. I move and cast sometimes just because I can.


The drawback is pretty substantial if you actually have to move for encounter purposes. The reason you NORMALLY have to move is to get either to or away from a set place within a certain time period. In slowing your movement speed to enable casting on the move you're 100% defeating the purpose of moving since unless it's a preplanned move that has no danger involved, you're lowering your survivability.
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90 Undead Mage
11870
02/20/2013 03:44 AMPosted by Purebalance
The "Drawback" for us locks.... is pretty meh in PvE. I move and cast sometimes just because I can.


The drawback is pretty substantial if you actually have to move for encounter purposes. The reason you NORMALLY have to move is to get either to or away from a set place within a certain time period. In slowing your movement speed to enable casting on the move you're 100% defeating the purpose of moving since unless it's a preplanned move that has no danger involved, you're lowering your survivability.


And yet, when mechanics don't work that way (most of the fight this tier) you have the option to maintain full damage while on the move. The way the debuff is applied means you can move a short distance (to get out of a cobalt mine, or a wind bomb) and never have the debuff applied.

For those short periods where a snare is detrimental, you have the option to not cast and keep the survivability. Heroic Blade Lord's Blade Tempest for example.

I guess my biggest gripe with the system is the wild disparity between the classes. Some are excellent, some are garbage. If all ranged were in a place like the melee are, where moving was painful and we had a damage range of 15-40% instead of 15-100%, I would be much happier. However, we're not. We have ranged dps that do less damage while moving than some melee do while off the boss. And yet, we have some ranged that can do anything and everything while moving. It just makes no sense to me.
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90 Human Warlock
17000
02/20/2013 03:44 AMPosted by Purebalance
The drawback is pretty substantial if you actually have to move for encounter purposes.

It's really not. Plan ahead better, either through getting into position or setting up a portal.

KJC is pretty much broken, we can admit it, Blizzard doesn't seem to care that it is. No, I don't know why.
Edited by Serinicas on 2/20/2013 11:25 AM PST
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90 Pandaren Mage
10290
Is it possible that Blizz plans around the mobility of the ranged classes? For example, in fights with no movement, do mages do more damage than hunters? So that on light movement fights, they even out, and heavy movement fights, hunters win out.
Edited by Winnrie on 2/20/2013 6:20 PM PST
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90 Troll Hunter
11370
TBH I'd trade my mobility for being god-tier DPS (mages) or having both (lol warlocks).
Edited by Meleti on 2/20/2013 6:25 PM PST
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02/19/2013 10:57 PMPosted by Howmanylichs
Shadow needs something that won't kill it in pvp. Mind spike while moving synergizes too well with their current glyphs. Perhaps: Glyph of Unleashed Spikes: Your mind spike can now be cast while moving. Cannot be used in conjunction with Glyph of Mind Spike.


The problem with that is that Mind Spike wipes our DoTs, and outside of FDCL procs, doesn't hit hard enough to compensate for the loss of DoT damage. It would make the situation worse than it is now.

Honestly, I think that it would be better design just for all ranged to do less dps while on the move. Remove Glyph of Unleashed Lightning and double Flame Shock's damage (really, it's such a weak DoT that even doubling it will end up with it being overshadowed by most DoTs), remove the passive portion of Kiljaedan's Cunning, and take Steady/Cobra Shot off of the list of abilities Hunters can use on the move. It's not that I'm trying to say "other people beat me in mobile dps, nerf them!", it's that the current design where some ranged can do nearly 100% of dps on the move while others are significantly disadvantaged doesn't really make any sense.
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90 Night Elf Druid
18960
02/17/2013 09:01 PMPosted by Howmanylichs
Then it occurred to me - both of these classes have a spammable dot. While that is nothing to brag about, as warlocks and mages (who don't take frost bomb) both have a spammable dot, the difference is that those dots don't have the direct damage component to them that moonfire / SW:P do.


Talking Moonkin PoV:

Spamming either SF or MF is, many times, a DPS loss. The root of this problem goes far beyond the number(s) that you see on screen.

Moonkins have a spell (passive) called Nature's Grace which gives us 15% haste, and procs each time we hit Eclipse, lasting 15 seconds. The DoTs casted during Nature's grace, naturally, tick extra and thus increases our chances of getting more Shooting Stars procs for free Starsurge(s). Starsurge also is our highest DPET ability and gives smart eclipse power, therefore being (in most cases) our top priority spell.

So when movement is forced - especially during Lunar - we have no choice but to do nothing, or place mushrooms. Another thing that people seem to forget, on fights like Sha of Fear, having to move to grab an orb on a platform, or moving out of the penetrating bolt radius.

There's so much really small movement involved that I need to stop casting my 2.5 second starfires just to avoid a 3rd stack or 2nd stack of the debuff.

We're the only caster that has a 2.5 second nuke that needs to be casted 4-6 times in a row, for 50% of the duration of the fight. Destro locks can save up their embers (if not maxxed), to push of their chaos bolt a little later. It's a DPS postponement, not a major loss. For a moonkin, every time I'm forced to stop casting a starfire, it's a 3-4.5 second DPS loss.

There are plenty of simple solutions:
1. Astral Communion on the move - so that I can at least get energy while moving and get better uptime of Eclipse.
2. Glyph that reduces cast time, damage, and eclipse energy generation of starfire by 35%. This would make it identical to wrath, minus animation + travel time. But it would give us an option for the movement heavy fights.
3. Glyph of Owlkin Frenzy - You can now keep owlkin frenzy activated. Your non-eclipsed spells are castable on the move, and generate 3 / 5 energy per cast. No longer gives 10% damage bonus.

Anyway, I'm still going through all post-MoP blue posts to compile a list of moonkin related posts to summarize to the devs. I hope they can give us attention then...
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MVP - World of Warcraft
90 Human Mage
10015
02/20/2013 06:20 PMPosted by Winnrie
Is it possible that Blizz plans around the mobility of the ranged classes? For example, in fights with no movement, do mages do more damage than hunters? So that on light movement fights, they even out, and heavy movement fights, hunters win out.


Well, it'd have to tilt a little more than that. There are virtually zero fights with no movement at all -- so Mages would need to do enough extra damage when not moving that they would win out on light movement fights, balance on moderate movement fights, and Hunters would win on heavy movement fights.

Ideally that's what we should wind up with. But can Mage stationary damage be strong enough to make that happen without causing uproar in PvP?
________________________________________________
Find answers to questions about Mage mechanics in
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