Dev Watercooler – The Role of Role

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02/08/2012 07:04 PMPosted by Estiicia
Of course, I'm already sold on the ideology that the player should play the spec they prefer to play regardless of what theoretical improvement their DPS might have if they chose a spec they like less.

Then would that class bring anything to high end raiding?
02/08/2012 07:03 PMPosted by Mohammed

Isn't that how it is now tho, honestly?

Do you see top PvP mages specing arcane or are most frost?
Do you see top PvP rogues specing Combat or are all Sub?

Do you see top PvE locks spec demo?
Do you see top PvE warriors spec Fury?


I personally think this is the best solution to this current problem, but may show favoritism to hybrids, but that's just something that comes with having different roles. When you write it all out it looks like this:

But from a realistic point of few, is this really any different than what's currently happening on live servers? If you're a rogue and you're spec'd combat in pvp.... I'm sorry but you're just simply doing it wrong. You are reducing your class' capabilities and through that you are not living up to your classes full potential for your team.

When it comes to "But hybrids have more roles than me!!!" Well yes, that may be true in a sense, but it's not if you look at it in a perspective of role vs role. How many PvP melee specs do ferals cats have? 1. How many melee specs do PvP warriors have? 1. How about DKs? Paladins? How many PvE specs? Tank specs?

In my opinion, no class is really gaining the upper hand on another, it's just healers need to be added in to both sides of the game, that's the only reason why it may appear to be more. An example.

Remove Holy from paladins, what would their 'roles' look like?

Does that become different from warriors? Is that holy to much "favoritism"? Or is that just finally looking at the game in a much more realistic way?

Coming from a person who enjoys Ret, I'd hate to see Holy take the main stage as "The PvP Tree" because I like the theme of the class, but don't really like to heal. But while on my lock, mage, rogue, or whatever, I've come to accept that I'm required to be a certain spec, but at least my role hasn't changed, I'm still doing damage with spells, daggers, or whatever my class is themed around.

In my experience as a paladin, I know what its like to be balanced around another spec's tools, I fear that's going to be the biggest problem in MoP. A frost mage with fire survivibilty is going to be a pain to balance, a boomkin with a feral's mobility could turn out to be an extremely over powered spec, that doesn't mean the talents are overpowered for feral tho. Good luck trying to balance that out.

In my opinion, if you just designated certain specs for PvE and PvP, you could give those specs the required tools they need to have to perform in that area of the game.

The issue with your proposal is it would force people to play specs they don't want to play.
I pay for this game, I play the spec I enjoy is what GC is saying.
I agree.

If I enjoy frost, I should be able to play frost in PvE... this is what they are doing in MoP... if you look at the talents, I can now choose PvE talents and play frost... without having to worry about anything.

Pretty much this.
02/08/2012 07:06 PMPosted by Mavelock
Of course, I'm already sold on the ideology that the player should play the spec they prefer to play regardless of what theoretical improvement their DPS might have if they chose a spec they like less.

Then would that class bring anything to high end raiding?

The point is for people to be immersed in the play style of the specialization and not the redundant "100 k burst" reason.

GC is basically saying "Don't worry, we got this, in MoP, you will play what you enjoy. However, here is something for you guys to think about...while you are waiting."
Good read, thanks for the post GC, I will go with Model because the special utility that every class is important, WotLK raiding was the best time I had raiding in WoW and I'be been through Classic & BC and there were things during them I liked but i think swapping specs to give your raid group a edge is the best option. BC & Wrath were the best Raiding experience in WoW, so I think the model that displayed, allowed & showed that should be the model of Mists of Pandaria.
This post was an excellent read, always a pleasure getting insight from the developers. Through all of the examination, I couldn't help but have one beef. It's in the line:

"Or do you just switch to whatever theoretically does 1% more DPS for the next fight?"

While competitive dps in world-leading guilds may rely heavily on simulated dps to make decisions in the first two or three weeks of a fresh tier, there are many progression raiders who have the advantage of hindsight in the form of posted combat logs. I've seen it mentioned time and time again in blue posts that Blizz too has a collection of these logs, and bases decisions to buff/nerf damage dealing classes on these figures.

To cut to the chase: model one works, but it isn't being employed to the degree it needs to be. Before the release of 4.3.2, there should have been an ample collection of combat logs with which overpowered specs could be tuned down and lagging specs could be tuned up. It was from these logs that Blizzard determined to slightly lower the capabilities of fire mages, which was absolutely necessary.

However, a handful of other specs have also performed significantly above or below the capabilities of their counterparts. From the perspective of a competitive warrior dps, I struggle to see how the monumental gap between arms and fury was not touched. This is not a theoretical 1% increase, this is a 10%+ increase that can be seen clearly in the millions of logs that both Blizzard and the player base have access to. The problem is hardly limited to warriors either. Assassination rogues are no contest to combat (and in many cases subtlety). Survival hunters are the only viable progression spec for hunters. Fire mages, despite the nerfs, are still commonly several thousand dps ahead of arcane. The number of unplayable specs in progression raiding is what I would think to be unacceptable.

Players will always complain about the state of their classes, and I'm sure misinformation runs rampant regarding the power of various specs, but the truth is in the empirical evidence, we just need Blizz to act on it.

TL;DR: Model One can and has worked for balancing extraneous dps specs, but it is not being used to the degree necessary.
I feel the one big thing to be said for the old synergy model of TBC was that it actually prevented stuff like Spine from being an issue.

Yes you had an optimal raid comp--you had your groups set up a certain way to maximize your buffs and so forth (obviously ignoring balance issues here)--and that was your comp. Those synergies were so strong that you wouldn't, say, bench your shadow priests on fight X because DOTs were less good than direct damage, because then your casters can't fucntion. You couldn't bench your Enhance shaman without crippling your other melee. In essence, to min max you had one comp and you were set.

To compete nowadays? Hell you better have every single class ready to come in for the fight that they excel at. And unless classes are so lopsidedly imbalanced, that class you want to stack is going to change from fight to fight.

Having unique buffs also allowed those classes that weren't tuned quite up to par to still be a reasonable alternative to another X in a raid. I know most people thought ret paladins were a joke, but mathematically the crit buff they brought justified bringing 1 to a raid despite their low damage. When a class is in a similar spot these days (such as where shamans were multiple times this expansion), there really -isn't- a reason to bring them.
GC sometimes u just make me smile hahahha. One concern I have is if you decide to have the dedicated pvp specs for classes such as paladins which would be the pvp spec? Obviously not prot but holy paladins are one of the strongest rbg healers and rets.. well I really enjoy my ret in arena and there are quite a few high rated ones. You wouldn't get rid of the possibleity to be a dps pvper and a healer pvper for a class such as a paladin?
So far I really like the MoP style, where you can be a frost mage in pve. Or be an arcane mage with frost's tools. Yes fire will shine on AoE, and arcane will be burst..Make frost shine in BOTH just not as good as the other. So you have some good burst, but not as much as arcane, and make blizzard own but now as good as spreading combustion.
I was glad to see this. It's good to know you guys are still investing a lot of thought in some of the things we as WoW players (and the MMO community in general) seem to take for granted.

I wish I had solutions to suggest, but I don't. As GC said, many of these scenarios already played out in WoW, without clear success. Other games have adopted some of the ones WoW missed, but that didn't work out any better for them, either.

What it comes down to, in my eyes, is the challenge of providing enough options to keep everyone happy, but few enough options to keep everything balanced. I wish you good luck.
"Bring the player, not the class" still does not fully reach its potential even 3 patches into Cataclysm. Every class cannot bring every buff. Every player cannot bring every class.

I like Number Four, honestly.

  • Model Four – There is just a best spec for PvP and PvE
    This was the model of vanilla World of Warcraft, and we understand some players wouldn’t mind it returning. In this model Arms and Frost and Subtlety (and other specs) were designed to be good for PvP, while others, Fury and Fire and Combat perhaps, were designed to be good for PvE. The PvP specs might have better mobility or survivability or burst damage, while the PvE specs have better sustained damage over the course of a 6-10 minute boss fight. A lot has changed since vanilla. We don’t make many raid or dungeon encounters these days where DPS specs can just stand in one place and burn down a boss. Mobility, survivability, and burst damage can all be really useful on particular encounters, sometimes trumping the higher DPS offered by a competing spec. (There’s that old adage that dead do zero DPS.) In addition, if there is a PvP spec and a PvE spec, then for pure classes that implies that your third spec lacks much of a role. (The good leveling spec? Is that exciting?) Furthermore, our Mists of Pandaria talent tree design explicitly takes away some of the tools from the traditional PvP specs and makes them available to other specs in the class. If this works out, then you can take your Frost mage raiding, or have an Arcane mage for PvP who uses some of what traditionally were Frost’s control and escape tools. That’s great if you PvP and love Arcane, or PvE and love Frost. It’s less cool if you were the kind of player who was totally comfortable with the simpler (and possibly easier to balance) design of having dedicated PvP vs. PvE specs.

  • But that just limits what the player can play in a PVP environment. And, sure, we have the "Subtlety, Arms, and Frost = PVP" But that's just because it has the most useful survivability, control burst, and crown controlled and has become famous for those abilities.

    But what if Arcane, Fury, or Assassination was made to fit that criteria? Would you play those specs even though they bring 1-2% less damage than the previously listed specializations?

    Blizzard has put a huge piece of meat on their plate by writing this post. This is no easy task to balance.

    My suggestion?

    The current Mists of Panderia Talent Trees are exciting. You can change them whenever you want and hopefully, wherever you want. If Blizzard can give more options to play with, then just 6 Talents, I believe this new system will go far.

    Let's take a look at the Shaman MoP Talent Tree, for example:!

    (Please take into consideration this has not been set in stone by Blizzard. And this is how I see it when I analyze the class I love playing the most.)

    (Lvl. 15) Tier 1: Crowd Control
    (Lvl. 30) Tier 2: Defensive Abilities
    (Lvl. 45) Tier 3: Offensive Defensive Abilities
    (Lvl. 60) Tier 4: Defensive Abilities for More than one Player
    (Lvl. 75) Tier 5: Controlled Burst "Damage/Healing" (Offensive / Defensive)
    (Lvl. 90) Tier 6: Utility

    Cool right? I have to be honest and say "YES!" real loudly in my head. :)

    But I still feel its... incomplete.

    Receiving the ability to pick and choose your next talent every 15 levels is sort of a Debbie Downer, so to speak. When you reach the next level, you expect to be able to do something even more powerful than the last level that you were just at.

    So let's imagine on top of these 6 Tiers of Talents, the spells that you use in your specialization of choice had added effects when you reach a certain level? Say the "in-between lvls" (Level 20, 35, 50, 65, 80).

    But let's say you're leveling as an Elemental Shaman, and you're Lvl 49 using that trusty ol' Lightning Bolt to finish off your foe, and DING! You're now Lvl. 50. Your Lightning Bolt ability lights up on your UI and in light purple lettering underneath its current description of the spell, reads "This ability can now be cast while moving."

    I know its not "WOW!" but hey, its something to look forward to when leveling.

    Now it does not have to be the effect I had chosen for the example (due to balance issues) But its definitely something worth at least wondering about.

    Even if its just using the current Prime Glyphs that were mentioned of being removed from the Glyph System; In this system that you just read about? It would cushion the blow when throwing this whole new Talent Tree system at players.

    Why not work on racial abilities also. I mean who wants to look for treasure boxes?
    Tanking as a warlock was always a fun side idea I had. Between Metamorphosis, Demon Armor, and all of the little old self heals they used to have, it didn't REALLY seem like that much of a stretch. Staves with Agility could convert to armor, that sort of thing.

    Obviously it would take a lot more than just a couple little tweaks, but a permanent Metamorphosis for the sake of tanking would make sense. I mean, it already has a taunt and a cleave, solid AoE, and even versatility in the form of Demon Soul.

    Demo and Destro might play a decent bit differently, but I really don't feel like there's enough of a difference to keep three pure ranged specs, and with it being the least played class in the game, I think it'd be rad to see them gain some more use.

    And I mean, with a change like this, we could finally see warlocks in leather. That's something I've wanted since Vanilla. :3
    ISTM that MoP is definitively going to kill model 3, because the kinds of things model 3 refers to will be in the trees and not in the specs, so you can combine the utility you need with the spec you like.

    Personally, I think that 1 is probably impossible to achieve mathematically perfectly, the way the MoP trees destroy 3 is probably a good thing, 5 could and should never happen, and 4 creates just the kind of "research failure" trap that the devs are (rightly IMO) trying to eliminate (as well as leaving one spec wasted, at least). Which pretty much leaves 2.

    But the differences should be kept small enough that only the ultra-hardcore feel like they *have* to swap from fight to fight, and everyone else should just be practically pretty close to 1. 1 is the only model where you can't accidentally be the wrong spec because you don't know any better, or where there can't be a conflict between the spec you like (flavor or rotation wise) and the spec that performs well, and that's a pretty big point in its favor as an ideal, even though it can only be approached and not achieved.

    Also, the further a model is from 1, the more it resembles a hybrid tax: paladins (for example) have only one dps spec, so the fights it isn't good at, paladins aren't good at (as DPS). Pures can get around the limitations of specific fights by respecing within the role, only a few hybrids can follow suit (and even then they have fewer specs to choose from, so less chance that one of them will be good at the specific situation).

    P.S. Although this is *mostly* a DPS phenomenon, ISTM that much of the same analysis applies to Holy vs. Disc.
    While I understand that option 5 is a pipe dream, I still believe it to be the best. Just my two cents.
    As a long time mage (been this mage since MC and ZG where the raids) I have played ALL specs around. I have used each for PvE and PvP. I will say that I do miss the ability to create a hybrid dps build. Back for BC I was Arc/Fire(33/28) almost the entire expansion. It was fun for both PvP and PvE.

    Now if you are planning on doing some sort of revision of the "pure" dps classes I would like to see more of a swordmage style class. Not a death knight. But a true swordmage. Wears the cloth armor and cast spells but can also deal some decent melee damage.

    Just a little wish I had.
    Dear Blizzard,

    I am honestly good with the way things are now. I am a Cata baby (I joined on Patch 4.2 and this is all I know), but what I know is what I truly love about this game. I am not sure if the changes will turn me away from the game, but I trust in you as the game developers and I understand other than voicing my opinion for you to hear there is nothing I can do to change the way you make this game. Keep making what you feel are good decisions and I am sure the game will continue to prosper.

    Thanks for all you do,

    Stephen F.
    I've always appreciated Model Three, and because class dps specs are balanced so carefully these days and can be so close (not perfect, but close!) it could see a healthy return.

    First point I'll want to try and make is that there will always be min/maxing - the developers can't fight it, and don't really need to venture out to try. There's a difference between end-game, hardcore, perfect group comp, four nights a week raiding and casual guild or middle-of-the-pack progression raiding, too. The hardcore raider group will always min/max their specs. This hasn't changed since BC or Vanilla. They still do it today. The middle raiders will still throw in what they can get AND their very best players, in addition to trying to make that perfect comp. Casuals who participate in raiding will still have a hodgepodge, but they'll have a model to follow. This still happens, and narrowing down the differences between how classes and roles deal damage (dots, procs, nukes, instants, and cooldowns) hasn't changed raiding trends too much, from my own lone and humble perspective. You've increased the odds that one spec might be "best" in a given situation with number balancing, but you haven't fought exclusion in hardcore raiding until the group buffs release months after the content drops, or until people get geared enough for the discrepancies in numbers aren't a big deal.

    In a way, it won't matter that a Fire Mage can AOE DPS better than a Frost or Arcane Mage, because at the point where people begin to care more about their spec than their numbers, those people are already in the same group that would be using the LFR tool or grabbing the raid zone buffs like what were popular in Icecrown and Dragon Soul. The point is, cutting edge progression still min/maxes, and always will until each class/spec is exactly equal.

    Second point is that "bring the class" is not always a bad thing. There's a certain amount of class pride in saying "yes, I am a Warlock and I can drain tank or range-tank that boss or add for you", or "I'm a Shaman/Mage, and I bring the buff that makes you great once every ten minutes", or "I am a Warrior, and I can wade through the heaviest blows the boss can give, even if I can't AOE tank to save my life". Class and spec identity have suffered from the design philosophies of Wrath and Cata (again, from my one, single, humble perspective) because there are very few cases where any one person can look at themselves and be proud of what they chose at the character select screen.

    Side point incoming: There also aren't a lot of difficulties to overcome in current content where one can be proud of one's abilities, either, striking even more pride from performance-based awesomeness. "Bring the player, not the class" hasn't really worked as intended except to make all specs deal roughly the same damage, which is (maybe?) in part due to the maturing practice and tools used by the development team (Mastery, insight into cooldowns and spell coefficients, and how up time of spells/skills and any number of other things affect the overall dps of a spec). I'd be adventurous and say that "bring the player, not the class" hasn't functioned as intended at all, and has only worked to hurt class identity by making them more like Model 1, which, again, doesn't solve any problem. What has solved the numbers problem hasn't been pruning down the class differences. It has been careful work altering spells, skills, glyphs, scaling, and stat allocation on items. I think that this is true for both PvP and PvE, actually. Remember when not everyone had a CC or interrupt in battlegrounds, and some specs had huge burst, instead of good sustain or heals? That was probably okay. It's not healthy for arena, but there's one of my strong biases that I'll just have to admit I'm okay with.

    Point three would be to consider the bigger picture (you guys already are, I'm sure). All of the Model problems are interrelated, so I can't suggest one without bleed over into anther's benefits and issues. Even if I were to suggest a return to something closer to the BC model (Model 3), it also comes with some weight bleed over from Model 4, which brings up the problem of one spec in pure DPS specs becoming alienated. With the number balancing game that the developers have now, and how good they've gotten at it over the years, for a class such as Warlock, the specs cans till be fairly close in terms of average DPS, with one being stronger in AOE and one being stronger at single target (perhaps Demo and Destro respectively), leaving the third to PvP. I'm not necessarily seeking a return to the one-spec-per-class-can-PvP ideal. I love seeing all different specs in battlegrounds, and with the new talents in MoP, I think that that's actually still quite possible. There are times where a stronger AOE spec might shine, or when the utility of high single-target burst will be better or more preferred than a high-survivability spec. Remember that some people loved high burst specs in PvP back in the day because they could guarantee a kill, even if they died shortly after.

    My fourth bit here is one that's been griping on me since Wrath with DPS specs, and more on into Cata with healers and tanks: for healers and tanks, don't create roles to hold the specs, create specs that fill a role. The goal should not be that "X role can heal/tank, and Y fits in X role" but that "Y spec can perform well at X role, but that doesn't mean that they can heal/tank everything". Personally, I loved my Paladin healer. I knew she was a tank healer. I knew my Druid was a raid healer. Given very specific specs and builds, my Paladin could Flash of Light raid heal, too, even when she had only three healing spells and Beacon of Light, even before she had any AOE heals at all. It wasn't optimal, but I could do it. If we needed strong AOE heals, we turned to a Holy Priest or Druid. For strong tank heals or raid support we turned to Paladin buffs and hard heals, or Disc Priests, or a Shaman. Need an AOE tank? Paladin! In a pich, Death Knight! Strong magic mitigation? Soak it with a bear sponge or DK magic bubbles and self heals. Who's the best single-target? Damn straight, a Warrior with passive mitigation and active threat-keeping. Can a Warrior AOE tank? Ya, but it's harder than Paladin AOE tanking.

    These were points of class pride, and sometimes points of frustration, sure. Number balance has taken care of these sorts of problems less with tank and healers than it has with DPS specs. It's difficult to make a good AOE tank or healer, for instance, out of a class with no AOE tank or healing abilities. But (but!) it sure did make them feel different. These days I can't hardly tell the difference between my tanks when I'm playing as a healer or DPS. When I play my Warrior I don't look at a situation and say "I'll need more help from the party here" or "I can handle this because it's my specialty!", and I miss that. I didn't appreciate the three-heal-model that Healers were given. The developers said that some people didn't enjoy Disc pre-bubbling and damage mitigation, rather than proactive healing. I'm one who would disagree. I did. I see that they're taking steps to put the bubble back in Disc in MoP. They said that pre-hotting wasn't a healthy or fun mechanic for Druids, and it skewed the meters. I'm getting more opinionated here, which isn't really productive, but I couldn't care about the meters as long as everyone is actually pulling their weight and we survive the encounter. Meters can't say everything, like the Druid is working his or her !@# off to keep hots on everyone to keep them topped off, while the Paladin is working his or her respective $%^ off to fill in the gaps that hots just won't cover. I just really want roles for healers and tanks to be broken up again. If you have to take an un-optimal healer once in a while, but you still survive the encounter, then there's no harm in it. That is to say, Paladins don't need 'dem AOE healz, dawg. Not all tanks need a taunt (Paladins did just fine without it, back in the day). Not everyone has to work the same. It's s'not fun.

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