[Discussion] Remove Auto-Attack?

So, I've been thinking of the alleged problem of our damage being far too passive. I start to get this crazy idea in my head that I know is crazy. Auto-attack has been in the game since launch and is key to a lot of the mechanics of melee/Hunters.

So how would Blizz be able to remove it and shift the gameplay to a more active state without losing damage/flavor?

Myself, I was thinking they take that passive AA damage, let's say it's 50% of total damage, and divide it among our active abilities and procs. They could up our regen, reduce the cost of abilities or just flatout increase our "special" damage (or a combination of some/all). Procs like Combat Potency and Poison could also be moved to special attacks, adjusting their chances to proc accordingly.

I also realize they tried to do this with Monks in Beta but it didn't work. Does anyone know why? I don't remember but I think they said something along the lines of, "it's weird."

Also, just a disclaimer: I'm not seriously suggesting that this should go forward. Just playing in Hypothetical Land while trying to fall asleep and to see what you all think.
guild wars 2 don't have auto-attack...
It does, in a way. Key 1 is usually the only ability without a cooldown and Auto-Cast is turned on by default. The chain is just interrupted when you use another ability. I rather like the chain.

SWTOR truly doesn't have auto-attack, though they still have a free ability solely for the purpose of having something to push when nothing is available or when managing energy/heat.
Found want you were referring to, Tro, about why they kept auto-attack.


TS: . . . I also noticed that the Monk has regained the ability to punch things without me pushing buttons.

GS: Autoattack. Yeah. So, we tried it without autoattack, and it sucked, and so we said we’re not going to keep it just for the sake of being different. It was weird for a couple of reasons. One of the very first quests in the Pandaren starting area says, “Go up to this target dummy and attack it.” So you’d go up and click on the target dummy, and as a World of Warcraft player you expect him to hit the target, but he goes up and he does this. <pantomiming a fighting stance> And he sits there. And if you left for 15 minutes to get a beer, and came back, he’d still be doing this. And that feels really weird.

It was kind of lame, when you were fighting a target, and you’d have it down to like 10 health, and you couldn’t kill it. And now you have to blow a special attack and lots of resources just to hit for 10 damage, whereas a Warrior’s just going to autoattack the thing down once it gets that wounded. So that felt weird.

Those are the main reasons. We were kind of relieved, from a balance point of view. I don’t want to make it sound like the balance concerns were driving it in this case, but autoattack damage for melee classes is something like 30-40% of their damage, which means that we know that the worst player in the world will at least do 30-40% of the best player in the world. Once the skilled player’s doing 100%, and the worst player’s doing like 1%, it makes it really hard for us to balance the class. In addition, when there’s no auto attack, it means that that 30-40% needs to all get baked into the special attacks, which means that a Monk would hit for like 400% weapon damage, which you can see could have PvP ramifications. So, it’s just a safer place now.

TS: That makes a lot of sense.

GS: And nobody misses it. No one who’s tried it is like, “Man, the Monk was so cool without autoattack.” They’re like, “Yeah, this feels natural now.”

TS: Yeah. I actually had to point it out to one of the guys who’d been playing a Monk the whole time. He was just like, “Oh. You’re right, I actually am autoattacking. Interesting.”
However, I believe WE are the class that could remove autoattack.

Unlike monks, we put up dots in the form of bleeds and poisons. Why not buff/tweak our dots to replace the autoattack damage?

Perhaps a bleed? Bleeds are undispellable. They also tick for a certain amount of time before they need to be reapplied at melee range. Something like the hemo dot, but used by all the specs.

Here is another take on why monks need auto attacks, and why casters don't. The article is from when monks were first playable, and the author's impressions.


". . . this means the monk's melee specials will have to be tuned to be higher than other melee DPSers, as they won't have that background damage to add up. However, the other way Blizzard throttles damage and allows casters to hit so incredibly hard with their spells is that most of the really hard-hitting spells have cast times on them. This means they can be interrupted, either from opposing players or by boss mechanics forcing the caster to move."

Our new bleed dot could be a stacking debuff. Think of an arcane mage stacking Arcane Blast. Each stack hits harder, but costs more mana — energy, in our case. We would also need to be close to our target to add more stacks, so we will not turn into a ranged class. Perhaps Shuriken Toss or Throw could add one stack, but further stacks are only applied by melee attacks. Maybe extra stacks are dispellable, but the base dot is not.

Casters also have cast times. Harder hitting spells either take a longer time to cast, or they are procs. Which way would be best for our bleed dot? Perhaps this could be a differentiation between our specs, as is the case with mages. Sub could be "Fire," with a bleed that procs big based on crit. Combat would have more bleed stacks, so they would want to apply them faster. Assassination bleeds would be tied with poisons, making mastery more desirable.

The other cool thing about a dot replacing our autoattacks — it makes us more hit & run. I often wonder in pve what makes me a "rogue." I don't use stealth, I don't use any of the cool tricks so common in pvp. All I do is sit behind the boss with the other melee, hitting a few buttons and watching my energy bar. What is roguish about that? If we could move away from the boss, "dance" more, I would feel more like an agile fighter rather than leather-bound warrior.
Wow, thanks Darwin!

I knew it was something about being weird. I wish I could have tested it. To me, it seems like controlling every strike made would make more sense as a melee. About having that 10 health left, most melee have a DoT of some kind that would take care of that. I'm more ok with passive damage that's applied instead of just "click and attack forever".

As for throttling damage, yeah it could be a problem if all passive damage were removed, because then all that damage would have to go into special attacks. But that damage can also go into DoTs, like you suggested. Rogues have DoTs in spades, so no need for a new one, really.

For instance, I'd really like it if Rupture could stack. I was thinking it stacks to 10, with each stack representing a combo point used. You wouldn't get the error that "a more powerful effect is already active." Any points wasted would be refunded but always spend at least 1 point to refresh.
So say you use Rupture at 5 CPs while it's currently stacked at 8. You get 3 points back while Rupture stacks to 10 and refreshes duration.
Use 5 points at 10 stacks, it refunds 4 points and refreshes duration.

About spec diversity, I agree that it could be done partly with the bleed. Mut already does that with Venomous Wounds.
Subt already makes it tick harder with Sang Vein and Executioner but there's room for creativity.
Combat could make Rupture increase Haste or chance to proc Combat Potency, or it could even boost the effectiveness of Bandit's Guile, making it build faster per stack or increase its bonus damage.

So much could be done!
I for one would be okay with loosing 50-65% of our auto-attack damage and shifting it to our finishers.

For me, rupture hit like a wet noodle. If it takes me five combo points to cast, it should feel worthwhile. I would also be fine with Hemo's DoT getting a bit more love.

Seeing some more damage on Eviscerate would be nice too. I just hate that 35% of my overall damage is melee swings.
Perhaps change the model so that, instead of auto attacks, we have main and offhand attacks. Each of which would be on a separate "GCD", the time of which is determined by that hand's weapon speed. Each attack would trigger a .5 second actual GCD to keep things paced properly. Some attacks could apply specific vulnerability debuffs to the target which increase the damage of other abilities. It might not be as amazing as I imagine it, but it could allow for more dynamic gameplay where instead of just spamming a CP builder, you actually have to consider what hand you are attacking with, what vulnerabilities are on the target, and what finishers are available to do maximum damage.
That would be manual dexterity check nothing more.
rogues.. thieves.. are known for chipping away enemies with auto attacks.. its how rogues are played.. especially in games prior to wow.

get used to it.. l2p and use auto attacks to your advantage.
rogues.. thieves.. are known for chipping away enemies with auto attacks.. its how rogues are played.. especially in games prior to wow.

get used to it.. l2p and use auto attacks to your advantage.

See, this is the kind of nonconstructive forum posts that taint this place. How exactly does one "l2p" when it comes to auto attacks? Characters just do it, and that is all there is to it. The OP wants a discussion. Your first paragraph was fine, while your second one was unnecessary and rude.

Kindly continue on with the discussion.

l2p and use auto attacks to your advantage.

What does that even mean to use them to your advantage? They are even on or off. They aren't something you can use strategically.
02/10/2013 11:07 AMPosted by Saifu
rogues.. thieves.. are known for chipping away enemies with auto attacks.. its how rogues are played.. especially in games prior to wow.
I agree with you here in that WoW players are used to playing Rogues a certain way so changing something like this would have to be done carefully, if done at all.
However, playing that sneaky, assassin archetype isn't always as cut and dry as "fast, whittling attacks." I'm also used to killing an opponent in one blow when I attack while undetected.

02/10/2013 11:07 AMPosted by Saifu
get used to it.. l2p and use auto attacks to your advantage.
This is a complicated can of worms. It'd require stripping much of the class right down to the mechanics level, and much of the new stuff would most likely rely on ramp-up mechanics to keep our on-demand damage in check (and we spent most of the past 4-5 years crusading against ramp-up mechanics).

An alternative would be the warrior model of adding short CDs to most abilities.

I'd rather keep auto-attacks, though, but just reduce their damage (and get rid of slice and dice).
I think autattacks are good but definitely need to be toned down as a percentage of our damage. Maybe do that by nerfing poisons or SnD?
Yeah, the core mechanics should stay intact. I can just see auto's going away because they really don't add anything to gameplay. The way I see it, they actually take some away but we don't know any other way as far as WoW is concerned. Coming from othee games where therr wasn't any kind of auto-attacks, they feel like a crutch, like just a place to throw extra damage when the class is lacking instead of thinking of something creative (e.g. sustain is too low, add it to increased % or duration of Slice and Dice).

We've seen that ramp-up can be reduced but I agree that it shouldn't be increased again. Compared to even Cata, I like how long it takes now to set up damage.

Warriors just need a secondary resource before they can get rid of cooldowns. CPs and Energy do a great job of keeping things innately on cooldown.

Kill SnD!

02/10/2013 03:17 PMPosted by Haileaus
I think autattacks are good but definitely need to be toned down as a percentage of our damage. Maybe do that by nerfing poisons or SnD?
Yeah, totally agree. Over the years, there have been numerous ideas of turning SnD into something much more active.
Moving damage from poisons to an improved Seal Fate would be interesting. A lot of room for creativity there.
Problems with removing auto attacks are that they apply poisons and that they are damage over time (not a dot, but stay in range and one does damage). IF rogue damage was adjusted so we could do the same damage with our abilities, being kited for short periods would have a lesser effect on our DPS, if we could close often enough to burn most of our energy, without being capped too long. It would be a hard act to balance- and with Blizz's history, I think they would have a hard time of it.

edit: stuff
@Jamalia: Very true and that's why our relatively low mobility could stay the same if our damage was more active.

Arms at the beginning of MoP was a good example of what happens when a melee class has high burst and mobility. The more uptime you have, the more sustain you should have while having lower burst.
Opposite for low mobility. Less uptime means you that when you finally get to waddle up on your target, you can dump a lot of damage until kited again (Mut in BC-Cata Arena T_T).
Good points.
Mulling over this question for the past couple days, and a new question popped up.

Would the removal of autoattack be a compelling reason for new players to roll a rogue? Would it be too drastic of a change for existing players?

As Jamalia said above, this is a big change. We'd have a ton of balancing issues, which may not get resolved until mid-expansion, or even the next. DPS numbers may drop off drastically for new or uninformed players, since they are used to the 30-40% passive damage.

Is there a way that Blizzard could do this in a *sellable* fashion, not just because they can?

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