Because sometimes, brainfarts have substance…

4.1, Tranquility, and you!

Hello again.

First, let me apologize for the state of the site.  I grew up on a VT100 with a 1200 baud modem, and never quite moved on to the more visual state that the web offers.  As such, little things like formatting will take me some time to get used to.  I’m sure I’ll get it worked out over time, but for now things are a little messy.  (It only took me 8 tries to get the spacing on the paragraphs to take…)

I had intended my first post to be about how MMO’s have changed as they evolved from the open source world to the commercial one, but there is something hanging in the air currently that I feel needs to be addressed.
On the 4.1 PTR, there is a change that has me in a bit of a tiff.  Prior to the PTR going live, there was communication to the effect that druids and shaman were to be given a damage mitigation ability.  The shaman got one, but it appears they took a different tact for druids.

Currently, they have added a cooldown reduction for Tranquillity, that I can only assume is ment to take the place of the earlier conceived mitigation ability.  While I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I’m afraid that this is not going to work, and will be detrimental to restoration druids in the long term.

The issue is, simply put, no amount of healing will prevent somebody from being oneshot.  I can have my attention fully on the target, with full hots, tranq pumping, and other people with heals incoming, and if my target soaks a hit that is higher than their health pool, down they go.  I don’t care if tranquillity has no cooldown and I can channel it all day at double the rate it heals now, it is never going to help me in the situation where an incoming attack is too strong.
Add to that the fact that Tranquility has just finally reached the place where it is a useable spell.  It’s drawbacks in the past were just to great for it to see much use.  They finally got it tweaked to where it has a great use, but doesn’t imbalance us.  Now we are looking at having that same ability with a 3 minute cooldown.

Any healer worth their mana bar knows that healing meters are garbage most of the time.  It simply isn’t a good judge of healing effectiveness.  I’m on raid heals most of the time, and there are a great many encounters where smart raiders minimize their damage taken.  I will score quite low on those fights, and quite higher on fights with unavoidable raid damage.  Also, hot’s are notoriously tricky to meter.  While they provided the stability to keep the raid running, many times after their initial ticks, the rest gets pushed into overhealing, regardless of how necessary they were to the survival of the target in question.  The list goes on, and this isn’t ment as an analysis of metering healing, so I will move on.

The problem comes with perception.  With 3 minute tranqs, my numbers on the meter are going to soar.  It doesn’t matter that most of those numbers are meaningless, people will see them and form opinions.  The most likely opinion they will form is that druids are over powered.  They won’t take the concept farther, realizing that they added numbers are there to make up for lack of damage mitigation, or that those numbers don’t even make us effective as a class that can stop a great deal of that damage from ever landing.  They will see the numbers, and complain.

Player perspective is a very important part of game design, for good or for ill.  If people think druids are overpowered, they will need to be nerfed, regardless of the reality of the situation.  We have only just now gotten tranquility in a useable state, and now it’s headed squarely into nerfable territory.  What’s worse, it appears that the change isn’t going to address the issue that it was ment to in the first place.

While I can see great merit in 3 minute tranqs, I don’t feel it is what I need.  I also feel that an inevitable nerf is in its future, one that shouldn’t have to happen.  I’m not a doomsayer, crying that druids will be broken beyond repair, but I’m seeing a rough patch ahead, where our viability will be lower, but the perceived viability will be higher.  This is lose-lose for us.  We will be behind the power curve, but with a target on our back as well.

What can be done?  Hard to say.  Personally, I’d revert the tranq change and add a real mitigation ability, but this late in the PTR has my hopes lowered for that.  Maybe it won’t spike our numbers that much, and player perception will correctly assume that our number spike is because we lack the mitigation of other healers.  Past experience doesn’t leave me with a fuzzy feeling tho…

Comments?  Ideas?  Please, I would love to hear your thoughts.


3 responses

  1. Izaak

    Heya, Dar. Your friendly, neighborhood tank here.

    Since you specifically asked for comments, I figured I’d give you one. And that comment is…

    “Don’t worry about it.”

    I understand your concern, and you may be correct that the situation you describe will take place. An underpowered ability with a perceived overpower leading to an eventual nerf is certainly possible.

    Things is, I’ve never been a min-maxer. I play my character because I enjoy *playing* my character. I understand that there are some people (***** certainly qualifies) that simply don’t enjoy playing a particular class unless they’re simply the best at what they do. If they’re not topping the damage charts, healing charts, or threat charts, then it’s not for them.

    For me, I just wanna kill shit. As long as bosses are going down, then I’m good. I don’t really care how I got there.

    And here’s the (delayed) point… Blizz will always create an environment where we can “kill shit”. That’s the point of the game. You may not be the best healer, dps, or tank out there or even in your raid, but Blizz will always make stuff beatable. If your raid is pulling 10k DPS per-DPSer, people stay alive, and tanks keeps agro, then you can kill every single boss in the game.

    New patches will always bring Buffs and Nerfs. Sometimes in huge swings since Blizz’s idea of a tweak is a 50%+ change.

    But you will always be able to kill shit, so just don’t worry about it.

    (Moderators note: Thank you for your comment, but I removed the name in question. As this is very public, I would like to avoid calling people out directly. Your point is well taken, tho =) )

    March 31, 2011 at 11:54 am

    • Your point is well taken, and is in fact how I feel about the situation. Any problems this causes will be taken care off. Contrary to the popular wisdom, Blizzard is very good at this.

      I just hope that things can be fixed before they break. Failing that, I hope to at least shine the needed light on the situation.

      March 31, 2011 at 12:06 pm

  2. Izaak

    Haha. No problem about censoring the name.

    Just to let you know, though, I’m related to the individual in question, and that person understands quite well how I feel about it.

    I do agree with you that Blizz is good at their job… eventually. I will never understand how they can be so *off* on some of their calculations, though. As previously mentioned, a 50%+ modification to an ability is NOT a tweak. And Blizz regularly makes such changes.

    I swear, they should go out and hire some of the theory-crafters from to run the numbers for them before making them public. It always seems like those guys understand the mechanics better than Blizz ever will.

    March 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm

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