Tuesday, April 27, 2010

10-Man Raiding in Catacylsm

Or another title might be, "____! It's about time!"

In case you haven't heard, there's some really good news for 10-man raiding in Cataclysm. Maybe not so good for 25, but we'll see. The source is from the European forums found here. And to sum it all up, 10-man and 25-man raids will have the same loot drops in Cataclysm. There will also be only one raid lock-out for each. So, you don't have 25-man guilds also farming 10-man content and gearing up much faster than people that only run 10-man content.

To offset it, the 25-man content will drop more loot, and more gold as well. They still want 25-man content to be a more efficient way of gearing up. (Writer Warning: lots of math-type stuff ahead.)

So, let's play with this a bit. Let's say that trends continue, and each boss on 10-man raids drops 2 items (or 1 for every 5 players). An even way would be for 25-man bosses to drop 5 items (same 1:5 ratio). Making it slightly more profitable would mean 25-man would drop say 6 items. If loot tables are something like the first 3 bosses in ICC, there's 12 different items that will drop on 10-man. That means you have a 1 in 6 chance for your loot to drop in 10-man, but 1 in 2 chance for your loot to drop in 25-man.

But will you win it? I'll have to make some assumptions here. Let's assume gear is very homogenized. There will still be some differences though. For example, some hybrid classes will still have 2 sets of gear, especially those that require completely different stats (like a healing druid vs. a tanking druid). But for the sake of this conversation, let's say that we have a 10-man raid with one of each class. As a Shaman healer (best case), I get every single drop that's casting mail. (Only shaman in raid, and hunters don't want it.) As a cloth mage (worst case), I have to fight 2 other classes making my initial drop rate of 1 in 6 change to a loot rate chance to 1 in 18.

Our 25-man raid has to be guessed at. Let's assume 1 of each class/role. Where only 1 role for the class is available, we'll assume they bring two of those class (hunter, mage, rogue, warlock). We may have too many tanks (4), and probably not enough healers (4), but it's simply for illustration purposes. I also threw in another paladin healer (5 healers now) since they were in a armor group all by themselves. Here's what I came up with for this fictional raid:

death knight dps
death knight tank
druid healer
druid melee
druid ranged
druid tank
paladin healer
paladin healer
paladin melee
paladin tank
priest healer
priest ranged
shaman healer
shaman melee
shaman ranged
warrior melee
warrior tank

So, your odds vary quite a bit here as well. You have anywhere from a 1 in 2 chance to get your item (paladin healer vs. paladin healer, or, shaman healer vs. shaman ranged, or, druid healer vs. druid ranged) all the way to a 1 in 6 chance (all clothies, or, all melee/tank plate wearers). So, the 1 in 2 chance that your item will drop becomes a 1 in 4 loot rate (best case scenario) or a 1 in 12 loot rate (worst case scenario), with a couple other odds in between.

Anyway... point being... I think this will be a great change. I'm still not sure it's completely on track. Like I've mentioned and has been said many times before, 10-man raiding can be more difficult than 25-man. If one person dies on 10-man, that's 10% of your raid. A 25-man death is only 4%. But if they made it completely equal, it would be the death to the 25-man raiding for sure. And while I have found that 10-man raiding is by far what I enjoy, there's still a special place in my heart for the 25-man stuff that I did all through TBC.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cataclysm Changes to Resto Shaman - First Thoughts

I don't know where the last month went as far as blogging goes. I had a few posts flying around in my head, and they never seemed to get off the ground. So let me take this moment to stretch, so I don't hurt my typing fingers.
Alright... that felt good.

In case you haven't heard, Blizzard has been releasing come class previews for Cataclysm. As of this writing (and without me constantly checking on MMO-Champion), they have released Shaman, Warlocks, and Priests. I actually like some of the more creative things they're doing with Priests. I'm kind of neutral to the Warlock changes (mainly since my only lock is like lvl 23). And honestly, I'm unsure about the Shaman changes.

See, here's the thing... I actually like the simple healing of the Shaman. Unless I'm doing it wrong, there's essentially about 7 healing spells for a Shaman. And a few of those are pretty much fire-and-forget spells. First off, there's Earthliving Weapon. Every 30 minutes, I have to put it on my weapon. That's almost a true fire-and-forget heal. (I even have a mod that puts this on for me.) Next is Healing Stream Totem. It isn't a strong heal, but gradually ticks and will slowly heal all group members for 5 minutes. Then there's Earth Shield that lasts 10 minutes, but has charges, so usually less than that. A spell that's used a lot, but not cast a lot. Then you get into our active spells. Chain Heal is for group heals. Riptide is nice, insta-cast heal with a HoT, but has a cooldown. And finally you have Lesser Healing Wave (fast) and Healing Wave.

That's it. Simple. Straight forward. Spells that take care of the job.

Now, never having played the other classes as healers at lvl 80, here's what I came up with for them. (So, feel free to correct me if I missed a spell.) Paladins are also pretty straight-forward with 6 healing spells: Sacred Shield, Holy Shock, Holy Light, Flash of Light, Lay on Hands, and Beacon of Light. Druids get a tad more complex with 8 spells: Wild Growth, Tranquility, Rejuvenation, Nourish, Lifebloom, Healing Touch, Regrowth, and Rebirth. (Yep, I'm including their Battle Rez.) And then you have Priests that have all sorts of crazy heal spells for every situation imaginable. There's 13 spells. I'm not listing them out.

So, now with the changes to Cataclysm, they want to add 3 spells to our arsenal. And I'm just not sure they're needed. Here's my thoughts why.

Healing Wave
This is the new Healing Wave. Don't confuse it with the old Healing Wave. The old one will be called Greater Healing Wave while the new one will be just Healing Wave. This will be the Shaman's "go-to heal". Maybe I'm too casual of a player now, but really, Tidal Waves seems to fill in the gap quite nicely for me. Riptide, two quick (Greater) Healing Waves, and then maybe a Lesser Healing Wave before Riptide is off cool down, then start it all over again. With my haste, I think I'm about 1.8 seconds for a (Greater) Healing Wave that's been buffed with Tidal Wave. Seems like a pretty quick nuke-heal. I can certainly see the need if you want to spam one spell, but it doesn't seem like that's Blizzard's approach. At any rate... not sure this was necessary, but we're getting it anyway.

Unleash Weapon
Let me quote what this does for the Earthliving Weapon enchant "Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman's next healing spell by 20%." Holy crap! How original! Wait... isn't that pretty much the exact same thing that Riptide does with Tidal Waves? Only, Riptide has a HoT on it as well... and does 2 spells not 1... and has a 6-second cooldown instead of a 15. Yeah.. umm.. not sure I'm interested in this one just to have a new spell.

Healing Rain
Okay, now maybe we're getting somewhere. 2-second targetable cast with a 10-second HoT AoE. I can certainly see the limitation on Chain Heal, especially for 25-man raiding. But... I don't know... Can't we have an AoE spell that doesn't have such a limiting range or area? Or maybe just improve Chain Heal so that it jumps a lot further. (Raid Leader says, "Spread out so you don't get hurt as much by the AoE." Shamans cry.) So, maybe it just depends on the size of the area healed. But Circle of Healing is 15 yards. And Prayer of Healing is 30. I suppose it really depends on the encounters. And maybe I'm not as disappointed with this spell as the others, but still see a niche where our healing spells kind of fall short. In all honesty, this is probably the spell I see the most potential for. But I reserve the right to be excited until I actually see it in action. But being that you get it at lvl 83... and how long they say it will take to lvl in Cataclysm... I'm thinking I'll probably see it in action by Christmas... of next year.