I’m No Sissy, You’re Just OP

March 19, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

If you’re a regular here at I’m Tanking What?!, a wowinsider.com patron, or just a drunk college student surfin’ the net, you may have noticed my recent opus, The Saga of Normalization Does Not Balance Make.

(And if you are an I’m Tanking What?! regular, please cover your face with a dark cloth… you wouldn’t want your incredible good looks to blind anyone, would you?)

Anyway, that saga of mine sparked a lot of lively discussion, rapid back-and-forths, and a bit of napalm on wildflowers. Today I would like to recreate if you will, a discussion of Tanks vs. Death Knights with the incorrigible — or is it incomparable? — Billy Wallace of the blog Casual Tank.

So join me in a big cheer for Billy Wallace – Warrior Tank

BillyWallace Says:
I admit that your description of warriors as “sissies” ruffled my feathers a bit. I promise you that I can “live on the edge”,in fact to the dismay of my healers, I often do just that! You all just feel cooler doing it because you’re so OP!

I rotate my cooldowns from the very beginning of a raid encounter as to not make my healers feel that I’m living on the edge. My use of “edgy” is only to reflect that Death Knights do not have access to shields and the block mechanic, a defining trait of both Paladin and Warrior tanks.

Seriously though, I agree a lot with what you’re saying here. I love the distinct flavor of each class of tank. I’m bothered a bit by the homogenization of them. And I tire of people whining about other classes being “OP”.

But even Ciderhelm, who I have always gotten the impression that he feels warriors have been able to tank just about everything in game as good as the other classes, has recently been vocal on the official forums about the large advantage DK’s have over all other tanking classes in fights like Sarth.

Rather than answer this with another clone of “it’s a poorly designed encounter,” or “players can’t escape the thought of unilateral thought,” I’ll simply point readers here to either my response to Ancro or Hatch.

I kind of feel like Blizzard painted themselves into the corner with the “Take the player not the class” idea. Ideally it’s nice, but how does that work in reality?

Ideally, it functions with the Dual Talent system. If you bring a professional grade player in the shoes of a hybrid then you get much more flexibility in what your raid is able to adapt and shape itself to; however, if you bring a average player who shines in a specific specialization then you’re going to have a problem when you no longer need his shining function.

Players who are exceptional at all facets of the game (or their class) will be the ones asked to swap talent specializations the most and incidentally, they will be the ones who morph the raid into a new composition which makes a group of players capable of clearing content that would otherwise be above their level because of optimization.

The “Take the Player not the Class” mentality would actually disapprove of the new shield glyph for warriors because it enforces the idea of taking the role and not the player. A good player should have the option of not taking the glyph and using another method to avoid the damage that this glyph exists for.

Currently no such option exists and this is why people are saying that the change is needed TO THE SKILLS AND THE GLYPHS but NOT THE ENCOUNTERS THEMSELVES.

In the words of our GM Prometheuss:
“Bosses down… good job everyone, let’s move on to the next room and we’ll see how we have to adapt to the new content.”

Once again a round of applause for Billy Wallace – Warrior Tank!


A Quick Rant on PvP in WoW

March 15, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

A long time ago a video was made and posted on youtube that was just over 30 seconds long. It made a simplistic depiction of WoW PvP combat using the analogy of Rock, Paper, Scissors. If you haven’t seen it, you should… right now. Go watch.

Or watch it here:

The reference I make here is to the traditional mechanic of balancing something in a game. The reason that PvP is currently (in this author’s opinion) unenjoyable is that Rogues are capable of beating every class in the game without much effort at all (except for possibly other rogues or mages). I’ve heard people attempt to argue this point with me by saying, “Trinket out of the kidney shot and you’ll be fine.”

The truth is that you WON’T be fine because a smart rogue will just blind you and resume his rotation. You die and you didn’t once get to play your character.

I would like to make it clear that Blizzard has fucked up pretty bad with the DK changes for this patch. Not because there are a lot of class nerfs, or changes to skills that cause us to lose damage, or little things changing like the duration on diseases… no. Blizzard fucked up this patch because they forgot that Death Knights are a hero class.

In an earlier post I made a reference to Star Wars Galaxies and how Jedi were what a hero class is supposed to be: difficult to obtain and beyond the scope of balance. Death Knights are NOT that class. We have been homogenized down to work exactly the same as every other melee DPS class. We have had defining talents removed from our trees. We have been changed to such an extent that now there is no such thing as an Unholy DK tank (unless he has > 59% avoidance unbuffed) any more, and Blood is almost to the same state (a 30 second Last Stand w/ bonus healing on a 1 minute CD is too good to invalidate blood as a tanking spec).

If Blizzard doesn’t get their act straight in the next 4 months, I quit. I’m making that publically known right now. I will most likely change all my account info and sell, or give away, my account. This is utterly ridiculous.

-Surazc Out

The Saga of DK Normalization Does not Balance Make

March 6, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

The complete 8-part saga of normalizations and balances is right here for you to enjoy.

So… enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 8

March 6, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

Recap: Normalization Doesn’t Create Balance
Because it was TL and you DR’d

I know that was a LOT of posts to read, and to anyone who actually plowed through that behemoth of a saga, I congratulate and thank you.

Allow me to list, in order, the summarizations of each section and what they mean when tied together:

  1. For a game to be successful, the players of that game must be happy or they will not pay for the game. Ergo, game companies must keep their players happy to keep making money.
  2. Listening to the community of players who play your game is essential to maintaining a working game. Players are the ones paying for your game.
  3. The more players you have, the more restrictive your rules must be. Players are greedy and you can’t keep everyone happy.

The main focus of these three points is simply that a game must make its players happy and make them want to keep playing if the game will generate revenue for the company that runs it. Games that do not accept community input are ignoring the will of the community and are more prone to failing than their counterparts. It also touches on the idea that players are greedy and you can’t keep everyone happy all the time.

  1. The D&D warrior is NOT the D&D fighter because of HOW they put points in their class to determine what they do.
  2. Warriors are NOT Death Knights and should NEVER work like them, as it is against the initial design concept of the Warrior.
  3. Balancing classes according to their role is BAD GAME DESIGN
  4. Blizzard has balanced the Warrior class tanking role by changing shield wall — a defining protection warrior skill/talent — into a Death Knight skill.
  5. The misuse of a skill given to Death Knights has led to warriors finding it desirable. Blizzard has chosen to, in essence, give warriors a death knight ability.
  6. SoE removed the individuality of the classes by balancing them to roles centered around ONE class. As a result, they lost 85% of their players. The remaining 15% would slowly leave over the next 10 weeks.

This saga has focused more on what Blizzard is doing with the warrior class as a result of uneducated trolling on the WoW forums, as compared to a game that did EXACTLY the same thing. Mind, SoE w/ SWG was a game-wide change and blizzard is — so far — only adjusting DKs and Warriors.

Expect more mind-numbing changes and individuality sapping alterations in the next couple of patches.

Click here for the Normalization Does not Balance Make saga in its entirety.

Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 7

March 5, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

A Last Glance Behind: Star Wars Galaxies in Retrospect
Yes, it is important. Read it.

Unlike a lot of WoW players, I played SWG before the “Jump to Lightspeed” patch was even conceived. I was playing SWG on the Tarquinnis server before the first combat “upgrade,” and it was one of the most fun MMOs I’ve ever played.

For me it was the crafting system that made the game fun. However, others found more joy in the PvP aspect of the game — silly as it was. There was virtually no threat mechanic, and endgame PvE content just plain didn’t exist as we think of it today (think back to EQ1).

Still, for a long time, SWG was fun. Immersing oneself in the lore of Star Wars and choosing a side (Rebel v. Imperial) were some of the best game ideas to hit the MMO market. Unfortunately it also came with one of the worst ideas to hit the MMO market: Jedi.

Jedi were, at the release of the class, over-powered. They were designed to exist in very small numbers and required a complicated, lore-filled series of quests — HIDDEN QUESTS MIND YOU! — to become one. Jedi had abilities that blew other classes out of the water. They were what a hero class is supposed to be.

The justification for Jedi was that a world full of Star Wars lore would not be complete without them, and they should exist in some fashion. Fair enough.

The problems arose when some idiot actually figured out how to unlock Jedi and made a forum post detailing how to do it. Wonderful. Now you have a balance issue. This, of course, leads to what is referred to publicly as The Worst Game Decision Ever Made in the History of MMORPGs to date.

Yeah. It was that bad.

SoE decided that they were going to balance the entire combat system around ONE class: The Jedi. This yielded the “Combat Upgrade” content patch along with a new looking UI and an overhaul of the Jedi class all rolled up into one miserable ball. Within weeks, SWG lost 85% of its player subscriptions. The remaining 15% would slowly leave over the next 10 weeks.

SoE removed the individuality of the classes by balancing them to roles centered around ONE class. Refer to Part 6

Up next in Part 8: Recap: Normalization Doesn’t Create Balance

Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 6

March 4, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

I’m a Warrior… No, Really, I am.
It just LOOKS like I’m a Death Knight. But see, I got a shield!

As of patch 3.1.0, I wonder why Death Knights will volunteer to tank at all.

Druids get more health; Warriors now have our #1 tanking cooldown as a direct copy of Icebound Fortitude; Paladins deal more damage…

So what do we do? Take less damage from magic? Have DoTs? What makes a DK tank unique from every other class?

One word: Cooldown.

Death Knights are, from their inception, edgy mofo’s. They’ve already been killed once, raised in service to Arthas, and then sent to die AGAIN.   Then, after coming close to death two more times, they traded their life for killing countless thousands of their own kin and countrymen in the name of the Lich King.  Death Knights are fearless.

Unlike those sissy warriors, we live on the edge. A Death Knight with the two best DK tanking trinkets in the game (Repelling Charge and Valor Medal of the Third War) has access to: Icebound Fortitude, a talent-based damage reduction mechanic, Bone Armor or Will of the Necropolis or Lichborne / Unbreakable Armor, ghetto Last Stand, and Super Dodge. That is anywhere from 3 to 5 cooldowns that can, and should be, cycled at all times.

Why then are warriors getting a 1 minute CD shield wall? They don’t live on the edge OR tank with a 2H sword — or, god forbid, Duel-Wield tank. Warriors tank with a shield, they have talents specifically designed around a shield.  Warriors are the masters of shields.

In fact, IBF exists primarily to mitigate the effects of getting parry-gibed on bosses when you are DW tanking, not as an “Oh SHIT” button. Suck on that Trebeck.

The misuse of a skill given to Death Knights has led to warriors finding it desirable.

Blizzard has chosen to, in essence, give warriors a death knight ability. See Part 5.

Up next in Part 7: A Last Glance Behind: Star Wars Galaxies in Retrospect

Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 5

March 3, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

The Meat of the Issue
Upcoming Patch 3.1.0 changes!

The entire reason I’m writing this tremendous multi-part saga is to address the new shield wall glyph for warriors. For those of you out there that have yet to see the changes to the shield wall glyph, I will recap:

  • Reduces the Cooldown on your shield wall by 3 minutes
  • Reduces the damage reduced by shield wall to 40%

The base cooldown of shield wall is 5 minutes. With the glyph, it’s down to 2. Warriors tanking with ANY sense of worth will have the talent: Improved Disciplines. This puts the cooldown at one minute.

Wait… a 1 minute cooldown with 40% damage reduction. Where have I heard of that skill?

Oh my god… Warriors are getting Icebound Fortitude.

Blizzard has balanced the Warrior class tanking role by changing shield wall — a defining protection warrior skill/talent — into a Death Knight skill.

This is bad; see Part 4.

Up next in Part 6: I’m a Warrior… No, Really, I am.