It was a fairly vague, but basically stated that blizzard didn't want guild to build raids based upon one player having a specific buff for maximum damage. For instance, a guild shouldn't hold up a raid because they are looking for a Shadow Priest to provide Misery. Players should be chosen based upon ability and personal preference, not on a buff they provide.
In theory I agreed, but the post is big on generalities and light on specifics. So it was very hard to evaluate the post without really knowing what would change.
Last night Zarhym posted the specifics and the changes are HUGE!!!!! Find the post here.
This will have a big impact on all classes but I will of course focus on moonkin. They have made big changes to many of the proposed WotLK abilities and significantly changed many of the current live buffs and debuffs.
Improved Scorch (Fire Mage):
New - Increases spell critical strike chance against the target.
Old - Increases Fire, Frost and Arcane damage, against the target.
Improved Moonkin Aura:
New - Grants 3% haste of all types.
Old - Grants 20% spell haste when they critically hit with spells for 8 sec. This effect has a 30 second cooldown.
Earth and Moon:
New - Increases spell damage taken from all schools by 13% on the target.
Old - Increases Nature and Arcane damage done to the target by 6%.
Misery (Shadow Priest):
New - Causes spells cast at the target to have +3% spell hit.
Old - Cause the target to take an additional 5% spell damage.
Improved Faerie Fire:
New - No longer benefits melee and ranged hit chance, only spell hit (3%).
Old - Increases Melee, Ranged, and Spell Hit chance by 3%.
What Doesn't Stack?
Spell Critical Strike Chance Buff: Moonkin Aura, Elemental Oath(Ele Shaman)
Spell Critical Strike Chance Debuff: Improved Scorch(Fire Mage), Winter's Chill (Frost Mage)
Increased Spell Damage Taken Debuff: Ebon Plaguebringer (Unholy DK), Earth and Moon, Curse of the Elements (Affliction Warlock)
Increased Spell Hit Chance Taken Debuff: Improved Faerie Fire, Misery (Shadow Priest)
Percentage Haste Increase (All Types): Improved Moonkin Aura, Swift Retribution (Ret Pally)
Melee Hit Chance Reduction Debuff: Insect Swarm, Scorpid Sting (Hunter)
Stat Add Buff: Mark of the Wild
What Does This Mean?
To be completely honest I don't really know. This is such a massive change that it is impossible to quantify how it will all play out, but I can already see some of the possibilities. This means very different things for 10-mans and 25-mans. Class balancing in terms of DPS is going to have to change dramatically.
Ten man raids:
I think this is a great change for 10-man raids. I will allow them to have most if not all of the same buffs that a 25 man raid will have. It should allow Blizzard to build tougher content for the 10-mans to make them real challenges instead of overly dumbed down versions of the 25-mans.
In fact it may bring the 10-mans up to the same level of toughness as the 25-mans. Blizzard is going to have to tune the 10-man fights for all of the buffs or the boss encounters are going to be a joke. This means that the 10-mans could be very unforgiving. If your Shadow Priest dies your casters are out 3% chance to hit if you don't have an Imp FF Moonkin. That would a significant drop in DPS, and spell a wipe if you could only barely kill the boss if things went perfectly.
Twenty Five Man Raids:
I am very unsure how this will affect 25-mans.
- It should make some of the fights a little more forgiving. If your moonkin dies then a Warlock can put of CoE, or you may have an Unholy DK to put up Ebon Plague.
- I bet we will see a lot more respecs before raid. People will build their specs around a normal raid set up. For instance, right now I don't see a reason to spec into Imp FF. An Spriest can put it up without losing a DPS Global Cooldown. However, if the Spriest doesn't show up one night, I will have to make a quick trip to Darn before a raid.
- If classes are balanced near perfectly, it will make life easier for the Raid Leader. The raid won't have to sit there and wait for another pally healer to long on to get a third buff. However, if there are issues with class balance it could make the life a lot harder on the guild's leadership. If one class can do more damage then most other classes, then guilds will be tempted to stack that one class more then others. The probably won't lose any buffs because some many class can provide the same buffs now.
It is clear that Blizzard realizes this is going to be an issue. In his post Zarhym said:
Before we are done, we will thoroughly test the
performance of every class. It should not be assumed that one class' current
performance relative to others in beta is final. Some classes (and
specializations) will need to be reduced in power and some increased. Many may
feel the change has more impact on class X than class Y. We will address all of
those concerns via our internal testing and community feedback.
In terms of DPS, if one class or spec lags behind others in the same role, that spec will be excluded from most serious raid guilds. All of the work that Blizzard has done to improve Shadow Priest, Ret Pallys, Moonkin, and all of the other "off specs" will be for not if those specs cannot keep up with the more traditional specs in terms of DPS. Healers and tanks will have less of an issue because their services are in greater demand, don't be surprised if the same thing happens here.
My Concluding Thoughts.
Blizzard is really making a bold move here. There are definitely positives in this change, but I see a whole lot of negatives. While I realize they are trying to make the game and raiding more accessible to all people, I worry that they are taking the uniqueness out of the classes. That uniqueness and customization is one of the main things that make this game fun. However, this is not my biggest worry.
I started playing Blizzard games with Warcraft 2, and since have played almost every game they put out since then. So, I have a lot of respect for Blizzards ability at game design, but they have proven overtime that they are not perfect (nobody is). I worry that those imperfections will break moonkin again just as I thought we were getting some respectability. Since it has taken Blizzard 4 years to fix moonkin the first time, I don't think I could wait another 4 for them to fix us again.
I don't know what is going to happen. I only see possibilities, but I will I will guarantee you one thing. Blizzard doesn't know how this is going to work out either. History has proved that the collective mind of 10 million players is smarter then the collective mind of several hundred Blizzard employees. Blizzard will build what they think is a well balanced game and the players will find the loopholes and exploit it to its fullest potential. If it wasn't true then we wouldn't have Powershifting by Feral Druids, Totem Twisting by Enhancement Shaman, and stacking 5 Warlocks for Imp Shadowbolt. Sure, they will fix these problems eventually, but if these examples are any indication it will take years and I don't know how many people will wait that long.
1. There were quite a few changes to moonkin abilities that I didn't really analyze here. This post is getting to long. I will post something soon about what this info means for speccing moonkin and how this could change the value of some of our talents. Hopefully the polish pass will be released soon so I can do them together.
2. Several other bloggers are reacting to this same information. I will try and list them here.
Resto4Life: Blue: Changes to Buffs and Debuffs
Yet Another Warlock Nerf: Nobody Panic (Not yet, at least)