Friday, January 7, 2011

Meta Gems and Moonkin Changes

Patch 4.0.6 is on the PTR and you can find the patch notes here. This is primarily a clean up patch for all the hot fixes Blizzard has done over the past month, but there are several balancing changes that you guys should be interested it.

Meta Gems:

  • Chaotic Meta gems now have a requirement of 3 red gems.
  • New meta gems have been added: Agile Shadowspirit Diamond (Agility/3% critical damage), Reverberating Shadowspirit Diamond (Strength/3% critical damage), and Burning Shadowspirit Diamond (Intellect/3% critical damage). These new recipes are unbound and can drop from any Cataclysm creature. The new meta gems have a requirement of 3 red gems equipped.
First Reaction: "Finally they are fixing the Chaotic Meta Gem."
Second Reaction: "Who cares about the Chaotic Meta Gem?"

This is good news all around, but I'm amused by the new meta requirement. Requiring DPS to socket three red gems is like requiring an active smoker to smoke cigarettes. The requirement is useless because we would have done it anyway. However, that's fine with me. I would rather not have to worry about meeting my meta requirement every time I add a piece of gear. It wasn't a big concern in WotLK either, but now it's not a concern at all.

The addition of the Burning Shadowspirit Diamond and the others is also quite interesting. A guildie of mine commented on the fact that it probably wasn't a good idea to have every single DPS spec want the same meta gem, and apparently Blizzard had the same thought. However, it's not that big of a buff assuming that the Meta bonus on the new gems operates the same way it does on the Chaotic meta gem. Obviously 54 Int is better then 54 Crit, but the true value of the Meta comes from the 3% additional crit damage and everything else is just frosting.

What I find most interesting about these new cuts is how this will affect the economy. Most people will switch to the Chaotic at first because it's widely available, but the advantages of the new gems is obvious. Will the new patterns be so common that the Chaotic is completely abandoned? Could the new patterns be so rare that the new metas will be so expensive to preserve a market for the Chaotics? As a progression raider I will be going for the Burning no matter what the cost assuming it's not astronomical, but I wonder if this is a small return of TBC where everyone was fighting over rare patterns on the AH.

Wild Mushroom Changes:

  • Wild Mushroom is now instant cast, down from 0.5 seconds. In addition, the radius of detonation has been increased to 6 yards, up from 3, and damage done increased by 15%.
It's fair to say that Wild Mushroom has been a flop in Cataclysm so far. They are difficult to place. It's difficult to make them affective given their very small radius. Overall they just weren't worth the effort. I've tried to use them in several fights but in most cases they were a waste. The question is will these changes cause people to use them?

Increasing their damage by 15% is nice, but I don't think anyone really thought of them as weak. Increasing their damage probably won't increase the spells usage much on its own. Making the mushrooms instant cast makes it possible to cast them while moving. This could give you something else to do while your running around the room other then spamming Moonfire, but if the mouse is the primary way you move your toon then this will be very difficult to pick up.

The big improvement in this patch is the increased range. Increasing the blast radius from 3 yards to 6 yards quadruples the area affected. This allows for less precise placement and a greater margin of error with out being a full scale AoE spell. Of all the changes this has the most potential to make the Wild Mushroom a useful spell. That said there are some other changes that could be made that I think are both reasonable and and would make the spell more valuable.

First, I would have one mushroom do the same amount of damage as three mushrooms. You could still place three mushrooms if you wanted spread the damage and/or Fungal Growth over a larger area, but the amount of damage done by each individual mushroom would diminish with each mushroom placed. I think this would make the spell easier to use without significantly reducing it's utility.

Second, I would like to see feral druids be able to detonate the mushrooms in feral forms. I don't know how useful this would be because they would obviously be weak in feral gear, but it could be a great tool for a feral tank to pull newly spawned adds and get some burst aggro.

Third, I've been unimpressed with Fungal Growth. It spawns to slowly after the mushrooms have been detonated. I've had several instances where a mob is hit by the explosion but not slowed by fungal growth because they've already ran out of the area before it spawns. Blizzard needs to tighten that mechanic up a little bit. It might be a good idea for the explosion to have a very short duration slow affect as well as the patch on the ground.

Other Druid Changes:

  • The Shooting Stars buff duration has been increased to 12 seconds, up from 8 seconds.
  • Glyph of Wrath now increases damage done by Wrath by 10% and no longer requires Insect Swarm on the target.
These are helpful changes, but fairly minor. The shooting stars change is more for leveling and PvP in my opinion. As a raider I've rarely not been able to cast Starsurge in the 8 seconds the buff is up. In other forms of play though there is more movement and this makes the talent more useful for people who favor those activities.

From a raid perspective, the Glyph of Wrath change should be a small DPS increase, but not a big one because Insect Swarm should be up on most of your targets. That said, it will be helpful on low health adds where it's not beneficial to put Insect Swarm up and a short cast time spell is favored. However, this may be intended more as a PvP change, since DoTs are dispelled quite frequently in PvP.


Body said...

One change needed for wild mushrooms is the detonate needed a shorter cooldown. 10 seconds is too long for something that can be cast three times in roughly 4-5 seconds giving some lag.

I was hoping that mushrooms would replace hurricane for boomkins only. This meant the lower cooldown would need to be placed in the Fungal Growth talent. Maybe 3 sec/6 sec lowered cooldown.

Sadly I still don't see them widely used in aoe situations for raiding. You will have 5 seconds where you have to single target mobs before you can detonate again.

Voink said...

There have been 2-3 situations in a heroic where I found the burst aoe where I knew adds were going to spawn to be quite effective - the first and last bosses of stonecore, especially on the floating explody crystal things of doom. But the cast time prevented me from placing them quickly enough to be totally effective.

With this, we might be able to use mushrooms instead of hurricane on many fights with smart placement. I find hurricane too mana intensive to use more then once or twice.

Barneebrown said...

The only raids where I find mushrooms to be remotely useful atm is halfus (for the whelps) and magmaw (place them if your dps has a designated spot for ring of fire).

I really don't understand why they nerfed our aoe (hurricane) only to give us a new, more terrible aoe.

Nyphur said...

Shit. Welcome to the new Moonkin rotation, where we do ridiculous DPS by staying in solar eclipse. We'll just refresh dots on all targets, cast the mushrooms on cooldown and fill the rest of our DPS time with sunfire spam, all while constantly moving to keep three stacks of lunar shower up.

This approach already does more damage than a proper rotation on a lot of fights (especially on trash or in heroics), but the mushrooms being instant cast makes it much easier to spam them on cooldown while keeping lunar shower up.

The future is here, and it's filled with Moonkins constantly walking very slowly in circles, ignoring starsurge procs and never casting wrath or starsurge.

In my opinion, the mushrooms should not be destroyed on detonation. That way they'd become a tactical weapon for raids, where you would pick their locations before a fight or at the start of a fight and never have to worry about micro-managing and placing them again every 10 seconds. Damage or explosion cooldown could be modified to keep it the same DPS-wise.

Azrael said...

I think they could have solved a lot of the problems by allowing for the shrooms to be cast on a target instead of having to fiddle around with the reticle... and a slight increase to the burst radius, maybe.

Perhaps even allow to actually attach them to mobs.

Aside from that, i don't see why they couldn't be viable as our main form of AoE now... they already beat Hurricane on DPET and DPM, if only the fricking tank could stand still for a moment.
With the larger radius and higher damage they should easily be able to hit most groups for more than hurricane could do, 10s CD included.

Graylo said...

There are several good comments here, but I want to address a few topics.

1. A few of you looking at WM as an AoE spell. It's not, and is not intended to be an AoE spell. If Blizzard intended WM to serve as our AoE then they would have left the range at 10 yards. WM is supposed to be a targeted burst of damage that can be placed ahead of time, Not the way we take down large packs of adds. This is straight from a developer.

Now I agree that Hurricane is not very effective as an AoE option currently, but don't confuse Hurricane's weakness as an desire to make WM more attractive.

2. I agree trageting WM sucks, but I don't know of a better option. Dropping it on a target turns it into just another nuke and completely destroy's the utility of the spell. You can't drop it on a set of adds that haven't spawned yet.

Anonymous said...

Wtf! Blizz has given us some very decent buffs in PTR patch 4.0.6 but they just gave an update of notes for Jan. 12th on Wow Insider and in that update it says they NERFED our POLYMORHPH protection from roots? Why???!!!! Why did they do this now???

On top of that an additional nerf to Resto druids by making our Tree of Life down to lasting 25 secs. What's with all the druid hate all of the sudden :( First the ferals (which from what I read was understandable for those bleeds) but everything else ugh...

The buffs for Boomkin are nice - I'm not super excited about them, but I am glad for some buffs, especially in the mana department.
Lowered some of our mana costs for our dots and nukes is nice - I was struggling with mana issues - I have improved since then alot with gearing from heroics - but still there are times where I get so close to oom and the boss isn't dead yet...I guess thats why my last resort tactic is moonfire spam with lunar shower.

Graylo, I am hoping for an updated post/ or to hear your comments on these buffs/nerfs soon.

Nyphur said...

Graylo, I don't think it really matters what the developers intend people to do with WM, if the game mechanics allow it to deal more AOE DPS than hurricane then it becomes our de-facto primary AOE spell. If they don't want people to use it as an AOE DPS tool, they shouldn't make it our most effective option.

On trash or groups, our best aoe strategy is currently to dot every mob in the pack and then lay down a hurricane while they tick. Since WM does more damage than hurricane per effective time, it's technically more effective to spam the mushrooms during that downtime when you're not refreshing dots than to use hurricane. On AOE add phases of bosses, again if the mushrooms deal more dps than hurricane then they are our best aoe tool.

I don't want this to be the most effective way to dps on groups and add phases, because placing those mushrooms is cumbersome and fiddly. But if that's the most effective way to play, that's what will be expected of us in raids.

Graylo said...

@Brendan Drain

I didn't explain myself well enough because you seemed to miss my point.

When it comes to the active use of a tool (in this case WM) the indended use of the tool doesn't matter. All that matters is if the tool is effective or not. If WM is more effective at AoE damage then Hurricane then we as players should use it instead of Hurricane. I think we agree on this point.

However, the developer's intent matters a great deal when you critisize a tool. Several of the comments above say something to the effect of "WM would be better for AoE if it was changed like this." Thier comment may be true, but a developer is going say, "so what? WM isn't intended to be an AoE spell."

Think about it this way. Would it make any sense for me to walk into the GM headquarters and tell them the Corvette would be a better family vehicle with more seats and storage space? My comment is true, but it's useless because the Corvette isn't intended to be a family vehicle. By the same line of thought telling Blizzard how to make WM a more effective AoE is just as useless becaus WM isn't intended to be an AoE spell.

This doesn't mean Blizzard can't change their mind, but it's highly unlikely.

Nyphur said...


Oh absolutely, I totally agree with that. It's not intended to be an AOE DPS tool, so we shouldn't be expecting it to be changed to make it a better or easier-to-use AOE DPS tool. We should expect developers to change it in ways that make it fulfill its intended purpose. On that I absolutely agree, there's no argument against that.

The problem I see is, that's exactly what they've done. Making it instant cast, increasing the area of effect and increasing its damage are all consistent with making it a better and easier-to-use AOE DPS tool. It's a very confusing change, as it won't do much for the spell's initial intended purpose. It will serve mainly to force us to use it as our primary AOE DPS tool in order to maximise our DPS.

Graylo said...

@Brendan Drain

Yes, More damage, larger range, and instant cast all make WM a better AoE spell. I'm not saying it shouldn't or won't be used that way.

However, all of those changes also make it a better trap, which is it's intended use.

Late in the beta I think it was GC that said players hadn't figured out how to use WM yet. I think that is still true, primarily because WM currently sucks at it's intended roll. These changes should help that, but may turn it into our primary AoE as well.

Azrael said...

You should keep in mind that though they might not have been originally intended for AoE, they fit that role quite well in a somewhat unusual way now.
Design intent isn't set in stone.

It might be the better option to just change what they are supposed to do than to try and shoehorn them into a role they don't really fulfill all that well.

As for casting on target, i said "allow" for a reason. I think it should be added for all(or at least most) ground targeted spells as an option to cast them centered on a target, simply for convenience (and those rooms where the reticle end up anywhere but where you want it).

Being able to actually plant them on a mob is more of a fun idea... and i would prefer planting them on my fellow raiders anyway.
Youz da bomb naow.