Tuesday, 13 April 2010

More Cataclysm thoughts

A general ramble about Cataclysm today. Still talking about fury spec.

Slowing down rotations

The DK rune system is changing to be slower. Here's an extract from one of GC's posts on the topic

"If that still doesn't make sense, then focus on what the experience will be, which is that you'll have more breathing room in your rotation and won't have to hit a button every single GCD."

You won't have to hit a button every single GCD.

With all the QQ about whirlwind being removed from the fury rotation (some of this was from me, yes), perhaps this is a design goal of Blizzard for 4.0 that they haven't explicitly shared with us yet. In that post there's also a comment about GC wanting DKs to play like warriors in that they will hit slower but harder.

Maybe we are supposed to have gaps in our rotation in 4.0 where we just sit there and wait for the buttons to light up. I remember doing that when I levelled my warrior (and paladin actually now I think of it) and it was not fun. Nevertheless perhaps it is what we can expect in future. I hope not.

The fury rotation

There was a blue post concerning the fury rotation, where Vaneras said that he "thought" that fury might need another attack as part of their rotation. My initial reaction to this was along the lines of "o rly?", but now I wonder whether or not blizzard really think that they might leave things as they are.

One of the problems in designing a new attack is that it's hard to make it seem different from existing major nukes. Currently Bloodthirst, Execute and Slam are very similar - they are a single weapon attack, the only obvious difference is that Execute and Slam don't hit quite as hard. In short - they are all so alike that they are quite dull. This is the same problem that Arms has - trying to differentiate the different weapon attacks, and it doesn't succeed very well. Compare this with say a fire mage, where there are clear differences in the look and feel of Living Bomb, Fireball and Pyroblast. A new fury attack needs to be cosmetically different from Bloodthirst in order to be interesting. I think something like a rogue's mutilate could work - an instant strike with both weapons for 100% damage, perhaps applying a DoT, or doing more damage if you have a DoT up on the target. Essentially all you'd see is two yellow numbers popping up instead of one, and so I'd hope we'd get a new animation for it too.

It should be noted that this new attack will need to be available reasonably early in the levelling process - maybe at level 30 when zerker stance becomes available, otherwise it's not clear whether levelling as fury will be viable at all.

Weapon speed

One other point that made me think a little bit, was that if whatever they do for fury does not involve a two weapon strike, then we will look for faster offhands in Cata.

Currently Bloodthirst does damage based on attack power and WW is based on weapon damage - bigger WWs are the reason why slower weapons are better for us in both hands - Quel'Delar is the best ilevel 251 weapon, for example, and is not much worse than the ilevel 258 and 264 weapons available from LK and 25 man raids. The reason for this is that it has a 3.6 speed in comparison to 3.5 for Oxheart and Ramdaladni's, and 3.4 for the Claymore (which is therefore rubbish). You'll note that Shadow's Edge and Shadowmourne have speed 3.7.

(Why oh why is the coolest-looking weapon the worst? I love how the Claymore looks!)

With WW being removed, we will be left with Bloodthirst as the main nuke, which is independent of weapon speed. Who knows how heroic strike damage will be calculated, but I doubt it will be weapon damage-based attack. It's more likely to be a function of attack power and rage consumed.

Therefore fury warriors will have Slam, which depends on the damage of the main hand weapon, and Furious Sundering (shudder) which as currently structured will hit for 50% of weapon damage, as well as Deep Wounds ticks, which depend on main hand damage. Offhand damage will have no bearing on specials damage at all.

This means that unless they do create a new attack which inflicts offhand damage, you'll want a slow main hand in Cata for big slams and sunders, and a fast offhand for smoother rage generation.

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