In which Blizzard solves the melee vs ranged issue: THE PITY BUFF

Thanks to for the heads’ up on this one. There is some more information about the next WoW patch available, and one of the notes reads:

Melee classes will be getting a buff that is only active in the new raid to help them compete with ranged classes.

I read this as an acknowledgement of what most players recognise, which is that melee are hampered with respect to ranged as dps (esp in raids). This is largely because of the Cataclysm implementation of ‘bring the class not the player’ which reduced or removed most of the issues with ranged dps while not touching the melee classes requirement to always be in range.

I can only imagine the whining that will ensue if this new buff means that melee outdamage ranged by any significant amount.

But will the new buff and the rogue legendary daggers, entice raids to bring more melee classes along? Well, presumably they’ll bring a rogue along to pick up the legendary gear if they can. Otherwise, I suspect ranged will still be seen as the more flexible option unless Blizzard specifically designs melee friendly fights. I mean, how big does a special buff need to be to make up for the fact that some classes simply have a lot less dps time on the boss than others?

Also, although a blanket buff like this could be seen as acknowledgement of a design failure (of sorts), it offers an interesting glimpse into a future in which buffs become more associated with an instance than with an individual’s gear. We can see also that it fits with the tank threat changes in which a blanket boost was applied to fix a design problem (or at least make it irrelevant). I think that actually might be bang in line with making the game more accessible also. We’ll see.

20 thoughts on “In which Blizzard solves the melee vs ranged issue: THE PITY BUFF

  1. To me, all these “adjustments” of late have been an acknowledgement that Blizzard can’t cope with different roles and even DPS classes in the game anymore and finally realize that “bring the player” was an illusion in WoW up to now (which I have elaborated on a while ago in a GW2 article). they probably wish at this point that they had a GW2 approach, whereby everything is about the encounter and nothing about group composition? it is really odd how they’re forcing WoW into this new direction.

    It’s a big mistake in my opinion. a tiger does not change its stripes; WoW was designed around the holy trinity with its classic role-setup and classes. so, why is it so hard today to design an instance that doesn’t continuously disadvantage the same group of classes at every encounter? used to be a time when this was normal: sometimes being a melee was a bit better, sometimes a ranged. sometimes one of them was more in charge of needed control in a fight, while the others did more pure dmg. all in all, you needed everybody.
    Apparently that’s not possible anymore, in a time where all that matters is one number and not much is “needed” otherwise. try and fix that instead?

    • I don’t actually think it’s possible for them to design a fight any more that favours melee unless they specifically give ranged a separate job to do. Even something like a silencing aura would only disadvantage casters, not hunters.

      Also – again can’t help noting that they’re effectively doing a class specific storyline (and legendaries) just for rogues. Note: in SWTOR, every class gets class specific storylines.

      • Ragnaros sort of favors melee. His hammer smash throws out three waves which are more likely to hit ranged than melee. Also need to have someone spring traps.

        Baleroc favors melees in that they don’t generally have to run out or in for the Shard of Torment (which is PITA). Also extra crappy for Hunters to do because most of the time that puts Baleroc in the minimum range dead zone.

        Ryolith is another that favors melees in that they’re more effective at steering him.

        Most fights fling crap at ranged that ranged has to worry about. Some fights fling it equally at melee.

      • Indeed, although I am more than dubious the legendary does anything to win players over to ging rogue. it’s such a half-hearted attempt to make a class more attractive….

  2. They promised they will never ever do again class specific quest lines and weapons ( Benediction ) .

    Not worth doing something only for a class blah blah blah

    Blizzard , was it a lie ?

    And now guess what . Rogue specific questline – item. Is not fair , You either do legendaries for multiple classes/roles or do class quests items for all the classes. If rogues get this then I want my Benediction priest specific quest line.

  3. I think that’s a transcription error. From the elaborate interview on MMO-C:

    “So for the Deathwing tier, what we’re going to do is just a straight up buff to the melee classes that hopefully helps them a little bit. We’re going to do that in such a way that the raid buffs will just end up buffing melee a little more than they’ll buff ranged.”

    It’ll be made across the board (not only in this raid). E.g. a buff to windfury and/or making it available to more classes.

  4. Um what?

    Melee classes are doing it wrong if they are failing at DPS.

    Our Rogue (Assassination) and Warrior (Arms zomg!) top the DPS charts in our 10 man raids.As does our DK tank when he switches to Frost. There is nothing wrong with melee at the moment. If anything, it seems they have an easier time of things.

    I’m going to disagree with Blizzard on this one.

    • Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.

      So, to put it back at you: commenters are doing it wrong if they think their single raid is indicative of every raid group.

      • It’s fine for him to give examples based on his own experience 🙂

        But I think it’s more widely felt that melee are at a significant disadvantage in general, and Arms Warriors really don’t usually top the dps chart (mostly cos they make us tank, but even if you get to dps).

  5. Not a new problem – situational awareness is the new tank and spank. Hard to do when 1/2 your screen is the enemy’s rear end. Rift has the same issue but every class has a ranged variant – so it’s better. Wait til you see how SW handles this…

    Solution: Increase DPS melee range to the same as their ranged counterparts – say magic did it. Magic does everything right? Leave tanking skills with their current range.

    Situation fixed. Next.

  6. It’s this style of “balancing” that I really detest and I think is an exemplar of the exceptional laziness Blizz have employed since mid-Wrath. They’d rather treat the symptoms than treat the actual problem.

  7. Rogues have had very little love or lore since…um. Ever. Verious expantions have favoured classes or races. BC by its very nature was Spacegoat and Belf, WotLK was very Dk and Paly lore based. With the release of Cata, Shamans had the etheren ring across several zones, with Druids in patch 4.2 for the firelands. I can’t remember anything for rogues, ever. Or hunters for that matter, past the vanilla demon chain for the epic bow.

    As far as ledgedarys go, there were the warglaives…but that wasn’t rogue specific, and only viable by 1 spec of that class. The truth is, rogues aren’t played a lot because they die too fast and frankly don’t have the edge on DPS meters.

    Why would a raid bring a melee that will take more than it’s fair share of healing and sit top-middle of the charts, when they can just take another hunter to take hardly any damage and top the charts? This is nature of the low amour melee class taking too much avoidable and unavoidable damage.

    I love playing my rogue but he’ll stay an alt as long as my other classes are more viable. From reading forums, I gather that a lot of people have a well loved rogue alt…alt being the key word here.

    • Odd – Rogues were kings in BC – and the legendary swords were pretty much considered Rogue only for those that worked on them.

      Rogues with the legendaries would tear up PvP back then even without PvP gear.

      I’m not sure how you think Rogues have been neglected for so long.

      • Those were swords so they only worked for combat rogues and even in combat you had to pcik swords over maces. Secondly, very very few rogues ever got them. They really were legendary. Finally, rogues were very strong in PvP due to stun locking which has been nerfed to the ground.

        Bottom line is in Cata melee, including rogues are a dying breed.

  8. Should it really be called a “Pity Buff” when the cause of the difference is the designed mechanics that Blizz chose to use?

    In their quesst for the holy grail of gimmicky mechanics Blizzard has all but destroyed their stated intent of bring the player and not the class.

    Unfortunately even with this ‘buff’ raid leaders will still go ranged heavy if not all ranged based.

  9. Any game which has such unforgiving mechanics which wipe groups will have issues, for melee it is slightly worse but not enough (imho) to warrant a an overall buff such as this.

    I was ok with some classes being bad and others good between fights and instances as long as there was a quasi-balance. From what I read there is a real issue here, and as so many players enjoy melee then Blizzard is doing *ahem something.

    I guess we are not familiar with the mechanics of the p4.3 bosses to know if there is a huge problem though. Maybe the fights are so melee unfriendly that it would alienate the players in raids?

    If this was needed, then why not add a mechanic into specific fights where the boss is slightly more vulnerable to particular affects, or attacks from close range, or white swing damage?

    Applying it as mass effect looks clunky. Melee in some of the old fights were fantastic (icc Saurfang), it could be done in an alternate way.

    The BRPNTC (bring the player…etc) was about any player, not Bring-the-Range-not-the-Melee. Waiting to see the final way it plays out is all we can do.

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