[WoW] Interrupts, Ghostcrawler admits melee is borked, and some cool links

Yesterday, Ghostcrawler wrote another intriguing blog post about game balance, interrupts, PvP issues and how designers can get into the trap of power creep.

The basic line of thought is that interrupts are too good in PvP (too accessible, too short a cooldown), so casters had to be given better instant spells/ kiting ability. And then *handwave* for some reason Blizzard had to give out more interrupts —

– no wait, this was “bring the player, not the character” and the homogenisation of classes in Cataclysm, and they did it deliberately and now they’re finding that they’re in a power race and it hasn’t worked out so brilliantly well.

Anyway, I think there’s an interesting discussion to be had as to whether casters were intended to have lower mobility as the price for having range (and crowd control). Ghostcrawler implies this is the case:

One of the advantages melee used to have in PvE was on movement fights. If the boss has to be kited or stays in motion, the rogues and warriors can follow along and still deal damage. <…>In today’s PvE environment, that role has almost flipped. Many casters can shoot on the run and take only a very minimal DPS hit to do so.

This is interesting since it’s the first time I’ve seen that Blizzard have admitted that melee have issues in the current tier of raiding. This was obvious to most players from pretty early on in the expansion (I recall having written about it.)

And it’s due to their design changes with Cataclysm, and they don’t seem to have any plans to either change it or improve things. There are more issues than being out-dpsed by casters, because staying in melee with bosses has gotten more difficult – again this is by design which he doesn’t mention here.

And his solution — nerf interrupts – wouldn’t really make that much difference to the PvE side of things on its own. Having said that, they’ve been quite keen on having players interrupt bosses on this tier. I figure that once they decided to give interrupts to all comers, they decided that people might as well use them. Since I like interrupting bosses I’m down with that, but it gets old …

This argument is particularly wearing for rogues and warriors who had interrupts right from the start and weren’t told that they were overpowered until now (at least not because of that.)

Some more WoW links

A few links from bloggers that I have read recently on WoW.

Matticus asks if 25 man raids are slowly dwindling. This was a prediction many people made pre-Cataclysm – is it coming true?

Borsked argues eloquently that raiding is back where it was meant to be in the game, only for the dedicated. And that the WoW player base is balancing itself to having fewer raid guilds.

Boathammer explains why WoW is boring to him as a non-raider

I’m the best there is at what I do …

… just what I do isn’t very nice

I logged in sleepily one night after coming back from seeing Brüno (short review: it’s patchy; the funny bits are hilarious, some of it is very close to the bone (sic), some bits fall flat (sic again), and Sacha Baron Cohen is probably one of the bravest comedians working today. If you want to find out whether you are shockable go see this film, and meanwhile enjoy the debate as gays and lesbians try to decide if they think it’s homophobic or not.)

Anyhow, whilst still mentally gigglesome from all the animated dicks my thought process was interrupted by a whisper to come help kill General Vezax with my awesome interrupts. “Fightus Interruptus?” I thought, “Count me in!” So I checked that my husband was OK with me going off to raid without him (I never for a moment thought he wouldn’t be fine with it but it’s polite to check since we’d just spent the evening out on a date), grabbed my best Fury gear and headed off to Ulduar.

Although it’s always flattering to be paged with invites when you log in, I felt bad for the raid. They’d been wiping for awhile because the only guy available with interrupts had terrible lag that night. And that’s a pretty miserable spot to be in. Sure, it was nice when I hopped in and we were able to get the kill fairly quickly – insert more fluff about my amazing interruptiness – but I wish it hadn’t been necessary. So I’m pleased to see the notion of paladins getting a better interrupt being raised in their class Q&A. Yes it makes me less unique, but if it helps the 10 man raids get moving then I’m all for it.

The deal with that particular fight is that in addition to all his other wondrous abilities, General Vezax attempts to cast Searing Flames at regular intervals. If he gets the cast off, it deals a large amount of damage to everyone in the room and adds a severe armour debuff to boot. So it’s very key to that fight that he gets interrupted every time he casts – and in case that wasn’t obvious enough, the spell has a very very large and glowy graphic that is impossible to miss. It’s as if he had a sign on his back saying ‘INTERRUPT ME NOW YOU DORK’.

You would think that this unsubtle graphical guidance would make the interrupting job very easy. Interrupts are generally not on the GCD so all you have to do is be standing in melee range and hit your interrupt key whenever you see the big glowy interrupt-me-now-if-you-want-to-live graphic.

But we have found that people find it surprisingly hard to consistently get every interrupt right over the length of an 8min+ fight. It took me a couple of tries to get into the swing of it when we were first learning the fight also (admittedly I was tanking on one of them – it’s much easier when you are dps and don’t really have to think about anything else) but, aside from lag, I’m surprised that some of the others struggle so hard to get it right.

My assumption is that because I mostly tank, I’m more used to having to use specific abilities in response to something the boss does. The pure dps are more used to regular rotations. (I figure that if we had any hardcore PvPers, they’d probably be even better at it than I am.)

Besides which, I’ve had years of practice in interrupting my beloved husband :)