Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Yes, the title of this post is shamelessly stolen both from David Bowie and Jim Butcher's latest Dresden Files installment. Butcher, by the way, is my favorite current fiction author, and he must be doing something right as his last several books have all topped the NYT bestseller list upon release.

However, the Changes referred to here, of course, are all about the the Cataclysm looming on our Wow horizon.

If you haven't seen some of the changes planned for the next expasion, start at MMO-Champion.com. For class-specific info, there's quite a bit at Elitist Jerks, as usual. Consider's unholy thread at EJ has links to his alpha involvement and the Cata EJ discussion threads.

What to think, what to think?

First, the obvious.

1) Rune changes. As I understand it, the primary difference is that it will allow us to 'pool' resources a bit more. As we all know, in the current system if you don't use a rune within 2 seconds of it being available, it's 'wasted' and a dps loss. In theory at least, we can use resources as soon as they're available, but not using them to a point may not hurt too much.
I've let this change marinate for a bit and I've decided I like it. It may keep us from being quite as gcd-bound as we have been (although some people disagree). It should allow us to better time combinations of moves for best effect (as a long-time combat rogue, I remember pooling energy as slice & dice ticks down, then reapplying it and going to town with several Sinister Strikes - especially when paired with adrenaline rush and blade flurry).
What remains to be seen is exactly how the mechanic will work - especially on live. Still, if it goes forward, it will dramtically change the way we play our class.

2) AOE is getting nerfed. Hard. For DKs, diseases spread by pestilence are doing half damage. Wandering plague has been halved. Of course, it looks like every other class is getting the same treatment as well.
I guess this is okay in theory. People often complain that as one overgears content in particular everything will devolve into aoe-fests.
Make no mistake, we'll still see heroics - and some raids - being pulled en masse and aoe'd down, but Blizz' move of nerfing aoe may slow that approach somewhat. The idea, of course, is to force us to use strategy and cc to get past trash and boss encounters. I get it, and I think it's a good thing. Still, I'll miss some of those eye-popping numbers like we saw on Onyxia's or Sindragosa's whelps *sigh* :)

3) Coefficient changes. This one you may not be as well aware of, but most abilities are getting a significant overhaul. So far on alpha we see:

Wandering Plague has had its damage halved.
Diseases spread from Pestilence deal half damage.
Scourge Strike has a base 140% weapon damage modifier, up from the current 70%.
Heart Strike has a base 100% weapon damage modifier, up from the current 50%.
Frost Strike has a base 110% weapon damage modifier, up from the current 55%.
Blood Strike has a base 80% weapon damage modifier, up from the current 40%.
Plague Strike has a base 100% weapon damage modifier, up from the current 50%.
Icy Touch has had its damage doubled.
Howling Blast only costs a Frost rune, has had its damage doubled, and now deals triple damage against targets affected by Hungering Cold.
Death Coil has had its damage doubled.
Frost Fever and Blood Plague have a base duration of 30 seconds, up from the current 15.
Ghoul Frenzy now last for 1 minute and heals your pet for 120% of its health over the duration of the buff, up from the current duration of 30 seconds and the current heal of 60%.
Rune Strike is now instant.
Ebon Plague now increases magical damage by 8%, down from 13%.
Death and Decay now costs a Blood Rune, down from a Blood, Unholy, and Frost rune.
Corpse Explosion now costs an Unholy Rune, changed from runic power.

Besides the aoe ramifications, one may think "whoa, DKs are getting hugely buffed!" Most of the single target abilities are seeing their damage doubled.
The short version is: no, we're not getting buffed. Sorry. The rune system changes - if interepreted correctly - mean that the coefficient increases will equate to roughly 'equal' sustained damage.
The difference is, we should see much improved burst. I can live with that. In fact, I rather like the idea.

Obviously, with all of this in development, I'm sure we'll see tons of tweaks in the numbers before live. In fact, it's fairly likely that one or more of these major changes will themselves see a major overhaul.
As opposed to my rather 'meh' response to the reported 'new' abilities, I'm positive about our mechanics changes and look forward to seeing them in action.

One thing is certain.

Everything changes. But that's another song. ;)