Wednesday, January 19, 2011

4.0.6 Patch

The patch notes for 4.0.6 are out and, as expected, there's quite a few changes.

First off, class changes:

For priests, I'm not entirely surprised, but they're buffing shadow a tiny bit. Our Mind Blast is going to be "significantly increased". Given I'm already pulling 10k dps, I'd expected they'd feel shadow was sufficiently strong and leave it alone given we're, in a very real way, a utility class, restoring mana and health. Additionally, our Vampiric Embrace no longer has a duration to it. I remember when it had to be cast on every target! Our AOE is currently weak. Even with large pulls (think the whelps right before Sindragosa), I used to be able to pull 16-20k dps. After the nerf, I was doing 5-7 and other classes were consistently doing 12-15. Obviously we're lacking there as our Mind Sear was nerfed into the ground. I got better DPS single targeting. So finally we're getting an upgrade on that. A paltry 15%. Not enough to scale it back to on par with other classes. However, now we can channel it off friendly targets too, so that may help increase overall output some since we won't have to worry about our enemy target dying and breaking our channel.

Discipline priests are also being buffed, but not nearly as much as I'd expected. There's a slight buff to Pennance, making it cost 7% more, but heal 20% more as well. Grace can now apply to numerous targets, but when you're spam healing the tank with mana efficient spells so you don't run out, that doesn't much matter. Shields are getting buffed in a similar manner though. Mana cost up by 31%, but absorbs (and thus, instant heals when glyphed) for 208% more too. Not bad. Our only heal that we can truly cast on a party member quickly, Renew, is getting less expensive by 24% too. I'm wondering if this is being rolled into a talent or will be carrying over to Holy healers as well.

Speaking of Holy, we're not bad in this spec, but there's still room for improvement. On a good boss fight, I'm averaging about 6.4k HPS. This could easily be higher but given the need to conserve mana still, I limit myself in some ways. Our Circle of Healing will be going up 30%. Desparate Prayer will be getting buffed significantly whereas previously it was nearly worthless (although I was still spec'd into it).

My other class I've been playing is my hunter, mostly to level my Leatherworking and help all our leather and mail wearers in guild out a bit, so I glanced at their changes too. As predicted, they're getting some pretty hefty nerfs as well. Which makes sense since they're crazy strong right now. Our Cobra Shot now gets affected by haste, that's good. But our Black Arrow and Explosive Shot are both being reduced in damage and our passive agility (and thus AP bonus) on Into the Wilderness is being reduced by 33%.

So that's the changes for the classes I play. Priest will be getting a tiny bit easier. Hunter a tiny bit harder. Overall, pretty much what I expected.

Now for the instance changes:

When I first started doing heroics, I was not happy with them. Completely new mechanics and tricks made the learning curve far too steep for most players. The DPS gap was similarly prohibitive given that, aside from rep grinding and completing the Cata Loremaster to get all the ilvl 333 items from the end of them, there's not good ways to get gear to be ready to walk into heroics. The ilvl 316 stuff that drops on normal just didn't cut it. So heroics just weren't fun.

Slowly, as people have been getting gear, they've become more manageable. Tanks are finally walking in with 140k health unbuffed where earlier, they'd walked in with 110k. I have that much as a freaking clothie. You're not cutting it as a tank if that's all you got.

Heroics previously had been damn near impossible, now they're just challenging. Some more than others. I still haven't completed Deadmines. The sheer amount of burst DPS needed on Ripsnarl to manage the ghosts makes it impossible for most PUGs even now that many people are getting geared. So I expected some nerfs.

But I think Bliz went overboard. For example, in SFK, Baron Ashbury has 3 skills to worry about. The Stay of Execution, which needs to tick once or twice and then be interrupted, the Mend Rotten Flesh which also needs to be interrupted, and the Pain and Suffering, a DOT that can be interrupted or dispelled if it's not. So essentially what this requires is that your group have 2 interrupts and 1 dispell. It's pretty hard to find a group that doesn't. Getting people to do it properly is a bit harder, but that's fine. People should be required to be on top of their games on heroics and raiding. Blizzard has decided to completely remove his Mend Rotten Flesh. Now there's tons of room for people to fail again since you can double up on the interrupts.

Another over nerf, IMO, is completely removing a pup from Beauty in Blackrock Caverns. This was a pretty tough fight to keep 3 CCs up at all times. But now that nearly every class has some kind of CC, it's not impossible. And if you don't have 3, well, kill a pup. Every group should have DPS. Not super hard.

Ones that make sense? Giving an extra half second on Ozruk's Shatter to allow the tank to get away since there's issues with the dot ticking at the right time as I discussed previously. Tornadoes on Altarius don't knock you randomly around into other tornadoes or off the edge where the boss will kill you instantly. Reducing the flame breath on Valiona (although I had issues last night with it hitting me when I was clearly not in front of the boss; my archangel was at her back foot!).

There's several other small changes, but those are the big ones to me.

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