All KINDS of Warlords Stuff

I have not one, but two post about the Warlords of Draenor healing changes sitting in my drafts folder, but then I took a nap and when I woke up, the Warlords of Draenor pre-order (and included boost to 90) had gone live (along with the $60 paid version of the boost to 90).

It’s as though I have too many thoughts racing through my head to get any of them down, but, by golly, I’m going to try.

“On or Before December 20, 2014″

The thing that seems to be causing people’s heads to explode is that, on the pre-order page, it says quite clearly “Game is expected to release on or before 12/20/2014.”

First of all, they’ve already said that’s not the release date. They’ve said fall of 2014. So that’s somewhere between September 23, 2014 and, shockingly, December 21, 2014.  My money is on early fall, but they’re obviously being very Blizzard about things and hedging their bets, as per usual.

Still, people are upset because that means more than a full calendar year in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid instance.

This isn’t new, though. Icecrown Citadel, the final major raid of Wrath of the Lich King (no, Ruby Sanctum doesn’t fully count), launched on December 8, 2009. Cataclysm launched one year later, on December 7, 2010. Dragon Soul, the final major raid of Cataclysm, launched on November 29, 2011. Mists of Pandaria released, surprisingly, on September 25, 2012. Siege of Orgrimmar, the final major raid of Mists of Pandaria, launched on September 10, 2013.

Given that track record, it’s hardly news that people are going to spend a year with Siege of Orgrimmar as the “current” raid content. It is, however, quite disappointing to a lot of people, I would imagine. I would further submit that this is probably the entire reason why pre-ordering now gets you the level 90 boost immediately.

On the bright side, Blizzard typically has beta periods that last approximately 6 months. 6 months from now is, you know, September. In my opinion, this means we are very likely to see beta launching in the next month or two. So they’re going to try to keep players occupied with new toons at 90, the beta launch, plus their other properties. (D3’s expansion is coming out soon, Hearthstone is certain to be ending beta soon, Heroes of the Storm is on its way…)

I’m not surprised. I’m not even disappointed, although I know a lot of people are. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve not played much of this expansion and I’m fairly separated from what’s going on, or maybe it’s because I’m just that jaded, hah! I actually thought it wouldn’t be impossible to get things going for a June release, but apparently I was wrong. Ah, well. I do think it’ll be closer to late September than late December, but what do I know, eh? Clearly not a lot. ;)

Healing Changes in Warlords of Draenor

Honestly, over the last few days, I’ve written over 3500 words talking about these healing changes and I can’t make up my mind about them.

On the one hand, I’m in favour of absorbs being less potent (I’ve always hated absorbs and yes, I’ve played a holy paladin), I’m in favour of smart heals being less smart, I’m in favour of having time to make intelligent decisions about on whom to cast which spell.

I’m not in favour of the cast-times being added to Light of Dawn, Word of Glory/Eternal Flame, Wild Growth, Prayer of Mending (and other priest spells) and Uplift.

I’m not in favour of healers having to relearn how to do their jobs all over again. My previous drafts rambled a lot about this point, but here’s the thing: DPS basically still does today what DPS did when WoW launched. Tanks have changed a lot, I’ll grant you, especially with this whole “active mitigation” thing. But healers had to relearn how to heal for Cataclysm. I’m not saying that was a terrible thing or that healers didn’t need a serious retooling, but here we are, just 3ish years later, and they’re removing the “mid-level” heals (or whatever you want to call them). So much for the three-heal system. (Actually, I’m well-aware that the three-heal system was already out the window come the end of Cataclysm, with healers spamming AOE and smart heals, and I can’t imagine that’s gotten any BETTER throughout Mists.)

It’s not that healing doesn’t need to be reworked, because I’m certain it does. I just think it sucks that the burden of relearning falls to the healers. Again. As if relearning your specific class again doesn’t suck enough (and it can!), learning how healing works in a whole new system of healing can be painful. Blech. I read the healing changes and immediately did not want to heal, period.

Out of the many words I’ve written on the subject, perhaps the most poignant (for me) were those that made me see that perhaps I’m just too old for this stuff. I mean, not necessarily because I’m old (because I’m not, shut up!), but because I’m weary. Part of the reason I stopped playing is because rolling with Blizzard’s punches just got really exhausting after a certain point. After seven years of adapting to every change and all the retuning and retooling and redesigning, I was just tired. Heck, I still feel tired. It used to energize me to know that changes were on the horizon. I’d jump at the chance to learn anything new.

But I just… don’t, anymore. That lack of passion, lack of desire to learn, it kind of indicates to me that maybe I’ve truly outgrown the game…

But You Just Pre-Ordered! WTF?

Warlords of Draenor Pre-order
… yeah, I did. Guilty as charged. I bought the pre-order for two main reasons:

  1. I’m going to at least check out the new expansion. That’s never been in doubt, even if my lifelong dream of getting server-first skinning has been crushed. I also had the money to pay for it now, so why not spend it now on something I know I’m going to want to have later?
  2. Even if I don’t play much for Warlords of Draenor, I want my stable of alts to be ready for the expansion for money-making purposes. (I’ve quite enjoyed having a stash of over 220,000 gold sitting there, ready for me if I ever wanted to come back and raid seriously again.)

I’m also seriously considering resubbing for a bit, but I wouldn’t expect that to last through to release. Maybe I’ll spend the next month or two playing around a bit and then let things lapse before coming back at the 6.0 patch, at which point I will endeavour to learn how to heal all over again, unless it really makes me want to cry. (Which is a possibility.) Still, I feel as though I owe the community at least a 6.0 holy paladin primer. We’ll see.

That said, because I pre-ordered, I have a shiny new boost to 90 I could use, if I resubbed, and I am incapable of deciding. Here’s a poll. Vote for your favourite options and I promise to take them into consideration.

4 comments

  1. R says:

    DPS main, healie off Monk.

    Personally, while I haven’t healed much ever (I’ve only been an OS/alt healer at any point, if that), the only healing I’m doing these days is on my disc priest… the smart heals are basically what make it possible for me to heal for any combination of skill, reflexes, desire, etc. I don’t have the slightest desire to heal on any other class because, from the perspective of a mostly dps / occasional tank, healing right now SUCKS. Either the fights are trivial and boring or if you aren’t perfectly on your game and playing chess (planning 5 moves ahead) someone’s going to die, especially if they aren’t doing their jobs perfectly.

    The whole concept of triage healing is great for me… that’s the kind of healing I do think I’m capable of doing at an acceptable level of competence. Having time to heal people up is good. Having the tools to deal with redesigned fights is good. Not having as many instant heals should mean less having to run and heal at the same time, which is good.

    The current fights are so annoying because of the current healing paradigm. A reset of that paradigm should mean they can design fights for the new paradigm. Whether they can actually do that and whether they can actually figure out a way to keep it going for a full expansion (or even tier) remains to be seen but conceptually I’m a fan.

  2. Kurn says:

    R – I agree that the healing system needs retooling yet again, I’m SURE healing sucks right now as a whole system. Triage healing isn’t a bad idea, either. My concern is that healers just had to relearn how to “triage” in Cata and it lasted not even a whole expansion. They screwed up with the 3-heal system (obviously, since they’re now removing the third heal). What makes us think they’re going to do any better with this new paradigm?

    Further, I feel that the healers just continually take the brunt of the mistakes in design. I hope that’s not the case for Warlords, but I have a sneaking suspicion it might be.

  3. Ngita says:

    The healing changes seem ok for raiding, if somewhat PR based. Renaming Divine light to holy light and then calling it efficient, Umm ok.

    But in general the content will be designed around what the healers can do, as I said it will be fine in organised raiding and guild groups.

    But pug perception lags, you can’t heal as well as a 550+ geared MoP raider and your in ilvl 600? Boot its a healer problem.

    “Triage” Healing in 4.1. A tank takes a hit in Heroic stone core that in 4.0 would have killed him, 1 shot for standing in bad. With the nerfs and using a cool down he only just died, Booted as healer because the tank was only at 90% hp and if he had been at 100% he would have survived.

    For now I am sitting on my 90 boost, it took me 2 days played to go 1-90 on my monk with the xp buffs (don’t waste it on a monk imo) but it sure takes a lot longer then 2 days at 90 to gear and learn to play it properly. I am so uninterested in more 90’s that my warlock has been 2 bubbles short of 89 for about 6 weeks.

  4. R says:

    The main issue with the 3-heal system as I see it is that at any particular time there’s going to be one of those 3 that a healer just doesn’t use… in the early gearing game they can’t afford the fast, expensive heal so they just figure out how to work around that. Later, when regen is up and mana is less of an issue, they’re able to afford it and skip the cheap, baseline heal (or probably more realistically today, skip them both). The 3-heal system was a somewhat interesting design but I suspect that trying to actually design fights to test healers on their ability to pick the right one was just too difficult… they’d need to penalize a mistake without it necessarily being terminal… and it’s possible that just not enough healers would have been good enough to function in a tightly-tuned environment of that type. If anything, 3-heal makes more sense in a triage world where you have enough time to determine which heal would be best, rather than in a “you’d better damned well be casting SOMETHING or BOOM!” world where it’s almost impossible to gauge that type of thing. It’s different for AoE heals, once you’ve done a fight a few times you know when the AoE hits are coming and you can time casts/cooldowns appropriately to recover quickly but for single-target heals? Different story.

    Healers are probably the first line, most visibly affected by these changes but they affect everyone. Tanking today looks a hell of a lot different than it did the last time I was a progression tank, back in ICC… my entire job (well, 90% of it) back then was to just hold threat at the times when I was supposed to have it. These days, much different story. Tanks are now also responsible for keeping themselves alive which actually takes some of the responsibility (if not the blame, sadly) away from the healers. As for dps, the changing fight mechanics due to the need to make tanking and healing more “interesting” also shifts the landscape for dps as well. Not to the same degree, admittedly, but it’s there. I can’t recall a time where dps were more individually responsible for keeping themselves alive via personal/raid cooldowns (they’ve always been useful but now they’re necessary)… more movement required than ever… single-person raid-wipe mechanics that you didn’t often used to see…

    And yeah, whether they can actually succeed is the one real question that I have… but I’m maybe in the minority that in general, it’s enough for me to know that they want to make it better, I give partial credit for effort and attention. If they make changes that result in me not liking normal healing any more, though, AND they break Atonement as a viable spec, leaving me with no healing options… I’ll be just as annoyed as the rest of you. :)

    @Ngita – That particular “tank would have lived at 100% but died at 90%” scenario is what currently bugs me most about healing… especially a fight like H Naz with Execute or H DS with Iron… Prison? The debuff mechanic, anyway. If the new paradigm doesn’t require those types of mechanics to make things “challenging” or “interesting” it’ll be a win in my book even if nothing much else changes.

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