Put the Role Back in Play

2 03 2009

I wanted this post to be some play experience and anecdotes from 1.2a testing on the PTS, figuring out how the new WH matches up against other careers’ revisions. Unfortunately this was not to be; I logged in to a seemingly abandoned world only to be slaughtered mercilesslyhumorously when what I had mistaken for Destro NPCs were in fact all template-cloned Choppas. So by now I know pretty well how WH stacks up against the (still rather bugged) Choppa, but I’m waiting on decent encounters with the other 11 opponent careers.

It's been said that the best "balance" an MMO can hope for is just an elaborate game of rock-paper-scissors

...and the key to rock-paper-scissors is avoiding redundancy

While I’m on the subject of numbers, let’s add the Choppa and Slayer for a total of 24 unique careers in Warhammer. You can argue about the mirror paradigm and hack it down to 12, but I would call you a fool and point out that Shadow Warriors’ stance mechanic is on Marauders (not their mirror), pets are given to Squig Herders and White Lions (not mirrors), and my Witch Hunter plays very differently from a Witch Elf even though we share stealth.

That’s about double or even triple what most character class-based MMOs have had in their first few months. And while balance is a concern, of course, another valid worry is beginning to surface on the forums with the new twin MDPS coming.


Role definition. Perhaps the first people to spot this were the White Lions and Marauders suddenly feeling outclassed by the powerful new careers sporting the same medium armor and similar – but arguably better – skillsets. Some back-line healers are also starting to wonder as their healing power, survivability, and throughput all seem lacking compared to their front-line counterparts; wasn’t there supposed to be a trade-off? And yes, obviously there needs to be flexibility within careers (i.e. mastery/specialization) for variety, fun, and flavor, but there also needs to be a difference between, say, a Salvation WP and Isha AM – aside from one being invincible and the other a wet paper bag.

I don’t do this often, but I think it’s time. Discussion time. If the Choppa isn’t supposed to obsolesce Marauders, if Warrior Priests aren’t supposed to outheal and outlive Archmages, what are the roles? I’ll take a stab:


  • WP/DoK – “the first aid expert” – high survivability; front-line; spreadheals and group heals; limited burst or single-target healing.
  • RP/Zeal – “the one who always saves your rear” – moderate survivability; mid-line; best burst/emergency/single target healing potential
  • AM/Sham – “the beacon of hope” – low survivability; rear-line; zerg-oriented big heals, buffs, and debuffs; support/amplified healing


  • IB/BO – “the wall” – high survivability (for a tank, mind you); high CC; low damage
  • Knight/Chosen – “the commander” – moderate survivability; area-effect buffs/debuffs; moderate-to-low CC; moderate damage
  • SM/BG – “the linebreaker” – low survivability (they love those 2handers); high damage; boosted mobility; anti-magic & crippling debuffs


  • SW/SH – “the skirmisher” – high survivability; focused fire, physical damage; low utility (I think the physical damage is the big deal here)
  • Engi/Magus – “the tactician” – moderate survivability; area/strategic/siege defense; moderate CC; high utility
  • BW/Sorc – “the glass cannon” low survivability; zerg-style AE/chain damage; moderate utility; low CC


  • WL/Mara – “the common threat” – high survivability; all-rounder, can spec to hunt anything; “main assist;” moderate CC/utility
  • Slay/Choppa – “the tank spanker” – moderate survivability; debuffs, armor negation, “tank killing;” low CC/utility
  • WH/WE – “the assassin” – low survivability; escape tools; squishy bane; best burst damage; high CC/utility

I’d say most careers are pretty close to this right now and could only use some sharpening to really hit the nail, but a couple would need overhauls to fit. Mostly I’m fond of the Slayer/Choppa being a sword-and-board tank killer (a lot of their abilities suggest this) because those guys need to fear something and it’s a shame to see the poor WLs/Maras become useless.

Copyright © 2009 Flintlocks R Fun; this Feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.


The One.Two Punch

17 02 2009

The PTS is up, the sky is falling, my character is copied and I’m here with what everbody’s been speculating madly about – numbers.

…OK, and a little commentary.

Burn Armor: This ability has had its damage contribution from stats reduced.

  • 37% nerf (real, i.e. actual damage testing and not tooltip/delve only)
  • already barely hit hard enough against most classes you’d use it for (tanks, Marauders, melee DoKs)
Blessed Bullets of Styrofoam, go!

Blessed Bullets of Styrofoam, go!

Sudden Accusation: This ability has had its damage contribution from stats reduced.

  • 68% nerf (real)
  • all the keyboard turners can continue typing in /gu while on autorun; this won’t pose a threat any longer

Fanatical Zeal: This ability has had its damage contribution from stats reduced.

  • 22% nerf (real)
  • Sorcerers/Magi should already be easy targets, but this and other buffs to healers will make them much tougher marks

Trial by Pain: This ability will deal slightly more damage, and activate Blessed Bullets twice if allowed to run the full duration.

  • 25% buff (real)
  • procs bullets before first and last of the 6 shots
  • looks like they increased the base damage but lowered the scaling…? too little, too late; still worthless.

Burn Away Lies: This ability will now deal more damage.

  • 65% buff (tooltip*)
  • NOTE: I have not had the opportunity to test the real damage on this; it could be that the base has improved but scaling decreased, similar to TbP above.  …and then the server crashed, and characters were wiped, and someone else managed to get the info first ; looks like 50-60% real.
  • does away with the irony of the “burst damage” mastery tree offering less burst than the alternative harass/debuff tree
  • still calculated through Ballistics from what I can tell, despite being a melee-range ability like Burn, Heretic (which improves with Strength)

I’ll not address the various bug fixes.  If they’re accurately implemented, hurrah; if not, then nothing’s changed anyway.

The bullet nerf is unkind, to be sure, and does nothing to bridge the gap between WE kisses and our mechanic.  If anything, it widens because the newly-possible bullet crits seem dependent on the ranged critical% (which no WH in their right mind stacks) and not melee.  But the dual stat dependency dilemma is a huge issue in itself, and I won’t get started on that here.  The stealth nerf – no longer being able to sneak away when under attack, even if you disrupt/parry/dodge everything – is salt on the wound for careers with already very limited survivability and escape mechanisms.

Overall we seem to have gotten hit by a lot of crossfire in the QQ-inspired Witch Elf nerfs.  I won’t get on a soapbox yet or scream about the apocalypse as some would, but it doesn’t look pretty.

Copyright © 2009 Flintlocks R Fun; this Feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.

Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Hip, Hip… huuuh?

4 02 2009

Witch Hunter morale abilities have for some time now fallen into the category of “things that make you go hmm” (or in some cases, the simple “wtf?” will suffice); our career-specific tricks are especially lackluster.  For the confused Witch Hunter in all of us I hereby present: Morale 101.

somewhere there is an entire industry for staging photos of happy office workers

somewhere there is an entire industry for staging photos of happy office workers

Rank 1 morales: quick to build, possible even in a duel if long enough (30+ secs for me, roughly)

Sever Nerve:  In my anti-caster setup.  Best coordinated with other burst damage.  Lackluster in PvE, only 20 DPS if spammed and may interfere with using other morales.  I pass over it in favor of…

Confusing Movements: Five stars.  In my anti-melee lineup.  Fantastic when dueling a melee class or Squig Herder; combine with REPEL BLASPHEMY for 12+ seconds of 100% parry.  Great in PvE for evade tanking e.g. (1) tank dies, you buy healer time to rez (2) trash on the squishies, smack ’em around and buy time until a tank can pick them up.

Exoneration: Worthless. 133 health per second and (at best) 80% AP regen for 9 seconds shouldn’t make a difference in any situation, and Confusing Movements’ damage avoidance is probably superior unless you’re being nuked by casters.  If anything, socket Sever Nerve to kill your target more quickly and make your escape before you ‘need’ this pitiful trash.

Rank 2 morales: also quick to build, probably our most useful

Force of Will: Nice against most careers if used properly; hit it early in a fight and/or when you’re low on AP to cripple your opponent and get the most benefit.  Great start to any fight against a tank because it limits their options (if you’re using Judgment bullets also you just made their life hell) and nice for draining a Zealot/Shaman so they can’t spam heal themselves.

Relentless Assault: Eeeeh, meh.  Strictly PvE, of course, and lately I’ve been getting more use out of a morale3 I’ll discuss shortly.  More for your group than yourself (you could get twice as much from Force of Will)

Reversal of Fortune: The disarm probably won’t land if you’re dueling one other player because you’ll have already given them Unstoppable, but in skirmishes and medium-to-large battles it can save squishies – including yourself – and the damage is gravy.  Our only decent AE without speccing deep Confession, slotting weird tactics and such.  I pop this constantly.

Rank 3 morales: diminishing returns kick in here; they take significantly longer to reach

Broad Swings: Why, Mythic, why?  At best it’s 6 attacks that become slightly AE (seems like a very small radius); I’ve only ever heard of it being novel when combined with Trial By Pain (procs on each half-second bullet) and Dragon Gun.

Witchfinder’s Protection: A lot of people are sour on this, and understandably so – it’s another PvE-only, seemingly lackluster ability.  Recently, though, I’ve been getting a lot of love out of this one.  It helps the rear-line squishies when they get aggro from trash, and tanks by being a quasi-Shield Wall.  For example, last night my LV group was attempting Sechar (and beat him without a Warrior Priest spamming groupheal, much to the surprise of elder guilds) and for his 30-second pleasure aura – the tougher for us to deal with – we rotated Shield Walls and this morale.  As I don’t use ranks 2, 4, or usually even 1 during PvE, this has become my staple “O SH*T” button to sit on.

Rank 4 morales: probably restricted to sieges; as a disclaimer, I haven’t fiddled with all of these extensively

Frenzied Slaughter: After factoring in global cooldown, this ends up applying to only four abilities used immdiately afterward.  Unless you got all the way to rank 4 morale just for a big Exit Wound or Absolution crit, this isn’t going to make much of a difference.  At all.  In practice: the AP reduction = minor, damage = mediocre, cooldown reduction = moot.

Divine Blast: Keep/fortress siege; aim at choke point, profit.

Excommunicate: Fortress siege – pop it on their main tank and watch him die.  Or you could blow an entire bar of hard-earned morale to kill any 1 player that might be receiving heals.  The damage is a bonus.

Expurgation: Another anti-zerg ability.  Hope you can make it out alive afterward.  Double the damage of Excommunicate, and a handsome snare component.

Copyright © 2009 Flintlocks R Fun; this Feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.