First off, a thought for you all on AoE.
We’ve complained since the beginning of WAR about the uber-effectiveness of AoE. It’s never subsided and has consistently been the best means of combat in the game. Mythic has finally slammed down the nerf-bat HARD on AoE. Knee-jerk reaction from most players? Gripe and complain to your fullest hearts content.
To be perfectly blunt, this is expected.
We’ve complained about getting AoE nuked, we’ve adapted to AoE nuking as the only viable spec, and finally, we embraced the AoE nuking as what our collective classes should be doing to survive and output in RvR combat. All the while still complaining about how OP it really is. Live it, learn it, love/hate it. That’s the mindset coming into 1.3.0b. Well, it’s finally changed, and it’s time to roll with these changes to get back to what we have been begging for the entire time. Being an effective single unit on the battlefield.
Isn’t that what we want? To feel like we’re an important part of the whole? Being able to run down an opponent, unleash all holy hell, and burst them down in a bloodspattering fit of rage? Prior to 1.3.0b, this was unlikely to happen unless you played a stealth class, or had a combo of Guard/focus healing. AoE flying haphazardly was powerful enough to kill all but the toughest of classes in a matter of seconds, all the while being stunned/disabled/knocked down, and watching your HP drop like a ball of lead entering orbit.
Now, in mass RvR AoE is still going to be effective. going from 1200dmg AoE attacks to 300dmg is still going to be more powerful against 4 targets than a single 1200 point burst. What they’ve done is really just added to the amount of targets needed to make AoE viable, not killed it outright. You’ll still have a reason to use it, just not FOR EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE OF COMBAT. Relax people, your AoE isn’t dead. It’s just finally getting the nerf it needs to place it in the proper tactical slot. Mass RvR (4+ clustered targets) = AoE. Skirmish RvR (under 4 clustered targets) = single target.
It’ll take some time to run down all the numbers, adjust, get a feel for which classes should still be doing serious AoE damage. In the meantime, melee classes should immediately be adjusting for single target burst. Chances of spamming more than 4 targets with melee AoE now that radii have been reduced are likely to be much lower. Players could also adjust tactically to begin using bottlenecks for offense, and wide open spaces for defense. Keeps and Forts will still be your friendly AoE spam-fests, while BO’s may see a significant cutback as they’re easier to take down and require less than a warband. All in all, the groups of players that haven’t played stupid all along will likely see even more victories, as they already have gotten used to spreading out on a battlefield and causing a smaller AoE target. Players that typically ran in/as a zerg cutting down everything in their path may be a little confused why they aren’t getting anything done as they need to run 20-30′ for each target, while the rest are enjoying them falling over.
Tactics, people. The one thing in ANY game that should be so horribly OP that EVERYONE begins to learn them. Once you learn a solid way to compete, it doesn’t take long for people to start repeating the tactics. If you jump in a pug warband and assure people there’s a better way to win, prove it. They’ll never do it a different way again. It’s about either running with small elite groups that work perfectly together with each person knowing their role, or showing a massive zerg force where to properly assemble their bulk and what wins. The game has been out for nearly a year, but the display of pug-bands running face first into a spiked wall is still prominent all over the place.
Path of least resistance owns this game, as with any other MMO on the market. Killing that path via AoE reductions will give players that actually attempt to excel at this game a chance to really shine on the battlefield. It’ll give MDPS a reason to run around without facerolling their favorite spam-a-button ability. It’ll give RDPS a reason to LOOK at who is being fired on. It’ll allow a tank to buddy up with someone guarded and not get raped via AoE TWICE. Healers in the meantime will have the tougher job of being closer to combat and having to choose and pick their targets while paying attention to incoming attackers. I.E., they’ll WAKE UP. It’s more work for a healer, sure, but they’ve been SLEEPING in the back mashing g-heal for the past 9 months! I’m quite sure they’re tired of it already!
I, for one, fully welcome these changes. Let the chips fall where they may, and deal with it over the next two weeks where they can make stealth adjustments based on class feedback.
Lol. Class feedback… Everyone is going to be pissed about one thing or another getting nerfed. There’s metrics in place within the game, from what I understand, that track damn near everything. How often people use an ability would be the one to think about. If this were a “blanket” nerf, then why did some abilities get a 10% nerf, and others 75%? I’d imagine because 90% of people used that 75% ability CONSTANTLY, while the 10% ability was hardly touched, let alone hotbar’d. I get loud about the “bad” classes in the game, because often these are my favorite to play. Taking something so underrated, pushing into a different direction than the norm, and being quite successful is VERY rewarding for me. A little history for you all to make my point.
Squig Herder. Before they got a pet buff they were rather easy to drop, but more or less could take the back lines and be effective. I ran mine at a melee/skirmish range most of the time. Penchant for pain I suppose. First one to get the 100 times rezzed Title I’m pretty sure.
Zealot. Mostly because I wanted to try a healer, and Zealots appeared to have the least reliance on mashing group heal. It played between 65′-80′ tossing potions and buffs around, and ended up being rather effective at the time.
Shortly after Chaos Wastes (the only RP/RvR server) shut down and I tossed these toons over to Dark Crag, rerolled our whole guild on Praag, and played some Order toons.
Engineer – Not underpowered in the least, but I ran him in full Tinker spec up to R40. After that I got some good gear and switched primarily over to Grenadier. Tinker was fun, but ultimately needed a lot of support to play well. Engi’s are still rather squishy, and the Tinker tree didn’t make much of a dent in anything but the ground.
Slayer – They’re just cool dammit. Had to. My second R40 toon and he’s pretty much always been full Skaven (AoE flailing manic).
White Lion – Also before the pet buff, I had to roll one since the forums got awfully loud about how broken they were. Made it to R25 before a new alt.
Archmage – Before 1.2.1 when the class was supposed to get massive rolling changes (now imminent with 1.3b), I started this guy and totally love the Path of Vaul (debuff spec). Got him to R36, and still grind him out when we need an extra healer for something.
Shadow Warrior – My current “loud and angry” favorite. Embracing the fact that melee combat is inevitable regardless of class, I made full use of the Assault stance. It works beautifully. Many people yell and holler about this being a crappy ranged class due to their multitude of broken bits and bobs, and the stance system which always blocks
out a full bar of abilities. I’m more than happy to civilly argue about the benefits of melee on a SW while downplaying the over-extreme focus on their range. If they didn’t have a load of awesome melee abilities, I’d feel differently… maybe.
I have a lot to look over when it comes to patch notes, and I typically read deep into each class to see how things are going to change. I also take a broad overview of things to see where the whole game is going to pan out. 1.3b in it’s current state is unfinished, but not bad by any means. All classes are getting toned down in the amount of AoE, but single target will be largely untouched. The official forums have let the cat out of the bag on their internal Testing/Dev “Tracker” and BryantC has been a goddamn champion about noting every single bugged ability. Testers are quick to get back to him, and in return the players letting them know if a bug was reproduceable, as designed, or actually bugged. These things then get stuck onto the Dev portion of the “Tracker” to be fixed. It’s a rather big change in how Mythic has been communicating with the playerbase and appears to be working well. I think this, along with the percieved “blanket” changes will go a long way in making 1.3b and possibly 1.3c the patches that fix a lot of the broken in WAR’s mechanics and classes.
Embrace it. That’s my conclusion to the 1.3b patch. Fucking love it like you’ve never loved any patch before. Yes, they’re asking you to jump on PTS and do their dirty work. Check out your class, make sure it’s savvy, and post on it if it’s still broken. You want the game to be better? Help out. If you’re unsubbed, don’t harass players and devs on the forums about how much this patch sucks. Just go on your way. I’ll expect to see you back for 1.4 when the dust settles.