Friday, October 30, 2009

Healing is most fun when everyone around you is dying

OK, this is going to start off a little unfocused, but I kind of want to make a big generalization based on some somewhat unrelated items I've been thinking about lately

  • One thing I love about the healing blogs is there is a real sense of dialogue and community between them; Jessabelle's questionaire being a recent example (and not a meme). The topic of "making healing fun" has come up a lot recently, and I've said in general that I enjoy healing and would probably be bored dpsing in endgame.

    That being said, the raids I'm in are currently on a "farm" state of the instances we can comfortably clear, while we gear up for the achievements and heroics that are slightly out of our grasp.
  • Blizzard recently announced that the new patch will introduce a debuff in Icecrown Citadel that will reduce your tank's dodge chance. It is basically Sunwell Radiance 2.0.

    Quote from Blizzard staff

    Chill of the Throne, Tanking, and You!
    For Icecrown Citadel, we are implementing a spell that will affect every enemy creature in the raid. The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid's main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.

    Why are we doing this?

    The high levels of tank avoidance players have obtained is making the incoming damage a tank DOES take more "spiky" than is healthy for raiding. Ideally, tanks would be receiving a relatively constant stream of damage over time. This allows healers to better plan their healing strategy, broaden their spell options, and simply give more time to react. Tanks could use their cooldowns more reactively. Instead, the current situation is that if we make a hard hitting melee boss and a tank doesn't avoid two successive swings then the tank could very well be dead in that 1-2 second window. The use of reactive defensive abilities instead becomes a methodically planned affair, healers have to spam their largest heals just in case the huge damage spike happens.

    We've been trying to do a fair amount to mitigate the effect of high tank avoidance on the encounter side of things during this expansion with faster melee swings, additional melee strikes, dual wielding, narrowing the normal variance of melee swing damage, and various other tricks. There's a limit to what we can do, however. So to give us a bit of breathing room we’ve implemented Chill of the Throne. Going forward past Icecrown Citadel, we have plans to keep tank avoidance from growing so high again. (Source)

    I think in general people are pissed about this because it was considered a hack back in BC, and it's a hack now; Blizzard planned gear itemization wrong, and now tanks overgear content. That being said; I agree that at current levels of tank avoidance, they would basically have to make the mobs deal so much damage that they would 2-shot a tank if it lands, or else the tanking and healing would be super boring.

So where I'm going with this is; when you first encounter new content, tanking and healing is very dynamic and exciting. However, once everyone in the fight knows the encounter really well, is avoiding the predictable damage and interrupting the spells and moving out of fire, healing becomes really easy. Similarly, tanking becomes boring when you have enough stam and avoidance to survive the bosses super power move without needing to use cooldowns.

Better gear for dps means bigger numbers and more procs; better gear for tanks means less need to manage cooldowns efficiently; better gear for healers means more overhealing and standing around. As my raid members have gotten better at avoiding stray damage and my tanks have gotten better at mitigating the boss's damage; I find more and more that I am spending fight time dpsing and arranging my bags.

This is just an observation, I don't really know what the game designers could do to make it so healing and tanking stays interesting as you gear up and have the encounters memorized. Any ideas?



Yigi said...

I agree with you in general, as a healer and (usually) tank, I feel the exact same way. The first time Gormok put his 3rd impale on me, I had my eyes on my health like a hawk ready to pop something if i got below 30%. Now, I just swipe spam and wait for the boss to be dead so we can collect our loot and move on.
Unfortunately, there's really no way to fix this that I can see. The only way to avoid this is to move out of content as SOON as you have it on farm, which makes no sense from a gearing up standpoint.
So although I agree wholeheartedly, I can't see a way to fix this (maybe this is why dps'ers find healing and tanking boring?) so I will just continue my swipe spam until we get to the next boss.

Zigi said...

AH. I think your response clarified one of the ideas I had too, specifically regarding loot.

DPSers can measure their upgrades from loot immediately. They can make a measurable impact immediately at the encounter level they are at.

Tanks and healers really only need gear that is *good enough* for the encounter they are going for. Once a tank has a certain level of avoidance and health; tacking on another 20k hp doesn't really do much in the way of making healing him easier.

Tanks and healers require gear in a "step" progression; they need to have a minimum level of healing and tanking gear in order to be able to handle the next level of content. DPS gear is much more linear.

Again, I guess this is just an observation. I don't know that it's necessarily a bad thing. I'll take the healing upgrade piece knowing that I'm one step closer to being able to heal through the heroic mode of the encounter, even if the extra stats are almost wasted on the existing content.

Adgamorix said...

Just make your own hardmodes. Single tank or single heal stuff. Let a boomkin tank one of the adds on Thaddius. See if you can kill Gluth without him using his chow ability - and with only one tank.

None of those are overly difficult - but it does keep it more exciting. Grab a pocket tank and see if you can 2 man a raid boss or something.

Windsaor said...

Have your tank remove their pants :P

Tanks and healers have to walk into a raid instance capable of "beating" the encounter in terms of health/avoidance or healing oomph respectively, so gear upgrades throughout the instance are really gear for the next content patch.

With previous guilds the first few weeks of downing new content wasn't the most fun -- most challenging, stressful and satisfying, but not necessarily fun. The fun was once things were on farm and the raid could have a good time, do their thing, and spend the night chatting and having a good time.

This is why solid raiding cores often setup up 'farm night' to bang out badges and needed cash for next content cycle, but also set up alt nights for people to feel challenged while they wait for the next drop.