Back into the beta

Hi guys, back after two weeks’ off; a week’s holiday then a week working abroad. A lot happened during that time! Blizzard’s announcement of the revamp of the entire talent and ability system is quite something. I like a lot about it. Getting something cool for each ‘ding’ is a welcome change,

Some people might complain about the loss of diversity in talents specs. Tanks, who used to have three talent trees to choose from,  now have one. Within the blood tree, there will be very little variety in the tanking specs. I can see maybe three tank specs: one for raiding, one for heroics with AOE bias and a third which tweaks the edges. In Live, we have several viable tank specs, but in Beta it’s only two or three.

DPS in the 31-pt world get two trees, and I expect there will be also two or three varieties of dps spec within each tree. There might be some variation (as now) to minmax the most dps from your particular gear level, which allows some fine-tuning of one talent over another.

All of this is fairly different to the three or four viable specs per tree that dps have now.

So dps go from say nine spec choices to four, and tanks go from say nine down to three.

That is less choice for sure, but to be honest I don’t think it matters all that much. A serious minmaxer in the best gear he can get on Live will only have a few specs to choose from anyhow. On Live, you only get the sense of more choice if you disregard minmaxing.

For tanks, the question is whether it’s still fun or not. Whether you need a raid and AOE version of tank specs, or not.

Doing a 5-man in Beta

I’m not sure yet. I’m still learning how to play on Beta and there is a learning curve.

I did my first full Beta instance last night. I felt like a total noob.

I lost mobs continually. I forgot to rune strike (a lot). I mashed death and decay even when it was unavailable because I was so unused to having no AOE. I forgot to keep up the scarlet fever. I’m not using to tanking without my UI addons. My muscle memory doesn’t know about rune strike. I body-pulled mobs then used blood boil to get agro on them all, and it didn’t work too well. I honestly felt like a pathetic loser tank.

I did a FRAPS of the entire proceedings, and have uploaded it here. Unedited, including corpse runs, because I don’t want to waste time editing stuff; I would prefer to get in there and try another one or write about it than snip video clips.

Spec choice is very easy, since really there isn’t much to choose from in the current beta.

You need crowd-control. I was in a group with only a few English-speakers, so couldn’t communicate cc. There were definitely AOE pulls, which is a bit confusing since Blizzard are designing the instances knowing that tanks can’t hold AOE threat. I suspect they intend on CC being used more than I was able to organise in my 5-man.

I bet there will be wipes-galore when Cataclysm hits live and everyone goes through this learning curve.

Talents comments

Blizzard mentioned that Runic Empowerment will move into baseline, which is cool, since it makes all trees more proccy. You get this random element all the time, lighting up runes and constantly stuffing up your ‘rotation’ which means players need to think in terms of priority even more so. Frost dps/tanks already think in terms of proc, so that playstyle will extend a little to other trees.

I still don’t like the implementation of scarlet fever, and my comments given on beta some time ago stand. It feels cludgy to me. I think the damage reducing debuff of scarlet fever should come from a talented Horn of Winter.

This chain is just not elegant:

  • spend talent points to make plague strike make blood boil free to get scarlet fever on the target, if cast before blood fever expires.

The thing you want, scarlet fever, is right at the end of a long string of dependencies. That’s just messy design by Blizzard’s standards. I prefer the idea of a Horn giving the debuff (like a warrior’s shout) and re-using those talents for some other purpose.

Here’s a short video showing the 31-pt tree on a DK if you’ve not seen it already.


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5 comments to Back into the beta

  • You’re still not in a Presence in that Video…. Evil Gravity doing more Frapsing without Presences :D :P

  • You can still get away without CC. I’ve done so in all three of the instances so far.
    I’ve also died a lot in each of those instances (well, not BRC)! That’s more due to me pulling aggro or otherwise noobing it up.
    Interrupts are pretty crucial though, especially in Stonecore. Hurts to ignore them.

  • With regards to the lack of spec variation, the elemental shaman tree is the same at the moment – only 1 or 2 points free to play with. As others have said elsewhere, it’s probably just a case of Blizzard just getting the trees into a functional state rather than making them in any way finished. The elemental shaman tree, for example, still has a few of those “increase X by Y%” talents, and also still has the enhancement-oriented “increase melee damage” talent in tier 1 of the elemental tree.

    It’ll be interesting to see what talents they add, and how the trees progress from here.

  • I think Blood boil gets to play a way bigger part than DnD does currently – in regards to AoE tanking (have only seen the first part though).

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