Monday, September 19, 2011

QotD: Should Melee Get a Pity Buff?

I'm sure that Blizzard has loads of data to back up this change. I'll bet they have graphs and charts and screenshots and beta tests and all sorts of intelligent thought going into it. I'm sure this change is meant to level an unbalanced playing field.


What is the change? Here's the snippet (from some preliminary information for the next patch):
Melee classes will be getting a buff that is only active in the new raid to help them compete with ranged classes.

From my extremely limited and narrow viewpoint... I call bullshit.

How is being a melee DPS any harder than being ranged?  I've raided as both, though I'll give you the majority of my time is spent on a ranged.  Still, I have some experience as a DK.  Crazy thing... I find it far easier to achieve high numbers on my DK than I do on my Warlock.

Yeah, sure, you have to be in range.  And on some fights this is a problem.  On most fights, it means you park it right near the tank and y'all bitch when you have to move away from something.  Meanwhile, the rest of us folks IN CLOTH are running the hell around avoiding geysers of fire, zones of void, additional monsters, and all sorts of nasty things.  And THEN you whine about having a kiting fight. 

I have news for all the melee folks out there: movement is not an excuse for your poor DPS.  You know why I find it easier on my DK to get numbers?  I DON'T HAVE CAST TIMES.  Yeah, that's right.  Melee are designed with the fact that they're melee in mind.  They get more instant abilities, while those of us in sissy robes in the back are forced to stand still for one, two... oh crap void zone.  One, two.... add in my face.  One, two... OUT OF RANGE ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

You want to talk about something that is UNFAIR?  How about the fact that because Affliction Warlocks were TOO GOOD at multi-managing, we got a nerf to Soul Swap, effectively putting us back in the worthless zone on trash.  I had about four months IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME of not being completely sucky on trash.  Entire forums and guides are written on the ART of juggling DoTs on trash so that you don't appear to suck.  Then on my DK, I apply face to keyboard and easily bypass my own numbers.  If you want to talk about design flaws, how about that?


Yeah, that's right.   It's entirely possible your class could have a - Light Forbid - weakness.  For Hunters, it's needing to be up close.  For Warlocks, it's anything that dies faster than 10 seconds (which is like everything these days, and even boss fights are being designed around this shitty principle... like sustained DPS is too much to ask).  For Mages, it's crying whenever milk is spilled.  For melee, it's what?  Having to be in melee range?  I'm sorry, but that's WORKING AS INTENDED.

I saw this over at Spinksville, and while I love Spinks, I completely reject the statement:
I read this as an acknowledgement of what most players recognise, which is that melee are hampered with respect to ranged as dps (esp in raids). This is largely because of the Cataclysm implementation of ‘bring the class not the player’ which reduced or removed most of the issues with ranged dps while not touching the melee classes requirement to always be in range.
I do not recognize that.  I also disagree with the notion that "most of the issues with ranged dps" have been removed.  See above whining about trash as an Affliction Warlock.

Now, this is a rant (on an upcoming patch note, no less).  I'm completely whining here (it may turn out to be completely mild and functionally sound).  Sometimes you just need to let it out.  I admit to being completely biased and perhaps I'm just not among the "most players" that Spinks is talking about.  So that's what I want to know.  Am I the only one that doesn't think melee have it hard?  Am I the only one who thinks there are simply different challenges involved, and that's okay?  Am I the only one who has felt absurdly OP on my DK after working my butt off on my 'lock?

I guess I just hold my melee to a higher standard, and have the fortune of playing with some solid players.  They don't seem to have any problems battling me for that top DPS slot in raids.  Especially on fights which slant in their favor (whenever you need to kill adds).

At the end of the day, I think Spinks naming this the "Pity Buff" is right on.  Really melee?  Are you going to let them throw you a pity party?  As a Warlock, I would be ashamed. 

As Blizz I would be ashamed.  It's a lazy solution to lazy design.  If all the fights really do gimp melee... why the hell are we designing them that way?  This whole thing strikes me as a bit stupid.

Let me be clear: I do not think having a "weakness" in your class is a bad thing.  It encourages folks to get creative, to exercise their class.  Blanket buffs/nerfs encourage laziness... and in general, I guess I'm against them.

I'm sure there are great counter arguments.  I'm not really trying to do the topic justice, just rant a bit.  Sound off about my stupidity in comments :-).


  1. Being behind a boss as an ability requirement is one thing (kitty shred), but moving while DPSing? With all the melee instant-action abilities?

    Oh bless dere liddle hearts, I don't know how they manage it! *sniff*

    (Dear melee: L2 keybind your movement + abilities properly. Derp.)

  2. Yeah, I guess I just don't see where they're disadvantaged. My wife IM'ed me with a good point: what about flying phases... which is completely valid, but then give the melee something to do. Plop down a sweet ride-y disc or a Gnomish turret or something. Fix it via a cool mechanic, not lazy pity buffs.

    I'm not saying there aren't fights that are certainly better for ranged, but I guess I feel that it all gets balanced out by the end of an entire raid instance. If I can deal with sucking forever on trash and any add fights...

    And complaining about movement just makes me want to shout "L2P!"

  3. I never really did understand the argument that this tier was better for ranged. Sure, maybe on the odd fight - but for the most part I see the melee standing still right there and dpsing their little hearts out, while I'm running around avoiding crap. How is that such a big disadvantage to them?

    Look at Ragnaros.. They hardly have to move in the first phase! I'm avoiding lava waves and crap all the time! Baleroc.. they have to move a few steps when swapping crystals.. guess what I have to move too (also on crystals) and it interrupts my entire rotation (while as melee they can keep going).

    I just don't see this big advantage that we seem to have. I definitely don't see it in the numbers on our boss fights. Which means that either I am incredibly bad, or melee aren't as bad off as people like to make it out.

  4. The biggest disadvantage melee has is uptime. You might think that "oh, he just moved a little, no biggie" but that small move accounts for several factors; latency, positioning, fight mechanics, etc...
    Ragnaros was mentioned, and yet I'm still forced to dodge lava just as much, and I might not have to move as much, but I'd imagine it's been a long time since a boss parried your Fireball because you were looking at his face. Or how about Beth? When's the last time you had to sprint across the map just to complete a target swap? Oh wait, that's right... you just turned. Or Domo; outside of Heroic, where it benefits to leave melee stationary, when you spread out, do you then have to return to continue dpsing? No?
    I'd imagine that's because having the ability to ranged attack supercedes the very occasional moment in which you have to dodge a different spell than us.

  5. Yes, but every movement is magnified for ranged. Since the majority of our spells have cast times greater than the GCD, it means that every time we move is not just one lost GCD, but two or three.

    I would also argue that some of what you're saying depends on the group and the decisions of the RL. In our ten-man, we have only one melee, so he gets all the nice DPS jobs. That is to say, if there's "burn this guy for a while," he gets it. Drone on Beth, Shannox full time, etc. Melee is already heavily favors instant spells as a small compensation.

    A lot of melee have abilities that make running trivial, be it the DK death grip, or the charge of Warrior and Kitty, or the Rogue sprint. My suggestion to Blizz would be to make sure all melee classes have these abilities if there are going to be fights with a lot of running.

    As for parry... our hit requirements are higher to compensate. It's always been that way. Seems fair to me.

    My point isn't that it is uncallenging to be melee, just that I feel the challenges are balanced.

    On Beth, for instance, it doesn't matter how much turning I do, my DoTs don't tick fast enough to do good damage. Incidentally, that's why I usually get sent up top... same reason we put our melee on the drone - to maximize our strengths and minimize the weaknesses. It makes the game interesting, IMO.

  6. @Dixiflatline

    On Ragnaros, our melee is stood in such a way that they don't get hit by lava waves (since they only go in 3 directions). They only need to move when they know a knock-back is coming at the same time.

    On Majordomo our melee never have to move out - they stay in the entire fight.

    On Beth, yes, sure they have to move. But I don't exactly get great dps there as a Warlock either since target swapping is horrible for me. So I think that's a bad fight for everyone. (Except maybe ranged who have no issues with ramp-up time).

    Thing is though, I'm not discussing where you stack this or that class - but the dps buff given to melee. I don't see melee doing less damage than our ranged. Except for the hunter who outdps us all... But it's a hunter...

    I can see where for sake of ease - some fights might be "easier" for ranged in the sense that we may not have to move as much. But I see as many fights where at least in my guild the melee move less.

    In the end, I don't see a reason for melee to get their dps buffed by a flat percentage, because I don't see them falling behind. But maybe that's just in the three guilds I play/know.. maybe in all other guilds the melee are falling way behind...

  7. Right. I'm not seeing it either. Maybe it's just a top end thing too, and we're not good enough to see it.

  8. I have played feral kitties (Goodmongo) and a warlock (Zorch). I was in a top 25 US guild and did the big progression thing. So here's a persepective that maybe you aren't aware of.

    At the start of Cata I was slated to start raiding on my feral kitty. He was geared and ready. But it soon became very apparent that the fights were more ranged friendly. So the raid leader decided to go all ranged. He could have swapped out for specific fights but that makes neither the melee or the ranged guys happy as they only see some of the fights. BTW this is done by guilds like Paragon but even they went with all ranged.

    Let's say that in 7 boss fights 3 are ranged perferred and the other 4 are equal. Which is basically what happened for most of the Cata releases. Why even take melee? Or if you do need one take just one.

    Fulguralis you compalined (and rightly) that for 10 mans you need a swap person. Use that exact same logic but apply it to this situation.

    Now couple this with the facts that Blizzard has seen a drastic reduction in melee, especially at the harmodes. And soon you realize that either they need to dump their 'bring the player and not the class' line or redesign the fights.

    Having said this it really won't improve things that much. The progression guilds will still pick ranged as they are already geared and are the ones that are 7/7 HM. And the buff will only make melee competitive and NOT superior. So why would these guys change?

    All too often we take what we see and extrapolate it to the whole world. That is a human error. But Blizz sees the big picture. And they know how many of each class is being played and see the content. As you said they DO have the numbers to support this attempt. What they are afraid of is that even more people will quit WOW.

  9. Oh I forgot to add that feral charge for kitty is broken as it usually faces you AWAY from the boss, our interrupt is spell hit based and has a travel time, and our primary melee attack (shred) has a positional requirement.

    As for adds think of how poorly affliction locks do on adds. It takes time before the full array of DOT's are up and running. Too often the add dies or you are forced to swap targets. This also applies to feral kitties with the added hinderance that we have to be behind the target to even begin.

    As for DK's death grip, how does that work on bosses and adds which are usually immune to it?

  10. Fair enough, but then fix the DESIGN. So, essentially, what they're saying is: "We goofed. We know we goofed. We have numbers supporting that we goofed. But we're just going to keep goofing because we're not inventive enough to design a raid instance that doesn't favor ranged on more encounters."

    Like you said, a buff to make them "competitive" doesn't even really solve the problem. If it really is true (which I'm not convinced it is, but if we don't have the numbers, it's just opinion) that out of 7 fights, 3 were for ranged and 4 were equal... then it seems like a better solution is to make the next raid better so that maybe 3 favor ranged and 3 favor melee and 1 is equal. You can't tell me that there exist no fights that favor melee.

  11. Whether or not one fight favors melee or 3 fights favor ranged while the rest are equal is not the real point. The real point is that especially on hard modes there is a preception that the fights favor ranged and therefore melee is missing out on fights.

    There are hard core numbers and facts that less melle than ever before are raiding compared to range. And there are fewer people playing melee classes. Blizz has these numbers and have stated in a more than one blue post that it's true and it causes them concern.

    Now here is where we agree. Their solution is not a real solution. It is a bandaid at best. The designs are broken and I think much of the real creative people left WOW for other project like Titan. So most likely from here to the end of WOW's lifttime you will see hotfixes and work arounds to resolve poor design decisions.

  12. Yeah, agreed. It's sad to realize that, but I understand it from a business standpoint I guess. It's just not a fun pill to swallow.

    I also dislike that they would design to perception and not reality, but I understand what you're saying. There have to be better ways to change the perception without a lame buff.