04/11/2014

Of Uncleansable DoTs and Other Combat Changes

Last Thursday's livestream apparently provided a lot of information about the global combat changes coming with 3.0 that were previously only hinted at. I didn't watch it myself, but as usual Dulfy has a helpful summary.

I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised by just how much whining and gnashing of teeth is going on in the comment section of that article. I know that people are always afraid of change, and I've frequently been sceptical about some of Bioware's decisions myself, but the amount of comments about how the sky is falling and the game is going to fail is truly staggering this time around - especially since a lot of them don't seem to be based on anything but the fact that dps numbers will be nerfed across the board. Sure, everyone likes to see their numbers increase and nobody likes to be nerfed, but at the end of the day I've always felt that especially in SWTOR this is a relatively minor part of the experience compared to other MMOs. I mean, this is the same game where for the longest time you couldn't even see a mission's rewards until you had completed it, and yet that didn't put anyone off questing.

I'm pretty sure that shortly after 3.0 nobody will even care about this anymore, because the nerf only really hits people at level 55, and most of us will quickly level past that point as soon as it's possible. People decry it as an insult that they might be doing as much damage at 60 as they are currently doing at 55, but what is really being lost? You get a bunch of new content to play through!

Anyway, aside from the general dps changes, a whole bunch of other things have been announced, some of which I'd like to comment on:

Raid Buffs

A number of new buffs will be introduced with the aim of encouraging people "to bring players of every base class." I have no idea how this is going to be pan out, I just wanted to say that it cracks me up that this is basically the complete opposite of WoW's much-touted slogan: "Bring the player, not the class."

DoTs

The cooldown of all cleansing abilities will be increased to 12 seconds. I'm on board with this as I've previously complained about "cleanse-spamming" being an annoying mechanic from a healer's point of view. I do wonder how they are going to adjust fights like Nefra, which are currently all about the cleanse spam.

In PvP all DoTs will become uncleansable. Now, I'm not a fan of this at all, however to be honest Bioware has been going in that direction for a while, with more and more specs getting "cleanse immunity" for certain abilities. At least this way I'll know to never waste a cleanse on a DoT again. Currently the system has become pretty obtuse, as you don't just need to learn to recognise the DoTs of each type that your class can cleanse by their tiny icon, you then also have to memorise which of them (and note that these are not highlighted in any way) are uncleansable due to an immunity.

In turn they want to make all CCs cleansable - which surprised me in so far as I thought that a lot of them already were.

The issue that remains is that Bioware seems to thinks that DoT classes need even more help with doing damage in PvP, which isn't really backed up by my own experiences. Without cleanses, DoTs will become completely unescapable. At least I can try to run away from an opponent in melee or break line of sight on continous ranged attacks. A DoT only needs to hit you once to stay with you and do its full damage.

Interrupts

Interrupt cooldowns will be increased across the board, to 12 seconds for melee and 18 seconds for ranged. I have mixed feelings about this. While playing my baby Vanguard as Tactics with the shortened interrupt cooldown I sure enjoyed being able to shut down so many casts. But with a class as my main that is extremely dependent on cast-time abilities I also found it frustrating sometimes just how easily a moderately competent team could keep me shut down in PvP.

The thing that kind of worries me is this change's effect on PvE. Unlike DoTs, interrupts are a key component on a huge number of fights, not just in operations, but also on class story bosses and even some trash mobs. I can see Bioware going back to make balance changes on big boss fights like Kephess in Explosive Conflict, where it might become impossible to shut down the quick chain casts of the droids at the start once interrupt cooldowns have been increased. But what about all those smaller fights that will suddenly become harder? Not sure about that.

Buff/debuff changes

I was super excited when I first heard that they were finally making changes to the buff/debuff UI, but from the looks of it, the raid frames - which is where I as a healer would need an update the most - won't be included. This sucks. The only positive spin I can put on this is that these changes show that they are at least aware of debuff tracking being a problem and might eventually get around to fixing it on the ops frames as well.

3 comments :

  1. The change to Interrupts worries me as someone who mainly solos and mainly in the leveling game. I can think of several fights that are extremely difficult for some classes, and that change is only going to make it worse. Especially since in PvE a lot of enemies can already just instantly start casting whatever was interrupted (even if the interrupt text suggests otherwise).

    The problem with having player abilities work the same in PvP and PvE is that game mobs do not work the same as players. They can target through objects and often have abilities they can fire off many more times than players are allowed to. Given that, it would be really nice if games were set up so that they could tweak player abilities in PvE and PvP separately.

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    1. I absolutely agree about the interrupts. They are so crucial in so many parts of the game that I can't see Bioware successfully adjusting the whole game to work with the new interrupt cooldowns... the question is not IF that will cause issues but just how big they are going to be.

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    2. The NPC instant-response code is an utter pain, too. I'm sure you've seen it -- you use a CC ability that has an activation time, so you fire it off, standing at range and behind the target... and the _instant_ your activation time completes, the target spins around and fires back at you before they get hit by the CC.

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