Starym

Specific PTR Class Changes Explained

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After the general "PTR isn't final" explanations from last week, Blizzard are getting into some fine detail on what the next PTR build will bring for some classes and what motivated those design decisions.

The post revolved around Prot Warriors and Revenge/Focused Rage, Survival Hunters and their traps, Marksmanship Hunters and Patient Sniper, Shadow Priest and Voidform/Insanity generation, Arcane Mage and Quickening, Fire Mage and crit/Combustion.

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As we mentioned before, the next PTR build will have a fairly substantial number of new class changes. We wanted to provide some insight into our goals and strategy with these changes, particularly for the specs that have seen the most change. Note that one of our overarching goals with Patch 7.1.5 is to increase talent diversity by making some of the less popular talents more attractive, which may open up new styles of play and new ways to approach different situations for all specializations, not just those we've listed here.


Protection Warrior:
While Protection’s performance is still solid, we want to provide Revenge a clearer role in the live rotation, and eliminate the need for an off-GCD ability (Focused Rage) to deal damage. To address both of these problems, Revenge is made into a higher-damage ability, which is used rotationally with its usual activation proc, but can also be used outside of that proc by spending Rage. This eliminates the need for Focused Rage. Thunder Clap will fill the role of a second Rage generator, and be used regularly while tanking. Also of note is a new talent that allows you to adopt a more open playstyle if you prefer, by making your auto attacks trigger Devastates automatically, rather than fitting it into open spaces in your rotation.

Survival Hunter:
Survival's most notable addition is some new gameplay for traps. As all Hunters will once again have traps in 7.1.5, we want to make sure that Survival still feels like the master of traps. In particular, we want to restore the concept of baiting enemies into traps, as opposed to merely dropping them at their feet for an immediate effect. A new Survival passive will grant all your traps an added effect if an enemy is led into the trap after it is placed, encouraging you to anticipate the movement of an enemy, or coordinate with your tank in group content. Talents further enhance this, allowing you to increase the bonus in situations where you can reliably make use of it, or to use a new effect on Steel Trap to singlehandedly eliminate enemies who walk into it of their own accord.


Marksmanship Hunter:
We agree with players that Marksmanship currently relies far too much on Patient Sniper not only to do good damage, but also to make the rotation feel fun and rewarding. As such, we’re changing baseline Vulnerability to essentially bake in Patient Sniper, and adding a new Patient Sniper talent in its place. We are also adjusting some talents to allow for more diversity within talent rows and reflect the change to the base rotation. In particular, the Level 100 row: while Sidewinders was commonly used in all situations for its effects on the rotation, we’d rather the base rotation felt fluid on its own, and Sidewinders was a talent focused on the wide-area cleave that is its most clear purpose. Among other changes to help with this, Marked Shot no longer requires the targets to have Vulnerable to do strong damage, so builds without Sidewinders will be able to use it more effectively.

Shadow Priest:
Shadow’s overall pacing is being adjusted so that the highest peak is at the end of Voidform, rather than just before the start of the next one. As a part of this, Lingering Insanity is removed, but overall Insanity generation (and therefore Voidform uptime) is increased. Additionally, Mind Sear is replaced with a new passive effect that allows Mind Flay to fulfill the same purpose. Shadow already has significant multi-target gameplay from the desire to maintain two damage-over-time effects on each target (a process which being is made smoother by allowing Void Bolt to extend DoTs on multiple targets at once). Finally, we are continuing to tweak the Insanity decay rate in Voidform, and the strength of Surrender to Madness, to better balance the Level 100 row. We want to preserve the purpose and strengths of Surrender to Madness for players who enjoy it, without it being quite so ubiquitous as it is currently.

Arcane Mage:
Arcane is receiving several significant talent changes, to increase talent diversity and move away from some of the more problematic gameplay centered around Quickening. In addition to a new Arcane-specific shield to replace Ice Barrier, there are few utility updates not yet on the PTR: Presence of Mind will be baseline for all Arcane Mages, and a new talent will be added that allows Arcane Missiles to be channeled while moving.

Fire Mage:
While Fire was mostly in a good place, we’re looking at two related issues in 7.1.5; the degree to which critical strike dominates other stats, and the overly high amount of damage concentrated into Combustion. Focusing on critical strike’s very strong contribution to the damage of Combustion, as well as that of Pyretic Incantation, addresses both of these. We'll be adjusting the damage of Fire’s core spells to leave its total damage similar to what it was before these changes. We're also giving Fire its own element-themed shield, as with Arcane.

 

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I just threw up a little when I read the Shadow Priest changes.  It's like they don't even play the class.

4 hours ago, Starym said:

Shadow’s overall pacing is being adjusted so that the highest peak is at the end of Voidform, rather than just before the start of the next one.

The pacing already peaks out at the end of Voidform.  It just plateaus until you enter the next one.

 

4 hours ago, Starym said:

Mind Sear is replaced with a new passive effect that allows Mind Flay to fulfill the same purpose.

Except the new version doesn't.  In order for it to spread damage you need both VT and SW:P up on the target, setting you back 2 GCDs compared to live.  Additionally, it does not generate extra Insanity per target hit the way Mind Sear does. 

 

4 hours ago, Starym said:

Shadow already has significant multi-target gameplay from the desire to maintain two damage-over-time effects on each target (a process which being is made smoother by allowing Void Bolt to extend DoTs on multiple targets at once).

This might be true if VB actually extended the duration for longer than its cooldown.  It also significantly hurst our damage in spread cleave (Odyn P1) encounters.  The unmentioned side effect of this is that it's now entirely possible for DoTs to drop off during Voidform when using Void Torrent or when using Dispersion to pause the effects of Voidform.

 

4 hours ago, Starym said:

Finally, we are continuing to tweak the Insanity decay rate in Voidform, and the strength of Surrender to Madness, to better balance the Level 100 row. We want to preserve the purpose and strengths of Surrender to Madness for players who enjoy it, without it being quite so ubiquitous as it is currently.

As long as the other 2 talents on that row retain the usefulness of an air conditioner at the north pole, Surrender will remain a 100% pick talent for top Shadow Priests.  Yes, it needs a nerf, but the rest of that row needs a little love seeing as Legacy of the Void is a marginal increase and Mind Spike is an outright DPS loss.

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It always worries me when Blizzard want to change something that has been a core part of the spec for... ever? 

Looking at those Fire Mage comments makes me a little bit scared. Crit has always been a part of the spec and, for me at least, was one of the things that made it fun. Those big crits, procs flying everywhere. It was great.

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8 hours ago, Dawnblade said:

The pacing already peaks out at the end of Voidform.  It just plateaus until you enter the next one.

This might be true but what this does for me is wait before re-entering voidform untill lingering insanity is (almost) ran out. to get maximum benefit from the haste on ym dots. I have to say I always hated it but it did yield me about 20-30k extra dps (on a total of 300-350k). it's nto much, but enough to make me wait before re-entering voidform.

this change is still a bad one though. it does resolve the waiting problem but it's gonna affect us much more than people tend to think.

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I'll try to keep up on Holy so I have a healer on standby but these projected changes / missteps for Shadow are doing nothing but helping to solidify my decision to transition my main into a Warrior!

I really count on those Lingering Insanity stacks to get the dot's up BEFORE I Void up, now it'll just take longer?

Edited by Ginger

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On 23.11.2016 at 8:21 PM, Ginger said:

I'll try to keep up on Holy so I have a healer on standby but these projected changes / missteps for Shadow are doing nothing but helping to solidify my decision to transition my main into a Warrior!

At least they're making AK more alt-friendly in 7.1.5 when you swap!

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