Thursday, March 22, 2007

Do Heroics Hit Melees too Hard?

Based on a series of posts I've seen on blogs and the WoW Forums I sensing that a lot of people agree with my take on Heroic dungeons. Namely that melee dps classes are being overly penalize by the heavy use of area of effect abilities. These abilities while annoying on normal mode can become instant death in the majority of heroics. It's especially dangerous on boss mobs who have had their damage increased 5-10 times on AoE attacks. This is in stark contrast to the boost on their normal single target attacks which are often only 2-4 times as damaging.

I believe that mobs were redesigned in the Outlands to have more area of effect abilities to compensate for the increased availability and improvement of healing gear. It was quite easy for healers to gather Physician and other types of green healing gear that made healing one target in a dungeon easy. Thus I think the developers decided to make more use of area of effect abilities so that healing was a more appropriate challenge. This is especially seen in Hellfire Citadel by the heavy use of Rain of Fire and Cleave. In fact Cleave has become a staple of all warrior based dungeon trash.

Clearing trash on a Heroic dungeon is supposed to be dangerous and wipes are too be expected. But I'm noticing that a lot more partial wipes occur because melee dps classes are getting hit by a lucky string of area of effects. The 360 cleave is perhaps the worst but spell based AoE still serves up a large amount of damage. This is very noticeable on the boss fights: Omor from the Ramparts and the Hydromancer from the Steamvaults. Both do a high damage AoE that requires quick movement on the part of melee dps. Still no matter how fast their reflexes, chances are they will get hit by one tick of the spell. This one tick on Heroics usually does around 5k damage.

Changes are in the works to change mob Cleave, which is the most common overpowered AoE. The current mob version of the ability has a 360 radius and about a 5-8 yard range. Tseric has confirmed that both the radius and range will be changed to something more similar to the player version of the ability. This should allow melee dps classes to stand behind mobs and avoid getting hit. This will greatly improve the survival rate of rogues who were suffering the most from Cleave in the Heroic dungeons. Other melee dps classes with higher ac gear were having better luck against a critical strike on Cleave.

Still all four melee classes have the problem of massive AoE spell damage which occurs in Heroics. These abilities are usually centered around the very target they have to be near which makes melee dps basically stop. This allows range classes to really outshine melee dps since they continue to do damage while melees are doing the hokie pokie. It wouldn't matter so much except that Heroics often come down to the wire and you need to squeeze out as much dps as you can on some fights. Hopefully, Blizzard will realize this and retune some of the Heroics so that melee classes are just as useful as their range counterparts. In general it has been hinted that many of the Heroic dungeons are going to have their difficulty nerfed in the future.

Upcoming Cleave Changes


Sean said...

That's one of the nice things I noticed about Karazhan... you really only need to worry about cleaves on some bosses. And even then, they've always been frontal cleaves that should only hit me (the tank) if people are standing in the right place.

In heroics though (at least the few that I've run), I'm getting hit hard enough that the healer needs to pretty much spam heal me. Melee dps was a liability... why not take a mage or lock who won't be getting hit by the cleaves? I for one am very glad they're changing this.

Relmstein said...

An email also pointed out that the number of mobs that manaburn seems higher in the Outlands. I guess there are some instances where having mana is a disadvantage compared to being melee dps.

If your a retribution paladin then you get to suffer from both.

Nubreed said...

Agreed. Try the mobs in heroic Botanica that cast Death and Decay. Things like that even 1 tick (4k dmg if I remember) will strain the 1-2 healers you have in a group. Count into that the 360 Cleave the other mob type does in the pull you are in trouble if you have more than your druid/warrior in the area of the mob.

Psyae said...

I'm a combat sword (or mace) rogue, and do heroics with about 10k, buffed.

Although I'm very good at keeping the aggro off of me, sometimes I have to step in to save a caster who just barely steals it from the tank. (or, when a CC prematurely breaks).

When this happens, I routinely get 2-shotted. Usually a combo of a cleave (while I'm safely not aggroing), and then a quick strike when I pick up aggro. I can fully understand casters in there getting 1 or 2-shotted. That's as it should be. But to boost my buffed HP any higher would severely reduce my damage output, and jeopardize the rest of the party (if we can't down mobs fast enough).

They should definitely incorporate the directional cleaves, and perhaps reduce these insane 9k crits I've been seeing.

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