It looks like a LOT of Cataclysm info is about to drop this week, and I’ll be here to kick it around a bit. While we wait for the first Druid class info post on 9 April, let’s discuss the two mechanics changes that have been proposed so far – rage normalization and dispels.
Rage (full post on mmo-champion. It’s pretty long, so I’ll paraphrase.)
Problem 1: Currently, rage is generated (mainly) by two things- damage done by white attacks, and damage taken. Because the amounts of damage outgoing (and incoming, for tanks) scale as you progress, Blizzard is forced to either balance for early content and then nerf rage generation later, or balance for later content and force new endgame warriors/bears to be underpowered.
Problem 2: For fights that require two tanks on the same boss, or for tanks that are overgeared for the content, a rage-based offtank has large problems generating rage/threat, due to doing/receiving little damage (“rage starvation”).
Problem 3: Heroic Strike/Maul are designed as high-rage-cost inefficient abilities, to use excess rage. Due to Problem 1, however, they never get used in early content, and are overused to the point of irrelevancy in later content (mine are macroed in with my main abilities). They are also clunky and cause RSI.
Solution 1: Each hit generates a fixed amount of rage, based on weapon swing speed. Crits will cause that attack to generate double rage, and off-hand weapons (for fury warriors) will generate half the rage of the mainhand.
Solution 2: Rage from damage taken will no longer be based on an arbitrary constant but will be based on the health of the tank. The calculation will ignore mitigation and avoidance effects.
Solution 3: HS/Maul will no longer replace melee attacks; instead, they will become instants, burning a scaling amount of rage based on your current rage level. (Theoretically, a maul might burn 30 rage and do 30k damage at full rage, or burn 3 rage and do 3k damage with 10 rage.)
Solution 4: Additional methods for instant rage generation and dumping are being discussed.
IMO, these proposed changes are excellent, and do a great job of solving the current problems. Rage generation via attacks, instead of damage, will make gear much less important and rage generation more consistent. DPS warriors will not go through a constant UP/OP rollercoaster (as much). Second, having rage scale based on tank health will solve the “infinite rage” issue for tanks, which will make Bear tanking much more interesting (1. Macro Maul to Swipe 2. *snore*). Rage starvation for content you overgear will still be an issue, but not as significant an issue as today. (Quickly looking back, a tank in T7 content had about half the health of a tank in T10 content, so you’d be generating about 50% less rage from damage taken.)
Dispel Changes (paraphrased again: full post on mmo-champion)
The developers feel that dispelling was too trivial and unbalanced in favor of certain classes for WOTLK. Essentially, as part of their “give healers non-trivial choice” campaign, they want healers to have to make a decision between throwing a heal or throwing a dispel.
- Dispels will be more expensive, less smart (you can waste mana and a GCD by casting when a debuff isn’t present) and less automatic (no more Cleansing Totem, Abolish Disease, or Abolish Poison).
- All healing classes will have a talented friendly-only magic dispel (except for Priests, who will have it baseline) and the ability to remove two other effects. Druids—Curse/Poison; Paladins—Disease/Poison; Priests—Hostile Dispel/Disease; Shamans-Hostile Dispel/Curse.
- Prot/Ret pallies will no longer be able to magic dispel; Shamans will lose abolish disease/poison; all other dispel abilities will remain.
This feels like a change driven by PvP that will have PvE implications. I’m mostly withholding judgment until we see the new class designs; however, my gut feeling is that I dislike anything that removes dispel utility from DPS. DPS shamans, especially, will take a hit from this. I’m really hoping that shamans get some love in Cata, as they’ve gotten the short end for WOTLK. (Oh, and resto druids will be OP in PvP again. Good luck catching one.)