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Melee Question Answered by Blizz

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Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Goodmongo » Thu May 26, 2011 10:15 am

Q: A majority of the fights in T11 favored having little or no Melee DPS. Are there plans to fix this? – Merissa (NA), Espiritu (NA)

A: We view this more of a class problem than an encounter problem. It used to be the case that casters really suffered whenever they had to move, which was the penalty they paid in order to make up for the fact that melee took a lot of extra damage. Nowadays, melee classes don’t really take that much extra damage, and we’ve also given casters a number of movement-oriented tools designed to keep their DPS from dropping as much as it used to when they are asked to shoot-and-scoot.

Whenever there are situations in an encounter that encourage grouping, the ranged often move into melee (with the occasional exception for hunters), but melee never move to ranged. Any of the fights that punish clumping also tend to punish melee more. We recognize all of these problems, as do many players, but it’s challenging to address them quickly. For example, without compensation, casters would suffer a lot in PvP if their movement tools were suddenly stripped away.

In the meantime, we don’t want to over-constrain encounter design, or worse, make it feel very formulaic by getting to the point where players expect the “melee fight” to be followed by the “adds fight,” followed by the “Patchwerk fight,” then the “ranged fight.” We’re making sure that melee have some fights where they can shine in Firelands. To use just one example, the Sons of Flame on Ragnaros tend to be better handled by melee than ranged.


To me the most interesting line is the one about caters suffering in PvP. Does this imply that melee will continue to have issues because of the PvP/PvE linkage that Blizz insists on?

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Qbear » Thu May 26, 2011 10:30 am

As much as it hurts me to say this I almost have to agree with Blizz on this one though. I remember our very first normal magmaw kill sitting pretty much our entire melee group to have our range able to turn and burn all the small worms that spawned out of the pillars. Sitting melee on ODS so we knew that all the oozes where going to die in time. Sitting anyone without viable aoe for Maloriak, Sitting lots of people that couldn't do damage to Atra while he was in the air. Those are just examples from BWD.

Once people started raising their Ilvls though it really didn't matter any more what the raid make up look liked. To be perfectly honest besides P3 Heroic Ascendant Council, which as you remember quickly got hot fixed thanks to paragon, I can't really think of a fight where range are really favored. Yeah I could name a bunch where your going to need them in order to win over a mechanic. If your trying to kill blood of the old gods on heroic Cho with all melee you might is well just toss in the towel. However, I don't think needing range on a fight is really the same as favoring them.

Has it been easier for range in T11, oh hell yeah. However, I think now that everyone is a lot more geared then when cata released the gap between needing all your dps to be range and just bringing in those classes your members love to play has gotten pretty close.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby cynrh » Thu May 26, 2011 11:28 am

Qbear wrote:Once people started raising their Ilvls though it really didn't matter any more what the raid make up look liked.


But that is roughly equivalent to, "once we went from progression to farm, the difference didn't matter any more"

The problem goes far beyond PVP, it is an enormous design problem which they've put little thought into. Virtually every mechanic they have favors ranged over melee.

- Don't stand in fire? Melee tends to both clump (multiple people in the fire) and has the smallest DPS "zone" to work in, which gets ruined by fire.

- Flying stages. Some are clearly designed to give melee something to do (adds), but most we're just glorified kiters and gong-ringers, and at worst, we're just twiddling our thumbs. Question, if the problem is really a PVP/PVE balance issue, ask yourself: How many fights have they designed with a melee-only phase - compared to fights with air phases?

- Aggro. We generate more of it than ranged. Melee threat dumps across the board are inferior to ranged - for the few melee that even have a threat dump! And if we do pull aggro, the odds of a tank taunt saving us from a gib is infinitesimal compared to ranged.

- Bombs. Raise your hand here if you've died to a Poison Bomb catching a running ranged person, and YOU died to it since you were right on top of it doing your thing. I can't even count the times, on 'Tron and Professor. My favorite is when they kill you and not the 'caught' ranged person, if they're running away and lag is friendly.

- Run away from the group mechanics. Gosh, I love running away and doing jack shit for X seconds, while a hunter has to move 5' from a healer and resume firing. Extra bonus points when the mechanic involves buffing you.

- "buff" pools to stand in. Invariably, the boss can't stand anywhere near them, meaning ranged gets to camp out in the "buff" pools and melee has to run back and forth to try to use them or abandon them altogether unless their tanks are positioning gods.

- Cleaves. Stomps. Tail Swipes. Core Hounds biting you through their ass. For every ranged-unfriendly mechanic there's 3-4 more melee-unfriendly ones. And half the ranged-unfriendly ones can be cheesed by moving into melee.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Sylvaneart » Thu May 26, 2011 12:29 pm

I was reading a post on MMO the other day where a fury warrior was complaining that since Cats soft cap EXP and cap hit(some, not all) that on spreading fights like 25H Chim cats should go to the front or side of chim to DPS. Besides fights with frontal cleaves this is still unacceptable. No butt=no shred.

Any fight is easier for ranged IMO. I played a hunter from vanilla up to Wrath. I could stand anywhere i wanted. The boss could face any direction the tank felt like. I didn't have to watch the bosses movement i could just stare at my feet and make sure something didn't start burning under them. As cats when the boss moves we have to move. If in this move the boss turns we have to adjust. If fire hits the ground and the boss has a frontal cleave we are out of the fight for a bit until the tank moves him some more. Melee is the hardest DPS IMO. Even if you hit 1 button it is harder. It takes less threat to pull, mechanics that produce avoidable damage often produce DPS down time. The list goes on and on.

Having "complained" about all that I must admit it is one of the reasons i choose a cat. I had a couple top 25 WoL parses at one time but found a better target to shoot for. Last on the list of taking avoidable damage while still hitting 19-22K(fight dependant). I have great healers in my guild. Some really top notch guys. But I don't feel a need to test them. Raid designs suck for melee period. If the say it is a class problem then they can also say it sucks for melee. I don't know the fix but I am doing fine.
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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Qbear » Thu May 26, 2011 2:23 pm

cynrh wrote:But that is roughly equivalent to, "once we went from progression to farm, the difference didn't matter any more"


Sure you can look at it that way, again though all of that happened in Normal mode right as Cata was released. Most of the people in my guild are a bunch of lazy cocky A-holes so when it came to sitting down and farming a 346 dungeon set they all were of the mind set of what does it matter I'll be full 372 in a month. Well those first could raids where not pretty at all and they shouldn't of been half the raid was in 333's or lower and well thats a fairly large ilvl jump.

Once we sat down and decided to focus on heroics though, there wasn't one fight minus Al'akir that we used any form of raid stacking. Only reason we did for Al'akir is we took the approach many higher tier raiding guilds did and simply formed a 10m and yeah that fight was so much easier with all range just due to how the add debuff worked.

Long story short though I really don't consider having to sit a bunch of melee for a very under-geared raid to handle worms or slimes raid stacking honestly since it was a normal fight. Once I got to the tier of difficulty that puts a smile on my face there were really only 2 fights you'd stack range. Heroic Council (which was hot fixed before I got to it) and Al'akir (just because so many top US guild's first kills where on 10m).

I think the major issue here is people use to stack range for a lot of fights. So everyone just remembers that and either hasn't tried bringing in more melee or doesn't want to look at the facts that having melee in your group no long hinders you. Of course if you want to argue it from that perspective ferals are the most op spec in the game due to having to stack them heroic Nef. As far as which one is easier to play, ehhh...now your just arguing play style preferences. Range has advantages, melee has advantages at the end of the day the one that's easier to play in my book is the one I enjoy the most.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Goodmongo » Thu May 26, 2011 2:35 pm

Qbear, are you saying that it is OK and a good design that can force a group of classes to have to sit till the rest of the raid is geared? I don't understand your response here. Why shouldn't the melee classes get to experience content at the same time as other classes?

To me it was very poor design that forced groups of classes to be nonviable till AFTER others start to carry them. And from their response some of that bad design had to do with PvP consideration. They could have made melee viable in those fights but that would unbalance PvP.

But ignore PvP and just look at the boss fights. hasn't Blizz said a gazillion times that they don't want to make the fights where you need the class and not the person? yet here they are making fights where even you admit that the class was much mor eimportant than the person. This was and is just wrong.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Qbear » Thu May 26, 2011 2:57 pm

Nah I'm saying really 2 things and yeah I could of been so much more clear sometimes I'm just thinkin about 600 things I gotta do and my words just don't flow they way they want to.

First I was simply stating a personal experience of mine where we had to bench a bunch of melee. This was totally due to the raid not being 1 tier lower then the gear available. Example when we started most of the 372 encounters a very large percentage of our raid was 359; however, when we started 359 encounters a very small percentage of our raid was 346 if that percentage would of been higher I can promise there would of been no reason to fight stack.

Second topic I was going for is all the fights that where considered to be range stack fights where adjust way before most of the people could actually pull the bosses. Yeah it sucks that Paragon's melee got benched but any guild attempting those fights now, or when I first killed them won't have the same issue they had.

It does suck that range stacking was needed for world first kills, but I in no way shape or form compete at that level I trust that any form of stacking will just get hotfixed to make all raid comps viable.

I hate to make the comparison but complaining at this point about range stacking is like complaining about the normal mode nerfs happening in 4.2. Range stacking doesn't really effect things now and if it does in your guilds I highly suggest you apply for your guild's raid leading spot. Just as the normal mode nerfs won't really effect anyone in any form of raiding guilds when the nerfs happen. It's just people either thinking too far into the past or future remember right now is where you should be focusing cause it really is a gift. That's why they call it the present. (Cheap Kung-Fu Panda reference!)

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Goodmongo » Thu May 26, 2011 3:54 pm

But I remember back in December when we tried Magmaw. We failed over and over again. They sat all the melee except for a frost DK and killed it. To me this was basically wrong. I'm not talking about world firsts here. I'm talking about a normal guild just trying to kill the next boss on the list.

And from what I read on the forums and from many other players my experience was close to the norm. Melee sat over and over again. And many raids had more ranged than melee above that might be considered 'normal'. Did melee get a shot at the bosses? Of course. They nerfed some bosses like Magmaw but it was pretty clear that the fights in this tier were designed to heavily favor ranged and many guilds either left melee sitting or cut way back.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Qbear » Thu May 26, 2011 4:16 pm

Well back in December was Cata release, Normal mode fights where really tuned around your raid average item level being 346. My raids wasn't due to a combination of lazy and actual lack of time. When you were pulling Magmaw was your whole raid full 346 and really try to think of the correct answer. Because mine was no where near this and when we finally got to that point there was no longer reason to sit melee. To me pulling magmaw before your at the "standard" appropriate gear level then having to bench all your melee to overcome a gear deficiency isn't range stacking in the sense that melee was worthless. It was range stacking in the sense that if we didn't kill these worms we weren't killing the boss. The fact was range couldn't do there job, but since sadly at that point anything minus a DK in terms on melee aoe was lacking so we had to bring more range.

I actually have a 346 geared Resto Shaman who runs the new ZA/ZG stuff its pretty difficult but it doesn't become brutal until someone comes in wearing a bunch of greens who just happens to have blues in in bag to push his Ilvl up high enough to Q in.

I'm not saying you are at all, cause I know Mongo he's not a complainer! However, most people that complain about stack are either reading articles released by top world guilds about how the first time they pulled heroic bosses they had to bring range heavier groups to beat the mechanics. Or are remembering what it was like first entering T11 with either they're undergeared melee or seeing how other people's undergeared melee preformed and panic that the next raid will be exactly like this one. Of course even those top world guilds were doing the fights ludicrously undergeared so I mean you could say that point of you really should be near the Ilvl of the next tier down before going into the new tier really applies to both. Of course when you compete at that level you can't really afford that luxury.

I did some T11 raid testing in Beta and you want to know why no one brought up range stacking in there. It's not because the fights changed drastically (thought some of them really did) it's because everyone was on a premade toon with appropriate gear so the fights just felt correct.

I would love a fight where it's like aight all you mages switch to your rogues. Just so it's something fun a fresh; however, I think the main point of the first post in this thread was about blizzard making fights so that everyone was forced to bring range. My point was to disagree with that point and try to show that with the right gear lvls (346 in 359 content; 359 in 372 content) there really was no stacking to be seen. Least not in my guild.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby felhoof » Fri May 27, 2011 2:38 am

Basically, Qbear, you're saying that when fights are challenging for whatever reason it's a good strategy to sit melee to make it less challenging, but as soon as you have less risk and problem you can bring whatever you want.

Which is basically saying that ranged have a distinct advantage over melee.

Which is empirically very true. Tons of encounters favor ranged this tier, whether it be for things like 'spread out' or not be bunched up or movement fights or multitarget fights - ranged have it going on compared to melee. Especially on the fights that really are hard, such as Nef or Cho'gall or council or al'akir (where some of the earliest kills literally had melee sitting outside the encounter for the first 20%) or Sinestra.

Now, are things unbeattable with melee? No. It's not that bad. It's not TBC-era 'stack resto shamans and hope you have enough hpriests', or yogg-o where the more warlocks, the better. But it isn't a good place for melee, and especially for druids the choice really becomes whether you want to be a cat - or whether you want to be a good dps.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Qbear » Fri May 27, 2011 4:06 am

Felhoof brings up a decent point, even though he really needs to work on his delivery. As far as raid stacking goes Cata's been pretty relaxed vs. other content. Heck the guild that downed heroic lich king on my server first was pretty much openly recruiting all the locks that had hard mode experience in ICC to make the Valks trivial.

When I answer posts on these forums I try to answer them with a casual raider mindset. I'd bet that the larger percentage of people that read this blog are most likely 9/13 heroic and below in terms of raid progression. I don't know what my guilds world ranking is because I believe all the EU guilds are a bunch of cheaters I think it's 125 which is pretty impressive considering the amount of raiding guilds out there. I can say honestly that there has been one heroic fight that we've ever stacked the group on, which was when we killed Al'akir on 10m. Boomkins and Spriest had just gotten their buff and did stupid damage so we put them all in there with a demo lock to buff them so we could simply get the tick. On a 25m level (the only level that matters!!! ya 10m raiders sup!) Never in a heroic fight did we stack a raid. That because in the time it took us to reach the bosses that caused Paragon to use range heavy groups we had already killed 8/13 so many times that the group was geared enough to overpower the entire reason they had to stack in the first place. Just like all the people who read this blog will most likely end up in that situation.

If you really want to say well Cata had an unfair range stacking methodology due to the fact that the world 1-10 guild used the crap out of em then thats kind of silly due to the fact that I promise you it's not going to have any effect on most of your raid groups, heck never effected mine. (minus the first maybe 2 weeks of Normal Magmaw) If you really want to hit the forums to plead that Paragons melee get an easier time in firelands be my guess, but remember top world guilds will always use weird strats that make no sense to the rest of us to overcome a fight, trying to base your strats over there strats just doesn't work as you really need to find what works best for your guild.

I mean Fel brought up a bunch of points I really don't want it to seem like I'm out to attack him; however, I do want to just display how incorrect most of his assumptions are in terms of outside top 10 world guilds:
Nef which is silly the first kill used what 12 melee? (Go ferals!)
Cho'gall which the fight is based around your mage getting 100% corrupted blood he solos the adds with flame strike with pretty light aoe help from hunters/s priest.
Council which yeah was the top offender for range stacking due to both chain lightning and the puddle damage Paragon had to overcome (now the lightning doesn't target melee and the puddle damage has been nerfed and has been since a few weeks after their kill)
Al'akir which is based off of killing adds at very precise times honestly having a bunch of dot happy range on that fight is prolly a hindrance since melee are able to dps while looking for tornados due to most melee having awesome gap closers I'd actually argue that melee are better on this fight. I think most would too since 33 of the top 40 highest parses for Al'akir are all melee.
Sinestra the fight is based off getting the bosses health as low as possible before her buff falls off. Moving any kind of large number of people off her to AoE the adds is just going to hurt progression seeing as how 3-4 people is more then enough.

I think the main issue here is awareness. People saw the first guilds kill these fights with a lot of range and where in fact very quick to try to get people to reroll alts. Never really taking into account why these guilds where playing range in the first place. How the fights did change with nerfs and buffs and of course higher gear levels. Syl said any fight is easier for a range, that I will completely agree with just because sitting there hitting your buttons not staring into the booty of a 50 foot tower makes the fights a whole heck of a lot eaiser. Man are range classes boring to play though. If you think they're boring as I do then no worries because range stacking at this point in T11 is a myth anyone that would argue other wise needs to PM me and I'll argue with you about it outside of the forums until one of us dies from pushing too many keys on a keyboard (people can die from that right?)

Any who sorry for the serious of super long post this is just one of those hot topics that really gets to me, I'm sure everyone has that thing about life or the game that when people do just turns them into a crazy firey dragon of chaos. Well this whole topic right here is mine so thanks op for maken a thread about it!! ::shakes fist:: I'll do my best to just not open this thread anymore.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Floofles » Fri May 27, 2011 11:33 am

I don't see what point you're trying to make?

Ranged are more flexible than melee and very often have the ability to do things like multidotting. They gain with target switching also. Melee are flawed on all of those fronts. To argue otherwise is just silly...

Look at Lord Rhyolith, what possible reason would you have melee there for? Sure you can kill the boss with melee but you'll take ages doing so and spend a lot longer learning the fight when you could just cheese it by bringing ranged. I really don't see your argument Qbear.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Goodmongo » Fri May 27, 2011 12:19 pm

None of what I mention is based on paragon or world's top guilds stuff. It is based on my experience for December and January raiding. You are 100% correct that today it doesn't matter much what class you bring to the fight. Almost any group that has decent players with decent gear can do them, especially on normal.

My point is that like everyone else I bought the expansion in December. I spent the next few days hitting 85 and then doing heroics. About two weeks after release the guild I was in (not a server first type guild but decent players) started to raid. Were we undergeared? Probably. But only a little. I had an iLvl average of 344 or 345 and the lowest was about 339 with the highest around 353. On average we were close to the suggested 346 average.

We went in and died many times learning the mechanics of the fight. All of this is normal stuff. But it soon became apparent that the composition for fights like Magmaw and Council would be much easier if the raid had a different composition in it. A frost DK with ranged really helped on the Magmaw fight and range for council made healing so much easier. It wasn't that melee dps was subpar it was how the fight was designed by Blizzard. So the melee had to sit. Not becuase Paragon did it this way but because the fight was designed for it. Our own trial and error proved this to be the case.

So I and other melee classes sat them out. Did I eventually do them? Of course. But why was it designed that I had to wait till Blizz either nerfed the fight (like they did with Magmaw) or the raid started to outgear it? In fact to do some things right away I had to switch to boomkin (which I hate playing). This had the unwanted side effect of gearing that spec before my preferred kitty spec was geared.

I then posted the Q/A from blizz to show that they agreed it was an issue at the start. But they went on to say they really won't be doing anything about it as it might crimp their fight designs or hurt ranged in PvP. So I aksed if it was right or fair to force a set of classes to have to wait while other classes got to experience content before them. I know it is what it is but that doesn't make it right.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby felhoof » Fri May 27, 2011 3:22 pm

I mean Fel brought up a bunch of points I really don't want it to seem like I'm out to attack him; however, I do want to just display how incorrect most of his assumptions are in terms of outside top 10 world guilds:
Nef which is silly the first kill used what 12 melee? (Go ferals!)
Yeah, let's talk about exploiting bugs and then claim that stacking doesn't matter.

Guilds that had more melee had a harder time with Nef. That's just the way it was. It doesn't mean you had to stack - but it does mean that it would take you significantly more time to get things done if you had more melee.

Again, don't mistake 'gives benefit' with 'must do it in order to succeed'. You can do most everything with a somewhat suboptimal raid comp, and you can do things like heroic council with a ton of melee...eventually. But it's much easier to do it with more ranged.

Cho'gall which the fight is based around your mage getting 100% corrupted blood he solos the adds with flame strike with pretty light aoe help from hunters/s priest.
Nah. That's one way, but it's pretty complex compared to just killing him. Melee certainly isn't advantaged here in any case.
Council which yeah was the top offender for range stacking due to both chain lightning and the puddle damage Paragon had to overcome (now the lightning doesn't target melee and the puddle damage has been nerfed and has been since a few weeks after their kill)


Al'akir which is based off of killing adds at very precise times honestly having a bunch of dot happy range on that fight is prolly a hindrance since melee are able to dps while looking for tornados due to most melee having awesome gap closers I'd actually argue that melee are better on this fight. I think most would too since 33 of the top 40 highest parses for Al'akir are all melee.
It's not the ability of melee, it's the problem with stacking them. You can't bring too many because simply there isn't room.

Sinestra the fight is based off getting the bosses health as low as possible before her buff falls off. Moving any kind of large number of people off her to AoE the adds is just going to hurt progression seeing as how 3-4 people is more then enough.
I don't even understand the point here. Sinestra has a LOT of movement between dealing with adds, dealing with wracks, and dealing with orbs. More movement means worse off for melee. In addition, Sinestra is often not attackable from the back - so that means yay, fun time with blocks.

What else. Okay, ODS is all about giving your ranged super awesome buffs and switching targets fast. Melee, get pwned.

Atramedes has ranged able to dps him while he's in the air.

Maloriak is all about big AoE, which up until recently meant big ranged.

V&T is about multidots.

Throne is about movement and often multidots while avoiding stuff on the ground.

Really, the only fights where melee and ranged are reasonably close together in DPS are Chim, Magmaw (and even then locks pwn because of weird interactions with their shadowbreath), and arguably Al-akir - but even with that you'd still not want to stack too many melee. Everywhere else ranged has either a small or a huge advantage. In addition, because of spreading out mechanics and movement issues bringing more melee causes more chaos more often.

And I'll keep your statement about stating things well under advisement, Qbear. Coming from you that means a lot.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Floofles » Fri May 27, 2011 6:05 pm

Just as an aside as some of you seem confused about it, the reason a lot of guilds dropped down to 10 man for heroic Al'akir was because the alternative was putting all but 8 people at the entrance of the instance until P2 because the lightning did ridiculous damage.

Reason as to why melee (warriors) are highest on this fight? Well it's quite simple really, ranged will at some point have to switch target to the adds, which melee can't do without dying in the later stages of the fight and warriors can execute during the excessively long execute phase. Using that as evidence for the melee vs ranged debate is just silly.

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Re: Melee Question Answered by Blizz

Postby Qbear » Fri May 27, 2011 7:09 pm

Nah see my debate was stacking, this seems to be moving toward a well which group has it easier. If thats what we're going with hands down it's range. Standing far away getting to ignore half the mechanics attacking from 40 yrds away I mean is that even something that would need a debate?

Stacking on the other hand was seen a lot durning the start of Cata. Due to a series of nerfs to content the need for stacking has diminished. Should blizzard have address the stacking issue while everything was in beta, yeah. However, at least it got address period even if it took a bunch of guilds to prove to blizzard that things where jacked.

It's nice warriors get to execute forever on Al'akir, but you don't need 1 or 2 warriors and 15 range because switching and killing the adds can be done by 2 or 3 people except durning blood lust when the add spawns, your trying to push the boss and you really just want the add to be away so its you vs the boss. We dropped down to 10m because it was easier, I mean we could of sat 8 people for p1 and went through that headache or we could of went in a 10m and spent a fifth of the time worrying about that fight so we could move on.

So yeah range have to easier they currently scale higher but theres no reason to stack them for these fights. At least not in the sense that the Q&A quoted from the OP refereed to.

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