Wednesday, July 25, 2007

PvP-only or PvE-only spells

Perhaps it is time that some spells and abilities got tagged as PvP-only or PvE-only. It seems a bit artificial, but it would make balancing a bit easier.

This thought is prompted by the upcoming change to Blessing of Sacrifice in patch 2.2:
Blessing of Sacrifice now has a 1-minute cooldown.

It's pretty much aimed at PvP, where Sacrifice is constantly used to break Crowd Control for paladins. However, this change makes Sacrifice useless for both PvP and PvE purposes.

Admittedly, Sacrifice doesn't get used an awful lot in PvE. But there are times when it is useful. I use it on AoE packs to keep multiple mages up. I have fond memories of almost killing myself with it in the BWL Suppression Room. (It turns out that putting Sacrifice on 8 mages/warlocks adds up to a lot of damage.) It's also useful for controlling Greater Blessings, allowing you to put Greater Blessing of Salvation on DPS warriors and "clean" it off the tanks. There are a few fights where you can use it to break Crowd Control (for example, Maiden of Virtue, or Moroes for a paladin tank). I've even used it on the tank, to mitigate damage, if I am on Salvation duty.

It's a neat little spell with a lot of uses. It's not a spell you use all the time, but comes in handy on occasion. However, this cooldown pretty much makes the spell useless for my purposes.

The annoying part is that yes, Sacrifice is probably overpowered in PvP. Virtual immunity to crowd control is overpowered, even if you can purge/dispel it. But adding the cooldown removes it from both PvP and PvE.

Maybe it would be better if Sacrifice was tagged "PvE-only" and you could not use it in Arenas. There are already several spells that are effectively PvE-only: Lay on Hands, Righteous Defense, Taunt, Blessing of Salvation, etc.

There are probably several other spells that could benefit from the same treatment. And maybe Blizzard could introduce PvP-only spells, which could only be used in arenas.

PvP and PvE are very different creatures. Is it really ideal to attempt to balance for both simultaneously?


  1. That's brilliant; there are some spells and abilities that would be kind of sketchy in PvE but would be fine in PvP. One example would be a knockback ability or any other abiltiy that physically changes the target's location; there are a variety of reasons that this would be a little iffy for PvE, but it would be much less troublesome in PvP.

  2. That's already done in some cases.

    The classic case is warrior taunt (and pet growl, for that matter), which changes a PvE mobs' target to the warrior (or pet), but does nothing in PvP. According to what I've read, in the past Blizzard has given some lame explanation about loss of player control (as if fear / stun / sheep doesn't cause loss of player control LOL). Fact is, it's an arbitrary balance choice on the part of Blizz.

    There is also another interesting exception, the Engineering item Gnomish Poultryizer (great fun, BTW), which works in the regular battlegrounds but not Arena even though as a 5-minute cooldown it should work normally in Arena.

    There are also already effects and abilities that vary between PvE and PvP, such as mage sheep, which IIRC was nerfed in PvP a while back to shorten the timer as compared to PvE sheep.

  3. Lots of good points.

    Blizzard has the ability to modify spell effects based on the player's environment (Judgement of Justice), and as illustrated, they have chosen to do so on multiple occasions.

    It is in fact an arbitrary choice on their part to handle the matter this way, which I find somewhat disturbing because of the precedent it sets for future spell "modifications."

  4. Curse of Doom can't be cast on players.

    This is the obvious fix to class balance, which means Blizzard won't do it.

    Fear is the most obvious candidate here. It's a useful, but not game-breaking spell in PvE, but it's just a joke in PvP.

    Feared players don't aggro other mobs onto you, which is the only thing that balances the spell.

    In fact, feared players aggro other mobs onto THEMSELVES, Which makes fear exponentially stronger in World PvP.