Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WotLK Raid Makeup

Raids in Wrath of the Lich King need to be balanced around 20% healers. There are many reasons for this:

1. The introduction of Deathknights as a DPS/Tanking class means that there is extra competition for the non-healing slots.

2. Blizzard has done a really good job of making non-healing specs raid-viable, and that means even more competition for the non-healing slots. Let's say you want to bring an Enhancement and an Elemental Shaman. You need at least 2 Resto Shamans to fill out the healing quota, so you're looking at 4 shamans in total. That means you are taking one slot away from a pure DPS class, and that's unfair to them.

3. The rest of the game is balanced around 20% healers, so bring raiding in line makes balancing the population easier.

4. Healers have always been the hardest role to recruit for. Requiring less healers and more DPS will make more players happy.

Take a look at this proposed WotLK raid makeup:

Group 1 - Prot Warrior, Prot Paladin, Feral Druid, Deathknight, Deathknight
Group 2 - Rogue, Rogue, DPS Warrior, Enhance Shaman, Ret Paladin
Group 3 - Balance Druid, Mage, Mage, Elemental Shaman, Shadow Priest
Group 4 - Warlock, Warlock, Warlock/Mage, Survival Hunter, Hunter
Group 5 - Disc Priest, Holy Priest, Holy Paladin, Resto Shaman, Resto Druid

To me, that looks like a gorgeous raid makeup. Every class has 2 or 3 slots. No class takes more than its share, and no class is completely left out. There's lots of different specs, and lots of synergy and options available.

However, this setup is completely useless under today's raiding conditions. There simply aren't enough healers. But if raids are balanced around 20% healing, raid compositions like this can be viable, and I think that would make raiding healthier and more enjoyable.


  1. Right now, if your raid's gear is at-level with the content you're attacking, you can get away with 5 healers if they're good. But I digress. Blizz would have to reduce raid splash damage or reduce the number of tanks needed for many encounters for a 5-healer raid to become common place.

    Also, I moved your groups around to optimize group synergy. This is what a 25-man raid with 2 DK's would most likely look like:

    Group 1 - Prot Warrior, Prot Paladin, Deathknight, Resto Druid, Holy Paladin
    Group 2 - Rogue, DPS Warrior, Enhance Shaman, Ret Paladin, Deathknight
    Group 3 - Balance Druid, Mage, Mage, Elemental Shaman, Shadow Priest
    Group 4 - Warlock, Warlock, Warlock/Mage, Holy Priest, Imp. DS Priest
    Group 5 - Resto Shaman, Rogue, Feral Druid, BM Hunter, Survival Hunter

    Total count:
    Plate (7) = 2 Warriors, 3 Paladins, 2 Deathknights
    Mail (5) = 2 Hunters, 3 Shamans
    Leather (6) = 3 Rogues, 3 Druids
    Cloth (8) = 2.5 Warlocks, 2.5 Mages, 3 Priests

    G1 gets 2 paladin auras and the tree of life aura
    G2 has 2-3 2H wielders to reap the benefits of Windfury
    G5 will get a Grace of Air totem, and all the other players in that group will be agility-mongers

  2. Maybe 5 insanely good healers. I'm still skeptical of that. I don't see doing Gruul or Karathress or Tidewalker with only five healers.

    Bliz would have to reduce splash damage, and increase boss health. But that's perfectly doable. As for tanks, 5 healers can still heal up to 5 tanks easily, and I don't think there's any fights which require more than that.

    The rework to have an agility group is very nice, btw. Even more synergy!

  3. Right, it's very very tough to do most encounters with 5 healers right now. But, it's still do-able. When my guild was halfway through tier 5 content, we managed a Gruul kill with 5 healers. Hair-raising experience for them I'm sure, but it got done.

    The problem that's presented for the healers right now is there's too many targets to heal. A Resto Shaman and a Circle-heal Priest can take care of raid healing, but that'll leave 3 healers for the tanks. In BC raids, a lot of encounters call for at least 3 healers keeping 1 tank topped - what happens when you've got encounters that require keeping 2 tanks topped? Or 3? With the shammy/circle priest occupied, that's healer overload. You're absolutely right, they'll have to re-tune the encounters somewhat to make this sort of make-up feasible for progression content.

  4. Farming Gruul and Mag with 5 healers is definitely possible. My guild on Destromath (l Misfits l) do it everyweek. If we get an extra healer or two, its cake walk. But we do have a core of 10 dps that kicks ass and our tanking team has alot of synergy. Unfortunately we are a casual raiding guild, so we tend to make things happen since we can't raid often. Sad part is we still haven't cleared ZA!!

    I like the groups you guys put together. Using the various group buffs is a nice touch to maximize the group effectiveness. I like that all classes get some action. I can't wait to see some WotLK raiding.

  5. Raynmaker (Uther), Alevas (Uther)2:01 PM, May 13, 2008

    Farming Gruul while in T5 content is not the same... you're overgeared.

    Right now, fights require 7-9 healers as a general rule. On top of that, MANY fights where the raid takes splash damage also requires the raid to spread out so much that CoH priests and resto shamans can't be effective at raid healing.

    I've farmed sunwell trash and already read strats/watched vids of Sunwell kills and they're crazy splash damage. The current viable strategy listed for Muru requires 11 healers... 11! (and 3 tanks, leaving only 11 dps spots).

    So, I don't see Blizzard making any changes to the system.

    I also disagree somewhat with the raid makeup listed above because some of those classes bring more than just tanking/dps/healing to the fights - they bring buffs. 3 or 4 pallies is much more productive to the raid as a whole. A ret pally (with the improvements blizzard has made) can do some good damage and provide all the melee with imp might. A prot pally tanks and brings more buffage with kings - improving damage and ease of the fight by giving everyone more health. Enhancement and Elemental shaman both can do some great damage and have strong buff possibilities if put in the right groups.
    1 prot, 1 ret, 2 holy pallies
    1 CoH priest, 1 holy priest, 1 spriest
    2 warlocks, 2 mages, 2 hunters,
    2 rogues
    1 resto, 1 enh, 1 ele shaman
    1 feral, 1 balanced, 1 resto druid
    1 prot, 2 dps warriors
    Add one of the following healers: resto shaman or CoH priest and you have pretty much a flawless makeup for current raiding. If needed, substite a rogue for a mage or one of the other hybrid dps for another dps class.

    "Normal fights"
    group 1: prot pally, prot warrior, resto druid, holy pally, warlock w/imp BP
    group 2: rogue, enh shaman, 2 dps war, ret pally
    group 3: mage, mage, ele shaman, balanced druid, warlock
    group 4: holy priest, coh priest, holy/disc pally, resto shaman, spriest
    group 5: 2 hunters, feral druid, rogue, 25th.

    Change around the warlock in group 3 and the spriest in group 4 if your healers are ok on mana and your dps are losing it too quickly.
    You could also switch out one of the warriors (fury most likely) or the rogue in group 2 for the feral druid in group 5... but I think it works out better the way I wrote it.

    Either way, there's TONS of options, too many to write out all of them.

    I really don't see Blizzard making raiding 20% healers.

    What SHOULD happen is to give certain classes changes to make them better at hybrid such as feral druids at dps/tanking depending on gear.

    Examples: Make prot pallies have better healing, make prot warriors have better dps.
    Generally, trash takes more tanks than the boss fights do, and requires less healers than the boss fights do... it's a mess.

    As a healer, sunwell trash is the first place I've actually been challenged on trash and not thought it was completely boring.
    I'm sure there are many OTs who feel the same way about boss fights - nothing for them to do.

  6. I definitely agree with the sentiment, but it's very hard for Blizzard to commit to requiring a specific number of healers and no more, regardless of where the healer cap actually gets set.

    The only way to actually enforce such requirements (short of the game actually forcing you to bring a certain class distribution to start an encounter) is to REQUIRE that all the other slots in the raid be filled with optimal DPS by instituting strict DPS checks. If it's possible to beat a raid designed for 5 healers, 3 tanks, and 17 DPS using only 16 DPS, the encounter will almost certainly be easier by punting a DPS and bringing an extra healer. Raids will do whatever gives them the best shot at beating the encounter, not whatever Blizzard wanted or whatever ensures that there are enough healers to go around to other guilds on the server. Moreover, instituting Brutallus style DPS checks on every single encounter would do a lot to penalize anyone who dares attempt to raid with suboptimal classes or specs, or, Light forbid, without requiring full consumables.

    I don't know what the answer to this is, but I'm afraid that limiting raid design to only those encounters that five healers can handle would just force greatly decreased encounter diversity.

  7. Raynmaker:

    I'm not sure I follow why you disagree with the raid make-up listed above. It was made to demonstrate what a 5-healer raid incorporating Death Knights would most likely look like. The raid you put to paper is a 5-healer raid, but has no Death Knights. You also say that 3-4 paladins is optimal - the raid Rohan created and I shifted has 3. All you did was sub in a paladin and a DPS warrior for the 2 DK's, which defeated the purpose of the exercise.

  8. I think this is the wrong statement to be made. Instead of making larger instances less heal-centric, make smaller ones more heal-centric. Make them less about the standard 1 tank - 3dps - 1 heal type of situation. Make more instances where two healers are better than one and make the run go extra smoothly.

    And make it so that healing is a bit more engaging, while you're at it.

  9. Classes become too specialized as you progress in WoW. It ruins group cohesion and the fun factor when 7/10 ways you can build your char simply arent allowed or work with the group chemistry.

    The content needs to be shortened so that normal players can participate (more healers,tanks because of this) and they also need to let players get their foot in the door without the time/farming commitment. Removing manditory flask and potion farming was a decent step towards improving raiding but there still is a line between gear-checked chars. I would love to see 5-man content that didnt require waiting for tank/healers to arrive. This could be solved in the way guildwars does it... let you choose a dumbed down NPC for those tasks. Hell, even a NPC team of DPS might be nice for those poor prot warriors and disc priest or holy pallies. The game reawlly does suck for some of those estremely specialized role classes who often dont have much of a choice on how they can participate.

  10. I think tuning encounters around 20% healing is an excellent idea. It's hard enough to convince people to heal in the first place, and until they debut the 2nd Hero class (which I'm sure will have a healing tree) the optimization of specs dilutes the existing healing pool.

  11. A Deathknight must be like a druid and be able to either buff their group or the raid, or be able to do considerable dps with a tanking spec to be raid viable. It's already a pain in the ass having to bring a Prot Warrior and Paladin that are useless when not tanking.

    A ton of changes could be done to the Prot tree for Paladins to give them more healing power while not tanking. Their shield could be switched to be like Holy Shock and heal people, or you could tack on some other healing component to one of their high level Prot talents for healing.

    I imagine my melee group will be an enhancement shaman, feral druid, ret paladin, bf warrior and a deathknight. Unless Rogues gain some group buff, I really don't want them in my raids anymore. I've seen rogues that can do very good damage, but at this point I would trade away 300 personal dps for more group utility, and more total dps for the group.

    I agree though about the healing.

    Rogue: 1
    Warrior: 3
    Druid: 3
    Mage: 1
    Warlock: 2
    Hunter: 2
    Shaman: 3
    Paladin: 3
    Priest: 2
    Deathknight: ?

    That would be 20 slots for one of each spec for those classes, but would only give 3 healers and no slots yet for Deathknights. Unless something changes, someone is going to get left out.

    Requiring more healers, and throwing around more raid wide damage seems to be the trend in BC.

  12. progression kill of bloodboil required 11 healers. We did a bunch of attempts on kalecgos last week and it worked best with 10 healers and they still complained + tanks died.

  13. If the game goes more like it is now, it'll look like this:

    Group 1: Prot Warrior, Prot Warrior, Deathknight, Resto druid, Holy paladin
    G2: Rogue, Rogue, DPS warrior, Enhance Shaman, Ret Paladin
    G3: Destro Warlock, Destro Warlock, Mage, Ele Shaman, Shadowpriest
    G4: Mage, Affliction lock, Resto shaman, Priestx2
    G5: Resto Shaman, Shadow priest, BM hunter, BM Hunter, Survival huntawr

  14. Suicidal Zebra7:34 AM, May 14, 2008

    Should be interesting to see if Guilds start to drop a Paladin and a warrior (or more specifically a 3rd blessing) in favour of a couple of Deathknights. Right now many see Kings/Salv/(BoM/BoW) as almost mandatory, and whilst any class has a block of 3 spots - no matter their spec - it makes fitting Deathknights in pretty hard.

    Of course, they could always increase the max raid size from 25 to 30, sidestepping a lot of potential complaints from hybrids (in favour of different QQ?).

  15. What do you think the raid makeup will be for the 10-man versions of all the dungeons in WotLK? Do you think they will require a very specific class balance like Karazhan did when it first came out?

    In general most people like the idea of having an easier 10-man version for every raid instance though some raiders worry it will mean less people will do the 25-man ones.

  16. The reason people take 7-9 healers rather than 5 healers isn't due to the content necessarily requiring it. It's due to the fact that the marginal gain in safety you gain from additional healers outweighs the marginal gain in dps you get by taking your 14th-16th worst dps classes.

    Also, Blizzard has made content that adds to this dilemma. Most T5/T6 content has raid events that have the potential to take out healers - not merely the "don't stand in the fire" type of takeout that can be avoided by skill, but purely random "you die and become a Doomguard" type of raid event. These types of raid events essentially kill any sort of complex healing coordination and reduce healing to primarily being a spam-fest requiring excessive redundancy.

    Fixing this would be relatively difficult. About the only practical solution that comes to mind is dramatically ramping up the synergy of dps specs. So if you had 15 dps'rs who each did 1000 dps individually, 10 of them might do 15,000 dps together while 15 of them would do 25,000 dps. This would mean that your 14th best dps'r wouldn't add 60% of your top dps class - they're add more like 120% of your top dps class due to the synergies.

  17. 20% healers, I doubt it. Unless they dumb down the encounters, or make tanks take less damage, there isn't a method to make it possible to reduce healing load. Making the encounters simple enough for 5x healers would simplify them too much in my opinion. Unless they make it more akin to the cube clicking in mag, where you need perfect execution, or some sort of NPC healing or location mechanic.

    The most likely outcome will be that some classes get shafted. Similar to how moonkin and ret pallies weren't progression viable (some stay still not viable), there will be classes that just wont be pulling their weight in a progression raid. Another possibility is that class make up wont make a huge difference, but min/max raid leader's aren't going to take a chance on it.

    Most raids I have seen bring 1 melee dps group and the occasional melee tossed with the hunters. DKs will only be competing for a spot in the melee group or the tank group if they can prove to be worthwhile for anything other than magic based encounters.

    Perhaps there will only be need for 1 DK in a raid. One that does dps on all encounters and racks up the tanking gear for the magic encounter fights.

    What I am more interested in knowing is how the DK will work in replacing a tank in 25 mans. Will it have enough crowd tank ability to replace the pally? Or will the druid be shown the door? Unless they make 4 tank requirements for raids, or make the DK tanking junk, one tank is going to be shown the door.

  18. Suicidal Zebra1:30 PM, May 14, 2008

    Nifter, I think the DK is envisioned as a tank for those encounters where a Warlock would have been the tank of choice (few and far between as they are right now). The question remains if this niche can be strong enough to justify a full-time position in a raid on their own strength given that it is extremely unlikely they'd have the off-tanking/DPS capabilities of a Feral Druid (a druids tanking niche). If it isn't strong enough, but DK's were genuinely required for certain encounters, then I believe you'll simply see a lot of tank-switching between encounters (which is really going to suck for each of the MT classes, be it Warrior, Paladin or DK).

    Strangely, I think that Druids will in fact be the class least affected by the inclusion of DK's as they stand. The Feral tree's multi-role efficiency is just too strong, and as such Ferals will probably continue to be premium off-tanks.