Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Lots of people, including Ghostcrawler, are talking about interrupts lately. So I'll throw in my two cents. Again, I play mostly PvE, so I'm pretty much ignoring the PvP aspects.

Back in Wrath, a lot of us healers complained that healing was too unforgiving and stressful. Sometimes it felt like you'd miss a heal, and the tank would die. I think Blizzard agreed with that perspective, and changed the balance between healing and tank health for Cataclysm.

But in some respects, it seems like that "unforgiving" element of fights has moved to interrupts. A lot of fights seem to follow the pattern: going fine, going fine, missed interrupt, raid wipes. It's very frustrating for the interrupter, and it's very frustrating for the rest of the raid.

And even the cast times seem to be excessively fast. It seems like the standard interruptible boss spell cast time is 1.5 seconds. That's a really short window. I'm actually rather impressed with our interrupters to be able to hit that small window each time, especially with lag and latency and Halfus knockdowns.1

The other thing that annoys me about interrupts is that Curse of Tongues does not seem to work on most bosses. I mean, here we have a spell that's tailor-made to make interrupting easier, and it's completely useless most of the time. It feels "right" that Blizzard would expect us to use Curse of Tongues to help out the interrupters. The perfect time to use a rarely used skill. And yet, no dice.

If I was to fix anything about interrupts, it would be to make Curse of Tongues and similar debuffs usable in Normal modes, at the very least. That would bring the 1.5 second cast time up to ~2 seconds for Normal modes. I think this would make the interrupts more forgiving, and be more balanced for that level of raiding. Heroic bosses can remain immune to Curse of Tongues, upping the challenge for interrupters playing at the higher level.

1. Honestly, WTF is this? Rotating mages ice-blocking and stun-break CDs through the last knockdown so we can interrupt? Did this not strike anyone at Blizzard as slightly excessive?


  1. Then CoT would need to be given to more classes (if it isn't already) to keep with the 'bring the player, not the class' creed they spent all last year having us memorize.

  2. It is given to multiple classes.

    Warlocks - Curse of Tongues
    Death Knights - Necrotic Strike
    Arcane Mage - Slow
    Rogues - Mind-numbing Poison
    Hunters - Spore Bats

    It's actually a basic PvP ability, so a whole bunch of classes have it.

  3. I'm a healer, but I agree fully. It's like doing an Immortal run, where everyone is looking at the one person that failed. And I think everyone that hasn't been in interrupting duty thinks it's a lot easier than it really is.

    As for knockdown, you just need a single mage that Blinks through the last one, then counterspells. No rotation or anything else needed.

  4. Babar beat me to it. No need to burn ice block. A mage just needs to wait until the third knockdown, then blink, then counterspell. One mage can do it every time. Just make sure you don't blink past him and end up with Halfus behind you when you're trying to counterspell. Not that I've ever done that. <.< >.>

  5. My guild doesn't have a regular raiding mage though as we're a 10 man guild, but that shadow nova will still kill people if it isn't interrupted or mitigated in some form.

    We actually have a paladin bubble rotation set-up now to deal with it, but we don't always bring 3 pallies either T_T

  6. one mage can actually cover all the interrupts. they just have to blink out of the 3rd stun and then interrupt. blink's cd lines up pretty well with the stuns.

  7. WotLK had some interrupt fights. Probably not has prevalent as today, but I remember the hell of missing an interrupt on General (25) and Anub'arak (H) (the shadowstrike from the adds).

    I acquired long ago the reflex of kicking any cast bar, but it surprises me the number of rogues, ret paladins and dps shamans that just never seem to interrupt (e.g. in Blackrock Cavern on my paladin tank, I am the one ending up interrupting the shadowstrike on the super-trash).

  8. I do agree that interrupts has had a greater amount of importance in Cata. However, the comparison between unforgiving healing and unforgiving interrupts is not equal. In Wrath, tanks can be gibbed from 100 to 0 in the space of a couple of seconds. To compensate for this, healers were just spamming their heal on the tank - with no thought of decision making, just plain old spam (and not "skill"). Interrupts, on the other hand, require skill to execute and will certainly make the interrupter happy when they go off.

    Interrupting Halfus is not as critical as you think. Even if all 3 stuns go off (even in heroic), it's still possible to survive. In Nefarian, 1 blast nova can frequently be fatal, but it's possible to survive.

  9. Atramedes is worse than Halfus; get two ticks of Searing Flames and you are quite likely to be staring at a wipe. That is just such a bad mechanic; I don't see any fun in that at all.