Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Critical Hits and a PvP Idea

Ghostcrawler had an interesting post on critical hits today.

Back in Vanilla, the rule was that melee criticals did 200% damage, spell criticals did 150% damage, and damage/heal-over-time spells could not crit. But over time most of the DPS casters got talents or abilities that pushed their criticals to 200% damage. Pretty much the only people left at the 150% mark are healers and physical dps who get some damage from spells.

So GC is mulling over simplifying the entire thing with a rule that all crits do 200%.

Personally I think it's a good idea. It simplifies things immensely. Pretty much every DPS already has 200% crits on the majority of their damage.

As for healing, because damage crits do 200%, crit rating is expensive. So when you look at crit rating for healing it seems even more overpriced compared to the throughput it gives you. And then you add to that the fact that healers disdain crit because you can't count on it in the short term. At least bumping healing crits up to 200% would normalize the value of crit rating.

The one area of concern is PvP. A healing crit can be very swingy. Ghostcrawler suggests that the potency of the Mortal Strike debuff be increased to compensate. But then that can make having an MS class absolutely mandatory when fighting a healer.

I have a different solution. The "swingy-ness" of damage in PvP is mitigated by resilience. Perhaps we should use the same mechanic. Have resilience reduce incoming damage and also reduce incoming healing. So if you have a lot of resilience you're taking less damage, but you're also getting less healing. That will shift power away from the healers and make a random critical heal, even at 200%, much less of a game-winner.

Resilience would essentially slow the rate of change of your health bar in both directions. A lot of resilience would mean your health decreases slower, but it also increases slower while being healed.


  1. A mortal strike can be countered tactically, making the battle more dynamic.

    A static decrease in my ability to heal doesn't leave any options.

  2. I'm pretty sure that the reason they don't want Resilience to decrease incoming healing is because they don't really want a stat that has a negative effect on your player.

  3. That's would be unintuitive for a non-theorycrafter.

  4. It would be stupid. If it would decrease damage and healing, it would have the very same effect as HP increase. Since it would be cheaper, no one would use resilience, except full DD teams.

  5. That would be called 'stamina', no?

    People gear resiliance because it makes both heals and absorb mechanics *more* effective, not because it gives a longer TTL without healing.

    Remove the reason to do that, and you're back to early-Wrath how-fast-will-it-die, and people dying in a GCD in 'exhibition' matches again.

  6. Blizzard has said multiple times they don't want resillience to have a downside, especially back in wrath when pvp healing was even more of an issue than it currently is.

    I would really like to see healing become less important in pvp, but I don't think tying it to resillience would be a good way to go about it Who knows, maybe now that retribution is no longer "push button, damage happens" they'll attach a MS to crusader strike and we won't have to worry about it.

  7. I love your idea with Resilience being a great brake on the swing of damage and healing. It would also keep a rated BG group with having a composition of half healers be an unstoppable juggernaut.

  8. Would it have any effect on % health healing abilities?

    Rather than making it having the exact reverse effect with healing as damage, why not make it half as much? This would still slow the up down, without making it effectively the same as stamina.

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  10. Could you explain why it's such a terrible idea?

    From my--admittedly casual--perspective, Blizzard already did something similar the last time healing got too powerful:

    Patch 3.3.2 is bringing about a change to the way healing functions in Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Wintergrasp. We have applied a debuff to all players in these zones which will decrease the effectiveness of all forms of healing by 10%. This includes heals from items such as Healthstones and potions, however, it will not affect defensive shields or auras. This change is being made to balance the effectiveness of healing against the recent buff we made to the damage reduction component provided by resilience (source can be found here).

  11. @Kleps, yeah, the two directions don't have to be the same.

    But the idea is that health in PvP should be less swingy in both directions. You shouldn't be killed in a burst, but you also shouldn't wipe out all the work the attackers did in a burst of healing.

    @Inquisitor, yes, people prefer resilience because it indirectly empowers healing. But then PvP eventually seems to devolve into "healing is too powerful" at some point. And Blizzard implements some other mechanism to rein healing back in, like the debuff in Wrath.

    So maybe resilience's indirect effect on healing is actually a negative for overall PvP balance, and so should be removed at the source.

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  13. @Rohan Yes, heals were nerfed there, but there was a key difference - that change didn't devalue a stat. Yes, heals were lowered, but Resilience had the same effect as it always had - essentially, getting more would lower incoming damage, and have no downsides. It remained a desirable stat.

    If a downside were to be added, however, resilience would come largely down to a matter of preference of playstyle. In the end, it would no longer provide a reasonable benefit. For this to work, the way that resilience is implemented would have to change - for any arena player, competitive or otherwise, it would not be desirable to have item budget spent on a statistic that does little to boost performance.

    Additionally, some problems might be caused when swapping from one composition to another. With the current implementation of resilience, it is always desirable to have more of it; regardless of composition, it will be a good thing to take less damage. However, if resilience were also to lower healing, it would essentially move between being useless and overpowered each time a team's composition changed. For example, a team with no healers would stack resilience the same as they always had; if a healer were to be introduced into the team, though, there would be the odd side effect of nerfing gear depending on team composition. Similarly, a team swapping from a 'normal' healer (eg. a holy priest) to a more absorption-based healer (eg. a discipline priest) would experience these changes.

    While I would agree that resilience is far from perfect in its current implemenation, this isn't the way to go about fixing it - at least, not without changing some other systems along with it.

  14. Could you explain why it's such a terrible idea?

    From my--admittedly casual--perspective, Blizzard already did something similar the last time healing got too powerful:

    Although Blizzard has reduced healing effectiveness across the board before, that is 100% different than sitting at the PvP vendor looking at an "upgrade" (Bloodthirsty --> Vicious) and having to decide whether the extra damage/resil is worth the loss of healing received. It boggles my mind that anyone cannot actually understand how abysmal that sort of design is. It would simply drive players even further into using PvE gear in PvP, devaluing PvP gear.

    The "healers are gods" problem is a conscious design decision Blizzard made in Wrath, and they doubled-down with in Cata. In essence: Blizzard thinks 1 healer should survive against 1 DPS until said healer runs OOM. Such a design is ridiculously dumb in any scenario in which a healer can also deal damage to the DPS (or out-heal the DPS without going OOM), unless the DPS has self-healing capability higher than the damage output of said healer. I routinely killed DPS as a Disc priest in Wrath, for example. Blizzard said this was because the alternative - 1 DPS can kill 1 healer without help - makes "balanced" brackets like 3v3 impossible. Which is not true, of course, since you can use your 2nd DPS to help defend the healer and/or send both DPS out in a gambit to kill the enemy healer before the 1 DPS kills yours. All the current system does is make 2-3 BG healers unkillable without most of a WSG team on them. Nevermind encouraging the 2 healers, 1 DPS nonsense that was so popular in Wrath.

    Bottom line: having negative effects on otherwise unambiguous upgrades is bad MMO design. It works in things like Team Fortress 2, etc, but situations where the entry-level relic was BiS up through ICC (remember that?) is simply dumb. It's a designer "gotcha!" moment, just like a lot of the interesting-sounding but ultimately useless talents were in TBC and Wrath.

  15. Stamina already does exactly what you're suggesting. It makes a player less vulnerable to bursty attacks, but it takes longer to heal them back to full.

  16. Merris of Outland EU3:57 AM, April 25, 2011

    Blizzard has already been presented with this idea several times before and there were blue-posts during WotLK where they clearly said that they do not want Resilience to decrease healing taken.

    As posted by an anonymous reader further up, they do not want Resilience to have any negative effect on the player in a PvP environment.