23
Feb
09

Will they or wont they?

This was intended to be the next installment of the Rend discussions. As most of us have already

This may be the only Rend you're likely to see

This is likely to be the only Rend you'll see

read, it currently looks unlikely that the rage changes will take effect. Unlikely, but not impossible.

If it goes ahead, then I suspect that a lot of people, especially PVP’ers, will have a bit of a fit. Currently, in a low rage situation, all is well. You can swap stance, drop your hamstring/overpower/rend and swap back. Tactical mastery ensures you keep 25 rage when switching. Come 3.1 they’d lose 10 rage, no matter their current total. One may think: “But why is this such a horrific change?”

At least, I thought that.

It probably has to do with me being less than entirely interested in PVP. In a PVE situation, rage is sometimes in short supply, but in general you’re never rage-dry for extended periods of time (3-5 seconds is not an extended period, even if it feels like it). Rage starvation will hurt DPS to be sure, but with careful management of it, you can avoid most rage droughts.

Consider now the PVP’er. Apart from Piercing Howl, warriors have very few possibilities for stopping somebody. Theres Intercept, certainly, but it tends to be on a cooldown. And unless you can kill somebody in the couple of seconds you have, you really want a means of hindering them from running. Enter hamstring, which is Battle Stance only. Like Overpower and Rend. The trouble begins when our gallant PVP’er switches to battle stance and finds he doesnt have the rage to Hamstring. He should switch when he has more rage then, shouldn’t he. Enter the next problem: your source of rage (i.e. the other PVP’er) isn’t likely to stand still while you build up a bit of rage.

So we’re at the crux of the matter, nearly at least. The current mechanics benefit low-rage situations, whereas the new mechanics would benefit high-rage situations. From Blizzards perspective, there is the added matter of their philosophy for rage usage versus stances. We’re supposed to swap between them to use all our abilities, and we’re supposed to lose most of it when doing so. And the effects of switching should be easily calculable, as in REALLY easy. Percentage losses in rage are too complex, according to the crab. And to be honest, if rage loss when stance dancing becomes a longish formula, then its too complex.

The easiest solution is to simply leave the current mechanic in place. That will retain the status quo. PVP’ers will do their thing, and furies like me will never ever consider Battle Stance for anything. Which, to me at least, is a little sad. There are many warriors that never use one third of their abilities, and while it doesn’t hamper my ability to play, how many other classes have this? How many mages never use one tree? How many warlocks or rogues never use abilities associated with a certain tree?¬†Granted, its a choice, and some people do mix it up, even raiders. But as a DPS class, fury warriors live on their DPS in a raid, and the benefits of stance dancing with the current systems are too small.

The second possibility is that Blizzard change to their proposed stance mechanics. That will cause forced changes to PVP tactics, as discussed above. Quite frankly, it may (or not) cause warriors to become hopeless in PVP. Notice how I shy away from a prediction. I would see this change as a benefit, because it makes stance dancing in raids viable, but if half the warrior population cheer while the other cries, then its not an improvement.

Numerous convoluted schemes come to mind inbetween these two models. One could be a glyph of Tactical Mastery, that lets you keep more rage, or even changes the rage loss into a percentage. Essentially a glyph that PVE’ers can use to make a PVP oriented ability into a PVE one. The precedent is the Glyph of Thunderstorm for elemental shamans, where the knockback is turned into mana regen. It has made a semi useless ability into a worthwhile PVE AOE. Another idea could be rage loss dependent on stance, possibly target stance.

At the core of the issue is: Is there a definite need for a change at all? Does Blizzard feel that fury warriors use Battle Stance too little?

To conclude something at least, I think there’s a very little chance of Blizzard changing the rage loss mechanics. Benefit versus cost just doesn’t make it worthwhile. Instead we might see stance penalties changed, to make stances more interesting. That, of course, is a topic all of its own.

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