Healing Design in Legion

Hello! I’m Total and I have been healing in WoW since WotLK. I have played multiple healers for several raid tiers each, almost always finishing the tier at the highest raid difficulty before the release of the next one. As such, my viewpoints will be mostly concerned with Mythic raiding.

I have seen WoW’s healing design go through many different iterations and believe I have a firm grasp on the objectives and reasoning behind many of the shifts in the way healers are played. However, I have also been through a few design approaches that didn’t quite work out. I’m here to provide my feedback on what I see going into Legion through analyzing the current build (20994), my experience in the history of past healing metas, and what I see going into the future. I will be covering the following subjects:

  1. Healing combat flow
  2. Single target vs multiple target heals
  3. “Tank healing”
  4. Mana
  5. “Tank cooldowns”
  6. Raid cooldowns
  7. Other utility
  8. Healer roles and raid composition
  9. Encounter design
  10. Conclusion

Thank you for embarking on this exploration of healing with me.

1. Healing Combat Flow

One of the most controversial subjects in WoW is whether the game is more fun when there is always something to do, or if it is okay to be waiting for a couple of seconds before there is something relevant that a player can be doing. I fall strictly on the side of waiting around to be boring, which is why I stopped playing Rogue and switched to healing in WotLK.

Always having something to do is easy for DPS and tanks (who also DPS), but how is that achieved for healers? I believe there to be only two possible ways: making healers play an intense game of resources where a variety of similar heals with varying mana costs are laid out and it is up to players to pick the most efficient tool for any situation, or relaxing the resource game in favor of allowing healers to DPS in the resulting downtime.

It is my opinion that Blizzard decided which model to go to a very long time ago when downranking was eliminated. Having a somewhat relaxed mana game with fewer options leads to far less button bloat and complexity, however past expansions have failed to deliver on a sufficiently meaningful activity to do in the mean time, which makes many players feel somewhat bored whenever healing is too easy.

I think that it is in-line with the WoW development team’s philosophies and direction of healing design that there should be a couple of options to deal with healing situations that make healers play the mana game, and that the ability to DPS should be leftover and be somewhat engaging in itself (i.e. more than spamming one spell) as well as being meaningful (a level of damage that would affect the raid if it did not exist or was executed exceptionally poorly). Currently I believe Shamans have the best design in this regard with perfectly adequate damaging spells with just enough complexity, as well as artifact traits that enhance damage. I would like to see this extend to all other healers as well.

2. Single target vs Multiple Target heals

In the spectrum of cheaper, more efficient, but lower HPS heals to expensive and high HPS heals, multi-target heals naturally trend towards being more expensive because healers always have the ability to single target heal multiple targets consecutively while the reverse is not true.

With that said, it is imperative that multi-target heals are both powerful as well as expensive to emphasize the importance of selecting the right healing tool for the right job. An odd trend I have seen in Legion is to make multi-target heals affect far fewer targets, with Vivify and Power Word: Radiance affecting 3 total targets or Light of Dawn having positional requirements. While this may be a good way to ensure multi-target heals still have value in targeting and positioning, I think it is important to ensure that they remain both powerful and expensive and not too similar to single target heals. Currently Power Word: Radiance has lost this distinction, much like Disc’s Prayer of Healing on live and that in part is due to a long cast time and low power.

Going forward, I hope the development team takes special care to make sure that AoE heals are good in multi-target situations and single target heals are good at healing specific targets, as part of the issues with Mistweavers, Holy Paladins and Discipline Priests on live are due to losing this distinction as the specs become one-dimensional when one side dominates too much.

3. “Tank Healing”

As noted in the Tank and Healer Ability Tuning blue posts, tank healing is on the rise again instead of letting the tanks themselves and Beacon of Light ensure that tanks are completely self-sustaining. This is important because, as mentioned previously, the single/multi target dichotomy is essential to maintaining choice and skilled gameplay in healing. Tank damage is the source of most needs of single target healing.

In the past though, tank healing (when required) has often been left to whichever healing spec has the best tank healing kit. This player is then assigned to heal the tank and that ends up being their job forever while everyone else goes back to only using AoE heals. For the return of tank healing to not worsen healer gameplay, this situation must be avoided. The only way to do this though is make sure that no individual healer can consistently spam the tanks without running out of mana, so the “Flash Heal” inefficient single target heals must be very expensive to prevent the dreaded “tank healer” assignment from happening. This means Enveloping Mist, Flash of Light, Flash Heal, Shadow Mend, Regrowth, and Healing Surge all must be made quite expensive.

Time to kill (the time it takes to go from “normal” heal to dead) must also be drastically higher than it has been in any expansion for a very long time, possibly ever. If we do not have a healer assigned to spam the tank (which is unenjoyable and makes healing one-dimensional for everyone), then there must be a window to respond to tanks being in danger. This has been acknowledged by Celestalon as being absolutely important to the new design, but I feel like it is so important that I should repeat it here.

4. Mana

I’ve gone on quite a lot about mana on the side of spell selection and spell design, but mana scaling and the mana economy throughout the expansion is equally important as too much mana renders the decision meaningless while too little mana leaves healers unable to take the option of inefficient heals.

While I agree with the removal of Spirit, it is important to not get too crazy with removing mana scaling. Because haste levels increase and we would still like to feel more powerful, there should still be some source of gaining more mana as an expansion goes on.

I feel that trinkets are the optimal way to have mana scale, and that it is important to be able to switch trinkets between mana and throughput depending on each fight’s damage patterns. I hope that there is an even spread of trinkets that grant more access to mana and trinkets that make spells heal for more in Legion.

5. “Tank cooldowns”

Ironbark, Guardian Spirit, Pain Suppression, Blessing of Sacrifice, and Life Cocoon

These are single target damage reduction or death-preventing cooldowns, but let’s be realistic and call them what they are: tank cooldowns attached to healers. These have been a fundamental part of the healing toolkit for many expansions now, with every healer (besides Shamans) having access to one. In a necessary change, they were all made much longer cooldowns, however I think that there is room to be more interesting.

For tank cooldowns, we have Pain Suppression as the gold standard of being generic. Guardian Spirit is a great twist on the opposite end of the spectrum, while Ironbark holds its place as being just as generic as Pain Suppression, but weaker with a shorter cooldown. Unfortunately, Blessing of Sacrifice and Life Cocoon do not share such properties. The intent of being tank cooldowns is clearly there (as seen in the mass lengthening of cooldowns all in one build), however Blessing of Sacrifice is overly messy with its damage transfer and could do something more simple like costing a portion of the Paladin’s health per second instead of probably killing her or him. Life Cocoon is outdated as a big absorb bubble and could use something more unique like granting the tank maximum health and the HoT increase for a full 12 seconds instead of annoyingly disappearing.

Then we have Shamans, who have Spirit Link Totem in place of having a tank cooldown. This may be okay; I’m not sure.

6. Raid cooldowns

Divine Hymn, Healing Tide Totem, Spirit Link Totem, Revival, Aura Mastery, Power Word: Barrier, and Tranquility

These abilities used to be borderline required to deal with scripted raid-wide burst. Now, they are being retooled to be more like personal healing boosts instead of raid tools. Many players are upset at losing the “god mode” that some of these cooldowns provided, and I think we can make these abilities fun without being overpowering and oppressive to healing and encounter design.

The first major change I think needs to happen is to eliminate the idea of 8 second long channels. Yes, they provide some nice unique class flavor, but abilities have to be extremely powerful if they are going to make a player do absolutely nothing but sit there for 8 seconds.

Secondly, there needs to be some differentiation in these abilities. SLT, Revival, and Barrier all have their unique niches. Divine Hymn and Tranquility share the long-duration slot while HTT gets away with having a “ramping up” quality via its artifact trait. Either Hymn or Tranquility needs to change, and I would choose Divine Hymn because frankly Holy Priests have been in the background for a while and Tranquility is far more iconic. With a single GCD instead of a channel time, I believe Divine Hymn could have its healing amplification amped up further to differentiate it from Tranquility.

Aura Mastery is in a strange spot because amplifying the chosen Aura talent is cool and unique, however I caution against the current trait that enables all auras as it actually takes away from the choice of aura and threatens to make each effect be too watered-down to feel meaningful without being overpowered.

7. Other Utility

This word has been abused by people much like “clunky” used to, but to clarify I am discussing “utility” as being the following: spells that do not heal, absorb, or otherwise block damage from occurring yet are still useful to raids.

I’m not sure if anyone is even thinking about this when balancing healers, but some odd things have happened in Legion like Shamans gaining Wind Rush Totem and Druids losing Stampeding Roar while Discs gain free raid damage by virtue of the way the spec works. The end result is a feeling that Druids, Mistweavers, and Holy Priests bring virtually nothing to raids outside of providing healing while the Blessings, Totems, and damage of Disc are clear, very obvious mechanics that provide an array of usefulness to every single fight.

I don’t have much to say on this topic but to please consider this an area of balance that is separate from healing tuning but of equal importance that exists in parallel. I have seen many suggestions on the forums for utilities that could be added to specs that are lacking and I am sure the development team has its own ideas, but please do not consider this a trivial matter.

As a final note on utility, please stay away from granting raid damage as utility. Adding raid DPS is often the single most important thing any character can bring, and things like passive raid DPS increases (looking at you, 5% haste aura) are toxic to the game because they have a tendency to be far too good on any fight to ignore.

8. Healer Roles and Raid Composition

“Yes, we view 5 as the target. We’ll likely bump the raid damage on several fights that were being widely 4-healed.” – Watcher, Twitter, 30 Sep 2014

Let’s try a bit better with that this time around, as things got a little out of hand with only a few fights being 5 healed in Mythic, most being 4 healed, and a few being 3 healed.

With that said, it is also important to avoid healer niches and strengths from becoming too niche to the point where raids feel like they must have a specific spec to succeed. One way to ensure niches can be deep is to allow some overlap, for example instead of just one spec having great single target heals and mediocre raid heals, make it two.

On a final note about healing specifically, please whatever happens, do not introduce a massively powerful healing item in the final tier of Legion. This happened with both the cloaks in SoO and the rings in HFC and it resulted in fights being incredibly underhealed. I’m sure many players would prefer to not get extremely powerful items if it meant healing gameplay could be preserved in a reasonable state.

9. Encounter Design

Designing the player side of healing only goes so far. A huge part of the healing game is the raid encounters themselves and the damage patterns they provide. Here are some things to keep in mind as a checklist for making sure an encounter is healer-friendly:

-Does it have raid damage occurring at reasonable frequencies? (no Thok-level constant raid barrages, but also no Kormroks where literally zero raid damage occurs for 30+ seconds at a time)

-Are tank mechanics still reasonably dealt with by single target heals? (Tyrant one-shots are a big no-no)

-Can huge amounts of raid damage be avoided by cheesing specific mechanics? (solo soaking, turning invisible, using BoP/Cloak/Iceblock/Bubble to remove mechanics)

10. Conclusion

If you’ve stuck with me this far, thank you for reading. I’m very excited about the potential of healing in Legion and hope that it can work out and we don’t repeat any of the previous mistakes of the past.

Come join me at our all-healer Discord https://discord.gg/0l64WMq72BKeRFFb

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Discipline Fixes

I love the new Disc and its focus on the damage-to-healing mechanic, but it has some issues in Build 20979 in individual spells, and talents that I’ll be addressing here.

Spells

Shadow Mend – this spell is in an awkward spot because it’s designed to be incredibly strong when used appropriately, but the opportunity to use the spell correctly doesn’t come around very often and it typically ends up just being a tank heal. The “problem” as I see it is that the spell is a little too situational.

Example change:

Replace the Clarity of Will talent (more on this later) with a Shadow Mend enhancing one that reduces the payback damage and increases its healing in exchange for it no longer granting Atonement. This makes Shadow Mend a very basic spell if this talent is selected, but in an ironic twist a basic healing spell IS something special to Disc.

Power Word: Radiance – The intent for the spell is clear as an AoE heal/Atonement spread in exchange for a slow cast time and high mana cost. Unfortunately, it’s just not at a usable level because right now Plea just beats it in every category. Personally, I do not like the “50% Atonement duration” mechanic because it makes the spell confusing and disrupts the rhythm of applying Atonement and taking advantage of it. If it’s supposed to be an expensive spell, it also needs to be worth spending the mana on and right now 5.5% base mana across 2.5 seconds leaves room to go more expensive and more powerful.

Example change:

Allow PW:R to apply Atonement at its full duration and crank up the mana cost. This would make the spell the truly desperate Plea for healing it should be that the spec relies on when the going gets too tough for the other spells to handle.

Shadowfiend – An old favorite, but also sharing the same problem it has had for a long time in that it’s not very clear what exactly this cooldown is doing for the spec when you use it. Sure it does damage and that triggers Atonement, but it doesn’t do very much damage and the 12 second duration makes it very difficult to feel its impact for a 3 minute cooldown ability.

Example changes:

Re-tune Shadowfiend around a 20 second duration. This would allow it to survive an entire Atonement cycle plus a little more.

Alternatively, give Shadowfiend some kind of secondary effect that is more straight-forward like increasing Atonement healing for its duration (or maybe just Mastery since that does the same thing).

Power Word: Barrier – With the massive reductions to other raid cooldowns, it can only be assumed that Barrier is next on the hit list. With that in mind, it turns out that the trait Barrier for the Devoted (targets inside Barrier have 100% increase Atonement healing) is actually very cool and very powerful. I think we can go further.

Example change:

Barrier’s damage reduction down to 10%, but all allies inside the Barrier have Atonement (maybe at a reduced power). It would still keep its old flavor, but be much more focused on being a zone of power that empowers the Priest rather than protecting the raid. Bonus points if you Leap of Faith someone into the Barrier just so you can heal them more.

From Darkness, Comes Light – This is the Light’s Wrath weapon proc, but while the Holy and Shadow spell triggers are thematically cool, it gets needlessly complicated when it comes to talents and not having an sufficient amount of one school to proc from. To further reinforce the Discipline playstyle, I would change it to proccing off of DAMAGING and HEALING spell casts rather than Holy and Shadow.

Talents

Level 15 talents – Function of spells is fine, but they need some serious tuning.

Level 60 talents – Mana regeneration themed rows always fall victim to one of the talents being outright worse than the others, so I would like to see one of the options (probably Solace because it interrupts the Atonement cycle) just be a healing or damage increase with no mana return. I think it’s more interesting to have extra mana in flavors A and B and then extra healing with no extra mana than just a third flavor of more mana.

Level 75 talents – Contrition is a cool and well designed talent, however the other two are lacking. Power Infusion is just a very boring cooldown that will most likely end up just being paired with Rapture anyways. Twist of Fate is very strong in the right circumstances, but only on difficult fights.

Example changes:

Add a damage component to Power Infusion. This would incentive using the cooldown to do damage rather than spamming with Rapture and would make it feel wrong to use with Rapture automatically.

Allow Twist of Fate to trigger from damaging enemies. This will keep the talent always relevant in some capacity and would allow numbers to be toned down so it’s not overpowered if a raid is consistently below 35%.

Level 90 talents – Halo is great with no range issues, but Divine Star still feels a little same-y and could use some differentiation from Halo instead of just being another AoE heal (maybe do minor damage?).

Clarity of Will should be removed from the game. It somehow survived the great Absorb pruning and will return to cheesing mechanics if it is ever allowed to be useful enough to be worth taking. Please remove it from the game and replace the talent with some other single target healing talent (see Shadow Mend suggestion above).

Level 100 talents – Purge the Wicked is cool, although replacing SW:P with a Fire spell has awkward implications for From Darkness, Comes Light that make the tooltip difficult to parse (see above). Grace makes sense, however it can create problematic situations with Clarity of Will (another reason why CoW should not exist).

Shadow Covenant is the only talent in the row with real issues, mostly that it is very easy to misconstrue the healing absorb and lead players to spamming the spell, which would be incorrect. To aid in clarifying that the purpose of the spell is to save people now and pay the price later, I would do one of the following changes:

Add a cooldown to Shadow Covenant. This would reinforce that spamming Shadow Covenant is bad and should not be done without changing how the spell actually works.

Change the healing absorb to the Shadow Mend effect, only without being canceled on taking other damage. This sidesteps the exploitative situation where the Shadow Covenant debuff can simply time out, avoiding “paying the price” of Shadow Covenant. It also would clarify that you are somewhat hurting people as “healing absorb” appears to be a difficult concept for many players to understand.

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Mistweaver in Legion – Fixes

It’s been a long while, but here we are again. To cut to the point, some things are not healthy in the new Mistweaver. I’ll be covering egregious individual spells but also a large balance issue involving a lack of utility.

Spells

Sheilun’s Gift – Let’s start with what I think is the single most boring spell in the entire game. This spell does absolutely nothing special. It is a free heal that is slightly larger than other heals on a 30 second cooldown. It needs to do something more interesting, preferably something involving mastery.

Example changes:

Double-proccing Gust of Mists – Very simple, like casting two Effuses on someone at the same time.

Making all Gust of Mists procs for the next X (6 maybe?) seconds be increased by Y – alters playstyle for the next few seconds and the cooldown is now valuable.

Increasing HoT healing by x% for y seconds – as above, alters playstyle and makes cooldown valuable and interesting and thematically ties into the weapon proc.

Essence Font – This spell is sooooo awkward. How often will you want to heal 18 unique people? Let’s ignore that it’s strictly worse than Vivify outside of large raids for a moment and think about how often it would happen even in that context (not very). The 3 second channel is also awkward and unwieldy, being one of the longest casts in the game and having the potential to be interrupted, cutting off an enormous amount of healing for using it at the wrong time.

Example changes:

Cut the HoT – Extremely simple, bake the HoT into the direct heal. The spell is no longer automatically terrible if less than 18 people are damaged and now viable in smaller group sizes.

Allow the HoT to stack on the same individual – Basically functioning like Tranquility used to, this would allow EF to work in a similar fashion where healing the same person isn’t harmful, but it still keeps that HoT flavor.

Life Cocoon – Okay seriously, this isn’t a tank CD and never has been. We’ve been saying this every expansion now, but if the HoT mechanic is going to exist, it should persist even after the shield is gone and then it might come close to being a tank CD.

Example changes:

Allow the HoT increase to persist after the shield is broken – the shield gets gobbled way too easily and the new artifact trait makes the HoT increase even more attractive, but then makes every MW in the world sad when it does nothing because Life Cocoon is eaten in a single melee swing from a boss.

Do something other than an absorb – damage reduction, a big heal, whatever. If it’s the absorb keeping the spell from being allowed to be good, then just don’t have it absorb anymore. Legion is the expansion of getting rid of absorbs, so this should make sense.

Utility

This word has been abused by people much like “clunky” used to, but to clarify I am discussing “utility” as being the following: spells that do not heal, absorb, or otherwise block damage from occurring yet are still useful to raids. For example, Revival in this context is not utility, but a healing tool. Tiger’s Lust would be considered a “utility” because it is a speed increase that can be used on another individual. Roll would not be a “utility” because no one else in the raid cares that the MW is using Roll.

With that out of the way, the problem with MW utility in Legion is that most of the useful abilities from WoD are gone. The ability to do more damage than other healers, to solo otherwise un-soloable mechanics, and burst huge damage on demand have all disappeared with the removals of Crane Stance, the lowering of damage reduction on Diffuse Magic, and the removal of Touch of Death respectively. Mistweavers are left with Tiger’s Lust, the slow around Transcendence from an artifact trait, and Leg Sweep or Ring of Peace as utility.

The remaining utility combined mostly involves CC, which is rarely, if ever, useful. Other healers also have comparable abilities anyways. Tiger’s Lust is the single worst granted movement speed increase after Body and Soul, Angelic Feather, and Wind Rush Totem and rarely makes any kind of difference.

Meanwhile, spells like Wind Rush Totem, the Blessings, and Discipline’s natural damage output trump the entirety of MW’s utility that is left. This leaves Mistweavers in an awkward situation where being of the same “healing value” as other healers would lead one to lean towards other healers automatically because Mistweavers do not bring any non-healing abilities that are of particular value to raids. With that in mind, here are some examples from the Mistweaver community of abilities that would be interesting to have:

Surrounding the Mistweaver in Mists of Pandaria, doing X cool effect for Y seconds with Z cooldown where X could be:

Movement speed increase

Some kind of protection (cannot have DoTs applied maybe because hidden by the mists?)

Delayed death effect (DK’s Purgatory effect on everyone inside for duration)

Making everyone inside invisible! (Shaohao disappearing Pandaria)

All heals from players inside do damage (AoE Nature’s Vigil)

Passives:

Renewing Mist has a chance to restore resources

Some kind of raid damage increasing aura

Gust of Mists reduces damage taken by target by X% for Y seconds

Renewing Mists gives some kind of buff (avoidance, mastery, leech?) when it leaves a target until they drop below 90% health again

Transcendence spirit doing something better than a slow (increased healing, run speed?)

Soothing Mist beam slows enemies that it crosses

Other actives:

Rolling across friendlies gives them X% movement speed for Y seconds

Clicking on a Chi Torpedoing MW allows you to get swept along for the ride

Blessing of Niuzao: Summon Niuzao to bolster your tanks, linking their health and reducing the damage they take by 10%

Activating Transcendence: Transfer gives some kind of buff (movement speed) to allies around where you teleported to.

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T17: The Tier That Never Was

The first tier of every expansion always carries some volatility with it. The grand designs of new expansion systems have to have their kinks ironed out, whatever the new raiding model is has to be adjusted to, and everyone has to gear up more in a few weeks than they will in the rest of the expansion. However, this has always died down after a few weeks in the past. Maybe huge changes would come in the first major patch just two or three months into the first raid tier, but from that point on the tier was pretty calm in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. That point has still not arrived yet in Warlords of Draenor, and it has nearly invalidated Tier 17 for the vast majority of guilds that raid and progress on a set schedule in the hardest raid difficulty.

Highmaul’s 1 Week Per Boss

The first major blunder that prevented the tier from ever stabilizing to the normal raiding experience was a strange notion that if players had 7 weeks to clear a 7 boss raid that they would somehow be nearly at that raid’s loot level by the time Blackrock Foundry came out. This isn’t just evident in BRF’s early bosses, but also Imperator Mar’gok’s tuning which left Highmaul with a Firelands-esque difficulty curve in which the first 6 bosses are jokes compared to the final boss, but this time without even time to gear up to kill him for anyone but the fastest 200 guilds in the world. This was also during a time with many holidays around the world, so not only were people on a clock, but they were on a clock during the busiest time of year.

Why didn’t we see guilds just fit Highmaul bosses in where they were easier than the next BRF boss, like we saw in T14 with MSV? Well, for guilds that didn’t get to farm 7/7M Highmaul for two or three weeks before BRF, gear was still a huge issue. My guild specifically had a 677 ilvl raid on some of our last Mar’gok pulls before BRF came out, which was lower than what heroic BRF dropped. When heroic BRF gear was available, Mythic Highmaul gear was instantly worthless. It wasn’t worth the time to go kill 6 bosses with only a 20 person raid where some were still somewhat difficult when we could just steamroll Heroic Foundry and get the same gear, but more of it and with more stat variety. All it takes is a look at WowProgress to see that most guilds abandoned all notions of Mythic Highmaul as soon as BRF came out because anyone that wanted to eventually kill Blackhand couldn’t waste their time killing bosses that gave bad loot drops. This was different from T14 because you could not go kill bosses on Normal mode until after you decided you were done with Heroic for the week in that raid, so it was easier to bounce back and forth between raids when claiming gear from one instance meant you couldn’t go progress there anymore that week.

This tier feels like it isn’t even really a tier because I still can’t figure out whether Highmaul was its own tier (regardless of what Blizzard says) or whether it just never mattered at all, because it certainly isn’t the same tier as BRF.

Hotfix Abuse

I don’t need to tell everyone that the sheer volume and magnitude of stat-affecting hotfixes this tier has been unacceptably high. We’ve had trinkets changing stats every month, ability damage and healing going up and down every week or two, and the two largest hotfixes the game has ever seen: directly changing the value of a secondary stat (haste) and directly increasing everyone’s item levels. I say that this is the tier that never was because I haven’t been able to just sit down and play the game since this tier started because I have to look over my shoulder every day to make sure that I know about radical game-changing hotfixes as soon as possible. It has become common practice for people to refresh the hotfix blog post in the middle of raids to make sure there’s nothing that drastically changed while we were sitting there trying to play the game.

WoW in the past 4 months has been more about predicting and reacting to hotfixes than it has been figuring out the current game itself, and that needs to stop. Raid tiers have always been about a set of content that is released and remains relatively unchanged until its completion. We always knew what the game was generally going to be like for the next 4-6 months, not having to be paranoid that a strategy for a boss or the entire way we have set up our gear or our raid will be invalidated on any given day. The least Blizzard could do is hold these massive changes, announce them ahead of time, and deploy them on a Tuesday instead of in the middle of a raid week.

Blackrock Foundry: Live Beta Testing

Blackrock Foundry was released and hadn’t even been tested in months. The Dungeon Journal was flat-out wrong for half of the abilities in the raid, and its damage values are still incorrect on just about every boss (sometimes not even having different values for different difficulties). Some of the mechanics still didn’t even work as intended several weeks after its release, like Beastlord Darmac’s Pin Down originally hitting everyone within 25 yards of himself instead of the spear, or Gruul’s Inferno Slice DoT obviously not being short enough to do one slice on 3 different groups. Kromog can still randomly skip Rune of Grasping Earth on Mythic sometimes, totally eliminating any concern about his enrage timer if RNG lands your way. Let’s not even get into the insanity of Blast Furnace when guilds first reached it on Mythic and another absurd hotifx that followed of entirely removing healing aggro from tank specializations.

Why did Foundry have to come out as early as it did? It was a buggy mess, came out just 3 weeks before patch 6.1 did (seriously, it couldn’t wait until then?), and created the entire item level problem in the first place that has now invalidated all DPS checks in BRF. By forcing BRF live when it wasn’t ready, Highmaul was neutered, progression on the first 5 bosses has been largely determined by whether or not guilds went to Beastlord and Gruul before or after they were nerfed to the ground, and it’s forced even more hotfixes in a time when everyone is already suffering from fatigue at the rapid changes.

____

This tier has been a mess. The entire time has felt like a beta test still. Hotfixes have been pushed through like PTR builds and even later. Content is deployed at the strangest of times that didn’t make any sense except to fulfill a stubborn original projection that BRF would come out “8 weeks” (I guess someone forgot that Mythic was delayed a week) after Highmaul. Some fights in BRF had bugs when they went live that were reported literally 4 months earlier in Beta that were simply never fixed.

I’m still kind of having fun because I’m a little crazy, but these past few months have been the most stressful of any tier I’ve raided in the last 5 years. I’m going to look back on this the same way I look back on Trial of the Grand Crusader, thinking to myself, “thank the Titans that’s over with.”

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Final Boss #74 – Luun & Totalchai: Brewmaster Monk

Hey everyone. I haven’t been writing much lately because I’ve been very busy, but I did get the chance to be on FinalBossTV and have a nice chat with Bay and Luun about Brewmasters. Remember that all of my Brewmaster-specific work is over at http://totalsbrewtalk.net these days. Check out the show, enjoy.

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