Pondering Warhammer stats for WPDK

•September 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Warrior Priest/Disciple of Khaine, for those who haven’t read the earlier posts.  Anyway… I was playing with some of the stats and effect numbers for this class.  Basically, what do you pick by preference?

In this article I’m looking at one pair – Strength vs Willpower – and looking solely under one consideration: healing.  Note again this has no application for the other healer pairs.  Only this class has the damage=>healing mechanism.

Inevitably the answer boils down to “it depends.”  The question that should be asked next is, “It depends on what?”  To begin, it depends on how much you plan to (or your play uses) the d=>h mechanism spells.  I am going to assume the answer is “a lot”, however.  Both careers get one of these at level 6, one at 8, and one at 30.  There’s also a tactic picked up at 11+1 (11 points, plus one to purchase the tactic) on one path of mastery.  Focusing solely on this path and picking up none of the other skills or talents makes this possible at level 27.  More likely it’s a later selection (if taken at all).  The first consideration I’ll use, then, is “assuming you’re level 10, which is better?”

The level 6 (L6) skill heals one target for 50% of damage taken, with a base damage of 75.  With no cooldown it can be cast every 1.5 seconds (GCD).  The level 8 (L8) skill heals one target for 250% of damage taken and has an 8 second cooldown.  This skill’s base damage is a bit different as it hits 1-4 times over three seconds for 75 per hit.

In a perfect and exclusive environment (using no other heals, buffs, or attacks) the normal pattern would be to cast five 6 and one 8, alternating.  Pause on this a moment as we look at what the stats add.

Strength adds damage at a DPS rate of STR/5.  Willpower adds healing at an HPS rate of WP/5.  So we can get a whole number for calculation, let us have 5 STR or WP.  OK, let’s generate some numbers.

L6 (base) = (.5 * 75)/1.5 = 25 HPS.  (that is, 50% of 75 damage, divided by the applicable time to get the per second effect.  This is the last time I’ll explain this mechanism, though it’s going to get used a lot.)

L8 (base) = (2.5 * ((75+150+225+300)/4)/3 = 156.28 HPS. (OK, one more explain.  1-4 hits of 75 each, averaged.)

Average sustained HPS = (5*25 + 156.28) / 10.5 = 26.79 HPS.  Wheeeeee.

Add 5 STR (1 DPS, notionally 1.5 damage to L6 and .75 damage to L8)

L6 (str) = (.5 * 76.5)/1.5 = 25.5.  L8 (str) = (2.5 * (757.50)/4)/3 = 157.8125.

Avg (str) = (5*25.5 + 157.8125)/10.5 = 27.12 HPS.  5 STR will increase our (perfect) healing by 0.33 HPS.

Let’s do WillPower.

L6 (WP) = L6 Base + 1 = 26 HPS.  L8 (WP) = L8 Base +1 = 157.28 HPS.

Avg (WP) = (5*26 + 157.28)/10.5 = 27.36.  Our net increase is 0.57 HPS.

Yes, I fooled you a bit.  The real answer is: if you intend to maximize healing ability, add Willpower.

In this game you never want to add just one thing.  Focusing solely upon WP will make you a glass, er, bandage.  Your healing will be quite good, but your lack of toughness and wounds, not to mention the various dodges and parries, will make you very, very vulnerable to attack.  (I will point out that by going nuts in WP your disruption rate for spells will be phenomenal.  The problem is when spells DO get through, you’re toast.)

I have no idea, yet, what the perfect balance might be.  But for healing, it’s better to add + heal than + dps.

Have fun.

An interesting complication in Warhammer

•September 26, 2008 • 4 Comments

It turns out there may be some major contributions to the constant allegations that healers don’t heal (and other classes don’t do… whatever) in Warhammer.

It seems that only the caster can see the animation for the heal.  The target only gets the little green number(s) in the midst of everything else.  And everybody else sees… maybe, the healer waving arms, but often just standing staring forward.

Some have noted that when they’re getting nuked by at least some spells they don’t see animations either – just their health bar going down.  If they happen to be engaged with a DPS class it can lead to doing the wrong defensive moves – to include standing instead of moving to break LOS.

I can’t verify either of these (yet).  But the number of posters who’ve said, “Hey, me too” to this discovery leads me to believe at least the healing issue is legit.

If I can’t see the healer tossing heals to anyone, then it makes more sense for me to be yelling about healers not doing their jobs.  Worse, if I’m trying to figure out which healer is healing me, or if there are enough heals going into the tank to make it worth my getting stuck in support in that cluster…  bleah.

I know Mythic doesn’t read this, so I’ll ask those Warhammer players reading to check if this is a problem in their system, and if so to send a bug report.

Another warhammer class overview

•September 25, 2008 • 2 Comments

Actually in Warhammer it’s “career”, but I’m writing for the non-Warhammer players.  I just finished writing what I’ve learned of the three healer classes.  As I noted among them, the Warrior Priest interests me the most of the three.  But I’ve got a couple of other specific careers that draw my attention, and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned there.

In this case I’m not going to compare the pairing of analog other than noting it exists.  In this case, we’re talking Swordmaster/Black Orc.  Tanks.

Tanks have always appealed, and while I rarely spoke of it I had a tank at a decent level in WoW.  I spent waaay too much time being Real Good with the healer to really learn my warrior, but it was a great deal of fun.  It would have been just about as popular from what I saw back then – though there is slightly more call for healers.  (In WoW, especially PVE, it’s hard to stack tanks to any useful effect.)

So anyway, the Swordmaster.  There are two types of tank on each side.  Clumsily, I’d describe one as an offensive tank and the other as defensive.  That’s terribly wrong, though.  What I’m trying to describe is the respective mechanism.  The Ironbreaker and Chosen tanks are basically rocks.  Their abilities (attacks, etc) are essentially available all the time.  Oh, there’s a bit of difference: the chosen run with auras that debuff and harm foes (AoE); the Ironbreakers get to use grudges (think rage from being hit) as more “oomph” to the actual attack they use, but they’re still pretty much all available all the time.

The Black Orc and Swordmaster are dancers – chain walkers.  They’ve got a set of acts that when done allow a second tier which if done allow a third tier which clears the chain to make them start over.  (They still have several single-shot actions like guard and challenge.  I’m talking of their main actions here.)  For some reason, this mechanism interests me more than the other.  Again, my personal preference is staying order here, but there’s enough overlap with the analog that Black Orc players can get a little use.

One of the reasons the tank appeals here is that Mythic has thought about how to answer the simple question: what use is a tank in PVP?  (To be fair other games have done that too.  WoW really warped the class – all classes – by making PVE so dominant, even to the extent of unbalancing PVP to make high-level PVE raids “play right”.)  Just as in WoW PVE, the role of the tank is simple: to be the team’s shield.  The ideal tank receives all the damage.  So, how do you make a player – who can choose to do otherwise – beat on you instead?  Well…

I’ve elsewhere mentioned collision detection.  Basically, for three seconds an opposing player cannot run through you.  There’s a bit of a tricky game here – if contact is lost and regained, the collision clock starts over.  This means tanks don’t just stand but intead make slight shifts left, right, back and forth.  Done perfectly the collision keeps going and going and going… done wrong, the other player scoots through the hole created when you went left and she went the other way.  Oops.  Now what, chief?

Taunts and challenges, CC, knockdowns and knockbacks… Not really damage, just keeping the attacker tied up and unable to dish damage.  Oh – taunts and challenges work in PVP in WAR.  Taunts mean that the attacker takes 30% more damage from you until either the time is up (15 seconds) or the attacker hits you three times.  (btw – 15 second cooldown means potentially no down time.)  Challenge?  The player(s – it’s an aoe) you’ve debuffed to 30% less damage to anybody besides you until 15 seconds or three hits on you are made.  There’s guard – you pick the friend you are guarding, and all damage they take is shared 50/50 with you.  (I REALLY wish this had been in WoW, though it would have thrown more than a few things off in Arena.)  The taunt, challenge, and guard are common to all the tanks.  And all the tanks have the CC, knockdowns, knockbacks, interrupts…  And they have damage.  Lots of damage, though they can be (and should be) outdone by the pure DPS classes.

Oh – the inevitable controversy.  The tank can two-hand or sword and shield.  (No dual wielding.)  Unsurprisingly the forums are full of “experts” telling people they have to S&B to “really” tank.  Ummm, no.  In fact, all four careers have a move or two that can only be done if they’re using 2H weapons.  The real answer is use the weapon for the situation – PVE or PVP, holding a keep vs being an offensive tank, your personal playstyle, etc.  Just as with healers, I do not believe anyone has been playing the post-beta (which had One More Patch at the last minute – and another shortly after) long enough to Know All.  Some have found a way to be Good, but… no One Way, not yet.

The battle dance of the High Elf Swordmaster appeals, so it’s another I’m considering for my main.

Continuing the overview – Warrior Priest / Disciple of Khaine

•September 24, 2008 • 5 Comments

And the caveats from the previous posts still apply.

The WPDK is, like the AMSH, another opportunity for controversy.  Just like that pairing, this pair has a dual opportunity because of it’s hybrid capability, and if it chooses to emphasize the DPS, the player should be prepared to /ignore liberally.  Again like the AMSH, this isn’t helped by the fact that for at least the first ten levels they’re pretty much as good at DPS as pure DPS.  Keeping that in mind, let’s dig into this pairing.

The WPDK has a rather different sort of mechanism.  It’s described as being a melee healer.  What this means is that the heals are short-ranged – even the longest is half of what the other two classes can manage.  And while it has a mechanism for generating what it needs to heal from a distance, it’s mainly designed to generate magic energy (no, not mana, I’ll get there) from melee attacks.  ummm, not the autostrike, but the special button attacks.  I hit my target, and somebody gets healed on the damage I did.  The more damage I do, the better the heal.

As it happens, the choice of armor (think mail) and the localized healing gives this class the opportunity to be another DPS class – a fairly heavy melee DPS that can tie up large numbers of non-tanks for quite a while.   This is the cockroach of the game.  Dedicated DPS can – especially after the first few levels – outdo this pairing.  But they do enough they cannot be ignored.  An equally useful role is the DPS linebacker – the player who intercepts enemy DPS players who’ve slipped past the tanks, catching them before they eat your clothies in the rear.  Tie them up till your heavy casters see them and turn them to ash.  Unfortunately, there’ll always be that demand for “heal me…”

The three trees, much as those of the AMSH, lend to this dichotomy of role.  There’s a slight twist here, however.  Both WP and DK have a HEAL tree, where the extra talents improve the ability to heal others.  The WP gets to choose as alternates a MELEE and SHIELD (self and friendly), or a MELEE and DEBUFF tree.  For the DK, the second tree is more powerful MELEE with pretty much no SHIELD.

One peculiarity I need to mention here.  The races from which the WPDK come have no tank career at this time. Since it’s uncommon for the other races’ tanks to come to their starting zone, at least at lower levels, this forces the WPDK to act as a tank.  This is especially true as both the DPS classes – the melee and the ranged – have lighter armor than the WPDK.  This further encourages the WPDK to think in terms of melee more than healing – even though they’re the only healer for the empire as well.  When the (allegedly free) expansion comes out that adds the empire and dark elf tanks, I expect a change to this mentality.

Races here are Human (Empire) and Dark Elf.

Personally, if I choose a healer as my main, this will be the most likely choice.  The difference is refreshing.  The ability to effectively fulfill multiple roles is intriguing.  All to me, of course.  Unto each their own – or we’d all play one class of one race, and wouldn’t that be boring.

Have fun.

Continuing the overview — Archmage and Shaman

•September 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

All caveats still apply – theorizing from external info, NOT from the game itself.

In the last post I said that if you wanted a pure healer the RPZ was probably your analog pairing of choice.  This is and is not true, and this post’s subject – the AMSH pair – is the reason why.

The RPZ was going to be a healer regardless of spec.  Our AMSH has a choice.  It starts with the fact this career pair has a dual path of strenght – damage and healing.  On paper, they’re just as good at either job – and can flip freely and without penalty from one to the other.  I say on paper…  lots of forum comments here that say that up to the point where you start the mastery (spec) work, this is absolutely true.  And you’re a very strong DPSer and/or you’re a very strong healer.  Which means that as an AMSH you stand a darn good chance of being embroiled in controversy.  I’ve mentioned that controversy before – “healers should HEAL.  If you want to be DPS, roll a [various classes]“.  Here’s the deal, before we get to the special mechanism…

We can sorta compare our AMSH to the priest, and that’s not a little bit because of the mastery tracks.  See, we’ve got one track that’s dedicated to healing.  And then we’ve got two tracks that are damage tracks.  One’s allegedly a direct damage track while the other is a DoT and Debuff focus, though both have each.  In other words, it’d be as though the WoW priest had Holy, Shadow, and the warlock Affliction talent trees.  If the AMSH specs the healing mastery, the player is a great complement to the RPZ, able to provide solid and near-continuous spike heals to mesh with the RPZ’s sustained heals.  Doing so, however, means not taking the DPS tracks.  And there…  For the WoW player, particularly one who played prior to TBC, it’s a familiar experience.  “Why are you Shadow?  We need a healer, not a knock-off Warlock.”  Even though fully specced and oriented the AMSH is a strong, powerful, and dangerous DPS player (who can provide backup heals in a pinch).  That backup point brings us to the peculiar mechanism of the AMSH – the balance trick.

No, that’s not what it’s called, but since it’s different in each career it’ll work.  Here’s the deal:  each time you cast a spell of healing, you get a balance point for the pain.  And the reverse applies.  You can only have points of one or the other, not both, and they’re capped at five points.  These points have an effect on THOSE spells if/when you cast them. They make them more powerful and/or faster.  The latter is especially useful as they can… picture casting five SW:P, and your next Greater Heal becomes an instant.  Yeah, that sort of useful.  And that leads to some of the tactical options.

Logically, the AMSH does the most healing by only casting heal spells.  As any WoW healer can tell you, however, healing is a matter of quality, not quantity.  And so it might be a lot smarter to pop some small damage spells so when the Massive Spike hits I’m ready.  Of course if I have to sustain, I can.  And by the same token, if I’ve run lots of damage spells then my “OMG I’m Under Attack” spells (there is a lot of PVP, remember) are.. no, let me rephrase.  I now have a lot more options to use as OMG spells – spells that would normally not be used due to time of cast.

The races are High Elf and greenskins (another goblin), for those who choose based upon race.  Armor is… snicker, what armor?  Well, robes, and we priests are more than aware of what THAT means in the long run.  This is another strong healer, but this one CAN be offensive instead (at the risk of receiving a lot of LRN2PLY messages).  Nobody will care how good a shadowpriest you are – you’re supposed to heal.

For me, another possibility as an alt.  I’m tired, for now, of paper armor.  Though I must admit the idea of a Warlock Priest is kind of fun…

Continuing the Overview – Rune Priest/Zealot

•September 24, 2008 • 1 Comment

Again, some caveats.  I’m not playing yet, so cannot give the little details.  This is meant as much for “figuring out what I want” as it is telling the WoW readers most of you are how these are both the same and different.  Do NOT think I’m trying to identify “best”-  not least, that’s going to depend on your play preference and biases.  (To make that plainer – I won’t be playing Destruction.  Oh, I like greenskins – on tabletop that’s one of my armies.  But just as Undead in WoW make me uncomfortable, I’m bothered by Chaos.  Dark elves are just short of being Chaos Elves — a whole nation built on the concept that cooperation and trust is fatal just doesn’t work for me, and I can’t disbelieve enough to make it work.)

Aaaanyway.  The reason I started with the Rune Priest / Zealot (henceforth RPZ) is because of the three healer types this is probably the closest thing Warhammer’s got to a “pure” healer.  Armor is between that of the Archmage/shaman (AMSH) and the melee based Warrior Priest/Disciples of Khaine (WPDK).  They’re probably the weakest (relative terms) for offensive play, but they can last and last and last with their healing.

In addition to the basic heal casts (direct, HoT and AoE) they’re probably the most prolific buffers – at least they have what appears to be the most opportunity to buff.  They’ve got a couple of things to note in addition.  First, they’ve got an interesting ‘on demand’ capability.  That is, some of their buffs come with an extra action that can be triggered by the person who was buffed.  For example, a tank could be wearing this buff that provides extra spell resistance, and in the middle of a largish pull trigger it so it does an AoE damage blast – and the spell resist continues.

The second thing to note is mastery trees.  Think spec – seriously, that’s what they are.  For the other two analog sets the choices are between healing and damage.  As I said, the RPZ is the closest to a “true” healer (from the WoW point of view), and it’s demonstrated by the trees.  Basically: Direct Single; Over Time; and AoE.  Notice I didn’t say “heal” in any of those three.  MOSTLY they are.  But there are a few damage spells, and they’re relevant to the particular mastery path.

If you’re an RPZ, you’re going to choose based on your play style as well as the demands of any groups with which you regularly play.  At this point I refuse to do theory crafting on which does how much.  Not least there are a lot of other elements that are synergistic.  (I’ve not discussed talents, gear, supporting buffs, and all the other fun that can be involved.)  You’ll choose an RPZ if you want a class that’s mostly meant as a healer, one who CAN solo stuff, but is clearly representative of the healer archetype.  (Ain’t no RPZ shadowpriests, y’all.)  On the other hand, you’re stuck with either a dwarf or a human (chaos) for your race.  If it’s race that drives you… ok.

The class appeals to me because of its familiarity.  Given I was burning out with that same familiarity, I’ll probably not choose it as my main.  An alt, though… maybe.

Pondering another set of guild loot rules

•September 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Actually, pondering a particular rule.  Now as I – and just about every other blogger that’s discussed making guilds work – have noted, deciding who gets what loot from a drop is probably THE biggest cause of guild drama.  Again repeating myself, pretty much every rule can be scammed and will be disliked by someone. They all have their flaws and weaknesses.  And as long as the guild TRUSTS that the rules will be consistently and equitably applied, they’ll generally accept them despite all the problems.

Which means the following is not a magic bullet.

I’ve recommended some rules before – and bluntly they’re for major guilds who want to deal with the large amount of paperwork.  I thought of a small, different variation I’d like to bring to the table for general consideration.  I suspect it’s not new, just that it may be something that works.

The bag of loot drops, and some of it is Really Good Stuff – the type of stuff that causes the problem.  The plan:

Everybody rolls;

High roller gets three choices:

Pick an item

Pick a person who can pick an item

Pass.

Once the high roller is done, the second highest roller goes – UNLESS he (or she) was ‘picked’ by the first roller.

If the group’s been gone through once and there is still loot, run through a second time, same rules.  After that, if you still have stuff it’s probable that nobody wants any.  Vend it, disenchant it for the magic supplies, whatever.  I’d still recommend following the order.  Three passes should get everything gone.  Heck, for most raids on which I’ve participated two will probably do it.  There’ve been rare exceptions – when every SINGLE item is designated for a particular class and you’ve only got one of that class.  As I said, “exception”.

is it perfect?  heh – absolutely not.  Is it fast and simple?  actually, yes.  Would it work?  I think so.

Feel free to use – or modify – to your heart’s (and guild’s) content.

Have fun.

 
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