Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What is Blizzard Smoking?

In my last post I talked a little about the new set bonuses. This was my reaction to the first 4T9 set bonus of 5% Crit chance to Starfire.

I'm sure my first reaction was the same as most of yours when I saw the 4T9 set bonus. "That sucks." It's obviously worse then 4T7, and there is no way it can compete with 2T8 with the change to Eclipse. If this goes live no moonkin is going to wear 4 pieces of T9 gear.

My second reaction was "This has to be a place holder." Its not uncommon for Blizzard to put old information in tooltips in early versions of the patches. You may remember that early versions
of the Idol of the Crying Wind had the same tooltip as as our current SF idol. Since the 4T8 set bonus is so obviously underpowered and an exact copy of the 4T6 set bonus, the 4T9 set bonus has to be a place holder.
Well, as you probably already know, the speculation that the original 4T9 was a place holder was correct. However, the new set bonus is equally lame.

4 piece - Increases the critical strike chance of your Starfire and Wrath spells by 3%.
What the heck is Blizzard smoking?

Seriously! Who thought this set bonus was a good idea?

This is just wrong in so many ways, I'm having a really hard time knowing where to begin.

I don't assume that creating set bonuses is easy. It's got to be difficult to continually come up with new ideas, that have a significant impact, but that is similar in strength to other tier bonuses. However, this set bonus is just lazy and stupid. Lets look at the T7 set bonus for comparison.
4T7 - Your Wrath and Starfire spells gain an additional 5% critical strike chance.

I don't really have a problem with Blizzard recycling an old set bonus. We all loved 4T7, but what sense does it make to put a nerfed 4T7 set bonus on a higher level of gear?

Also, I've never used a lore argument before, but what sense does this make from a lore perspective. Are you telling me that the Ardent Crusade can't equal the craftsmanship of the Kirin Tor, let alone improve on it? If this goes through it will make the Ardent Crusade look like a bunch of wimps that want to play with sticks by a cliff.

My guess is that Blizzard thinks that T7 as a whole was too good for the ilevel, and that with T8 and T9 they have been trying to scale it back. I will also say that blizzard is somewhat shackled by the quality of 2T8. Assuming that it is not nerfed, that is a hard set bonus to beat with the changes to Eclipse.

I think I understand the difficulties of the situation, but I also think they are making more mistakes in the ways they are trying to deal with these issues. If you make an early set bonus two powerful, the best way to handle it is to hold line or maybe slight nerfs. In this case 3% crit to Wrath and Starfire is a HUGE nerf. I haven't done the math yet, but I doubt you will people wearing 4T9. If they do it will only be with the highest iLevel gear, because that is the only level at which the stats have an opportunity to over come the set bonus nerf.

One other suggestion before I move on to another topic. If our going to copy a set bonus, take another look at 4T5. Every one loved that set bonus. If you expanded it to have a relationship with IS and Wrath also, I think everyone would be happy.

Please Give Feedback:
Convenently Ghostcrawler has given us a place to comment on the set bonuses. I strongly encourgage everyone to go to this thread and express your feelings on the new set bonuses. I assume that most (if not all of you) will be saying something negative about the 4T9 set bonus. That is great and I agree with you. However, I want to remind everyone to be polite, constructive, and possibly say something nice about the 2T9 set bonus.

Tier 9 Costs:
It looks like they are changing the way you build your tier set. Currently tokens drop off of specific bosses for a specific armor slot. (ie Yogg 25 drops the shoulder token). Well, it looks like they are changing this in a couple of ways. The first change is that the first two levels of Tier 9 gear will be completely purchasable using Emblems of Triumph, and there doesn't appear to be another way to pick up this gear. The top level of tier gear will still use the token system, but the tokens won't be tied to a specific armor slot. It looks like they will still be tied to a set of classes.

I have a couple of reactions to this. On the positive side the token change is a good idea. It will make the tokens more useful, and few of them will go to off specs or shards soon after the patch.

On the flip side, I have a big problem with the lower to levels of tier sets being purchase able with emblems. First of all whats the incentive to buy the 232 iLevel tier set when the 245 ilevel tier set costs just 50% more? When you get enough Emblems to buy the first level of gear you will have a choice. To I spend all the badges now and wait 3 weeks to upgrade, or do I wait a week and get even better gear?

Obviously we don't complete know how the system will work, but there are a lot of potential problems. If the Tier tokens are to easy to get, the emblem tiers will be almost completely ignored. If the tier tokes are to hard to get then it will take a really long time to build a set. Finally as I said above there is no real incentive to go for the 232 iLevel set.

I think they need to scale it back to a little more like the current system. Have the top level tokes drop off of 25 man raids. Have a lower level token drop off of 10 man raids, and I think it would be a great idea to have the lowest level tier be purchasable with emblems. That way all three levels have some level of desirability.

Other Changes:

  • You may have seen this quite from Neth:

    We wanted to give everyone a very early heads-up that, in response to player requests, we’re developing a new service for World of Warcraft that will allow players to change their faction from Alliance to Horde or Horde to Alliance.
    This is very interesting in a lot of ways, and I think it will cause a lot of headaches for who ever is in charge of designing it. For instance, what do you do about quests? If you level to 80 as Alliance, do you have all the horde specific quests still available? Also what about reputations? If I'm exalted with all of the Alliance reputations do I be come exalted with all of the Horde reputations? What if I'm only exalted with half of them?

    See, it poses a lot of questions but it will also give Blizzard some new tools. I think the real reason Blizzard is doing it is to try and balance the factions on some servers. Take my server for instance. We are very Alliance dominated. I think once this service becomes available Blizzard will open up free faction transfers to try and get some of the guilds to switch over. This may be particularly useful on a sever like EU-Magtherdon that is completely Horde dominated.

  • Expendable Raid Lockouts: Blizzard hasn't announced this yet but it is popping up on the PTR. With this new feature you will be able to extend your raid lock out for another weeks. Some of you may be wondering why anyone would want to do this, but I think it is a big boost for guilds with lighter raid schedules.

    Let me use my own guild as an example as to why this as big bonus. My 10man group is currently working on Mimiron Hard mode and will focus on General and Yogg after that. Last night we had several sub 5 percent wipes, and are very close to killing him. The problem is that because the instance resets tonight we have to fight through 4 bosses just to attempt him again. If we get him down quickly then we have to kill another 3 bosses to work on General. The gear isn't a big concern for us, so we probably wouldn't mind extending last weeks raid ID. What we would lose in gear we would be more than made up for in time.

    This obviously won't matter to the guilds with really high activity, but for guilds like my that can't play that much this will help.


Macbook said...

I want to smoke whatever the guy who thought of our 4pc T9 bonus is smoking.

That is all.

Tsunami said...

Unfortunately, we Europeans are not deemed worthy of GhostCrawlers time, I have always thought of you, Murmers et al as the keepers of my vote.

Not really meant as a moan at inequality and all that, but hopefully it helps you know how much faith is being rested in your hands from those that cannot speak up for themselves.

Kalon said...

Really excellent post that echoes a lot of what I was thinking - enough so that I stole a bit of it for my own. :)

Diermaker said...

Item - Mage T9 4P Bonus (Fireball, Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, and Arcane Blast) - Increases the critical strike chance of your Fireball, Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, Arcane Missiles, and Arcane Blast spells by 5%.

So its ok for Mages to get 5%

Anonymous said...

I think Mage's have been complaining about boomkins out dpsing them.

Jacemora said...

As far as tokens for T9 go I think Blizzard is just opening up more options for people with less time.

Top ILvL gear will be had by those with time to raid. Even those people through various DKP systems might want to fill gaps using the lower tier gear. The lowest of T9 will go to players that just have enough badges or have something come up where they know they don't have even 1 more hour to get more badges for whatever RL reason.

I sort of like the new way, it makes sense on many levels and it's only drawback would be people farming the easiest bosses for best T9. I don't have a problem with this though as progression should be more about boss kills and achievements than what gear you were able to obtain as again through DKP people could still miss out on certain pieces of gear using the old system.

I know people that were present for many Kel kills that didn't get T7 helm just like people that downed Vashj that didn't get T5 helms while we tossed many a token on the way there every week.

rinku said...

had a chat about this with a mage blogger.. 3% crit for us to spells we do 70%+ damage with should be in line with 5% crit for spell they do 40% with.

its not extremely awesome setbonus I know, but thats more because 2pt8 is just too good in next patch.

Anonymous said...

I want to know why Bliz claims that itemization is 'fixed' for us ferals. when t8 is really a DPS set and t9 is looking like a tank set.. how is that proper itemization? Not to mention, where are the FERAL TANKING rings, necks, and cloaks? WTB rings necks and cloaks with high stam, agi/dodge and not wasted points on shield block, parry, and defense... Sorry forcing me to use an inferior mitigation-wise dps item is not the answer. Will they ever tire of making arena gear the best tanking gear you can get?

Whalen Rozelle said...

Amen. This is sheer idiocy. Must have been a finger-slip on the numberpad or something, because any person with a shred of a brain can tell that 3% is less than 5%...

2t8+2t9 for life?

-Fowltempered of Legions

Maestro said...

I posted a comment on that thread but I feel that it is likely to get passed over. I'm copying it here, just so its a little more visible.
Balance Druids:
I am wholly satisfied with the 2T9 bonus for balance druids. It is the 4T9 that bothers me. Frankly, I would even be disappointed with the re-use of the 4T7 bonus. I'd like, instead to offer a few suggestions.

I was looking at the Feral druid 4 piece when I was struck with an idea. Currently, in PvE, Brambles is an under-represented talent. Now I don't presume to know whether Blizzard intends that talent to be primarily PvP or not, but in a PvE environment, it just yields too little visible DPS to pick up in a raid environment.

Enter a new 4T9 bonus: Reduce the cooldown on your Force of Nature spell by 60 seconds (33%).

I went conservative there because I honestly don't have a parse set in front of me to see the amount of damage that Treants are contributing. Ideally, I'd like to see the cooldown cut in half. However, I think this set bonus has merit because it gives a few talents more viability within the raid environment.

Now don't get me wrong, we could stay inline with mages and get a flat 5% crit to nukes from this set bonus, but that seems rather dry and unimaginative. I'd prefer to see some spice. I plan on taking this proposal a step further on my blog and crunching some numbers to see what kind of cooldown reduction would be needed to equate 3% and 5% crit to our main nukes.
This will likely happen sometime next week as I have a few more comments about PTR stuff to push through first.

Lherin said...

@several people.

Why are people comparing us to mages? Or more exactly, why are we comparing our bonus to the mage bonus? Last time I checked we didn't do mage DPS. Last time I looked on WMO I saw plenty of mages on the front page, but I didn't see any moonkin. I don't really see the purpose in comparing bonuses between classes that don't do the same dps.

If the mage bonus is mediocre, that's a problem for mages, but I don't see why that should affect us.

Znheb said...

To me the 4T9 set is not a mistake. I think Blizzard want us to play with 2T8 (heavy eclipse) and 2T9 (moonfire DoTs can crit).

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that the 4T9 bonus is just an error. I think, the bonus won't increase your critical strike CHANCE but your critical strike DAMAGE by 3%.

Wouldn't that make sense?

Although I admit, I like Maestro's suggestion for a new bonus, because I like my treants. :)

Anonymous said...

I really dislike the suggestion for a new set bonus to reduce cooldown on force of nature. The main point of the set bonuses is that they should not be situational, if anything our treants are just that. Any boss that have say a 1 sec ticking aura, and suddenly our set bonus is useless.

The reason why adding crit/haste/damage to spells are such well liked set bonuses is because they work always.

Graylo said...

I am a Moonkin Mobilizer. :D

You guys are awesome. I posted my comments about 4T9 bonus and 50% of the comments after mine are from moonkin. Who knows if anything will change, but at the least we are giving them lots to think about. I also want to thank you guys for the overall general tone of the posts. Yelling and Screaming won't help our cause and I'm glad to see you guys have resisted it and presented reasonable arguements.

Once again, awesome job.


The European forums may not get the blue posts that the US forums do, but I encourage you and all of my European readers to post something on your forums. At the very least they will be read by CMs and hopefully be passed on to the developers. It can't hurt.

Maestro said...


I've compared us to mages because we are a ranged, nuke based DPS spec. I've also compared us to mages because I have seen what is going on in the tanking world. Set bonuses are becoming homogenized for tanks, affecting similar abilities for the different classes. I can't help but extend that to all class types as Blizzard tends to do that.

@Anon 2 after me

I hear you absolutely and completely, I really do. However our Treants are as flimsy as they were once and given the viability of the shaman pets, I'm expecting to see some Treant love in the near future. The only problem is that we have bigger fish to fry before we address out concerns about them.

I merely offered my suggestion as an alternative to get the creative juices flowing. I don't actually expect to see it in game but I would like to look away from the standard crit/damage buff to certain spell that has no real impact on playstyle. 4T8 is a great example of such a set bonus.

Hamlet said...

I'm not sure it's worth all this fuss.

1) Comparing it to the 4T7 is pretty pointless. Set bonuses aren't stats; they don't have to scale coherently from tier to tier. The only real issue is that the upgrade paths work (i.e. why they buffed 2T8 on the 3.1 PTR to be stronger than 4T7). Which brings us to:

2) Being weaker than 2T8. But here's the thing. 2T8 was a nice strong set bonus before the 3.2 Eclipse change. Now it's an extremely strong set bonus (~350 DPS typically). Nothing they intentionally design into the 4T9 slot is going to outpace that anyway, so 4T9 is irrelevant. The only way to make 4T9 beat 2T8+2T9 is to nerf 2T8. Which brings us to:

3) The DPS bump we're all looking forward to in 3.2 relies heavily on 2T8. The 6-8% we've all been estimating will take a huge cut (more than half) if 2T8 isn't around. A 4T9 buff and corresponding 2T8 nerf in order to make 4T9 wearable will result in a worse DPS position for us during the 3.2 cycle.

Lherin said...


Here's the problem. The tanks all do exactly the same job. There needs to be a certain amount of parity amongst tanks because the second one tank becomes superior, the other tanks are shunned, since you only bring between 2-3 tanks for a raid.

DPS is completely different. Moonkins are not on par with mages, and they never will be. The stated intent is that mages should always be doing more damage than us, all things being equal. There is no parity that needs to be achieved between mages and moonkin. So comparing the set bonuses between us and them doesn't seem to be particularly useful to me.

There's no such thing as a pure tank or a pure healer. Those roles can only be fulfilled by hybrids. The only role that has been given that distinction in the game is DPS. Our role is not treated like the other two. All DPS are not created equal and that's exactly how the devs want it.

Macbook said...

The 3% DAMAGE increase (someone mentioned that here), is definitely something I would like to see as well.

Anonymous said...


If the tier gear, and I mean all 4 pieces since it would be pointless to create 4 piece set if you were only ever going to use two, don't scale as the new content develops then what is the point of A) Creating it and B) us bother to get it?? The 4T9 set bonus has to out shine it's predecessors otherwise you defeat the point in making it.

Phil said...

My guild is to small to 25 man it so I pug when I want good gear, its sad but true, i dont really even like the 25 man raids... maybe i am just a downer lately..

~Gargen of Vek'nilash

Anonymous said...

It's funny how people think they should have perfect abilities and gear. Hint: the game's meant to be a challenge, and you're given limited resources with which to play it. You aren't meant to be perfect, and you're meant to have to put up with some disadvantages. You honestly think the developers don't know that certain set bonuses might be less than awesome? You think they just smoke something and bash on keyboards until set bonuses come out?

If you can show that you're at a significant disadvantage compared to another class, though, that's a different matter, and something that the developers take a lot more seriously.

nin said...

You're missing the point.

The point is that it's in the best interest of the developers to make new gear more attractive than old gear, not that they should make it as perfect as possible.

Us using old tier gear because it's better than the new tier isn't something Blizzard want, so I'm not really sure what you're raging against here Anon.

Graylo said...


1) I agree that Set bonuses don't necessarily have to scale in a clear way from tier to tier. However, 4T9 is a copycat set bonus, and is a nerf to a set bonus already released in this expantion. As a generally rule I think higher tiers should be superior to lower tiers at least at first glance. Therefore I think it just looks wrong to see 4T7 = 5%, but 4T9 = 3%. It just doesn't look right and if Blizzard is going to copy old set bonuses they shoudln't nerf them.

2) I completely agree that 2T8 is going to be difficult to work around. If they keep it as is, then it is going to be very difficult to match it. While I have no problem with using 2T8 well into Tier 9, I still don't think that 4T9 should be so obviously inferior to prior set bonuses. It just looks bad.

3) "A 4T9 buff and corresponding 2T8 nerf in order to make 4T9 wearable will result in a worse DPS position for us during the 3.2 cycle." --- You can't possibly know this without knowing what a buffed 4T9 looked like.


Who said our gear and abilities should be perfect? I completely agree that his game is ment to be a challenge but I doubt Set bonuses are ment to be the place where those challenges are implemented.

Those challenges should probably come from the encounter your fighting.

Topher/Menglor said...

"I think they need to scale it back to a little more like the current system. Have the top level tokes drop off of 25 man raids. Have a lower level token drop off of 10 man raids, and I think it would be a great idea to have the lowest level tier be purchasable with emblems. That way all three levels have some level of desirability."

I guess the irony in your post is lost when your saying dont allow scrubs to get my 25 man gear, but its ok for them to have the 10 man stuff.

Elitist BS, oh dont give my gear to just anyone, I have to earn it.

myself I think eveyrone should have a go at the gear via token or what not. if you want to buy gear sure. if you want to get it from raiding sure.

But putting yourself above others, because you know 24 people instead of only 9 is ridiculous.

nin said...

First of all, I don't think you know what the word "irony" means.

Secondly, let's curb in on the righteous anger a bit here and actually read what Graylo wrote. The problem is that Blizzard is designing two sets of gear that will be close to undesirable because the highest tier is so easily accessible.

What is the point of designing gear that no one wants?

Kring said...

They should charge 50 emblem for the lowest tier and 25 emblem plus the 50-emblem-piece for the next tier.

That would allow you to upgrade yor gear as soon as you have enough emblems.

Graylo said...


First off, I want to say I was very close to deleting your comment. In the future think about how your comments sound and try and be a little more polite next time.

Second, you completely missed my point. The problem with the current set up is that the first tier has very little desireability because you can get the next tier for just a few emblems more. Also, if the top tier tokens are easibly obtained then neither of the first two tiers will be desirable because you will get the tokens before you can get enough badges to buy a set.

Finally, at no point did I call anyone a scrub or the like. I do think 25man gear should be superior to 10man gear because I think there should be greater rewards for greater challenges. And in most cases 10mans are easier then 25mans

If you want to disagree with me, that ok. Just do so politely.


I like that idea.

sylly said...

yea the resto T9 set has less spirit than the T7. I took a look at the progression of tier sets from T7 to T9 on my own blog recently and was totally left scratching my head. Looks as though they're finding subtle ways to swing the nerf bat to me.

kaillon said...

The T9 set thread in the wow forums is filled with druids and they all say the same thing. No one like the 4T9 set bonus, I only hope that the overwhelming response is enough to bend Blizz's ear.

Great job Graylo & all on making us fellow druids aware and informed.



Tsunami said...

Item - Druid T9 Balance 4P Bonus (Starfire) - Increases the damage done by your Starfire and Wrath spells by 4%.

Glad there is no mention of a T8 2piece nerf at the same time... So far at least.

Lissanna said...

They changed it again. You're going to get 4% damage to starfire & wrath... and you're going to like it!

kaillon said...

Lol still a nerf over previous sets. O and btw nerfing T8 to make T9 look better is a sad 'out'.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone done the math how much the new 4t9 bonus will be in dps compared to the 2t8?

hamlet said...

The new 4T9 is worth about a 210 DPS in my current gear, whereas 2T8 is worth about 370 DPS (using my WrathCalcs model for 3.2).