Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Look, I'm a Rogue. I'm not supposed to have more health than a Prot Pally."

The past week or two's worth of random battlegrounds has seen a dramatic rise in a rather disconcerting trend:  I've got the high health.

That's not how random battlegrounds are supposed to work.

You're supposed to have a mix of players, or at possibly a premade of a guild/arena group in the mix.  And really, I see a lot of the latter on the Horde side:  4 out of every 5 random BGs I'm in involve a Horde premade of some sort.*  But even without the premades, I can see the health of each enemy player, and they follow the standard pattern of high to low health:  tanks > plate DPS/locks > leather DPS > other cloth DPS.

However, the Alliance health numbers are all over the map, with the lone exception that my Rogue is always in the top two in health.

I knew what my max health with Malevolent PvP gear was (360k-ish), and what my max health with Tyrannical gear was (420 ish).  I'm now part of the way through getting Grievous gear, which puts me in around 450k health.  But most of my random BG teams have health in the 350k range, with some players around 410k and the fresh L90s at less than 300k.**

That means that Alliance teams are typically undergeared and severely outgunned by Horde teams.

How undergeared?  Well, I know that by only running random BGs, I've fallen behind the arena players by an additional Grievous piece***, or two if you count the 1250 point gear and take this week into account. That's enough of a difference for a maximum geared Hunter (plus current raid tier gear) to 4-5 shot me, as happened multiple times last night.****  And if I'm at max PvP gear without running arenas, imagine what it's like for someone with a half Malevolent/ half Tyrannical set.

I was in a Twin Peaks BG this morning and I watched it happen.  We even had more than the usual number of healers at four (!) whereas the Horde only had one, and our health was actually decent for a change (averaged in the low 420s.)  But the Horde side, where I counted 6-7 players at 480k health and higher, simply cut through our side like a hot knife through butter.  Putting it in a different way, the Horde was able to out-DPS four healers in a 10v10 match.  That we were lacking in strategy --only about 1/3 of the team was trying to get the flag at any one time-- was almost immaterial when 2 healers in a convoy couldn't keep a Shaman or myself upright.

Such a DPS imbalance in random BGs is worrisome, particularly when in arenas/rateds at least you're paired against teams with similar ratings.  That doesn't guarantee similar teams, but it sure helps in evening out the skill levels.  Shouldn't there be at least a reasonable attempt at matching up the iLevels of players in a 10s or 15s random BG so you don't have slaughters like this one?

But then again, I've seen weird groupings in randoms.  Like six rogues on one side in WSG.  Or seven hunters vs. five locks in AB.  When I get to a random that's not raid size, I quickly check our listings.  If I see more than three rogues in a 10s or four in a 15s, I'll voluntarily drop, telling the group there's no way you can win with this many rogues.  I can go blow off 15 minutes soloing Pit of Saron or Halls of Lightning instead of getting frustrated when I'm being farmed by a Mal'Ganis or Tichondrius premade.


BlizzCon is this week, so I presume that on Friday we'll hear about the new WoW expac.

Unless we won't.

I'll concede that it's entirely possible that The Dark Below is going to be the name of the next WoW expac, but in terms of Blizzard history they are very late in announcing an expac after the last major patch for the current expac drops.  Perhaps Blizz saw that extended beta as a big part of the reason why their subs dropped and are swinging heavily toward the "don't tell them anything until we're just about to release it" Apple-style presentation.  The risk for this is to have an unstable release where people have major problems at launch (see:  Diablo III).

But here's an idea:  maybe Blizz is going to go for a lot of smaller expacs rather than one big one every two years.  What about the possibility of new content every year --ala SWTOR and GW2-- with 2-3 patches accompanying it?  More content, quicker, so people will fork over $20 for an expac every year rather than $35 every two years.

Or make Wow F2P, but gateway raids and arenas to subs only?  That would enable Blizz to keep most of their subs who live for raiding or arenas/rateds, but allow the casuals to drop in and out as necessary.  Of course, a cash shop would be needed to pump the casuals for money, as Blizz would be giving up a lot of money in subs to do this.  But it is more of a likelihood than I considered before.

Either way, in two days we'll see what happens.  One thing I will bet money on is that while their subs are down, don't count Blizz out just yet.  They're not the same crew running things during vanilla and BC, but they're not going to screw up their IP.

At least I don't think so.

*For the sake of simplicity, I'm focusing on 10 and 15 man BGs.  the 40 man raid BGs will almost always have a guild group in the mix due to the size of the teams.

**I've said it before and I'll say it again:  chain running AV and IoC for an Alliance player is the quickest way to get geared up with Honor level gear.  And for a plate wearer, that'll put you on par with my health.

***Merely running random BGs will get you a max of 1800 Conquest points a week, while arenas will get a max of 2200 Conquest points.  If you want to keep up with the Joneses, you have to run arenas, which is suicide to most Mists-era Rogues when paired against other classes of equal skill.

****You get used to the routine:  either they spot you lurking about or they ride in when you're trying to help finish off an enemy by a flag.  They send their pet after you, use their Deterrence to deflect your blows, and then drop some traps to slow you while jumping backward to rain down hell while you try to run after them. You can't run quickly because you likely blew your escape CDs on getting away from the Concussive Shot and/or captured by a net.  And since some of the Hunter's DoTs aren't removable by Cloak of Shadows, you can't Vanish.  You're a sitting duck.


  1. I thought the amount of lost subs was pretty low considering the point of the expansion we're in. I for one would love the smaller once a year expansions, hopefully we're going to find out at least a little soon.

    1. It depends on the server you're on, but Ysera has taken a huge hit. Once the numbers started dropping, some of the big raiding guilds that were left split for other servers, and things just snowballed from there.

      As for the subs themselves, they started dropping very early in the expac, much sooner than had happened before. I'm curious about this previous quarter's numbers, because by now there's been an announcement about the next expac and yet it's not happened. (Probably tomorrow, tho, but far too late to stabilize numbers.)

      Something I hadn't thought about before is that the new XBox One and the PS4 might draw people away from WoW. The Activision portion of Activision/Blizzard might not be concerned with the latest Call of Duty out there, but the Blizzard side of the business might be looking at expanding in that direction instead of focusing on WoW.