Regional FlagBetter PR needed by blizzardSource
avatar
Liera
Target Source
#0 - 2010/09/18 04:59:44 PM
The healing game is changing. That in itself is enough to scare the heck out of a lot of people. Now we have a double whammy... Healing is, for the most part, being 'nerfed' from LK levels.

The game play videos that are coming out are re-enforcing these sentiments, not disproving them.

Want to change how the healing game works? Fine, your prerogative. Your data easily trumps our gut feelings. But you should realize that you are alienating a lot of your players with what you are doing.

Cataclysm has a whole bunch of great stuff coming, a lot of hard work went into it, but I can't really see past the healing changes and nerfs as ruining my game experience. If you are so convinced it will make this game more enjoyable, you probably need to start demonstrating it real soon.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#19 - 2010/09/19 05:31:32 AM
Q u o t e:
Let me try again....They are changing the game, for what they think is better. They have done a pretty terrible job explaining why it is so much better. "Better game as a whole", "fun triage", "more challenging", "less spammy", are the things thrown out on every single reply from GC.

"Better game as a whole": As a healer, I beg to differ. Ok, I won't beg, I'll play the part of the game that apparently improved.


"Better game as a whole" doesn't explain anything. It's just a goal, and one that's hard to argue. Whether these changes will make a better game is a more interesting discussion.

Q u o t e:
"Fun triage": Wtf do you think healing is now? I have fun healing people, and always have to triage.


You're fortunate if you have to triage. Many healers don't today. The typical experience is to use your fastest heal on everyone who takes any damage. You may get some amount of triage by choosing who to heal, but you won't be losing that either. If you are really choosing today which of your many heals to use, then A) you're in the minority, and B) you won't really have to relearn things for Cataclysm. You'll be ahead of the game.

The Lich King game today has additional problems. Since overhealing doesn't matter, mana regen doesn't matter. Since overhealing is typical, large heals also don't matter, which means critical heals are often wasted. This makes two of the stats that appear on your gear (Spirit and crit) not attractive, which in turn makes the minigame of choosing which piece to use and how to gem and enchant them less compelling as well.

If you just really think it's fun to just cast one heal over and over with no real repercussions for doing so while stacking a single stat on all your gear, then I guess I'll just have to accept that. It's hard for us to understand why you find that satisfying though.

Q u o t e:
"More challenging": I found heroic putricide challenging enough, thanks. The guild wants to press on to heroic sindy, I'm not sure I really need that much challenge. :) but we'll see.


Putricide was plenty challenging, but the challenge came from movement for the most part. We don't think the game is more fun if everyone has say 1-2 buttons and all of the challenge comes from the rigors of the encounter. To some extent, we've been forced to rely so much on movement fights because we can't challenge the healers otherwise. With their near-infinite mana pools and very fast spells, they would be able to handle a wide variety of situations without being challenged.

Q u o t e:
"Less spammy": So, I'm supposed to stand around and do what, exactly?


When we say "spammy" in this context, we mean using the same spell over and over. We're not talking about sitting around on your hands waiting for your mana to come back (and without the five second rule, that won't do much for you anyway).

Think of playing a healer like a real time strategy game. In the Lich King environment, your strategy is basically to crank out infantry as fast as you can and never let up. No matter what your opponent does, your job is to counter him with infantry. It doesn't matter what kinds of units he makes or whether he's going for a fast or slow buildup. Just make infantry. If your race has upgrades that affect things other than infantry, obviously they are of no use to you and you should ignore them. Cost is largely irrelevant too, since you are making one solider over and over.

In the Cataclysm environment, we want you to make a variety of units. Sometimes infantry will do the job well. Other times you may need to mix in some cavalry or siege units as well. In fact, you need to tailor what you're making to the environment. Sometimes you want cheap units. Sometimes you want expensive ones. We want you to consider your upgrades as well. Investing all of them on infantry will make less sense because you have other types of units as well. Yet you won't have enough resources so you'll have to make a decision.

That is really what we're trying to get out of the new healing model: making decisions. We think players have more fun when they are making decisions. When you make the right decision based on the information available, you feel smart. When you make the wrong decision, you feel dumb, and you might cause the rest of the group to have to work harder, or even ultimately cause a wipe.

Blizzard is investing a lot into this change... they must have better reasons then that! I want them to sell it! Front page headline "New Improved Healing System". If they can't do that, then maybe they should question all the hard work they are doing.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#20 - 2010/09/19 05:33:14 AM
Q u o t e:
The stragest thing to me is that the argument is repeatedly couched in terms of "we think this will make X or Y more fun." Now, if there' s one thing I think we're, as a group, experts on is what we think is fun. And I don't think ever in my WoW experience I've heard a healer say "I really wished I was mana starved so that I often could only use a long and cheap heal."

Yet that's the Cata design. It's like McDonald's suddenly decided to start serving tofu burgers instead of hamburgers. Except that's kind of a bad analogy because serving tofu burgers really would serve a healthy purpose. Making a video game harder serves no real purpose that should override the age-old adage of the customer is always right.


A better analogy would be a restaurant that offers a large menu when the customer only wants one thing every single meal. We're trying to broaden your palate. :)

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#62 - 2010/09/19 07:10:10 AM
Q u o t e:
What concerns a lot of healers is that we know healing is the role with the greatest potential to become overly boring or frustrating. DPS get to watch numbers roll up and have their little meter competitions, tanks are the natural leaders of the raid and usually determine strategy to a large extent, but healers... well, we're just trying to keep people alive. It's the kind of job description IT people are familiar with: we only get noticed when things go wrong, and even if it's not our fault we're likely to be blamed.


I agree with a lot of that. I have also said before that when content gets easy, the dps can still focus on trying to see just how much dps they can do. A healer can't do that. You can try to keep everyone topped off as fast as you can I suppose but at some point even that isn't too hard. Another thing healers can do though is attempt to heal the most efficiently as possible -- use the right heal for the right job and know that you never wasted a single point of mana.

DPS can be about brute power, but healing is about finesse.

I also just categorically reject the notion that because healers can be under a lot of stress that we should just make it very hard for them to fail. That's not going to attract anyone to the role except folks with inferiority complexes.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#65 - 2010/09/19 07:12:57 AM
Q u o t e:
That's certainly a scary analogy... mainly because it reflects the notion that the game developers have convinced themselves that they, rather then the players, understand what people will find fun.


I think players know fun when they see it. Most players are very qualified to recognize when something is fun. Predicting ahead of time what changes will be fun requires a lot more talent (and a whole lot of luck). I don't pretend to get it right every time.

I was mostly rejecting the notion that because players are reasonably successful today just spamming one heal all the time that we should just design the game around that.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#68 - 2010/09/19 07:16:28 AM
Q u o t e:
No one customer gets to determine what a restaurant puts on it's menu. If you no longer like their selections after it changes, you just need to find somewhere else to eat.


It's also fine to make suggestions. Most successful places of business do care a great deal about what their customers have to say. That doesn't mean your corner cafe is being remiss just because they didn't immediately act on your suggestion to switch their special to yak.

As we beat the restaurant metaphor into the ground, I'll also point out that the reason most restaurants have a variety of things on the menu is because A) folks have different tastes, B) most people get tired of eating the same thing every visit, even if they happen to love it.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#81 - 2010/09/19 07:27:15 AM
Q u o t e:
This is the first time I have got this feeling from your explanations and it's only because you said it directly. Before, the feeling I got was "less spammy" meant "casting less heals, but taking the time to decide which heal is going to be best to cast". From what I have seen, in the beta videos, it's still constant casting. Is this a gear issue, a tuning issue or intended? It doesn't seem like there is a lot of time to decide what heal is going to be best to cast and instead everyone is casting the cheap heal because that is what has been forced down their throat. The fear of going oom or not getting a heal off fast enough because you are trying to decide, seems to have led to a mindless spamming of Heal.


For the most part, you'll still be constantly casting. We do want to buy a little bit of bandwidth though. Making decisions takes actual time (fractions of seconds perhaps, but still time). In the LK healing environment even if you had a variety of effective healing spells, by the time you looked at someone's bar, decided what heal would be most appropriate, and started to cast it, the dude could very well be dead.

In Cataclysm, large health pools will keep most players up for a few hits. That gives you the opportunity to decide if someone needs a little heal or a big heal, or a slow heal or a fast heal, or if they are likely to live long enough for a powerful spell to finish its cooldown. If you use the wrong spell, the target is unlikely to die immediately, but over time you'll realize that your mana has really started to dwindle and the boss has a large health bar still left.

I've said this before, but I remember when tanking back in vanilla, a priest would call out on Vent, announcing that he had a big Greater Heal being cast. Other healers might call out when they were healing someone who suddenly took a lot of unexpected damage. That kind of coordination is very hard in today's raids because you'd only get through the B in "Big heal coming," before the target would be dead.

It's possible to slow down combat enough to provide room for decision making and communication without going to the extreme where healers are doing nothing for large stretches of time because they are so paranoid about running out of mana if they cast a heal that isn't at 100% efficiency or doesn't save a life at that moment.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#90 - 2010/09/19 07:33:11 AM
Q u o t e:
Who are the healers that are only casting one heal? I certainly don't and if I did our raid groups would have a lot more wipes than we do. I cast every heal i have pretty regularly in icc hm's (with the exception of healing touch, you got me there).


Then you already heal Cataclysm style, and you should have a very smooth transition.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#95 - 2010/09/19 07:36:37 AM
Q u o t e:
That is absolutely more balanced than what you would do in a 5 man normal cataclysm dungeon on beta. I guarantee it.


And probably more balanced than what you would do in a 5 man dungeon in Lich King. :)

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#98 - 2010/09/19 07:39:27 AM
Q u o t e:
The risk you run here is when you take something that people already find fun and change it into something that you think they will find more fun, there's a good chance they will just go do something else.


Totally. There is also a chance that some of the healers that got bored of it in LK may come back. There is a chance someone tired of their mage or warlock reads a healer thread and sees all this nuanced strategy discussion and thinks there might be something interesting there.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#104 - 2010/09/19 07:42:56 AM
Q u o t e:
How about if I already have the pony, and Ghostcrawler says "Ponies aren't fun. Here, we're going to give you an elephant, a seahorse, and a lion. But we're taking the pony, because everyone just keeps riding the pony and we don't think that's very interesting, so you don't actually find it fun. We promise." And then TAKES the pony, jams the menagerie down my throat, and then silences me when I try to say that I really just wanted to keep the pony?


Let's put real names on those mounts though and see how odd that argument sounds.

Us: We noticed you have these spells in your book called Regrowth, Nourish and Healing Touch and we think the game will be more fun if you use those in addition to Rejuvenation and Wild Growth. Paladins, we're going to ask you to cast both Flash of Light and Holy Light, and we'll give you 3 or 4 new heals as well.

You: But I like casting nothing but Flash of Light. The game is more fun for me the fewer choices I have.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#117 - 2010/09/19 07:52:38 AM
Q u o t e:
1 - You will likely run out of mana


...if you ignore what is going on in the encounter and merrily press your 2 key no matter what.

Q u o t e:
2 - Your heals will be less effective (the ones you currently use)


...so getting more Spirit on your gear will be something potentially exciting instead of something that it just taking the place of your beloved haste.

Q u o t e:
3 - Encounters will be more based on movement (this is annoying as a shammy - which is why I have no plans on leveling this toon in Cata - even though it's my 1st main)


... eh, I can't modify this one. The truth is that we'll be able to offer a wider variety of encounters because there are ways to challenge healers other than "Did you notice that one dude was about to die in the 1.5 seconds you had to save him? No? You were moving out of the slime. Sorry."

P.S. Shaman have a nice ability to heal while moving now.

Q u o t e:
4 - We (bliz) expect you to use your big heals more


... because we actually put them on your trainer and in your spell book and thought you might want to see what they do.

Q u o t e:
So if blizz wants me to use HW more, is it's cast time going to be lowered? Will tanks take less spiky damage so it's current cast time makes it viable? I don't know, but good PR would spell out some positives, and not just the negatives.


Tanks will take less spiky damage. Consider today's healing environment without spiky damage. The tank would get clobbered. You would heal her to full. The tank would get clobbered again. You would heal her to full again. This might have taken 2% of your mana, so the fight could go on like this for a long time. We introduced spiky damage because otherwise tanks would never in fact die. In Cataclysm you actually can run out of mana, so overhealing will actually be a bad thing instead of a thing of no consequence. In this way we can challenge healers in ways other than spike damage.

Q u o t e:
Healers already get yelled at when DPS do stupid things and die, and many of us are experienced enough to know if a death is our fault or not, but it's still annoying to hear the invalid complaints. If only what has been mentioned by Blizz comes to pass in Cata, it will be harder to heal in Cata. That's not necessarily a bad, thing, but if it IS harder, there will be less healers. That IS a bad thing.


This is just the "But if we made healing really, really easy, then there would be tons of healers for everyone!" argument. It falls apart when healers get bored of healing and reroll to dps.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#119 - 2010/09/19 07:53:23 AM
Q u o t e:
Maybe they didn't take the pony. But, they changed its color, made it smaller and slower. So, while I still have the pony, it isn't the same pony I had before. And, chances are, I won't want to ride it because it's so different.


In LK, your pony was as mighty as the elephant and as fierce as the lion and could swim like the seahorse, so there was just no need for any other mount.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#124 - 2010/09/19 07:57:49 AM
Q u o t e:
In this, to a certain extent, you are currently successful. However, the default position is going to remain "just keep casting the most efficient heal until you absolutely have to come off it for something better." The reason being that constantly casting the efficient heal minimizes the number of times you need to use any other heal, and all the other heals are grossly inefficient.


This is one reason why we just nerfed the medium heals.

Q u o t e:
Somewhat untrue. Possibly will change in the future as we approach 100k+ mana. It's not so much using the wrong spell as it is using any spell EXCEPT the efficient heal at the wrong time. If your mage is taking damage, flash heal, gheal, penance, pws...all of them can probably save him in most situations. The key isn't picking the right one among those so much as it is knowing WHEN to cast any of those spells in place of the efficient heal to save the mage and get back to the tank.


I disagree about the gheal. You won't always be able to afford its cast time and if it overheals, you're wasting mana. As I said recently (and I can't remember if it was this thread or not) there is a risk that Flash Heal, Penance and PW:S are all too similar in the fast heal niche. At least in that situation the priest will be using a different fast heal than the paladin, shaman and druid.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#128 - 2010/09/19 08:04:52 PM
Q u o t e:
Unless, of course, you're a druid and happen to like proactive HoT healing, high mobility, and an otherwise rapid-response playstyle. Then you're just out of luck.


You won't convince me that proactive HoT healing is a fun decision. If it's fun at all it's just because it's overpowered. Now if proactive HoT healing is the right call for some situations and not every situation, then beautiful. That means you're responding to the situation and thinking instead of just falling back on the solution that always works. I think your mobility and rapid response play will be fine.

Q u o t e:
All in all, I'm excited about Cata.. but every day I check the mmo boards to see what else has changed about my class, and every time I see something else being removed, reduced, rearranged or revamped, my anxiety goes up a little.


That's understandable. I really do get that, and the other developers do too. We don't make these decisions lightly and we understand that they impact a lot of very real human beings. All of our decisions are ultimately based around what will be the most fun for players, but that doesn't mean they are simple decisions without a lot of subtle and difficult to foresee consequences.

I hope I have been able to provide a little better explanation for the healing changes, but my pony is hungry and my gin mug is empty, so I'm going to mosey.

avatar
Blue Poster
Target Source
#336 - 2010/09/20 06:35:46 AM
Q u o t e:
I think one thing about the way the healing changes are being discussed by Blizzard (GC) is that they come off as something along these lines:

"We are changing healing because healers are choosing to spam 1 or 2 heals only, and we don't like that."

Which is rather accusatory, when the reason many healers choose to spam 1 or 2 heals is because of the way combat is.

It just is all coming across, from Blizzard, that the reason for the change lies in a fault with the healers (stacking haste and using 1 spell only), when the reason the healers stack haste and use few spells is down to how the encounters are set up.


I see this kind of thing a lot but I’m not sure of the point. Bad gameplay is bad gameplay. It doesn’t really matter whose fault it is, but if you want to point fingers, it’s our fault. We designed the encounters and the healing per mana and healing per second numbers. Players then analyzed those numbers or ran a bunch of encounters to figure out worked best and adopted that strategy. We don’t think that strategy is as fun as other strategies out there, so we decided to change the encounter design and healing per mana and healing per second numbers. We’re not punishing anyone. We’re trying to make the game more fun for healers by presenting them with the opportunity to use diverse strategies. Haven’t you ever driven a different way home from work or school just because you were sick of the one you usually do (probably because its most efficient)?

Q u o t e:
Your "You're blaming this on healers!" claim has been made and addressed by GC multiple times during the beta. He's always been very clear that they know it's their fault for missing the design mark in LK. Players play, and try to play as well as they can. If that means spamming 1 or 2 heals, then so be it. Blizzard is not blaming you for it. They're just saying that it has happened because of the design direction, and that the direction needs to be changed now.


Pretty much. Feel free to blame us for something being broken, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to fix it just because it wasn’t your fault.. :)

Q u o t e:
The tanks were not bad players and kept aggro fine. They were 232ish geared or above (which is overkill for H VH, seriously) and they had significantly higher health than they would on live. Yes yes, we're not 85. But when I see a tank taking spike damage that would kill him on a pack that he could essentially solo on live servers I am really worried about the game going forward.

If your group understood the mechanics generally well (i.e. you weren’t taking unnecessary preventable damage) and you were CC’ing things when incoming damage was too high, then I’d wager the encounters you’re talking about were just bugged or currently overtuned.

Q u o t e:
What you're talking about is blanketing. What I'm talking about is informed prediction and prevention. Blanketing is the logical, mindless extreme of that and *not* what I want; it's boring as hell. If you refuse to be convinced that proactive HoT healing can be fun without being overpowered simply because you can't tell the difference between the two, then I really don't see how HoTs or a HoT-focused spec have a future in this game.


In the quote you quoted, I said that if casting a bunch of hots on everyone is the right answer *sometimes*, then we're happy. You’ll have to know (or make an educated guess) when those situations are, and if you do it at the wrong time, you’ll probably waste a lot of mana. The problem in today’s live environment is that casting hots on everyone constantly even before they start to take damage is nearly always the right answer. You are nearly always rewarded for it. That changes it from being an interesting decision. That takes the skill component of healing away.

Q u o t e:
The flaw is, the player isn't making the decision, the encounter is. In any given fight, the player can only respond to incoming damage from mobs. If the mob has a period where it does fast, bursty damage, the player is forced to use his fast heal. If the mob is doing steady, slow hits for large amounts, the player has to use his slow big heal timed to counter it. In either case, and really any in between, the player can technically make the choice of what heal to use, but there will only be one right answer. Healing doesn't become making decisions, it becomes remembering the correct heal for any given encounter.


But with that argument you’re just removing all personal responsibility from the healer. In your model, the healer just does whatever the encounter asks of them. Yet we know empirically that healers can cause wipes when they do the wrong thing at the wrong time. If it was just a memory game, then we would have seen a lot more heroic LK kills before the 30% buff. It wasn’t remembering the encounter that was the challenge there (though with that many phases, it was definitely part of the challenge). Executing the encounter was the greater challenge. Knowing when to stop and heal (or your target’s death might cause a wipe) or when to run (because your death might cause a wipe).

Q u o t e:
e.g., one of the most common/effective arguments you'll hear in a tanking thread about "stacking avoidance" is this: "It doesn't matter if you avoid the hit or not, generally, because your healers will be spamming on you anyways." Whether or not it's accurate or true doesn't matter, because it's a very strong perception in that part of the game. Parts of the current healing model have basically flattened the tank gearing theorycraft, and frankly, that's a very large part of that role, particularly in raiding.


I thought this was a good illustration of the problem. Avoidance is ultimately mana savings much of the time. It can save you sometimes, but it is so random in doing so that tanks have learned not to depend on it. They used to depend on avoidance to help healer efficiency. They used to be worried about being the mana sponge that drove all the healers OOM because they took too much damage, even if they ultimately survived.

Q u o t e:
I think it's just that the devs feel they have to make this change in order to keep the general game mechanics functional, and aren't so much saying healing is "easy" as that healing isn't "mindful". People have complained about that all through the expac, so I don't think this is something the devs have conjured on their own.


Beautifully put.

Q u o t e:
My main bone of contention with GC's approach is the notion that being mana-starved is fun.


No, being mana starved is not fun. It’s not supposed to be a happy moment, because it is in fact the negative consequences you get from not playing as well as you needed to. If you use the right heal at the right time, you shouldn’t run out of mana. It’s a great source of pride for a healer to see that a challenging fight is under control, then glance at their mana bar and see that their mana is holding steady. “I’m on fire tonight!” you think (and hopefully you do just think it and not announce it to your whole group as I've been known to do.)

Ergo, we think mana mattering -- mana being a real stat -- is fun.