Patch 7.2.5: Die Entwickler über den Braumeister

Patch 7.2.5: Die Entwickler über den Braumeister
Patch 7.2.5: Die Entwickler über den Braumeister
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Nachdem sich Game Designer Seph vor Kurzem bereits recht ausführlich in den Foren zu einigen möglicherweise mit Patch 7.2.5 erscheinenden Anpassungen an den Schurken von WoW äußerte, veröffentlichte Game Designer Celestalon in der Nacht von Freitag auf Samstag nun auch noch einen weiteren Bluepost dieser Art, der sich in diesem Fall dann allerdings vollständig mit den geplanten Änderungen an den Braumeister-Mönchen beschäftigte. In diesem interessanten Bluepost stellte dieser Mitarbeiter von Blizzard Entertainment mehrere aktuell für diese Klasse geplante Nerfs und Buffs vor und erklärte den Lesern jeweils auf eine sehr informative Weise, warum diese Anpassungen überhaupt durchgeführt werden und was genau die Entwickler damit erreichen möchten. Zusätzlich dazu postete Game Designer Celestalon im Verlauf der vergangenen zwei Tage auch noch eine Reihe von kleineren Blueposts zu diesem Thema, in denen er etwas genauer auf die Fragen der Community einging. Wer sich das englische Original aufgrund seiner Länge nicht selbst durchlesen möchte, der kann sich einfach die folgende übersetzte Zusammenfassung anschauen.

 

 

Zusammenfassung der Blueposts:

  • Folgende Änderungen sollen die aktuelle Performance von Braumeistern weder negativ noch positiv beeinflussen. Die Entwickler möchten alle Anpassungen nämlich durch Buffs oder Debuffs an anderen Stellen ausgleichen.
  • Offensive:
    • Die Entwickler mögen nicht, dass Blackout-Schlag und Feuerodem keine defensiven Vorteile besitzen und kaum Synergien mit anderen Fähigkeiten besitzen. Aus diesem Grund werden diese Fähigkeiten mit Patch 7.2.5 vermutlich beide ein wenig überarbeitet werden. Auch wenn die genauen Anpassungen noch nicht feststehen, so ziehen sie im Moment aber bereits folgende Änderungen in Betracht.
  • Defensiv:
    • Auch wenn Staffeln in den meisten Situationen recht gut funktioniert und keine Probleme verursacht, so gibt es allerdings auch einige Extremsituationen, in den Mönche durch diese Fähigkeit einige Mechaniken überleben können, die normalerweise niemand überleben sollte. Beispielsweise können Braumeister mit Nehmerqualitäten und Stärkendes Gebräu recht einfach 100% Staffeln erreichen, tödliche Mechaniken abfangen und den gestaffelten Schaden dann einfach nur zwei Einsätze von Reinigendes Gebräu entfernen.
    • Da diese Problematik durch 100% Staffeln verursacht wird, möchten die Entwickler folgende Änderungen durchführen.
      • Stärkendes Gebräu und Eisenhautgebräu werden den Spieler in der Zukunft einen geringeren Bonus auf Staffeln gewähren.
      • Als Ausgleich dafür soll die Rüstung des Braumeisters ein wenig erhöht werden.
      • Staffeln wird ein Cap erhalten. Diese Grenze soll sich allerdings an einem Punkt befinden, der keine Auswirkungen auf das normale Gameplay haben sollte.
      • Das Cap wird sich nicht auf die Menge an Schaden auswirken, die Mönche pro Treffer staffeln können.
      • Die bereits jetzt im Interface vorhandene Anzeige für das Staffeln soll dann als Leiste für den maximal staffelbaren Schaden funktionieren. Schaden, der bei einer vollen Leiste gestaffelt wird, geht dann automatisch auf die Gesundheitsleiste über.
      • Es gibt aktuell eine Artefakteigenschaft, die die durch Stärkendes Gebräu gewährten Bonus auf Staffeln erhöht. Die Entwickler möchten diesen Trait gerne durch einen anderen Effekt ersetzen.
      • Der neue Trait wird sich vermutlich mit dem Reinigendes Gebräu beschäftigen
    • Zusätzlich dazu sind Braumeister aktuell dazu in der Lage, die normale Laufzeit einiger ihrer defensiven Fähigkeiten wie beispielsweise Eisenhautgebräu um extreme Werte zu verlängern. Da solch ein Verhalten nicht unbedingt gewollt ist, werden die Entwickler auch an dieser Stelle ein Cap implementieren. Die Laufzeit der defensiven Skills von Tanks kann in der Zukunft maximal nur noch auf die doppelte Länge ihrer normalen Laufzeit gesteigert werden.
      • Es könnte einige Ausnahmen für diese Regel geben. Die Entwickler möchten die aktuellen Spielweisen der Tanks nicht entkräften.

 

 

Brewmasters in 7.2.5

Hail! First round of Brews is on me, Monks. Shall we talk a bit about Brewmasters?

As Seph talked about in a recent Rogue thread, 7.2.5 will include much more significant class change than 7.2 did, and one of the specs that we’re focusing on is Brewmaster. Brewmasters are currently quite strong, performance-wise, but have a few notable issues that we’d like to work out.

Offensive Abilities

Rotationally, Brewmasters are using a mixture of offensive and defensive buttons. Some parts of this worked well, such as Keg Smash and Tiger Palm granting partial charges of your Brews. One part that hasn’t worked out well is in Blackout Strike and Breath of Fire. Having no direct defensive value, or interaction with other abilities in your rotation, they end up feeling disconnected, and leave you wondering why you’re hitting them. There are a couple minor artifact traits that give them some defensive value, but that’s ultimately negligible as far as rotation design goes. One saving grace here is the Blackout Combo talent, which gives a strong reason to care about Blackout Strike, and add a lot of depth (and complexity) to your rotation.

Another problem is that Blackout Strike has a 3.0s/Haste cooldown, which is actually rather bizarre on a class with a 1.0s GCDs. Experienced players have learned that you should get a significant enough amount of Haste to bring that down to something in the 2.2-2.5sec range, and alternate Blackout Strikes with other abilities, with awkward 0.2-0.5sec gaps in between your abilities. This also means that with the forced gaps, you become GCD-capped, and Energy stops functioning. Finally, one last problem we’re looking at is that there are rather limited options for customizing the rotation through talents (pretty much just Blackout Combo), and no baseline variability, leading to some people finding it repetitive and predictable.

We’d like to clean this up, and here are our current thoughts on how (not set in stone, very interested in discussion and PTR testing).

  • First, Blackout Strike and Breath of Fire will have a direct defensive value: they’ll grant a stack of Elusive Brawler (per target hit, in Breath of Fire’s case).
  • Second, Blackout Strike will more smoothly fit into the rotation. We’re going to try it having a cooldown, but Tiger Palm significantly reducing that cooldown, such that you can Blackout Strike every few GCDs, and not have any forced partial-second pauses. We want to make sure that Energy (and thus Haste) controls the speed of your rotation, so that that’s in your control. If you want a more full, button-spammy rotation, you can favor Haste. If you prefer being more tactical with your GCDs, optimizing the timing of each one, you can favor other stats.
  • And finally, to let you customize the rotation with both higher GCD utilization and some variance, we’re planning to add a talent that gives Tiger Palm a high chance to reset the cooldown of Breath of Fire. (Where exactly to put that talent is unclear; replacing Chi Burst is the current idea, but we’re not super thrilled with that.)

 

Defensive Abilities

Overall, Stagger is working quite well in the general case. Ironskin vs Purify (and in particular when to Purify) is a good choice, though maybe a tad bit skewed toward Ironskin right now. However, it becomes problematic in the extreme case, where Stagger is used to cheese mechanics that aren’t intended to be survivable. For example, a Brewmaster may use High Tolerance and Fortifying Brew in order to get 100% Stagger, soak several of some raid mechanic that is intended to be entirely unsurvivable (probably even piercing immunities), Purify twice quickly, and get healed through what little of the damage is remaining.

The key source of this is when Stagger reaches 100% or near-100%, and our planned changes to solve this focus on that:

  • We’ll be reducing the Stagger gain of Fortifying Brew, and slightly reduce the Stagger gain of Ironskin Brew.
  • We’ll be raising Brewmaster’s base armor to compensate.
  • We’re going to add a cap on how much damage can be Staggered (high enough that you won’t hit it in normal gameplay, but enough to stop cheesing mechanics).
  • There is also an artifact trait that increases the Stagger gain of Fortifying Brew that has been mostly-useless since 7.1.5, which we’re going to redesign.

 

Again, the point of this is not at all to be a nerf in intended circumstances, but rather to shift around where the mitigation comes from, such that it can’t be used to unintentionally bypass mechanics.

Relatedly, one mechanic that causes imbalance with tanks is that in a tank-swap situation in a raid, tanks can store up a large amount of active mitigation while not actively tanking, both in terms of ability charges, and buff durations. In general, this is fine, but it can be taken to extremes, and Brewmasters are a good example of that, frequently being able to go into their tanking with a 30+sec duration Ironskin Brew rolling. Some amount of this is fine, but to keep it within a reasonable range, we’re going to put a cap on how long you can extend tank active mitigation buffs, to a maximum of twice their base duration.

Thanks for reading! We look forward to your feedback.

 

 

What are you doing to address the fact that ISB has basically become the new shuffle and requires 100% uptime? That’s literally brew gameplay right now -> 100% ISB uptime and anything left goes into purify.

I touched on that a bit, that the decision is skewed a tad bit towards Ironskin right now. There are 3 changes here that will help with that:

  • The increase to base armor will help with the problem of Ironskin falling off feeling like a death sentence.
  • The reduction to Ironskin effectiveness will slightly decrease the difference between Ironskin being up and not.
  • Our current plan for the mentioned artifact trait replacement is Purify percentage, which will increase the value of Purifying.

 

How does a talent like Tiger Palm resetting Breath Fire work when you have the legendary chest? Clearly we wouldn’t take it since Keg is resetting breath about every 5 seconds. With both it would be absurd.

Occasional legendaries that push you away from or toward a particular talent are generally OK. If you have the Breath of Fire chest, you likely will want to pick one of the other talents instead of Spitfire (the Tiger Palm resets Breath of Fire one), and that’s OK.

 

Will there be exceptions added to this rule? For example, will this not just completely negate the use of the ‘Bastion of Light’ talent for Protection Paladins? Gaining the instant charges allows them to go much further beyond the “twice their base duration”, essentially throwing away all that additional SotR uptime that comes from the talent during the activation window.

There may be, yes. We don’t want to invalidate any existing gameplay, just prevent the “I’ve been offtanking for a bit and have a crazy long duration buff up when I take over, skewing my priorities.”

 

Without hard numbers, it is difficult to see if this will be a blessing or a curse.

Numbers matter for performance, and I want to reemphasize the fact that the changes I’m talking about are intended to be net-neutral, performance-wise. Of course they will affect performance, but we’ll offset them with number tweaks, in whichever direction is necessary.

The point of all of these is gameplay, mechanics, and particularly rotational flow.

 

What exactly do you mean by a cap on how much damage can be staggered? Is there a maximum amount of damage that is allowed to be in the stagger dot? Or does each attack have a maximum amount that can be absorbed from it and added to the stagger dot? This is hugely important to know.

There will be a maximum amount of total damage that you can have banked in your Stagger DoT. Any overflow beyond that will continue through to your health.

 

I personally love the way Blackout Strike fits into the rotation, especially with Blackout Combo.

And you’re not alone; we recognize that there are many Brewmasters who love Blackout Combo, and have Haste in the right thresholds to make it flow reasonably well. One of the things of utmost importance to us with this rotation change is that it doesn’t feel worse to those like you. We have several experienced Brewmasters internally who voiced this apprehension when first hearing about these changes, and after playtesting it they all agreed that it felt the same to them. In our books, that’s a win, since it’s an improvement for the rest of the Brewmasters who aren’t in that sweet spot. We hope that sentiment is common externally as well, so please test it out when the PTR goes up, and let us know how it feels. Your feedback on this really matters.

 

The ability to be GCD capped, or very close to it, is something that I have always loved about brewmasters and on a personal level of feedback it is really important to me that that type of gameplay is still available and viable. Brewmaster has always been a very high APM spec (even if not all of the GCDs directly translate to defensive benefits) so please be careful to maintain that as you tinker with the rotation.

We absolutely hear you, and are targeting Spitfire, Rushing Jade Wind, and Haste at players like you. It’ll probably take us some iteration on the energy and proc rate numbers to get the feel just right, so we’ll need your help with PTR testing feedback.

 

Please Increase the IsB duration cap, at least 30-40s. 16s is too short.
And when will you address that bears have been OP for too long and EASIER to play without any significant nerf?

We’re starting with a cap of “double the base duration,” but that may feel too restrictive, and we’ll iterate. This is still early in the process (PTR hasn’t even started yet), and none of this is set in stone.

Cheers to everyone that has provided valuable feedback here so far. We’ll keep reading and iterating.

 

“First, Blackout Strike and Breath of Fire will have a direct defensive value: they’ll grant a stack of Elusive Brawler (per target hit, in Breath of Fire’s case).” — I am sure you are well aware this will push Mastery’s value through the roof.

That’s certainly possible, and we’ll adjust stat tuning if needed. Again, this is intended to be performance-neutral, so we’re not trying to buff OR nerf overall performance here.

 

 

On the AM max duration discussion, there’s been a ton of great feedback on that so far. I’d like to go into why we’re considering this change a little more. Forgive me for the verbosity (hah):

This effects Brewmasters more than other tanks, but not exclusively. The main reason that this affects Brewmasters more is that they are meant to split their resource between two brews: Ironskin and Purifying.

Consider a simple situation of two bosses, each beating on a tank. The Brewmaster is using a mixture of their Brews, maintaining ISB while using excess on PB (or maybe even letting ISB fall off when the boss stops to cast something, or is otherwise unthreatening for a moment). She gets more Brew charges than she needs to keep ISB up, but she’s using those excess charges on PB, so ISB duration is remaining low.

The co-tank, let’s say a Warrior for example, is built a little differently, having two separate defensive resources (Shield Block charges and Rage for Ignore Pain). Both are being generated and consumed at a similar rate, also not gaining increasing Shield Block duration.

Things are good here, and let’s suppose for the sake of argument the two tanks are ‘balanced’ in this context.

OK, now let’s change the design of the fight, to one where there’s one huge boss, and the two tanks take turns tanking for 30sec at a time. Arguments of this being a less-engaging fight aside, let’s look at how that affects the tank balance.

While the Warrior is OTing, he’s building up Shield Block charges, but once he hits max charges, they’re being wasted. He can use one at a time as they’re generated, but they don’t last longer than it takes to generate, so his Shield Block buff duration doesn’t grow over time. Similar deal with Rage and Ignore Pain. He builds up Rage, and when that caps out, he builds up an Ignore Pain stack, but that caps out pretty quickly too. Excess Rage is wasted (at least defensively anyway; they can put it into damage). When the Warrior taunts, he goes into it with some buffer of his max Shield Block charges, maybe a single partial Shield Block buff, and max Rage and Ignore Pain. Overall, he could carry over some value from that time not tanking, but not all of it.

Meanwhile, when the Brewmaster is not tanking, they’re building up charges of their single defensive resource, Brew charges. Once at max Brew charges, she starts using Ironskin Brews, as they’re generated. Since there’s nothing to Purify, she never does so, and all of her charges go into Ironskin Brew, creating a surplus of Ironskin duration that just grows over time. When she taunts, she goes into it with max Brew charges, and a 1min long Ironskin buff. She never has to Ironskin the whole time she’s tanking, and can send all of her Brew charges into Purifying, over tripling (if not more) how often she can Purify, providing a sizable gain over her Warrior counterpart. All that time she spent not tanking goes into storing up defensive value for when she is tanking, with no limit.

If the two tanks were ‘balanced’ in the first fight, then the Brewmaster is overpowered in the second. Alternatively, if you argue that they’re balanced in the second fight, that means they’re underpowered in the first. The goal of this change is to place a reasonable limit on how much value you can carry over from time spent not tanking, so that we can tune the tanks to be balanced in both of these situations, not just one of them.

I totally get that right now you can always get benefit out of hitting Ironskin Brew, never being fully wasted, and so the prospect of going to a system where there may be a time where you’re just sitting on full charges, wasting them sounds like a negative. Please understand that for most other tanks, that’s just normal; a Warrior that’s not tanking is just wasting the defensive value of their Shield Block charges once at max charges, and that’s just an accepted norm. By bringing Brewmasters into parity in this regard, we can then tune them to be more consistently balanced with other tanks, which is the core goal of the change.

One of the most common responses so far has been “I understand wanting a cap, but 2x*duration is too short”. Totally reasonable argument, and we’ll need your help finding what the right cap is. We chose that to start with because that’s consistent with things like Ignore Pain, Mark of Ursol, Blood Shield, Soul Fragments, etc. Given the more liberal use of Brew charges, it may be more appropriate to be higher for Brewmasters.

I’d love to keep hearing your thoughts on this, and I hope that this massively-over-verbose post helped better explain our thought process here. Thanks to those of you that stuck with it, reading it all the way through. 🙂

 

 

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