Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Symbiosis: Not Just a Failed Mastery Bonus

I read this proposed 5.0 ability and I got hair in my mouth I grinned so wide. Feast your eyes upon this if you've not seen it yet.

Symbiosis - Required Level 87
30 yd range - 4% of base mana - Instant cast

Creates a symbiotic link which grants the Druid one ability belonging to the target's class, varying by the Druid's specialization.

In exchange, grants the target one Druid ability based on their class and combat role.

Lasts 1 hour and persists through death.

Holy crap indeed. No druid in their right mind can resist being excited about this news. Well maybe some of those "caster" druids. Us ferals have a long history of begging, borrowing and stealing abilities from other classes (warriors and rogues come first to mind). What ability screams druid louder than the ability to mimic another class at will.

Of course the first question I asked is what abilities will we get to mimic and what abilities will be we sharing. Well there was also the question of are these the real abilities or a neutered version on a long cooldown. Perhaps we will only get to mimic some of the longer cooldowns of other classes or only some utility abilities. I'm leaning toward utility abilities because utility and druids are like this [crosses fingers]. I'm thinking it will be abilties somewhere between a 20 second and 3 minute cooldown to avoid screwing up druid rotations too badly.

The one preexisting game mechanic that comes to mind when talking about mimicking class abilities is Hex Lord Malacrass's siphon soul ability in Zul'Aman. What works for a boss doesn't necessarily work for a player so I'm not so sure we can glean much from this boss encounter besides some neat things to think about.

I know what I would like to borrow from other classes though. I'd love to nab death grip from death knights for tanking. Antimagic shield could be cool, or some blood worms to follow me around. All of the DK utility I can think of centers around survivability so I'm really not sure if they will pick one ability that all specs will share or provide different ones.

Of course I want to borrow misdirect from hunters. I don't want anything else from them. Maybe a trap, but not really. Most of their utility abilities are ranged weapon or ranged DPS specific. Maybe casters would have more interest in leeching off their resident hunter.

I'll want to borrow avenging wrath from paladins, pink bar gives you wings. Again that is like the only ability I can think of that would interest me. Hammer/fist of justice perhaps. Blizzard sure has their work cut out for them on flushing out this new druid ability.

Mages are full of cool utility. I'd be happy with blink, ice block, frost nova, polymorph, invisibility, spellsteal, mirrored kitties! So many choices.

Stealing leap of faith from priests would be totally awesome. Think of the trouble I could cause combining that ability with feral charge. Although a fear or a mind control would also be pretty cool.

I'm not sure what if anything a druid, feral in particular, can hope to gain from a rogue. We have a rogue, it's called cat form. I guess we could nab cloak of shadows or vanish. Ok I changed my mind I also want evasion. I almost want this new druid ability to give me a random class ability so I can grab one and try again if I get one I don't want right then.

Shaman are a toughie, most of their utility is in the form of totems. I guess it isn't out of the question for a druid channeling a shaman to drop a totem. A tremor totem would be really nice. Perhaps some of their shields or weapon enhancements.

Hmm... warlock. A teleport could be neat. Fear, a curse perhaps. I don't really associate my warlock with utility. Warlocks mostly just hurt stuff.

I'm going to steal directly from the Hex Lord for warriors, I want: heroic leap, mortal strike or spell reflection. It will be very interesting to see what Blizzard comes up with for the actual list.

Of course those ideas are all very selfish, everyone else will want to know what ability druids will be sharing with them in return. I'd imagine barkskin, or innervate, perhaps a HoT. Hard to say as so much of druid utility is forms that other classes won't have. I wonder if it will be of any use for a druid to share abilities with another druid.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Druids, Paladins, Priests and Warriors are Main Material

Neat graph today over at MMO-Champion showing the ratio of different classes at different levels of valor points. Basically what classes are raiding and how often compared to others.

What is interesting is that you can infer which classes people generally use as alts and which classes people generally use as their "mains". Druids, paladins, priests and warriors all trend upwards and have a larger representation at higher valor point levels. Death knights, hunters, mages and rogues all trend downwards although mages stay more constant.

Warlocks and shaman are oddballs in that their representation fluctuates rather than trending up or down. I found shaman particularly interesting because they peak in the mid range of valor points. That is interesting because my shaman is my second raiding toon, but I don't put as much effort in valor point wise as I do on my main. The shaman representation peaking in the mid range indicates to me than many other use their shaman as a secondary raiding toon that they don't play as much as their mains.

My theory on warlocks that peak at 25k valor is that they are also secondary raiding toons for people, but there are also more warlock alts hanging around.

The only other interesting data points I gleaned were that hunters drop off fast, like falling off a cliff fast, and that mages fall off, but not very much at all. My take on this is that hunters are the most popular alt class and mages are appealing to casuals. I earned some warlock points there calling mages casuals. I didn't exactly say that, but what I am getting at is that mages appeal to people playing alts, playing casually as mains, secondary raiding toons and hardcore raiding mains almost equally as much. Not sure what that means, but it is interesting.

What we can take away from all this is that if you are starting a new toon, pick one of the big four: druid, paladin, priest and/or warrior.