Friday, October 15, 2010

The Problem with Aimed Shot (The New Ability Query System)

Actually there is not really a problem with Aimed Shot, there is a problem with the way I use it.  It is not just Aimed Shot either.  It is Mutilate.  It is Devastate.  It is anything I am used to spamming.  That is why I put this in general as well as Hunter.  To explain I will use the Hunter ability of Aimed Shot being that is where I first noticed the issue.

A few posts back when I was talking about my feelings for the new system I mentioned that I was having issues with Aimed Shot and getting used to it.  See, I am a button masher.  Whether it is mouse click or keyboard click does not make a difference.  I hit what I want to do until it comes up.  I am not alone in this, many people do it. 

So when Aimed Shot basically removed itself from the MM Hunter's rotation because it is all but useless now unless you get the proc for an instant free one I had to adjust.  Easy enough right?  Not really.  See, my button mashing tendencies turned out to be a problem.  I would be doing my rotation so to speak and I would see Aimed Shot light up to be free so I would jump to press 3 and as it is my habit, I would hit it until the skill fired and then go back to what I was doing before. 

This is the problem with Aimed Shot that the title is named for.  When I did that I would fire my instant aimed shot and then another one would start to fire.  Damn it I do not want another one.  That is a waste of focus (which, is a valuable resource compared to before with mana I would have dealt with it) and it is a waste of time because lets face it the cast time on Aimed Shot is for the birds for such a low damage ability.

I immediately called this my problem, an error in the way I was doing things, something I needed to adjust to being Aimed Shot changed.  But get this, it is not my problem, it is not the way I am doing things, it is the way they changed the game and apparently I missed something talking about it.

There is now an ability query system.  I am sure many of you have noticed this and some of you, mashers like myself, have had problems with it.  Your abilities seem clunky.  Non responsive. Unpredictable.  Yeap, that is not you trying to get used to the new system, that is the ability query system.

I've looked on the forums a bit but can not seem to find a quote on this new ability query system so I will try and sum it up to the best of my ability.

When you are in the middle of an ability if you press/click another ability it is sent to a query so when it is ready it will automatically be done. Once an ability is in the query system it cannot be removed.

Okay, that can be good sometimes.  However I do not like it, not because of the theory of it but because of the implementation of it.

Here is what I was originally saying my problem was when I posted about my Aimed Shot problem a few posts ago.  When Aimed Shot lit up I would hit it, usually a couple of times being I am used to hitting something until it goes off and then moving the the next thing.  I complained that I needed to adjust because I was always getting a second Aimed Shot that I did not want.  I thought this was my problem and it is not, it is the games problem.

Before this change if this situation happened I would fire the aimed and then as soon as it went off I would switch to steady so only the one aimed would be fired.  The query does not allow this now.  Sure, I can adjust the way I do things but I should not have to.  Hitting that second aimed because I was spamming the key should not matter being before the GCD was done I was now spamming the steady.  Being the steady is what I was hitting when the GCD was over the steady is what should have been fired.  That is how it should work.

Basically what this new ability query system does is rewards bad players for being bad.  They can now query their rotation.  2, 3, 4, 2, 3, 4, for example.  Bad players do not react to changes in a situation.  Bad players do not adjust to things on the fly.  Bad players do not take advantage of procs.  Bad players will most likely never even notice the change because they are only doing 2, 3, 4, 2, 3, 4 over and over again and this query system fits them well.

A bad player is not going to jump to shoot that Aimed Shot (or maybe they will now that blizzard made it impossible to miss the proc, you would need to be blind or stupid to not notice it).  A bad player will keep with their rotation so this does not hurt them.

I like to consider myself a good player.  I change what I am doing based on the vast amount of variables around me. 

Some examples. 

I just started my steady spam to rebuild focus and after one shot I get the Aimed proc, so I go to fire Aimed but now I am locked into another steady because I was spamming it and because of that I hit Aimed so many times while waiting for it, now Aimed is doubled up as well giving me not only 1 but 2 unwanted shots on 1 proc only.  No good, where is my ability to respond?

Adds just popped up and it is time to switch targets.  I switch instantly, but not any more, now I have to wait for the shot I previously fired to fire off before I can.  No good, where is my ability to switch targets?

I am spamming my keys and the target dies but being I have another shot in query it automatically find another target in range and shoots that one bringing an unexpected mob into the battle.  No good, where is my ability to choose my target?

Yes, I know what many of you will say and you are right.  I need to adjust and not spam my keys.  I will try to do that but I should not have to do that.  I am normally a good player.  I hit all my procs in a timely manner, I switch targets instantly, I do not allow stray shots to bring adds into the battle.  This makes me miss procs, be slow at target switching and makes me have shots go stray.

For a bad hunter this will mean nothing, they will still be bad because they never reacted, they never target switched and they always fire off stray shots anyway.  Why are you making good Hunters into bad Hunters or at least trying to?

I will adjust but I will not like it.  There is no reason to lock me into my next shot before the shot is even up.  When the GCD is up then do what I am currently clicking not what I might have double clicked a split second earlier.

For me, as a Hunter and as DPS it is easy enough for me to adjust and I will but for me as a Tank and a Healer this is no good what so ever.

Whereas with DPS my DPS might fall a bit if I accidental fire to many steadys because of this it will not be game breaking but as a Tank or a Healer it can be deadly.

Imagine this situation.
Warrior tank.  Three mobs.  Stupid DPS that does not single target.  Me dropping a devastate pile on the main target and one of the DPS pulls one of the mobs off.  Now I am stuck in a devastate query and have to wait a split second for the taunt and can not do it as a reaction instantly.  The stupid DPS is a hunter that happens to FD and now the mobs attention is on the healer it just ran past on the way to get the hunter.  Healer is down in one shot.  Wipe follows instantly because the healer is down and I was not able to taunt because of some stupid query system.

Or maybe this one.
You are spam healing the tank and the rogue gets off a series of lucky crits grabbing aggro for a second.  You are now stuck in a query heal on the tank and can not switch fast enough so the rogue gets two shot.  Dead player all because of some stupid query system. 

All three cases, as DPS, Tank and Healer, we can learn to adjust and be slower with how we do things but there is no reason we should have to do that.  If someone is quick with reaction this penalizes them for that.  The only people that this ends up hurting are the people that are actually good at what they do.  The ones that spam want they do because they think ahead and then are fast enough to change their plan based on the every changing situation around them or with procs.  Those are the ones that are going to suffer.  Bad players will just remain bad players. 

The new ability query system needs to be taken out.  There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.  It is not good for the game and it is not good for game play.

The only thing I heard that made any sense in explaining why they did this is something that was being abused in arena by a select few.  I say how you fix the problem is warn the offenders that where doing whatever it was to stop doing it and if they continue to do it ban them from the game for system abuse.  Why penalize the other 99% of the players because 1% of the players found a way to abuse the system somehow.

Maybe if I knew how they where abusing it I might be more supportive of a change like this but being we are not being told how they where abusing it and just told that they where I am sorry to say that I do not believe them.

One good note is that ghostcrawler said they are working on a fix, lets hope it does not take forever.

We had to change the ability queue system you are describing to fix an exploit that was threatening to become pretty widespread. It is unfortunately one of those cases where a few bad apples ruin things for everyone. :(

We are working on an improvement where the most recent command will override the previous one. If for example you are spamming Hamstring, and then succeed in snaring someone, you can switch to Mortal Strike which will clear out the Hamstring queue instead of wasting more GCDs on Hamstring.


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