Thursday, August 6, 2015

Should Specs Need Tier Sets to Feel Complete?

In my last post I mentioned how I was never a fan of the survival spec for hunters until I got the T16 four piece set back in SoO.  It really made survival finally feel like a true hunter spec, like it belonged, something it had never felt like it did to me before that.

This tier I am anxiously awaiting my four piece tier set so I can play marksman with an instant cast aimed shot.  The way marksman should have been from the beginning when they redesigned things.  The one major fault of marksman, in my opinion, was the lack of instants.  We had chimera with its cooldown and whatever level 90 talent we decided on which comes with its own cooldown, both of which are not really all that ideal for just throwing one quick shot out on demand because it might be on cooldown.

While dabbling with marksman all I keep saying is, we need an instant.  The four piece set will give that to marksman just the way the four piece set in T16 gave survival an identity for the first time, at least to me.

It is not only hunters that have tier sets that seem like they complete the class, that they fix something that is broken, or offer something that felt missing, it just feels more pronounced to me as I main a hunter.  There are many classes who have their tier sets basically make the spec.

I am sure this is "by design" but I wonder if it is the right design.

Wouldn't you rather have your spec feel natural and flowing all the time and have a tier set that makes you stronger instead of a tier set that makes you only make you feel stronger by turning your spec into something that feels natural and flowing like it should have been from the beginning?

I am not liking that you "need" to have a tier set to play the way the character should play naturally.  Sure my main hunter will end up with his four piece sooner or later, as everyone else gets gear and no longer needs it so I get it as a hand me down, because I am not going to count on my luck winning it, but what of my other hunters?  What of the ones I do not raid with?

Do I really need to go pug and hope for a 4 piece set so I can play marksman on my alts and it feel like it should feel to begin with?  Sorry, I am not down with that.  Tier sets should give you a power boost, it should not be a band aid to "fix" a spec.

I know some tier sets people shun off, like the druid healers in guild last tier.  They let everyone else get their tier sets first because they did not want the four piece and there were better off set pieces with better stats for them.  But that is the exception, not the rule.  For most classes the four piece is something you will want and for some specs the four piece is something you "need" to fix the class.

Do you think they should keep using tier sets to "fix" what people complain about with a class, such as marksman not having an instant, or should they actually fix the specs?

My vote is for actually fixing the spec and making tier sets for power only, not to change how the class is played.  But you probably knew that already from the tone of my post.

What is your opinion. do you think the tier sets should fix the specs or do you think the specs should be fixed naturally and the tier set just make them more powerful?


  1. That's the thing I lack in some classes. I hate waiting for global CD, I want something to be performed constantly. There are situations when you just stand there doing nothing.

    The thing I hated about arms wariior when I started one. Remember myself standing in Barrens and fighting a zhevra. Damn, I'm a warrior, I'm probably won't be standing there for 5 seconds, accepting some hooves in my forehead while I just wait for my hits to CD.

    If you ask me, I'd fixed all these long cooldowns and removed them. I'd also remove auto attacks, because auto attacks feel NOTHING like you control, and well, it's some silly damage from nowhere. You don't feel like you're performing these hits, it's just some numbers, color white. An optimal rotation has always something to slash/punch/cast, and I don't care if they nerf any spell to the ground and remove auto attacks if it makes me feel control over my fight.

    *drops mic*

    1. That is partly why hunters are my favorite class. Zero down time. I am always hitting something. It is also why I like tanking and healing. I can always be active. I, like you, hate having to wait. Wait for rage on a warrior, wait for energy on a rogue or feral. Even dps paladins and shaman have dead spots. Sure they might only be a second here and a second there, but if I am not mashing my keys every second I get bored really fast. I like the fast paced play style.

      Not sure if removing auto attack would be a good thing. If anything auto attacks can help balanced classes believe it or not. And in some rare cases, like those don't attack the mob when it has its shield up, turning your character or stepping away so you do not auto attack adds some skill to playing the class. Auto attack has its place. It just is not a very big one.

  2. *picks up mic*

    Recent situation: while waiting for LFR, I was reading a book, and they called me to arms to fight some boss with few movement, like Gorefiend or Kilrogg. I was so excited about the current chapter plot, that I was reading it even while the fight began. I just positioned my melee at the boss and performed my lazy 5-button rotation with one hand, because cooldowns are long, and there's nothing to control there. And I was at top-10 dps by the end of fight. Shouldn't happen. More button clicking, more control, less CD, removed auto attacks.

    1. Last expansion I did a few things sort of like that.

      As a hunter I just auto attacked, never even cast 1 ability, ended up tops in DPS in an LFR a few times and close to top DPS more than a few times. Auto attack and pet auto attack with high gear really adds up.

      On my druid, who is a tank, I would often go in as feral with my tank gear on. I made a one button macro. Just one single button. It kept up my buffs and used my finisher when it "should" be at 5 points, and I just pressed one button and one button only. I don't think I ever finished under 3 in damage done wearing the wrong gear hitting one button. Admittedly the gear between both specs was super close, but still.

      But see, that is the difference between a good player and a bad player. I was playing poorly on my hunter and my druid doing those things. Very very poorly.

      Most classes are basically easy to play. What takes skill is being able to master them. That is why hunters get such a bad rep for being so easy, as they have 2 auto attacks with themselves and their pet. So they can pull "okay' numbers in an LFR without ever doing anything. The real skill is getting as much as you can out of a class.

      Just because you "can" do okay doing less doesn't mean you should. The game is designed to be easy to pick up and it does a fine job with that, as my one button macro doing it wrong proves. But if you want to test yourself, now that takes skill.

  3. My main is a dps warrior. In order to play Arms at a competitive level, I _need_ 2pc tier. We're a month into HFC and I have yet to personal loot or coin a single piece of tier gear. So the designers, in all their wisdom, require me to play a broken spec which my raid members have to carry me on, until the RNG boss gifts me. Twice.

    On the other hand, my main used to be a hunter. I don't like delegating my damage, so I don't play BM. I don't like being a mage, so I won't play MM. SV in MoP was really fun, fluid and had little tricks to maximising DPS that made me feel cunning, like setting frost traps under adds to proc lock 'n load. SV in WoD is.. well... you know. And not even tier gear can save SV. MM would be playable with 4 piece, but that's twice as much RNG as my Arms warrior.

    So I unsubscribed yesterday, and await the announcement tonight, and hopefully they will fix the madness instead of applying Tier Bonus Band-Aids

    1. I am in the same boat. Only one tier piece myself and sadly (except for once) the only hunter tier piece I ever see to roll on is the one I already have. MM needs the 4 piece.

      They should fix specs and not make tier pieces the band aids, I agree. Sorry to see another one has been lost, but I completely understand why. Lets hope today's announcement gives us a reason to have hope.

  4. As a 100% DPS player, I always felt it was my responsibility to accomplish the set task in the most effective way I possibly can. I view each spec as a tool in the toolkit and offer up various strengths for accomplishing certain tasks in a particular fight. For instance, I used Survival for Brackenspore so I could dot things up, burn moss and reapply dots. SV allowed me to effectively dps in a fight where a large portion of the time I'm just burning moss. Marks was great for something like Thok from SOO or The Butcher. Little to no movement fights where I can focus on rotational execution 100% of the time. BM was great for mythic Fallen Protectors in SoO and most of the add fights of the Blackhand raid. What is great is how each overlaps with certain advantages, high movement I can go with BM or SV deciding on other conditions, adds? close together? far apart? Overall, its seeing each situation and asking which approach gives me my best chances for success.

    When the design of a spec is based around a tier set bonus, I believe the goal, is to have a moment in the sun, freshen up the experience and make it super fun. This seems to be Blizzards thought in general, random super fun moments. I think, however, that this is a flawed model for a couple reasons.

    1) RNG based fun in the long run, isn't any fun at all. Necessarily blizzard must make the fun, powerful, etc part lower than 50% (much lower in most cases, 5-20%) or else all the "goodies" will be had quickly and a month out we would have won all the things. So, you are guaranteed to not get a super fun moment a lot more than you get those awesome moments. Which brings me to the second point.

    2) To make up for the repeated losses on not getting gear, not having a complete spec, etc, they have to make the reward REALLY super awesome. The sheer awesomness of getting the 4 piece and shooting insta cast aimed shots you are just overjoyed that much to get it. There are also consequences by backloading the "fun" of a spec. Getting that 4 piece is all important, crucial to your success and entertainment and puts even more pressure on those bonus rolls. By making it so super cool to have, everytime you don't get it or get a piece of tier, it injures that much more. I could be having a blast with MM but the coin and /roll just won't give me one. Then seeing other people getting their 4 pieces, or they get 3 pieces and you have 1 and the Raid Leader gently prioritizes getting them the 4 piece further slowing your progress and frustrating your fun.

    Blizzard wants you to say, "Hey, that's just super fun, remember when I blew everything up as marks at the end of WoD?" Nostalgia moments. What I believe its costing is sustained entertainment with the game while current. Blizzard is saying, we prefer you spend 8 months with a slow clunky awkward spec just so you can appreciate the real deal for the 1-4 months the raid is current. Overtime, that cost eats at me. Why should I have a halfass spec for 8 months and then have my fun gated by tier bosses, tier dropping, and winning tier piece four times? By the time you actually do get it, its more relief than joy felt.

    I don't like the model that specifically weakens and experience so it can be "fixed" later and expectations of applause.

    1. "I believe the goal, is to have a moment in the sun, freshen up the experience and make it super fun."

      I agree with what you are saying and also think that is what they might be going for. However I have to ask, shouldn't your spec always be super fun to play? Why should we have to wait for that tiny moment when it is?

      I so agree with what you said about how you want to feel that good set so much that each and ever boss that dies and does not drop the piece or you do not win the roll, or you can not coin it, just rubs it in that you are going to have to keep playing as is and not having any fun. Maybe, just maybe, if there was tier for valor I could deal with it. I would know in 8 weeks I could get the four piece (or something like that) but having to wait on RNG to actually have fun with my spec again is emotionally draining. It makes me not want to play which I am pretty sure is the exact opposite of their intention.

  5. I'll keep this short. If a spec needs any piece of gear to feel fun or complete, that spec is by definition broken.

    1. So that seems a lot of specs are in fact broken. And that survival has always been broken.

  6. No. Just no. In my opinion, needing a tier set to make your spec "feel right" is a lazy way out for Blizz. It means they do not have to design classes and specs to feel right in a balanced way throughout the leveling and gearing process. It means they can apply generic templates to multiple classes, then tweak them at the end with tier gear. And it fits perfectly with their raid or die philosophy. If you don't raid, you will never get to experience the true fun of your spec. That is just wrong.

    Worse, even if you muddle through clumsy spec play and make it to level, there is no guaranteed path to getting the "finishing" gear, as it is not only raid-dependent, but also luck-dependent. At the very least, if Blizz insists on cutting corners on class development, they should make "finishing" gear attainable by all, ideally with something like valor, but maybe even individual class quest lines for it. I do not want the gear just handed to me, but I also do not want to think it is impossible for me to get.

    Still, the answer is to not make the spec gear-dependent.

    1. I agree. It does make it harder that the only way you could feel "complete" is if you raid and if you are lucky. It is bad enough having to play a poorly designed spec to begin with, but have to play it until you get lucky enough for it to feel better makes it even worse.

      Overall I would be happy if they did away with gear as the deciding factor all together, but I know that will never happen. So the least they can do not not make everything gear dependent, which in turn means luck dependent.

  7. I don't like rotation altering set bonuses, so no, I don't think specs should need tier sets to feel complete.

    1. I agree. I want to feel power yes, I do not want it to change things completely.