Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More Mistweaving

I've been a bit concerned at all the attention the Mistweaver Monk spec has had in WoW's ongoing development. Mainly because I'm acutely aware of all the scandalous ways it overpowers other healing specs (at least until you need damage reduction), and although I can appreciate that nerfs are necessary, I'm really worried that some important things might be lost in the process of redesign. I truly love playing the Mistweaver class. It's my favourite way of playing my favourite game, and I don't want to lose that.

First, the ability to place Healing Spheres manually is being removed. I've written a few times about how overpowered this ability is, even considering its difficulty to use. All the other healing specs will be losing a major spell, so it probably seemed appropriate to kill this one for Mistweavers. (We got to keep all our proper healing spells.) My balls were never really as fun to use as to talk about casually during raids, reminding people to watch their health bars and when they go down make sure to grab my balls. -cough- Anyway, I'm not too sorry to see it go.

Mistweavers will no longer have a melee slow, and although this is another ability that I'm willing to concede was overpowered, as someone who plays 200ms behind the server, I always found it to be a huge asset in PvP.

The Mistweaver global cooldown is being raised from 1.0 to 1.5 seconds. This pisses me off. They are slowing down my gameplay and I think that sucks. Mistweaver is a distinctly active feeling spec and that feeling comes from having a lot of fun buttons to push, and lots of opportunities to push them. Longer GCDs means fewer button pushes means less gameplay.

Lastly, we are getting a brand new stance! Crane stance grants you attack power equal to your spell power, and causes healing from damage dealt! Incidentally, those are the same things that your healing stance no longer grants.

Or to say it in clearer terms; our healing stance is being nerfed to no longer provide melee attack power or any healing through damage. And of course the Crane stance restricts which healing spells you're allowed to cast. No more weaving Renewing Mist hots across the raid while melee healing. No more free auto-attack healing between instant casts.

Instead, stance dancing. They are giving my favourite class one of the most objectively clunky mechanics WoW has ever seen. Even though there are more classes that use stances than don't, each one seems to have gone out of its way to make sure stance changing is not part of gameplay. And there is a good reason for this: every single time stance changing has been incorporated into gameplay, it has sucked.

Currently the only class that still needs to change stances mid-combat to be effective is Demonology Warlock, ironically a recent change and part of the great Warlock revamp of Mists. I enjoyed Mists Demonology for a good long while. I levelled and then raided with it. Running around with a posse of imps is an awesome realisation of the class fantasy. But the stance switching always felt clunky; I never got used to it. And this is coming from someone who not only "got used to" but actually enjoyed placing Rain of Fire rotationally.

I can only hope that stances themselves are being changed in some way to make them easier to deal with. At least one other class (Warrior) is getting a new "optional" stance, which makes me hopeful that at least some development attention is being paid to improving the mechanic itself.

I just really hope they don't screw up my favourite class while trying to fix it. It's already brilliant.