Thunderforged: Will it Breathe Life into 25 mans?

Thunderforged: Will it Breathe Life into 25 mans?

The new Thunderforged item concept adds another two levels of items into raids. Only available to items that are non-tier. Not sure how the slight stat allocation of Thunderforged compares to the set bonuses that tier provides, but that’s not the object of discussion here.

Much of the feedback Blizzard received was around 25 man raiding and how to proportionately reward those who eagerly go through the logistical challenges of organizing them (y’know, hopeless idiots like myself). 25 mans are gradually diminishing. Top guilds Vodka and Exodus merged resulting in the loss of another prominent 25 man guild.

Coming to the PTR in the near future will be a new designation of item type in Normal and Heroic raids for non-tier pieces. Each 5.2 raid boss will have a chance of dropping this new designation of a particular item that’s 6 item levels higher than their counterparts. These higher quality versions will be called “Thunderforged”. This means that there will be five variations of some items. You’ll now see a 5.2 raid item of LFR quality at item level 502, the same item in Normal quality at item level 522, the item in Normal Thunderforged quality at item level 528, the Heroic version of the item at level 535, and the Heroic Thunderforged version of the item at level 541.

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We’ve also received a lot of feedback regarding 25-player raids, and have been looking for ways to address some concerns. Ever since we changed 10-player raids to drop the same item level as 25′s, we’ve seen a steady decline in 25-player raiding. This isn’t surprising. A 25-player raid takes an extra level of logistical commitment for the officers of those groups. It’s unfortunately easy for a 25-player guild to collapse down into a 10-player guild, but very unlikely for the opposite to happen. However, we like 25-player raiding and don’t want to see it go away. Like many players, we love the epic feeling that comes with banding together more massive groups to battle powerful foes, we love that there’s opportunity for those groups to try out new players or unusual comps without causing a huge burden, and we want to support the larger raiding guilds. That said, we’re also concerned that over-rewarding the 25-player guilds-if, for example, we went back to a higher item level across the board for 25′s, as was the case for Icecrown Citadel-would feel like a slap in the face to the many 10-player raiders out there, who are the majority of our Normal and Heroic raiders.

To attempt to navigate this minefield, we’re going to try having Thunderforged items drop more frequently in 25-player raids. They’ll be somewhat rare in both cases compared to the standard versions that’ll drop, but they’ll be even rarer in 10′s. Overall, a 25-player group will be more likely to end up with a slightly higher item level after several weeks of raiding.

This isn’t going to have much effect on the guilds that already run 25 man raids. Conquest has survived some of the worst ordeals in it’s history. 10 man raiding has never been a long term solution in any fashion and it never will be as long as I continue to run it. The players and the leaders have no interest in it all and that resiliency has helped us.

Have to admit, reward incentive here with the Thunderforged is cool. It’s a neat compromise to the whole suggestion of adding a completely different level of gear between 25s and 10s (the Wrath style). I’ve seen cases of 25s dropping down to 10s but I have never seen a 10 man raid step up to a 25 man raid which continues to be active. If you happen to be the architect of such a move, give me a shout!

More importantly, is this going be enough to influence players to make the switch from 10 to 25? I don’t think so. My guess is no. The interactions I’ve had with the 10 man players is that they have no interest in the logistical maintenance that’s required at the 25 level. There’s a strong preference for the closer intimacy that’s offered.

This change seems to be targeting the players that like having the best stuff available. They raid a set amount of hours a week and they want to really maximize their return on their time investment.

What about the leaders? As I said, it’s a cool reward for the few that brave the logistical nightmares. But if you’re a 10 man raid leader, is it enough to consider to make that shift? I’m not sure about that. Seems to me that the players already comfortable where they are don’t want to take that leap. I gather there’s large number of players that aren’t raiding purely for the gear level (but I acknowledge that there are some who do).

During Wrath, 25s were the dominant raiding force. The challenges there offered undoubtedly better geared compared to the 10 man counterparts. With this in place, 25 man raiders have a better chance of securing better gear compared to the 10 man raiders. The 10 man players won’t be shut out. They’ll still have a chance at it but it won’t be as strong. We’ll have to wait and see what the frequency of the Thunderforge drops are going to be.

I took a quick poll on Twitter to see what other people felt.

Here’s what you said:

Yup, I figured that was going to be the case for quite a few players. What else?

Also understandable. Doesn’t matter how good the rewards and incentives are. Sometimes there is no price that’s high enough. next?

So not exactly eager to look for a 25 but won’t resist if the current leadership decides to go that route. That’s fair. It does lower the barrier slightly. And this change does seem to go after the players that are either on the fence or virtually indifferent.

Oof, I hate hearing about situations like that. Players joining a guild expecting one kind of experience only for that to be abruptly changed soon after. It’s crappy.

That’s unexpected. So in the grand scheme of things, there is an extremely slight chance that it’s enough to split a 10  man (maybe not break it).

What are your thoughts on this addition? Is it enough to give you a reason to start looking around for 25s? Are you or your raid leaders suitably incentivized to give 25s a shot or look for a guild to merge with? Or does nothing change and the status quo is maintained?

5.2: Returning to Wrath level Shield spam?

5.2: Returning to Wrath level Shield spam?

Okay, that’s not actually going to happen. As much as I miss the days of 1 button Circle of Healing during Burning Crusade and non-stop shielding in Wrath, it was largely so I could keep watching my NHL games without having to compromise my performance too much.

In a recent thread about PTR class and set bonus issues, Ghostcrawler mentioned the following:

We are going to nerf Divine Aegis for Prayer of Healing, but also lower the cost of Power Word: Shield (for Disc only) and increase the healing and damage of Penance. In 25 raids, Disc is using Prayer of Healing almost exclusively and we don’t think the Spirit Shell change will be sufficient to change that. We actually want Disc to get back to using PW:Shield a little more, along with Penance. Disc’s throughput is overall too strong in PvE, not even counting the fact that absorbs are often more beneficial than heals.

The Divine Aegis aspect on Prayer of Healing gets tuned down but we get cheaper Power Word: Shields instead.

I don’t know what it’s like at the 10 man level, but at the 25 man level, Disc Priests are predominantly using Prayer of Healing. It’s just that effective! More tactical usage of Penance and PW: Shield needs to be done clearly. Right now, we have the ability to run two Priests in our composition. You’d think that 2 Disc priests would limit the amount of shields being thrown up because of the whole Weakened Soul debuff and the fact that shields cause a dent in mana.

But realistically at the 25 man level, two Disc priests sharing the burden isn’t going to shoot the raid in the foot. There’s lots of targets to go around. There’s damage coming from all over the place (in most cases). Those shields provide an extra buffer and can buy players an extra second or two. Bonus points for cheaper shields.

Remember when Discipline sucked back in the day?

I just hope it doesn’t go too far in the other direction and we find out massive quantities of shield spam are back in season. I don’t think it is because we learned how that was in Wrath and while it was strong, it wasn’t fun.

What other clarifications?

The Golden Apparition from the Healing 4pc heals the lowest % health friendly target within 40yd. Note that it has no visual yet, but will not work like Shadowy Apparitions. It is a simple missile, not a summoned unit.

Good to hear. I’m getting annoyed at my Shadow Apparitions sometime just sitting there. Glad to know my healing priests won’t have to suffer from that. Cant’ wait to see this bonus in action though. I hope the missile isn’t as slow as the Shadow Apparition. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if, you know, by the time your holy guardian activated and healed your ally they were already at full health because your healers were already doing their job?

Angelic Bulwark and Spirit Shell can no longer be dispelled.

On the one hand, this sucks because I can’t offensively get rid of these buffs on people in PvP. On the other hand, this is awesome because now I won’t lose them during PvP.

We are going to redesign Shadow Word: Insanity.

Can’t wait to see this. There’s something about this ability that strikes me as off whenever I try using it. I’ve mainly stuck with From Darkness, Comes Light. Honestly, 4 seconds isn’t that small of a window to get Insanity off on a boss.

So then why do I feel so awkward using it?

Our current though on Solace is that it will provide damage and healing for both Disc and Holy. So Holy could use it for some Atonement-like healing, as could Disc, but Disc won’t double dip and shouldn’t feel like it’s mandatory. That could change (all of this could change) as we try it out and iterate more.

Took a look at this on the PTR. Holy Fire gets changed to Power Word: Solace so it’s one less button that takes up your spell book.

Neat! I think we’re approaching that point where we’re starting to have too much crap in our spellbook so I do like the fact that we’re condensing something. Unlike Holy Fire, Solace is instant, offers you 1% mana back, but has a 10 second cooldown.

The current version of Solace is a 1.5 second cast time which restores 0.7% maximum mana but has no cooldown.

Doesn’t the new version of Solace seem a little too low in the mana return area?

Khendra, we have no objection to using Prayer of Healing when you need to heal a bunch of people. That’s what it’s for. But when you’re using Prayer of Healing in preparation for future damage because DA and SS make your AE heal better at shielding than actual Power Word: Shield, then that even further reduces your options. (In 10s, Disc tends to use Atonement more, so they’re doing something more than just PoH spam. In 25s, we see some Atonement use, but it’s fit in when possible and healers in 25s are just always going to be able to specialize more.)

We might in the future add another AE heal for Disc (I think you can make a compelling argument that in this day and age, healers need a variety of interesting AE heals and maybe only a couple of ST heals, while healer design for years went in the opposite direction) but that’s not the sort of thing we want to drop on you in the middle of an expansion. In the meantime, if Disc uses Penance and PW:Shield some more (and Flash Heal in PvP) and doesn’t trounce all the other healers, we will be satisfied and hopefully so will priests.

Won’t be seeing that until 6.0 is my guess. We’ve got a ton of single target healing. Having Divine Star, Cascade, and Halo access were all great because we could customize our AoE healing based on the task at hand.

Another baseline AoE would be interesting though. You’d be hard pressed to find a method for AoE absorbs that isn’t already covered by what Spirit Shell can do.

Okay, I’m guessing it’s an AoE absorb. They think it’s a little excessive to chain cast Prayer of Healing in advance of a Bonestorm even though that’s the best method in countering incoming damage (even if every player’s at full health).

Can’t wait to see what they’re thinking about doing though though!

As for me, I’m still rolling around in Shadow. We’ll be challenging Blade Lord tonight. We’re getting picked apart by Wind Step and Unseen Strike combinations. Not quite sure how to counter that. It’s not like we’re losing half the raid. But each time an Unseen Strike hits, we always lose a player. I’m sure we can battle through it and add another heroic notch to our belt but if anyone has any pointers or suggestions, I’d be grateful.

Are these changes going to cause you Disc Priests to consider reverting back to Holy? Or no change at all? What do you think about the proposed Solace change?