Hypothetical WAR is going on a sabbatical… though not etymologically speaking… This is a rather busy time of the year for me with half a dozen birthdays, an anniversary, Easter, graduations, etc. crammed into a very small time-frame (three birthdays in one week = cake overload) – meaning I have both little time to play WAR and to blog.
To address some recent questions I’ve received:
- Q: Have you left WAR for Rift – A: Hell no
- Q: Have you run dry on ‘Hypothetical’ ideas – A: No, I’m working on a rather huge project
- Q: Why haven’t you been blogging as much – A: See above paragraph
- Q: Are you happy with the recent patch – A: Meh.
Let me put it this way, when 1.4.0 went live, I vomited a little in my mouth. While it was on the PTS I began to brainstorm my next project. For 5-6 months now I’ve been working on a huge project – and I mean huge. My six new armies took 2 months to publish, my four new city-dungeons took about 5 weeks to publish – this is bigger, much bigger.
With such a huge undertaking on my plate I have eased into a commentary-mode on my blog (mostly prodding for feedback from my readers, as said feedback will factor into my project); this is most evident with the Mirror WAR mini-project I recently launched. I will occasionally drop in to throw commentary at Mythic’s newest plot to throw a monkey-wrench into the works, but for the most part I’m going to take a step back from the blog until my project is ready to unveil. I have a few friends helping me with different artistic portions of this undertaking and they are working their hardest to help me out, for which I am eternally grateful. Tentatively, the launch-date for my new project is June 1st.
Hypothetical WAR is going to theory-craft explode at Mythic. I am throwing down the gauntlet and challenging Mythic. Hypothetical WAR is going to war.
Yesterday we got an update for April (is it a replacement for the Producer’s Letter?) The blurb covered a few points : a mention of the launch of 1.4.2 and the Physical Mitigation changes going into 1.4.3 (I was disappointed to not see them min 1.4.2 after the massive discussion about them); 1.4.3 isn’t slated until late June (another 2.5 months away) and will also coincide with the launch of our first of several new Live Events – Sigmar Tide. We also got some quick notes about changes to crafting and temporary trinkets. That and today marks the ‘launch’ of the 18v18 scenarios – Gromril Crossing and the horrid Thunder Valley; maybe with 18 enemies Thunder Valley won’t seem so empty.
Patch 1.4.2 is set to launch tomorrow, or April 19th whenever you are reading this… For all the discussions that have been started on the forums post-1.4.1 I really expected a bigger whammie in this patch. Let’s take a look at 1.4.2 and what’s missing.
Scenarios – First on the list are scenario changes. I’m all for scenario changes, the 1.4.1 line-up was way too melee-friendly with all the tiny maps. The new list however certainly has room for improvement. I think most people would agree that Thunder Valley was probably the scenario that launched the new system and scraped the sc-to-zone link…. and now we have it again. I can’t possibly see how this map could be improved in any fashion (regardless of rule-set) to be fun.
Renown Rank/Effective Levels – Getting toned down due to the out-of-whack job they did post 1.4.0. A good change.
Career Changes – Um… now players cant use channeled abilities when their target leaves their range (good) and they cant detaunt enemies while silenced. Last time I checked my Shadow Warrior doesn’t draw his bow with his tongue. Why on earth should a silence stop a SW or an Engi from firing their weapon?! Channeled fixes are good, but the changes to detaunts are b.s.
Tome of Knowledge – A slew of typo-fixes. Great I guess, for those who were offended by the typos…
Doomflayer/Warpforged – These sets have been drastically toned down, almost to the degree where they have swung too far int he opposite direction. This story is actually pretty humorous for me – before 1.4.0 everyone said the new sets were OP as hell, once people got the sets they no longer thought they were OP, now the set is getting nerfed perhaps too much and all the people who have the sets are screaming bloody murder (the same people who pre-1.4.0 said the sets were stupid OP). Hypocrisy at its finest! I am happy Mythic took the right step with these sets and ignored the cries of the people who rode the OP-boat for a few months and now have to relearn how to play.
New pets – Um….? Um….??? If only Mythic would devote development towards stuff people wanted. You know… forts, other cities, new scs, new races. But for crying out loud! Pets?!
Now for the things not mentioned in the patch notes that were on the forums. We had this discussion about attacking keep doors – this was not mentioned in the patch notes… is it going live? We had a HUGE discussion about physical mitigation – um whats up with this change? Siphon Vitality got addressed on the forums with the (right) change to make it an ‘on-hit toughness buff’ – not mentioned in patch notes BUT it is on the PTS so presumably it is going through.
I somehow feel odd about this patch. The changes to the power gap are definitely the right step, but it seems like the problem with physical mitigation which was mentioned and beaten into the ground on the forums has been brushed aside. Hopefully this patch will be the first step towards fixing the horrible debacle 1.4.0 was.
The dust has settled. Twelve brutal battles fought on paper as tactics were tested, morale clashed, and abilities pushed to the limits. Does Mythic really show a bias towards one realm? Did the numbers prove an age-old assumption? The Mirror WAR is over, but what have we gathered from it? Let’s take a quick summation of the classes and tally the points to see if one realm really is the figure purely based on cross-comparisons and numbers.
- SM v. BO – In the world of stance shifting we came upon the Swordmaster and the Black Orc. After discussing the abilities and tactics it became apparent immediately that the SM as a character was directed down the path of a great-weapon wielding class, unusual for tanks but lore-fitting for the SM. Lore-kudos aside, this focus on the great-weapon leaves the SM as a tank at a distinct disadvantage with other tanks who have a sword-and-board emphasis. The SM is further driven towards the path of dps with its magical damage and a tree specifically devoted to magical damage; the BO on the other hand has a mastery tree devoted to group support, a more fitting role for a tank. Looking at the other tank ‘role’ of CC and group utility, the SM fall short horribly while the Black Orc has some greater success. As a dps class the SM is excellent, as a tank it fails, so the tank-point for this war goes to the Black Orc.
- IB v. BG – A world full of anger. Two classes designed around building up anger in one form or another and then spewing said anger at their opponents and beating them in the face. This analysis revolved mostly around the use of said anger points and the abilities that got enhanced by having more of these points and the abilities which consumed them (which as a rule of thumb are less desirable). The IB’s offensive tree has the majority of the abilities which are improved by its Grudges, while its defensive tree has the majority of the abilities which consume these points – the opposite is true for the BG. If one accepts the argument that more points is better and consuming points is bad then the IB is directed towards an offensive play-style, while the BG is directed towards a defensive play-style. So the tank-point for this war goes to the Blackguard.
- KotBS v. Chosen – Rally the troops and repel the enemies! Two tank classes focused on auras to weaken enemies and bolster the group. In terms of CC the Chosen and Knight are unrivaled with their AoE stagger and long range punt, but the battle between these two is not fought over CCs. Where the SM is lured by the prospect of magical damage, so is the Chosen. While the Knight may also spec into magical damage, their defensive tree reigns supreme amongst Order. The Chosen’s defensive tree on the other hand doesn’t stand up so well to its competitors – it has potential to be a great tank, but there are certainly sturdier options. So the tank-point for this war goes to the Knight of the Blazing Sun with a defensive tree that’s sure to hold up against any onslaught.
- AM v. Shaman – The balance between good and evil. No, I don’t mean between Order and Destruction, but between healing and dps. These two classes share so much in terms of abilities and tactics that they are among the most mirrored pair in the game. The AM may be able to last a little longer in the fray, but the Shaman is kiting-king. Oddly enough the AM has higher dps-ability tool-tips while the Shaman has higher tool-tip values on their healing abilities, though in the end this war is going down as a tie in my book.
- RP v. Zealot – Marked by your master – treat them well and you’ll be blessed with heals, treat them poorly and they’ll swap to dps in the blink of an eye. In this war we have the Zealot pulling forward with slight advantages in tool-tip values on both their heals and dps abilities. The RP also falls short in the morale and tactics department against its mirror, though in the end it’s not really by much. In the short run we’d get a tie, in the long run the Zealot may pull ahead, though proclaiming a victor of these two is really splitting hairs.
- WP v. DoK – A harvest of the so called pious. Two classes designed around building a secondary pool with melee attacks and then using this pool to heal their group-mates. A wonderful concept indeed, that is until the dps becomes so powerful that it is beyond-viable. The WP certainly has an edge with the heals, but its not really a great edge. The DoK on the other hand can match the WP’s heals AND has an incredible dps set up leading to a combination of damage and survivability which crowns it king with little argument. Dual-wield, auto-attack haste, parry, etc. lead to a lethal combination, a combination which a great weapon simply can’t compete with. The clear winner in this WAR is the DoK.
- WL v. Marauder – Perhaps the greatest case of a carnival mirror in WAR. The reflection in this mirror is absolutely nothing like the face peering in. The Marauder has dual-wield with its included faster auto-attack and parry bundle, its abilities cost less AP (by 10AP on average) and it doesn’t need a pet to make full use of its abilities. The Marauder’s trees are divided up into debuffs (very powerful ones at that), single target burst, and AoE. The WL on the other hand has its tree’s divided up into the role it shares with its pet: fighting together, letting the pet distract while the WL attacks, and letting the player distract while the pet attacks. The WL is almost entirely built around a PvE mentality with threat generation and maintenance; however, Mythic may be unaware of this, but threat doesn’t translate over into PvP. Why does the WL have an entire tree that is positional while the Marauder has one ability that is positional? Why is the WL the only mdps with an outgoing heal debuff as its MR11 tactic while every other mdps has an incoming heal debuff at MR7. The disparities are far too great for these to be mirrors. The Marauder wins hands down.
- Slayer v. Choppa – They’re all the rage! These two classes share so much in common that it is really hard to proclaim a winner in this battle. Core ability for core ability they are identical mirrors. In terms of mastery abilities the Slayer has a slight edge, but for every tool the Slayer has to weaken the enemy it would seem the Choppa has one to counter it. Cry as Destro may about Shattered Limbs, they have three classes with the same ability and they always seem to overlook this. Tactic for tactic the classes are also very close together, though many of the Slayer’s tactics focus on him getting deadlier as he dies, not exactly a desirable route as I’m sure most of us would rather live. Because these classes share all but 4 pairs of tactics, 2 pairs of morales, and 5 pairs of abilities one can’t really say that either has it better. They’re different and have little things that make them unique, but at the core they’re the same mindless rage-monster flailing its arms about as its mouth froths. Tie.
- WH v. WE – Backstabbing bastards. Although its only one tree, and really accentuated by one ability that bypasses all of the victim’s armor, the positional tree of these two classes really seems to define them. In the age of burst, that is now, DoT specs don’t hold much water, and BAL is after all a 9s DoT. The WE has some pretty crappy finishers, there is little argument against that, but what it has in return certainly compensates greatly for this – 15% crit, 20 second CD on Feinted Positioning, 2 knock-down abilities, etc. I doubt many WE’s would trade their 15% crit for BAL but since it seems that’s all they seem to want… The WH wins with the finishers, but the WE ties the battle up with the tactics.
- SW v. SH – Ninjas of the night. In this mirror war we learned quite a few things. First of all the SW is limited heavily in terms of mobility and versatility. The SH has access to all of its abilities at any given time, and the buffs from the SW stances are granted to the SH without the restrictions. The SH pet acts to supplement the SH’s damage and does not act to restrict the player and its available tools like it does the WL. The SH has 5 additional abilities in its melee tree (for a total of 10 abilities affected by this tree) which in essence really should translate over as a fourth mastery tree. Due to the versatility of the SH, the additional damage of the pet, the classification of some abilities as ‘cripples’ which cannot be cleansed and its multiple CCs and tools for survivability, the SH wins this battle.
- Engi v. Magus – The good ol’ ball and chain. These two classes are bound to their pets like no other. The Engi falls flat with one tree devoted to physical damage leaving it only an AoE DoT tree and an AoE short range tree. The Magus at least can take full potential of all of its trees and deal some hefty single target damage, but in the end both of these classes are handicapped by the damage compensation their pets are intended to do. Who wins this battle? The Magus, simply because all three of its trees are magical damage and in WAR magical damage reigns supreme. Until physical damage is fixed, the Rifleman Engineer will always be obsolete.
- BW v. Sorc – Glass cannons of unimaginable doom. These two classes can be specced in such a way that they can kill anyone they choose in one rotation, be it a tank or a clothie. With Ice Spikes the Sorc has a definite advantage in building Dark Magic over the BW who builds Combustion, but the BW has a handful of more useful abilities in its mastery trees which even out this fight. In terms of each other, these two classes have been brought into so much parity that they really aren’t very different, so the battle is a tie.
One thing however is clear regardless of which realm you play, the Dark Elves are certainly the stronger race for Destro and the Empire is the stronger race for Order. The DoK and WP top the charts for healing most of the time, the KotBS and BG are the most defensive tanks in the game, and the WH/WE and BW/Sorc are the most lethal single target dps in the game.
Final score – 5 ties, 1 Order victory on the KotBS, and 6 Destro victories on the BG, BO, DoK, Marauder, SH, and Magus. If you discount the defensive roles of tanks then you can give Order 2 victories and Destro 5, either way you look at it Destro seems to come out on top. You don’t have to take my word for it, check out the PTS – on almost every class (for their intended role) Destro has higher tool-tip values. Every Destro healer has higher tool-tips. The IB and SM have higher tool-tips than their counterparts, but they’re tanks so damage should not be what they’re judged by. They should be judged by their ability to take damage, in which their mirrors fare better. On some accounts Order’s characters have higher tool-tip values, but these accounts are fewer than the opposite situation. Perhaps one day the mirror WAR will even out.