Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fixing Rage Scaling

Rage scaling continues to be a thorn in the Developers side as they work on Cataclysm beta. Their plan for Rage Normalization is not meeting the design goals. Here is Lead Developer, Greg Street, aka Ghostcrawler summarizing the issue.
Currently on beta, rage generation feels about right at level 80, but the income drops down more and more with higher levels. Now we have no doubt once warriors get epic gear with tons of haste and crit that they will have plenty of rage again, but that's the problem that rage normalization was really intended to fix. Source
Rage is a strange resource mechanic. You start the fight with 0, and get rage from dealing or taking damage. For a DPS Warrior, you whack the Boss with a couple of auto attacks to generate some rage and then start using your specials like Bloodthrist, and Mortal Strike. (These two are given as examples, Warriors have many more special attacks.) The harder you hit, the more rage you receive until you are overflowing with rage. At this point, you need to Rage dump. Warriors use attacks like Heroic Strike to burn rage. Heroic Strike turns an auto attack into a special with extra. Special do not give you rage, so you burn off some of your excess by reducing your income. In high end gear, Warriors are perpetually burning rage leading to the spamming of Heroic Strike game play. This ability to spam Heroic Strike has, along with other issue like a Hit bug, caused Warrior damage to be very high in the late end game.
The developers plan to fix this was to, once again, normalize rage gain. This was supposed to even out the amount of rage Warriors had to work with over a wide range of gear levels. As you can see from the above quote from Ghostcrawler, it’s quite ‘working as intended.’
If you will allow me, and really your only other choice is to stop reading, I’m going to put on my armchair developer hat and elucidate a design for how I would solve the problem presented. I’m new to thinking and writing about Warriors, so I’m fairly sure this isn’t a new idea, but I haven’t seen it written about before.
My solution has several different parts. Let me caveat this with saying that any numbers I reference would need to be tested and tweaked, but the basic design concept is there regardless of the specific numbers chosen. Don’t get hung up on the specific numbers. Damage naturally scales during an expansion cycle. It pretty much has to. So too will Warriors rage income. With my system, that problem is eliminated.
The first change is to create a resting state for rage. The idea is that when out of combat, Warriors rage would settle at some small number like 10 or 15. While in combat, they can spend all the way down to zero, but their out of combat ‘rest’ state is around 10 or 15 rage. It could be argued that Bloodrage effectively accomplishes this and I’m not sure I’d argue.
The next step is to change Heroic Strike. Heroic Strike would become a toggle. When toggled on, the Warrior would do light hitting attacks. These attacks would generate a fixed amount of rage. Then the Warrior would spend that rage with hard hitting special attacks (Bloodthrist, Mortal Strike, etc.) Warriors rage income would no longer be dependant on how much damage they do so it would work well for both DPS and Tank Warriors. Now it becomes the Warriors job to budget that income well while dealing with procs, and fight mechanics.
Another boon to the Developers is now Warriors would be easier to balance. Rage income ceases to a variable that changes dramatically during an expansion. Instead, the Developers would know the rage income of a Level 80 in quest greens, or a level 80 in ICC 25 Heroic gear would be the same. It’s simply becomes a matter of balancing Warrior damage against that rage income. That damage will scale with primary and secondary stats on gear just like every other class.
The Warrior ‘rotation’ become a balancing act between hard hitting specials that eat rage, and soft hitting Heroic Strike that generate rage. Rage income is a fairly well defined variable the Developers can balance against.
Since my experience with Warrior PVP is non existent, I do not feel comfortable speculating how well my system would work for PVP.
I realize the Developers don’t read my blog and this idea would never see the light of day, but I wanted to share it with guys.
So what do you think? Would this system for Rage work well for Warriors and solve the sticky problem the Developers have been wresting with in the Beta?
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