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?


Mitia said...

I do have a question: damage from attacks still give you rage, right? A fixed amount based on weapon speed? I would predict then that haste would be stacked mindlessly by warriors, and seeing how haste will be intended to be an "optional" stat per design, I don't think it will ever make it in cata.
The only other problem I see with your desing is that warriors damage scaling, although really stable and nice during leveling, will suck as soon as you start gearing up for raids. Especially for dps specs. Right now, a mage or a hunter in full 277 has more mana than when they just dinged 80. That extra room that allows you should translate to the warrior as it happens right now, only that perhaps in a more managable way
I liked the last idea GC put out, taking out crit may work.

Will said...

I always liked the idea of a warrior starting at full rage (ie. he's pissed before the fight starts), and then spending from there. And out of combat, rage goes up, not down. That would give warrior tanks a little breathing room on the pull, and some ability to maintain initial agro. Then let the warrior generate rage based on hits, normalized for weapon speed. Have it have nothing to do with damage, just whether you hit or not. It would make being hit / expertise capped more important, but that probably should be important anyway.

Bavmolo of Kalecgos said...

Let me preface this:
I run an 80 prot warrior, I generally don't raid out of an aversion to drama.

From a 5-man tanking perspective, as soon as I charge into the fight (generating Rage from the charge) and take some hits, I have a nearly full Rage bar, and it stays that way as long as I have damage incoming. My best threat moves use between 1/4 and 1/6 of my rage bar, and I pretty much need to keep them on cooldown to hold aggro over raid geared DPS. If warriors were switched to a much lower rage level (having been through normalization once, I really worry about going through it again) I'm not sure I'd be able to keep up with the DPS any more, without raiding for better gear to close the gap.

I think your idea would work great for DPS warriors, but would leave warrior tanks a bit short on rage, unless they adjusted the rage cost of our threat generating abilities.

Merlot said...

A toggle between light damage that generates resources and heavy damage that uses it? You've just reinvented Aspect of the Viper.

The absolute easiest way to 'normalise' rage generation is to have some attacks that generate it (by a flat amount) and some attacks that use it -- i.e. the DK runic power system. Take damage out of the equation altogether.

bobreaze said...


Merlot came up with the most elegant solution. As for full rage then decrease thats to similar to a rogue and with pallies getting combo points no ty.

Hombre said...

Your idea sounds like a rogue's energy to me. Basically refilling your resource at a fixed rate unless you choose to spend it.

Would probably work but there are already some classes that use it, rogues, cat druids and Cat hunters, if you'll pardon the pun.