Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
 
Cloak of Shadows and PvP balance

I got a letter from a reader who wanted to know my opinion on Cloak of Shadows, as he thinks it gives rogues too much of an advantage over his warlock in PvP. He wonders whether Blizzard gave Cloak of Shadows to rogues so that they could escape mages crowd control, with other cloth casters ending up as the victims of this class review. Well, I can't say, it is hard to know what went through the head of the developers when they made a particular change. But I agree that I too hate getting stunlocked by a rogue, and if my only chance was to fear the attacker, I would be annoyed if he had an ability that made him basically immune against all I could do.

But while we could discuss class balance in PvP endlessly, in the end it all sounds like the rock complaining that he always loses against paper in a game of rock-paper-scissors. I don't think it is humanly possible to design 9 classes with 3 talent trees each in a way that each class/talent combo has exactly a 50:50 win chance against each other class/talent combo. My holy priest hates being attacked by a rogue in PvP, my protection warrior loves them, because they are one of the few classes that attacks from close enough to hit them, and I'm well protected enough by armor so I don't die during the initial stunlock. Stealth, stuns, and Cloak of Shadows magic immunity sure are annoying, but take them away and you end up with a rogue that couldn't win a PvP combat against any other class. It is not as if warlocks are otherwise underpowered in PvP, so having some classes that regularly beat them is necessary. Unless you only fight against people who have the same class and talent spec, every single PvP fight in World of Warcraft is unfair and unbalanced. Only the sum of all these imbalances comes out even enough to not make one class all powerful.
Comments:
Hello,

I hope I'm at the right place where not every try at constructive criticism isn't dismissed with ridiculous words (read: "whine").

While it was not my intention to question the balance of a Warlock vs. a Rogue, it was my intention to question side effects.

I guess that, usually, Blizzard in all their wisdom analyze the situation and pass situational tools to the players via talents and skills - read: The mages iceblock, the rogues kick, the warriors piercing howl. However, in the case of Cloak of Shadows (called CloS on the forums), the situationality is - and if I'm right, for the first time - not determined by Blizzard, but by the players. The only other similar skill is the bubble of the paladin, but there's one sweet difference: The bubble has always been there.

So there is what nags me: Adding class-defining abilities to a 3 year old, well played, sophisticated class like a rogue. Not only can the rogue disable 2 classes completely (mage and warlock) and almost disable a third (priest, although they can try to heal), just think of the hunters arcane shot (magic), all judgements and crowd control of the paladin, every wand damage and most of the shamans skills.

The appearance of CloS seems to me as a matter of balancing against the mages gain of crowd control. I'm perfectly fine with being stunlocked to death, as long as I have no problems with other classes (which I haven't) - that's the idea of rock-paper-scissors. Especially with the appearance of the new insignia, which evened the while crowd control problem out a bit.
 
This topic has been discussed (if that's the right word) endlessly on the Warlock forums. I don't see a need to bring it up on your blog, Tobold (but it's your page, so hey!).
The endless whining that goes on regarding class balance in PvP is so tedious.
Yes, one on one some classes can beat other classes quite eqasily. Big deal.
As a warlock I don't care if a rogue uses cloak of shadows to kill me. Hopefully a team mate will then take the rogue down soon afterwards.
PvP discussions always turn onto slanging matches. Let's see if this one does, too!
 
Hmmm, rogue is one of the most underpowered classes in high quality pvp at the moment... seriously:
Nearly no rogue in top arena teams (exept 2on2 where they aren't half as popular as paladin or warlock, but have a fair share), top rogues rerolling or quitting, test realm duels where everyone lost to a warlock...

Cloak of shadows is an interesting addition to rogues "cooldown arsenal" of vanish, sprint, blind, evasion, cold blood, preperation etc.
Yes, it can seal your fate against a good rogue, but so can all the other abilities. Yes, it's a new ability, other classes got some, too. Yes, you have to adapt your playstyle against them.
MMORPGs evolve, things change, this is what makes them interesting imo.

@Thomas: I don't know what you are doing, but Cloak of Shadows doesn't "disable" my mage. Oh, and you can hardly call Cloak of Shadows a class defining ability, stealth is what rogues are about.

Oh, and don't forget that WoW is all about gear, equipment, items. Complaining about loosing to a rogue with two arena weapons when you have 6500 hitpoints with 50 resilience is simply stupid. Stack some stamina gems, test some strategies, respeccc and try to fight back next time.
The class balance is far from perfect, but there is always a chance.
 
This topic has been discussed (if that's the right word) endlessly on the Warlock forums. I don't see a need to bring it up on your blog, Tobold (but it's your page, so hey!).

Well, I wouldn't want to put anyone's sanity into danger and ask them to read the "discussion" on some official WoW forums. :)

So there is what nags me: Adding class-defining abilities to a 3 year old, well played, sophisticated class like a rogue.

Well, TBC added interesting new abilities to all classes. There would have been an outcry if all the level 61 to 70 abilities would have been just improved ranks of already existing abilities. Given the cooldown and short duration, I don't really see CloS as being class-defining for rogues. Especially not if you consider PvE as well as PvP.
 
Damn. And I thought, there could be a real discussion. After *explicitly* stating that I have NO problem with the ability itself used on me, I only wanted to raise 2 points, none of which any of you commented:

1. The difference between "conventional balancing" and the way CloS works and
2. Adding a class defining ability to a class late in the game.

It might be discussable if the ability is class-defining. Surprisingly, I'd say yes as it works more or less against 7 or the 9 classes, temporarily disabling all offensive capabilities against the CloS-target with 3 of them.

@imyemeth: What does the mage do during the CloS-time? Don't tell me you're injecting all your instants into the rogue on the remote chance that between the 90% resistance of CloS and his usual resistances (maybe 20?) anything will actually hit him?
 
As others have already said, other classes got some pretty powerful new abilities too. Mage invisibility, that one is useful against any class (possibly not against warlocks though, I guess the see invisibility works?). The druids got that cyclone ability is quite powerful. I'm sure other classes also got some powerful abilities at the same time as the rogues got cloak of shadows. If you want to call cloak of shadows a class defining ability then it could easily be argued that many others from probably each and every class got the same.
 
I used to be able to never get hit by rogues (after the initial stunlock) nor by warriors. Now, even with water elemental and frost grenades, rogues will kill me in the inital stunlock and warriors will kill me in about 3 hits if they do manage to catch me up, read intercept when blink's on cooldown. Warlocks still regularly mash me with resists/dots whatever. Any class that heals can outheal me. Feral druids shift out of my chills. Hunters I can have some success against, although I don't think I've fought any since the trinkets changed, due to the deadzone.

My conclusion? Nerf AP and/or POM. I could have any or all of the above fights go my way with the extra burst damage, but whats the fun in being 3 minute spec. The mage class appears to be balanced around it (and iceblock), even if you don't have it (or them, not that you can have pyro, AP and ice block).

@Thomas: I tend to spend it casting ice barrier and/or ice blocking through it.
 
Mage invisibility, that one is useful against any class

Erm, is this the invisibility which means that I can't see you as much as you can't see me? Its useless in PvP unless you have someone to tell you exactly where to go. You can't cast it in combat as anything you do except move will remove it, and if you take any damage you also lose it. The only use I've had for it is skirting through trash rather than around it in heroics (saving about 30s) and to avoid trash wipes in raids. Occasionally I wipe agro on a boss, but since its been changed that you can't even start casting something while fading, thats a bit stupid as well.

</rant>
 
From 1.9 until 2.0 rogues were a joke in pvp. Now people are upset that for the first time in over a year they are dying to them again.

It's all the constantly shifting balance game Blizzard plays. I think they do these things deliberately - shift things around, shake them up, just to keep people changing tactics so the game doesn't stagnate.
 
Erm, is this the invisibility which means that I can't see you as much as you can't see me? Its useless in PvP unless you have someone to tell you exactly where to go.

I've seen it used in quite intelligent ways despite it's drawbacks. It just takes some imagination.
 
2. Adding a class defining ability to a class late in the game.


This is a fascinating statement, as you don't even mention the fact that Deathcoil is a class defining ability that was added to a class late in the game. See, before Deathcoil rogues could normally beat warlocks. After Deathcoil was added, it was nearly impossible for a rogue to beat a warlock. Now with Cloak of Shadows, the advantage swings back to the rogue again. Want to know when it swings back to the warlock? When he gets 11-12k health with 300+ resilience (see: just about every warlock in arenas atm).

As has been debated endlessly on many forums, rogues are currently punching bags in high end PVP. Almost every ability is on a very long cooldown, and once cooldowns are burned rogue survivability is nil. The most recent patch allowed every single class to trinket out of stuns, saps and blinds. Rogues are more vulnerable then they have been in a long time.

My theory is that all of these complaints hinge around being completely helpless with your character. It evokes an emotional reaction in players to feel they've completely lost control. At release, that was stunlocks by rogues. Later on, it was chain fears by warlocks. According to this complaint it's now a combination of stunlocks and timing of Cloak of Shadows to keep casters from having an opportunity to fight back. Losing control stinks, but it's also those classes only chance at victory so it's a vicious circle.
 
*Applauds Albatross*

MagrothJ makes a very good point as well. Example, Hunters recevied Silencing Shot. This has many uses, it can be used as a "pull" to "pull" caster mobs out of or away from a crowd.

It also gives the hunter the ability to silence an opponent in PvP for 3 seconds and does 75% damage to boot. Being an instant cast, I use it against everything in PvP just for the damage but it has saved me in PvP and PvE, more times than I can count. So is that a class defining ability?

I don't see much difference in the use of this ability and the use of a warriors Intercept Stun to run up hills in BG's or stun thru Hunter's freeze traps. It seems to me, the only ones complaining are the casters :)
 
I'm not really sure what the point about adding "class-defining" abilities has to do with anything? We just had the first expansion to the most popular MMO ever released, and they added new abilities, and modified old ones. Is this a shock to anyone?

Warriors gained Spell Reflect, a HUGE change to the way that casters fight against any warrior with a shield. Druids gained a Resto-spec ability for Tree of Life, that can significantly change the way they play the game. Warlocks gain new DoTs, new Demons, and new Spells.

I'm not sure what the complaint is.
 
I'm an affliction warlock, and I don't have any problems with CloS. It's best use seems to be as an escape mechanism.
I keep a stack of invulnerability potions handy for rogues. As soon as they pop their immunity...I pop mine. =)
Now that I push 12k hp and 300 resilience, I do find potion of invulnerability less of a requirement to kill rogues. Resilience has killed their crit-based burst damage. Also, the new lvl 70 trinket effects mean no more stunlock. I kind of do feel for rogues right now since they used to rely on stunlocks and quick fights. Blizzard's stated intent of slowing down fights really hurts rogues.
 
It definitely is an up and down. Take hunters vs other classes. It used to be very hard to go up against mages, but rogues would be easy targets. With silencing shot, mages have become more managable, but due to defensive nerfs and rogues have become more dangerous.

Anyway, with all these PvP arguments I never quite know what the truth is because these discussions become fatalistic so quickly. People sometimes complain even when things are fine, or they just have beef with basic mechanisms (like DoTs or dead zones or stuff like that which really defines some classes).
 
I like the way people discuss here way better than in the forums - just as a positive feedback :)

As a druid I can say that in general locks are not a 'weak' class in PvP - many locks agree with this I assume. And rogues without Clos definitely were in trouble against Dotters^^- so I appreciate the solution.
 
I quit a tier 2 priest because of CloS. I would die everytime to a rogue. I may revisit the priest for pvp with the trinket change.

CLoS is used alot against hunters to resist flare, ice trap, scatter shot, remove serpent sting dot.
 
The main flaw I see in CloS is the fact that the rogue can recieve heals while the effect of CloS is up. I cant tell you how many times that this has caused my magic based dps arena team to lose. CloSed rogues recieving 8k crit heals from a bubbled paladin is about as broken a situation you can get.
 
What does the mage do during the CloS-time? Don't tell me you're injecting all your instants into the rogue on the remote chance that between the 90% resistance of CloS and his usual resistances (maybe 20?) anything will actually hit him?

I actually turn and run the other way when CloS is activated, and I typically use my trinket to remove slowing poison so kite'ing is not a problem. If the rogue uses sprint to catch me after a blink, then it's straight to Ice Block. CloS really doesn't hurt a Mage, but it KILLS me on my Priest / Warlock.
 
Id rather be healing a warrior than a rogue in any pvp fight. (I play a paladin dwarf)

Rogues can be more useful in the larger pvp picture as they crowdcontrol, burst dps, and can interupt skills that otherwise might change the tide of the battle. Sadly however, warriors offer all of that plus survivability. So what advantage does the rogue get? well they can pick locks i guess. gg

I have no problem with CloS, keep it and perhaps give rogues the ability to wear mail.
 
I don't know, on my priest I just dispelled CLoS. /shrug

I still died first all the time, but come on, it's a priest.
 
You said that without stealth, stunlocks, and CoS, rogues wouldn't win in PVP.... That has to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Take away a Warlock's fear and they wouldn't be able to PVP themselves for pete's sake, or a Warriors Execute, or....

Simply put, taking away ANY classes abilities will limit how it functions. What you said was simply retarded.
 
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lol.

(cracks open a bud light)
 
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