Tobold's Blog
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Is patch 3.0.8 a disaster?

I think WoWInsider is exaggerating. Wintergrasp and arenas being down for a few days, and there still being the same lag problems as before the patch, don't make patch 3.0.8 a "disaster".

You might have noticed ;) that I'm personally unhappy with the nerf to holy priests, because it reduces the number of viable talent trees for priests from 3 to 2. And I'm pretty certain that hunters aren't happy about the 3.0.8 nerfs either. But I do recognize that class balance is a weak point of WoW since patch 3.0.2 (just ask Warlocks if they think their class is well balanced now), and the various nerfs and changes are Blizzard's way of trying to improve the situation. That is good, even if it is a hit and miss affair.

A lot of other changes in patch 3.0.8 are minor, but positive. Some icons have been spruced up, some timers for clicking on clickable stuff have been shortened, some bugs have been removed. Some of those minor changes have bigger effects, for example the fact that pulling with a non-damaging ability now tags the mob will fundamentally change how some classes pull in overcrowded areas.

So, apart from personal and subjective anger over being nerfed, the worst thing about patch 3.0.8 you can say is mentioning the things it didn't do: It didn't fix lag and server problems, it didn't add another raid dungeon, it didn't introduce dual spec, it didn't fix class balance, it didn't cure AIDS, and it didn't bring world peace. Calling it a disaster tells you more about people's unrealistic hopes than about how things really are.
"pulling with a non-damaging ability now tags the mob" and also pulling with dots. For years I've had dotted mobs stolen from me by other players. No more!
Finally something for Warlocks to smile about.
I'm a Hunter. Since July'07 (Level 45) I was specced into BM. The nerfbat hit BM so hard that I avoided the nerf as good as I could think of and switched to SV without any testing of the BM tree. I'm still in the Top 3 of every Encounter in the Heroic Raids and despite my unfamiliarity with the new specc and the horrible lagfest that Raids have to deal with these days I could easily dish out 4,2k Dps on Patchwerk On Patchday Yesterday (EU). Yes I know the numbers in the past were higher but it is fun to master a new specc, which will take quite some time as I'm still a bloody noob as a SV.
My Gear is quite good at the Moment 50% of my Slots are decked out with the best-in-Slot Items (for the moment) and the rest of my slots is in teh Top 3 also.

The CoH Nerf hasn't hit our raid as hard as I thought, at least our Shaman and Heladins are happy because they can land heals again before their target is CoH-spammed to full again.
The only thing I'm still disappointed about are the warlock changes. I still have the ffeling that they are underpowered in regard to PvE and they are not seen in the Top 10 of the Meters regardless of the Bossfight.
It's a cost/benefit thing, which you mention in passing but I think is the core of the problem people are having. The benefits of this patch are minor, while the downsides are not. If this patch had a new raid, or dual specs, or fixed Wintergrasp lag, or instance lag, etc, then people wouldn't be griping.

However, at the end of resolving all the problems that this patch introduced, people are going to be back to enjoying the game more or less exactly the same way that they were on the day before the patch was released. So all these problems aren't "buying" players anything, they're just problems.
Having done an 8 man Undying run last night with a shaman and a holy priest (Nidaba) healing I'm going to go ahead and say that priests who know what they're doing are certainly capable of stellar performance even without spamming CoH. Your comments indicate that you think Holy is no longer raid viable, and I definitely have to take issue with that statement.
As per definition of programming patch, a piece of code that is suppose to fix bugs, I really think this patch is a disaster. There were more bugs added than fixed. The class changes, nerfs or not, are not the problem, they were expected and annouced, but the bugs, even known bugs like the warlock summoning issue, and worst, wintergrasp and arena's were not expected and should have been fully tested (not only by users but by a quality assurance employees) before going live. That was a bad move, bad timming and bad executed, this defines a disaster for me.
Our CoH priest was #1 on the healing meters in our Naxx 25. Of course me, the resto shaman, and our holy paladin were less than 1% behind but he didn't seem too hampered (although he did complain a lot). He ended up with 37% of his healing coming from CoH. Still sounds like a useful spell to me. Our former CoH priest who knew nothing but CoH spam tried out a Disc spec. Either it's the Disc tree or he's still trying to figure out how to heal but he was less than 9% of total healing while the top 3 were over 20%.

Obviously healing meters don't give you everything but I think it's clear that a Holy Priest can still do their jobs nicely.
"You might have noticed ;) that I'm personally unhappy with the nerf to holy priests, because it reduces the number of viable talent trees for priests from 3 to 2."

Funny - our holy priests are adapting fine without bailing on their spec. A single spell, it turns out, does not completely define a tree.

Anyways - I would suggest that WoWInsider is a cesspool, and their opinion is almost never worth taking seriously. Blizz missed the boat with Wintergrasp to be sure (how DID that bug get in?!?) and the raid lag not being fixed sucks..... but overall it's not a bad patch.
I beg to differ, from a programming point of view this patch was more a failure than anything else. Mainly because a new piece of software has so much deficiencies that they simply do not justify spending resources for it in the first place and definitely one should steer clear from applying it.
As I mention in my blog, such bugs like the ones most encounter disrupt the feeling of immersion to the game. A spell that does not work as intended is not as bad as a laggy environment.
Personally I am worried on why Blizz allowed such a patch in the first place. One thing that keeps me hooked in wow is the extremely good standard of the service compared to alternatives and bearing in mind the difficulties of the implementation. Only this time, they have been weighed, they have been measured, and they were been found wanting

Failure yes… a disaster?... A disaster would have been if the patch scammed everybody and nicked their credit cards and send them to obscure locations :-p.
A patch that intended to fix the lag and disconnect problems suffered before it, yet only served to further antagonized and propagate the problem should be termed a disaster. The patch was not well tested, well conceived, or well implemented. Bugs happen, and minor bugs such as clipping and the weird Warlock summoning stone one are bound to happen, but what has been introduced here is a failure on many levels. A failure on their tester's parts, a failure on their coder's parts, and a failure on their parts for not only taking so long, but reacting so slowly and seemingly callously to the problems people are having.

Three weeks ago we couldn't find enough room for everyone in my guild to come to a raid. Now, we can't even field the 25 we need because people do not want to play in the lag. I don't know how bad it is for other people, but my server is atrocious when you are in an instance. We regularly get 4-5 second "freezes" where nothing is going on. Lifebloom is taking about 4 seconds to cast. If I start a Regrowth, I might get lucky if it lands before the person dies. But more than likely they will die by the time the next one lands. These are problems with either their servers or the bandwidth to the servers. Either way, they need to spend time and money fixing this from a hardware end so people can raid again.
Remind me why they have a test server if they aren't testing new patches on it?
Mekias: Either it's the Disc tree or he's still trying to figure out how to heal but he was less than 9% of total healing while the top 3 were over 20%.

Yes part of it is definitely how the Disc tree makes you heal - until someone figures out a way to make Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis and Prayer of Mending show up on healing meters we will always be dead last. I've come dangerously close to getting kicked from PUG 10man content multiple times because of my failure to impress on the meters.

One other factor to consider is that this newly-minted Disc priest in all likelihood has not had nearly enough time to re-gear/re-glyph/re-gem/re-enchant. If you're not "20/20" - 20K mana and 20% holy crit when buffed, you aren't getting enough synergy from the deep Disc talents which is where the tree really shines and we become our most effective. 3.0.8 has a lot of faults but its bugfix to Rapture has driven my mana regen through the roof so I've no reason to complain :)
Still droning on about the priest crutch having a longer cast time? C'mon...
The only gripe I have with it so far is the it seems to bork the auctionhouse from time to time. I dont know what the deal with that is. Also, while doing my hodir dailies, my new pull weapon is good ole taunt. With its new 30 yard range and instant cast, it is an easy choice.
It's close to a disaster, if you just count the implementation. The arena change was ill-planned, going live in the middle of a season and breaking in a way that's going to either require rollbacks or leave a lot of players pissed off. The Wintergrasp bug brought down servers for 12 hours before they flipped the switch. Those two alone are huge.

Then you add in all the weird little slop bugs, like Obliterate generating no runic power, bogus tooltips on a few spells, and a ton of weird animation. Sometimes my character does the rogue "kick" animation when harvesting an herb. I see other players stuttering as they run, so there's obviously some problem with the predictive movement. I also see a lot of interesting threads in customer support about vanishing mouse cursors with advice on changing hardware options to try to get back to the old way.

Not disaster, but pretty darn close. Very sloppy implementation, among the worst I've ever seen from Blizzard Entertainment.
Funny you should mention the so-called hunter "nerf". As a long time hunter player I see it as changing the "ultimate" raiding spec too a different tree. I'm pretty sure that Blizzard has been raving a lot about how they're planning to make all talent trees raid viable with only a minimal DPS difference, and again they've failed to deliver. I'm sure that in a few weeks I can see nothing but survival hunters out there at varying degrees of suck, depending on how well they've adapted to a spec that requires some thinking. But then, with this patch making all specs more complex I can imagine that maybe Blizzard did get it right and people can finally go for the spec they like, at least that's what I hope.

In short: I hope this change has made it so that playstyle will be more important than which talent tree you choose.

As for the lag, I haven't noticed any, neither before nor after the patch. I haven't had a chance to raid yet though. I guess it's a server issue.
What I find weird is I was able to play without any lag and had no problems. Wintergrasp is back and most of the bi problems are fixed or close to being fixed. It's harder for Blizz to test this type of patch because less people will want to test these changes. I expect patch 3.1 to be well tested because it will bring major changes and a new raid. You can test stuff for a long time, but that doesn't mean it will work the same on the live servers(anybody played WAR beta and the real game!). Another problem Blizz had with the testing was holidays and the fact that lot's of people are still leveling or are starting to raid, so they don't have much time for the ptr.

And hunters, this is not really a nerf. I'm a bm hunter and I have to say I'm happy with things now. Before, the only thing I had to do was to steady shot the boss to oblivion, now I actually have to use more than 1 ability! They nerfed steady shot, but they lowered arcane shot's mana cost. Most of what people call nerfs, I call a change in the way you play a class.
Hey Shamans got some buffs. Hopefully they are worth something. Shamans have been at the bottom of WoW for many years now, their representation has fallen to lowest levels (they are the most unpopular class at about 6%).

And by the way WTH is wrong with all the priests crying so loud about getting a 6 second cooldown. They moan and bitch about it as if it were the end of the world. Now come on folks put some perspective on it. it is not a big deal.
Here is an opinion:


because it took no skill to spam a button ... now they have to actually think and react in between aka for 4 seconds ...
Well these problems have had the WAR fan bois foaming at the mouth and spouting their usual drivel. I have no doubt that blizzard will sort out these fairly minor glitches soon.

As for class balance, it is an ongoing process. For any hunters to complain about a nerf is a bloody cheek, they have been overpowered for ages. Bad hunters will now be found out and will re roll and become bad death knights
Just a small note. If the lag is so bad your server is basically unplayable (which it is for me right now) then it can be considered a disaster. A 2 second or longer lag when in combat is harsh on a PvP server. Now perhaps not all servers are that laggy, so one could say "play on a different server". But I would either have to roll up a new character (losing all that time previously invested) or pay for a server transfer (more then one character which can be spendy).

So, was the patch a disaster? Maybe not for everyone but in this case 'disaster' is a relative term. So far, it's been a disaster for me.
I think players who do more PvP in World of Warcraft are feeling the negative effects of the patch more then others. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a disaster, but it's certainly one of the worst patches we seen from Blizzard. I think huge dissapointment would be a more accurate description.
Still droning on about the priest crutch having a longer cast time? C'mon...

No, just saying that somebody's perception of the quality of a patch can be seriously affected if his class / build is nerfed. Just look at how hostile all the druids are reacting on my post that hybrids should be nerfed to not be quite as good at everything they do than specialists. And I'm not even a Blizzard developer. Imagine the howling that would happen if that proposal would find its way into the next patch notes.

What you guys are effectively saying is that if Blizzard nerfs holy priests, I shouldn't complain. But if I propose nerfing another class, you have the right to complain. How can that be fair?

And as I said in the post here, apart from the subjective anger at the nerf, I don't think the patch is all that bad.
I still hold with my opinion that it's been a disaster for me so far. Although I do understand Relmstein's point and "huge disappointment" might be more accurate for some people. On the other hand, you don't think it's all that bad. That's your opinion. It's been disastrous for me so far (my subjective opinion). One of my high level characters is a hunter. I am not happy about all the nerfs but I am accepting that as just the way it goes. I do not consider that a big problem. The lagfest my PvP server has become is a HUGE problem. Are nerfs a disaster? No. Is making the game unplayable a disaster? Yes.
It *ïs* a disaster. I didn't expect this patch to cure cancer or even add new content. I did expect it to fix balance issues and fix bugs.

It is too soon to tell if te balance issues have been removed but I can safely tell that new bugs have been added. Personally, I noticed that Howling blast has no more cooldown on its tooltip. I couldn't summon a ghoul any more thanks to the glyph of raise dead. Lag in Naxxramas was skyhigh. The arena has been closed. Wintergrasp crashed the server (fire your QA department if you release with a bug this huge).

My expectations from the patch were simple: fix bugs. Yet they have added some. Having to shut down both wintergrasp and arenas is no small issue, it's a huge disaster.

In fact, can't remember a patch that actually added such high priority bugs.
No, the patch is not a disaster. I had the same reaction Tobold did to reading that WoWInsider post.

That said, they could have stood to not have so many bugs in this patch, especially considering that they have a bazillion dollars.

About the holy priest CoH nerf: Tobold, I think people are taking issue with your exaggeration. Yes it is a nerf, and yes it makes holy priests harder to play, but no it does not "reduce the number of viable talent trees for priests from 3 to 2." Last night in Naxx-10, our casual guild's holy priest did fine. And a number of more hardcore readers have commented above about their own experience with 3.0.8 holy priest performance.

About patch 3.0.8: I'm surprised at the number of bugs introduced in this patch. I'm on a low-pop server and noticed the run stutter (our gnome warrior MT looked like he was limping), but we didn't suffer any lag problems in Naxx or the SotA battleground.
We've come to expect more from Blizzard then other companies simply because of their market position so when they drop the ball so badly the outcry is all the more louder.
Lag is one thing, but my server Drak'Tharon suffers from constant disconnects in Naxx. No raiding, no arenas, and no Wintergrasp counts as a disaster to me, I guess different servers have varying results.
Holidays and lack of interest in playing on the ptr is no excuse for bugs being introduced. The blizzard QA department should have picked up the big problems.
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