New Soul Cleave (That Scales with Pain)

Vengeance Demon Hunters received a subtle change to their biggest spell, Soul Cleave, a few weeks ago:

new-soul-cleave

Previously, Soul Cleave cost exactly 40 Pain. Now it costs between 30 to 60 Pain, and heals and deals damage proportionally to the Pain consumed. (Soul Cleave doesn’t show up well in datamining, so I don’t blame you if you missed the change.)

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First Draft of the Quick and Dirty Legion Dungeon Guide is up!

My raid tanking guides for previous expansions have been pretty successful, so I wanted to expand them to dungeons for Legion.  Right now they just include simple tanking strategies for normal mode, but I will expand that to heroic and mythic once I get more testing in.

I’ve been working on this guide for quite a while, and using it a lot for myself because there are a lot of bosses to keep track of and it’s easy to forget what they all do. I hope it’s helpful for those in beta, or for those who aren’t, something to keep in mind when you experience these dungeons for the first time after August 30th.

For easy reference, you can find this guide in the “Legion Beta Guides” sidebar to the left, and once the expansion releases, under “Quick and Dirty Tanking Guides”.

Quick and Dirty Legion Dungeon Guide

Thoughts on Guides for the Quick and Dirty Audience

A few month’s ago I wrote about the two major audiences I see reading WoW guides. To quote myself:

Guides generally have two different audiences: “I want to jump in and play” and “I want to understand”. The vast majority of a guide’s readers will be in the former group, what I’ll call the quick’n’dirty players. They can range from new players who want to tank a 5 man with a freshly boosted monk, to experienced players who want to try a new class, to casual players who want to spend their precious few hours of free time playing a game instead of reading about it. They are interested in getting an introduction that is easy to digest and follow. Cookie cutter builds are targeted to this type of reader, and they often get frustrated when the answer to their customization questions is presented as subjective. They build the body of a readership and are really important for establishing an audience.

The latter group, the “I want to understand” people, or what I’ll call the comprehensive players, are more interested in why these choices were suggested and how to master the spec they are already familiar with. These are a smaller group that usually starts out as the quick’n’dirty type, but eventually want to know more. They may want help solving a particular problem, or they want to customize their character to their liking, or they simply want to be better at the game. They want explanations for everything, beyond the “do this”. Cookie cutter builds can actually harm this group because cookie cutter builds don’t offer nuance. A talent row that is actually competitive might come across as inflexible because the majority of cookie cutter builds suggest a single talent. Brewmaster healing talents and resource talents often hit this wall, because each row has a popular choice (Chi Wave and Ascension, currently), but there are good reasons to change that choice when need arises.

Today I want to talk about that quick’n’dirty audience, and how to better meet their needs. Right now my Brewmaster guide is sort of in the middle of catering to quick’n’dirty players and comprehensive players, which disrupts its ability to serve either group particularly well. To focus on the larger group, I want to find out what the majority of my guide readers look at, and use that information to craft a better experience.

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On Talent Restrictions, Social Friction, and Cookie Cutter Builds

Blizz, I need your help.

A few months ago there was a little movement among guide writers (you can see my contribution here) on how to discourage cookie cutter talent builds and advocate for individual experimentation. For one, swapping talents is just fun — you feel smart when you pick the right one, and it’s more rewarding when there’s an interesting choice and opportunity cost with that talent tier. Two, players will probably do better when they are encouraged to find talents that work for them and their current struggles, as opposed to the general “best in slot” talent. I mean, Blizzard knows all these things. Some devs even retweeted my arguments. But that all lies in contrast to the significant barriers that will be placed on talent swapping come Legion:

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Five Year Blogoversary!

Five years ago today, a talented young bear tank posted the first thing to her brand new blog: A Sunnier Bear. It was a guide to heroic Magmaw 25. It was really an excuse to get views on her kill video.

Eventually that blog morphed into Sunnier’s Art of War and that talented young bear tank morphed into a less-talented, less-young brewmaster.

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Categorizing Vengeance Talents and Traits

Looking through Vengeance demon hunter talents and artifact traits, you might notice that quite a few interact with each other. For instance, Charred Warblades heals you for 15% of the fire damage you deal, and there are many skills, talents, and traits that increase fire damage further. Let’s just take a look at those.

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Healing by Shear Force: Another Vengeance Update

There was a fairly significant rotational shakeup in the last alpha build. And a couple minor things. In summary, the important changes are:

  • Shear no longer reduces the cooldown of Felblade. Instead, it is the primary Pain generator.
  • Felblade is now a talent, which acts as a cap closer and Pain generator.
  • Immolation Aura now generates Pain over time.
  • Soul Cleave now heals you for a baseline 10% and also heals you with nearby Shattered Souls, which appear on the ground and heal for 25% of your health.

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