Archive for August 23, 2011

Sapience Chimes in on Gamescom Post


I was happy to see some post from a blue-name after the previous forum post made quoting Sapience from the floor at Gamescom.

Yes there’s a bit of fluff and market speak in there, but in reading the post you can see the Sapience and the team really do care about the community and were effected by the negative comments on the forums.  I still do believe in their staff to turn out quality content so I do trust them when they come out and make statements like he did.

He did confirm that the instances will ship AFTER Isengard, but didn’t give any timeframe.  However, it does sound like they’ll be making some announcements during or shortly after Pax and that he might have some freedom to talk about things there at Pax too.

Good news is that they do listen and do want to provide us with good content, however sometimes doing that well and dealing with all the business aspects takes longer then we’d all like.

Take a read over on the forums if you want his full statements.


Rise of Isengard Champion Dev Diary


It seems like the next batch of diaries Turbine releases will all be related to the class changes.  Champions were one of the most discussed and tweaked in the earlier posts and this Diary certainly reflects that as Orion takes 5 pages to walk through the changes.  I’m going to walk through the changes, and put my comments at the end for those who make it that far ;)  Oh, and don’t forget these are all still in beta and potentially likely to change.

Page one really walks through the overall idea behind the changes in allowing them to basically charge in fighting first and thinking later.

  • Fervour costs for Two-handed weapons will now be the same as when dual-wielding
  • With regards to tanking, they are making it shieldless but want it to be different from the Guard (absorption tank) and Warden (endurance tank)
  • Will need to roll in Glory stance to tank effectively
  • There will be a damage sacrifice for the enhanced durability
  • Interesting mechanic in that the tanking champion will need to take damage as opposed to dodging or mitigating it.  Sounds like a fun game for all you Minstrels out there!

Page 2 focuses on the changes to the Glory stance and associated Martial trait lines as the stance is quite closely tied to the traits.

  • Overall set up to be the tanking line including reducing cool-downs for Adamant/Invincible, Hedge, and Bracing Attack
  • While in Glory stance, Ebbing Ire becomes Rising Ire
  • Sudden Defence becomes a damage bubble increasing with each Fervour pip and lasts for 15 seconds
  • Hedge now increases the Champion’s Armour value and further increased while in Glory stance as well avoiding/removing the disarm effect.
  • Traits:
    • Call of the Wild allows Wild Attack to generate more threat and reduces the CD of Sudden Defense by 5 seconds
    • At the Ready makes damage dealing skills reduce the CD of both the Ire skills by 2 seconds
    • Reprisal, previously called Patience, increases the frequency of the retaliation effect from Exchange of Blows.  In addition, while in Glory stance this will generate more threat AND a fervour pip each time you’re hit.
    • Braced against Defeat not only does Bracing Attack get the bonus to healing but a 15% bonus to incoming healing for 10 seconds.
    • Time of Need buffs the Dire Need skill by reducing the CD by 5 minutes and adding 5 Fervour pips.
    • Vigour of Champions changes Second WInd to a PoT lasting for 10 seconds
    • Tight Grip increases the Hedge duration by 5 seconds and reduces the CD by 50%
    • Agressive Exchange replaces the Heavy Shield trait and modifies Blade-wall to increase threat.
  • The set trait bonuses are tweaked a bit too:
    • 2 set provides increased crit defence while in glory as well as increasing the amount of threat of Champion’s Challenge
    • 3 set reduces fervour requirements for Bracing Attack and further increases crit defence while in Glory Stance
    • 4 set is a Morale buff and another crit defence boost while in Glory

Page 3 walks through the changes to Ardour and the Deadly Storm trait line:

  • This line is structured to be the power conserving AoE damage line, as well as boosting survivability.
  • In general, while in Ardour:
    • reduced CD for Cleave
    • Blade-wall generates pips on hits
    • AoE power cost reduction
    • AoE threat is reduced
  • Skill Changes
    • Flurry is no longer tied to a defeat response but has a longer duration and shorter CD.
    • Battle Acuity replaces Fighting Dirty doesn’t need a defeat response (I thought this was tied to health) with a 10 second duration and 2 fervour pip generation on a 30 second cooldown
    • Great Cleave has its CD reduced with Improved Great Cleave being the renamed versio of Death Storm.  Same effect, but the Improved version also applies the Battle Acuity buff with a CD of 18 seconds.
  • Traits
    • Eye of the Storm reduces fervour requirments of Blade-storm, and both Cleaves by 1
    • Battle Acumen replaces Dirt Cheap and changes the fervour requirement for Battle Acuity to 1
    • Swift to Anger come from the berserker line changing Swift Strike into Swift Blade which provides fervour pips on critical hits.  Also, while in Ardour Red Haze will provide an additional fervour pip per mob defeated.
  • Trait Set bonueses
    • 2 set bonus increases hit chance for AoE skills
    • 3 set reduces chances of AoE skills being blocked or parried
    • 4 set bonus decreases power cost and threat while increasing damage of blade skills.

Page 4 talks about the changes to Fervour stance with the big change being the removal of the healing penalty.  However, the other big change is many skills which generated threat have had the threat component removed UNLESS the Champ is in Glory stance.  So, Fervour will be a high DPS line with limited agro abilities – other then just raw DPS.

  • Skill changes
    • Merciful strike now consumes all available pips doing more damage per pip.  After 1 second, 3 pips will be restored making it useful for trying to finish mobs off since it has a high power cost.
    • Blood rage now only costs 10% of morale
    • Red Haze is no longer combat permanent but provides a fervour pip every 15 seconds for 45 seconds on a 5 second CD.
  • Traits
    • Controlled Fury comes over from the Martial Champion line and increased the duration of Controlled burn by 30 seconds
    • Flurry of blows increases the duration of flurry while not in fervour stance.  While in the stance, flurry is permanently active.
    • Althetic sounds interesting in that the CD is lowered by 120 seconds and Wild Attack will stun for 10 seconds after using Sprint.  So, this becomes a useful getaway skill – or another nasty attack out in the Ettenmoors.
  • Trait-set
    • 2 set bonus adds 40% crit multiplier to additional strikes from Brutal and Savage strikes
    • 3 set increases the crit rating and multiplier for Wild Attack
    • 4 set increases fervour generation  as well as the damage for Merciful Strike while dropping its CD by 10 seconds.
    • The capstone is quite different with Continuous Blood Rage now costing 10% of morale to enable without the incoming healing penalty.  However, there will be a DoT applied to the Champion that scales up with the bonus damage.  Note, this is NOT disabled by low health, so you can VERY easy kill yourself with this.

Page 5 provides some of the overall changes not tied to a specific line:

  • Second Wind is now a PoT resoring power every 2 seconds for 10 seconds on a 10 second CD – so if you’re a power hog, you can have this going non-stop
  • Heroics has its CD reduced to 5 minutes and the traited version behaves depending on the stance:
    • Glory – AoE taunt with what seems like a “disarm” like ability on the mobs
    • Fervour – increase crit chance and that “disarm” ability
    • Ardour – AoE combat and run speed de-buff and that “disarm” ability
  • Seeking Blades is the new Blocking Blades that doesn’t need a defeat response but increases the crit chance of Relentless and Remorseless Strike.  10 second duration on a 2 minute CD.
  • Raging Blades is also now stance dependant:
    • Ardour – increased crit chance
    • Fervour – increased crit magnitude
    • Glory – increased threat
  • Ferocious Strikes now does increasing damage with each hit
  • Fight On now works independent of mobs being around and has the CD reduced to 5 minutes.
  • Controlled Burn no longer trumps your stance but increases damage, attack speed, bonus pip every 5 seconds and on defeat.  However, it has a 45 second duration on a 5 minute cool-down.

Finally, based on the above changes, legendary item legacies needed to be tweaked or totally changed.

Phew, that was a lot to digest and for the most part, like the other changes, I think these are positive for the class and it trims out the crappy parts of the class.  I really like the concepts behind Ardour and Glory, however I’m really struggling to see why any Champion wouldn’t run in Fervour.  Maybe you pop into Ardour for AoE crazy fights or for mowing down trash, but that seems to be the exception.  Glory does seem to have some interesting ideas in it for the new way to tank, it sounds horribly painful on Minstrels unless the Champion stacks Vitality and Morale like crazy.  Glory just doesn’t sound worth it since we haven’t heard or seen anything on how threat will change going forward.  This was a HUGE problem when Moria launched as you could EASILY out DPS the threat any tank could generate and I’m expecting Fervour tanks to be much more effective then Glory tanks because of that.

Ok, now that I taken off my tin-foil hat, the main issue with these changes will be how they balance threat and damage output.  If that is done well such that a tank (equally geared) can work as hard as a champ and still maintain agro, I think these will be 3 nice lines for Champions to trait down.  But, if they don’t get that balance right, I guess I’m glad I’m working on my Champion now ;)

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