Saturday, January 24, 2015

Melee DPS and Interrupts

I was thinking about two problems that WoW has nowadays, and it occurred to me that it may be possible to solve them both simultaneously.

The first problem is the state of melee DPS classes at endgame. Quite frankly, ranged DPS are generally superior to melee.

The reason for this is that melee characters need to stand near the boss as much as possible, whereas ranged characters can stand anywhere within 40 yards of it. This means that pretty much any mechanic which forces movement disproportionately affects the melee DPS.

Melee DPS have an inherent disadvantage. So if they are going to be balanced, they need to be stronger in other ways. And currently, this is not the case. As a result, everyone is recruiting ranged DPS.

The second problem is the use of interrupts. The playerbase's attitude toward interrupts seems to be a lot better than it has been (the proving grounds and monk training quests both require you to use interrupts), but it could still be better. In particular, I've had some extremely annoying Everbloom runs where people simply didn't interrupt the heal on the second boss.

I think that people would do much better at interrupting if it were made clear that interrupts are not just a frill, but are a core part of a DPS player's role. Accordingly, here's my idea:

     1. Remove all interrupts from tanks and ranged DPS, or significantly increase their cooldowns. Only melee DPS can regularly interrupt spells.
     2. All interrupts deal a significant amount of damage if a spell is successfully interrupted.

The nice thing about this is that it ties interrupts to the rest of the DPS role. Your job is to do damage, and interrupting helps you do damage. This makes it very clear what you should be doing. As well, it makes performance much easier to measure, since your position on the meters will be better if you interrupt a lot.

And secondly, this adds an additional dimension to the melee DPS role. Now they have a strength that ranged characters don't have, so things are more even.

As well, I think this would open some new possibilities for encounter design. Currently, Blizzard tends to shy away from mechanics that punish players for grouping, since these are always hardest on the melee. Or the mechanics are made artificially easier (like Tectus' pillars only targeting the ranged). If this weakness were made up for in other ways, then it would be easier for Blizzard to accept it.

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