The latest dispatches from Azeroth

The Nerfing of The Sheep

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Last night some Ravens ran the horrors of Blackrock Depths (I think that's what it's called, BRD anyway). The party was Edina (hunter), Eldanar (Paladin), Andromanche (Mage) and Strobmoli (Mage). As you can see we were shy of a healer and only a four person group, but on the other hand we were pretty "gunned up" for this instance. The main objective of the run was to test Eldanar's new tanking Paladin build, but an important secondary concern was to try and make a bit of dosh as the last Dire Maul run left everyone with quite substantial repair bills, and leveling 60 is an expensive business.

We were successful, I came out over 20G up on the night and we picked up three usable blues on the way as well (one for Eld, me and Andro). We got wiped once.

Now, there had been some debate on guild chat earlier about the sheeping nerf in 1.9, and Blayse had said he had seen it and understood why it was now being called "suicide" rather than "polymorph." At the time I said that I couldn't see a difference, but lo, right at the moment that we really needed it not to happen it became clear what Blizzard have done and what the consequences are.

Basically, I think they've fixed a bug in the way that sheep move. In the past they kind of jerked about on the spot in a silly fashion. Now, they amble about in a quite lifelike way, which is nice, especially in PVP where being sheeped will be less disorientating for the sheeped (of course, now that everyone has those "break polymorph" trinkets this isn't much of a worry anymore). Unfortunately though, for people who play PVE at any rate, sheeped mobs now wander large distances, especially when in corridors. What this means is that if they unsheep it's quite likely they'll be amongst friends. Anticipate the following scene:

Evil Thug 1: "look a sheep!"
Evil Thug 2
: "Ha ha, what's that doing here?"

Evil Thug 3: "dunno.. oh!"
(Munster appears - he was the sheep all along!)
Munster : "Hello chaps"
<all chorus> "Hello Munster"
Munster : "That Mage fellow, Strobmoli, is down there, and he's invited all of us to a party!"
<all chorus> "Let's go!"
(all draw weapons, bang them together like the three musketeers and gather themselves before charging off)
(Off stage : the sound of cloth shod feet making like a thing that's running as hard as it can on short little legs)
What are the consequences of this:
  1. Mages are going to be harder to level. In the past one could reliably handle three mobs at once using a poly, blink and frost nova to keep them at bay until only one was left. Now, a lapse while soloing may result in a crowd scene in which the mage is both a star, and a prop.
  2. Mages are going to be less useful on runs. In quite a lot of places I can think of (especially the courtyards in Stratholme) poly once ruled as a crowd control option, but now will be a positive liability.
  3. Group play with mages will be less mechanical. The familiar pattern of "sheep left, wait, tank gets agro, cone of cold, frost nova, blizzard, cone of cold" will give way to much more encounter specific tactics because each group with elites will have to be considered in context and thoughtfully - or disaster will ensue.
  4. Mages are now very definitely all about damage at a distance. This means that survivability and damage become more important than ever.
Well, that's what I think, but some collegiate discussion would be helpful.
I also tried the "Ice Block" tactic quite a few times last night, sadly it doesn't break agro, so please remember to come and get little mages that are frozen into large icebergs before the mobs do!

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This page contains a single entry by Strobmoli published on January 5, 2006 12:38 PM.

BlackRock Deeps was the previous entry in this blog.

December's fight club and pubmeet is the next entry in this blog.

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