Runic Power – Why It’s Broken
July 28, 2010 36 Comments
Not sure what I’m getting at with the title? Think about it:
What would it be like for Rogues if all they had was Eviscerate to spend combo points on? A direct damage move and nothing else? No buff (SnD) to keep up on yourself, no dot (Rupture) for greater sustained damage (in theory, anyways!), no utility (Expose) for the needs of your raid, no heal (Recuperate) for PvP or soloing? No options; one ability, and that’s it, and that one ability would have to suit your needs for PvP, PvE, solo, group, raid, whatever….
What would people say of the difficulty of feral dps if the only finisher Cats had was Ferocious Bite? No buff (Savage Roar) for PvE goodness, no dot (Rip) for greater sustained damage (in reality, too!), no incapitate (Gouge) for PvP pleasure? How high of a skill cap would the spec possibly have…
What would people think of the new Holy Power system if all Paladins had to spend it on was Templar’s Verdict, a single target strike, and not a thing else? No heal (Word of Glory) for Holy or Ret/Prot survivability purposes, no buff (Inquisiton/Holy Power) to keep up to allow individual abilities to be less potent on their own, no new AoE move (Divine Storm) becoming available? People probably wouldn’t be too ecstatic…
How fun would those specs be to play in such scenarios? How difficult would it be to balance combo point / holy power generation if all it could lead to was Eviscerate / Ferocious Bite / Templar’s Verdict spam? What type of posts do you think would pop up on the forums!
Now, obviously Blizzard would never have designed either the combo point or holy power system in such a manner. Yet, unbelievable as it may seem, the above scenarios are very reminiscent of the current state of the runic power system… and there’s hardly a whimper of recognition, let alone of protest, in regards to the problem!
All Frost has to spend its runic power on is Frost Strike and all Unholy has to pour its own into is Death Coil (and Gargoyle, but as a lengthy cooldown, it doesn’t change much of anything). That’s it. There’s no options to choose from, no thinking to apply, no multiple levers to turn for the sake of balance.
There’s nothing but FS and DC.
And that’s a problem – a huge one.
It’s been this way for a while now, and it’s a large part of the reason why Frost Strike had to be nerfed so heavily back in the tier 8 times, and why the potential for Shadowfrost has been a constant struggle for Unholy.
Yet now, in Cataclysm, the problem is more apparent than ever before.
I’ve been talking regularly on the current state of our rotations in beta, and the fact that – despite Blizzard’s intentions – we’re still GCD capped, and worse than on live at that. One of the key instigators of this issue is the massive amounts of runic power we now generate – 15 (up from 10 for single rune abilities, 25 (up from 15) for double rune abilities, 10 (up from 5) for Dirge/CotG, 10% for Frost Presence, 20% for Frost’s proposed mastery, and 10 RP/proc (which is every ~5 seconds or so) for 2H Frost via MotFW.
Even if you ignore the global capping situation, it’s still a problem that FS and DC are the most used abilities in our rotations, and by a large margin too. If you’ll recall my post from yesterday, you’ll see that both specs used their respective RP dump a total of 14 times out of the 35 GCDs pictured: that’s 40% of your active abilities being FS/DC! 50%+ for 2H Frost and DW Unholy! And, remember, that’s not even counting the effects of the modifier from Frost’s potential mastery.
Now, yes, nerfing runic power generation would fix that. It would lead to less FS/DC and open up our rotations. But the thing is, the fact that 40% of our abilities being runic based isn’t really that bad, honestly, with the other 60% being rune based. It’s a relatively logically proportioned split, and it doesn’t need to be nerfed, per se. The issue is that where the latter category is split into PS, IT, SS, BS, Obliterate, FeS, and so on, the first category is FS/DC. Nothing else. Lowering runic power generation, alhough it might solve us being GCD capped, wouldn’t fix that central truth that our RP only goes to one ability, and not a thing else, and all of the implications of that fact.
My point with all of this?
Give us something else to spend runic power on!
By doing so, not only would that fix the GCD issues developing (as long as some of the new abilities costed more than 40 RP), it would also make the class that much more interactive and enjoyable to play – it would mean our rotations would actually change; despite all of the new talents, abilities, and rune system, our priority system between live and beta is identical, actually, which is rather boring when you think about it. Tanking and dps, PvE and PvP… such additions would be a benefit for all aspects of the class in all aspects of the game.
The possibilities are endless, and just to throw out a few:
- A high damage-per-cast-time but low damage-per-runic nuke/strike.
- Think of a Super Frost Strike or a Super Death Coil. An ability which costs, say, twice as much runic power, but only deals 1.5 times as much damage. You wouldn’t want to use such an ability in PvE, unless you’re GCD capped – but, if you were, it would allow you to manage your RP between FS/DC and these new abilities in order to use just enough on the latter to make sure you’re not wasting RP, but not too much to hurt your damage by being inefficient. In PvP, it would allow you greater burst on demand at the cost of damage of time – worth it in some cases, not in others.
- A nuke/strike which does additional damage based off excess runic power.
- Think Heroic Strike or Maul. An ability which costs X runic power to deal Y damage, but will consume additional runic to deal additional damage at a specific ratio. It would have the same positive effects as the above proposal, where you would have to essentially regulate your RP and balance it such that you make the most damage out of it while keeping within your GCD constraints. Same purpose as the above in PvP.
- A self buff which requires some effort to maintain.
- Really, anything. You could have a buff which cost 60 RP and increased disease damage done by X% for Y seconds. Stacks up to 3 times, and the buff reduces the cast of the next [InsertAbilityNameHere] by 50%. Easy enough to keep up, but if you let it drop, it would come with a rather heavy cost – 95 RP and 3 GCDs. Or you could just do something which increased the damage of rune-based abilities by X% for Y seconds, but drained 5 RP every 10 seconds (and expired if you ran out of RP). Or you could combine it with the previous proposition, resulting in an ability which increased damage done by X% for Y seconds, and for an additional Z seconds for each point of runic power over the initial cost. So on and so forth. Could do this all night!
- An AoE of some sort.
- The old Unholy Blight, please! Alright, perhaps not balanced, but an AoE which cost runic power instead of runes would be welcome. You could even bring back Corpse Explosion, be it in some modified form so it actually had use.
- A true CC.
- Every other class will have one by Cataclysm… except us. Hungering Cold, with its 10 second duration but 60 second cooldown, just doesn’t cut it.
You could add almost anything.
It would fix so much, and what downside is there? None I can think of, save the simple argument that we have enough on our action bars as is, but that’s due to a lot of spells having identical/similar purposes. You could easily combine IT/PS and/or Outbreak, for example. Same for Pestilence and Blood Boil (especially when you compare Pestilence to the passive talent in the similar vein that Prot Warriors will be getting).
In general though, I don’t see that being a huge reason against it, but even if it is, it’s easily tackled, and no excuse to leave the runic power system in such a wretched state.