Occasionally, as part of our balance efforts, we run into problems with classes that cannot be resolved by simple tweaks to the class' existing skillset, and require a more expanded approach. For these cases, we offer Experimental Mode.
Experimental Mode for a class is used to isolate more major changes and reworks from the 1.4.8 Age of Reckoning version of the class, and allows players to choose whether or not to activate the changeset. Thus, two versions of a class exist in parallel on the server. This is done for three reasons:
- To prevent players from having potentially breaking changes to a class imposed upon them, with no means of returning to the original version.
- To examine players' preferences between the two versions.
- To allow private testing by staff and internal testers in the live environment, without biases against the changeset.
The command to activate or deactivate Experimental Mode for a class is ".ab ex" (.ability experimental). Doing so will display the changeset in chat. Experimental mode will persist when offline.
Reasons For Use
A class will generally receive an experimental mode for one of two reasons, both related to their original concepts:
- The class, or aspects of it, is underpowered and its original concept or mechanic was violated by the original developers, and we wish to expand the neglected areas of the concept to buff the class (AM/Shaman, SW, melee WP, formerly Engineer/Magus)
- A concept or mechanic violation committed by either the original developers, by us or by addons and external tools made the class too easy and too powerful, and we seek to restore the essence of that concept to increase the difficulty of the class and justify its power(WP/DoK, Knight/Chosen)
From the above, you can see that our intention is to offer experimental modes for Knight/Chosen, WP/DoK, AM/Shaman and Shadow Warrior.
The intent behind any Experimental Mode is to develop a version worthy of replacing the original version. This process won't happen immediately, but if an Experimental Mode solves the problems it was designed to solve and either improves an underpowered class (even if the improvement is not to "fully viable") or makes an easy class more difficult while maintaining its power level and viability, it will not be blocked by players posting about playstyle preference as long as another class or spec exists which caters to that broad playstyle. A simple example is backline healspam WP/DoK (Zealot/RP).
Active Experimental Modes
There are two class pairings with active Experimental Modes - AM/Shaman and WP/DoK. Below will follow the changeset for each, their open or closed status and the rationale for the changesets.
+ Only one mechanic point is consumed, rather than all points.
If an ability is cast on another player, and consumes mechanic points, it will gain the following bonuses:
+ The bonus stat contribution will be derived from a factor of your total bonus stats from items, if this is higher than the ability's normal scaling stat. Reduced stat contribution works as normal.
+ The ability will cast using your Career Rank instead of your Mastery Level.
Mechanic modifications affecting instant cast abilities and channeled abilities:
+ Effectiveness on other players is increased by 25%.
Mechanic modifications affecting cleanse abilities:
+ Cleansing abilities will build mechanic points as a healing ability would.
+ Cleansing abilities consuming mechanic points will have a 3 second cooldown when used on other players.
Mechanic modifications affecting all build up cast abilities:
+ The cast time is reduced by 40%.
Mechanic modifications affecting non-lifetap build up cast abilities:
+ The AP cost is reduced by 40%.
Mechanic modifications affecting lifetap build up cast abilities:
+ These abilities can be cast while moving.
+ I'll Take That! and Balance Essence will additionally heal for 250% of their base damage and scale with Willpower.
+ Fury of Da Green and Energy of Vaul will additionally heal for their base damage multiplied by the number of foes hit.
+ The heal component gains the Healing type instead of the Raw Healing type. It will be heal debuffed/blessed, can crit as a heal would and is able to proc effects.
+ These abilities gain 20% block and disrupt strikethrough.
- The damage has no stat contribution and cannot critically hit.
Mechanic modifications affecting tactics:
+ The tactics Expanded Control and Waaagh! Frenzy! will now cause Balance Essence and I'll Take That! to heal two additional allies within 30ft of the target for 75% of the single target heal value.
Multiple Attribute Dependence and Poor Mechanic
The previous version of the mechanic, regardless of what some people may tell you, had three uses:
- Instant cast self heal for DPS AM/Shaman
- Instant cast group heal for DPS AM/Shaman
- Instant cast ranged knockback for heal AM/Shaman
The current version of the mechanic trades those for the following benefits:
- 40% cast time and AP cost reduction if any mechanic point is used, consuming one, instead of 20% cast time reduction per mechanic point, consuming all
- Ability to alternate lifetaps and healing/fast cleanse when having one mechanic point to power up both
- Ability to use mechanic on the move to heal using lifetaps
- Ability to prime a healing burst by throwing DoTs during low pressure periods
- Ability to use mechanic points to deal competent damage (mechanic solves the MAD problem)
- Ability to use mechanic points to competently heal party members (mechanic solves the MAD problem)
- Ability to prime a damage burst by prehotting
- Fast cleanse (3s)
Useless Vaul/Da Green lifetaps, AP management, pressure resistance
The changeset dramatically improves the output of lifetaps when used with heal stacks, with a base value of about 1600 on Balance Essence / I'll Take That! after Willpower scaling, which can further be boosted by critical heals, Desperation/Ain't Done Yet and heal blesses (which AM/Shaman gained on Magical Infusion), and will now proc Restorative Burst for AP. The tactic for AoE lifetap healing, the changes to Energy of Vaul and Fury of Da Green (which also heal the group) combined with the improved reliability and use on the move is designed to give AM/Shaman a means of responding to pressure while deliberately not allowing players who intend to purely healbot to benefit from the change.
For anyone wondering, the reduction in healing on self related to using mechanic points to heal will be removed in the next patch, which is why it is not mentioned. When healing yourself, the ability will not level up to your Career rank and you will not be able to use the Item Stat Bonus instead of your Willpower, but the ability will otherwise heal as normal.
Warrior Priest / Disciple of Khaine
- Righteous Fury and Soul Essence regeneration from tomes and chalices is linked to the Morale bonus scaler.
- Switching between Prayers and Covenants invokes a 15 second cooldown for all Prayers and Covenants.
- When switching into or out of the Prayer of Righteousness or the Covenant of Celerity, a 5 minute cooldown is used instead.
- If in combat, switching to or from Righteousness or Celerity consumes all action points and mechanic points.
+ The cooldown of Absence of Faith is now 10 seconds.
Prayer of Absolution and Covenant of Tenacity:
+ Provide 8 Righteous Fury / Soul Essence per second.
+ Convert your Strength and Melee Power bonus from items into Willpower and Healing Power.
- Reduce your armor by 50%. This is a multiplicative modifier, and thus also reduces the effect of potions, talismans and debuffs for armor.
Prayer of Devotion and Covenant of Vitality:
+ Convert your Willpower and Healing Power bonus from items into Strength and Melee Power.
- You will inflict 50% less damage.
+ You will gain 50% of your Strength bonus from items as Willpower whenever you strike a target with a Path of Grace or Path of Sacrifice ability.
This effect stacks up to three times and lasts for 12 seconds, and will be removed if you remove the Prayer or Covenant.
+ Your detaunt will gain the effect of the Intimidating Repent or Terrifying Aura tactic, becoming AoE.
- The cooldown of your detaunt increases to 25 seconds.
+ Sigmar's Radiance and Transfer Essence gain 20% strikethrough, and heal for 250% of the damage dealt and mitigated, with no base component.
+ Sigmar's Shield gains 20% strikethrough.
+ Rend Soul and Divine Assault become undefendable, healing for 75% more and healing for the mitigated value as well.
Prayer of Righteousness:
+ Convert your Willpower and Healing Power bonus from items into Strength and Melee Power.
+ The damage inflicted by Path of Wrath skills increases based on your Righteous Fury level, to a maximum of 40%.
- Any time you use a Path of Wrath skill, you will lose 5 Righteous Fury per second for 10 seconds.
+ Absence of Faith will debuff heals by 50%.
+ When you trigger your Prayer of Righteousness, it will increase your movement speed by 20% for 5 seconds. This will only affect you.
Covenant of Celerity:
+ Convert your Willpower bonus from items into Strength.
+ The damage inflicted by Path of Torture skills increases based on your Soul Essence level, to a maximum of 25%.
- Any time you use a Path of Torture skill, you will lose 5 Soul Essence per second for 10 seconds.
Before reading the below, it is important to note that I will use the term "melee healer" NOT to refer to a healer that heals only in melee, but to one which builds resource and uses casted heals both inside and out of melee.
Salvation and Tenacity: Restoration of Concept and Reconciliation of Trees
- Medium armor
- Short cast times
- Casting spells with simple execution and no targeting
- Access to 100% uptime AoE detaunts
Because of this, and because of the classes' layout, these classes will never be balanced for effort-reward if made into a pure backline. The skills support only one path for the class: reconciliation of the trees, with both casted healing and melee healing.
To this end, there are two modes for a heal DoK/WP:
- Backline, handling much the same as DoK/WP but with a 50% armor multiplier to necessitate switching.
- Melee, requiring constant engagement but conferring the full armor bonus and access to the AoE detaunt and resolution of MAD.
Both will be necessary, and either can be chosen as dominant through spec. Backline healers no longer have the option of "stand and tank" and will have to play the class according to concept when attacked, and in fact are rewarded for playing melee instead as they will have higher Willpower and keep their armor bonus and detaunt on when they do. Similarly, melee healers will need to switch to the backline prayer or covenant when not able to safely engage.
Devotion and Vitality: Resolution of Crippling Flaws in Previous Melee Healing
- MAD / speccing. Effective melee healing required offensive tactics and builds, negating the casted heal side. Casted healing did similar for the melee helaing side. This spec caused melee-favouring healers to be useless if the engagement was too dangerous to melee in, as they had no Willpower. This is resolved by stat transfers on stances and the proc to copy Strength to Willpower on the melee healing stance, such that a melee healer can use casted heals well, has a buffer of 12 seconds when punted or CCed and need only pop Absolution or Tenacity to backline heal competently.
- Guard reliance. This is resolved by giving AoE detaunt on the melee healing stance, and thus reconciling the casted heals with the melee ones, as the forced jump into Wrath / Torture is gone.
- Unreliability of heals. This is resolved by melee healing abilities dealing far less damage but healing for overall damage dealt and becoming undefendable.
Celerity and Righteousness: Isolation of DPS
The drain and bonus to Torture and Wrath skills was introduced for two reasons:
1) To link the mechanic into MDPS-type WP and DoK
2) To provide a reason to use Wrath and Torture abilities rather than leaning heavily on Radiance/Divine Assault and Transfer Essence/Rend Soul, both through incentive (bonus to damage) and penalty (loss of damage when using RF/SE abilities)
DPS WP, as it was never viable, gains the following benefits:
- 10s 50% 100% uptime heal debuff (because Absence of Faith was a joke)
- 20% charge proc on Righteousness (because the prayer is vastly inferior to Celerity)
- 40% bonus rather than 25% (because DPS WP was inferior to DPS DoK)
This covenant is mostly designed to isolate DPS DoK, which I felt needed safeguarding.