Monday, July 21, 2008

Raid Composition in WotLK

Raid-wide auras and totems! Oh my!

The extension of previously party-only buffs from paladin auras and shaman totems, coupled with the banishment of Blessing of Salvation, Blessing of Light, and Tranquil Air Totem from our spellbooks, is going to forever change class balance in raids. No longer will 3+ paladins be required in a 25-man raid to ensure everyone gets Salvation, Might, and Kings (or Salvation, Wisdom and Kings for you caster-folk). However, it does free up raid spots for death knights, and provides more flexibility in raid composition, which I can't argue with. Plus, I might actually get Blessing of Wisdom on a regular basis, which my mana pool can't complain about. I am not sure if Battle Shout, Commanding Shout, and things like Ferocious Inspiration will go raid-wide as well, but if they do, holy moly pass the cannolis, that sounds delicious.

I had previously made two posts about my idea for the "perfect raid" in current content. The addition of the death knight class coupled with party buffs becoming raid buffs and lots of class tweaks will make those two posts ancient history, relics of the past like the 40-man raid comps we no longer speak about. There will be ten character classes and 25-man caps on raid instances - you're looking at a 2.5 character class limit on each raiding class. In the interest on retaining raid balance, you won't want more than 3 of any one class, and hopefully no less than 2.

What will a raid look like? Let's assume you bring 3 "tanks," 8 "healers," and 14 DPS. Well, there are 4 tank-capable classes, so 3 tanks won't be a problem. Every class can spec for DPS, so no issue there. The healers though... 8 healers, 4 heal-capable classes. Raid leaders are going to have to double up (or even triple-up) on healer classes, and that will exclude certain off-specs from the raid. It's numerically impossible to bring no more than 3 of a single class and incorporate all 3 spec possibilities if you have to bring 2 resto druids - either the boomkin or the feral are going to get sidelined.

The 25-man cap, 10 class options, and the heal requirements of raiding, unless they change, are going to wreak havoc on raid composition. Guilds will have to make critical choices - boomkin or elemental shaman? Arms warrior or ret paladin? Fury warrior or another death knight? I don't envy raid planners/leaders with this in mind.

The numbers are problematic. If you try to adhere to the "no more than 3" rule, and bring 8 healers to the raid while fitting in hybrid tank/DPS from the heal class ranks, you're looking at a raid with 2 holy paladins, 2 resto shaman, 2 resto druids, and 2 holy/disc priests. If you're sticking to that "no more than 3" rule, you now have to choose - prot paladin or ret paladin? Both got major buffs when the beta info is considered, but unless you stack 3 healers from one class (and thereby exclude enh/ele shamans, feral/boomkin druids, or shadow priests), you can't have your cake and eat it too in this case.

Now I'm worried. I pray that some devs at Blizzard have read Rohan's treatise on why raid should be tuned around 5 healers (to which I cannot find the link right now), or we're going to have some serious issues when it comes to raid composition in Northrend.

5 comments:

Jacob said...

> Rohan's treatise on why raid should be tuned around 5 healers


I think you're thinking of:

WotLK Raid Makeup
Raids in Wrath of the Lich King need to be balanced around 20% healers. There are many reasons for this ....

Evan said...

http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=9454.0
"Most of the shaman totems, Unleashed Rage, and Battle Shout are some of the buffs changed in WotLK to affect the whole raid instead of the party."

the talent trees for hunters and spriests says party only tho so that might not get changed.

Josh said...

@jacob
Yup that's the one. Thanks for the linkage!

@evan
Well, I'm happy enough with raid-wide shouts. Only 2 warriors necessary - battle and commanding! Sweet.

Evan said...

good luck convincing the warriors of that lol.

Josh said...

@evan
See, but that was exactly my point in this post. If raids are to be kept with some sort of parity toward classes, then you'll have 2 or 3 of each one. That means only 2 warriors isn't an outlandish idea - hell, my guild runs with only 2-3 most of the time right now, and shouts aren't raid-wide yet.