Thursday, 18 June 2009

Calming the Turtle

Some more random thoughts that hit me recently concerning the upcoming changes to Filikul instance, namely the Nornuan becoming immune to Burglar's Enrage.

To those now familiar with the subject, Filikul is an instance with just one encounter, which is basically a DPS race against time: as you are fighting the giant turtle, a DoT builds up on all members of the raid that deals increasing amounts of (HUGE!) damage. To make matters worse, turtle is quite a flesh-hungry beast and he will snap on your tank's flesh, applying another building-up DoT; the two together are so huge that there is no way for any Healer to outheal them, and to keep everyone else alive.

Burglar's Enrage skill is, on the other hand, a completely legitimate way to make a monster... well... enraged, randomly switching between characters in sight, much like those annoying Grims . I'm putting an emphasis on 'completely legitimate' because that's exactly how devs designed this skill years (two years almost?) ago.

As you can imagine, the skill works almost perfectly in Filikul, as Turtle rarely stays on one character long enough to apply more than one lvl on DoT. It does also have it's drawback, Tier I DoTs apply quite commonly on all players, also those squishies that are not made to take it.

My point here is, I completely don't understand why Devs are determined to grant Nornuan this immunity. That's how they designed the skill and that's how designed the encounter (a very very poor encounter imho, too) - blocking one skill because it's too good? It just seems.. lame... and silly. Totally lazy, totally the easiest way. What's next? In-combat rez works too well in raids, let's disable it? Forced taunts work too well for tanks, let's disable them too?

If you don't like the way the elements you've put into the game first interact - without any exploit on player's part! - change your design, and not use an exploit yourself, because it's your fault in first place that you have came up with a design that doesn't match those elements. In short, you screwed up and if you acknowledge it by trying to fix it, do it properly or don't do it at all.

Actually, same goes to Shield Wall. Please be more aware of your own game's mechanics in future...


  1. Enrage has always been my favourite Burglar skill, yet this particular change doesn't bother me too much. Enrage is an incredibly powerful skill, and I'd prefer they add immunity in specific encounters rather than nerf the skill itself.

    For example, I can easily imagine them deciding to add a damage buff to all Enraged mobs instead, which for me would be much worse than an occasional boss immunity.

    The strategy in this fight relates to tanks being able to effectively manage aggro between themselves when everyone else is going full out DPS, and Enrage pretty moves removes that meagre strategy completely.

    Perhaps a better solution would have been to let the Enrage state enable special attacks from the Turtle, maybe even give it a flat damage increase. Anything to make groups think twice about using Enrage.

  2. If they would nerf the skill because of one encounter, this indeed would be even worse.

    My point is that the Devs seem determinated to allow one and only one tactics to be used against the Turtle, and don't want to allow anything else - even perfectly legitimate Enrage. This is, imho, totally silly: you give your players distinct classes with huge ammount of class-specific skills to use from so they can choose their way (as long as they do not exploit).
    Than an encounter comes where players have to counter few things. If they come up with a better tactics than your original one, good for them! If it makes things easier, so be it, unless it makes things trivial.
    Enrage does not make things trivial (seriously, this fight can not be any more brainelss; aggro shufling would only mean 2 tanks using their forced taunts as soon as they go out of cooldown) it makes things different. It gives players more choice as they get more freedom in forming a group, doesn't force them to get 2 Guardians/Champions, they can use what they have, a BRG and his skills in that case.
    (I'm seriously pissed on how MoM content seems to enforce group balance on you)

    The silly part in this story is that the designer of this encounter totally screwed upif he didn't consider Enrage to be used in the first place. I see no point in this immunity apart from Devs sending out a message "My Way or the Highway", which I really don't like.

  3. Yes, Turbine should have thought about a counter to Enrage beforehand, but well, no one is infallible. I get the impression that this raid was thrown together at the last minute as a means of placating for the fact that the expected multi-boss raid slipped to Book 8. It probably didn't get the benefit of what passes for rigour in Turbine's QA process.

    I think you hit upon the main reason why I don't mind the immunity in this case. In a 12-person raid, 1 or 2 dedicated tanks should absolutely be necessary, IMO. It's not fun to play a redundant class. If I had a Guardian main instead of a Burglar, I'd be pretty disgruntled about having my raison d'etre undermined to such an extent.

    By the way, something seems to be wrong with your comment form. I can type and delete, but the arrow keys don't move the cursor, and cut and paste doesn't seem to work. Not sure if anyone else has this problem?

  4. The fundamental issue at hand here is one of design philosophy. I, like you, disagree with the design direction the devs are taking in this case. I feel it is poor design in that it constricts creativity and ignores other parts of their own design.

    We saw the hint of this thought process in the nerf to In Harms Way. The excuse was, we cannot design content around such a powerful skill. So we change the skill and us players have to accept that the reasoning is true. I did because they put up good supporting arguments. But because this pattern continues, I'm less and less inclined to buy their words at face value.

    The halmark of Shadow of Angmar's end-game content was flexibility, creativity, and accessibility. We're slowly losing that.

  5. aye the removal of the enrage feels a bit like we are being punished for being creative. The devs seem to be on the back foot with this raid... rushed into being because the 12 man raid wasn't ready, there was clearly no time to thoroughly test it, so they keep moving the goal posts.