19 June 2009

Groundhog day, replenishment style

I'm not a fan of replenishment. I have not been shy in sharing this. I think it's a clumsy, unsophisticated mechanic, the proverbial nut-cracking sledgehammer. It doesn't fit with the nature of any class that provides it, its benefits are wildly unbalanced across a raid group and it scales crazily. Replenishment is the elephant in the room, a significant cause of Blizzard's mana regeneration headache and the single biggest reason why they are apparently struggling so much to solve it.

So it comes as no surprise that it's getting nerfed in patch 3.2, though it does provoke from me much tutting, eye rolling and exasperated sighs.

The nerf — reducing the effect from .25 per cent of maximum mana per second to 1 per cent of maximum mana over 5 seconds — represents a 20 per cent reduction in the buff's effectiveness. I'm not sure how the shift from a standard rolling return to a ticking 5-second return will be enacted. Right now, replenishment lasts 15 seconds. Does this mean it now lasts only 5? That could mean a bigger nerf than the numbers imply. For now, I'm going to assume best case scenario which says over the course of an average fight mana users simply receive 20 per cent less mana from replenishment than they do now.

However the nerf manifests, the effect is impossible to quantify on paper. Replenishment depends on many factors, not limited to the number of sources in a raid, the number of mana users, the maximum mana pools of targets, the remaining mana of targets, and the effectiveness of the sources in maintaining the buff. But we can see clearly how this nerf affects all mana users equally. Holy priest? 20 per cent less. Arcane mage? 20 per cent less. Enhancement shaman? 20 per cent less.

Can we then assume that Blizzard considers all mana users to have it too good right now?

Well, actually, no we can't. Blizzard has only shown any real concern (to date) about three groups of players — healing priests, healing druids and healing paladins. As far as this nerf goes, the rest of us are just collateral damage. The joke is, this change will probably hurt those it is targeted at least of all because they have the highest base mana regeneration to start with and have probably prioritised intellect much more than anyone else.

In a warped, twisted way, Blizzard are right to target replenishment — again. It IS a problem, just not in the way they think. Replenishment IS too powerful — but only for SOME players. They have created a monster. The only way to fix this problem is to scrap it and start again. Get rid of replenishment, manage each class on its own terms and in its own ways, then you can be confident of actually achieving your goals, not just condemning yourself to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.


Anonymous said...

Yeah i'm with you. Scrap Replenishment and manage the mana issues for each class.

The only other option is to consider upping the base mana cost for the spells of the classes they are targeting.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. its clunky, stupidly designed by a stuypid person who doesn't kow how top level a toon effectivly or even how to raid effectivly. the scailing is all over the place with some getting a lot and others getting nothing...

Blizzard seems to be taking a vacation and they let idiots run the show.


lokimeeko said...

I know as a well-geared resto druid, my mp5 (in combat) is only about 520 with raid buffs and my mana bar basically never moves. This is due not to replenishment though, but to lifebloom's crazy mechanic of giving back all that mana. So dropping lifeblooms as a raid heal, which is a very effective HPS heal as it is, is now VERY efficient, even though they tried to nerf it. On tanks, it is also very effective, drop 3 stacks, let it bloom. bam, 1000 mana back with a 20k heal (granted, alot of overhealing, but not always in the high damage environment of Ulduar). Combine that with rejuvenate and regrowth and druids remain nearly unlimited mana healers, with or without replenishment. Not that I'm urging a nerf, but lets be honest... i really don't need to have unlimited mana when other classes are really suffering.

Macbane of Twisting Nether said...

"However the nerf manifests, the effect is impossible to quantify on paper."

I always wonder when Blizz makes a change like this - what modeling tools might they have to test it? Or do they just have a test matrix of many different raid compositions that they run and then analyze? It would be seriously interesting to peek behind their curtain and see if they are truly more sophisticated in their analyses than the user community, or whether they just use target dummies, WWS and guess-and-check like the unwashed masses.

Anonymous said...

I have been coming more and more to the conclusion recently that for any DPS class mana is a terrible resource in a game where 50% of the classes are managed by it and 50% aren't. Granted, it seems to work now in the PVE environment reasonably well.

PVP seems like a completely different story. Try and play a mana inefficient class and you can be at a severe disadvantage in long matches.

IMO, healers can and should be balanced and designed around mana limitations, management, and spell use choices. DPS should be tuned around cooldowns, cast times, and managing a resource that comes in a more steady stream rather than being entirely front loaded.