Saturday, July 3, 2010

Eclipse update from Cataclysm Beta

There's a very interesting thread that was recently highlighted over at MMO-Champion concerning how the new Eclipse mechanism works.  First, understand what the Eclipse problem (and especially) is, then you can look at Blizzard's solution and begin to make some informed opinions about it.  I don't have exact figures but I wouldn't be jesting by any means if I were to say my DPS is boosted by 1500-2000 DPS by Lunar Eclipse.  It's a huge percentage of my overall damage figures, so any movement or wasted portion of Lunar Eclipse severely gimps me.  Making the matter worse is that my Eclipse effects are already largely at the mercy of  RNG.  Despite that I've come to like the randomness of Eclipse.  Ignoring the mana efficiency issue that was a hallmark for Balance in BC, the strict spell rotation made it somewhat boring to play.  While I know what my immediate opening is in any fight in WotLK, a quick Lunar Eclipse immediately changes things up for me.  The randomness brings just the right hint of reactionism to the mix.  Yet with that does come the perplexing problem of how to retain the oomph of the Eclipse while forcing movement at the same time.

Blizzard indicated they understood the problem and had a plan to fix it.  But after reading how that plan is currently implemented I'm not certain they have.  In fact I think they've taken a bit of a step back toward BC.  Currently each spell gives a certain amount of Eclipse power and will move a scale from the Lunar to Solar end and vice versa.  I don't like the fact that our casting rotation seems to be becoming formulaic again.  And the 15 second Eclipse window also doesn't seem to solve the problem of movement.  It's still a massive considering no other caster class receives such a big portion of their DPS from a proc mechanic.  Instead of the 15 second window I think I'd rather like to see a "pool" of Eclipse power become active, from which either Starfire or Wrath will pull from.  Each cast would draw a "random" percentage with a specified range of the power, and after the power is depleted you'd begin to work up to the opposite side of the Eclipse scale.  Having a pool available would retain the Eclipse effect, despite movement, until a range of casts had been made.  And just to ensure an advantage wasn't retained over others, you could clear the effect upon end of combat.

Unfortunately Blizzard doesn't seem to be thinking along this line at all:

Here are a few clarifications on Eclipse and Balance intent is general. As you probably guessed, part of what you're seeing is a work in progress.

On Eclipse -- Currently Eclipse has a 30 sec cooldown on its proc, so it may be beneficial sometimes to say proc Lunar, go almost halfway to Solar but then just go back and proc Lunar again depending on the situation. In an upcoming build you cannot proc Lunar unless you proc Solar, and visa versa.

Eclipse’s “predictability” -- A new talent is being added that if taken will make lunar/solar energy gain a little more random, so as to make Eclipse less predictable. 
You can currently re-proc a specific Eclipse effect but they intend to fix that; a fix that will force you to proc the other Eclipse effect before being able to re-proc the Eclipse effect that just did.  And they intend to introduce some measure of "randomness" to the equation again by making the amount of power you receive from each cast somewhat random.  But that's only window dressing.  Instead of 5 Starfalls, 10 Wraths, 10 Starfalls, etc, it'll be something like 4-7 Starfalls, 8-14 Wraths, etc.

Graylo over at Gray Matter has even more to say on the matter.