A few months ago, a post was circulating through the pet battling community involving future updates to abilities and potential changes that could be made. I haven’t seen any sort of update to that post, nor have I heard of any other changes being made so I’m not sure if Blizz is still planning on implementing those changes or not. If so, it would be nice to have some sort of idea of what they are planning so we can plan ourselves, accordingly.
The Blizzard post is as follows:
What the Future Holds
In a future update, we’re targeting a number of balance changes we want to make, which will amount to lowering the effectiveness of some pets and strategies. Again, these changes will not be happening in Visions of N’Zoth, but we wanted to give you ample warning time that changes are coming. While we don’t have specific numbers or details to share right now, here are some examples of abilities that we’re going to take a close look at:
Black Claw and similar abilities that increase damage taken by a flat amount.
Hunting Party and similar abilities such as Flock.
The Shattered Defenses debuff effect from abilities such as Hunting Party or Flock.
Any large percent-damage-taken or percent-damage-dealt buffs or debuffs.
Twilight Meteorite and similar long-cooldown damage-splitting abilities.
The Jar of Smelly Liquid ability.
Of course that last one isn’t an ability, but Hermit Crab incorrectly has a higher stat budget than it should, and it will have its stats reduced to bring it in line with other similar pets.
A goal we have when making many new pet battle World Quests or encounters is to create puzzles that players can counter and “solve”– ideally with the option to use a variety of pets and tools to do so. When a few pets have such strong synergies that they can deal massive damage in just a few rounds and almost trivially beat these enemies, it becomes problematic. Do we make new challenges only beatable by the highest damage combos, or do we make them generally solveable and therefore immediately smashed by massive damage?
We don’t want to ruin the feel of combination abilities, so we aren’t going to make Black Claw no longer interact with Hunting Party or Flock, but we want to make sure these abilities are dealing appropriate damage. And we want to make sure that secondary effects such as Shattered Defenses are being accounted for with regards to balance.
That is the post made by Blizzard which has since been taken down. It seems odd that the post would be taken down if they are still planning on going through with these changes. Have they not been able to come up with any acceptable changes that they could move ahead with? Or are they waiting until we can test these changes before announcing them? Again, it would be nice to know if they are going to implement these changes as well as what the changes will actually be. From the post, it didn’t sound like they had anything set in stone and were still bouncing around ideas before saying anything concrete.
Well, I’ve come up with a few different solutions for each of the above scenarios – some more than others. Let’s get into it, shall we?
“Black Claw and similar abilities that increase damage taken by a flat amount.”
Change Black Claw to increase the damage debuff on the enemy pet (from 100% to something like 125%) instead of adding a flat damage amount to each attack
– This seems like it might be a good theory, but in practice, I’m not sure how much it would be used (if at all)
Change Black Claw to add the damage amount to the first attack each round instead of to all attacks – damage amount may need to be slightly increased for something like this
– Instead of Black Claw applying to all attacks within a round, it would only apply to the first attack per round, lowering the damage the enemy pet would take by quite a bit
Have Stampede/Swarm/Flock/etc. consume Black Claw after 1 round
– In this instance, Black Claw would last for 1 round, adding its damage component to each attack made in a round, but would consume Black Claw at the end of the round. Black Claw damage additions would remain unchanged for other abilities
Reduce Black Claw’s damage increase by 50% on targets with the Shattered Defenses debuff
– For targets with the Shattered Defenses debuff, they would only suffer half of the damage increase that Black Claw provides rather than the full 100%. This may still prove to be too powerful in practice, however
Have Black Claw only sometimes increase damage on target
– Instead of each attack being affected by Black Claw, the effect could happen at random, sometimes affecting each attack, sometimes not affecting any at all
“Hunting Party and similar abilities such as Flock.”
Increase base damage of Stampede/Swarm/etc. by 100% and buff the damage of Stampede/Swarm/etc. by 100% when hit by these abilities (does not buff any other ability’s damage)
– This would increase the base damage of Stampede/Swarm/etc. by 100% and cause an additional 100% damage per tick of Stampede/Swarm/etc., but would not allow for any increased damage for other abilities. Basically, it wouldn’t apply Shattered Defenses anymore.
So if Stampede were to have its base damage increased from 25 per tick to 50 per tick, then the first round, it would deal 50+50+50 = 150 damage. The next turn, the ability would deal 100+100+100 = 300 damage, since it would all be increased by 100%. This would continue with each tick of Stampede until the ability wasn’t used anymore. Any ability used after Stampede (unless it is also a Stampede/Swarm/etc. ability), would not benefit from the increased damage, as the damage increase only applies to Stampede-like abilities.
Change Stampede/Flock from 3 smaller hitting abilities to one larger ability
– Instead of having Stampede-like abilities hitting 3 times each round, change it so that those abilities hit once (and only once) for a much larger amount of damage. This way, they could still apply the Shattered Defenses debuff.
Change Stampede/Flock from hitting 3 times in one round to once every round for 3 rounds
– Like the above example, Stampede could hit for a larger amount each round for 3 rounds, instead of the current iteration. Even with the Shattered Defenses debuff, the damage still wouldn’t be as high as with 3 separate attacks. (Or at least it *shouldn’t* be…)
“The Shattered Defenses debuff effect from abilities such as Hunting Party or Flock.”
Change Shattered Defenses to a permanent debuff that increases damage taken by 100% until hit
– Instead of having Shattered Defenses last for 2 rounds and affect all attacks made within those rounds, change the debuff to be permanent until the pet is next hit. The increased damage will only affect the next attack made against it, even if they are hit with a multi-hit ability like Stampede.
Lower the damage increase on Shattered Defenses
– Simply put, instead of having Shattered Defenses add 100% damage for 2 rounds, lower the damage increase amount from 100% to say 50%.
Change Shattered Defenses to increase damage taken by 100% on the first hit taken each round for 2 rounds
– In this scenario, Shattered Defenses would only apply the increased damage to the first attack made against the pet each round for 2 rounds. So the damage increase would affect the first hit of Stampede each round, but not the other 2.
Change Shattered Defenses to “Vulnerable” – each attack has a chance to hit twice instead of increasing damage taken
– In the same vein as the Black Claw change above, this would make Vulnerable now cause each attack to sometimes hit twice but would not increase damage taken anymore.
Change Shattered Defenses to increase damage taken by 25% and removing any damage reduction on the enemy pet
– Here, Shattered Defenses would still increase damage taken by 25% (down from 100%), and it would also remove any damage reduction abilities the enemy pet has up (Shell Shield/Shell Armor/Barkskin/etc.). This may make the ability a bit more attractive against certain boss pets and tamers.
Change Shattered Defenses to allow damage to bypass any damage reduction abilities
– Or Shattered Defenses could allow for damage to now bypass any damage reduction the enemy pet has up. This would be helpful against a few certain boss pets that I can think of off the top of my head. After 2 rounds, the enemy would still have their damage reduction up (potentially), lowering the potential for this to be overpowered.
Change Shattered Defenses to now ramp up damage taken instead of having a flat amount
– So the first round, the debuff would increases damage by 50%, second round by 75%, and third round by 100%. This may still be too powerful though, especially against boss pets that have lower damage but a lot of health.
“Any large percent-damage-taken or percent-damage-dealt buffs or debuffs.”
I’m not entirely sure exactly which abilities they are talking about here, so until I get an idea of what they’re looking for, I’m going to refrain from posting anything about these.
“Twilight Meteorite and similar long-cooldown damage-splitting abilities.”
I’m mainly going to focus on Twilight Meteorite for this section since I feel like it’s the biggest offender here.
Reduce Twilight Meteorite damage by 25%
– Simply put, reduce the damage by 25% to bring it more in-line with other, similar abilities (Avalanche, Carpnado, Grave Destruction, etc.)
Increase Twilight Meteorite cooldown from 5 rounds to 6 rounds
– If the damage on the ability is going to be unchanged, then the cooldown should be increased by 1 round to compensate for the higher damage.
Reduce Twilight Meteorite’s hit chance from 100% to 75%
– By reducing the hit chance of the ability, there is a smaller chance of Twilight Meteorite hitting all of the enemy pets. This would hopefully reduce the overall damage of the ability.
Reduce Twilight Meteorite’s damage by 25%, but increase it by 25% when the weather is Scorched Earth
– This would remove some of the damage most of the time, but would keep it at its present amount when the weather is Scorched Earth. At least Scorched Earth would get more use now.
Reduce Twilight Meteorite damage by 50%, but cause affected pets to burn for 50% of the damage taken each round for 2 rounds
– This would keep the damage from Twilight Meteorite at its present amount, but would shift half of that damage to a Burning debuff, delivered over 2 rounds. Aquatic pets, especially, would be able to take advantage of that.
Increase Void Slap’s cooldown from 2 rounds to 4 rounds
– In its present form, Void Slap does far too much damage to justify its short cooldown (2 rounds). The cooldown either needs to be doubled to 4 rounds, to bring it in-line with other, similar abilities or the damage needs to be severely reduced to compensate for the shorter cooldown.
Increase Whirlwind’s cooldown from 3 rounds to 4 rounds
– Whirlwind’s damage is a bit high for an ability on a 3 round cooldown. Either the cooldown should be increased to 4 rounds, or the damage should be reduced (preferably by 25%) to compensate for the shorter cooldown.
Remove the ability to use Twilight Meteorite against a single enemy pet
– A big problem with abilities such as Twilight Meteorite is that they can hit for an incredible amount of damage against an enemy pet when that pet is the only one still living. By removing the ability to use it against a single pet, it would ensure that not as many pets are getting one-shot by these abilities.
“The Jar of Smelly Liquid ability.”
Reduce Jar of Smelly Liquid damage by 35%
– For its cooldown, Jar of Smelly Liquid does too much damage. Reducing the damage will bring it more in-line with other abilities such as Weakness.
Increase Jar of Smelly Liquid cooldown from 1 round to 2 rounds
– If the damage on Jar of Smelly Liquid is going to stay the same, then increasing the cooldown from 1 round to 2 rounds will help to compensate for that extra damage.
Reduce the damage and speed reductions from Jar of Smelly Liquid from 50% to 25%
– In this scenario, the damage and cooldown of the ability will stay the same, so the debuff placed on the enemy pet should be reduced from 50% to 25%.
As you can see, there are many, many options for Blizzard to do should they choose to follow through with their plan of changing these abilities. I’m sure what they come up with will be more appropriate and cool than this, but this is (hopefully) what the changes could potentially look like.