Rage Changes – Announcements for Catacylsm

This in from MMO Champion’s Blue Tracker, an announcement from community speaker Bornakk concerning upcoming massive changes to the Rage mechanics for Druids and Warriors.

I hate like heck to dump this without any kind of discussion on my part, but I’m really swamped right this second at work. However, feel free to read the news and post your own comments, expectations and observations, and as soon as I can I promise I’ll get some Bear spin on it. 🙂

From MMO Champion;

We are going to take the opportunity in Cataclysm to try and fix some of the problems with the Rage mechanic for both warriors and druids. Some of these problems include:

    * Warriors/druids in the lowest levels of gear can be Rage-starved.
    * Warriors/druids in the highest levels of gear no longer have to manage their Rage when it becomes infinite.
    * Warrior/druid tanks lose Rage income as they improve their gear and take less damage.
    * The gameplay of warrior and druid tanks loses a lot of depth when massive boss hits means never having to manage Rage.
    * Heroic Strike and Maul are effective, but tedious abilities for using up extra Rage.
    * In general, warriors and druids don’t have enough control over their Rage.

To resolve these issues, Rage will be normalized in Cataclysm. This will make the Rage gained by characters more consistent and avoid drastic differences between low-end and high-end gear.
The concept of normalized Rage may leave a negative impression on some veteran players, as we tried it once before in The Burning Crusade and it wasn’t successful, resulting in them feeling weakened. However, we think that the concept is still sound — it was just that the previous implementation didn’t balance the values correctly, leading to players being Rage-starved. That is not the goal. As part of the change, we want to give warriors and druids a lot of ways to control their rage, so even in the worst-case scenarios they won’t feel like they lack the resource to do their job.
Here are some of the ways the Rage mechanic will change in Cataclysm:

      1) Rage is no longer generated based on damage done by auto-attacks. Instead, each auto-attack provides a set amount of Rage, and off-hand weapons will generate 50% of the Rage main hands do. This amount is based on a constant formula which factors in the base swing speed of the weapon. This means the Rage gained should be averaged out between fast and slow weapons. The constant formula also gives us the ability to easily increase the rage gained if it feels too low (or reduce it if is too high). We are also implementing the following mechanics, which will still allow rage to improve to some extent as you improve gear:
          o If the attack is a critical strike, it will generate 200% Rage.
          o Haste will accelerate swing times to generate Rage faster.
      2) Rage from damage taken will no longer be based on a standard creature of the character’s level, but instead will based on the health of the warrior or druid. Again, there is a constant that is multiplied by the rage generated in order to allow for fine-tuning. This calculation ignores all damage reduction from armor, absorption, avoidance, block, or similar mechanics, so improving your gear will not reduce Rage gained.
      3) We will provide warriors and druids with more instant sources of rage. For example, the warrior shouts are changing to work more like the death knight ability Horn of Winter. Instead of Battle Shout consuming Rage, it will generate Rage but have a short cooldown. Both classes will have additional methods to generate Rage in an emergency or bleed off Rage when they have too much.
      4) All “on next swing” attacks in Cataclysm are being removed. Heroic Strike and Maul will be instant swings that cost a variable amount of Rage. For example, imagine Heroic Strike costs between 10 and 30 Rage. You must have at least 10 Rage to use the attack, but it will consume all available Rage up to a maximum of 30. Any Rage consumed above the minimum will cause the ability to hit harder, and in some cases much harder. We will tune the ability so that it’s generally not a good idea to hit it when you have low Rage (unless everything else is somehow on cooldown) but becomes a more attractive button the higher your Rage.

We understand this change may be scary for many players, but keep in mind that the constants in the formulas for gaining Rage will give us the ability to make quick adjustments if we feel Rage generation is too low. Our goal is for each character’s Rage to not be always high or always low, but rather a resource that needs to be managed properly by the player.

26 thoughts on “Rage Changes – Announcements for Catacylsm

  1. So, if the rage from incoming damage is based on its percentage of your total health, does that mean us bears with our 10 – 20% higher health pools are going to suffer for that by having less incoming rage? Does it now mean that I will want everyone NOT to buff me with fort, put away the imp, and leave the flasks at home so that I get better rage generation?

    Also, if I’m running heroics, vs running say a 10 man raid, the ratio in incoming damage on any given fight is nowhere near the ratio of my health pool in the two situations. I take probably 2 – 5 times the damage at least in a 10 man, (even considering pre-mitigation, perhaps especially considering that) yet my health pool maybe goes up by 30 – 40%. I don’t understand yet how they think this will keep us from being rage starved in 5 mans without being overrun with rage in 10 and 25s.


  2. The concept is perhaps sound but it will require a lot of polish. Right now I have 1 rotation on my bear. There is never a question which ability should be used next and current rate of threat generation makes it so I cant afford to not spam Maul. Sad part is I have no tools in my spellbook to address increasing burst tps of my dmg dealers other then upgrade my weapon. I am definitely a bit nervous about the changes. So far things I hoped to see haven’t made the news yet. I am also worried that we will end up with beta quality game like when WoLK first came out with one raid dungeon and talent changes every patch. It was rather discouraging experience overall. ( That is not to say that things should get not get fixed when they are broken. It just seems like all the tuning was getting done right then and there on life servers. )


  3. @Ass – They are saying they plan to even it out across all level ranges, not keep the low levels rage-starved and nerf the high level stuff. You may want to read this again a bit more carefully.


  4. My concern is that in a lot of cases when you tank with high level DPS, you have to use all your high threat abilities constantly to hold the agro against the mindless button mashers who care for nothing other than watching the big bright numbers all over their screen. When I tank on my warrior I have to constantly spam cleave, thunderclap, heroic strike, shockwave on the group and my AoE tanking is still weak enough that things can get pulled off me by overzealous dps. Cleaving/heroic striking every swing WILL rage starve any warrior eventually. I think it would be nice to nerf the damage from DPS’ers a bit to make up for possibly more frequent rage starvation situations where rage management will play a more vital role. If they can add a constant for rage generation and threat for tanks so they can tweak it when necessary, why can’t they do it for the DPS?


  5. They are taking Maul off the “on the next swing” mode but I am curious if it will still be off the GCD. If not I wonder what they will do for threat generation because maul is one of my biggest TPS boosters. As for rotations, I think maul at the front of a pull will not be bad for your rage bar, but will be kept in reserve for large threat leads where stopping to auto attack for threes seconds and no specials in between will not put you behind the locks and the huntards.


  6. I’m reserving judgment. It doesn’t sound all bad to me. I am tired of out-gearing content and being starved all the time when I need to over use rage to hold aggro from other over geared players. Well, I suppose that points out that they shouldn’t over gear us either.
    .-= jtrack´s last blog ..Epic Raid Fail Leadership =-.


  7. I know it’s not directly tied into this, but on my little bearcow alt that I’m test leveling, rage generation is a huge issue, even at 40, though slightly better now with talents. Early on, it’s brutal, much tougher to gain rage than on a warrior. I’m hoping that this will help amend that for the future ranks of warriors and bears.


  8. so, essentially lower levels are still going to have problems with rage and their going to give us the same affliction with high level gear? I worked for my gear THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH. if bilzz is going to nerf rage tanks like this they better nerf the threat generation of dps lest rage tanks go away.


  9. @Roguewind

    That’s actually their entire point. Blizzard isn’t happy with either Rage-Starved Warriors/Bears early on, and with Rage-Glutted Warriors/Bears later on. The idea behind this entire process is to make Rage consistent across the board at a certain level where mindless spam will leave any Warrior or Bear Rage-Starved, but smart use of skills (Heroic Strikes/Mauls on full rage, not using Thunder Clap/Swipe in single-target pulls, for example) would allow the character to keep dishing out damage without having to stop to pool in resources.

    Rage starvation is still going to be there, as strong as ever. It’s just it won’t be linked to our gear anymore so we can actually deal with it by changing how we play. =D


  10. Here are my thoughts on Rage Normalization, Revisited.

    Yup, I’m really looking forward to less spam, smoother Rage generation, and more “Mhm… should I use this? Or maybe my Rage would be better invested by doing that…?”. Less Spam + More Thinking = Fun. I might play a Warrior, but I’m also very happy for our Bear cousins on the other side of the Rage pool. I wouldn’t be surprised if the attack speed for Bears (what is it right now? 2.5?) was reduced to allow for steadier Rage gain through damage either.

    The changes are simplifying and streamlining everything. With this level of elegance, it’s going to be damn hard to fundamentally screw it up (like Rage is right now). The system will be solid enough that only changing a couple variables on the equations will bring Rage back in line if we end up with too much or too little.


  11. I look forward to this change with a certain amount of trepidation. As a warrior tank (and a low level – 42 – bear tank) I am hoping they did indeed learn from the BC experiment. I remember tanking way too many instances while rage starved at the beginning of each fight. The changed Wrath brought gave me much joy and brought back my love of the warrior tank. I also recently respecced my druid to tank and am really enjoying playing her (My only female toon – Tauren males are just too large). I started reading BBBBlog for general tanking information and the great writing, but it also got me into thinking more about the druid. I’m glad it did.

    It also got me to understand that a low level druid can tank very well, but has to manage the rage very very carefully. Swipe is oh so important to a bear that is tanking an instance with a bunch of people on alts that are playing as if this was a heroic and they were all on their overgeared characters. Being rage starved the whole fight just plain sucks. I then get back on the warrior and pull a room and easily have enough rage to do my rotation and cleave every single time it’s available the entire fight and still end up with rage left at the fight’s end.

    I don’t want to have a rage-starved warrior, or a rage glutted bear. I want it equalized. I just am concerned that they will either totally hose us or take 6 months to get it right. I am choosing to be an optimist, but still have that little tingle. Spider sense? Bear sense? Who knows?


  12. I’m a big fan of these changes…except for the Maul change. I like how Maul works as is. But the sky is not falling, and Cataclysm is still a long way away. I’m real curious to see where this all goes. There is lots of QQ going on from people who don’t understand the change in the context of all the other changes that are happening. Every time one of those folks hears about a change, they freak out when they mentally apply the change to the game as it plays today.
    .-= Redbowl´s last blog ..Blizzard/WoW April Fools Jokes =-.


  13. Yeah, feral attack speed is normalised by form. We’ll still benefit from the crit and haste scaling of the proposed rage mechanics though. For warriors, the rage-per-hit is based on weapon speed anyway, so faster weapons won’t inherently generate more rage per second than slower ones.

    GC and Zarhym later provided additional info on the reverse scaling of rage from incoming damage: the higher the tanks max health, the lower the rage received per point of potential incoming damage (i.e. the amount of rage gained will be based on the percentage the hit is of your maximum health, rather than on the absolute damage number). However, they will still have abilities like Natural Reaction that grant additional rage on full avoidance (or on block in the case of one of the warrior talents), and prot rage from outgoing attacks will be much closer to that of DPS warriors (since rage gain no longer scales with AP), so they expect that to counter the rage starvation problems on overgeared content. Swapping in more threat gear for lower level content is still likely to be a good idea, but it won’t be as essential as it is now (with the most important factor being that you still get full rage from any *attempt* to attack you, regardless of whether it lands or not, and the second factor being that the boss scaling means you will be getting criticals far more often against lower tier mobs).

    They also pointed out that this time they’re deliberately building in a lot more tunable dials in the rage generation formulas, precisely to avoid the rage starvation issues that plagued their previous normalisation attempt in TBC.

    As far as adding rage generation to existing abilities goes, Demo Roar is an obvious choice, as is Feral Charge (Bear). FFF may be another candidate. Increasing the threat component of Demo Roar might be a nice way of improving snap AoE aggro as well (Demo Roar for AoE threat + rage, then start with the Swipe AoE)


  14. @suxxy

    Notice how some classes are gonna be obsolete now too. They are equalizing damn never every raid/party buff. A few exceptions but still. The way this looks like it’s going we’re gonna have Priests as the only healers, Pallies/Wars as equal tanks in single and multitarget aggro and mages for spell casters, rogues for melee…. with 2 or 3 “hybrids for a random buff of some sort…


  15. I thought druid attack speed and damage per white attack in forms was normalized through conversion to feral attack power. In kitty my attack speed is 0.96 whereas in bear its 2.x.


  16. I found myself wondering if we’ll end up with lots of bears with daggers since the rate of strikes will be what generates rage rather than the damage done.

    Really it just left me with lots of questions.


  17. Suxxy, I thought by health they meant how much health a hit would have cost you had there been no mitigation / avoidance. So, mobs hitting you (or trying to) = steady rage coming in, regardless of how awesome your gear is. That way if you’re in content you overgear and mobs can’t make much of a dent in you, you still have enough rage coming in to be able to generate threat.

    Tying a tank’s percentage of health to rage sounds interesting though – they’ve said we’re going to have a lot more stamina and mobs will hit more often for less on each hit. We can thus expect to have a higher time-to-live for tanks in Cataclysm allowing for more thoughtful healing instead of the spamming we do now. So if they do tie in rage gain to how injured/pissed off we are, this could well make healing more interesting by adding in another dimension. I don’t know if I like it or not… but it does sound interesting.


  18. Curious as to what extra abilities will be created to generate rage. The shout mechanic is a good start. I usually renew my shouts before pulling anyways on my prot warrior so between popping the shout and charging that should be a decent amount of rage to start the fights off to.


  19. +1 for feral charge to generate rage, but…
    This suggestion (and a few from the article) seems to be leaning towards the normalization of all tanking classes 😦

    “the warrior shouts are changing to work more like the death knight ability Horn of Winter”

    “Heroic Strike costs between 10 and 30 Rage. You must have at least 10 Rage to use the attack, but it will consume all available Rage up to a maximum of 30. Any Rage consumed above the minimum will cause the ability to hit harder, and in some cases much harder”. Sound familiar?

    And this needs more info:
    “Rage from damage taken will no longer be based on a standard creature of the character’s level, but instead will based on the health of the warrior or druid”
    Does it mean that at the start of the fight when we are at full health that our rage generation will be low, so dps actually have to wait a few? Does it mean that healers won’t be topping the tanks to full health, rather hovering around 70%, so our rage generates faster?

    Nervous Bear & prot warr.


  20. I think this is going to be a change that is strange at first, but its going to turn out being way better than what we have now, they make it sound like theyre going to add more ways to use and gain rage (maybe another ability besides enrage? add it to demo roar?) which would be awesome, maul and swipe spam is extremely boring…i cant say that ive ever had rage problems that i remember though, not even in overgearing heroics…our rage from dodges and crits just keeps that bar nice and happy for me…shrug


  21. I’m quite excited by this too.

    Sitting in the middle of mobs, rage starved, twiddling my thumbs for the next white swing, enrage on CD (poor pull planning causes this usually I know) and watching a mage lift her arms or a hunter aim their bow for the sky makes me a sad bear. More consistent steady rage so I know how much I’ll have at the end of that charge is good because right now it can be a little unpredicatable at the start of the pull. And yet, too much rage in the middle of a boss fight makes it less challenging because then its all just a fixed rotation and its too easy to roll your fingertips on the hotkeys and not really have to think about what to prioritise.

    Steadier rage generation, more procciness (I hope!) / prioritization would make my druid even more fun to play.

    Now if only they made feral charge generate rage like a warrior’s charge does, I’d be ecstatic.


  22. Let me say that I’m actually excited about these changes. I’m tired of continually mashing Maul while going through the rest of my rotation. Bear != dumb.


  23. you wrote RAGE changes I read RATE changes and grew very angry when your post starting talking about tanks instead of Bliz upping the cost to play …. *Stupid Pally not so good at reading*


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