Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Do I really miss sheeping?

Larísa obviously isn’t the brightest of mages. I don’t know it’s because of her age or her hair cut, but it has taken her over two years to complete her mage training. But finally she’s got it, the crown jewel in the spell arsenal of the wizards:

Polymorph Turtle.

It dropped for me a little while ago in ZG on a run to get the achievement. I don’t know if it was to put an end to my begging or just to prevent me from starting a mage QQ session, but finally the party agreed to spend a few extra minutes in there, taking down the fish boss. And it certainly paid off. Finally I had got hold of that annoying, missing puzzle piece.

Will I use it?
After rejoicing for a couple of minutes the thought struck me: when will I ever use this spell? Will this turtle ever see the light? I don’t remember the last time I sheeped anything. I think I cast it a couple of time in UK while levelling up. That last huge pull before the first boss, yeah, I definitely made a pig there, as long as the tank wasn’t a pallie. But that was ages ago.

The sheep spell (reinforced by a wonderful focus macro, oh I remember the joy when I found out about the existence of it, it certainly revolutionized my game play) has always occupied the 8 button on my keyboard. It still does, in theory, but since I move around the spells a bit before a boss fight, throwing in specialties that may be needed for that very fight, I often find the sheep moved away to a godforsaken corner where it dwells with the other useless stuff such as Cold of Cone and the Warlock HS (the later never used since it shares CD with the mana gems).

Looking at my action bars I can’t help wondering: will I ever see a turtle of my own, apart from Speedy?

Some QQ:ing
My dear fellow blogger Gnomeaggedon has recently written a couple of posts on the issue. In the first post he recalled all the spells and skills we used to practice, nowadays ditched since all that is asked from us is aoe. It tastes like cardboard, was his conclusion. He also did a wonderful, ironic rant on the history of polymorph development. While other classes get buffs, mages get new versions of sheep. It resembles somewhat to the clam obsession and it makes you wonder: is this REALLY the most urgent changes that mages need? Especially considering that sheep aren’t required anymore?

It’s easy to QQ over the lack of utility of mages nowadays, especially considering that the hybrid classes have been buffed so much that their dps specs are at least on par with us. I’ve done a bit of QQ:ing myself, wondering about our future market value.

But as I got the new turtle spell I asked myself: if you forget about the sexiness of the mage class and think about the sheeping as such: do I really miss it that much? And I found out that the answer was yes – and no.

Having the extra task to keep a mob sheeped during a fight, to keep an eye on it and to stay in range to resheep it, added variation and sometimes a little bit of a challenge to a fight. You had to stay alert and wouldn’t fall a sleep due to the boredom of casting the same single nuke spell over and over again until nausea. And sometimes you really felt useful, that the fact that you kept one mob sheeped actually made a huge difference to the outcome of the fight. (Priestess Delrissa in Magisters Terrace as the most evident example, if you had the MS Warrior and didn’t have a sheep, it would be quite challenging).

The drawback of sheeping
On the other hand – being on sheep duty in a raid wasn’t always something you were looking forward to. It could gimp your damage output immensely, and even though everyone in theory knew that you had been performing other duties than dps, it still didn’t look nice in the charts. I don’t recall that the chain sheeping required for some pulls in SSC was something I particularly enjoyed, an assignment I was hoping for, on the contrary. (For readers who weren’t there, chain sheeping didn’t mean renewing the sheep spell once every minute, it meant constantly spamming the polymorph spell, since it would break within seconds.)

So: Yes, I miss sheeping a little bit, especially in five man instances. But I don’t miss it to the extent that I hope for a huge amount of chain sheeping in Ulduar. In my heart and my soul I’m a damage dealer rather than an amusing clown like character, pulling rabbits out of hats, turning humanoids into silly shapes.

And even the awesome look of the turtle can’t change that fact.


Anonymous said...

After your post the other day... I mis-read this post's title as:
"I really miss SLEEPING"

Maybe I better get some sleep myself...

Anyway... good news is that a Mage healing tree is incoming


Klepsacovic said...

Sheeping is boring, but it's mage boring. It shows that you are a unique and boring flower.

I know I miss Garr in MC back on my warlock. CC, if not used constantly, makes a fight more interesting than just plain DPS.

I wish there was more sheeping and kiting and banishing and fearing and just SOMETHING other than DPS or dancing.

But honestly, I can agree with the sentiment about new polymorph spells. It probably is a waste of resources, especially in the face of such glaring issues as the months, nay YEARS since mage armor has received a new icon.

Gevlon said...

I stopped playing my mage. I miss the "I sheep one, I CS-slow-kite one, I nuke one" game. I loved Shettek, Shattered and MgT as mage. Now when 89% of my damage comes from Arcane Explosion, I rather not play at all.

The sad thing is that with new mana rules even AE is no longer fun. I remember when the Kara group wanted to skip Illhoof with no warlocks, claiming that no mage can keep AoE alone. Proving them wrong was so sweet.

Now everything is so simple...

Scotty said...

You may question if you miss it Larisa, but for sure, I do....I remember the days when AoE was a rarity, and it was fun seeing your dps shoot up to ridiculous numbers on the occasional, aoe is almost every pull, and its boring.....luckily there is so little trash in todays raids that it doesnt bother me much

Some of my favourite times were runs in (or example) Shattered Halls before groups overgeared it, when i would be sheeping one mob counterspelling a caster, and positioning myself in front of the healer so I could frost nova in the event that one got loose from the tank.....(and we'd maybe have a hunter trapping, warlock chain fearing etc too)

That stuff sorted out the people who could play a mage, and people that could simply do a good dps rotation...

I'm really hoping for some pulls that need this in future patches....crowd control is a lost art these days....I miss it !

Kromus said...

Good news; from what i've heard (possibly rumours) there are massive pulls in Ulduar that will require CC BUT its just rumours, im hoping the harder modes need CC.

TBH its good we just spam AoE- but now its boring- and CC'ing all the time may of been boring- but there needs to be a balance of both, in my opinion.

3rd boss in Magisters Terrace was overkill in terms of CC- and some bosses needed fuck all CC- its strange.

'Balance must be preserved'.

Scotty said...

Agreed Kromus, I wouldnt want EVERY pull to be heavy on CC, for a start that would go against "bring the player, not the class"

I wouldnt want to go back to bosses like Moroes that was (to start with, before overgearing)either very easy or very hard based on how many shackles you had, or even worse, Hex Lord Malacrass (and 3rd boss MT, as you said), which was so dependent on good CC and because of the random aspect you couldnt even plan for until you got there...

But I would like to see a better balance between aoe pulls and crowd control pulls

*vlad* said...

I would rather be the clown, than just one of the troupe.

Come on, Blizzard has taken class individuality away in the name of 'bring the player not the character'.

Nowadays we are simply dps, instead of Mages, Warlocks, Shaman, etc etc, and all that seems to matter is who is top of the damage meter, and who has highest dps.

Please bring back Sheeping, Banishing, Enslaving, Mind Controlling, and so on. The more non-damage requirements the better, as far as I'm concerned.

@Klepsacovic - I agree. Sheeping may be boring, but surely spamming aoe on every single trash pack is even more boring.
I used to hate Mount Hyjal in that I simply spammed Seed of Corruption for 3 hours (bar the boss encounters).
Now it is all I do in Naxxramas, OS and every heroic...

Me said...

Heroic KT?
When he mind controls one of your raid's ret pallys, or an unholy dk or even a shadow priest you might want to "turtle" said teammate. I know I one-shotted our resto druid in that fight last week because I wasn't cc'd fast enough.

Larísa said...

@Gnomeaggedon: haha... Yeah, I can't help wishing it wasn't an April Fool joke you presented. If hybrids get dps buffes, we should get some healing to make it even...

@Klepsacovic: Yeah, I really wouldn't mind a bit more of it.

@Gevlon: I wonder if it's the same to all classes or if it's only mage that has become so much "simplified"...

@Scotty: oh yes, SH was one of my favourite instances thanks to the huge pulls. I've always loved those (even though I'm afraid that I'm more of a handle-a-rotation-mage than a skilled-cc-counterspell-kiting-spellstealing mage like you).

@Kromus: I guess it's like a pendyle, going back and forward. Now it's time for CC again, hopefully. And hopefully not an overdose of it. But it WAS fun to be desperately needed in MgT.

@Vlad: actually I didn't mind the waves in MT too much. Maybe I just didn't do them enough many times. And it certainly gave the boss fights a twist when you had to do ALL the 8 waves once again after a wipe... You had to oneshot them, really! :)

@Barrista: heroic KT, you're absolutely right, it slipped my mind. Currently my macro makes pigs, I'll change it to turtle now. So I will get a cc once a week at least.

krizzlybear said...

I miss WoW, period.

Going to have to wait until May anyways, since I have exams and stuff to worry about first and foremost.

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with &vlad* fundamental point about things getting boring in regards to bring the player not the class.

As far as the OP is concerned, I think a better question is: should you miss it. Green Armadillo and I had this discussion awhile ago, we all agree that we never use sheep anymore. Heck my mage is just nearing 50 and I stopped using sheep at least 15 levels ago, even in PvE.

Maybe because I came along later sheep was never a quintessential mage identity spell to me. I don't miss sheep because I almost never used it to begin with. As a Frost mage, I'm the "Iceman;" that's my identity.

Larísa said...

@Krizzlybear: and we miss you, as a more frequent blogger and commenter... but ofc you put your priorities just right.

I guess the thing that I'm not into that Twitter business makes it worse. There's too little Krizzly in my life.

@DeftyJames: that's an interesting theory! In those days when sheep were needed, were they mostly something that fire mages did, while frost mages just put up an icy shield to protect themselves?

As I said: I miss it - to some extent. But chain sheeping I can definitely live without.

Chris said...

Am guessing you guys all lacked a tankadin in tbc, sheeping (barring the very occasional pull like TK with the engineers / mechanics who repaired the big guy and each other faster than you could dps) was removed in blue Karazhan.

Problem was most people didn't like CC, it was inflexible, and people complained that it slowed the game (compared to tankadin zerg walls). The problem is that without some tactical aspect to the game, it becomes a simple game of "does healing outmass damage, and does damage big enough hurt thing?". Even when TBC was zergable (and I was insane enough to zerg kara in full blues with a group without the dps to kill curator), it had some subtlety that WoTLK is missing, as mobs could hit hard enough, stun or do nasty stuff that you needed to offtank or deal with (Gladiators in SH, Pulls near BB / RoS in BT). By removing those aspects that made zerging hard, or even removing the aspects that made it skillful use of sheep (the guys in TK that arcane whirlwinded but could be sheeped to interrupt it, even ifit broke instantly).

Blizzard lost the plot, its no cc that people miss, but the creative need for it that has been removed.

Anonymous said...

I used to love sheeping. TK trash pre-Kael? Yeah, that was some good stuff.

Taking away the CC took away a lot of the fun that I had as a mage.

That said, I'm still enjoying magery