Friday, August 24, 2007

Fear and how to fix it

Draele just started a blog about being a Warlock called Rantings of the Afflicted, and today he's got a post up about that most heinous of Warlock abilites: yes, none other than fear. A touchy subject (to say the least), but he offers three different suggestions on how to make fear fun for everyone.

At its base, fear is actually Blizzard's way of trying to come up with another game mechanic. If you're a veteran MMORPG player, you know there are three archetype classes-- healer, DPS, and tank. All three of them are centered around damage-- either getting rid of it, doing it, or tanking it. Fear, however, plays with none of those rules-- it's a complete damage negator. The reason Warlocks have fear is so they can wear cloth and yet stay alive for a long time against one target-- long enough for their DoTs to come in.

The problem with fear, however, as even the developers have admitted, is that it's not fun for the person being feared-- getting feared leaves you with almost no option but to sit there and do nothing. It removes control from your character, and that's never fun.

So how can we fix it?

Draele offers three suggestions, none of which are "remove fear from the game." The first involved turning fear into more or less a damage spell: have it break after a certain percentage of damage is done, which leaves it up to the Warlock to do that damage in the short time that fear is going down. Dimishing returns would keep the lock from just fearing over and over, every damage round, until the target was dead.

The other two suggestions are basically the same, and these seem more like what Blizzard is aiming to make fear: Turn it into purely a CC spell, and have it break on damage. A lot of tweaking would have to be done (probably to both Warlock and other class abilities) to make sure that Locks could still hold their own in 1v1 with someone bearing down on them, but that seems the best option.

And even if Blizzard doesn't change Fear (to break on damage), they're definitely heading towards less and less fear anyway-- Draele doesn't mention it, but Fear Ward is getting spread around in the next expansion, if not sooner, and so Fear is going to lose a lot of ground as a mechanic in PvP, if not in PvE. Don't be scared, Warlocks-- Blizzard obviously isn't going to leave you out there on your own (Pardo's daughter plays one, remember?). But fear's days are definitely numbered.

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