Patch 3.3 PTR: Area-of-effect damage cap change
The area-of-effect damage cap is something that doesn't get talked about a whole lot. The first time I noticed it having a real effect on gameplay was in Mount Hyjal ("Hey, warlock! Wake up and throw us another Seed of Corruption!"). So what is it and what is patch 3.3 doing with it?
When you hit a single mob or player with a spell, or some kind of crude inertia-based impact utensil, the game will work out how much damage that target takes. This is based on the various offensive properties of you and the spell or utensil, as well as the defensive properties of your target. The same is true for area-of-effect (or AoE) abilities, though these tend to do less damage to a single target. Add in some more targets and, while it's still fun to do lots of damage to one of them (with the casting and the poking with sticks), you may have a chance to do damage to all of them at once. Let's say that you can do 2500 damage to a single target with one spell or stab, but can only do 1000 damage to a single target with your AoE ability. If you have five targets that you can hit with your AoE, then that will do a total of 5000 damage. Already we're having more fun than just beating on the one target.
So we're doing 1000 damage to every target and as we keep adding targets we keep doing more total damage. The current AoE damage cap is on that total amount of damage. Once we reach that total then we simply can't do any more. If more targets are added then the amount we do to each is reduced, to keep our total on the cap limit. The change in Patch 3.3 PTR doesn't have a value for the total damage you can do. Instead it works out how much damage you would do to ten targets and limits you to that. This means that your AoE spells will do the normal amount of damage to a group of ten or less targets but as soon as you add an eleventh (or more) your damage per target is reduced. To quote the patch notes:
In other words, if a spell does 1000 damage to each target, it would hit up to 10 targets for 1000 each, but with more than 10 targets, each target would take 1000 damage divided by the number of targets. 20 targets would be hit for 500 damage each in that example.Depending on the current AoE damage cap this change might mean we do more or less damage to a large group of targets (probably less). What it does mean is that the damage cap is more predictable, and more scalable. We'll be able to know at what point our AoE abilities start losing power by counting the targets and this will adjust as we increase in level and improve our gear.
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.
Filed under: Guides, Analysis / Opinion, Patches, Druid, Warrior, Warlock, Shaman, Rogue, Priest, Paladin, Mage, Hunter, Death Knight
Reader Comments (Page 1 of 3)
busuan Oct 9th 2009 2:06PM
Now those many whelps would take much longer to handle...
Narai Oct 9th 2009 2:07PM
Great, now they don't like the fact that when we out-gear content we like to chain pull and AoE everything down.
If we're uber enough to do that, let us do that. When harder content comes out later, we won't be able to as soon.
Let's face it. Chain-pulling is fun. This kind of ruins it.
serrif Oct 9th 2009 2:12PM
No it doesn't. There are already caps in place, this just makes those caps scale. So instead of running into a problem of trying to dps a large group and spellpower/AtkP not doing anything (since your total damage is capped to a fixed number), it will enable those scaling stats to still help (since your total damage is capped to a multiple of the single-target damage of the ability).
hahke Oct 9th 2009 2:13PM
Throughout WOTLK AoE has been a major thing. I'm glad to see it calm down a bit...
Pending on how much this affect the game, I can see a mix between AoE and CC which they promised a while ago. They didn't want Wrath of the Lich King to be constant lolfaceroll pulls, they do plan to you know... add a bit of variety back into the game.
Rastakitty Oct 9th 2009 2:15PM
It really depends on what the current spell cap was. The previous spell cap didn't scale with your gear which meant that you hit the cap on much smaller groups of mobs.
Before spell power was much smaller so it didn't really matter, but now most of your damage is actually coming from SP (or AP as the case may be) and this makes it much easier to hit the cap.
I don't know if this will work out as a buff or nerf in the long run, but I think some testing needs done before we jump to conclusions.
Rastakitty Oct 9th 2009 2:16PM
wow double ninja'd :)
mark Oct 10th 2009 8:25PM
"So instead of running into a problem of trying to dps a large group and spellpower/AtkP not doing anything"
this is why crit specs/classes rule at AoE
it fixes the damage cap - spreads it per mob(atm) spreads it per tic - then it gets a massive boost from my ffb crit spec and 40% frost crit :)
thebitterfig Oct 9th 2009 4:36PM
live: AoE damage cap is some arbitrary value C.
3.3: AoE damage cap is either (1) 10 times the damage the spell would deal to one target for groups of over 10 or (2) no cap for groups of less than 10 (i presume. i'm not 100% clear on the sub-10 behavior of AoE damage).
thus, this is a non-nerf/possible-buff when the number of targets is less than 10, and a buff when 10*damage > C. practically speaking, it seems likely that 10*damage < C for most cases, so a practical nerf. regardless, it makes sense for the cap, rather than being some arbitrary number, is instead based on the damage of the spell itself.
Wither Oct 9th 2009 5:38PM
This is the way I understand the change. If you AoE 15+ mobs (e.g. Onyxia whelps) at the moment.
Most players will do exactly the same amount of dps (i.e. they should be hitting the AoE damage cap). They will all do this amount of damage regardless of their gear / talents / spell choice.
Now the damage done will effectively scale with gear, talents and spells just as it does for less than 10 mobs. That's good news for well-geared players.
Note, regardless of the change, running into the whelps is still not advisable.
Shoryu Oct 10th 2009 1:36PM
@ matthew, you are forgetting sweeping strikes plus bladestorm, we can hit 5 targets max.
Dennis Oct 9th 2009 2:11PM
There shouldn't be an AOE cap. If someone can get 50 targets in the attack radius then all 50 should take the complete hit instead of 1/5 of a hit.
Jabadabadana Oct 9th 2009 2:20PM
Not really, if you think about it realistically, ( minor physics alert ) the mass of bodies would simply start to absorb or soak up the force of your explosions or sweeping melee strikes. Granted, what reality actually says is more damage at the epicenter, or point of impact, with fading results as you move farther away. However, I don't think the game wants to deal with diminishing aoe returns over distance, especially with target quantities added in.
Matthew Rossi Oct 9th 2009 2:20PM
My main class can only hit up to 4 targets with my AoE, period. So I'm not terribly moved.
snowleopard233 Oct 9th 2009 2:21PM
I kind of agree, its almost like twenty enemies could form a "spirit link" where they would essentially half your AOE damage.
Thundrcrackr Oct 9th 2009 2:38PM
I totally agree. There is no reason (other than eliminating fun) there should be an AOE cap. If you're good enough to actually find a spot where you can round up 50 mobs and get them into AOE position without dying, then god damit, you should be rewarded, not penalized.
Rastakitty Oct 9th 2009 2:46PM
I can see one reason for the cap being pvp. Say you have 10 mages, and the combined power of all 10 Arcane blasts is equal to a warriors health. The problem is that while they could kill 10 warriors instantly in a BG if they grouped up, they could also kill any number of warriors (say 100) instantly. I think this would be a biggest factor in say city raids where a small group of people could effectively kill everyone with an AOE.
just a thought.
Cambro Oct 9th 2009 2:52PM
Your main class SPEC (arms) can only hit 4 targets at once. My main class DPS spec (fury) can also only hit 4 targets at once. But I spend most of my time in prot spec, and Shockwave is unlimited in the number of targets it can hit. :) So yeah, I see this as kind of a nerf to prot warrior tanking in terms of damage and multi-mob threat.
Dennis Oct 9th 2009 3:07PM
Matt, my main is also a warrior. Look at it from the AOE tanking angle. If a tanks threat diminishes (from doing less damage) when attacking more than 10 mobs, how much harder will it be to off-tank large groups of adds in a boss fight. Isn't it possible for more than 10 whelps to appear during Onyxias battle? I may be wrong, but I believe that this is a nerf that affects every class and could change raid strategies.
onetrueping Oct 9th 2009 3:42PM
This is incorrect. The problem was that, at higher gear levels, the damage to each individual creature by an AoE spell was increasing, which meant that the overall damage started to diminish earlier. Depending on how this scales, there is a specific point where damage from the new AoE system will pass that from the old system, improving the DPS of AoE battles significantly and hugely buffing AoE tanks.
MazokuRanma Oct 9th 2009 4:36PM
I've never actually played a warrior (Mine is level 17, I don't count that as having one yet), but I've never agreed with the cap on targets for Bladestorm. It seems to me that the spinning cyclone of deadly blades should realistically be able to hit all targets within about 5 yards. Move out of the range, you're safe. Everyone in range should not be though.
I'm even arguing this point as a mage, a class that falls over merely from the strong winds created by the Bladestorm... I still really don't believe a cap on this makes sense.