Saturday, September 6, 2008

Racial Imbalance: Horde in General

Finishing up my four part series on Racial Imbalances, I present the flip side to the Alliance in General post I made a little over a week ago.

In that post, I outlined the Alliance racials, their pros and uses. Their pitiful little uses.

In this post, I'm going to outline the Horde racials, their pros and uses. Their overwhelming usefulness. (Bitter, who, me? Nah.)

Orc: Blood Fury: Increases attack power/spell damage and healing for 15 seconds. Applies a debuff to self of reduced healing by 50% for 15 seconds. 2 minute cooldown. Does not trigger global cool down.

The attack power buff is 2+level * 4 (ie: 282 for level 70) and the spell damage/healing is 3+level*2 (143 for level 70).

Melee classes get the attack power buff, warlocks get the spell damage and shaman get both melee and spell damage bonuses.

As one can imagine, this is a nice little ability, like an extra trinket. In the world of PvP where you may not be getting healed or against PvE mobs where you won't get healed if you aren't in a group with a healer (ie: soloing. No one does that though.) who cares about a healing debuff?

Admittedly, the 50% healing debuff is a hefty negative, it only lasts for 15seconds, which is as long as the buff. So you go all blood fury and whack a few people, by the time you need healing, the debuff is probably gone.

The nice thing though, is that this ability, though it has a nice offensive ability, does have a negative drawback for using it. You run the risk of not getting healed enough to stay alive.

Tauren: War Stomp: Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. 2 minute cooldown. Does not trigger global cool down. Cannot auto-attack on the stunned target. 0.5 second cast time.

We've all been the victim of this ability. Whomp. Whomp. Whomp. 2 minutes when in the real world seems more like 5 seconds. The 2 second stun effect feels like 3 minutes. You all know what I mean!

A lot of times when it's used, it allows druids and shaman to get a chance to heal without interruption. Because they need that extra time! (They don't already have Lesser Healing Wave or HoTs that heal for a lot with low casting time. No. Not in the least.) Isn't that useful?

While auto-attack is interrupted for the duration of War Stomp, special attacks and spells will still work.

I dunno, I think Escape Artist is far more useful.

Troll: Berserking: Increases attack and casting speed by 10% to 30% for 10 seconds. Does not trigger global cool down. 3 minute cooldown. Cost to use is 6% of base mana, 10 Energy or 5 Rage.

The haste increase depends on the amount of damage. Being healed after the racial is triggered does not alter the haste rating gained.

For spell haste at the least, 30% is achieved when you are at 40% health. It decreases linearly from 40-100% down to a 10% increase. Fuzzy math makes head hurt. Ungh.

Essentially, this is an ability used when you're hurt and they're hurt and you want to win. It's like a miniature I-Win button!

Forsaken: Will of the Forsaken: Provides immunity to charm, fear and sleep and will dispell those effects if used when charmed, feared or sleeping. 5 second duration, 2 minute cooldown.

It USED to stay active for 20 seconds. I don't need to elucidate on the benefits of this ability, do I? (Honestly, Shadowmeld... MUCH more useful.)

It's similar in effect to those nifty trinkets. So ... if they have the trinket. They have TWO outs of sleep, fear and charm. Who knew it was so good to be dead?

Forsaken: Cannibalize: 10 second cast, 5 yard range. When active, restores 7% of total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Any movement, damage taken or action done will interrupt the effect. 2 minute cooldown. Only works on humanoid and undead corpses.

The warlock armor buff Fel Armor will increase the healing gained.

The dead are not damned! They are favored. They get TWO active racials! Woot woot!

Blood Elf: Mana Tap: Reduces the target's mana by X (where X = 50+level) and charges the caster with 10 Arcane energy. 30 second cooldown. Mana Tap lasts 10 minutes and has 3 charges. Activates the global cool down.

Mana tap breaks sheep, sap and freezing trap (counts as an attack), so presumably it will also break seduce.

By itself, this is merely a mana drain ability. However, combine it with...

Blood Elf: Arcane Torrent: Silences all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. In addition, you gain 10 Mana for each charge of Mana Tap affecting you. 2 minute cooldown.

Mana return scales with level. (At max level, 161 mana / charge).

(Blood Elves also get two racials. Isn't that cute? They can twirl, do their hair, attack and cast like they're ballerinas and they get two active racials! Woot woot!)

So, in addition to the Horde having an every 2 minute stun move for 2 seconds, the Horde also have an every 2 minute AoE silence!

Of general racials,
- three remove debuffs from the target (Stoneform, Will of the Forsaken and Escape Artist)
- two are healing (Gift of the Naaru and Cannibalize)
- one is a search function (Perception)
- one is almost useless as an active trait (Shadowmeld)
- five are offensive abilities (Blood Fury, War Stomp, Berserking, Mana Tap and Arcane Torrent)
- of those five, one buffs and debuffs the caster (Blood Fury), one is an AoE stun effect (War Stomp), one is an AoE silencing effect (Arcane Torrent), one is a mana drain (Mana Tap) and one is purely offensive (Berserking)
- two Horde races have two active racials
- zero Alliance races have two active racials

Of Horde racials,
- two have no offensive capabilities (Will of the Forsaken and Cannibalize)
- two are AoE abilities that do no direct damage (War Stomp and Arcane Torrent)
- two are damaging offensive abilities (Blood Fury and Berserking)
- one is a minor mana drain that has the potential to buff the caster.
- average cooldown is 2 minutes (5 at 2 minutes, 1 at 3 minutes, 1 at 30 seconds)

Of Alliance racials,
- five have no offensive capabilities (Escape Artist, Stoneform, Peception, Shadowmeld, Gift of the Naaru)
- zero are AoE abilities.
- zero are damaging offensive abilities.
- average cooldown is 2 minutes (3 at 3 minutes, 1 at 1m45s, 1 (useless) at 10 seconds)

On the whole, Horde racials seem especially geared to PvP fighting or even PvE play. On the whole, Alliance racials are rather useless. Stoneform and Gift of the Naaru are the only real applicable useful abilities. Escape Artist, as noted previously, has lots of gnomes who say it doesn't work as intended.

Way back in the day before Shaman were on both teams, it was noted that Horde seemed designed to PvP. The Shaman were the PvP equivalent of the PvE Paladin. Their racials are more offensive (and actually are useful. Hate you Shadowmeld.) and so much cooler than Alliance.

Now, one can argue that the very names tell why. The HORDE versus the ALLIANCE. Hordes are fury barely contained. They are offensive, they are brutal. They are a horde. Alliance denotes civilization, having tea and crumpets, walking the dog and watching hummingbirds at feeders.


Screw that. The Alliance is a team of noble knights and defenders of the defenseless! And stuff.

We want racials that compare to the Horde racials in terms of utility and usefulness in PvP. Not racials that we use once in a blue moon when the whooperwill is seen flying over the home of the 7th son of the 7th son!

Again, comments, criticism, etc. Please speak up! What do you think? What do you feel? Do you use your Alliance racials more often than I think most people use them? When do you use them? Are you Horde and laughing your ass off? STFU.

No, kidding. Comment too, stupid horde, I care about your opinion! :)

Do you feel it's as unfair as I'm writing it to be? Or am I overly biased? Am I right to be biased?

I think I have a fair grievance here. I've laid out all the abilities that are race based. Not only do the Horde have more of them, but their abilities are more useful on and off the battleground. Is this just someone not paying attention? Or someone who really thinks Shadowmeld is the coolest thing ever!

Maybe make it so EVERY Night Elf could stealth like a rogue. Now, THAT would be an awesome racial to have.

I say, let's start a petition to Blizzard! All for universal stealth for Night Elves, say aye!


  1. You seem to be talking about racial bonus imbalance mostly for PvP, where's it's actually the opposite of what you think. Put battlegrounds aside and focus on arenas, where "little" things actually matter.

    As a warlock, I'd trade Cannibalize and WoTF for Escape Artist without thinking twice, and I'm sure many warriors (and possibly rogues) would do the same. For a warrior it's really a no brainer, EA is 100% better.

    Perception is completely imbalanced vs. rogue teams. If you get the opening move on the opposing rogue, your chances of winning the arena match grow substantially. You might of heard the saying, the only counter to rogue+druid is human rogue+druid (or warglaive rogue+druid lol).

    You seem to believe Shadowmeld is completely useless, which is far from the truth. A few seconds of not paying attention and a night elf druid will be drinking in the middle of Nagrand arena, and you have to literally walk up to him to put him in combat since he's stealthed. The extra 5 seconds he buys to drink can easily decide the outcome of the match. It's also useful to priests to a degree, but obviously not a preferred choice of racials for rogues or warriors.

    Blood Fury sucks, War Stomp nearly sucks, and Trolls are just bad in general. Cannibalize is near impossible to use in arena, since it requires you to kill something first, and have 10 seconds of uninterrupted channeling. Will of the Forsaken is great, but again, I'd rather have Escape Artist.
    Blood Elf racials aren't too shabby, but there's better. Yes, Draenei and Dwarf racials mostly suck.


  2. Thank you for the commentary! That does put a new light on it. I don't arena, and I only PvP to fill gear holes typically.

    Unfortunately, this does mean that I'm usually PvE geared in PvP battlegrounds, against people who PvP a lot. So I admit that I am biased and bitter. :)

    I also do think their racials are better suited for PvE.

    Thank you for the input, I certainly haven't looked at the Alliance racials in terms of an Arena setting.

  3. Nice writeup! Too bad they just announced they are changing every racial in Wrath.

  4. Do Night Elves get universal stealth?

    That's all I care about. :)


    No word about Shadowmeld.

    It's interesting how spell resistance racials are being changed: Night Elves get 3% less chance to be hit by nature spells, tauren get 2%, and undead get 1% (shadow spells). They all have +10 resistance currently.

    The problems with Escape Artist should be solved now since it can no longer be resisted.