WoW: Eine Übersicht zu dem gestrigen AMA
Wie bereits vor einigen Tagen von den für World of Warcraft verantwortlichen Entwicklern durch einen Blogeintrag auf ihrer offiziellen Communityseite angekündigt wurde, haben sie im Verlauf der vergangenen Nacht nun endlich ihr erstes richtiges AMA (Ask me Anything) auf Reddit durchgeführt. Während dieser informativen Fragerunde beantworteten die anwesenden Mitarbeiter von Blizzard Entertainment dann eine Vielzahl von Fragen aus der Community dieses Titels, die ich unter anderem mit dem Design der spielbaren Klassen, dem Balancing im PvP, geplanten Verbesserungen für dieses MMORPG. den Absichten des Entwicklerteams für die Zukunft, dem Privatleben der Entwickler und vielen weiteren mehr oder weniger spannenden Themen beschäftigten. Folgend findet ihr neben einer Übersicht des gesamten AMAs und einer Liste mit den an diesem Event teilnehmenden Entwicklern praktischerweise auch noch eine übersetzte Zusammenfassung von einigen der interessanteren Antworten der Mitarbeiter von Blizzard Entertainment.
23:06 pm PDT: The AMA has ended but you can still check out the answers on the World of Warcraft subreddit here.
Folgende Entwickler waren während dieses Events anwesend:
Übersetzte Zusammenfassung einiger Antworten:
- In der nächsten Woche wird es vermutlich einige weitere Klassenänderungen für das PvP geben.
- Auch wenn die Reihe “Dev Watercooler” vermutlich nicht unter diesem Namen fortgeführt wird, so veröffentlichten die Entwickler aber dennoch regelmäßig Blogeinträge und Blueposts, die im Grunde der gleichen Idee folgen und die Spieler mit Informationen versorgen.
- Class Designer Forge beschrieb einen ganz normalen Tag im Leben eines Spielentwicklers (Link).
- Die Entwickler beantworteten viele Fragen zu spezifischen Elementen oder Fähigkeiten der spielbaren Klassen. Wer gerne mehr über seine eigene Klasse erfahren möchte, der sollte sich die komplette Liste weiter unten in diesem Artikel anschauen.
- In den kommenden Wochen wollen die Entwickler die Regeln für die Platzierung von Totems ein wenig überarbeiten. Aktuell kommt es einfach zu oft vor, dass Spieler die feindlichen Totems nicht mit ihren Fähigkeiten angreifen können.
- Die anwesenden Mitarbeiter von Blizzard Entertainment äußerten sich in einer sehr langen Antwort zu dem in Legion vorhandenen Zufallsfaktor (Link).
- Das Entwicklerteam arbeitet aktuell an vielen neuen Zauberanimationen und Soundeffekten für die Fähigkeiten der spielbaren Klassen von World of Warcraft.
- Der Erdschock von Schamanen soll bald eine neue Animation erhalten.
- Die spielbaren Klassen von World of Warcraft sollten mehr interessante und einzigartige Fähigkeiten besitzen. Möglicherweise werden die Entwickler in der Zukunft weitere Zauber dieser Art hinzufügen.
- Die Entwickler haben intern darüber diskutiert, ob das Tragen von drei legendären Ausrüstungsteilen gleichzeitig eine Belohnung für das Abschließen der auf Argus spielenden Kampagne aus Patch 7.3.0 darstellen sollte. Auch wenn das Spiel das Tragen von drei Legendaries nicht unbedingt benötigt, so wäre es aber auf jeden Fall cool. Bisher wurde in diesem Punkt noch keine eindeutige Entscheidung gefallen.
- Das Entwicklerteam ist im Grunde sehr zufrieden mit der Vielfalt und den Effekten der mit Legion eingeführten Schmuckstücke. Gleichzeitig ist den Entwicklern bewusst, dass einige Schmuckstücke viel zu mächtig waren und sich negativ auf das Spiel auswirkten.
- Während der gesamten Erweiterung führten die Entwickler Diskussionen darüber, ob sie sich nicht vielleicht ein besseres System für die Verteilung der Elite PvP Sets ausdenken sollten. Auch wenn aktuell keine wirklichen Änderungen angekündigt werden können, so denken die verantwortlichen Personen aber zumindest über neue Möglichkeiten nach.
- Seit Patch 7.2.5 können daran interessierte Personen den Befehl ” /invitespectatormatch command!” dafür verwenden, um Zugriff auf das für offizielle PvP Turniere verwendete Interface zu erhalten.
- Die PvP-Vorlagen für das instanzierte PvP werden nicht in dem World PvP von World of Warcraft verwendet, weil solch ein System in der offenen Spielwelt zu drastischen Problemen führen könnte. Beispielsweise wäre es sehr ärgerlich, wenn Spieler auf einem PvP-Server den Kampf gegen einen Mob verlieren, nur weil ihr Held aufgrund eines Angriffs einer anderen Person abgeschwächt wurde.
- Es wird auch weiterhin keine Solo-Warteschlangen für das gewertete PvP geben.
- In Legion besitzen zu viele Fähigkeiten ein passives Spalten. Die Entwickler möchten sich diesen Umstand gerne merken und in der Zukunft sinnvolle Änderungen in diesem Bereich durchführen.
- Die anwesenden Entwickler fanden Gefallen an einigen von Spielern eingereichten Vorschlägen für neue kosmetische Glyphen.
- Eine Glyphe, die Druiden mehr Modelle für ihre Baumgestalt zur Verfügung stellt.
- Eine Glyphe, die das alte Klassenmount der Paladine durch ihr Klassenmount aus Patch 7.2 ersetzt.
- Mit Patch 7.2.0 haben die Entwickler die Problematik rund um die Angriffsanimation der als weibliche Blutelfen spielenden Jäger behoben.
- Tempo könnte in der Zukunft auch die Tick-Rate von Blutungen beeinflussen. Die Entwickler wissen selbst nicht, warum Blutungen von diesem Wert ausgeschlossen wurden.
- Die Entwickler planen aktuell keine weiteren Möglichkeiten zum Anpassen der Optik von Dämonenjägern.
- Die Mitarbeiter von Blizzard Entertainment stecken die Seelensplitter der Hexenmeister in die gleiche Kategorie wie die Runen der Todesritter oder die Combopunkte der Schurken. Aus diesem Grund besitzen aktuell auch alle drei Spezialisierungen des Hexenmeisters dieser Ressource.
- Es gibt keine konkreten Pläne für Verbesserungen an den Begleitern der Jäger. Allerdings sind die Entwickler ebenfalls der Meinung, dass sich dieses System nicht unbedingt an einer optimalen Stelle befindet.
- Die Gladiatorenhaltung der Krieger wird vermutlich nicht zurückkehren. Diese Fähigkeit brachte die eigentliche Spielweise der Schutz-Krieger durcheinander und führte zu viel Verwirrung innerhalb der Community. Auch wenn die Entwickler die Idee eines DDs mit einem Schild echt toll finden, so sollte solch eine Spielweise aber nicht einfach nur eine untergeordnete Alternative in einer eigentlich auf die Verteidigung ausgelegten Spezialisierung darstellen.
- Auch wenn die Entwickler im Grunde zufrieden mit dem Frost-Magier sind, so gibt es mit dieser Spezialisierung aber dennoch einige störende Probleme:
- Spieler müssen zu viel Rücksicht auf die Flugzeit ihrer Geschosse nehmen.
- Flimmern kann von Spielern zum Steigern ihres verursachten Schadens verwendet werden.
- Die von Frost-Magiern eingesetzte Kombination an Zaubern ist für Anfänger nur sehr schwer durchzuführen.
Alle Fragen und Antworten:
How hard is it to balance class/spec fantasy with creating meaningful and fun game play? We’ve seen definite strides in Class fantasy for a lot of specs but I would argue that some miss their mark for the sake of gameplay or vice versa. Can you comment on any potential changes coming down the pike to improve player experience or class fantasy for those not currently up to par?
Some are certainly harder to pull off than others, but our best successes come when a spec’s kit is clear and we can focus both aesthetics and mechanics into the same end goal that flows pretty naturally. I think our recent work on subtlety was a great example of how a clear vision (planning, patient, focused ninja) can make everything flow from that core.
I think on the flip side, something like explosive trap is a great example of really awesome fantasy, but doesn’t really deliver fulfilling gameplay in practice. Which makes it difficult when a spec has a main theme around damaging traps. The upside though, is that we get to see what parts of the spec do feel natural and work well in both flavor and gameplay, like Dragonsfire Grenade.
Legion brought lots of opportunity to deliver a more focused identity to each spec, and invariably some found their footing better than others. We’re always iterating and looking to make changes we believe in.
As of Legion we had a lot of improvements with targeted spells like Warriors Heroic Leap, but often times as a Shaman, targeted totems still feel very limited and prone to having “No Path Available” a lot of times, is this an intentional design choice or just a limitation that could have improvements in the future?
We’ll take another look at our totem placement rules, especially now that we have an increased number of totems that are spawned on your reticle. I share your frustration with trying to throw totems in situations such as from the top of Blade’s Edge Arena bridge to the floor.
When Ghostcrawler was apart of the dev team he often did, “Watercoooler talks” to discuss class changes and the ideas of what was going on with each spec. It gave the community some insight on what you guys had planned and what your specific goals were. Will we ever see the return of that?
Definitely something we’re still open to. Lately we’ve been leaning more in favor of responding to specific concerns (such as what you’ll see on the Class Development forums). That’s definitely left something of a void in terms of sharing overall design philosophy, though. It’s something we’d like to address.
Worth noting that that sort of thing isn’t always branded as a “Dev Watercooler” – for example, early on in Legion development, we did a series of blog posts that explained our overall philosophy for each class (at least at the time – some have changed since). They weren’t called Watercoolers, but did have the same general content.
What is the current status on the spell animations update? Will we see more in 7.3? There are a few classes that have seen little change for many years for much of their core spells, especially some healers shadow priests, and arcane mages, while some classes seem to get their spell looks redone every 6 months to a year or so (Balance) [It’s a exaggeration!]. How do you decide which classes get work done first on their spells? Can you share some plans for upcoming specs and classes?
Melee was our focus for the first round of updates in Legion because there was significant ground to gain, but that has set in motion an ongoing effort to update as much as we have time for, as often as we can. I’m happy to say that we are actively working on caster specific animations, as well as sound and spell FX updates for multiple classes. Keep a lookout for what’s next for casters, you should see updates very soon 🙂
There are likely to be some PvP-specific changes next week. Unsure if there will be any PvE-focused tuning just yet, as we’re still compiling data from the first week of Normal/Heroic Tomb.
One thing that’s worth noting is that our general strategy toward class tuning in Legion is much more ongoing than it has been in previous expansions. In other words, there’s no longer a point where we consider tuning to be “finished” for a patch cycle (aside from maybe in the couple of weeks prior to another patch being released). We’re constantly monitoring performance and make tuning changes where it makes sense.
I’m going to say /u/Solanis_wow ‘s chocolate chip cookies that he recently brought, that I basically had to keep eating since they were on his desk right next to me.
Whip these together first:
2 ½ sticks (1 1/4 cups) salted butter
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Then start adding these:
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
3 3/4 cups flour
Once the dough is consistent, fold in a bunch of chocolate chips, then add some more.
This makes 4 batches of 12-16 cookies, depending on the size you like.
NOT OPTIONAL – crack some sea salt over each cookie ball before you put it in the oven.
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes, cookies should have golden tips, but still a little soft.
This recipe is not my own but it’s far and away the best I’ve found. Now go eat some cookies 🙂
I demand a bake-off.
2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
4 cups flour
4 cups quick cooking oatmeal (any oatmeal is OK)
12 oz chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
Heat oven to 350. Cream together shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Sift or mix together all dry ingredients. Add gradually to other mixture. Add choc chips, nuts, raisins. Add oatmeal (may have to mix this in by hand). Drop cookies. Bake 8 min. on greased cookie sheets.
Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) has spoken some on Blizzard’s apparent philosophy of not needing devs to play their own classes they work on provided there is reliable data and things are done in a balanced manner among other things. But they aren’t oftentimes, so if this continues to be the philosophy which seems to include the mistakes in does in design, why is it adhered to?
I wouldn’t say that’s our philosophy at all. I don’t remember exactly what Greg said, but there is an expectation that a developer working on an aspect of the game is going to be very knowledgeable about that aspect of the game. We’re just a very large (and growing) team, and the game itself is very expansive, so we generally don’t expect e.g. a character animator to keep up with the ins and outs of top-level Arena gameplay.
There’s probably a theoretical state in which someone makes up for a lack of direct game experience through a massive amount of research, but I’m not personally aware of any developers for whom that’s the case. It’s certainly not the case for our class and PvP designers.
“Class Fantasy” has been the major buzz word of this expansion so far. For many people I’ve spoken to, it feels like that nebulous term refers to the Dev Team’s fantasy for the class rather than that of a class’ players. I feel this disconnect between the players’ fantasy and the devs’ vision/fantasy for classes is responsible for a lot of the hostility and tension after class balance/tuning/rework passes. Will you guys look at incorporating more player feedback moving forward to give players a greater sense of connection and ownership of their particular class/spec? If yes, what would that look like?
Class Fantasy is certainly a subjective topic, and we listen to as many players and developers as possible when carving out their unique identity, inevitably there will be differing opinions. There is an inherent risk in moving further in a particular direction with class fantasy for any spec because of this, but if we believe confindently in a vision for that spec that is unique, cathartic, resonant, and fits their design kit, we go for it. Is there any spec in particular where you believe we are not hitting the mark?
Thanks, shyguybman! This is a fun one 🙂
The typical day starts with, as with most tech jobs, email. Blizzard’s an international company and people around the globe play World of Warcraft, so there are often fun surprises waiting in our inbox in the morning. Addressing those and making sure we’re providing information to the rest of the team is a priority.
After that, what we do tends to be dictated by which phase of a project we’re working on. If we’re in ideation mode, there’s a lot of brainstorming, looking at reference media, talking to our lore team about historical reference within the game, and thinking about both the fantasy we’re trying to communicate and the gameplay we’re trying to engender. Brainstorming also tends to be a collaborative effort – a lot of times we’ll grab a meeting room and have an hour-long jam session that generates hundreds of ideas, which are then winnowed down to the unique/fun/cool/fantasy forward ones.
Implementation is where the rubber hits the road – you’ve come up with a fun idea, and now it’s time to actually build it. Building an ability typically involves using our internal tools to author spells, scripts, and hook up the spell visuals our artists have created, as well as a healthy dose of Excel for working out correct numbers. This process typically involves a great deal of coordination – talking with other class designers, encounter designers, artists, and programmers to see if the particular way in which we’ve built this ability is right for the game.
After that comes iteration, polish, and playtesting – is the ability actually cool in game now that it’s built? Does it fit into the class the way we expected it to (ideas are always better in our heads)? Do other people find it fun to play with? Does it deliver on the fantasy? Does it feel impactful? Is the timing of the swing correct? How does it look in the context of other people using their awesome abilities? Is it readable in PVP about what’s going to happen? This phase is also where the inevitable bugs from initial implementation tend to be corrected – our QA teams are awesome and find all sorts of fun edge cases and interactions with our very large game. It’s also where a lot of ideas either die (because they weren’t good enough) or are completely re-imagined with only the original elements remaining.
I really have to emphasize: nobody does it by themselves. Design’s an intensely collaborative endeavor, and while one person may ultimately be responsible for the implementation of a given thing, everything that ends up in the game is the product of the hard work of dozens of members of the team.
I think the most prominent feature of any day for me is working with other developers from all over the team to execute a new project. I talk with engineers about the best way to implement new awesome visual things without breaking the other 90% of the game (or whether we are ok with doing that in a targeted fashion), artists about how to push rosy-tinted spell effects of our memories of WoW into the modern era of gaming, and designers about what feels good to play, what is the right design given all of the information we have available.
I think the best thing I can say about the WoW dev team is that everyone is super passionate about the game, and each of us in our own way. We foster a culture of each developer pouring themselves into something they believe in, all while receiving feedback and iterating as far as possible. Whether a day full of meetings, or a day full of getting the feel of a single ability just right, it’s always a challenge, and always rewarding to see the vision of a project become reality.
As Forge noted, good question!
Starts with e-mail, mostly making sure nothing happened that needs some immediate response.
Some days I have a bunch of feedback on my mind after a night of raiding or running dungeons or playing a new alt and will likely go talk to the relevant people about things while it’s still fresh on my mind.
I check my bug list many times per day to make sure nothing was assigned to me that needs immediate attention, or if something is sent my way that needs to be escalated to someone else or just needs to be resolved by a different person. I tend to fix simple bugs like typos or very obvious missing checkboxes bugs when I see them.
Throughout the day I tend to have a whole lot of open windows on my machine, whether it’s an excel sheet planning out something new, or email drafts of half finished thoughts, or a half dozen wowedit windows open from whatever I was working on last, and figure out which needs attention next.
I’ll spend a bunch of time building new things or trying to figure out why what I made isn’t working as expected. It’s about inevitable that at least one point during the day a discussion (or multiple discussions) spark up around me that I either should be listening to or involve myself in. Sometimes this goes on for 5 minutes, other times much longer.
I ask a lot of people around me for help when I get stuck on a problem, or if I need advice on the best way to approach a problem I ran into or how to fix a tricky bug. It’s a lot of back and forth discussion with the people around me, and thankfully they’re all within earshot.
Once a project is finished, I either end up revisiting it due to feedback or further iteration, or move onto another project.
My question for you is about the dev’s mindset on the relationship between a spec’s damage profile and its overall throughput[…]What kinds of levers do you guys choose to pull to correct for these kinds of discrepancies and what kinds of warning signs do you use to identify that tuning is out of step with the reality of a spec’s ability to deliver damage effectively over a tier? Should we expect as a class to be performing better than other specs in terms of overall throughput if we’re living with a greater-than-average number of limitations (this appears to be the conventional wisdom, but does not appear to be backed up by tuning)?
This is a super complex issue to be sure. High level: our goals are that each spec should have their moment to shine, and that a given dungeon, raid tier, or outdoor situation should play to strengths and weaknesses. The delta between damage profiles is a very fine needle to thread to feel good, but not so swingy that changing composition feels mandatory. Our goal of pushing utility more to the forefront also helps carve out unique contributions to a group.
Whether dungeoning or raiding, chances are your group is different from most other guilds, even your own party likely varies from dungeon run to dungeon run. WoW is at its best when a unique group of players is presented with a problem and they have to solve it with the tools available to their composition. Improvisation, coordination, and limitations provide some of the best gameplay in WoW, and a victory is so much sweeter when your tools are concentrated, powerful, and unique rather than broad, generic, and overlapping. The exact same thing can be said for solo gameplay in the outdoor world.
Three of the simplest games I can think of are Tic-Tac-Toe, Black Jack, and War. Representing the spectrum from 0% to 100% RNG. Each game can be taught in just a few sentences. Black Jack clearly stands out as a game you can play and enjoy for many more rounds than the other two. Middling amounts of randomness provides something that the abundance of and lack of do not – a change of state that requires you to react in an unpredictable way. In war, randomness is so extreme that there is nothing to react to, you just win or lose. Tic-Tac-Toe games may vary slightly, but like War the outcome is practically predetermined. Black Jack does have basic strategy, but there’s just enough randomness to react to and change your decision like doubling down, splitting, tracking a hot or cold deck.
The core take-away here is that either end of the RNG spectrum provides a fairly dull experience, where somewhere in the middle provides you with a multitude of things to react to and think about and is ultimately more engaging.
Certain specs in WoW do this, but not all. Fire is one of the specs that immediately comes to mind, and if we made a simple change like giving Fireball 100% crit, I would probably get bored and look for another spec to play. Subtlety, which we sometimes affectionately refer to as our Master Planner spec, has little to no RNG but requires you to think very very far in advance – which on the surface doesn’t have randomness, but because of the length of the loop can be affected by the environment quite a bit: did a poison cloud just pop under you, did that mob you were about to use a finisher on get blown up by someone else, etc. Your randomness is expressed by things throwing a wrench into your long term plan as opposed to a short term one. We try to provide as many unique options to players as possible when it comes to our plethora of specs, and some specs have ways to curb a bit of it. Ultimately there is a threshold when a spec becomes both too simple and too smooth where the experience becomes flat and boring.
I have definitely felt the frustration at a chain of bad RNG in a row, but I would so much rather have peaks and valleys where I can be occasionally frustrated contrasted by Huge moments of awesome, than have a flat experience and tune out from being bored.
Since this is high-ranking post asking something that essentially every spec megapost is asking somewhere–to wit: “why don’t I do more damage”–I’m going to talk a little about tuning before this is done. I will see if I have time for the “scaling” followup, but that is a lot more abstract and probably technical. But since the real issue is that a raid tier is starting and (as always) every spec is lobbying hard for the case that they need to do more damage, we wouldn’t be totally complete here unless we tried to talk about it a little. For reasons I’ll get into below, it’s almost impossible to answer this topic to only an individual spec: it is innately a discussion about all specs at once.
Class balance has always been a very difficult topic to have a detailed and open discussion on. For many reasons. Nearly all players are heavily invested in the fortunes of one particular spec. Everyday experience with DPS balance is through the lens of a particular play group’s experience (and that can vary widely between groups). Like arguing about what the climate trend is based on the weather on a given day, it’s virtually impossible to draw meaningful inferences about what’s “really happening” from what you happened to see. Even when doing as well as possible to aggregate data about live performance, a host of different variables and assumptions can cause different people to draw different conclusions.
Tuning DPS output (which I’ll use as the example for this discussion) is often described as a math problem, but more practically it is a science problem–given a limited set of observations, what do we think is actually causing them? A certain set of data may be in front of us showing a supposed “ranking” of DPS, say from community logs, but that chart reflects an amalgamation of a wide variety of factors: the “true” balance (that ethereal concept we are trying to tease out), the encounters/situations being examined (and the methodology for averaging/weighting them), current fluctuations in gear and other bonuses available to each spec, player skill, community perception of the spec (which absolutely impacts measurable DPS), selection bias in what data is being used/examined, and others. The question is not “who is doing the most DPS on this chart” (which is, of course, obvious), but “how would it look if any or all of the above factors were changed in certain ways?”
And that doesn’t get into the element of the process that consists of design judgment: who should be strong in what situations and why? What is the right time/method for a tuning change? Is a given problem a big enough to be worth any disruption to the live game at this particular moment? What is the degree of certainty in our current conclusion, and the probability that we’re making an overcorrection?
It’s hardly an exaggeration to say there are probably as many opinions on balance as there are people who pay attention to our game. And because, in this sort of game in particular, a player’s experience is often so bound up in one particular character, the feeling that it’s the most important thing in the world to watch over a particular spec’s lot in life is powerful. More than with any other aspect of the game, working on getting it right requires the gut check of letting go of the idea of making everyone happy. Buffing your spec potentially makes you feel like everything you do is that much easier for you—that all of your concerns in this entire game are that little bit lightened. Next to that, few people (understandably) are very interested in all of the things I listed above. But our only option is to take the opposite approach: it is a careful, measured process that largely avoids the emotional valence of knowing that people are being made happy or sad by the change (in this way it is unlike almost all of the other aspects of design being discussed here today). We don’t completely avoid it—the long-term upwards creep that’s caused by our bias towards buffing rather than nerfing is interesting evidence of that. But this is an area where we have to remain steadfastly focused on the view of all 36 specs taken together, not on any one person who’s in front of us and asking us about it.
Nobody likes to be below average. Half of you currently believe you are at this moment, using whatever metric is most important to you. Actually more than half, because there are many datasets you might look at, and the one that says you need help is the one that sticks in your mind. So to the great majority of you that wish class balance were in some way different from how it is at any given point in time: we understand, and we hope we can help you do the same.
General Healer Questions
Are you guys happy with the removal of spirit and how it has effected legion for healers?
How happy are you guys with Innervate/Wisdom particularly with how potent they are?
Artifact Abilitys (sic) were a key feature in Legion, some are awesome (Sindragosa’s Fury) but other’s both in terms of feel, power and animation are lackluster (Tyr’s Deliverance). Is this something that is too late to address, or could be done via new Artifact Traits/Legendarys? It would be awesome if all classes could feel powerful when they use their artifact ability.
How close attention do you pay to overall healer balance?
Making mana matter more consistently to healing required making mana dymanics more stable across an expansion. The progress of secondary stats across an expansion increases the pace of play for all specs, but for healers it simply did so far too much. From a gameplay perspective that is–healing became increasingly spiky and spammy, and the underlying reason for that was that content was tuned around healers that were increasing able to cast whatever they wanted nonstop. The goal for healers should be the same as other specs: stat increases across an expansion after how you play, but are within acceptable bounds of pacing at both the start and the end.
Innervate and Wisdom: abilities that characters can use to support other characters are a class part of RPGs. We like having them, and if anything we think they’ve too much been ironed out from WoW. Yes, they introduce potential tension and social debate about how to use them–but it’s not clear why that’s anything other than a good thing.
Monk/Priest/Paladin – This could be a really dated question, but what was the reasoning for shifting Mistweavers away from healing on damage done? I thought it was cause y’all didn’t want a healer to rely on damage, but we see this now in Discipline Priests and, to a degree, Holy Paladins. Thanks!
Designing alternate playstyles of a spec that differ too much from the standard baseline spec can be highly contentious. I think it’s certainly possible for us to design an alternate spec playstyle that works, and is fun/balanced with iteration time. However, we often get into trouble when we stray too far from the spec’s standard playstyle if a large portion of the playerbase vehemently dislikes the alternate playstyle. That’s a problem for us even if a similarly large portion of the playerbase enjoys the alternate playstyle. So usually what we end up with is a talent or two that supports the alternate playstyle, but we end up tuning them to be weak so that the contentious playstyle doesn’t become the norm. That’s how we’ve operated in the past, but we’re not entirely happy with the situation. I think when we put playstyles/rotations into the game, we should be happy enough with them to stand behind them and say – if this playstyle ever becomes the norm, we are okay with it. That probably means we should rein in how off-the-wall some of these playstyles are, while maintaining as much difference as possible.
Discipline Priests were completely redesigned from the ground up to be this damage-dealing Healer spec. Everything from talents and artifacts supports it. That’s probably the kind of comprehensive spec direction that’s required to make a healer into a true damage-dealing healer spec that is enjoyable to hopefully a large portion of players who play the spec. Additionally, Priests have two healing specs, so it was the correct class to add this alternate damage-dealing healer spec.
There’s also the question of – what’s the benefit of this alternate playstyle? In the case of Fistweaving or Melee Holy Paladin, is it they get to do more HPS than normal ranged Holy Paladins? I think the answer is probably not, because then very quickly the only way to play the spec (according to the community) will probably be to be a Melee Holy Paladin, which we don’t necessarily want. Probably they just get to deal more damage, which is something that won’t often feel required.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with this, but I do think that innervate/wisdom are perhaps too powerful, If one week I have a wisdom, and the next week I don’t i feel like crap the week I don’t have it. Or if i am in a competitive relationship with another healer (Can argue whether or not that is how healers should view each other if you want) and they get an innervate that makes me angry, because suddenly i may not be able to compete. Or people look at logs and see someone who is fed innervates and think “I need this to perform!”. All of those are negatives, that with a “nerfed” innervate/wisdom would be less important.
This is a hard design problem, and I’m mostly going to point out that these two things are fundamentally in opposition: 1) Classes should have more interesting/unique abilities added back in (or newly added) that do things that other classes can’t do. 2) Any situation where I’m not at the top of a particular meter make me feel bad.
Interesting abilities, almost by definition, make someone better in some situations than in other situations. Innervate is worth having because getting an Innervate is better than not getting an Innervate. These issues are inseparable, and on some level we have to trade one goal against the other.
When I said this seems like a good thing, a lot of that is looking back on the history of WoW–the very sorts of abilities and memories that people commonly cite to us as things they miss–and noting the texture caused by caring about (in this example) what other players were in your group due to their support abilities or buffs. Worrying about whether you lost 5% damage because you didn’t have Arcane Intellect certainly mattered (meters existed then as well), but people understood it as part of the basic precepts of an RPG that not having it (and wishing you had it) was sometimes the situation you were in.
Items and Legendaries
We’ve talked about granting the ability to wear 3 Legion Legendaries as part of the reward for the Argus questline in 7.3. It’s not really something that the game needs one way or the other, but it would be cool. We’ve also talked about (mostly jokingly) about removing the Legion Legendary limit entirely in the week(s) before 8.0 launch, and letting people go wild west with them. That’s probably not going to happen due to power level reasons, as it would be a very jarring when you level from 119 to 120 and suddenly all 12+ of your legendaries you have equipped turn off.
There’s two parts to this, and I think its important to separate them: trinket design, and trinket balance. Overall, we’re pleased with the variety of trinket designs we’ve provided in Legion. There’s a breadth of complexity available, interesting mechanics to play with and explore from encounter to encounter, and we like trinkets feeling closely associated with the bosses who drop them.
Trinket balance is never going to be perfect, and some of that is deliberate in our designs that have different gameplay impact. Switching between trinkets that are better for some fights and not others is a design goal, which is quickly made more complex by spec-specific quirks like cooldown alignment.
We do agree it’s tough to make a comparison between two different trinkets, both because the trinkets often do complex things and because it’s not easy to get two trinkets of the same item level. We’d like to improve that readability, and reduce the impact of class-specific mechanics like Battle Cry as the dominant factor of which trinket is best in a given situation.
We are also very reluctant to change trinkets once players have them, which contributes to the perception of imbalance. If you spent 5 bonus rolls or wrangled a deal with a guildmate to get your Draught of Souls or Unstable Arcanocrystal, it’s going to feel really bad if we nerf it. We’ve applied a light touch to trinket tuning this expansion to avoid undermining that investment.
Sephuz’s Secret is kind of a reference to a scene in Kung Fu Hustle, where The Beast (the bad ass bad guy) shoots a gun at his own head point-blank and catches the bullet with his fingers, then says something like “In the world of kung fu, speed determines the winner.” I always thought that was really bad ass, and Sephuz’s Secret is a speed-themed item (movement speed, haste) so there it is.
I’ve always loved flavor text (probably stemming from my MTG days) and love adding references to names/flavor text of things. I could probably do an entire writeup just on references in the names and flavor text of legendary items. Many of them players have figured out (e.g. Tak’theritrix’s Shoulderpads) and it definitely makes me really happy to see when people get it.
How are items designed? Do you have a specific stat budget that has to be spread out on items? What deicdes which stat goes on which item? How is tier sets designed? Since all 3 warrior specs seems to have crit as their worst stat. Should tier sets not be desireable? Currently most pieces have this awful stat to us. So I’m thinking there has to be some amount of it, to offset powercreeping? I also understand making trinkets such as DoS is problematic when Fury and Arms can benefit so much from it. Will trinkets be tailoreed with such outliers in mind in the future?
Itemizing the equipment in a dungeon or raid is all about creating exciting moments and interesting choices. The spread of secondary stats on items, whether its off-set pieces or Tier, creates valuable texture over time. We purposefully give Tier a fairly even spread of secondary stats to ensure that if stat priorities shift from patch to patch, it won’t fall out of usability. Putting the best stats on Tier gear isn’t viable for every class (because many specs have wildly different stat priorities), and we think the game of gear acquisition is more fun when the player has choices to make.
Part of creating that texture, and building a foundation for exciting moments to occur, is making sure each dungeon or raid tier feels different from the previous one. When the best-in-slot Critical Strike/Mastery belt drops and get equipped immediately, that’s an awesome moment! However, those Haste/Versatility leggings that just dropped aren’t the best stats, and there’s no alternative until the last boss… maybe the Tier legs have better stats, or maybe there’s a Legendary in that slot to experiment with? Having players ask those questions, and find the answers for themselves, is an important part of making items fun to chase after and acquire.
To speak to the process itself a little bit, itemizing a raid generally goes through a few stages: Determine the boss layout, decide where Tier, trinkets, and weapons drop (since these categories are the hardest to move around later in development due to how much they impact other item placement), fill in gaps with offset items, name everything, and finally choose secondary stats. By leaving stats for the end, we can be confident in the placement of each item, and set their stats accordingly. For example, if all of the items on the first three bosses have Critical Strike rating, that’s not great texture. We’d much rather have those items spread throughout the raid, so that the specs who like Crit continuously have something to look forward to.
Thanks for the question, blackshirtguy! Item design, especially stat budgeting and layout, is one of those things that tends to feel “behind the scenes”, so having an opportunity to talk about it is awesome.
We’re very happy with the strategic tradeoffs that PVP talents afford, and in cases where one is particularly cool (Death’s Embrace springs to mind) we have made them into regular talents.
If there are particular PVP talents you really love, let us know! 🙂
I know that WPvP is only a big deal to a small portion of the community but on my Home server of Emerald Dread(RP-PVP) it used to be the end game for the majority of the server. With that said the current state of the game has lead to a massive decline in WPvP due to sharding, lack of World Defense, legendary items, Player on Player damage. So my question is does blizzard have any plans in the works to help with WPvP? Particularly in regards to the damage players do to each other and does blizzard have any plans or interest in adding “PvP situation” nerfs to some legendary items that do millions of damage to single or groups of players? Thanks and I really hope you get to my question as it is an important aspect to our server and anything would be appreciated.
Designing WoW PvP is a sort of tug-of-war between two philosophical ideas. On one side, WoW is an MMORPG where you have freedom of your gear choices and where power progression is core to the game. On the other, competitive WoW PvP gameplay feels best when players are on an even playing field in terms of power gained from items. Historically we’ve always favored the former idea most – that power progression should matter everywhere. It definitely is a more elegant design – you gain an item, and it increases your power everywhere in the game. But in a world with legendaries, artifact weapons and powerful trinket abilities we felt in Legion we should make an effort to flatten the power curve by disabling legendaries and trinkets, and by applying the “stat templates” to players in competitive PvP environments like battlegrounds and arenas.
When it came to world PvP, we decided not to apply those rules to players for a few reasons. Say you’re fighting a world boss on a PvP realm as a healer and another player attacks you. Do we disable your trinkets and legendaries, and set your stats to something you may not want in a PvE situation? We’re not sure yet if that’s in the best interest of the player, because those creatures and encounters could be balanced around assuming you may have a legendary or two.
We could disable your trinket effects or legendaries as a damage dealer from happening to just only players, but what about healers? If I’m in a World PvP encounter against creatures or bosses, and I get into PvP combat, do we reduce your healing done to other players in that situation just because you’re in PvP combat?
Those are just some of the challenges we’re facing with World PvP and why we haven’t simply flipped on stat templates. While we don’t have anything to announce yet, we definitely aren’t completely satisfied with class balance in world PvP so I would expect changes in the future. We’re very interested in your feedback here, so keep it coming!
The way in which we’ve distributed the Elite appearance in Legion is something we’ve been discussing a lot internally throughout the entire expansion. While we have nothing concrete to announce yet, an idea we’ve been entertaining is returning to a classic system where you would earn different slot appearances at different rating milestones. So imagine getting 1800 in Arena and you get the Elite chest appearance instantly, then the shoulders at 2100 etc.
Again, we have no immediate changes planned yet but do expect changes in the future. Happy to hear your feedback!
Are there any plans to give the tournament UI to normal arenas? Everything that it does is currently possible with an addon (all elements are exposed) but none exists at the moment. I feel like this would be a good way to help people learn different classes abilities instead of having to learn what every single class’s spell effects look like. One barrier to entry is knowing what battle cry looks like, then what serenity looks like, what ascendance looks like, what icy veins looks like, and what chaos blades looks like, and so on and so on and so on. Having this UI as an arena UI would really help people learn.
We probably wouldn’t copy the tournament UI into normal arenas directly. I could see a hypothetical future state in which we add some of the functionality it provides to the base Arena UI (similar to how we recently added a tracker for trinket cooldowns), but as of this exact moment we haven’t made plans to do so.
(As an aside, for any tournament organizers out there, as of 7.2.5 the UI we use for official Blizzard tournaments will display automatically for anyone using the /invitespectatormatch command!)
My experience with legion healing in arena is quite negative, its not very fun, lots of insta gibs, damage is way to high in my opinion, which makes arena miserable as a healer. I no longer play healing classes in arena, and my friends that still play healing in arena say they don’t enjoy it anymore.
The pace of damage has definitely increased in 7.2.5, which puts a larger stress on healers than other roles. We’re very happy with the current pace of high-end Arena matches outside of a few specs, and we want to preserve this speed of Arenas.
We’re planning on buffing most healers in the very near future with throughput increases (aimed at Arenas mostly), but we understand that healer frustration in PvP right now isn’t just limited to the amount of raw healing they can output. Buffing healers too much can lead to long games (dampening), and the perception of ‘unkillable healers’ in random battleground situations.
I’d like to thank all the healers that have been providing constant feedback about their experiences healing in battlegrounds, Arenas, and RBGs. We’ve been taking this feedback into account when we make changes for healers, and we’ll continue to iterate on their toolkits until we’re more satisfied with playing a healer in PvP.
(PvPers, remember to thank your healers!)
The goal of templates is to level the power playing field between players. Instead of researching your ideal stats, instead we set their distribution through the template for you. I think our question for you is: why do you want to change your stats? We suspect it’s because you feel you have a better stat distribution than us, and that you can increase your character power if only you had the freedom to set your own template values. That may be true, but if we balance your spec or class assuming you have our templated stats, and you min/max out a better distribution then that causes balance issues. Suddenly now we have to balance specs and classes assuming a variety of different stat distributions, which is challenging assuming you could argue we have balance issues already with the strict templates set by us.
What I think could be useful is give feedback on your specific stat template. Is the stat template good for battlegrounds, but feels weak in arena? Does it make your spec unfun, or doesn’t fit the kit? Are you looking for a different type of playstyle for the spec through stat customization, such as sacrificing health for more damage for a glass-cannon feel?
Mostly is that a lot of specs have some form of aoe built into their rotation due to PvE (or single target abilities that end up cleaving). This ends up being problematic/frustrating in PvP when you have so many spells that are mainly used for single target damage even just as your rotation, yet end up having some cleave that breaks CC. It’s kind of frustrating and makes the gameplay feel very unfluid due to this.
Legion has pushed us a bit too far into the world of passive cleave on abilities, and we’ll keep this in mind as we change classes in the future. As a PvPer it can be frustrating when your abilities break crowd-control on a target, especially when you’re not specifically targeting them.
However, I -do- like the choices you make with the volatility of some spells via talents. Your example of the level 90 tier for Mages is a great example – do you want your Frostbolt to hit harder but might have a chance to cleave (and break cc?). In this example, we also need to keep in mind that there should be a healthy alternative for PvP Mages in that talent row who don’t want to opt into this gameplay style. Arcane has a great alternative with Erosion – Fire+Frost need to take talents in the row that aren’t optimal in PvP if they want to get away from the auto-cleave.
Continue to leave us feedback about spells that are breaking crowd-control when they are completely out of your control, and we’ll evaluate and address them on a case-by-case basis in PvP.
During our last PvP Q&A on March 9th, Brian Holinka addressed our thoughts on solo queue, and we haven’t changed our thoughts on it since then. Here’s a link to the section of the vod where he talks about solo queue: March 9th PVP Q+A
As Unholy DK im currently feeling forced to use Convergence of Fates because it makes Apocalypse sync perfectly with Dark Transformation and Dark Arbiter. It will be such a huge QoL change if you guys reduce the cooldown of Apocalypse down to 1 min. It will be matching perfectly with DT/DA/Garg and army once you have 4p T20. Otherwise you need to use COF or delay Appoc/DA which does not feel fun at all. This change will also make CoF trinket less desirable and people will use Tomb trinkets. What do you guys think about this?
As /u/Seph_WoW mentioned, the cooldowns of abilities are tied primarily to how powerful and impactful the individual ability feels. For something like Apocalypse, we’re happy with 90sec window because it allows the ghouls room to breathe(well, shamble) and chomp on the brains of your foes without being up all of the time. If we tied all cooldowns to the same refresh rates, we’d essentially be removing any sort of meaningful choice (just press them all together always), and each individual button that’s in that synchronized window loses its identity because you’re just in The Cooldown Zone.
We’re definitely aware that Convergence is a very powerful effect that is highly valued by a number of specs, and we’re monitoring the impact it has on gameplay.
When people think death knight the first thing they think about is Arthas. Rivendare. The Four Horsemen. They think mighty generals of the scourge riding their unstoppable undead steeds into battle and crushing all their enemies. They are knights. So how come you guys decided to make death knights slow and give them Leorics movement ability from HOTS? I would think something similar to the paladins horse charger to be way more appropriate for the class fantasy?
One of the defining characteristics of Death Knights is the idea of implacability – the idea that they have harnessed the powers of death itself, and Death is inevitable, unstoppable, and coming closer each and every second. When Arthas is stalking you through the Halls of Reflection, he’s not in a hurry. He knows that he will reach you eventually, and when he does you will perish. We want to communicate those ideals through the abilities that Death Knights use, and focus on that unstoppable nature. So in the case of being snared, for example: a Death Knight would simply not be slowed below a certain threshold, and shrug the rest off as he strides forward. When we’re looking at an ability or designing a way for a Death Knight to address the situation, that’s the lens we’re looking through.
We do believe that the mounted combat fantasy is an resonant part of the Death Knight history in WoW, though, and take opportunities to play it up. For a particular example, the Dark Horsemen order hall talent is a direct take on that idea.
At the time we announced the rework, it was early in the process and the details were still being fleshed out. As we tried different things (talent tree rearrangements, new abilities, etc.) none of the changes clicked in quite the same way that the Live class did. This time around we didn’t find anything that was significantly more awesome, but we’ve pocketed a couple individual ideas that felt like they had potential, and might revisit them in the future.
Hello Class Designers! My question is about Demon Hunters: Do you feel you have successfully targeted your design ideas for demon hunters in a way that addresses both the class fantasy in a manner consistent with lore, and by play style, allowing the player to really feel like a demon hunter, as you originally envisioned them to play?
I remember in an interview where a designer was quoted as saying that demon hunters didn’t really come together as a class until the sound design was added in (the gutteral growls and yells while in combat), and I have to wonder, do you class designers feel like the sound of the demon hunter class is really one of it’s defining features?
Finally, I was wondering if the statement that there will never be a third demon hunter spec is set in stone, or more “for this expansion”? Is there a possibility that a 3rd demon hunter spec will ever appear in game, maybe in a later expansion down the line?
A class really only comes together when all of the pieces lock into place. Imagine blade dance without its unique animation, or Metamorphosis without dissolving into a custom demonic model, or all of the character customizations unique to the class that deliver on the fantasy.
Demon Hunters are all about their constant struggle with the demon within, fast, furious, and voracious. They live up to that charge.
Regarding a third spec, nothing is ever off the table, but we will only release content that feels right for the game, and for Legion it made more sense to deliver two focused specs that fit within Demon Hunter lore, rather than delivering 3 specs that were more watered down.
7.2.5 was a huge step in the right direction, Spirit Bomb works well as a flip of the playstyle for smoother damage intake at the cost of less burst healing, but causes many traits/set bonuses to be undervalued.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Spirit Bomb’s performance during Tomb of Sargeras progression. This ability is doing a lot of things, and getting it to shine in one area without overshadowing others has been challenging. As it stands, Spirit Bomb probably pushes Soul Cleave of the rotation a bit more than we’d like.
We’re really happy with the choice offered by Concentrated Sigils. Two extra seconds of Silence in particular has a visceral impact in dungeons and PvP content, but the cost of always having to place the effects on yourself is high. We’ve found that players either love or hate Concentrated, and that’s a really good spot for a talent.
Additionally, as awesome as the @player macro functionality is, it isn’t something that every player knows about. Concentrated Sigils is a great way to help new Demon Hunters become comfortable with the utility provided by Sigils, without being burdened by the placement requirements.
Last Resort is solid for progression, but the lack of any passive benefit makes it feel like an incredibly poor choice any time it doesn’t proc. Could we see a small (i.e. 5%) stat passive attached to it?
Cheat Death effects are extremely powerful, both psychologically and in terms of tangible gameplay benefit. The comfort provided by knowing that you have a Get Out Of Jail Free card has a lot of value, and we like the talent being focused on that.
The changes to overcapping Soul Fragments made Soul Carver easier to use. We’re unlikely to make significant changes to it this far into an expansion, but there might be room to improve it (spitballing here, lasts longer and spawns more Souls) if Vengeance needs a defensive buff at some point.
If you change your hair color or tattoo style at a barbershop, your Metamorphosis form will already change to match! We don’t have plans to add further Demon Hunter customization at this time.
Are we ever going to get diferent tree forms for resto druids? Or maybe even seasonal tree forms just like the ancient tree battle pet. Also, I remember reading somewhere that the flower/plant for Efflorescence was going to be changeable or changed into a different plant. If I was wrong maybe can we get glyphs to change them?
Great idea! We’ll look into that when we get to our next round of cosmetic glyphs.
The Class Mount questlines were a chance for us to do class-specific content and rewards, which are generally pretty rare. Perfect parity is not necessarily a goal for these. Different classes are different, we had different kinds of rewards, and we didn’t want to limit ourselves by mandating that the rewards be consistent between classes. Obviously, we didn’t want anyone to feel like they got nothing, but we saw it as totally fine if one class got a mount that came with a pet, another got multiple color/theme variations, one came with a toy, one talked, etc.
In Druids’ case, the reward that felt right to give was actually a new form, rather than a mount. Druids are special because, the vast majority of the time, they don’t use a mount, they use Travel Form instead. As such, we decided to make Lunarwing Form fit into that existing model, rather than try to force it into a mount, and accept that there will be pros and cons to that difference (and this was not a ‘temporary’ thing, as you suggest). Naturally, this creates controversy, because it’s rather different from the mounts that the other classes get. Obviously, as you point out, there are still places that Druids use mounts (PvP). And since it’s a form explicitly designed for flight, it isn’t usable in non-flyable areas, which expands that ‘deadzone’ to include mountable areas in dungeons and other non-flyable places. There are also pros, like it being instant cast, rideable by your friends, and automatically transitioning between flight/aquatic.
We already have problems where, because Water Striders are functionally superior to other mounts, players feel like they’re the only ground mount they can use. We didn’t want to repeat that problem here, by giving Lunarwing out to Druids as a mount, and having them feel like they wouldn’t use it due to the functional advantages of using Travel Form.
We should be able to make Lunarwing Form should be usable on low-level alts; we’ll look into that. And it’s totally fair criticism that it doesn’t have sit/perch animations, and we’ve learned from for the future. Similarly, if we could revisit the entire design in hindsight, it would potentially have been ideal to design something that had ground animations so that it could replace both the ground and flight parts of Travel Form.
It is currently beneficial for feral to farm t19 for high titanforges over the current tierset. Do you think this is acceptable, and if not what would the likely course of action be? Having farmed previous content for just a single warforge with RoRo in Siege I personally don’t have any desire to go through months of farming old content, often in pugs, ever again.
In general, we want players to move onto the next raid tiers. However, there are some caveats. If you’re comparing your Mythic titanforged Nighthold gear compared to Heroic Tomb gear, there’s certainly a chance that based on ilvl alone, your Nighthold gear might be better. We currently don’t tune the bonuses on Tier 20 to be better than Tier 19 or vice versa, and expect the ilvl increase to carry much of the throughput increase in cases where they are similar. In the cases where T19 was out of band, we did a tuning pass in 7.2.5 to reduce the throughput of those overperforming T19 set bonuses to make room for T20 to be good. That all said, if the power level of T19 2pc+4pc is significantly higher than the power level of T20 2pc+4pc, we would want to adjust one or the other to address it.
Feral T20 has seen a big change going from PTR to Live. The reduction of the damage increase on Rip is acceptable, but a lot of people are [something annoyed] that the duration increase of Rip got reduced, as it made the rotation feel different and [better], and made the aspect of multi-dotting “feel” better. [Something more about 2pc]. How do you feel about this.
The changes were made purely for tuning purposes. T20 2pc+4pc was coming out to be far out of band in terms of our target throughput for a 2pc+4pc set bonus (somewhere around 8-10% total). I understand Ferals were upset with the changes more because they saw T20 4pc as something that made the spec’s Jagged Wounds short DoT-duration gameplay a little easier to manage, and which also would have opened up the recently buffed Ferocious Bite to be used more. It might have been better to chance it to Rip damage increased by 5% and Rip duration increased by 6 sec instead of what we have now, but I’m not sure it’s something we’d want to change now that the set bonus is out.
In reaction to the weak tier 20, another conundrum has arisen regarding the class’s tuning, currently we are looking to be an exeptionally good generalist. Another flat buff could risk exacerbate this, whereas further adjustment to our tierset and tying in our power with it would help the specc keep up to pace whilst having a bit more of a niche for the duration of the tier. What direction do you see feral going in, something more of a niche role focused around multidotting or the current incarnation which is something inbetween?
I’m not sure I know what answer you’re looking for but, I would say: Feral is probably going to be a strong single-target spec. Its playstyle and damage profile is similar to Assassination Rogue (which is clearly a single-target spec) in that it has many damage over abilities. The spec clearly has talents that can help in multitarget situations (e.g. Sabertooth, Soul of the Forest, Brutal Slash) but other talents on those tiers (Jagged Wounds, Savage Roar, Bloodtalons) are so much stronger right now tuning-wise that it’s hard to pick the “AOE talents that make your AOE life better” because it’s probably not a gain.
Are you aware of problems with Ekowraith and Sylvan amulet and is there any plan to fix them ? The current logs were feral is just about keeping pace is largley propped up by this problem by a factor of almost 4-5%, are we likely to see any compensation in the event of a fix ?
Generally speaking, in the event of any bugfix which significantly changes the throughput of a spec, we would always want to compensate by tuning, unless that spec is clearly overperforming.
Haste is a crazy stat for feral, its good in small quantities but it gets increasingly worth, and theoretically even into negative value at high levels, any thoughts on how it could be made a more interesting stat for us ? It’s primary problem is that it serves to help resource generation but doesn’t give any throughput to raw damage, unlike critical strike which is able to grant damge throughput while increasing resource generation. Personal ideas include interaction with duration / cooldown on tiger’s fury, or allowing haste to affect bleeds. This haste problem also puts us in a position where we really don’t care about heroism, something that’s meant to feel like a really cool and awesome moment for the whole raid when playing feral just feels… meh.
Honestly… I have no idea why Haste doesn’t affect Bleed tickrates. I just looked at Sigma and asked him if he knows, and he doesn’t know either. That’s the way it was when I got here. Maybe fantasy-wise the thinking used to be that magical DoTs are magic, so Haste can magically dynamically change their tickrates – I’m not sure. I think it’s a problem worth looking into more deeply – it affects Assassination Rogue as well. Maybe Haste can affect Bleeds in the future, but we’d have to dig in deeper to clearly understand all the ramifications of such a change, and this isn’t likely to happen within a patch.
Snapshotting Bleeds is definitely more complexity than we generally like for specs, but we realize it’s something Ferals have been playing with for a long time, and as such are reluctant to change. It definitely works for Feral, but it’s complex enough that to leave it as is, it should probably be THE defining aspect of the Feral rotation (in other words, we’d cost it as something like 75% of the Feral rotational complexity budget [this isn’t a term we actually use]) and other parts of the spec (e.g. Bloodtalons, Savage Roar as a 3rd finisher) should probably be simpler as a result.
What are your plans for Jagged Wounds? It’s currently the strongest talent of its tier, and generally the default choice for most players. However, it is a very non-interactive talent, as it takes away most of the opportunities to use Ferocious Bite, which reduces the decision making process to be “refresh SR or Rip, whichever is the lowest” most of the time.
damage bonus to the talent if it’s not in band for the throughput of a talent, and buff the spec if needed. It’s really the combination of Jagged Wounds and Savage Roar that makes using combo points so difficult and pushes Ferocious Bite so much out of the rotation. Another option – put Jagged Wounds and Savage Roar on the same row.
General statement across classes: We want to limit how much of a impact any given talent has on the rotation, because if a spec ends up in a spot where the most complex talents and most rotationally demanding talents are the strongest due to tuning, we want to guarantee that the spec is still playable without a large amount of frustration. Current Feral unfortunately probably falls into the category of “if you mess up once, you are likely completely screwed” and that’s something we want to address.
Marksmanship question here. Is there any chance of Lone Wolf being made base-line and changed to how it worked in WoD? You can use a pet at any time, but you lose the buff while your pet is out. This would free up the first talent row to have a meaningful choice instead of every MM Hunter picking Lone Wolf.
Marksmanship during Legion almost made it to live completely pet-less, as a way to separate their identity more into ranger/sniper so that Beastmaster could have more heft as the ranged pet spec. Beastmaster however landed in a place of having ALLTHEPETS! so the core ranged hunter with a pet was lost in the shuffle and thus Lone Wolf was brought back.
Looking back, I think that losing the pet completely from the spec probably feels like a bridge too far for hunters, even though there is definitely space for the Legolas/Robin Hood archetype in our favorite gun and bow slingers. Honestly I really like your suggestion because it maintains the spec’s identity while allowing us to still go into the ranger direction. I call my pet when I’m really in trouble, or just when I’m out for a stroll in the world.
Could you tell us anything about your ideas behind Fury of the Eagle (fote). As it stands, while good in cleave, it’s being used to fish for procs in single target instead of feeling like an impactful part of our rotation. Possible change to do slightly more damage if it only hits 1 target?
Fury of the Eagle is intended to be a satisfying payoff for getting to high stacks of Mongoose Fury (and doubly so in AOE situations). It’s always on our radar when buttons aren’t performing as intended, but at the same time we don’t mind when players find unexpected uses like fishing for procs as long as it’s not creating degenerate gameplay.
We don’t have any solid plans currently, but I fully agree that we’re not in a great place right now. I would love to improve the situation. With the power of Battle Rez (Quilen) and Bloodlust (Core Hound), I don’t think I’ve used a different pet on my BM Hunter alt in PvE in a long time.
I think BM Hunters aren’t far from being in a good place. Adding a 2nd charge to Dire Frenzy went a long ways, because I think the future of BM in 8.0 will be Dire Frenzy baseline, with the gameplay of maintaining Dire Frenzy stacks being one of the core parts of the rotation. Another missing part is giving Cobra Shot a reason to exist outside of Bestial Wrath with Killer Cobra. In general, it’s better when spammed spells either push another resource forward (e.g. combo points for Rogues/Feral) or have some procs/triggers attached to them (e.g. Cobra Shot during Bestial Wrath with Killer Cobra, Fireball/Frostbolt procs Hot Streak/Fingers/Brain Freeze for Mages, Shadowbolt generates Soul Shards for Demo). It gives those spells a feeling of a reason to exist. Current thinking – I want to try something like Cobra Shot reduced Kill Command cooldown by 1 second baseline or something along that vein. Right now Cobra Shot admittedly feels a little bit just like you’re bleeding off your resource simply because you don’t want it to cap and be wasted.
I am here as a representative of the Female Blood Elf Hunter community. Our bow firing animation has been bugged for going on 7 years. We are a race of born archers and the fact that we fire bows in a glitched fashion is appalling! Even our great Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner fires her bow like this! It has to be known, she fires it differently in cinematics. Please fix it!
Blood Elf Female’s as of 7.2 use their BC animations, it was part of the Hunter visual update. They do fire with the opposite foot forward from most of the races, but for now we decided to keep them in their original state.
Her animation should be very similar to this: https://youtu.be/SXZfrlskkW8?t=20s If not, that is a bug and I will definitely dig into it
The answer is really – case by case. Is it really worth it? It’s very easy to add charges to a cooldown spell. It generally “gives the button more gameplay” because you don’t need to always push it on cooldown to get maximum use out of it. You’re very astute in making the observation that adding charges to spells has a cost, and that’s a cost on the complexity of the class. There’s no hard rule for this. We add charges to spells for a large variety of reasons. Subtlety got a 2nd charge on Shadowstep because we think Sub should be the most mobile Rogue spec. Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy got a 2nd charge because there’s much better gameplay in maximizing your Dire Frenzy stacks when the spell has 2 charges. Fire Blast has charges because it’s not a button we want you to push on cooldown – you should push it when you get one crit and are heating up.
Frost: Icicles (Frost’s Mastery) benefits a small part of Frost’s kit. Over Legion, this has swung back and forth between wanting as little Mastery as possible and as much Mastery as possible. What are the plans to make Mastery more attractive in general, without causing degenerate gameplay such as ignoring Ice Lances?
Correct tuning windows for things can often be threading a needle between “So strong it distorts the rotation and possibly pushes something else out of the rotation” and “so weak it doesn’t get used”. Also the tuning window changes based on the tuning and existence of other talents, set bonuses, legendaries, and trinkets. Also it changes as the expansion goes on. Also many more factors I’m sure. Answer is – sometimes we just have to react to the changing landscape. Retuning things multiple times is somethings just what ends up being needed and thus, we’ll continue to do.
Frost: The new Flurry and Winter’s Chill mechanic has led to multiple awkward mechanics that resulted in changes. Players abused the travel time to Shatter spells cast prior to it, or cast multiple Ice Lances within the debuff window. How does the dev team feel about how Winter’s Chill has panned out? What are the takeaways from its addition
The big thing we’re happy with is how good Frost feels when you land a Frostbolt/Ebonbolt -> Brain Freeze’d Flurry -> Ice Lance combo. We currently think that part is good enough for the spec that we’re willing to live with for now the things we’re unhappy with as long as we think we can address them in the future. Things we’re not happy with: 1) playing around travel times of missiles, which can vary based on boss distance (I don’t think combo even works against a Ragnaros-sized boss), timing, and lag 2) Shimmer can be used as a DPS increase 3) how to correctly execute the shatter combo is incredibly non-obvious to the first time Frost Mage.
As a non-mage player, can you explain why shimmer was thought to be a good and appropriate talent with the lens of pvp?
Mages have traditionally been amazing at control and you only increased their ability to control with shimmer. Additionally, while everyone believed mages dmg was nerfed and put in a decent place with regards to control vs dmg, rogues were buffed to the point where the Rogue-Mage synergy is still brokenly good.
We’ve seen RMD and now the resurgence of RMP dominate the meta. Rarely do we see other classes always have viability and consistently tier 1, are there any changes coming to mages to account for this? Specifically reducing their slows and snares on top of their ability to spam cc and land it around corners with shimmer?
There are aspects of Shimmer that we both like and dislike in PvP. Mages that talent into Shimmer give up the strongest stun break in the game to gain Shimmer’s additional utility and mobility. We also like that Shimmer gave a new unique ‘cast while blinking’ tool to Mages, especially in a world with high Melee uptime.
However, we also are concerned with the increased volatility of healer positioning when playing against a Mage with Shimmer. Right now it is too easy for a Mage to land a Polymorph or Counterspell against a healer that is minding their positioning during an arena match. We share the same concerns with this ability as we did with Warlord’s Blazing Speed talent.
RMP (and RMD) have been extremely successful comps since the very dawn of Arenas, largely due to the synergy between Rogue and Mage as you pointed out. Rogue/Mage synergy isn’t something we dislike at all, but we have to make sure that the composition is balanced when taking the toolset of other compositions into account. Historically, some of the most exciting Arena matches to watch have been setup/control compositions (such as RMP) play against compositions with a vastly different playstyle, such as Warrior/Lock/Healer or Feral/Hunter/Healer. That said, we’re continuing to monitor Assassination and Subtlety Rogue damage in 7.2.5 to make sure that the damage they bring to the team is in a healthy balance with the amount of utility and control they bring to the table.
….and thank you for not calling it PMR
The t20 2 piece set bonus – T20 Fire 2P Bonus Fireball has a 15% chance to cause your next Pyroblast or Flamestrike to be a guaranteed critical strike. This bonuses contradicts the BiS legendary belt choice since it only affects fireball and not scorch aswell. Essentially, this set bonus becomes redundant once your target is below 30% which seems like a huge contradiction. While there is a lot of controversy over the legendary bracers, the belt acts more as a QoL item instead of a huge dps increase (it feels absolutely incredibly to be able to gain 100% mobility in execute phases, borderline overpowered infact!), one of the best designed legendaries in my opinion. I feel that adding scorch to the t20 2p won’t change our dps that much but it would make the t20 2p feel much more valuable as a whole.
In terms of legendary item balance, isn’t it preferred that the set bonus benefits it less than it benefits the other legendaries? I think that means the set bonus actually helps legendary balance, which is a good thing. I understand negative synergy always feels bad, but 1) it’s not strictly negative – the set bonus is still a bonus, despite the negative synergy with the legendary belt and 2) we’ve put so many more class effects into the game via artifact traits and legendaries this expansion that the likelihood of some negative synergy or overpowered positive synergy is almost guaranteed, and we generally just re-tune and balance around it. In the case of set bonuses, it’s a great place for things to shake up the spec’s gameplay because it is guaranteed to be something players won’t be using a couple raid tiers from now.
the belt acts more as a QoL item instead of a huge dps increase (it feels absolutely incredibly to be able to gain 100% mobility in execute phases, borderline overpowered infact!), one of the best designed legendaries in my opinion.
I want to make a general point about conflating “item/talent that feels very good to use” (for any of a number of reasons including but not limited to high throughput, granting cast while moving, etc) and “QoL improvement”. Nearly any cast time spell/ability can be made castable while moving, and it would almost certainly “feel better” and I think a lot of people would say it is a “QoL improvement”.
Legendary Bracer procs during combustion – It’s common knowledge by now that the legendary bracers wasn’t the best way to design a legendary. It has too much front loaded damage and punishes mages who are not so lucky far too hard. I’m sure you are aware of this yourselves. The biggest issue now-a-days is that even with mages with the legendary bracers, there are huge dps swings depending on procs. The aim of every pull for me is to gain atleast 2 procs at minimum to ride the dps burst through the rest of the fight. This makes it somewhat frustrating when trying to progress an encounter/parse on a boss since you are 100% playing the rng game: “how many bracer procs did I get in the opener”. While I think it’s not something that can be fixed right now or even in legion in general, have you considered upping the proc chance rate back to 20% like in 7.0?
The legendary bracers fall into the category of “provides too much of a throughput swing based on RNG”. The proc chance was chosen so that on average, you’d only have to hard-cast a Pyroblast every X seconds. The damage number is the real tuning knob. I would rather pursue other options for reining in the RNG of the bracers than simply increasing its proc chance (and also necessarily reducing its damage bonus). It’s still currently a very strong item.
We tried a lot of different things with legendary item design, and have certainly had a lot of failures, but overall I would say the bracers were one of the more successful ones.
Many Brewmasters view the tier 20 set bonuses as a very essential part of the Brewmaster kit for being able to deal with challenging content after the changes made in 7.2.5. A lot of Brewmasters also feel that the bulk of the 7.2.5 Brewmaster nerfs were to compensate for how strong the tier 20 set bonuses are. What plans, if any, are in place to address the Brewmaster dependency on the tier 20 set bonuses when tier 21 comes out?
When we make set bonuses, the goal for them is not to remove all weaknesses from whatever spec the bonus is for. While the set bonuses certainly do provide some power increase to your role, and have sometimes made playing the spec more forgiving, we don’t start the creation of them by thinking “What problem does <spec> have that I should fix?”, we instead like to think “what is a cool thing that <spec> does, and is there room to add something on to that?”.
We don’t create them with the intention of them greatly transforming your gameplay or adding significant complication to your rotation. Sometimes you get a reason to press a button that is used infrequently, others it just increases the damage of a button you already press a lot.
The changes to Brewmaster in 7.2.5 were not because of their new set bonuses. Ideally when a new tier set comes out, whatever new set bonuses are there are cool and exciting and compelling enough to get you to want to use the new bonuses.
Brewmaster feels pretty good whenever you’re being hit really hard (insert joke here), but for anything below that, our tanking mechanics become uninteresting to use. Purifying a percentage of a medium amount of damage is both ineffective and unsatisfying, and running into the cap on ISB means it’s a button that might literally do nothing. Having a flood of tanking resources but nothing effective to spend them on leads to the very strange dynamic that BrM sometimes feels worse the more it outgears content. Is this seen as a problem by the designers or is this a conscious design decision?
Virtually all tanks have %-based mitigation in some form. It’s likely to stay that way–the fundamental think that makes tanks tanky, no matter what various design directions we go in, is that they’re going to resist a percentage of damage from things that do very high damage. Instead of Shield of Righteous or Ironfur, the Monk concept is storing the percentage of the damage and then cancelling it.
You probably knew all that, but I’m highlighting the sort of inevitable point that %-based mitigation doesn’t do much when you’re taking very little damage.
The important corollary to all this has to do with the ISB duration cap, which I know people have focused on a lot. A reasonably important feature of %-based mitigation is that you can’t time-shift it too much–that is, that it’s worth more when you’re taking more damage and less when you’re taking less damage (the way passive mitigation works). That’s why all AM abilities have charge caps–there’s some room for skill in timing them, but you can’t optimize the value of your AM by saving them only for the highest-damage events. When you take low damage for more than a few seconds in a row, Purifying Brew should be appropriately effective in the same way that Shield Block or Shield of the Righteous is–it gets used for lower effect during that window. I may have said this confusingly, but the idea is, durationless ISB let Brewmaster dump charges into something that they could store forever, rather than being meaningfully affected by a charge cap. That is both a balance problem (as described above) and a design problem (it’s an AM ability whose concept is protecting you for a short window, but you wound up having a buff active with no connection to having recently pressed the button).
If the way the limitation appeared in 7.2.5 poses a consistent problem, that is definitely something we’d want to keep taking feedback and iterate on the future. But because I would expect that the focus would be finding a rotation that flows well without falling back into the problems I described here.
Mistwalk was an incredibly fun ability for Mistweavers in PvP (and for me in PvE as well), but to my knowledge it was removed because it makes monk healers far too strong in rated battleground. If this was the case, can’t it be brought back if flag holders aren’t able to use Mistwalk? You’re already prohibited from using certain abilities while carrying flags / objectives (no bubbling with an orb, no turtle while running a flag, no sprinting while running a flag) so why wasn’t this included in that method of balancing?
Mistwalk just gave too much mobility to Mistweavers in all PvP situations, not just while holding a flag or orb. Mistweavers already had numerous other mobility tools before Mistwalk was added, and they continue to reign supreme as the most mobile healer after its removal.
We did not feel that Mistweavers needed Mistwalk in it’s current form. We’ll continue to iterate on Mistweaver abilities, and a version of Mistwalk might be an excellent candidate as a future Mistweaver honor talent.
While I understand the reasoning behind the FoF nerf in order to balance single target / aoe dps it has led to a situation where it’s theoretically better to cancel FoF mid channel during serenity. Is this something that you’re aware of and comfortable with?
Situations that come up like this are almost never intended when it’s just stopping one DPS button for another DPS button. Channeled spells can be an exception to this, such as Mind Flay or Drain Soul where it’s a “filler” spell, and it is awesome if you make the decision to interrupt a damaging spell for utility or healing. When you press Fists of Fury, we intend you to let the ability run its course before moving on in your DPS rotation.
A large part of the reason many have been attracted to Windwalker is their consistency. However, our new t20 2piece works against this, adding a certain level of inconsistency to the cooldown of Fists of Fury. While all together the class still flows well (especially once 4piece is achieved), it does still add a level of RNG to a spec that is seemingly designed around flow and consistency. Should we be worried about having more proc based tier or abilities in the future?
We try to be very aware of introducing too many extra things into a spec when designing things like a set bonus. It is important as you stated that things do flow well both before getting a set bonus, with the 2-piece bonus only, and with the whole 4-piece bonus.
While we don’t have plans to suddenly introduce a bunch of new RNG or important must-watch procs to Windwalkers currently, it is very important feedback to give if you feel like the spec starts to feel too different to play, or suddenly feels like too many decisions are being made by RNG or decisions being made based on procs or lack of procs.
We love this idea, we’ll look into it for our next round of cosmetic glyphs!
Our level 100 talent tier seems just as underwhelming as it was at expansion launch, Crusade is in a good place, Divine Purpose while it does offer fun proc based gameplay simply isn’t strong enough to compete and Holy Wrath is a clunky talent that to my knowledge and the rest of the discord hasn’t actually been used seriously (and paid off) in a competitive scenario. Can there be any expected change to come in the foreseeable future for this talent tier? Or a possible rework for just Holy Wrath as it does seem like the absolute weakest talent in the tier.
I think we would say Crusade is very fun to play, but is far more of a throughput increase than we’d like for a single talent. There’s a general point that I want to convey from the team, for talents in general and that is: it can be problematic when a single talent is too much a throughput increase. I think we aim for talents to be more in the ballpark of 5-8% throughput, rather than the ~15%+ Crusade is. The really nuanced point is – Talents that are too strong are often either too distortive themselves to rotations or balance of other talents, artifact traits, legendaries, or set bonuses, or they require that other talents on the same row to be so strong that they are distortive in the same way. A lot of 5% power increases through talents, set bonuses, artifacts, and legendaries adds up very quickly.
For example, Divine Purpose would have to proc about twice as often or would have to make the next Holy Power spender deal increased damage to be on par with current Crusade tuning. Instead, we’re more likely to tune down the damage bonus of Crusade and significantly buff the spec to compensate. Again, this is more of a general point on extremely strong talents (e.g. Savage Roar) than on Crusade specifically, thought Crusade does fall into this category.
I think we can all see how the idea of Holy Wrath could be cool, but hasn’t worked out in practice after necessary iterations. Don’t have much to say on future plans, but those would be our thoughts on the talent.
The Retribution passive feels and fits the Retribution fantasy pretty well. it’s a nice bonus, and we don’t think it’s widely considered something that is required to be cheesed in order to benefit the raid, so it hasn’t been a big problem for us. It’s maybe a little stronger than it needs to be to still fulfill the fantasy of the passive though.
During the PTR for ToS development our set bonus involved judgement applying our mastery to Blade of Justice and we were curious why it was changed to be just a flat percentage buff. Many of us didn’t really see the set bonus as something that was obscenely broken but something that would actually make mastery a valuable secondary for us.
Tuning knobs and clarity. Both concepts are highly important to us.. The first version – “Judgment affects Blade of Justice” has no tuning knobs. “Judgment affects Blade of Justice at an X% rate” is a lot less clear than the current version, which is simply “Judgment increases Blade of Justice damage by X%”
Why does a defensive spell (Shield of Vengeance) do damage? It can make for some pretty bad game play by us not actually using it as a defensive but as a DPS boost. And if we don’t take enough damage then the shield itself does not explode which only adds to the frustration as that is now damage we have lost and can not gain back.
General answer – adding damage to defensive abilities and movement abilities always causes gameplay problems. The damage portion of Shield of Vengeance can be problematic, but the name and theme of the spell currently suggests the damage should be there. That’s not saying we will or won’t necessarily remove all damage effects from all defensive/movement abilities immediately, but we’re careful about adding any more.
Once, Ion replied to an email thread saying something along the lines of “every time I ask my raid’s Warrior to use Heroic Leap (one of the best movement abilities in the game) for a boss mechanic and he says he can’t because he needs to use it to proc the Heroic Leap Applies Colossus Smash legendary, I die a little inside” and I started packing up my stuff and updating my resume.
why does retribution have “judgement window” as a mechanic? Why was the ability to opt out of the mechanic via the lawbringer pvp talent removed for pvp? For PvE this mechanic hasn’t really been something we have had to care about from very early on with proper gear.
Lawbringer had too large of an impact on Retribution Paladin’s rotation in PvP, especially in multi-target situations. We’re not always concerned when an Honor Talent has strong transformative gameplay (when compared to PvE rotations), but Lawbringer threw a large part of Retribution’s core rotation out the window.
We’ll continue to monitor the duration and damage of Lawbringer to make sure that the talent lives up to our gameplay expectations.
Surrender to Madness is obviously a very polarizing ability. Some people love it, some people hate it; its severely overpowered or drastically underpowered. Can you speak to its intended role in the shadow priest’s kit and how successfully you feel you have achieved that role?
It was definitely an experimental talent–and overall that’s something we feel we should keep trying to do. It’s too early to know the future direction of it: keep the current version and focus only on balancing it (which is unusually challenging for a talent, but that itself is not something to shy away from), or decide that most of its value was novelty that will have worn off after a time.
The reason that experimental talents are important is we will find out what aspects of them work. We should push ourselves to keep exploring the space of what talents can do, the chance of death–sort of the ultimate drawback that a talent could have–is a good sign that we’re doing that. I’d say the bigger problems with Surrender are 1) the accelerating haste getting to a point where it is far too finicky or even uncomfortable to play, 2) the way the death drawback currently works heavily limits the times at which you can use the ability. My gut right now that we should see if there’s a way to address those in the future, but Shadow would be a little less cool if the concept goes away entirely.
Do you feel that the changes made to the spec in 7.2.5 have been successful overall ? Disc is still very much being played as an AOE damage burst healer, the only difference being that now it is much harder to achievee a high number of atonements, and makes the ‘Evangalism’ talent mandatory. Whilst the spec definitely feels less mana starved now, (and better in 5 man content) I personally have made the shift to holy, purely for an easier playstyle. So, I was wondering whether you feel that the changes made have had an overall positive impact on how Disc works in a raid. On a related note, how do you feel about the criticism that evangalism and a recharge on Radiance make the spec feel much more ‘Resto-Druidy’, for lack of a better term ? One the one hand, I’m very happy that such a niche spec with a fairly limited player base got such big attention and TLC from the Devs, but also, that perhaps we’ve suffered a little homogenisation as a result.
With the patch a week old, it is probably too early for a realistic postmortem of the changes. We’re certainly happy about how it looked as it went out the door.
Evangelism certainly was a bit counter to the stated goal of eliminating burst potential, but that was okay. 1) Heavy burst is part of what the spec’s been in Legion, and completely undoing it is a huge change midstream. If it’s balanced and the spec is working smoothly, that’s okay. 2) It’s a cool and powerful concept that really fits how the spec plays and what it tries to do. We’re only too happy to add those things when the idea is there and we have the opportunity. The Disc burst using the level 100 talent with a clear purpose and function is still better in many ways than the one based on PW:Radiance spam.
I don’t think anyone should be too surprised by some convergent evolution between Disc Priest and Resto Druid. The heart of each spec has a very similar mindset–apply an effect on various targets that does healing on the timescale of the next ~15s. The specs play differently enough that nobody’s going to confuse one for the other, but basic concepts like “abilities that care about how many buffs you have applied” are natural supplements to both of those specs’ core mechanics, and of course we’ll use them for both. Whether something works well and is fun on a particular spec is more important than trying to avoid some similarities.
Beast Mastery recently had its Dire Beast legendary, which increased the amount of charges from 1 to 2 baked into the spec because it smoothed out the rotation so much. Currently, Shadow has the same issue with Mangaza’s Madness, which smooths out the rotation and dominates single targets scenarios. In a raid like Tomb, Mangaza’s Madness is proven to be the best legendary for most (currenty 7/9) encounters. Can we have that QoL change for Shadow too?
I don’t want people to overestimate the likelihood of baking talents (or other bonuses, like artifact traits or legendaries) into baseline specs. It’s a necessary, but not nearly sufficient, condition that the talent is very popular. The cost is high: we’re adding an ability or passive to the spec, which we can’t do willy-nilly. The analysis is not so much about whether the talent is popular (we hope to always have many popular talents), nor is it about whether the talent is fun to use or makes the rotation feel better (that is also the hope for all talents). It’s about whether the best version of the baseline spec, looking ahead to the future (when lots of other things might be changed or added to the game) is one that’s based on having that talent as a major element. Is it one of the handful of things that is so important to the central spec concept that it should be there, independently of any current happenstance situation where it’s tuned too high, or interacts with some artifact trait, or somesuch.
Mantle of Command was an example. Mantle of Command was too strong for a legendary, which is a problem, but one that could have been solved in a variety of ways. The fact that a legendary is somewhat overpowered and popular on live shouldn’t much affect our decisions about what’s the best version of the spec in the distant future. What caused us to change it was a long discussion that “2 charges of Dire Frenzy” was, in our current estimation, most likely to be the best future model of the spec.
A converse example is Instructor’s Fourth Lesson. It has been strong and popular throughout the expansion. But I think that few people, all other things being equal, want the version of Unholy where 1-3 Wounds randomly disappear unpredictably and often. It makes your rotation harder to control and narrows your ability to pool Wounds. Making it baseline would likely be shortsighted, and would be one further obstacle towards refining the Unholy spec in the future.
We have added lots of cool bonuses to every spec in talents, traits, and legendaries in Legion, because the specs have room for cool things to be added. It’s important to maintain that space going forward, and resist the urge to permanently use up some of a spec’s complexity budget except where it’s necessary to do so.
Curious to learn more about the design behind Holy Priest. Often seems like you guys keep pushing Renew to be a passive spell rather than something to cast. Even after the recent buff in PvP, the mana cost makes it hard to justify casting. We are also one of the few healers that don’t have a cooldown that reduces damage, rather some that just stop damage entirely or buffs our healing. Side note, why do you guys keep fun mechanics like instant PoM gated behind PvP? It is insanely fun to use in PvP and was insanely fun to use when it was baselane instant cast as well. What were your design justifications behind these choices?
When we were initially designing Holy Priest honor talents, we wanted to reinforce their role in groups as the healer with ‘saves’ and strong throughput heals. It is important that Holy provides a different playstyle than other Healers (especially when comparing to Discipline). Options such as Ray of Hope, Spirit of the Redeemer, Miracle Worker are excellent examples of propping up and solidifying Holy Priest’s throughput in PvP. Their defensive options including Holy Ward, Inner Focus, and Greater Fade also make Holy stand out with unique tools of their own.
We really appreciate all the feedback that we’ve received with Holy Priests in PvP this expansion. Historically, most Priests that heal in PvP have gravitated towards Discipline, so all of the feedback has helped carve out Holy’s niche in PvP.
How successful do you feel that you have been in pushing Disc in 7.2.5 away from the more ramp/burst/downtime style that was infamously named degenerate? Are there certain areas that you would have wanted to iterate upon more with the spec that would have taken much too long, something for a future expansion perhaps?
Holy Priest throughout Legion has had an exceptional foundation of baseline abilities, but do you share some of the concerns that the playerbase might have with passive talents/spells playing such a large role in their overall healing (PoM, Echo, Divinity, Benediction)? Seeing very large portions of Holy healing tied to passive talents which cause more passive healing and do not largely augment the existing playstyle it gives the impression that these talents, while powerful, are not engaging, i.e. still casting HWords/Pom on cooldown regardless of Divinity/Piety/Benediction talented or not.
I wouldn’t say it’s a dire problem, but overall, the Piety/Benediction engine is pretty prominent for something that’s so passive. Because it’s still based on a spell with an 8s cooldown, it’s not like it takes over your whole rotation–you still care about and have to make use of your Holy Words and other core mechanics.
This all, at worst, seems like a minor tuning issue. Benediction and Apotheosis are good talents to have in opposition to each other, and are both pretty effective right now.
Sigma, I appreciate your response to this. To your point, Surrender is a talent which sounds cool on paper, but in practical execution can result in frustrations. It’s nice to know you recognize these issues.
Our biggest concern is if you remove or tune Surrender, WHILE maintaining our ramp up design, then we’re going to continue to struggle. None of us want to go back to busting our butts to be mediocre damage as what happened in Nighthold. If you continue to balance around Surrender, there is a good chance of further yo-yoing between too strong or too weak.
Anyway, just something to think about when you review Surrender and Shadow. We don’t want to be held back by 1 talent and hope the dev team feels the same. Cheers
I’ve seen comments like this in various places in Shadow discussion, but I’m not sure the premise is right. That is, that Shadow’s current balance/situation is heavily limited by Surrender.
I believe the currently prevailing view in the community is that Surrender is not very strong. That would imply that Shadow-with-Surrender is not likely to be a tuning concern–it’s the non-Surrender builds that are being used for high-level performance that would be most relevant to class tuning.
Surrender is more of a self-contained problem–we’d want it to be a little more effective than it is now, but not as much as in 7.0, and the downside of overshooting is pretty high.
Playing shadow against melee in pvp feels very frustrating and unrewarding. Any help planned? Every spec needs niches and downsides in pvp. Shadow however has no mobility tools, no escape tools and little passive mitigation. After recent self healing nerfs the spec feels helpless against melee. Whats the design background/intention?
Melee uptime and mobility isn’t entirely just a Shadow Priest issue, but Shadow is one of the less mobile casters. We felt that Shadow’s survivability swung too far in the ‘too tanky’ column once they managed to get out numerous VTs, and were far too weak without the passive healing. Shadow Priest is definitely on our radar after the self-healing nerfs, and we’ll increase their tankiness as needed in balance passes.
We’re looking at buffing Mind Trauma in the very near future. This is a talent that can be frustrating to play against, so we want to make sure that both parties involved are happy with it’s power level.
Psyfiend had too large of a swing in strength if you knew to create a Power Word: Shield macro, or had an Earthen Shield Totem on it. Psyfiend is an extremely strong tool where the Shadow Priest should be identifying situations where they can safely cast it while the enemy team isn’t in a situation to stop it. The downsides of it’s strength is that it can be one-shot by everyone.
If Psyfiend’s risk vs reward while it remains a 1 health creature isn’t paying off, we’ll address the strength of Psyflay.
I don’t think that shadow’s number tuning as of right now is heavily limited by Surrender, as we have been moved in a pretty different direction since 7.1.5. What we mean when we say that it constrains shadow’s balancing, is that it’s not desirable by both the community and the devs that Surrender becomes the only playstyle again, and as such, any nerfs and buffs must be looked at not just with the scope of what it means for non-Surrender builds, but also what it means for Surrender. With how volatile Surrender is, the slightest mechanical change could mean that Surrender pops up again as the choice, and then we have to deal with that again. We saw this happen when you redesigned our T20 setbonus. People went crazy about Surrender again and ultimately the setbonus was made weaker when specced into Surrender. While effective, these sorts of extra changes indicate that there is still a sense of having to be really careful with Surrender, and we feel like this may cause you and the rest of the devs to be extra careful with adding anything that may be too dangerous for Surrender, even if it may be really fun to play with for non-Surrender builds. It can potentially limit design space as long as it’s a talent, but it wouldn’t necessarily have any impact on how shadow ends up performing numerically.
That is a concern. The broader point is, a talent that too much bifurcates a spec into two different sub-specs makes it very hard to design all of the things are meant to be orthogonal to it (other talent rows, legendaries, etc.). There’s a grey scale–this isn’t as a clear a case as something like Gladiator stance, that I think was discussed elsewhere.
I would say there are some other talents in Legion that pose that concern a little more strongly than Surrender–fistweaving talents, Demon Blades, a few others. It may be something that causes us to make Surrender into something a little drastic in the future.
1) First, what led to the decision to put a 25 sec CD on Toxic Blade for Assassination? 2) How do the designers feel about Poison Bomb? 3) Are there any plans to address the problems Assassination has with target-swapping? 4) Finally, on behalf of all melee: Do you plan to take a look at the Convergence of Fates trinket? It is currently far and above the BiS trinket for many specs (a 900 one beats every ToS trinket at 955, last I checked), and I don’t think many people are excited about the prospect of having to farm Nighthold well into ToS. As much as I like the effect, I don’t think having this trinket be so incredibly powerful for so long is good, and I think you probably agree (given the changes to Warriors and Draught of Souls). Any planned changes for this?
The cooldown was derived from the debuff duration. I think a cooldown about 3x the debuff duration plays well in terms of – it’s not up so much that it’s forgettable, but it’s not so rare that it would have to be a very high damage bonus, which often causes distortive effects on rotations and priorities. For the debuff duration, at a base/simple level, I wanted a window just long enough for you to do a Toxic Blade -> 5-6 pt point Envenom -> get back to 5-6 combo points -> Envenom combo without clipping Envenom uptime. I know in many circumstances you can get in more than 2 Envenoms with the correct items and other cooldowns available, and that’s fine too.
Figuring out optimal ways to use abilities given other factors is great, but at a naive level it’s good for the use case for an ability to seem understandable at first glance.
In terms of “these buttons don’t line up cooldown-wise”, we want cooldowns to not line up. When buttons have the same cooldown, it becomes no-brainer to push them at the same time. Is it really more or less complexity when cooldowns sync up compared to when cooldowns don’t sync up? I don’t think that it’s a good thing that I haven’t pushed either Nemesis or Chaos Blades on my Havoc DH alt since I hit lvl 110. Instead, I hit my macro that casts both at once, because there’s rarely a case that I need to use the buttons separately.
Poison Bomb as a random proc is okay, but it definitely has too high of a swing on final damage output. Poison Bomb can easily vary your damage on a pull by 15%, which is far too much for a single artifact trait/talent/etc.
When we changed Poison Bomb from RPPM to flat proc chance on combo points spent, we gained the ability for it to proc on Rupture and removed the incentive to spam low-CP finishers, but ended up with too random of an ability.
I like Poison Bomb as a passive proc, but would want to adjust its RNG to a different version. In 7.2.5, we used a version of random proc chance we call Deck of Cards for several proc legendaries (e.g. Chaos Theory, many of the healer legendaries). The way it works is: Chaos Theory reads “Blade Dance has a 10% chance to grant you Chaos Blades for 6 sec.” But it’s far from a simple random 10% chance on casting Blade Dance. Instead, we track its randomness with a deck of cards. In this case, it’s a deck of 20 cards (outcomes) where 2 of the outcomes are True/Proc and 18 of the outcomes are False/Don’t Proc. So on your first 20 casts of Blade Dance, this will proc exactly 2 times (10% proc chance), but the distribution of those 2 procs are random and can happen at any point within those 20 casts of Blade Dance. This is a kind of controlled randomness that I like, and I want to use for more procs in the future, including Poison Bomb. The goal would be: in a 2-3 minute window, the distribution of the procs is random, but the total proc percent remains consistent.
Honestly, target-swapping will probably remain a weakness of Assassination as long as it retains the Poison/Bleed gameplay, which we think is working well on most fronts. It’s fine for specs to have some weaknesses, as long as the spec isn’t completely useless in a specific damage profile area of the game (namely Single Target and AOE, sometimes burst damage windows). I don’t think there are many cases in current raids where frequent target swapping is crucial to success. Even on things like Eyes on Gul’dan or Maiden on Fallen Avatar, when target swapping is needed, I think Assassination can still pull its own weight in terms of burst damage to high-priority short-duration targets.
Current plan (which may change) is probably to nerf Convergence of Fates around the time Argus raid opens. That’ll be more than long enough time for CoF to remain extremely strong for many specs.
How would you feel about making Grappling Hook a baseline ability like shadowstep? Would it be possible to add two buffs to the game that move some of the internal state into external state? Early on in development of patch 7.2.5 there was mention of introducing a talent for assassination to give us some control over our burst AOE (poison bomb). What were the reasons for going away from this and any chance the idea could come back? Maybe as an alternative on the 90 tier? Especially as Exsanguinate and Toxic Blade pretty much serves the same purpose.
Hey Stjern, I see you in Ravenholdt (the Rogue class discord) pretty often. The Rogue community has certainly benefitted from the work you and others in the community like Aethys have don. Thanks and keep it up.
Certainly a possibility. I can look into it. (Ed note: This is re; buffs question)
That was definitely a possibility at the time and is still in the cards for the future, but for the current layout of the talent tree, I wanted a talent to compete with Exsanguinate – a single target talent. In terms of talent rows, we want to actively move towards a world where talent rows are no longer Single Target vs. AOE talents but rather Single Target vs. Single Target or AOE vs AOE talent. That makes for more interesting choices on a talent row and reduces the need for me to wait while people are hearthing and asking for summons in the middle of raid.
Additionally, while Toxic Blade and Exsanguinate “serve the same purpose” in that they’re single-target talents, their gameplay and theme is distinct enough from one other.
Current future plan for Poison Bomb in 8.0 is to probably put it on an AOE talent row for Assassination along with (pick from) Death from Above, Crimson Tempest, Venom Rush.
Sub rogue – 7.2.5 definitely brought some improvements, thank you. However, I have to point out that sub is now the lone spec with a positional requirement that is problematic in both PVE and PvP. Would you ever consider just changing it to Stab, and allowing it from any position? Failing that, it seems that removing gouge from sub, which facilitated re-positioning, was a huge mistake. Perhaps it can return?
Gloomblade is an excellent talent option (and very popular in 7.2.5!) for PvP Subtlety Rogues that want to ignore the positional requirements of Backstab. Backstab with its positional requirement continues to reinforce the class fantasy of the hidden Rogue attacking from unexpected angles.
(We also didn’t think ‘Facestab’ was a great rename for ‘Backstab’)
Maybe slightly off-topic, but a lot of patch notes go by where rogues are the only class that don’t see any changes. Could we get a mention in the notes? “Rogues are still awesome!” or something like that?
There’s a really great joke in here somewhere about not being able to see Rogue notes because they’re in stealth, I just can’t find it.
Probably because it’s in stealth.
Earth Shock is definitely on our list of visuals to address 🙂
How do you determine how much utility or benefit a spec can provide to the raid (nonquantifiables rather than damage) and where those tradeoffs with personal benefit, if any, occur? This has been visited in the past (last I recall being Ra-den), but what are your thoughts on Reincarnation resetting on boss encounters like most other cooldowns? It feels awkward being one of the least durable specs and have an ability to assist with that not being available for every attempt.
We’d like to move into a direction where utility is more meaningful in all types of content, not even necessarily at the loss of performance. Players should be rewarded for making smart decisions that affect the success of their group as a whole, and we’d like to broaden that space.
Reincarnation remains a super powerful and unique ability for Shaman, and it’s in a place where it is neither overpowered nor required, which is a great place to be
Why do Demonology Warlocks have to repeatedly use Demonic Empowerment for each new summon? It feels very tedious to many players and have been unhappy with it since it’s inception.
Since Destruction Warlocks are back to a very similar place they were in back with WoD, why were they tampered with in the first place? It felt like (to myself at least) someone wanted to fix what wasn’t broken.
Demonic Empowerment is a good case study in what does and doesn’t make an ability feel good from a purely mechanical perspective (putting aside visual feedback, which is equally important). The feeling that you just have to use it every time makes it less interesting and less rewarding when you use it, than an ability that has more choice around how it works. One thing we discuss sometimes is–an ability having a cost, cooldown, or other limitation is actually a key part of what makes it feel like it matters when you press it. The initial version of DE that had charges (I don’t remember if this made it to Legion alpha) was better-conceived in that respect, but didn’t work out for other reasons.
Consuming a cost/resource/proc etc., even though it’s a downside on its face, is actually one of the key ways that pressing a button makes you feel like you “did something.” A recent example is Rockbiter vs. Boulderfist. Boulderfist was a talent replacing Rockbiter, with the only difference being that it had charges. As it worked out, you pressed Boulderfist roughly as often as you pressed Rockbiter–that is, the rotation was virtually indistinguishable between the two. But the feedback was that Boulderfist was much more satisfying to use.
Demonology Warlocks’ strength is probably going to be sustained Single Target, especially among the 3 Warlock specs. When you look at Affliction and Destruction, it’s pretty obvious that Affliction’s strength is sustained multi-target/multi-dot and Destruction is going to specialize in 2-targets due to having Havoc. That really leaves Single Target as the spec for Demonology, and that sort of makes sense with many pets focusing on the same target.
This may not have materialized yet, but that’s probably more due to current tuning than anything
Are there or were there ever any plans on letting demonology warlocks summon one massive demon as a cool-down? (A pit lord for example) I love demo but the class fantasy of being a master summoner is a bit hard to believe when we summon 4 imps and 2 dread-doggos at a time.
Yes, we’ve talked about giving Demo (and possibly the other two Warlock specs) a single massive demon as their 2-3 minute ultimate cooldown ability. High hopes for that materializing in the future.
Rotationally, summoning less, more powerful and interesting creatures is a direction we’ve talked about internally and would also like to pursue in the future. “Master of a pet army” is a fine fantasy, but often doesn’t really have much gameplay in practice. When you summon a lot of AI-controlled pets that just deal damage and don’t have interactive abilities, they end up being mostly just visual clutter, lag, and noise that provide little actual gameplay. A world where Demo might go in the future is: It has a 1 baseline melee pet that can also tank (e.g. Felguard). It has 1 baseline ranged DPS pet (e.g. Doomguard). It can talent into 1 of a number of temporary summons that provides some damage (e.g. Mega Imp) or utility (e.g. Succubus). Maybe each of the baseline units would have 1 cooldown ability which we’d expect players to have on their main actionbars and treat as their own spell (e.g. Felguard’s Stun or Doomguard’s Counterspell). We’d want to keep an eye on how many total pets you have out, and definitely reduce it from where Demo is at now.
Spec uniqueness is certainly a goal but not at the cost of class fantasy. A Fire Mage without Blink or Frost Nova would be incomplete.
Soul Shards felt core to Warlock fantasy, and we decided to unify them similar to Death Knight runes or Rogue combo points.
As an affliction warlock in pvp, shaman totems are incredibly difficult to stomp out being that no spell affects them and you either have to send your pet after them (which cannot be macro’d) you have to run up to melee them. Any plans to ease this up ?
We’ve been discussing the possibility of opening up totems to be the target of more types of spells, such as damage over time effects. We agree that killing totems and interrupting base assaults as an Affliction Warlock can be frustrating.
Can you please remove or alter the “Defensive Stance” equipped shield? We all hate it. It ruins transmogs. It completely goes against Arms class fantasy (2h weapon). With the spinning shields as well, the whole thing is way too busy. PLEASE remove the equipped shield.
This is definitely the dilemma of old favorite versus new hotness, and we have players on both sides of the fence regarding which way Defensive Stance should be portrayed. The equipped shield is definitely starting to show its age though, so I think this change is inevitable.
As a main warrior for many years, the most fun I’ve ever had with the class was in the start of WoD with the Gladiator talent. It was a blast to play and I was super sad that it was removed.
Have you discussed it internally? Will it make a comeback?
That’s an excellent question, walkingtheriver.
We agree that Gladiator stance delivered on an awesome fantasy (who doesn’t want to be Spartacus?), but ultimately it muddled what Protection was about and led to player confusion when grouping with or playing against Prot Warriors. As a result, there currently there aren’t plans to bring it back in talent form right now. We’re cognizant of the fact that sword-and-board damage dealer isn’t represented, but packaging it as a sub-spec that co-opted the existing tank fantasy wasn’t the right way of delivering it.
The Arms rework has been received positively by most, myself included. However, Focused Rage is effectively dead and a non competitive option. It also offered a much faster paced game play and the visceral component of larger mortal strikes, especially combined with executioner’s precision. Even if you have the new legendary ring to allow you to take the old trinity of talents, it does not play even remotely the same and the damage is lackluster to boot. The new arms model simply can not cast the ability often enough to matter. Any plans to address and bring back that gameplay for those who enjoyed it?
The fast pace of the Focused Rage playstyle is something I think serves Arms better when it is a moment, rather than an always-on state (as it tended to devolve into at higher gear levels). Being able to build a huge Mortal Strike by utilizing Deadly Calm and Focused Rage was exciting, and the ability to ride that influx of Rage all the way down to the next Battle Cry was not as awesome, because it weakened the highlight moment in comparison. Figuring out how to bring back that feeling, whether its through Focused Rage or another design, is something we’ll definitely be keeping in mind for the future.
Hi WoW Devs. Can you guys help to address some Fury Warrior execute concerns when wearing tier 20? Is it also possible to give odyn’s champion the same treatment as rage of the valarjar to proc from both rampages and executes? Odyns champ will never proc during execute phase unless you’re using massacre or using the massacre ring, which is a bit weak atm.
I think the tunnel mechanic of juggernaut stacks is a fun mini game to play, but there should be a big pay off in damage when we execute it correctly. Currently we don’t see that unless the raid afks and watches us get to over 40+ stacks and then execute with a BC window. A lot of this is just the damage ramp takes too long, and we ramp up even slower if we don’t have the rage to keep building stacks and are not enraged while doing so.
The initial goal for Juggernaut was to create an exciting ramp into crazy damage at the end of a fight, but it ended up overwhelming the entirety of Execute phase. Additionally, 99 stacks is probably too high; the dream of getting to max stacks is never realized in actual gameplay, leading to some disappointment.
Enrage uptime and other rotational considerations don’t have room to breathe with Juggernaut in the mix. The buff to an 8 second duration gives a little more leeway, making it less likely that Juggernaut will fall off during periods of high movement, but Ayala’s Stone Heart presents a potential issue that stops us from pushing Juggernaut’s duration any higher.
We’re also looking at the strength of Frothing Berserker relative to Massacre. Massacre does wonders to alleviate the stress from Juggernaut, and bringing Frothing Berserker down a bit (and compensating Fury’s overall damage) to make Massacre a viable choice is something we’ll talk about.
Any plans to take a look at protection warrior artifact ability? Feels very underwelming compared to say Guardian ability.
Being able to move during the ability or at least being immune to knockbacks during channel would go a long way to helping it fit in more than niche encounter abilities.
We discussed a lot of different implementations for Neltharion’s Fury, but in the end we felt like the focus should be on the shield, and it’s relation to Neltharion. There’s something cool about standing your ground as the tank, and the power within the Artifact breathing Shadowflame on your enemies.
It is difficult to directly compare the two abilities to each other, as in different situations they may be stronger or weaker than the other one, but they are both powerful tanking tools. We decided that part of the mastery of using the ability would involve knowing when a good and safe time to activate Neltharion’s Fury would be.