MMO-Champion - Dev Watercooler -- Rude Interruptions
Dev Watercooler -- Rude Interruptions
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
‘Dev Watercooler’ is a blog series that provides an inside look into the thoughts and discussions happening within the World of Warcraft development team. In our first entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostctrawler" Street laid down a few ground rules:


  • 1. No promises are being made in these Dev Watercooler blogs.

  • 2. Don’t read too much between the lines.

  • 3. No complaints about the topic not being what you want to see covered.

Are spellcast interrupt abilities, such as Kick, too good? It’s easy to make that argument. We think their ease of use and low cooldown has led to a whole cascade of events in PvP. Because interrupts are so good, casters without a lot of instant spells or mobility are weak. For that reason, we tend to give casters a lot of instant spells or movement abilities, and casters who excel at those (say, Frost mages) are very powerful, while those without (say, Elemental shaman) have more difficulty.

Because interrupts are good, classes without them feel uncompetitive, which has led to us giving interrupts to paladins and druids, which in turn has led to them being even more prevalent. Because casters tend to fire off lots of instant spells while jumping around, melee can be really easy to kite. Because melee can be easy to kite, melee classes without strong mobility can suffer, and we have to consider giving high mobility to all melee, which increases the amount of uptime melee have on casters, which means we have to give casters even more powerful escape mechanisms to survive... and the arms race continues.

See where I’m going with this? Because instant spells tend to be so powerful, we have to make cast time spells insanely powerful to compete or they’ll never see use in PvP. But we have to make those spells so powerful that when they do get off, we can have PvP burst issues. (Look at how much better Frostbolt has to be than Ice Lance for mages to even consider the “long” cast.)

Nerfing all of the interrupts across the board isn’t the kind of thing we can realistically do mid-expansion. Anyone working on the raid content can tell you how important interrupts are to today's encounter design. We’d have to redesign nearly all of the raid encounters and many of the dungeon encounters as well. Of course once you increase the cooldown on interrupts, then availability of stuns gains relative power, so you have that balance consideration as well.

Instant spells do have their place in the game. If you’re worried about being interrupted because someone is chasing you, or you are chasing them, that’s a great time to use an instant spell. But actual 2.5 sec cast time spells need to have their place too and, if anything, they should be the norm.

Here's one other way in which interrupts have wide-reaching effects on the game via the chain of consequences discussed above. One of the advantages melee used to have in PvE was on movement fights. If the boss has to be kited or stays in motion, the rogues and warriors can follow along and still deal damage. It will be less damage for sure, but they’ll still get a lot of auto attacks in. It used to be the case that asking the Balance druid or Fire mage to move was a huge dps loss for them, because they were always interrupting their spells. In today’s PvE environment, that role has almost flipped. Many casters can shoot on the run and take only a very minimal DPS hit to do so. For this reason (and a few others) melee classes can feel like a liability on certain encounters. We’d prefer for raids to want a fairly even distribution of ranged to melee classes and ideally groups would have a lot of flexibility in who they bring. It’s okay to have fights that are really good for casters, but there need to be at least a couple that feel great for melee as well.

Is there a design lesson to learn here? I guess it’s some variant of the butterfly effect -- apparently innocuous designs (in this case the short cooldown on interrupt abilities) can have wide-ranging effects on all aspects of the game. I’m not sure what the game would look like if Pummel and Kick and Wind Shear had 30 second cooldowns. Clearly we’d have to redesign a lot of other abilities, mechanics, and numbers to make it work. Again, this isn’t a change you’ll see anytime soon. But it might feel better in the long run if we could get to that point.

Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer on World of Warcraft. He knows how to get to R’lyeh.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Dev Watercooler -- Rude Interruptions started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 183 Comments
  1. Luckylockk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    Shocking news. Someone finally understands that the game is complicated, and when you are talking about 5v5 arena, everything is magnified.

    I like the PVE changes they made to interrupts, especially the dps ones because it forces DPS to actually participate in the mechanisms of the encounter a lot more, and makes the responsible for wipes if they are mouth breathers. For most of wows existence, wipes were always the fault of the tank or healers. I like that the difficulty of encounters has progressed to this point.. raids are much more fun now.

    Honestly, Blizzard needs to just get rid of Arena. In large scale battles, interrupts are not as magnified. This game is just too complex to ever hope to balance 5 man pvp. GC keeps using the term Arms Race.. and really, no matter what they do it will be an arms contest.. that is the whole point. it is called balancing the game. The problem is, you will never be able to balance a rogue vs a mage... or a DK vs Rogue.. They need to stop trying, it just creates a mess. Stick to 10 v 10


    Eeeh.. Stick to 10 v 10? By that I assume you mean rated battleground. Anyway.. 5 v 5 arena won't ever get balanced, it's basically about which team that got the highest dmg, and may be able to throw off a quick cc or 2. When I talk about arena I think of 2v2 and 3v3. 2v2 isn't balanced atm, 3v3 Could also get improvements, but the idea of removing arena is something out of thin air.. If Blizzard had even considered removing arena from the game, they would have a huge loss of players. You get surprised by the actual amount of people playing arena. When I first started playing I played only PvE, but as soon as I got the taste of PvP and got sick of the countless wipe after wipe each and every evening at the same damn encounter, I got addicted and doesn't really play PvE anymore. I think this is what happens with most of the players going for PvP, we get tired of wasting our time dying at the same encounter, with a huge bill and a pissed off guild master punishing us for the rest of the week PvP and arena is popular cause of the fair reason that it's a new challenge every time you enter a match, and you actually don't really know what will happen during the fight (As you do in PvE)
  1. AeneasBK's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by justandulas View Post
    The solution is quite simple, although would surely ruffle afew feathers. Casters are at a disadvantage because their main weapon (spells) can be interupted/silenced by every melee class and leaves them basically defenseless. The solution would be to give at least one spec of each spell casters a disarm. Demo locks could have a disarm on their felguard, fire mages could heat the handle of a hilt and force it to be disarmed, ele shammies could shock the weapons free, and Spriests have one. If all melee can take the main weapon of casters (spells) away, then casters should be able to do the same and disarm the melee's weapons for a short period of time. Yin to the Yang, and balance to the force it would bring. Right now it's a one sides battle with melee having the advantage and most casters being unable to return the favor
    Um, we can't interrupt you if we can't reach you, isn't that the Yang to your Yin?
  1. roflmfao's Avatar
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought this was the purpose of resiliance...to compensate for issues like this. In my opinion this situation could be easily corrected by having your resilience give you a chance to resist an interrupt. All sides would be happy since the interrupters wouldn't be losing anything, and the classes getting interrupted would be gaining the chance the interrupt would miss, and PVE would remain unchanged.
  1. Bantokar's Avatar
    Uhh more generic dribble for the masses.. Blue posts are really good as a source of amusement and for highlighting the devs incompetence.
  1. keLston's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Baikalsan View Post
    For gods sake, just separate PvE and PvP talent trees and spells already, STOP CHANGING PVE FOR PVP!
    Don't know why PvE bads always cry about this when PvPers have suffered more because of PvE changes than the other way around.
  1. Crabby's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Baikalsan View Post
    For gods sake, just separate PvE and PvP talent trees and spells already, STOP CHANGING PVE FOR PVP!
    This
    and
    Quote Originally Posted by keLston View Post
    Try doing phase 2 nefarian on 10 man with 15 second interrupts.
    This

    ---------- Post added 2011-03-30 at 09:23 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by keLston View Post
    Don't know why PvE bads always cry about this when PvPers have suffered more because of PvE changes than the other way around.
    pve bads? lol just no.
  1. Eleraith's Avatar
    Or y'know, you could just nerf instant spells? Give instants a longer cooldown that is standardized across every class? Force people to use casts in PvP? Balance interrupt cooldowns/lockouts around that?
    Again, I think that Blizz should change the rules for PvE and PvP; PvE gets destroyed for PvP balance, and PvP gets destroyed for PvE balance, and it's a never ending joke.
  1. Meldon's Avatar
    I have to admit that i don't see this big difficulty or challenge in fixing that problem.
    I will write an example for balance druids (because I am one of them)

    Starfire has 2.5 seconds of cast time.
    Druids tend to never cast it in pvp because they are trained 24/7

    The solution relies in the name: starFIRE, change the spell to a channeled one like Mind Flay and use the actual starfire animation played over 2.5 sec instead of the actual brief moment when the spell cast end.

    Btw this could not be applied to every 2.5sec spell...
    How to fix it then? It's easy, one word: DEBUFF

    When a rogue, warrior, dk, hunter, etc successfully interrupt a spell cast, apply a debuff on the interrupted person with something that prevent him from being interrupted or silenced.
    This spell should be applied only on Players and not NPC (this is something you can do without too much efforts) this way the interrupt ability is still on a 10sec cooldown, but the player cannot be interrupted for 20 seconds or so, acting like a cooldown increase only in PvP, leaving PvE encounters untouched.
  1. dokilar's Avatar
    we should look at this positively rather than negatively. anyone who has been playing this game for longer than 3 years knows it takes a lot to get blizzard to admit there are things wrong with their game mechanics. while this isnt a direct admission to fault he finally has realized that there is a problem and its only goin to get worse.

    im not expecting them to fix or balance pvp better this season, next season or even this exspansion but they made the public aware that they know theres a problem. that at least gives them a +1 from me.
  1. TonyKP's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dokilar View Post
    we should look at this positively rather than negatively. anyone who has been playing this game for longer than 3 years knows it takes a lot to get blizzard to admit there are things wrong with their game mechanics. while this isnt a direct admission to fault he finally has realized that there is a problem and its only goin to get worse.

    im not expecting them to fix or balance pvp better this season, next season or even this exspansion but they made the public aware that they know theres a problem. that at least gives them a +1 from me.
    Yeah, it's nice to know that they see the problem and are willing to own up to it, but it would be nicer to know that they had some way of doing something about it. You're probably right, though, in that fixing this wouldn't be possible without triggering an even worse "butterfly effect", and they seem to have learned (somewhat belatedly) that all the hotfixing was doing more harm than good. For better or worse I think that the fundamental paradigm of the game is stuck as-is for the foreseeable future.
  1. philfo's Avatar
    My idea: Make interrupts avoidable. They've said they like to consolidate pvp mechanics onto resilience, so put it there. With full pvp gear say 50% chance for the interrupt to miss. Seems to me this leaves interrupts alone for PvE, but gives casters a bit more of a chance when up against the melee.
  1. Khiva's Avatar
    God, Ghostcrawler truly sucks... The issue isn't that interrupts have too short a cooldown, it's that they're too easy to get off successfully. With 30 second or so cooldowns they'd be absolute trash.
    They're so easy to get off because the spells with cast times have such godawful looong cast times. 2.5 seconds is terrible, and they use it as the norm.
    They don't have to lengthen the cooldown on interrupts, they just have to speed up the cast time on cast spells. Roughly 1 second should be the "norm." You can't move while casting no matter how short the cast is, as long as there is one. Even a half-second cast would prevent you from being able to kite with it.

    Guild Wars was built on PvP and had much of it mastered, and this is the basic way they handled interrupts; they had a 10-15 second cooldown, and spells had an average of a 1 second cast time. Some went as low as 0.25, but on the other end even 2 second casts were extremely rare, because they were too easy to interrupt!

    If it were done this way, they wouldn't need to retool every single freakin' dungeon either.
  1. Baikalsan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by hamski View Post
    You're retarded. The whole issue is you broke PVP by needing too much shit handed to you in PVE (ie Paladins and Druids getting interrupts).
    Why thank you for agreeing with me that we need separated trees and spells for both PvE and PvP.

    Don't know why PvE bads always cry about this when PvPers have suffered more because of PvE changes than the other way around.
    Thanks for agreeing with me and supporting my idea!
  1. Luckylockk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Khiva View Post
    God, Ghostcrawler truly sucks... The issue isn't that interrupts have too short a cooldown, it's that they're too easy to get off successfully. With 30 second or so cooldowns they'd be absolute trash.
    They're so easy to get off because the spells with cast times have such godawful looong cast times. 2.5 seconds is terrible, and they use it as the norm.
    They don't have to lengthen the cooldown on interrupts, they just have to speed up the cast time on cast spells. Roughly 1 second should be the "norm." You can't move while casting no matter how short the cast is, as long as there is one. Even a half-second cast would prevent you from being able to kite with it.

    Guild Wars was built on PvP and had much of it mastered, and this is the basic way they handled interrupts; they had a 10-15 second cooldown, and spells had an average of a 1 second cast time. Some went as low as 0.25, but on the other end even 2 second casts were extremely rare, because they were too easy to interrupt!

    If it were done this way, they wouldn't need to retool every single freakin' dungeon either.


    True true, too long cast time at some spells, even though I play affliction mostly with my warlock, and after all.. Affliction is a "drain" spec, I would love to fire off a shadow bolt or two now and then when we're about to kill, but then.. When I got about 1300 haste and the cast time of shadowbolt is about 3 seconds, that just pisses me off. Specs like affliction have no chance to actually go for a finishing blow on the enemy, and need to just keep dotting for ages, hoping that the teammate (usually healer) get's tired and mess up after a long long fight. Ofcourse we got drain life and drain soul, but it takes a pretty long time before the first drain soul to tick after you actually cast it, and drain life doesn't really do any dmg.. Then again we can discuss that affliction is a crappy crappy spec atm, too low dmg, and no way to punish people just dispelling everything of themselves. (We got unstable affliction, but in Cata it hits for shit, and silence for 4 secs, making them perfectly available to dispell til they get, let's say; oom, bored, or stopped)

    Wasn't really here to complain about affliction, but what I'm saying.. Too much cast time on some spells
    I wonder how it would be if Blizzard made spells cast for like 0.25 secs, I can smell a lot of damage to my keyboard while constantly hitting the buttons
  1. Beheemoth's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Krugen View Post
    I play a warrior, I disagree with more CC, I suggest less:

    The problem with interrupts is that if a player screws up once using their main arsenal of hard cast spells, they are locked out of alot if not all of their survivability abilities (nature being their heals, barkskin, instant ghost wolf, root, cyclone.) The huge problem with interrupts is they simply lock out way too many spells, defensive or offensive. a disarmed warrior can still pop a shield or fear or leap away, a interrupted elemental shaman can...frost shock the melee to be as slow as they are? I think the best solution would be to unlink the "schools" of damaging spells from defensive ones.

    edit: clarity
    Disarm is a joke. A 10 sec loss of MH weapon, with a 1 minute cooldown? Worthless. Who are you kidding, you don't play a warrior...esp if you are against interrupts.
  1. Chrysia's Avatar
    I don't know why so many people say that Feral Druids are the only ones with an interrupt. Am I the only person who remembers solar beam? An interrupt/silence stuck in the balance tree?
  1. Shambulanced's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Effet View Post
    I'm sorry but that is just nonsense. Interrupting IS fun when done for something crucial, not the other way around. Don't be naive, if interrupting would be optional like your example(s), then no one would be bothered interrupting. That's simply the nature of us players.
    No, that's the nature of BAD players. For me, it's a thrill when I'm on my rogue and I can maintain high dps, my own recup stacks (self-healing, assisting healers), and still interrupt non-lethal spells like shadow bolts/etc (assisting healers AND tanks). I enjoy playing him to his fullest potential with cc/etc without seeing the all-important recount #'s dip down significantly.

    Quite a few people responded to my post (I guess that's the benefit of being on the first page, before Forum Exhaustion sets in).

    1) A few pages back someone responded with, "Standing in fire doesn't wipe a raid. Missing an interrupt does." Excellent point.
    2) "Interrupts are a necessary mechanic, if you fail at them then you fail at the fight." --But that right there is my point. It's not fun to fail at a fight over something like that. It's frustrating. Extremely so. Example: 10 Omnotron hc. Arcanotron is up and in a power swirly. Tank's interrupt misses (due to not being hit capped, at least they're changing that in 4.1), and then on my DK I go to interrupt it--but there's lag between Mind Freeze casting and actually hitting (which is horrendous design imo) causing the interrupt to be too late. The nuke goes off and one-shots a healer who is already taking damage from Magmatron. You can call that example a perfect failstorm--but it's happened, more than once. It's just not a good mechanic. I can allllmost understand situations like that being in heroic modes because, let's face it, they're supposed to be extremely challenging, but I don't see their place in the regular modes, if anywhere. I stand by my original opinion--it's poor, and lazy, design. You can slap a nuke onto any boss to increase the difficulty, but it doesn't make it fun.
    3) Someone responded saying that they felt accomplishment on General Vex (Ulduar) by getting the interrupts perfected--to me, I never got that sense of accomplishment. It was an annoyance from the first pull to the eventual downing, and the only real reason they included that was because they felt that non-mana users (most melee) had little to do in the fight. It was an afterthought, and one that didn't really even fit with the boss' design/theme. It happened way too frequently (see also: Halfus) to make it feel clandestine. It felt routine, but not quite fail-proof-routine enough to make it second nature.

    (As a sidenote, what's with Maloriak interrupting his own addcasts/etc due to fight timing? Very poor design, once again, imo.)

    You know what a good example of a fun fight is? And I'll probably get picked apart for this, but whatever. The final fight in the Crucible of Carnage (against the flame ascendant). That fight has it all: a soft enrage, lots of fire to not stand in, and a non-nuke cast (fireball) that is interrupt-able. I did it for the third time last night on my ret pally that I've been leveling and I thought to myself, THIS, this is what fights should be like. It wasn't enough for me to just DPS him--I made it a goal to interrupt every cast I could. It wasn't required. Hell, it was probably a waste of a button-click. But it was fun.

    I am not asking for content to be impossible to fail at. I'm asking for it to be more creative. I can see, from the typical forum-posters' hubris on MMO-Champ, where the confusion might easily arise, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by LibrarianKay View Post
    Your argument is self-perpetuating. Essentially, you're only parroting ad infinitum "This is hard because it is hard." You're also basically suggesting that Blizzard can do no wrong in their raid design and are necessarily above reproach, and any and all failure to meet whatever standards they've set is the failure of the players. Nevermind Blizzard hotfixing encounters AS they are being world-first'd...

    The point that I think is trying to be made is that the penalty for missed interrupts is TOO severe in many cases. I'm strongly of the opinion that a single missed ability by one player should not guarantee (please note the emphasis) a raid wipe. It should create stress on the other members of the raid that they may or may not be able to overcome. It should not essentially seal the deal for the entire encounter. An example of a good interrupt mechanic is Maloriak's storm ability. The faster the interrupters are on the draw, the easier it is to make the fight succeed. That said, if they oops it for a second, it does not guarantee a wipe. (Although if they completely snore off in a corner and just ignore the fight, yeah, that'll wipe it.) It could cause a wipe. The healers could also do a kickass save on their end and get the raid back up where they need to be, but that could also cause mana issues before the end of the encounter. It's about everyone's efforts working together, not placing most of the win/lose as a binary on a single ability.
    Eloquently stated with a great example of what I'm talking about.
  1. Krugen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Beheemoth View Post
    Disarm is a joke. A 10 sec loss of MH weapon, with a 1 minute cooldown? Worthless. Who are you kidding, you don't play a warrior...esp if you are against interrupts.
    Not against interrupts, and you're either a terrible troll (disarm is worthless?) or you failed to read the post correctly. I was suggesting a temporary fix for pvp that wouldn't make it impossible for interrupting and the interrupted classes to protect themselves (the interrupt cd would be unchanged, but casters would be able to actually use some defensive skills).
  1. Fallenis's Avatar
    HEY - PVE HEROES AKA DRAGONSLAYERS - There is thing called a fake cast and or a juke cast. you FAKE the interrupt You're that bad where you have to increase the CD?!? ?!??. Oh, and 2s dont matter, bg heroes, stop talking about your bgs, and 5s?! ?!? Whaa a A?A??!?!?! !
    ?!!?!? !? !? !?! ?!? !?!? CONFUSED? !?!?! ?! !?!?

    Fake cast bros, fake cast - special messege to all those 1600 MMR kids
  1. Luckylockk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Fallenis View Post
    HEY - PVE HEROES AKA DRAGONSLAYERS - There is thing called a fake cast and or a juke cast. you FAKE the interrupt You're that bad where you have to increase the CD?!? ?!??. Oh, and 2s dont matter, bg heroes, stop talking about your bgs, and 5s?! ?!? Whaa a A?A??!?!?! !
    ?!!?!? !? !? !?! ?!? !?!? CONFUSED? !?!?! ?! !?!?

    Fake cast bros, fake cast - special messege to all those 1600 MMR kids


    ... You obviously didn't read what people said about fake cast, and we get it. Your huge letters makes you look 20 years older. Alright.

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