MMO-Champion - Dev Watercooler: Pruning the Garden of War
Dev Watercooler: Pruning the Garden of War
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Development on World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is progressing well, and we'll soon be ready to enter the first phases of public testing. To help prep you for battle, let’s break down some of the upcoming changes we’re making to stats, abilities, and crowd control for the expansion.

Stat Squish
Character progression is one of the hallmarks of any role-playing game, and naturally that means we're always adding more power for players to acquire. After multiple expansions and content updates, we've reached a point where the numbers for health, damage, and other stats are so big they’re no longer easy for players to grasp. What’s more, a lot of power granularity is tied up in tiers of older content, from Molten Core to Dragon Soul—and while it was once necessary for your character's power to spike up suddenly when you hit level 70, that’s not the case anymore.


In order to bring things down to a more understandable level, we'll be reducing the scale of stats throughout the game and smoothing out those obsolete spikes, so that power scales linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 85. This applies to creatures, spells, abilities, consumables, gear . . . everything. And while that means your numbers for stats and damage are being reduced by a huge amount, the same goes for creatures' health and damage output. For example, a Fireball that previously hit a creature for 450,000 out of his 3,000,000 health (15% of its health) may now hit that same creature for 30,000 out of its 200,000 health (still 15% of its health).


It's important to understand that this isn’t a nerf—in effect, you’ll still be just as powerful, but the numbers that you see will be easier to comprehend. This also won’t reduce your ability to solo old content. In fact, to provide some additional peace of mind, we're implementing further scaling of your power against lower-level targets so that earlier content will be even more accessible than it is now.

We’re also removing all base damage on player spells and abilities and adjusting attack power or spell power scaling as needed, making it so that all specializations will scale at the same rate.

Racial Traits
We want races to have fun and interesting perks, but if some of those traits are too powerful, players may feel compelled to play a specific race even if it’s not really the one they want to play. For example, Trolls' Berserking ability was extremely powerful, and their Beast Slaying passive was either completely irrelevant or tremendously powerful, based on the situation, compared to other racial traits. On the other end of the spectrum, many races had few or no performance-affecting perks. On top of that, a number of racials that currently grant Hit or Expertise will soon need replacing, since those stats are being removed in Warlords of Draenor.


To keep racials more in line with one another, we’ve decided to bring down the couple high outliers, then establish a fair baseline and bring everyone else up to that. We’re accomplishing this by improving old passives, replacing obsolete ones, and adding a few new ones where necessary. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve much better parity among races.

Ability Pruning
Over the years, we've added significantly more new spells and abilities than we've removed, and the game’s complexity has steadily increased. We’re to the point now where players are starting to get overwhelmed, sometimes feeling like they need dozens of keybinds (in a few extreme cases, over a hundred). While the game is loaded with niche abilities that could theoretically be useful in some rare scenario, in reality, many of these are barely used at all—and in some cases, the game would simply be better off without them.

For Warlords of Draenor, we decided that we needed to pare down the number of abilities available to each class and spec in order to remove some of that unnecessary complexity. That means restricting some abilities to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities. It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that we can merged with other passives or base abilities.


This doesn’t mean that we want to reduce the depth of gameplay or dumb things down. We still want players to face interesting decisions during combat, and we still want skill to matter . . . but we can achieve that without the needless complexity in the game now, and we can remove some of the game’s more convoluted mechanics while maintaining depth and skill variety.

One type of ability that we focused on removing is temporary power buffs (aka "cooldowns"). Removing these also helps achieve one of our other goals, which is to reduce the amount of cooldown stacking in the game. In cases where a class or spec has multiple cooldowns that typically end up getting used together (often in a single macro), we merged them, or removed some of them entirely.

The process of determining which spells and abilities to cut or change is a very complex one—we know that every ability feels vital to someone, and we don't take this process lightly. Even if we ended up cutting your favorite ability, we hope you’ll understand why we did so in the context of our larger goals for the expansion. Ultimately, the point of these changes is to increase players' ability to understand the game, not to reduce gameplay depth.

Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns
One other big takeaway from Mists of Pandaria is that there is currently simply too much crowd control (CC) in the game, especially when it comes to PvP. To address that, we knew that we needed an across-the-board disarmament.


Here's a summary of the player-cast CC changes:

  • Removed Silence effects from interrupts. Silence effects still exist, but are never attached to an interrupt.
  • Removed all Disarms.
  • Reduced the number of Diminishing Returns (DR) categories.
  • All Roots now share the same DR category.
    • Exception: Roots on Charge-type abilities have no DR category, but have a very short duration instead.
  • All Stuns now share the same DR category.
  • All Incapacitate (sometimes called "mesmerize") effects now share the same DR category and have been merged with the Horror DR category.
  • Removed the ability to make cast-time CC spells instant with a cooldown.
  • Removed many CC spells entirely, and increased the cooldowns and restrictions on others.
    • Pet-cast CC is more limited, and in many cases has been removed.
    • Cyclone can now be dispelled by immunities and Mass Dispel.
    • PvP trinkets now grant immunity to reapplication of an effect from the same spell cast when they break abilities with persistent effects, like Solar Beam.
    • Long fears are now shorter in PvP due to the added benefit of a fear changing the players position.

Additionally, we've significantly reduced the number of throughput-increasing cooldowns and procs in order to further reduce burst damage.

Whether your favorite class is losing an ability or taking a hit to its CC potential, we hope this discussion helped you better understand why we’re making these changes. It’s important to remember that other classes will be getting some of their CC removed too. We think this entire package will make exploring Azeroth and PvPing a more enjoyable experience for everyone, and we’re looking forward to having you try them out when we open up the expansion for testing.

In the next Dev Watercooler, we'll explore the changes coming to health and healing in Warlords of Draenor.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Dev Watercooler: Pruning the Garden of War started by chaud View original post
Comments 256 Comments
  1. Vholu's Avatar
    Two reasons for an item squish:

    - numbers getting too huge that a computer can process them effectively, making the servers handle much more workload, thus laggy and useing them up faster

    - do you see this gigantic spike in power from level 90 to 100? that's like 5 times the power we have now. Can you imagine tanks haveing around 6 million health? Or hiting 6 digits with dots? Well, I can, but it would look extremely silly
  1. Deathgoose's Avatar
    One of the lines that made me curious was:
    It's important to understand that this isn’t a nerf—in effect, you’ll still be just as powerful, but the numbers that you see will be easier to comprehend. This also won’t reduce your ability to solo old content. In fact, to provide some additional peace of mind, we're implementing further scaling of your power against lower-level targets so that earlier content will be even more accessible than it is now.
    Scaling against a lower level target with an actual level makes sense, sure. But how do you scale against a "older content" ??? Boss that is always considered "[Player Level] + 3"?

    I would imagine they will recognize this obvious oversight, but I'm curious how it will be handled.
  1. Mimerss's Avatar
    Atleast give us Feral Druids our instant cyclone back then if it can be dispelled now too. I mean, hardcasting a clone for it to be dispelled is not really worth it.
  1. Farabee's Avatar
    I really hope they don't get rid of Diplomacy for humans.
  1. Thirdofherne's Avatar
    I understand why the squish is happening, you can't increase things exponentially indefinitely, I have no issue with that. MY problem is that beyond that, and beyond the simplifying of abilities, they've stated here that they're making pre-90 content "even more accessible" which means DUMBING DOWN by anybody's reckoning.
  1. Luccas's Avatar
    Wish combat racials were removed completely. Even if they introduce "fair baseline" and whatnot, same thing is going to happen even if one racial is just 0.000000001% better than the others.
  1. Stormykitten's Avatar
    I don't really think that the number of movement abilities, CC (well, maybe a couple of the more egregous new instant ones), or number of abilities in general has any bearing on the current pvp scene. It is purely the difficulty in getting cast time spells off, which has nothing to do with those (CC has always been there) - it is all interrupts. There should at the very least only be 1 interrupt OR silence per class. But that's it.

    It's fine with class-flavour stuff like grounding totem. But it's frustrating to read that cast on the move is to blame when it actually helps casting spells, it's just that it is countered by way too much interrupts/silence/instant cast cc. If you need to counter movement, instead add ways to avoid the spells, because that doesn't impact cast time. It's why a dodge system with cooldown like in GW2 or ESO can be really useful.
  1. Coronius's Avatar
    Cool changes to CC, but I have to admit that I'm starting to agree with all the naysayers about the lack of info.

    We're months into the final patch of MoP, the equivalent of the Dragon Soul-patch (but not as terrible perhaps), and we barely have any information about the next expansion except for the stuff they showed us at BlizzCon which frankly wasn't that much.

    I really hope beta isn't too far away.
  1. Shawati's Avatar
    I really like the stat squish, it's very, very needed. The numbers are getting really stupid. I think they should've squished further, though. But that might be hard with so many levels. Good job on that.

    The abilit pruning however... I don't like it. I liked having toys such as Dampen Magic, Amplify Magic, Sentry Totem and so on. While not useful in every signle fight, or even most of them, they added flavour and were fun as hell to pull off when you were able to (mind control cap + amplify magic to increase your burst anyone?). I don't really see the problem with classes having a lot of keybindings; we have an entire keyboard to mess around with, and most of the binds are not used all the time. Let us keep our toys.

    I'm 50/50 towards the CC changes. WoW PvP is very much built around CC, and without CC it turns into a silly whack-the-mole style game, where players just stand around whacking eachother with PvE rotations. There's also the issue of healers, they're way, way too powerful as it is, and without a big, fat nerf, reduced CC will make them even more of a pain. CC IS overdone in MoP though, and it does need a reduction. I just hope they handle this issue with a great deal of care.
  1. Geish's Avatar
    Racials are good way to make some old-school faction balancing, like they have done before. Make alliance have little bit better pvp racials, wait for the factions to balance on pvp servers and then make all racials cosmetic (orcs playing drums and growling or whatever).
  1. cbeefman's Avatar
    I think I need to step back and take a break from these and other wow sites for a while

    NONE of this feel like news to me, except maybe some of the CC changes so i'm feeling very underwhelmed by this so called "info dump"

    I think I set my expectations too high
  1. Xummy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by darkwarrior42 View Post
    "It's important to understand that this isn’t a nerf—in effect, you’ll still be just as powerful, but the numbers that you see will be easier to comprehend."

    Translation: The majority of our playerbase is too stupid to understand big numbers, so we're making life less scary for them.

    (I have seen some very good reasons for an item squish. This is not one of them.)
    They could have worded it better. But i´m assuming it also has something to do with the limitation of Integers, which wow prob works with.
    which is from −2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647, and if they aren´t doing the squish, we´d be approaching those numbers soon, causing a crash.
  1. frostmeteor's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xummy View Post
    They could have worded it better. But i´m assuming it also has something to do with the limitation of Integers, which wow prob works with.
    which is from −2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647, and if they aren´t doing the squish, we´d be approaching those numbers soon, causing a crash.
    My guess is the integer for health is unsigned. So the range is 0 to ~4 billion. The evidence is that for 25-man heroic, Darkshaman already has 2b health. And for Heroic Garrosh, one of the reason the boss has to heal himself up several times, depending on your strategy, is to circumvent such limit.
  1. mittacc's Avatar
    Removing the following silence from an interruption spell is a little too much imo. I would rather see them removing a spell that just says "silence", a well times interrupt should be rewarded and not just delay a spell with like half a second. I'm not even a pvper...
  1. Zigzagzoom's Avatar
    I am glad to see some changes to the amounts of cool down type abilities. The 10 step macros some classes had were ridiculous.
  1. ThatsOurEric's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by OneSent View Post
    Holy crap. I may actually enjoy PvP again.
    I know right?
  1. Ecwfrk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by furydeath View Post
    Wait so from lv. 99 to 100 we'd get like a 30% damage boost or something with out the squish?
    No, over the course of level 100 you'll increase in power with each tier of content they add throughout WoD. Without the squish though, the numbers would go from absurdly huge to insane.
    Look at the difference between a Heroic gear level 85 in iLevel 410 gear, a fresh level 90 in iLevel 430ish quest greens and a level 90 in iLevel 560ish gear.
    Deathwing had 300M HP in 25H. Thok has almost 2 Billion HP in 25H.
    If things continued to scale the way they have been, by the end of WoD we'd likely have people pushing 5 million DPS and 25m bosses with well over 10 Billion HP, at least.

    Such huge numbers are not just difficult for many people to wrap their heads around, they're even more of a problem for computers. Shaving 2 digits off an 11 digit number can reduce the processing power to do a calculation on that number by 20%. And as others have already pointed out, when the numbers get too big, things either crash or the computer has to break them down into numbers it can manage, run calculations on each piece, then put it all back together which uses a ton of processing power.
    In a nutshell, smaller numbers mean less lag.
  1. Nhodjin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Hagendaz View Post
    I'm not sure why there seems to be so much hate on the changes, I for one like them.

    Let me tell you why -

    Ability bloat is a real thing, I have so many spells on my bars that I don't use it's just clutter. I may use some of those abilities in some given situations that arises once a week or longer.

    The stat squish I also am excited for because it's not that 1 million is hard to grasp versus 1000, it's that I don't care to see a million or 400k pop up on my screen, in a lot of cases it's distracting. To me it sounds like people upset about the damage number (as that's all it really is is damage/health numbers) because seeing those big numbers makes them feel more powerful? I'm not quite sure.

    The reduction in CC couldn't have sounded any sweeter. I can't name the amount of arena's I've done where I get cc'd straight for about 30 or more seconds (this is also after using my trinket). The druid nerf to cyclone being dispellable is awesome. Everything else in the game in terms of CC I can think of is able to be dispelled one way or another, however cyclone being an instant cast in some cases (feral) and not even being able to be dispelled was stupid.

    I'm extremely excited for these changes, and think it's a step in the right direction.

    PS. you wouldn't be upset about the squish if they hadn't made every expansion jump over 100 ilvl's from the previous from the start. I understand that it's there fault and we're used to them now, but I do honestly think it's a step in the right direction. Also not sure why there's so much QQ before we even see EXACTLY what they have planned.

    This guy! My thoughts exactly. I'm quite amused that people are so stupid to think that blizzard belives WE are not smart enough to understand 1 million dmg.
    That is not what they are saying, the perfect example is Reckfuls 1 billion dollar video or w/e it's called, we know it's a big number but we do not really FEEL it. Same with 1 million dmg, and you're forgetting that they are not only scaling down everything in mop but also in WoD. Otherwise we would be doing 10 million crits or more in Warlords, and that's not very fun imo.
  1. jeremynative's Avatar
    Finally no more 100-0 stuns and 8 second fears and trinket is worth having
  1. Shockeye's Avatar
    Those CC changes to PVP may get me back into the PVP game. I've avoided it for MoP because as a healer as soon as I show up it's an instant chain of CC and then death, many of those CCs being reapplications of an ability (ie Cyclone). It's not fun at all. I loved casual PVP in Cataclysm (ie non-arena, random group BGs) but MoP, no thanks. And I miss having fun with it, so these changes are great.

    Also, hurrah for the long overdue squish. The numbers have been getting stupidly over the top for no reason at all other than massaging egos that like to see big numbers. Way back when one of the things that attracted me to WoW was how it was very conservative in the numbers with regards to health, damage etc. There's no need for a boss to have 15 million health and DPS to be doing 200k and all of that. It's utterly meaningless.
    Hopefully the squish brings these numbers down to sensible levels, and those charts do suggest this.

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