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. Siddown's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Thirdofherne View Post
    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.
    Is it a bit like how posting in BOLD ALL CAPS dumbs down an argument?
  1. zrankfappa's Avatar
    1) squish - uh fine
    2) reduce ability bloat - sounds good, but i bet i miss the ability to do something that they remove. i'll get over it.
    3) racials - i play horde, and always thought the trolls had best racials. that being said, of my 11 90's only two are trolls.
    4) reduce cc - bout time. i'd like to see it taken a bit further and remove cc beaking trinkets, or just make cc not work on players.

    Ultimately Wow is moving towards a sort of Diablo III abilities model, resource generators, resource consumers, and a proc. In the end we will all just be pressing 11211231121123112 .....
  1. mc9's Avatar
    Well, according to the graph, WotLK is when they started messing up with scaling of playing power. Which makes perfect sense. Then it got out of control and stupid. No wonder.
  1. psychok9's Avatar
    I like almost all changes...
    My question is how they can scale down old content, with new and close stats!
  1. valliant13's Avatar
    all you babies crying about them "dumbing down the game" are pathetic. This isn't vanilla anymore. Think of it if you owned a business....make an easy to use product that everyone can use and make a ton of money, or make something very complex and have a lot of un-needed things included with it that only targets a certain demographic and make an okay amount.

    This is the direction of the game, if it stops being fun stop playing. However WoD to me is going to be insanely fun. The squish is also absolutely necessary. 300k+ damage single target is absurd. I can't wait to see realistic numbers again, on top of the ease on processing power.
  1. PolleDK's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Infernix View Post
    Despite the declarations of 'not dumbing things down', that's exactly what it looks like to me.
    Many buttons does not necessarily equate to complexity. Take a look at League of Legends as an example. If the amount of buttons you can push is directly proportional to the complexity of a game, I guess League of Legends is a game for toddlers.

    Quote Originally Posted by kamuimac View Post
    and what u describe is what differes average/bad players from a really good one - a really good one uses most of his abilities nearly all the time in eveyr single possible moment they can be used - average/bad players really uses those 5-6 buttons to complete even full normal modes making life for anyone around him significantly harder without even noticing it -_-

    what u descirbed here is exacty reason why people think and have right that blizzard is dumbing down the game with each patch to cater to mediocrity -_- and such catering to mediocrity will be what eventually will kill of wow - wow will kill itself with time cause of how far away from its roots its going to go into console arcade game direction. u can see it already for few expansions which each of them introduces more and more arcade elements to pve cause "its making game interesting " and its goign more and more away from the roots of being rpg.
    Oh come on.

    People have been using those apocalyptic terms ever since Classic. In Classic it was the raid size. In TBC it was welfare epics, and epics for badges. In WotLK it was because they were "dumbing down the game".

    It didn't kill WoW back then, and it isn't going to kill it now either. Time will kill WoW, not some random change.
  1. SpartanJet's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Moradim View Post
    TL;DR, "we're dumbing down the game for idiots"

    I would love to hear one case of someone raiding that complains they have too many keybinds.

    crap! I have too many options! better streamline everything so even a complete moron can be successful!
    I raid and there are TOOO many keybinds. When I can fill my G13 (25 keybinds) with straight abilities not including any macros and still not have enough keys then there is a problem. Skill is not equal to keybinds. Hopefully they trim quite a bit and make the abilities they do keep more meaningful.
  1. valliant13's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kamuimac View Post
    and what u describe is what differes average/bad players from a really good one - a really good one uses most of his abilities nearly all the time in eveyr single possible moment they can be used - average/bad players really uses those 5-6 buttons to complete even full normal modes making life for anyone around him significantly harder without even noticing it -_-

    what u descirbed here is exacty reason why people think and have right that blizzard is dumbing down the game with each patch to cater to mediocrity -_- and such catering to mediocrity will be what eventually will kill of wow - wow will kill itself with time cause of how far away from its roots its going to go into console arcade game direction. u can see it already for few expansions which each of them introduces more and more arcade elements to pve cause "its making game interesting " and its goign more and more away from the roots of being rpg.
    you're beyond wrong and make yourself look stupid for saying that really good players use most of their abilities all the time....Optimal dw frost dk play has about 5-6 keys to be used period....I guess I'm bad because I don't use chains of ice on bosses....my bad.
  1. Azrile's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mc9 View Post
    Well, according to the graph, WotLK is when they started messing up with scaling of playing power. Which makes perfect sense. Then it got out of control and stupid. No wonder.
    You are wrong. They didn´t get stupid, nor make many mistakes. The need for item squish is NEEDED because of the nature of the game, not by any mistakes they made.

    Here are facts. This is the nature of WOW, and any gear-centric game.

    1. Players need to get more powerful as they level. Even though you killed LK, you still need to feel more powerful pretty soon once Cata started.
    2. Players need to get more powerful during different tiers of the same expansion. It would suck if you could complete SoO using the same gear you used to complete MSV.
    3. Heroic gear needs to have a higher ilvl than normal gear.

    When an expansion is current #2 is needed. After an expansion is not current #2 is not needed. In other words, there is no problem right now if you can kill Lich King with the same gear you killed Naxx. All the item squish is going to do is basically push LK down to the same ilvl as Naxx.. removing all that ´progression´within that expansion that is no longer needed.

    Now stupid people will say, in 3 years, when item squish is needed again that ´Blizzard did not learn´.. ´lol, they need to do it again´.. But it isn´t about learning or making mistakes.. It is about the nature of WOW progression. Yes, it is going to be needed again.. in 3 years, yes, they are going to make SoO and MSV basically have the same ilvl.

    WOTLK only looks like it ´got out of control´ because that is when they introduced heroics and added another set of gear on top of what they already had. Do you think heroic mode raids are a mistake? No. Do you think Heroic modes should reward the same ilvl as normal modes? No. They made the game better by adding a lot of cool things, ilvl increases are just the result, but not a mistake.
  1. Prokne's Avatar
    Looks like I guessed right when I said that they would overnerf old raiding content so you can still solo it. Unfortunately that ruins the challenge and feeling that you are doing the same thing by yourself that it took 9-24 other people to do when it was new. Now its just going to be go in and farm your transmog, pets, mounts without as much fun.
  1. Siddown's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    You are wrong. They didn´t get stupid, nor make many mistakes. The need for item squish is NEEDED because of the nature of the game, not by any mistakes they made.

    Here are facts. This is the nature of WOW, and any gear-centric game.

    1. Players need to get more powerful as they level. Even though you killed LK, you still need to feel more powerful pretty soon once Cata started.
    The thing is, the jump from WotLK -> Cataclysm was just beyond massive. No other expansion had such a huge jump in power. Greens in Cata destroyed Epics in WotLK, in all other expansions greens were on par or slightly better.
  1. valliant13's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    You are wrong. They didn´t get stupid, nor make many mistakes. The need for item squish is NEEDED because of the nature of the game, not by any mistakes they made.

    Here are facts. This is the nature of WOW, and any gear-centric game.

    1. Players need to get more powerful as they level. Even though you killed LK, you still need to feel more powerful pretty soon once Cata started.
    2. Players need to get more powerful during different tiers of the same expansion. It would suck if you could complete SoO using the same gear you used to complete MSV.
    3. Heroic gear needs to have a higher ilvl than normal gear.

    When an expansion is current #2 is needed. After an expansion is not current #2 is not needed. In other words, there is no problem right now if you can kill Lich King with the same gear you killed Naxx. All the item squish is going to do is basically push LK down to the same ilvl as Naxx.. removing all that ´progression´within that expansion that is no longer needed.

    Now stupid people will say, in 3 years, when item squish is needed again that ´Blizzard did not learn´.. ´lol, they need to do it again´.. But it isn´t about learning or making mistakes.. It is about the nature of WOW progression. Yes, it is going to be needed again.. in 3 years, yes, they are going to make SoO and MSV basically have the same ilvl.

    WOTLK only looks like it ´got out of control´ because that is when they introduced heroics and added another set of gear on top of what they already had. Do you think heroic mode raids are a mistake? No. Do you think Heroic modes should reward the same ilvl as normal modes? No. They made the game better by adding a lot of cool things, ilvl increases are just the result, but not a mistake.
    Adding ilvls wasn't a mistake what was is simply too many per expansion. Yes you need to feel more powerful but not extremely more powerful every tier. For instance the difference between perditions blade(bis dagger for lvl 60 rogue at the end of MC) and the next bis dagger in BWL is much smaller than weapons now. Endgame ilvl started at 463(probably less, but im basing this off heroics). Final tier ilvl is 580. That is the problem and since wrath the gap between the initial endgame ilvl and final tier ilvl keeps growing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Siddown View Post
    The thing is, the jump from WotLK -> Cataclysm was just beyond massive. No other expansion had such a huge jump in power. Greens in Cata destroyed Epics in WotLK, in all other expansions greens were on par or slightly better.
    I used naxx40 gear into the first raids of TBC. I used some TBC gear until max level in wotlk. In cata I was replacing SOME epics in the first or second zone. That's wrong imo. Final tier gear should last until mid-max level of the next expansion.

    so I am agreeing with you.
  1. Sargiean's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mimerss View Post
    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.
    Thats literally your what - 1 spell that requires you to stop moving to cast - and you want it buffed?
  1. BrerBear's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by valliant13 View Post
    Adding ilvls wasn't a mistake what was is simply too many per expansion. Yes you need to feel more powerful but not extremely more powerful every tier. For instance the difference between perditions blade(bis dagger for lvl 60 rogue at the end of MC) and the next bis dagger in BWL is much smaller than weapons now. Endgame ilvl started at 463(probably less, but im basing this off heroics). Final tier ilvl is 580. That is the problem and since wrath the gap between the initial endgame ilvl and final tier ilvl keeps growing.
    To be fair, you need to compare level 60 dungeon blues in Vanilla with original Naxx weapons and calculate the perccentage iLvl difference if you are weighing against start and end of Pandaria.

    Edit: I went back and checked. UBRS gear was iLvl 60, and original Naxx dropped 90+ items, which is a 50% iLvl increase in one "expansion". While it's not an exact comparison, because base stats had a greater influence at lower numbers, you can see that item level increases were giant by percentage back since the beginning. The big numbers just make it feel bigger now.

    Further Edit: In Burning Crusade, level 70 heroics dropped around iLvl 110 and Sunwell around iLvl 160+, again about a 50% increase. So, Pandaria is kind of low by comparison. Pandaria is only about a 25% increase at endgame.

    The exponential growth in stats was neither unexpected nor unnatural. Blizzard has said, and I agree, that each tier must be a percentage better than the last or players don't feel the difference when they upgrade. That's why the iLvl has to explode over time. It is inevitable that they will have to do this again in a few expansions.

    I was really hoping that they would finally detail the solo protection scaling buff, but still we wait. *sigh*
  1. Andelormon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Hotsforyou View Post
    So tired of PvP nerfs effecting PVE. So over it.
    Pretty sure others are tired of PvE nerfs effecting PvP too.
  1. Salacnar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by vholu View Post
    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
    i sir totally agree with that
  1. Mnevis's Avatar
    That list of CC changes looks amazing.

    Also, I knew that once I race-changed my Tauren Shaman, racial balance was sure to come before long, so you're all welcome.
  1. Panonic's Avatar
    So much tears like before any expansion, yet people will buy it and play!

    I like all changes they announced so far. Less stuff to press will be fun. There is allready too many keybinds for some classes. CC changes looks really nice aswell.
  1. Elrandir's Avatar
    Happy about everything they said, especially the item squish looking good, glad that they're doing it for other expansions too.
  1. ZeroWashu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    You are wrong. They didn´t get stupid, nor make many mistakes. The need for item squish is NEEDED because of the nature of the game, not by any mistakes they made.

    Here are facts. This is the nature of WOW, and any gear-centric game.

    1. Players need to get more powerful as they level. Even though you killed LK, you still need to feel more powerful pretty soon once Cata started.
    2. Players need to get more powerful during different tiers of the same expansion. It would suck if you could complete SoO using the same gear you used to complete MSV.
    3. Heroic gear needs to have a higher ilvl than normal gear.
    Yet your completely wrong. The mistake was made with the revamp of health pools and healing with Cata. They moved health pools to ridiculous levels in a wrong headed attempt to mute the effects burst had in PVP which was turning it into a game of who goes first. Healing was then made incredibly expensive, spell efficiency going from 8 per 1 mana to 2 to 1 for some spells, to make sure that arena play and similar didn't just come down to a heal fest.

    Players do need to get more powerful between tiers but not to the stupid extent that Blizzard has been following. The highest blue level weapons are what? 463 in current expansion and yet top tier raid weapons are three times the effect? Really was that called for? Don't even get me started on that bullshit that is the Legendary cloak. OMGWTFBBQ

    Its because they have no restraint. Its like watching ten year old kids play D&D and constantly using the Treasure Guide as their personal vault, or Deities and Demigods for what they should have. To make matters worse, if they cannot get the stat bump past the laugh test they make set bonuses that might as well be "I win" buttons.

    No, this isn't natural progression, its the mistake rank amateurs make. They just aim to one up and then wonder where in the hell balance went.

    Yet they did show they had a solution, they can iLevel cap instances/bgs and the like. They need to do so going forward so that 5 man which was challenging on day one is still gear challenging on the last day of the expansion. So that a boss from Tier X is still a fight for those who wear Tier X+5. Stats should never allow you to ignore mechanics.

    Sheesh, my casters main hand weapon has better stats than my base character has. If it was a NPC it would kick my ass.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Mnevis View Post
    That list of CC changes looks amazing.

    Also, I knew that once I race-changed my Tauren Shaman, racial balance was sure to come before long, so you're all welcome.
    I just hope NPCs follow the same rules, leveling up a new tank recently reminded me of how often and annoyingly I spend polymorphed or stunned in fights. Between being frogged in ZF to being stunned in nearly every other instance, at times chain stunned, I can understand why so many don't make it. PvP I expect to get ganged up on, but damn NPCs should have limits too

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