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. Aliok's Avatar
    "Removed Silence effects from interrupts. Silence effects still exist, but are never attached to an interrupt."
    "Removed all Disarms."

    Is anyone else having a bit of panic attack on how this is going to affect PvE?
  1. darkwarrior42's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by GatorAJ View Post
    Making the numbers simpler IS a good reason, bother for the player base and for the system of the game itself. I believe it was Daught of Midwinter who mentioned Ra-Den becoming immune to damage on one of their attempts because his health became too high for the game to comprehend and calculate anymore.
    What you just gave was a good reason, that had literally nothing to do with making them "easier to understand". If your comment was an attempt to address mine, you completely missed the point of my complaint.

    Making the game better able to process numbers is a good reason. Assuming that we're too stupid to understand what "687 million hp" means is not.
  1. Noct's Avatar
    Baffled that they are removing disarms entirely. Definitely did not see this one coming. Happy CC in general is getting hindered though.
  1. Gilderoy's Avatar
    This was an extremely disappointing update in a huge series of disappointing updates from Blizzard on this expansion...
  1. eLusion's Avatar
    .....................................
  1. Derah's Avatar
    "Massive Infodump"?

    If this is their definition of "massive" I really don't want to know their definition of small. This is the second time they word their damned tweets as if to say they're gonna say a lot and end up saying almost nothing at all.

    This isn't a "massive" infodump, this is a tiny footnote.
  1. schevva's Avatar
    this was great news!
  1. Teebu's Avatar
    Nothing too new. They mentioned that "soloing will be easier" because how you interact with lower levelled mobs, interesting. Also interesting to know the new DRs for CC. Other than that, it's not something we haven't heard stated before I believe.
  1. blaqkmagick's Avatar
    I over hyped myself for that. Kind of disappointed.
  1. Lockula's Avatar
    A look at the graphs help to show just much power has increased over the expacs.
  1. Takure's Avatar
    Well, that was underwhelming. Just feeding us more stuff that we already know.... again.
  1. Adoxe's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Derah View Post
    "Massive Infodump"?

    If this is their definition of "massive" I really don't want to know their definition of small. This is the second time they word their damned tweets as if to say they're gonna say a lot and end up saying almost nothing at all.

    This isn't a "massive" infodump, this is a tiny footnote.
    For someone who's expecting new information you really aren't paying much attention. Instead of releasing a giant blog post they cut it into bits and pieces, they'll release it one by one until Beta starts.
  1. Toiran's Avatar
    Wow that's disappointing, I knew it was going to be a short blog post, but no examples of racials? no examples of removed abilites? Just why they are doing it? Makes sense to say that you know...when you show what your doing.

    Bah...

    Disarm removed is somewhat interesting, along with what sounds like a buff to make old content easier, hmm.
  1. UnifiedDivide's Avatar
    Good lord.... this isn't the massive info dump they were talking about, obviously.
  1. Jdance's Avatar
    This was more or less a table of contents.
  1. turskanaattori's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aliok View Post
    "Removed Silence effects from interrupts. Silence effects still exist, but are never attached to an interrupt."
    "Removed all Disarms."

    Is anyone else having a bit of panic attack on how this is going to affect PvE?
    Not really. I think it is safe to assume that things will be adjusted to compensate. (can't imagine things like Embodied Doubts in heroic Garrosh chain casting their stuff unless you stun/silence them)
  1. Alenarien's Avatar
    I hope we get some news on what the actual new/changed racials will be. Would be nice for the Alliance to have some more notable racials other than "Every Man for Himself".
  1. turskanaattori's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Derah View Post
    "Massive Infodump"?

    If this is their definition of "massive" I really don't want to know their definition of small. This is the second time they word their damned tweets as if to say they're gonna say a lot and end up saying almost nothing at all.

    This isn't a "massive" infodump, this is a tiny footnote.
    Try doing some simple research before bitching.
  1. Infernix's Avatar
    I have to agree that this wasn't 'massive' at all. A good portion of it was about the squish that we all already knew about. The other stuff is puzzling and disappointing. I simply do not understand blizzard's method of ping-ponging back and forth between 'lots of CC and games last longer' and 'no CC and games are over too quick.'

    The other stuff, I'm purely disappointed in. No more days of lining up your CDs for burn phase. Derp players won't have to worry about not doing such things anymore, though, so there's that, right?
  1. Guyviroth's Avatar
    About three-quarters of this info is info we already know.

    The only new info we've received is the PvP changes.

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