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. Straamibuu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ToxTheWrecker View Post
    I for one, is one satisfied player for CC control reduction. No more of this 5-12 second stun chain garbage, especially being a Warrior where I can't "blink" or shift form out of CCs.
    Yeah, warriors can't break out of fears now can they?.....
  1. Doomchicken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Infernix View Post
    Wasn't referring to the squish so much as ability removal. It looks to me as if they're simplifying things even more so that the game is basically 'smash buttons' and win.

    Catering to the lowest common denominator.
    Yes, because it was so hard back in vanilla and tbc when your entire dps rotation consisted of maybe 2 buttons. Things are SOOOOO much dumber now /sarcasm
  1. Moradim's Avatar
    I would make the case that a lot of dps specs need MORE depth.

    How do we get that by taking abilities away, or making them passives? also, the comment about removing abilities depending on spec has me worried, especially on my paladin. watch them do something stupid like take healing spells away from ret, and making them holy only.
  1. ZwuckeL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by UnifiedDivide View Post
    Good lord.... this isn't the massive info dump they were talking about, obviously.
    Plot twist: this IS the massive info dump they talked about
  1. Pyroblasted's Avatar
    Please stop taking the stat squish as dumbing down the game. There is actually a real issue with such high numbers (bad idea blizzard not to mention it when you know mmo-champion exist), the game simply can't handle it. I'm assuming blizzard are using 32 bit integers for storing health and such, thus they're about to reach the limit of what you can store in the memory with that datatype, 2^31-1. This stat squish is needed because there is actually a limit to what a computer can store in memory. Of course if they use anything higher than 32 bit integers to store health then this explanation is not true, but it seems likely to me that this is the reason (maybe it has even been said by blizzard).
  1. Remsaa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophill View Post
    Look at all the stuff we already knew!
    Good stuff! Getting rid of the bloat (bloat doesn't mean complexity btw), and over-the-top CC and numbers that are so high they are hard to comprehend (I'm looking at you Chaos Bolts for 2 million).

    PvP will be awesome, racials will be better (I wouldn't be surprised if Humans get their pvp trink slot removed), and raiding will be much the same because the tuning and encounters will be based on all the changes as well.

    So many Chicken Little's running around here though, as is always the case in MMO-Champion's forums.
  1. Aliok's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Moradim View Post
    I would make the case that a lot of dps specs need MORE depth.

    How do we get that by taking abilities away, or making them passives? also, the comment about removing abilities depending on spec has me worried, especially on my paladin. watch them do something stupid like take healing spells away from ret, and making them holy only.
    I'm still very mad at them for making Consecration and Holy Wrath protadin-only spells. :| I can totally see them taking away Flash of Light from retadin.
  1. korvalos's Avatar
    Was definitely excited for this - Now, am definitely disappointed; all that hype for this ? That was information we were already privy to (Reducing CC, Stat Squish, Ability pruning).

    Moreover, as much as they are saying "we're not dumbing things down," that is EXACTLY what this appears to be. They are taking the skill/strategy out of PvP and allowing for more of a mindless, button-mashing mentality. Sure, CC needed to be toned down and I'm sure that will help improve the PvP experience, but the rest of that mess accomplishes nothing other than reducing the skill cap. No longer must we time cooldowns for kills, use disarm offensively/defensively, interrupt a heal while target is near death to buy a brief lock-out kill window.

    I took joy in using disarm on a toon gibbing my healer, or lining up arena kills with cooldowns/interrupts, or just catching that WSG flag carrier to blow my cooldowns and finish him off. Now, no disarm fun, a simple interrupt allowing the healer to instantly start casting again, and no cooldowns to be used at strategic times in battle. They are going to have to compensate, hugely in other areas to make this work. Homogenization began slowly years ago - And it seems they are now putting the pedal to the metal.

    While Blizzard has definitely set the tone, I'll try to remain optimistic.
  1. Bullettime's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by korvalos View Post
    Was definitely excited for this - Now, am definitely disappointed; all that hype for this ? That was information we were already privy to (Reducing CC, Stat Squish, Ability pruning).

    Moreover, as much as they are saying "we're not dumbing things down," that is EXACTLY what this appears to be. They are taking the skill/strategy out of PvP and allowing for more of a mindless, button-mashing mentality. Sure, CC needed to be toned down and I'm sure that will help improve the PvP experience, but the rest of that mess accomplishes nothing other than reducing the skill cap. No longer must we time cooldowns for kills, use disarm offensively/defensively, interrupt a heal while target is near death to buy a brief lock-out kill window.

    I took joy in using disarm on a toon gibbing my healer, or lining up arena kills with cooldowns/interrupts, or just catching that WSG flag carrier to blow my cooldowns and finish him off. Now, no disarm fun, a simple interrupt allowing the healer to instantly start casting again, and no cooldowns to be used at strategic times in battle. They are going to have to compensate, hugely in other areas to make this work. Homogenization began slowly years ago - And it seems they are now putting the pedal to the metal.

    While Blizzard has definitely set the tone, I'll try to remain optimistic.
    They aren't removing all cooldowns. They're removing ones that are just stacked with others and never used by themselves. Skull Banner is gone, Recklessness gets Skull Banner's personal functionality since the two were ALWAYS synced, Paladins will see some desyncing, Shadow Blades axed from Rogues since it was always used in sync with Vendetta/Adrenaline Rush and was awkward for sub, etc.
  1. Terminal Lance's Avatar
    Start editing your "OMG THIS BIG POST? WTF BLIZ SUX" posts.
  1. CasCrow's Avatar
    COME ON! I MUST KNOW GNOME AND DWARF RACIALS! *caps intended*
  1. ZwuckeL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by korvalos View Post
    Was definitely excited for this - Now, am definitely disappointed; all that hype for this ? That was information we were already privy to (Reducing CC, Stat Squish, Ability pruning).

    Moreover, as much as they are saying "we're not dumbing things down," that is EXACTLY what this appears to be. They are taking the skill/strategy out of PvP and allowing for more of a mindless, button-mashing mentality. Sure, CC needed to be toned down and I'm sure that will help improve the PvP experience, but the rest of that mess accomplishes nothing other than reducing the skill cap. No longer must we time cooldowns for kills, use disarm offensively/defensively, interrupt a heal while target is near death to buy a brief lock-out kill window.

    I took joy in using disarm on a toon gibbing my healer, or lining up arena kills with cooldowns/interrupts, or just catching that WSG flag carrier to blow my cooldowns and finish him off. Now, no disarm fun, a simple interrupt allowing the healer to instantly start casting again, and no cooldowns to be used at strategic times in battle. They are going to have to compensate, hugely in other areas to make this work. Homogenization began slowly years ago - And it seems they are now putting the pedal to the metal.

    While Blizzard has definitely set the tone, I'll try to remain optimistic.
    Don't expect any breaking news until the beta patch notes are out. And even then don't expect too much. We pretty much know everything that's relevant from Blizzcon already
  1. Aven Blackery's Avatar
    Good stuff, love all of the CC bulletins.
  1. Bullettime's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by AzureBeast View Post
    COME ON! I MUST KNOW GNOME AND DWARF RACIALS! *caps intended*
    -Shortblade is gone. Nimble Fingers gives 1% Haste and the mana bonus now also applies to Rage, Energy, and Runic Power. Escape Artist is now 1 minute.
    -Dwarf Crack Shot is gone. They get 2% bonus crit damage and healing instead. Stoneform now also applies to magic and curses.

    Everything else from the leak was confirmed today so these are likely still what they're going with.

    edit: Was just confirmed by Celestalon.
  1. sargior's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dDic View Post
    How are we going to have silences that don't interrupt? Will they just politely let us continue casting the last spell we cast while we're silenced?
    Kick provides a silence of that school of magic after its initial interrupt. The silence from kick will be removed. Well that's how i interpreted that change.
  1. Yig's Avatar
    YAY for soloing older stuff I missed !
  1. Myrthrall'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.)
    Dude please don't go there. That may be the reason they stated here because it's info for the players about the changes, but the real reason behind the squish is because soon the system wont be able to process the numbers.
  1. FpicEail's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by korvalos View Post
    Was definitely excited for this - Now, am definitely disappointed; all that hype for this ? That was information we were already privy to (Reducing CC, Stat Squish, Ability pruning).
    Hype? You mean this hype?:

    Originally Posted by Bashiok
    The goal with the blog going up today is largely to paint a broad picture of some interconnected systems changes. From the recent press tour there's been a lot of confusion and misconceptions because individual changes are being seen without a larger context of the expansion as a whole. We're just looking to provide a little more of that context. If you've been following interviews and information very closely this will likely be interesting, but probably not revelatory.
  1. Tenver's Avatar
    NICE.

    Removing abilities and overlapping conditions for CC is not to be dumbing down the game. That is a misunderstanding; dumbing down the game would be to make fewer things viable - regardless of whether the game had a hundred abilities or two.
  1. CasCrow's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bullettime View Post
    -Shortblade is gone. Nimble Fingers gives 1% Haste and the mana bonus now also applies to Rage, Energy, and Runic Power. Escape Artist is now 1 minute.
    -Dwarf Crack Shot is gone. They get 2% bonus crit damage and healing instead. Stoneform now also applies to magic and curses.

    Everything else from the leak was confirmed today so these are likely still what they're going with.

    edit: Was just confirmed by Celestalon.
    So happy for the 2 races that I use! im still refreshing for gnomes even though the leak may be correct.

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