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. smartazjb0y's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tenver View Post
    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.
    "Dumbing down" and "lowest common denominator" are just buzz words that people like to use in order to feel intellectually superior over others because of a video game, even though it's not true.
  1. Clockwork Pinkie's Avatar
    Nothing important for me as a disc priest, or as a disc priest going against other classes. And we are? Moving on. (ah Disney World)
  1. Tenver's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by smartazjb0y View Post
    "Dumbing down" and "lowest common denominator" are just buzz words that people like to use in order to feel intellectually superior over others because of a video game, even though it's not true.
    Well, they could dumb down the game, in my opinion, like any other game producer could with their game, but it's not related to the number of things in the game, but instead to the degree of intelligent choice that the player has to make. So adding more abilities could well make the game dumber if the those abilities are not to be considered for intelligent use, ie. are viable.

    Catering to the lowest common denominator means to me that one disregards everything individual in a character and makes everything streamlined towards this lowest, shared fact. Ie. purples for everyone - why? Because they have a character. Everyone can raid - why? Because they have a chance to see things, so therefore things should be as easy as possible.

    So it is very possible in my opinion, but there's nothing that suggests the game is being dumbed down by the info in this blog post. It does not seem like any intelligent choice is being crushed, instead it actually seems like more abilities are made viable thereby making the game more rely more on intelligence.
  1. Tripax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by godofslack View Post
    I'm not sure I like the reduction of big cooldowns, I like being able to choose which one to activate at which time, but I do mostly play tanks and healers.
    fire ele totem + spirit wolves + stormlash totem + ascendence + synapse springs + heroism... Plus the rotational stuff between is a lot of popping to do in my opinion.
  1. iriecolorado's Avatar
    Well, the one good take-away from all of this is I won't be raiding with 19 other trolls because of their ridiculously superior racials.
  1. Zergin8r'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.
    It's quite the opposite, now you have to choose targets in pvp more carefully, and with the trinket/DR changes set up CC better as well. Removing blanket silences means hunters have to think about what to interrupt instead of seeing a caster, using silencing shot and popping CD's to kill them before they can do anything in return. When you think about all they are doing is actually allowing players to make meaningful choices instead of tunneling another player with CD's popped.
  1. Doomchicken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by iriecolorado View Post
    Well, the one good take-away from all of this is I won't be raiding with 19 other trolls because of their ridiculously superior racials.
    Depends on if they get rid of the beast damage racial as well. If they don't and there is another ToT like tier where 5 of the bosses are or have beasts in them you can be damn sure you'll still have your troll army.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sooooo, nothing is changing about shamans then or are they still updating?
  1. Moradim's Avatar
    whats the better solution:

    1) educate players on how to play properly

    2) dumb down the game so they cant fail/do poorly

    removing depth isnt a good idea.
  1. Drahkais's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by smartazjb0y View Post
    Also, lol at people complaining about button reduction. Because it was SUPERHARDCORE, INTELLIGENT gameplay to macro Skull Banner and Recklessness into one button.
    It's like you've never played Warrior!

    FYI it isn't advisable even now to macro those together unless you are somehow the only Warrior in your guild. Nevermind that with Evil Eye the CDs don't line up right now.

    Skull Banner was one of the more interesting CDs Warrior had. It is dumbing down, apparently not mashing in all of your CDs at once and avoiding something as simple as not overlapping the effect is too much for people these days.

    Of all CDs Warrior had this was the last one I would call bloat.
  1. Moradim's Avatar
    still waiting for the actual news post

    this was a teaser, right?
  1. Pananys's Avatar
    Interesting stuff!
  1. cbeefman's Avatar
    I'm still waiting for the news.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by warcraftmew View Post
    dude you dnt even need to keybind in raids anyway ive tried raiding its the most tedious thing in wow i can eat my dinner while raiding all you have to do is spam a few buttons raiding cos your tank takes the damage and if you get hit the healers heal you seriously a butt hurt raider cos theres actually some pvp changes for once. us PVPers hav had to put up with next to no content for years and as soon as we get something people like you start whining dnt like the changes dnt log in this forum and quit wow simple as that.
    Yes, LFR is tedious and boring. Also others rushing you trough a raid is also boring.

    And yes, you can eat your dinner while pvping. Anyone can while they are dead after failing in both pve and pvp, and the others can't or don't even care about ressing you. Even if you're alive (like in LFR) you can while getting chain CCed (or chain CCing others).

    Why pvp wannabes (wich are basically LFR heroes pretending to be heroic raiders/expert pvp players) pretend that pvp is hard when you even have addons telling you what to interrupt, when and who to focus, etc.?
  1. Moradim's Avatar
    the problem with pvp isn't just CC, it's class design.

    every single caster has like 90 instant cast spells. devs need to look at the term "caster" and think long and hard about what that means.
  1. Traxex9080's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Infernix View Post
    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?
    What CD's did you line up during burn phases exactly besides the ones listed? You'll still have your own personal CDs that you will have to line up during burn phase. If anything its no different that how it was in BC or wrath when there was no skull banner and shit.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Moradim View Post
    the problem with pvp isn't just CC, it's class design.

    every single caster has like 90 instant cast spells. devs need to look at the term "caster" and think long and hard about what that means.
    Not sure if you read the post but they mentioned adding cast times to many spells because they know that there are too many instant cast spells.
  1. Azrile'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.)

    Then you don´t tank or heal. it isn´t about ´big numbers´ it is about quickly recognizing that 7353034 is 10 times as much as 735034. When those two numbers are flashing across your screen and you have to make a split second decision and try to decide ´is that a serious thing or something that can wait´.

    Again, we get it.. dps who only care about looking at numbers after a fight so they can epeen think it is a ´slap in the face´. But tanks in particular have to react quickly to stuff and being able to tell an 8 digit number for a 7 digit number isn´t easy when you have 10 other things going on.
  1. Traxex9080's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Drahkais View Post
    It's like you've never played Warrior!

    FYI it isn't advisable even now to macro those together unless you are somehow the only Warrior in your guild. Nevermind that with Evil Eye the CDs don't line up right now.

    Skull Banner was one of the more interesting CDs Warrior had. It is dumbing down, apparently not mashing in all of your CDs at once and avoiding something as simple as not overlapping the effect is too much for people these days.

    Of all CDs Warrior had this was the last one I would call bloat.
    You might be right on the fact that it wasn't really a "bloat" spell. Though you're wrong in the fact that removing such spell dumbs the game down further. It doesn't do that in any way shape or form. Did you yourself have to prioritize when to drop the banner? No, your guild did. Likely on burn phases. You did nothing but press a button on your keyboard much like heroism. It doesn't make the warrior class any easier or harder with or without that spell.
  1. Azrile's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Teebu View Post
    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.
    They almost had to hardcode something special. They said repeatedly that soloing old content will not be harder because of item squish. My guess is the devs were right and could have made it feel very similar. But more than likely there will be some boss or something that will feel slightly harder, so in order to shut up the people who say ´you lied blizzard the 3rd boss of X dungeon took me 28 seconds to kill and before it only took me 25 seconds´.. so instead of just keeping it the same, they are going to nerf old content even more to ensure they are easier than they are now.
  1. Barnabos's Avatar
    Hei guise, they are taking away two (or more) of those abilities I never use, they are dumbing down the game.

    Hei guise, they never promised us a massive info dump, now I'm mad because they lied to me cuz this isn't a big info dump.

    Hei guise, PvP will be mindless because I have to think about when to use my CC


    Hei guise
  1. Soeroah's Avatar
    Awful lot of people thinking this is all Blizzard was working on.

    They're splitting the 'massive infodump' into multiple themed blog posts they'll probably post once every day or couple of days, guys. This isn't everything they were 'hyping' up, although I did think they were initially going to post it all at once myself.

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