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. Demona3's Avatar
    ~~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.

    THANK GOD. I REALLY hope this applies to rogues, because trinketing a stun, then getting re-stunned is complete bullshit.
  1. carlos5577's Avatar
    You know what guys, Dota 2 has like only 4 spell (most of the heroes, some heores only have one or two lol) and at most people use only 4 item abilities, which at a total only comes down to like 8-12 keybinds (more if you were to micro). It has so much less keybinds yet it is more complex and harder to master than in WoW. I just want to put this out to point out that the number of buttons you have to press doesn't automatically mean complex and sophisticated, each spell/ability has to have a clear goal at what it does in my opinion a lot of spells in wow just do the exact same thing (like the cooldowns they were talking about that just make you more powerful for a brief period of time). I also want to say that the nerf to big numbers is a good thing, now it will be easier and clearer to distinguish between gear which is essential in any RPG.
  1. jimme's Avatar
    Won't the removal of several CDs and the diminishing of burst effects, severely reduce what can be done with raid encounters? If you take out you ability to make an encounter that has dps checks put into the encounter. Mobs that needs to die fast etc. Lets take paragons as an example. Korven encases one of the bosses in amber and you need to kill the non-incased mob before amber regeneration is up again. There has been plenty of encounters along the way that had such requirements, and removing this aspect could make encounters bland.
  1. chosenkiwi's Avatar
    Well... that was all brand new information...
  1. ganodorf's Avatar
    very interesting stuff..................................................................................... ........you were teasing us the last week for this crap?
  1. segoplout's Avatar
    All seems like a massive step in right direction. Keep up the good work Blizz!
  1. Alltat's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jimme View Post
    Won't the removal of several CDs and the diminishing of burst effects, severely reduce what can be done with raid encounters? If you take out you ability to make an encounter that has dps checks put into the encounter. Mobs that needs to die fast etc. Lets take paragons as an example. Korven encases one of the bosses in amber and you need to kill the non-incased mob before amber regeneration is up again. There has been plenty of encounters along the way that had such requirements, and removing this aspect could make encounters bland.
    Do cooldowns actually add anything to fights like Korven's amber? Everyone is going to save their cooldowns for when that happens, so the health of the amber has to be tuned around everyone using their cooldowns. With fewer cooldowns, the amber will have slightly less health.

    It's not as if you ever really had a choice - everyone uses their cooldowns on Korven. It's a button you push, no thought required.
  1. MasterHamster's Avatar
    ITT: Players who can't spot the difference between "dumbing down" and reducing unnecessary bloat.
    Don't worry, we'll still have about 4 times the amount of abilities required to dominate BC pvp.
  1. Casomir's Avatar
    The first thing I'm gonna do when I hit lvl 100 isn't going to be a dungeon or a raid, but I have a marathon of soloing old content.
  1. papajohn4'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.
    You don't need complex rotations and 10000 abilities to make the game difficult. You can make the encounters and mechanics difficult instead. See FFXIV for example...classes have very few abilities as rotation yet raid and hard modes and extreme modes are very difficult to do. The difference is that in FFXIV you play the game not the UI. This also apply to any action-combat game (GW2, Tera). In the most scenarios, difficulty on rotations is a failure from the game to make difficult content and rely on player struggle with rotations and UI to overcome the content. Also, most people think that wow was difficult on TBC yet classes in TBC had less abilities than we have now.
  1. Thirdofherne's Avatar
    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.
    So pre-90 content will be even EASIER than it is now? HOW is that possible? We can already solo most dungeons at the 'correct' level???
  1. Sainur's Avatar
    Hahahahahaahhahaha. Massive infodump my arse. All disarms removed... gg Blizzard. Not.

    But the fanboys in these comments who are extremely disappointed kinda made my day. Getting hyped over nothing, lmao.
  1. Nhodjin's Avatar
    Yeah, so according to ppl here having x amount of abilites to press = skill. Say that to MOBA pro's, since those games are so simple to play at the highest level of competition, right? These changes are great for getting the average joe back in the game, and a as a vanilla player i welcome it.
  1. Powk's Avatar
    Welcome changes, Loving the QQ as well... Some people will never be happy.
    TBC was difficult due to tuning and at the time "new" boss mechanics to some degree... not the amount of abilities.
    Good job Blizz - keep it coming.
  1. Ryuuki's Avatar
    http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...ed-WoD-Racials

    Seems to be correct thus far.
  1. Killyox's Avatar
    Liking most changes to cc and so on.
  1. Darkinfinity's Avatar
    NOOOOOOOOO!!!! Leave my Cyclone alone plz!!!
  1. Killyox's Avatar
    complex =/ hard

    simple =/ easy

    Just because Billard is simple, same as footbal and lots of other sports, does not mean they are simple.

    It's all about who do you compete against
  1. Nazmina's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Granyala View Post
    Hmm. Not much of interest there.
    Great. So Shadow silence will once again be completely useless in PvE due to most mobs being immune. /golfclap

    They are talking about binary spells.
    EG: Shadow silece has 2 components: One works like counterspell and a blanket silence.
    On players you only feel the blanket silence, but due to the interrupt component you can still interrupt casts from mobs that are immune to the silence effect itself.

    It's a retarded PVE nerf I really don't understand.
    It's a pvp nerf, as is priest silence never interrupts players even ones current immune to silence effects, there is no reason to believe blizzard will remove the functionality of silence spells to interupt silence immune npcs.

    This is meant only to remove blanket silences from primary interrupt abilities like spell lock(felhunter/observer) counterspell, and spearhand strike.ect.
  1. Thirdofherne's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Killyox View Post
    complex =/ hard

    simple =/ easy

    Just because Billard is simple, same as footbal and lots of other sports, does not mean they are simple.

    It's all about who do you compete against
    Yup and when the PvE content you compete against is already pi$$ easy, making it more so is... EASIER. Simple has no bearing.

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