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  1. #1

    Warlords of Draenor Dev Watercooler: Building Healthy Gameplay

    Warlords of Draenor Dev Watercooler: Building Healthy Gameplay
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Last week, we talked about squishing stats and pruning unnecessary complexity as part of our ongoing design goals for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. This time, we'll look at a few topics all related to one vital element: health.

    Player Health and Resilience
    In the next expansion, we’re planning several interconnected changes designed to provide better-tuned gameplay for healers and improve the healing dynamic in PvP.

    The high amount of base Resilience and Battle Fatigue in Mists of Pandaria currently causes characters to feel much weaker in PvP than they do in PvE. To address this disparity, we’re approaching Warlords of Draenor with the goal of shrinking that gap as much as possible. To reduce dependence on Resilience, we needed to increase player survivability against other players, and we chose to do this by essentially doubling (post-squish) player health.


    On its own, that increase in health would make players more survivable in the world at large, so we’re also increasing creature damage and the effectiveness of healing spells to balance things out. The net result of these changes is that individual attacks will knock a smaller chunk off of a player’s health pool in PvP, but your survivability in PvE won’t be affected.

    Doubling player health gave us room to reduce Resilience and Battle Fatigue, but our goal was to be able to remove them entirely. In order to achieve that, we’re also reducing PvP spike damage across the board by lowering Critical Damage and Critical Heals to 150% of their normal effect (down from 200%).

    Our hope is that these changes allow us to reduce Base Resilience and Battle Fatigue to 0%. It’s possible that we’ll still find a need for some minor amount of Base Resilience and/or Battle Fatigue, and we’ll be testing these changes extensively and adjusting as needed.


    Retuning Healing Spells

    One of our goals for healing in Warlords of Draenor is to tone down the raw throughput of healers relative to the size of player health pools. Currently, as healers and their allies acquire better and better gear, the percentage of a player’s health that any given heal restores increases significantly. As a result, healers are able to refill health bars so fast that we have to make damage more and more “bursty” in order to challenge them. Ideally, we want players to spend some time below full health without having healers feel like the players they’re responsible for are in danger of dying at any moment. We also think that healer gameplay would be more varied, interesting, and skillful if your allies spent more time between 0% and 100%, rather than just getting damaged quickly to low health, forcing the healer to then scramble to get them back to 100% as quickly as possible.


    To that end, we’re buffing heals less than we’re increasing creature damage. Heals will be deliberately less potent compared to health pools than before the item squish. Additionally, as gear improves, the scaling rates of health and healing will now be very similar, so the relative power of any given healing spell shouldn’t climb so much over the course of this expansion. For those concerned about what this means for raiding, don’t worry—we’re taking all of these changes into account when designing Raid content for Warlords of Draenor.

    It’s also important to note that spells that heal based on a percentage of maximum health are being effectively buffed by the massive increase to player health pools, so we’re lowering those percentages to offset the effect. That may make them appear to have been nerfed—however, the net result is that those percentage-based heals stay about the same as before relative to other heals.

    All of these changes apply to damage-absorption shields as well. Additionally, we're toning down the power of absorbs in general. When they get too strong, absorption effects are often used in place of direct healing instead of as a way to supplement it. We will, of course, take these changes into account when tuning specializations that rely heavily on absorbs, such as Discipline Priests.

    We also took a look at healing spells that were passive or auto-targeted (so-called "smart" heals).

    We want healers to care about who they're targeting and which heals they're using, because that makes healer gameplay more interactive and fun. To that end, we're reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets, of course.

    Another of our goals for healing in this expansion is to strike a better balance between single-target and multi-target healing spells. We've taken a close look at the mana efficiency of our multi-target heals, and in many cases, we're reducing their efficiency, usually by reducing the amount they heal. Sometimes, but more rarely, raising their mana cost was a better decision. We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face an interesting choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

    Finally, we're removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave, because we think that while they do add complexity, they don’t truly add depth to healing gameplay. (We’re also renaming some spells to re-use those names. For example, Greater Healing Wave is being redubbed Healing Wave.) However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs. Here are some examples from each healer class:


    Druid Higher Efficiency: Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, Efflorescence
    Druid Higher Throughput: Regrowth, Wild Growth

    Monk Higher Efficiency: Soothing Mist, Renewing Mist
    Monk Higher Throughput: Surging Mist, Spinning Crane Kick

    Paladin Higher Efficiency: Holy Light, Holy Shock, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn
    Paladin Higher Throughput: Flash of Light, Holy Radiance

    Priest Higher Efficiency: Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Holy Nova (new Discipline-only version), Penance
    Priest Higher Throughput: Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing

    Shaman Higher Efficiency: Healing Wave, Riptide, Healing Rain
    Shaman Higher Throughput: Healing Surge, Chain Heal

    All of this discussion of efficiency may cause most healers to start worrying about mana regeneration and their mana pool. To allay those concerns, we’ve increased base mana regen a great deal at early gear levels, while having it scale up less at later gear levels. This will make all of these changes play well even in early content such as Heroic Dungeons and the first tier of Raid content, and also play well in the final Raid tier without mana and efficiency becoming irrelevant due to extremely high regeneration values.

    That’s a lot of big changes for healers: reduced throughput, more triage, less powerful “smart” heals, weaker absorbs, fewer spells, and a new focus on efficiency decisions. We’re confident that we can apply lessons learned from previous expansions to make this the best healer experience yet: more dynamic, engaging, non-punishing, and frankly a lot more fun.


    Instant-Cast Heals


    Over time, healers have gained a bigger and bigger arsenal of heals that they can cast while on the move, which removes the inherent cost that movement is intended to have for them, while also limiting players’ ability to counter healing in PvP. This left silences and crowd control (which we’re trying to curb—see "Pruning the Garden of War") as the only ways to actually limit an enemy player's healing output. We're still preserving the option to instantly heal, but are reducing the number of instant-cast healing abilities overall. Here are some examples:

    Druid
    • Wild Growth (Restoration) now has a 1.5-second cast time.

    Monk
    • Uplift (Mistweaver) now has a 1.5-second cast time.

    Paladin
    • Eternal Flame and Word of Glory now each have a 1.5-second cast time when specced Holy.
    • Light of Dawn now has a 1.5-second cast time.

    Priest
    • Cascade, Divine Star, and Halo now each have a 1.5-second cast time.
    • Prayer of Mending now has a 1.5-second cast time.

    All of these changes taken together are intended to make gameplay more consistent between PvE and PvP, and invigorate healers with more dynamic gameplay.

    These are only some of the many changes that you’ll be seeing as we continue development, and what we’ve shared so far is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. We hope that as we share more with you here, on the official site, the forums, and on Twitter, you’ll get a good understanding of what’s to come in Warlords of Draenor and the direction we’re working toward. As always, keep in mind that any of this information could change over the course of the testing process. We look forward to seeing your constructive feedback!
    Last edited by Boubouille; 2014-03-07 at 03:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Stood in the Fire Denizly's Avatar
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    First!
    Also as a dps in PvP i love the instant cast changes

  3. #3
    Keyboard Turner Thravia's Avatar
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    EDIT: Damn, thought I had my first first here.

    But cool heal changes.. or.. something.

  4. #4
    It kind of sounds like gearing up a healer just got a lot less rewarding.

    On the plus side I guess Resto Druids won't endlessly run around pillars while still pumping out massive heals in PVP anymore.

  5. #5
    RIP Discipline Priests.

  6. #6
    The Lightbringer Toffie's Avatar
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    These changes will likely make me delete my Disc priest -.-

  7. #7
    Didn't they try something like that in Cataclysm?

    Ps: And then we doubled it

  8. #8
    These priest changes are awful

  9. #9
    So... Ice Lance cast time when?

  10. #10
    Brewmaster Mazi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thyranne View Post
    Didn't they try something like that in Cataclysm?

    Ps: And then we doubled it
    Cataclysm healing was actually really good IMO

  11. #11
    1 Week for such a worthless Blog.

  12. #12
    God I love these changes. They most likely reduce spirit bond and chimera shot % heals but that's fine (I play hunter). It'll also be nice how it will most likely complement healer play, seeing as it's more triage work then instant full in one cast. I am very very pleased with the need, for now, at looking at getting rid of resilience and battle fatigue. Vanilla days only without being fireballed once and pom pyro'd instantly after in an instant gib!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Mazi View Post
    Cataclysm healing was actually really good IMO
    I don't know I've never healed before.

  14. #14
    Stood in the Fire Xanda's Avatar
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    "Doubling player health gave us room to reduce Resilience and Battle Fatigue, but our goal was to be able to remove them entirely. In order to achieve that, we’re also reducing PvP spike damage across the board by lowering Critical Damage and Critical Heals to 150% of their normal effect (down from 200%)."

    I wonder if it's only for PVP.
    "Man knows- he knows that nothing will begin unless he speaks. And nothing will change, unless he knows."


  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by PuppetShowJustice View Post
    It kind of sounds like gearing up a healer just got a lot less rewarding.
    My concern right now, what is the point of gearing, is just to be in pair with content, not to be more powerful

  16. #16
    Scarab Lord Azutael's Avatar
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    I'm not convinced yet, still a long way to go with making healing fun and interesting again.

  17. #17
    I just really hope they buff the former instant cast spells, or make them 'castable while moving', or else they'll dramatically change when and how those spells or used. That kind of thing worries me, because a lot of those instant casts were extremely useful in situations that require you to move around a lot.

  18. #18
    I keep seeing things like
    more dynamic, engaging, non-punishing, and frankly a lot more fun.
    and
    We want healers to care about who they're targeting and which heals they're using, because that makes healer gameplay more interactive and fun.
    I'm sorry, that is NOT fun to me. I like things like big heals and smart heals. It's not like you don't have to pay attention when healing now, but at least at low damage times or easier content you can relax a bit. Won't be possible in WoD. And who thinks casting 10 tiny, tiny heals that you can't even see on the healthbar is more fun then one big heal, healing for 10 times as much? The big heals take longer to cast and cost more mana, so it's already a choice to use them or not, but in WoD even the big heals will do little. I'm sure I'm not the only healer not liking any of these changes

  19. #19
    Scarab Lord Zka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazi View Post
    Cataclysm healing was actually really good IMO
    It was. However it felt very weak for shielding for about 10% of tank maxhp in the first tier - after shielding for 20-30% in LK.
    Looks like we're back to that amount. I'm a bit sad to see cast time on PoM, but I trust them to balance things around the new toolset, so no worries.

    Disappointing or not, I liked BC heals the most. Spam some downranked shit on tank and be scared shitless when you have to move as boss melee swings were actually fucking huge. Well not always, but most of the time.

    Retired raider coming back for WoD.
    WoD BETA CLUB

  20. #20
    Apparently, the developers have completely forgotten Cata. I'm stunned to see so many bad ideas in one blog. My feeling is that healing in MoP has been the best it has ever been. Now they want to put healers back to where they were in Cata, ya know, the most fail expansion ever released. I realize that human beings are great at reinventing the wheel now and then but why does Blizzard always do it on the back of healers in this game.

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