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. Tofifi's Avatar
    Mr. Bone's wild ride theme park.
  1. ShadowForge's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Moradim View Post
    TL;DR, "we're dumbing down the game for idiots"

    I would love to hear one case of someone raiding that complains they have too many keybinds.

    crap! I have too many options! better streamline everything so even a complete moron can be successful!
    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.
  1. Bullettime's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Moradim View Post
    TL;DR, "we're dumbing down the game for idiots"

    I would love to hear one case of someone raiding that complains they have too many keybinds.

    crap! I have too many options! better streamline everything so even a complete moron can be successful!
    More of why exactly do we need to have some of the things bound that we do.

    Why does a Warrior have two keybinds for two different cooldowns that are always used with each other and never used alone? Paladins as well. For a Warrior for example, you have two binds for Banner and Recklessness but they're NEVER used apart.

    Why do classes like Hunters, Monks, and Warriors have so many super situational skills or abilities that have a single usage like to slow for a few seconds when more of these effects are being baked into other skills for other classes/specs and auto applied? Hamstring, Concussive Shot, Disable, Widow Venom, etc. These still take up binds.

    Why do some classes like Hunters have garbage left in their spellbook that are barely ever used like Beast Lore and Feed Pet?
  1. Paula Deen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Infernix View Post
    Pretty much. This saddens me that the game is turning into Baby's First MMO.
    Literally the dumbest thing I think I have ever read. WoW has always been that. ALWAYS!!!!!!!!

    It was a more casual Everquest, seriously holy shit people, get a grip.
  1. iriecolorado's Avatar
    Does anybody know when they're going to release this "massive info-dump of exciting and new information?"
  1. dromango's Avatar
    ''Cyclone can now be dispelled by immunities and Mass Dispel.

    Does that mean pallies can dispel cyclones?

    Holy snakes, pvp might be fun again!
  1. smartazjb0y's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Infernix View Post
    Pretty much. This saddens me that the game is turning into Baby's First MMO.
    gaiz im smart cuz i good at raiding.

    Grow up dude, no one cares that you're "l33t" and can press 5 buttons as opposed to 4
  1. Darkener's Avatar
    Here's a preview of the "Health and Healing" water cooler blog:

    "We think healing should be fun. In WoD, healing will be fun. We know it will, because we said so. Health will be fun to heal. We think you should be smart, and not your healing spells. Therefore, we are introducing a brand new concept that we are just announcing now, it is called "not quite so smart healing". Before, when you cast a smart heal it would typically always heal the lowest health player(s). Now, with the revolutionary and fun new healing approach your heals will "not necessarily always heal" the lowest health player(s). But maybe they will, you just don't really know and that's the most exciting change introduced to healing since the very first release of World of Warcraft. Oh, and you will lose 20% of your healing spells, because that is more fun than having to deal with 20% more healing spells than the amount of healing spells we decided was fun.

    We hope you enjoyed learning about the new fun way of healing in WoD, and in the next blog we will talk about some exciting new changes we like to call "normal is the new flexible" raid.
  1. Finny'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.
    You and all the other morons seemed to have glanced over the last sentence of the post saying there would be a next another. This isn't all the information they were talking about, they broke it up into more than one post. It makes it easier to digest and read through. I wouldn't be surprised if this became a mini series.
  1. Schizoide's Avatar
    All blog posts are seriously underwhelming compared to that first mmo-champ beta patch datamine. This one had almost no specific info at all, so it was particularly yawn-worthy. Celestalon is giving out some juicy info on his twitter, though.
  1. ToxTheWrecker's Avatar
    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.
  1. Aliok's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Toiran View Post
    "[email protected] Night Elves' Quickness also increases movement speed by 2% passively. They also got a new passive which is quite unique..."

    Well, there is a tiny bit of racial info.
    He also tweeted a follow-up. I think he's serious.
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    (Remember, no more haste breakpoints!) Touch of Elune, a new passive which grants 1% Haste at night, 1% Crit during the day. (Source)
  1. Magewang's Avatar
    Those graphs with their flacid snakes showing player power are enough to get anybody excited!
  1. MAXCAVALERA's Avatar
    Great changes , needed.
  1. dDic's Avatar
    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?
  1. edmorte's Avatar
    Big ideas, implementation remains to be seem.

    Blizz lost its credit with me, i only believe when i see it. I bet a lot of QQ will change a lot of good stuff planed.
  1. Hitei's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Moradim View Post
    TL;DR, "we're dumbing down the game for idiots"

    I would love to hear one case of someone raiding that complains they have too many keybinds.

    crap! I have too many options! better streamline everything so even a complete moron can be successful!
    Or maybe it isn't for raiding?
  1. Therec's Avatar
    Removing ability bloat doesn't fix the terribads. Fire will still be on the ground, and they will still stand in it and die. If I can pop a single CD every 1.5 minutes instead of macroing 4 then it makes no difference.
  1. mestido's Avatar
    When the 90 boost be available? I wanna start playing again...
  1. Terminal Lance's Avatar
    The new info is trickling in now. Jesus peeps, have some patience

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