I wanted to take a moment to provide context for some of the Patch 5.4 class changes that we’ve been making. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to get acquainted with the 5.4 PTR Patch Notes.
Now that Mists of Pandaria has been out a few weeks, we wanted to let you all know what we consider working well in PvP, what we want to improve, and what might or might not be coming down the pike.
Head enchants are gone. We decided that putting head enchants on the various faction vendors wasn't working well with our design intentions.
We recently added account-level changes to achievements in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, and there’s still a lot of work left before we’re done. The plan here is to illustrate the intent behind our design, which should in turn help you figure out the answers to many of your questions.
Hey, how about that landslide of Mists of Pandaria information? It has taken a few days, and will probably take a few more, for the nuance of everything to really sink in. One of the topics we've been getting lots of questions about is the crazy new loot model we're introducing in Mists. We’ve answered several related questions in the forums, but thought it might be prudent to just put all the information in one place.
One design that we haven’t focused on much yet is the plan for various group buffs and debuffs. Some specs have their buffs in place and some do not. Rather than trying to describe each omission, we thought we’d just dump the whole design on you here. As with the rest of the expansion’s systems, we’re not even in beta yet, so there’s plenty of time for things to change. First, some underlying design goals, so you might understand where we’re coming from.
Our recent talent calculator changes led to some players asking questions about how character and item stats were changing, because some spell and talent tooltips suggest that changes are coming. We compiled this list to attempt to explain more of what’s coming in Mists of Pandaria.
A monsoon is coming. We will soon inundate you with Mists of Pandaria information, starting with the upcoming media event and everything that follows. It’s going to be a very exciting time for World of Warcraft, and we are all super impatient for it to happen. But… we’re not quite there yet.
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback on our crazy, exciting, and scary talent overhaul, for which we are enormously appreciative. For real and for true. We *want* your feedback on the new talents. That is why we are presenting so much detail so early. While we will continue to iterate on talent specifics, your feedback is an important part of that process. Don’t abstain because you’re convinced that things will change without you. Your input is one of our most important tools for improving the game.
Back in June, I wrote a blog explaining the context behind some of the changes in the upcoming patch that might not be intuitively obvious. That blog ended up being one of the most popular ones we’ve ever done; even players who disagreed with the specific changes appreciated our explanations for what we were trying to accomplish. Therefore, we’d like to continue in that fashion and we figured there was no reason to wait until 4.3 was “on the shelves” to get the ball rolling.
A lot of game design is striking a balance, and I use that term not only to mean making sure that all the various classes are reasonably fair, but also to mean that it’s easy to go to one extreme or the other. You even have to strike a balance in how many changes you make. I wanted to discuss today some of our philosophy on change, how much is too much, and when we think a change is necessary.
One of the fun things about working on an MMO is that the game design will evolve over time, and you have the opportunity to make changes to reflect those design shifts. (And yes, we know that it can sometimes evolve too quickly). Back in December, I wrote a blog post about our vision for how threat should work. Since then, the game and the community have continued to progress and the designers have found ourselves changing our minds about the role of threat. Enough that we’re planning to apply a hotfix this week to change how threat works.
We understand that raw patch notes don’t always provide enough context for changes to the game, so we thought we’d take a moment to explain some of our logic behind the buffs and nerfs coming in the 4.2 “Rage of the Firelands” patch.
How many abilities should a max-level class have? This is something I ponder at least once a day and is a regular topic in nearly all of our class design meetings. Even if you pick a magic number, how many of those should be core rotational abilities versus abilities that are used rarely?
‘Dev Watercooler’ is a blog series that provides an inside look into the thoughts and discussions happening within the World of Warcraft development team. In our first entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostctrawler" Street laid down a few ground rules: No promises. Don’t read too much between the lines. No whining about the choice of topics we cover.
"Dev Watercooler" is a blog series that provides an inside look into the thoughts and discussions happening within the World of Warcraft development team. In our first entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostctrawler" Street laid down a few ground rules: 1. No promises are being made in these Dev Watercooler blogs. 2. Don't read too much between the lines. 3. No complaints about the topic not being what you want to see covered.
A re spellcast interrupt abilities, such as Kick, too good? It’s easy to make that argument. We think their ease of use and low cooldown has led to a whole cascade of events in PvP. Because interrupts are so good, casters without a lot of instant spells or mobility are weak. For that reason, we tend to give casters a lot of instant spells or movement abilities, and casters who excel at those (say, Frost mages) are very powerful, while those without (say, Elemental shaman) have more difficulty.
So how is the view from way up here? It’s great actually -- we’re really happy with how Cataclysm is going so far, and we have big surprises on the horizon. On the other hand, there are details you can see at ground level that you can’t make out from 10,000 feet.
We addressed our views on dungeon difficulty several weeks ago, and in the interim many players have asked for us to comment on raid difficulty.
In case you aren't already aware, Luck of the Draw is the name of the buff you get for grouping with random people using Dungeon Finder. It currently provides a 5% buff to damage, healing, and health if you have at least one random player in your group. With patch 4.0.6, we are increasing this buff to 5% damage, healing, and health per random player, up to a maximum of 15%. Jump inside for the skinny.
We've seen and heard a lot of discussion about the challenge presented by the Cataclysm Heroic dungeons, and to a lesser extent the raids. I'm not sure this is the kind of issue where we're going to be able to change anyone’s mind on the subject, but I can try to provide more insight into our point of view as well as offer some suggestions for success.
We have a lot of players at 85 now doing everything from Heroic dungeons to rated Battlegrounds, and the class design team is starting to prepare our list of items to investigate for our next patch.
A tank’s job is to protect the group. A big part of that is controlling the enemy. A big part of controlling the enemy is staying alive. Tanks have a lot of tools to stay alive, and mastering those is a major component of learning to play a tank. On the other hand, some of these tools are on long cooldowns, and on some encounters they are intended for use at specific moments in the fight. Furthermore, staying alive isn’t the sole responsibility of the tank, because there will always be one or more healers present whose job it is to keep the tank alive. As such, staying alive can’t be the only thing tanks have to focus on.
When we itemize armor and weapons, we nearly always give them a set amount of Stamina and a set amount of Strength, Agility, or Intellect. We call these the primary stats. The secondary stats include haste, dodge, crit, and mastery, as well as stats with cap targets, like hit and expertise. I'll discuss those, as well as Spirit, a little later.