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World of Warcraft class rebalance detailed

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 05:56 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Blizzard has gone into further detail on how and why it intends to rebalance World of Warcraft’s classes in an upcoming update, to the usual roars of “nerf”, “OP” and “rage quit”.

In a developer blog post on the upcoming patch 5.4, lead systems designer Greg Street ran through the proposed changes to each class, many of which are already included in the public test of the update.

The full post is well worth a read, as are the patch notes, but it’s a little difficult to parse for general interest readers; in short, some of the changes have whipped players into a frothing rage.

“I know it can feel like the developers are out to punish players sometimes, but really our primary goal is to keep everyone having fun,” Street said in his accompanying notes.

“That includes redesigning awkward mechanics and buffing weak spells, but it also means nerfing overpowered mechanics so that other classes or specs don’t feel as if they can’t compete.

“I won’t pretend that we’ll get everything perfect this time around either, but we should be closer. Please keep providing us with specific, constructive feedback. We still have time to respond to feedback, even after the patch launches.”

Thanks, Polygon.

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16 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    The way you do this is simple:

    1.) Resign yourself to not be lazy and ham-fisted. Subtlety and planning are the order of the day. It’s easy to just follow bias and proclaim something as overpowered, but objectivity really must be of great import. I’ve seen MMOs where a designer has a clear love for one class and that’s dominated the balances so that that class is always the best. I remember WoW had periods like that, where it was Druid, then Warrior, and so on. Plan it out and have it peer reviewed. Don’t be cheap and lazy.

    2.) Look at imbalance as something others can’t do, not as something one can do too much. If you were to solve the rich-poor balance of the world, better to make more people on the verge of richer, rather than destitute. Buff the classes and adjust the difficulty of the overall game as necessary. This way you’re creating an even playing field, and if people think that the game is too easy, then you can adjust the difficulty even more. However, this would probably cut into WoW’s profit margin as the entire profitability scheme of WoW is to convince the player to grind for another month to gain a short-lived feeling of power, before falling back into the grind.

    3.) Stop looking at your players like wallets and consider how they’d feel about the changes. This ties into one and being ham-fisted, but sweeping changes are bad. I believe WoW has had plenty of these, where entire classes and trees have been redesigned in single patches, leaving people clueless and with broken characters. Make smaller iterative changes over a longer period and solicit feedback as to whether the players like the changes thus far, and make your overall plan for a class public so that people can offer their thoughts on the direction of the class. Same for the direction of the game itself.

    4.) Place a lesser reliance on gear and levels, The Secret World has taken the first few steps here and it seems like Everquest Next will take it further. This is something to look into. Vertical progression introduces power creep; this is because the players are constantly expecting to grow stronger with each levels, and then you add more levels so they expect to be stronger, and so on. However, if you have no levels you have a roof at the start of the game for how powerful a character can be, then you just brach out from there horizontally. You reward people with peeks into exciting new playstyles, eventually leading to them playing their character very differently thanks to the abilities they unlocked. Thus a player ends up with a cadre of very, very unique and different abilities that they can use to construct their own sorts of classes. Having Fireball, then Telekinesis, then Freeze Ray is more fun than Fireball I, Fireball II, Fireball III.

    Of course, we can see why this can’t happen with WoW, but it’s definitely good advice for any budding MMO developer.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    “Of course, we can see why this can’t happen with WoW, but it’s definitely good advice for any budding MMO developer.”

    Everything you mentioned in that list is exactly what WoW does.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. GwynbleiddiuM

    I’m happy with the DK changes to blood, I only wish they could buff Unholy just a bit tho, since it has always been my choice spec.

    @1 I really wanna know when did you start playing WoW and when did you quit . It’s just everything you say about the general development attitude of Blizzard and most of the time the game itself is so off that I wonder if you have ever really played it.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. silkvg247

    That’s a lot to read – can anyone tell me if the core pvp issues have been addressed at all?

    e.g. Invulnerable druid healers (when geared) ditto blood DKs with unlimited regen?

    I stopped playing because beating down on a single target which can’t even be hurt was as much fun as sticking pins in my eyes – and yes I do mean including using all available stuns and interrupts.

    I play a fury warr (played, 6 months ago); I’m surprised they buffed arms and not fury, pretty sure Arms is *already* the spec people bitch about in PvP.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. viralshag

    @2 & 3, You’re obviously just covering for the game because you’re both “brand zombies”. Of course he’s played the game recently and long before that. I mean, it would be ridiculous for someone to criticise a game for something it’s not actually guilty of doing!

    Anyway on topic, I miss WoW still. Such a good MMO and probably the best I’ve ever played. I was never really a hardcore PvPer other than a short stint in the arena with a friend, we were ok but nothing worth bragging about, so rebalances and “nerfing” never really bothered me.

    I just enjoyed playing my classes and filling for missing raiders in the guild from time to time. Maybe once I get through the new games over the next month or two and the weather turns shit again I might jump back on for a bit.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. GwynbleiddiuM

    @Silk Fury is currently the spec to go for max DPS between the 2 dps specs. Single minded is even better compared to Titan. Arms is somewhat behind the fury and has rage issues. And people were asking for a bit of buff for it.

    @Viral :D

    #6 2 years ago
  7. silkvg247

    @6 Weird, in PvP it was the other way around and people mocked me for going fury (until they dueled me and died).

    I found SMF worse in PvP because you want high burst since burst is kind of your thing ie you want high numbers when popping cooldowns – did some tests and Titans did more damage during burst every time.. SMF better overall.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. silkvg247

    Just read up on 5.3 and 5.4 – sounds like in 5.3 a lot changed in PvP, including the much needed squashing of rating 2200 gear having a crazy advantage vs other players. So I might give it another shot.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. deathm00n

    Never played WoW, always wanted to. Some years back I had a lot of time but I had no money, my parents would not allow me to pay monthly for games. Now that I’m independent, I have money but no time. Life is hard people, life is hard…

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Ireland Michael

    @5 Brand zombie? Seriously? I quit the game for a year and a half when the quality of its content wasn’t up to snuff. I’m no “brand zombie”.

    I’m “defending” the game because his complaint is invalid, simple as that. The balance in the game is fairly solid right now, with only very small gaps in the numbers some classes can pull out. The game has dedicated class designers, and it *does* make unpopular class changes, instead of following user bias.

    Pretty much everything he said about the game’s class balance is invalid. Quite literally every single thing.

    Edit: Oh wait, you’re being facetious and taking the mickey out of him, aren’t you? =P

    Sometimes I have trouble telling salarta and TheWulf apart. It’s like two clones split into two.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. GwynbleiddiuM

    @IM Yeah I think he was being sarcastic :D

    @Silk I myself am not that into PVP, so pretty much what I said was PVE-wise. :P

    #11 2 years ago
  12. since86

    I think the variations depend on how you play your character; PvP,PVE or RP

    #12 2 years ago
  13. viralshag

    @10, Yes, I am. :D

    I was going to make the exact comment you and Gwyn made in #2 & #3 but I figured there’s no point. He has a thing against WoW and that’s clear whenever he makes a comment related to it. It doesn’t matter that he’s been pulled up on it every time because he comes back and then makes the same incorrect comments later.

    I just find it somewhat amusing because he bangs on about his “wisdom”, “spreading misinformation” and that “brand zombie” nonsense but then blindly lays into something based on incorrect and outdated criticisms that might never have existed.

    Just like the long post about X Rebirth being “quaint” and how they need to make a space sim properly, where you play as pilot connected to the ship cybernetically the ship in third person. I left it to someone else to tell him what he was describing was EvE.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    @13 Its always easy to be right when you ignore everything that proves you wrong.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DSB

    When I read posts like that, this goes off in my head:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK6TXMsvgQg

    Helps keep me from doing something futile, like trying to “cure” whatever the fuck is wrong with that person :P

    My problem as a Rogue was when Blizzard started wanting to pigeonhole the builds once Lich King came along.

    During Burning Crusade, the prevailing logic was that Swords was the pan-ultimate build for a Rogue, and the theorycrafting would seem to support it, but personally I thought there was a pretty decent shot at the 5% crit from Fists being at least equal, so that’s what I went with.

    … And it worked! Everybody said I was kidding myself, but I ended up out-performing everyone in my guild, by simply going with my intuition.

    But that sort of freedom was decisively killed off with Lich King. It was simply: “This is your raiding build”, “This is your PVP build”, “This is the build you have if you just want to be an inefficient fucknut”.

    And it was take it or leave it, right down to the itemization. That took a lot of the fun out of it for me. I fucking hated daggers.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. sebastien rivas

    @15

    Thanks for the link, don’t we all love him….

    #16 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Two new screenshots from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have been released, and they are gorgeous as always. The screenshots follow the two released over the weekend. You can look at the new images in full HD glory over on Only Single Player. CD Projekt Red is at PAX East this weekend showing off the latest […]

  • Microsoft looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One

    With Windows 10, Xbox One users will soon be able to stream their games to PC. Microsoft is also looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One, according to news out of GDC. Speaking with Polygon at GDC 2015, Xbox program director Mike Ybarra said the company is also looking into the ability to stream […]

  • Free! Vindictus Lann Revamp codes worth €25

    We have 400 Lann Revamp codes worth €25 to giveaway for free to VG247 readers. All you need to do is enter your details in the box below and you’ll be given a code to redeem in game. The codes are for warrior character Lann and offer a 7 day unlimited Inner Armour pass, battle […]

  • US eShop update: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli and a demo version of Azure Striker GUNVOL. Your full update is below. eShop Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – Wii U, 3DS – Cross Buy OlliOlli – Wii U, 3DS – Cross-Buy Proun+ – Proun+ […]

  • Rock Band 4 confirmed for Xbox One and PS4: supports old instruments and 2,168 songs

    Harmonix has lifted the lid on the long-rumoured Rock Band 4, stating it will support 2,168 previously released tracks and last-gen instruments on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will be out this year. Harmonix has yet to reveal specific features for the game, but it has been built with a completely new engine. As […]

  • First run of Rodea the Sky Soldier copies on Wii U come with Wii version

    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]