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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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    Bungie revealed plenty of important details in last night’s Destiny stream. Let’s go over everything. Alex wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the information revealed yesterday. Most of it affects all Destiny players too, even those who don’t intend on buying House of Wolves. During the first stream, Bungie explained the armour […]

  • Mod-friendly Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access in May

    Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access next month for a full release, Stardok has announced. The developer called the game the “largest and most diverse strategy sandbox to date,” as players have a variety of tools such as diplomatic treaties to resource exchanges, and United Planets resolutions to hundreds of research directions for […]

  • Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim is out next week on PC – here’s the pre-order trailer

    Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim will be released next week on PC, and today, we have a pre-order trailer for you. The game will be made available on April 28 for $19.99/€17.99/£13.99 on GOG, the Humble Store and Steam. Along with improvements over the original PSP version, it will contain less backtracking, controller support […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – full gear set up to level 34 in PvP and PvE, upgrades, more

    The Destiny: House of Wolves livestream this afternoon was chock full of information. Read onward for our full report. According to Bungie, Petra Venj, who serves the Queen, is the main story agent who leads the player through the main series of quests. Players who complete bounties will be able to level up in her […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch the livestream right here

    Bungie will host a Destiny: House of Wolves livestream at 2pm EDT today, and you can watch it right here. Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv The stream will introduce the new social space, The Reef, as well as gear upgrade paths. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 22 team includes Barcelona, Chelsea players

    This week’s FIFA 15 Team of the Week is now available for FIFA Ultimate Team players. Each team member, as with previous weeks, is selected base on the previous weekend’s matches. Here’s the list of players now available: Starting GK: Claudio Bravo – FC Barcelona (Spain) CB: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus (Italy) CB: Ömer Toprak […]

  • Sony’s Spring Fever Sale winds down with Shovel Knight and Call of Duty discounts

    It’s the final week of Sony’s Spring Fever Sale which means more games have been added to the mix. Shovel Knight, which launches today is one offer, and the rest are all Cal of Duty titles. The Taken movie series is on sale as well. With Shovel Knight available today on PlayStation 3, PS4 and […]

  • Drivers for Xbox controllers, voice messages, more features available in Xbox One preview

    Microsoft has announced new features coming to Xbox One and the Xbox App on Windows 10 through the preview program this month. Some of the new features have been requested by the community for both Xbox One and Xbox One SmartGlass. Here’s what to expect, straight from the horse’s mouth: Xbox on Windows 10 Game […]

  • Total War: Warhammer has been announced for PC, Mac, SteamOS

    Total War: Warhammer has been announced after previous teases from The Creative Assembly touched upon it. The game will contain “gigantic monsters, flying creatures, legendary heroes and storms of magical power.” It is also the first in a trilogy which includes two additional standalone titles and extra content packs. It will feature thousands of warriors […]

  • This video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a quest from the prologue

    A new video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, showing off the Precious Cargo quest contained in the game’s prologue. The quest tasks Geralt with helping a merchant retrieve a mysterious box from the swamps. The scene looks familiar, but we’ve seen so many videos for the game it’s hard to tell […]

  • Limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online kicks off tomorrow on consoles

    The limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One tomorrow, and Sony has provided details on the tester for those who’ve been invited to participate. The beta test contains the full version of the game and will run from April 23-27, and will start and […]

  • Dying Light debuts in second place on Media Create charts

    Techland’s Dying Light made its debut in Japan lats week, coming in a respectable second place behind Nintendo’s Girls Mode 3: Kirakira Code. The zombie shooter sold 25,530 units on PlayStation 4, while the top earner for the week moved a little over 55,000 units on 3DS. Another western release when landed on the chart, […]

  • Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will release in the west this June

    Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven has been given a release date by XSEED Games, which announced the localization back in February. The title will launch for 3DS in North America on June 2 digitally and through retail. It will be an eShop only title in Europe and Australia when it releases on June 4. A […]

  • This Overlord video teases four new faces of evil

    A new Overlord game is in the works, going by the previous teasing and this video – which teases the possibility of four-payer co-op. Or just four characters to choose from. We don’t know just yet – all we know is the team is asking you to “join the fellowship.” A new entry in the […]

  • GTA movie will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar’s Sam Houser, the BBC confirms

    The GTA movie Game Changer will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar co-founder and president Sam Houser, theBBC has confirmed. The BBC also confirmed Bill Paxton will play Jack Thompson, a role Paxton already confirmed last week when speaking with Deadline. Here’s the synopsis per the BBC: “Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama […]

  • Take a look at Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode

    Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode has received a trailer today. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold will come with two modes, Classic and Story. Classic Mode was trailered today and in it, you’ll get to make your party by choosing from 13 classes. You’ll be able to customise them too using the character creation tool. Revamped […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows to come with new challenge mode

    Shovel Knight’s upcoming expansion Plague of Shadows will bring with it a new challenge mode. Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games has revealed the challenge mode, one of the new additions coming to the game with the free Plague of Shadows expansion. “Are you more into digging than distillation? Already have your Feats book long […]

  • Nvidia releases complete graphical guide for GTA 5

    Those with GeForce cards will be happy to know that Nvidia has released a comprehensive graphical tweaks guide for GTA 5. Nvidia usually produces graphical guides for the big AAA games, and GTA 5 is no different. Their guides offer in-depth coverage of each in-game setting, how much they affect framerate, if they can be […]

  • Cthulhu voodoo: why Bloodborne is the best Lovecraftian game

    Sherif Said tackles Bloodborne’s links to Lovecraftian horror, explaining why you should face the madness and immerse yourself in its lore. Spoilers inside. No other game could commit to its themes so religiously without feeling the need to compromise its vision and veer towards accessibility. Bloodborne stands tall above any game that dares attach itself […]

  • WWE 2K15 is coming to PC this year

    WWE 2K15 will make its way to PC this spring. WWE announced that WWE 2K15 will make its debut on PC in the spring. The game will be based on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, both of which came out in November. MyCareer and 2K Showaces modes are included, as well as all […]

  • GTA 5 PC: new mod adds snow to GTA Online

    If you’re looking to get some snow in your GTA Online, someone figured out a way. Modder ECB2 created a mod that works with GTA Online on PC. The mod is called “Snow in GTA Online” and it does what it says on the tin. YouTube channel imperfectplayers captured a video showing it in action. […]

  • Deals with Gold: Call of Duty edition

    Xbox Live Deals with Gold for the week of April 20 are now live with mostly Call of Duty games. Various Call of Duty games are on sale on Xbox One and Xbox 360 through Xbox Live this week. Indie games Never Alone and We Are Doomed managed to sneak in as well. With the […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: PSN sign in problems fixed in new patch

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Mortal Kombat X and it brings an end to the aggravating sing in issue encountered by some users on PS4. Mortal Kombat X 1.03 patch has been released. The patch fixes bug CE-34878-0, which affected the PlayStation 4 version. The bug caused users to have to log in and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: new patch fixes Windows Media Player issue, getting stuck in the clouds

    GTA 5 has received a new patch on PC to fix issues caused by the lack of Windows Media Player and getting stuck between online matches. Patch 335.1 is now available to all owners of GTA 5 on PC. The strange issue that affected those who didn’t have Windows Media Player installed, has been fixed. […]

  • Halo 3: ODST and Relic remake come to The Master Chief Collection in May

    Halo 3: ODST and Halo 2′s Relic map remake are coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection next month. 343 Industries has announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection owners will get Halo 3: ODST campaign and the Relic remake in the next content update, due in May. And as promised, the April update has […]

  • Rockstar says Social Club wasn’t hacked, account details leaked from other websites

    Following a number of reports from users who had their Social Club accounts hijacked, Rockstar has confirmed that the service has not been hacked. Over the last couple of days, a few users on Reddit and Rockstar Twitter support started reporting getting kicked out of their GTA Online sessions and seeing an error telling them […]

  • That Destiny: House of Wolves teaser is packed with new intel, Reef reveal at 11.00am PST today

    The new Destiny: House of Wolves social space was revealed more fully than you might believe in today’s teaser. A teaser for a Destiny: House of Wolves’ new social space went live earlier to advertise today’s full reveal. But resident Destiny expert Arekkz went over the teaser with his very fine-toothed comb and turned up […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront content not shaped by DLC plans, says producer

    Star Wars Battlefront may have DLC on the cards already, but DICE hasn’t built the game with extra content in mind, apparently. Star Wars Battlefront releases on November 17, and then on December 8, before the launch of the new movie, it’ll receive a slab of tie-in DLC. This early, pre-meditated content drop is a […]

  • We’ll finally get a look at Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 at E3 in June

    CI Games will show off Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 at E3 in June, according to the event’s official website. The Lords of the Fallen developer confirmed the game was in the works back in December as a AAA “production effort”. It is set during a modern day conflict in Eastern Europe and players will be […]

  • Ultima 7 Complete, Wing Commander 3, others added to Humble Origin Bundle 2

    The Humble Origin Bundle 2 has been updated with four more titles. The new titles are for Windows only and are SimCity 2000, Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander 4: The Price of Freedom and Ultima 7: The Complete Edition. All can be yours if you pay above the current average, which […]

  • Don’t Starve Together has been updated to inlcude Reign of Giants expansion

    Don’t Starve Together has been updated and now includes “the vast majority” of the Reign of Giants content. Players who currently own Don’t Starve on Steam will get Don’t Starve Together for free when it exits Early-Access. During Early-Access, current owners of Don’t Starve get 2 copies of Don’t Starve Together through the Frontier Pack […]

  • Xbox Live Gold Members can play NBA 2K15 for free this weekend

    NBA 2K15 is free to play this weekend on Xbox Live for Gold Members in celebration of the NBA Playoffs. All Gold Members can play the basketball game for free starting at noon PDT April 24 through 12.01am Monday, April 27. Should you decide you want to purchase the game, your progress will carry over […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power hits Steam Early Access and is 10% off

    Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power has finally arrived on Steam Early Access and until April 28, you can knock 10% off the list price. After that, the title will run you $19.99/€19.99/£14.99. There’s also a three-pack available if you want to buy some friends a gift. It will run you $44.99 with the 10% […]

  • You can now grab Killing Floor 2 through Steam Early Access

    Killing Floor 2 is now available through Steam Early Access. Players who purchase Killing Floor 2 during Early Access for $29.99/₤19.99/€26.99 will given free content which carries over to the full release and even more content upon release. The Early Access version of the game contains the following, per Tripwire: Three non-linear levels – The […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves livestream will reveal The Reef social space tomorrow

    A Destiny Twitch stream will take place tomorrow and provide a sneak peek at the House of Wolves expansion. The stream takes place at 11am PDT/2pm EDT tomorrow and will show The Reef social space along with a look at new Vendors. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player arena […]