Blizzard on World of Warcraft class pruning: ‘We’ve gone too far’

    
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It's sort of like progress.

With everything swirling about WoW Classic’s stress test this past week and next week’s Rise of Azshara content update in regular World of Warcraft, it is entirely possible that you may have missed a rather significant admission from Blizzard that could have large repercussions going into the next expansion.

In last week’s Dev Insights video, Ion Hazzikostas confessed that Blizzard went “too far” on class balance and pruning in the past few expansions. There is clearly some regret over various abilities that were either watered down or removed from the game entirely, and Blizzard may be restoring these in the future, offering more options for hybrid play and stronger class identity.

“A consistent point of feedback has been the concern that we’ve gone too far,” Hazzikostas said. “And after a lot of reflection and ongoing discussion, ultimately I would like to say that we agree with that feedback. There are places where in Warlords and Legion we were probably too focused on button count as a measure of complexity. There’s a lot more nuance to it than that.”

So if WoW is your jam, you’ll want to make sure you watch this full video to understand the direction that the team is taking the game (the pertinent discussion starts at 22:09). We’ve reposted it for you below.

Source: Blizzard

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Chosenxeno .

I’ve said before one of the reasons I quit is because Resto Druids got too far away from what they used to be. That was in 2012. They just realized this was an issue?

What’s even worse is Resto kept getting it’s kit gutted for PVP reasons. I didn’t care about PVP. Yet I was getting impacted by it as a PVEer.

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Fenrir Wolf

Druids were a really fun idea before they mutilated them early on. Back when I played WoW (mostly for the wall-walking shenanigans), a friend and I loved our druids as the class allowed us to be a holy trinity with just two. A little coordination, good communication, and it could be done. Blizzard seeing off wall-walking, mutilating druids, and butchering their addon API all around the same time was why I quickly quit. A speedy egress it was.

Shame, too. I was fond of my druid. This is why WoW Classic isn’t for me, the patch they went with was after the butchering had already happened. Druids already nerfed, wall-walking already gone, and the API already neutered. That’s #NotMyClassic, I have to say.

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Denice J. Cook

They went too far with Cataclysm. :P With BfA, they’ve hit rock bottom and commenced digging.

What’s their team size like these days? I’m guessing it’s way smaller than it used to be. It almost seems like classes are continually pruned so that they can run on autopilot using a skeleton crew without balance issues as patches are released.

I doubt they had a maintenance-mode-sized dev team back when Cataclysm hit, though, so forced downsizing isn’t the whole story.

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IronSalamander8 .

I had the most fun with WoW during Wrath; vanilla was just not as good as EQ (though more accessible), BC was better but all the magitek stuff was a bit off-putting. At the end of Wrath when they added the group finder I was a bit worried but had also stopped playing and I missed most of Cata, Panda, and WoD, only really coming back for Legion.

The game does feel shallow these days and MMOs in general, not all of course, but a large chunk, are also that way. I’m less concerned about ability pruning as I am about how the classes are too homogenized these days. I know they want us to bring the player and not the class, but classes should feel unique and distinctive.

In late vanilla and most of BC I was mostly disc but heavily holy as prior to Wrath and penance, disc priests weren’t the best at healing instances. I loved disc in Wrath and was a tank healer in Naxx. I’m not a huge fan of the current skill trees even as I really like demonology right now, they preclude hybrids and even if I tend to heavily invest in a single tree, I like the ability to hybridize, even to a small degree.

I’m not sure how well they follow these new ideas but the fact that they at least acknowledged it is a good start.

xpsync
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xpsync

Shallow agreed, what i’m getting out of this is dungeon runs, love dungeon crawling, even though most have been face-rolls it’s at least better than nothing in the trinity framework model.

I loved leveling 1 to 60 however 60 to 80 felt like a chore to me as i played late BC and wrath hard with the fam, was just nowhere that clicked for time outside dungs. Cata, checked it out is about it.

Pandaria is mostly all new to me as i dropped out early and the kids kept going, i tried a come back in WoD but kids kept going, and kids ruled Legion i skipped it altogether, and tried a come back at launch of BfA with the one son and he took off with his friends and was thankful as i dunno still wasn’t clicking.

Then thanks to the advice of this IronSalamander8 . guy i tried a fresh start on a RP server and haven’t looked back, and first time horde too, recently joined a raid guild but you don’t have to raid just enjoy the benefits and if you want to raid you only need to speak up.

So perfect guild for me as i’m thinking maybe one day, and that’s a huge “maybe” i’m thinking lfr might be enough, who knows it will be awhile before i get there but nice to have the option in place just in case i want to raid 4 real one day.

Thinking about it, i’ve not done any Pandaria dungeons/raids/content and onward, finally getting into real new content for the rest of my leveling. Which yea it’s fast but it also feels like slog at times, i’m early 80’s and 30 levels to fit in 5 f’ing expansions???? They really need to overall that process.

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Chosenxeno .

As a Resto Druid I had the most fun in Wrath, as well. Wrath was so fun I rolled my 1st Alt. I loved my little Ele Shammy in Alt Run 10 mans. Plus, they could oneshot Horde noobs turning in quest at Wintergrasp lol. Wrath was so fun. I was doing every Raid type imaginable on 2 toons and loving it.

xpsync
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xpsync

Watching this video helped me understand what got me hooked; affliction warlock really has a nuance to the roll, and you can have an amazing run or a spectacularly crappy one if you’re not on the ball.

I need in every mmorpg that one main which clicks, and if one does it becomes a mainstay mmorpg for me. As long as it has that one character i fall in love with, you know the one which gets all the good stuff, you dote over, is at every event, has done much more then any alt as alts are really only for fun.

If i don’t the game will eventually fall out of favor to me, no hate, just missing that magic character and as long as the game company doesn’t f over my main too much, i’ll most likely keep playing.

Good to know they understand how important, how critical “the one” is. (err finally??? wow man just wow) lol.

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Lateris

Time for some good ol theory crafting.

flatline4400
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flatline4400

From the pages of…

duh-magazine.jpg
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sear.scar

There is clearly some regret over various abilities that were either watered down or removed from the game entirely

It’s kind of a positive movement to hear that Ion is able to talk about such things, but

personally, I can’t find any excuses for killing Mark of the Wild. I’m still not able to accept that decision. Same goes to the new NE male char. models.

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Tiresias

The classes were at their best in Wrath of the Lich King and have only gotten worse since then.

You could say that of the entire game, really.

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Koshelkin

There’s an easy fix for that: advanced classes. An easy way to increase the number of choices without touching the current classes at all. I don’t know enough about WoW Lore to give suitable suggestion but it would increase the depth of classes in a heartbeat. The classes have all their abilities roughly around level 80 so that would be a nice point to introduce them.

In the end, though, I fear the WoW team will choose the easy way to “fix” these problems like they always do. I don’t think we will see the WoW devs sitting down and thinking about a progressive solution to decade old problems. How to give the player interesting tools during battle, without being redundant, how to increase depth without being obtuse.

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Zandohaha .

Yeah I like the advanced classes idea. It works well in other games. Guild Wars 2 and Path of Exile spring to mind.

Sadly the devs don’t seem to know what the hell they are doing at this point. They can’t seem to figure out how to balance the game without resorting to stripping away abilities and homogenising everything more and more as time goes on.

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Jiminy Smegit

Classic is offering a very interesting chance to see how far the game has fallen. Warcraft lost its soul gradually over many expansions as it slowly transitioned from a proper RPG to a collection of mobile phone games held loosely together in a Warcraft themed disguise.

Blizzard had little choice other than to state the obvious when everyone can soon point at Classic and see what has gone wrong with modern WoW. Dont get me wrong, classic wow has more than its fair share of issues but you could tell it was made by people who cared. Modern wow feels like it was produced by developers who are told what to do by the marketing team, the best ways to maximise revenue, player retention, get them on that hamster wheel etc etc

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Zandohaha .

Yeah its a complete 360 on the design ethos. The way it’s designed now every single little bit of in game space has a specific purpose. They are giving players a check list of stuff that makes them login for an hour every day, that’s their goal. Dungeons are all sub hour bits of group content that just go corridor > boss > corridor > boss.

Back in Vanilla the design ethos was completely different. While still a theme park it was more sandboxy compared to the almost on rails experience of current WoW. They basically dumped the player in a huge world and said “go have fun”. Exploration and discovery was paramount to the experience. Some dungeons were 4 hours long and you wouldn’t be guaranteed to finish it and that was ok because the journey is more important than the destination and picking your way through some big sprawling dungeon made it feel like a big adventure, rather than a quick trip through a carefully curated and cultivated piece of content designed to be completed in an hour or less.

Outside of raids which are pretty much the only decent part of the current game, current WoW is just giving me a roller coaster instead of the whole theme park.