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Posts with tag ability-squish

Breakfast Topic: Abilities missed and unmissed


Well, you've had almost a week to play around with the new version of your favorite class. Now that it's had a bit of time to settle in, have you come to terms with your less crowded action bars?

As a hunter, the ability I miss most is probably Scatter Shot. It was one of the most iconic hunter abilities and it just feels weird not to have it anymore. I've had several instances lately where I wanted to press it only to be reminded again that it's gone. Second place would be Kill Shot for the survival specialization. I realize all specs had to be trimmed down somewhat, but I personally think they took it one step too far with with survival hunters.

The ability I miss least is probably Serpent Sting. In most cases I would cast it at the beginning of a fight and never bother with it again, which I think made it a prime candidate for pruning. The ability still exists in passive form for survival hunters, but I'm glad it's gone in its old form. Second to that would be Aspect of the Hawk. Remembering to have an arbitrary button toggled on for 20% more damage wasn't exactly compelling gameplay.

What about your class? What do you miss? What don't you miss?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Interview: Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig talks Warlords of Draenor

I was lucky enough to head over to Blizzard Campus this week to talk to Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig. Chadd is a huge part of the class design team, key to a lot of the changes we saw in the recent Warlords of Draenor patch notes, which is just what we discussed. We were also joined by Senior Community Representatives Zarhym and Lore. You can also find a much-abbreviated summary on Wowhead.

Olivia: First up, is there anything you really wanted to clarify and get out there?

Celestalon: I've tweeted about pretty much everything. This was the first version of the patch notes, there have been more changes since then, those patch notes are about a week old or so?

Zarhym: Yeah it's like, tons of changes. [Rygarius] said he had a huge list of changes.

Celestalon: There's another five thousand words that aren't up there yet, which [Rygarius] is working on now.

There have been different amounts of patch notes released for different classes. Paladins have been complaining that they haven't got enough, rogues have been really happy that not much has changed. Is it safe to assume there's more to come? This is just step one?

There's definitely more coming. Like, for example, paladins had relatively few patch notes, and a lot of that is we were relatively happy with how things played out, at least for ret and prot, with the exception of a few things we can solve with tuning – changing numbers. So a lot of what you see in the patch notes now is what we call design changes, so the mechanics that we want to change so we can get to some design that we like.

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Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Changes coming to casting on the move

Blizzard Community Manager Lore posted yesterday, giving players further information on the ability squish coming with Warlords of Draenor. He's talking about the likes and dislikes of the dev team when it comes to a rather hot topic: casting while moving.

We all know that change is coming, and it all seems brilliant until it affects us directly, and it seems like some of the changes Lore is discussing fall a little close to home, as he uses shaman as an example. Spiritwalker's Grace, he says, is a type of casting with movement that they like. It's a cooldown, it's a temporary movement ability, it requires intelligent use. The opposing example is Lightning Bolt, currently castable while moving all the time. The devs don't like that. And I for one agree with them.

When I found out about the Lightning Bolt movement changes, my first reaction was that resto didn't need them. Elemental, sure, they are a bit of a turret otherwise, Enhance not really, but they are melee so have more instants. Resto definitely didn't need them in my book, and they're mindless, there's no additional skill there, no real gameplay, especially when we have Spiritwalker's for those times when we really need to move.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Should abilities go back to Cataclysm?

It's funny, really, how at the end of an expansion it always seems like things were better before. While Cataclysm was not the most popular expansion, there were some good things about it. PvP was in a better state than it is now, for example, and I think it's fairly safe to say that ability bloat, while a burgeoning issue, had not exploded to Mists levels. And that's what I'm interested in today.

I was talking about this recently, with friends, and it seemed to us like a lot of the problem abilities were added or altered in Mists. For example, while it's less of an issue in PvP now than it was at the start of the expansion, the addition of Stampede for hunters was made in Mists. Symbiosis, the convoluted, complicated druid ability, that grants powerful abilities to other classes was added in Mists. Gateway, the warlock ability that served to make 'locks nigh-indispensable for your raid team, along with their other utility of course, was added in Mists.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Scattered Shots: Hunter predictions for 2014

Hunter at Dark Portal
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing predictions for hunters in 2014.

Happy New Year, Hunters! I hope you're all enjoying our late Christmas present from Blizzard. For the past three years, Frostheim (former Scattered Shots columnist) has been doing annual hunter predictions and looking back at them to see how accurate he was a year later. I'm going to continue the tradition today with 2014 hunter predictions. Trying to guess what's going to happen in an expansion year is pretty tough compared to predicting what will happen during an already-released expansion, but that just lets me get a little more crazy with the predictions. I'll try to have a decent mix of realistic and outrageous predictions, but before that we'll start with doing a quick review of Frostheim's 2013 predictions which he made a year ago. At that point, patch 5.1 was about a month old and the Throne of Thunder was still a couple months away.

2013 predictions review
  • Hunters get a DPS buff. This one turned out to be slightly true. We never ended up topping the meters in Mists, but after getting some PvP-driven nerfs early in the expansion, we were finally compensated somewhat in 5.4 with signature shot buffs and having Stampede restored to full damage in PvE. There was also Aspect of the Hawk -- which started out this expansion as a 10% RAP buff -- now a whopping 35% after three mid-tier buffs.
  • Sniper Training or something similar returns. This didn't happen in 2013, but one of the level 100 talents (which could and probably will change), is called Snipe and can only be used while standing still.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Warlords of Draenor: What CC needs to be cut?

Blizzard Community Manager Lore posted yesterday about the devs' plans to reduce CC with Warlords of Draenor's changes to abilities. If you haven't been keeping up, their general plan is a so-called ability squish, removing certain skills from every class, with a particular focus on those suffering from button bloat, such as hunters and shaman. We spoke a little while back about how they should cut abilities, and what you could stand to lose, and now Lore's weighing on CC.
Lore
We are planning to take a strong look at CC in Warlords with the intent of dialing things back a little. We do think it's important that players are rewarded for using CC intelligently (by coordinating usage, being mindful of diminishing returns, etc), but we think we can approach things in a way that allows us to tone down CC overall while still providing that gameplay.

To me, the key here is this: "We do think it's important that players are rewarded for using CC intelligently..." CC, in my opinion should have to be used intelligently. It shouldn't be something you use just because it's off cooldown, because there's no risk to using it, because it's effectively a surefire thing. That is not intelligently using CC, that's using CC blindly, and it's because there's no risk to doing so. So, what's bad CC? What would I cut, if it was up to me?

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard's button bloat battle: What could you lose?

Blizzard Community Manager Lore posted today about their approach to removing the bloat from your buttons, and from your action bars too for that matter.
Lore
We do feel that, at least for some classes, there are a few too many buttons to keep on your action bars. It's an issue we'd ultimately like to solve, but something we have to be very, very careful with.

It's easy to look at your bar, go "LOOKIT ALL DEM BUTTONS", and decide that some of them need to go. In fact, we agree. It's much more difficult -- even dangerous -- to decide exactly which abilities to get rid of. Generally speaking, if you have an ability keybound, it's probably at least fairly important to your class. Getting rid of abilities you don't have bound doesn't really fix anything, so that means that, in most cases, we're talking about cutting the important ones.

That's not to say it can't (or won't) be done, but it does mean it's a fairly large task. Depending on the ability, there could be a lot of rebalancing or restructuring needed to make sure the class is still functional and fun to play. Again, it's something we'd like to do, it's just a very involved process.

And as ever, this got me thinking. This is a really, really hard task for Blizzard to accomplish, especially without upsetting people. So, I thought I'd ask myself a question, and maybe you can join in by doing the same and letting me know what you thought.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

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