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Posts with tag class-balance

Celestalon teases upcoming class changes [Updated]

Celestalon decided to tease us with this rather cryptic tweet regarding upcoming class changes on the patch 6.1 PTR.

Alright, Celestalon, you have my attention. He later followed it up with another tweet saying the changes will primarily be number tweaks, but there will be a few functionality changes. Overall class balance could definitely use some tweaks, at least for the top and bottom outliers. Recent hotfixes have helped, but I get the feeling they've been cautious with some of the changes. Patches are probably a better time to make significant adjustments since they can be thoroughly tested beforehand.

What would you like to see changed for your class in patch 6.1?

Update: Theses changes won't be going in today's upcoming build (January 22), but should make it into the next PTR build (source).

Filed under: News items

Class tuning hotfixes

Yes, turns out they're still at work adjusting class tuning before we go into Warlords of Draenor. Some classes saw buffs, other classes saw another round of savage nerfs. Death knights and balance druids saw some buffs, as did elemental shamans, while mages saw a 20% nerf to frostbolt's damage (rolling back a buff from October 17th) and warriors got pummeled.

A complete list of the class changes will be posted after the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Warrior, Death Knight, Warlords of Draenor

What ability would you rather not say goodbye to?

Game Designer Celestalon had an interesting question posed to Twitter earlier today -- what ability are you afraid Blizzard will get rid of, in its quest to defeat button bloat? Obviously each class is incredibly different and the answers are colored by personal opinion, but it's still a question worth asking. I think what struck me as odd was that I couldn't really come up with any kind of reasonable answer. As a rogue, there are very few abilities I can safely say I love -- Burst of Speed, Shadowstep, Fan of Knives -- but those are all situational abilities that I don't use with every raid encounter.

As for the rest of the rogue toolkit, I'm decidedly ambivalent about the whole thing. The rotation for an Assassination rogue isn't what I'd call particularly complex, it's simply a matter of watching timers to make sure you're performing the right moves at the right moment. Mutilate, Rupture, Envenom -- they're all abilities I use regularly. There's nothing really remarkable about them. I like that Envenom refreshes Slice and Dice, but that's not really liking an ability so much as liking a side effect of using that ability.

Which is really kind of weird, when you think about it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Lichborne: The pitfalls of class balance arguments

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

By the time this column is published, it will be official. Greg Tiberus Street, the man formerly known as Ghostcrawler, will no longer be Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft. For many years now, even if his job encompassed so much more, he was pretty much the target for class-based arguments. The most passionate, angry arguments for class changes were directed at him. In his final days as Ghostcrawler, I noticed he did a lot of tweeting about some of the aspects of his job and how the dev team saw class feedback from the community.

With that in mind, I want to take a look at the forms of class feedback and some terms that come up again and again as discussed by Ghostcrawler, not just as a tribute to Ghostcrawler, but as a way to hone our toolkit for when the Warlords of Draenor beta test drops and it's time for us all to give our feedback on the future of the death knight class.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Yes, we need no new classes

In The Queue the other day, an intrepid reader asked about opinions on a new type of mail-wearing class. I can see the appeal of certain types of new classes, for sure -- one to wear mail armor, as suggested, or another one to wear intellect plate -- but to be perfectly honest, I really, truly hope that we are forever done with seeing new classes added to WoW.

I've talked about this with a few other people, and as expected, opinions are mixed. Some people are horrified at the idea of never having a new class again in WoW, and other people, like myself, are relieved. I really, truly do believe that adding more classes to WoW would only create headaches for everyone, developers and players alike. I'd much rather see the required resources in design, development, and maintenance go to other aspects of the game such as dungeons, raids, scenarios, quests, and events, than to creating and continuously balancing still more classes. So, without further ado, I present three arguments as to why there should be no more new classes in WoW.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Ghostcrawler and Daxxarri talk classes in patch 5.2

mage talents screenshot
With the advent of patch 5.2, World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg Street "Ghostcrawler" and Community Manager Daxxarri have been posting a series of class overviews and changes. Part one went up on Tuesday, covering death knights, druids, and hunters. Part two was posted Wednesday evening and covers mages, paladins, and priests. Part three, on rogues, shaman, and warlocks, went up yesterday evening, and part four, covering warriors and monks, was posted earlier today. For many classes, most of the changes involve PvP balancing as well as trying to improve a number of talents in some way to make them more useful and thus more attractive to players, at least situationally. If you're curious about either the philosophy of class balance design or just want to know what happened to your class this patch, make sure to check it out.

What I love about these posts is that little glimpse of insight they provide into the thought process that goes into balancing the class mechanics in a game like World of Warcraft. I'll be honest, I'm glad I'm not one of the people involved in that job. To me it seems like an endless headache to try and make sure all classes are different enough to feel unique, but similar enough such that a raid or dungeon group isn't punished for lacking one indispensable class, and I wouldn't have the patience for it. But I certainly admire and respect those who do!

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, News items, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Ghostcrawler and Daxxari present Patch 5.2 Class Reviews

If you're wondering how your class has changed in patch 5.2, Blizzard's Ghostcrawler and Daxxari have joined forces to give you details on exactly that. This installment covers Death Knights, Druids and Hunters, so it's working alphabetically in case you're wondering where your class is.

While the patch notes serve to give you the details on the changes, this series of posts exists to give you the motivation and reasoning behind the changes to the classes. Why did they buff this or nerf that? The motivations towards each change are explained in detail, letting you get a sense of just what's going on for you in patch 5.2.

Ghostcrawler and Daxxari - Patch 5.2 Class Review Part 1
In terms of talent adjustments, while we're still happy overall with the Mists of Pandaria talent overhaul, we do recognize that there were some talents that weren't tuned as well as they could be or just weren't attractive. That's not to say that all talents should be all things to all players all the time; some talents are situationally quite attractive, and we're happy with those. On the other hand, others just never see much use and we would rather provide players real options for each talent tier.

Part one is up now, so keep an eye peeled to the official site for more.

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Death Knight, Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne: 3 popular death knight requests that won't (or shouldn't) be fulfilled

Lichborne 3 popular death knight requests that won't or shouldn't be fulfilled TUES
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Death knight complaints and requests can change with patches, dealing with current issues or balance problems, but there are other death knight requests that come up time and time again, and will probably be asked about until the day they finally shut down the servers for good.

This week, we're going to look at three requests that probably will be around that long, just because it seems very unlikely Blizzard will ever fulfill them.

The power of the hero class

The "hero class" moniker has a long and storied history. It comes from Warcraft III, where hero units like paladins and death knights towered over the rest. By design, you only had a few of these every game, and they had more powerful skills that allowed them to dominate the battlefield when deployed.

When WoW came around, rumors of the hero classes spread throughout beta, but in the end, Blizzard went away from the model. Paladins, a hero class in WCIII, were made a regular class, for example, while other hero class mechanics, such as the Far Seer's Chain Lightning, went to regular classes.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Arcane Brilliance: Which spec will be best in Mists of Pandaria?

Undead fire mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we endeavor to answer that age old question: Which spec will other people insist my mage needs to be? We will try not to resort to that age old response to that question, which tended to involve punching those other people in the mouth.

One constant, no matter how hard I've tried to ignore it, that has always existed in WoW is that one spec is always "best." The class designers are constantly tweaking the numbers and trying to keep things balanced, but once we all sit down with our collective calculator and spreadsheet, one spec always emerges to rule them all.

It has been a sad reality that while we have always had freedom to choose a spec and personalize it to fit our preferences, when it comes time to raid at high levels or take part in PvP at high levels, that freedom essentially vanishes. You can make arguments for utility over damage or for certain specs in certain fights, but in most cases, under most circumstances, you're going with whatever cookie-cutter spec the internet has agreed upon that week, or you're not getting an invite.

Well, now we have a fresh expansion to leverage our calculators and spreadsheets upon. It's still early in the beta process, and hard numbers are in short supply. Still, the overall design of the specs seems to be fairly well-defined, even if the actual percentage points are still in flux. What conclusions can we draw at this stage? Which spec looks to put out the best damage? And most importantly, which spec will let us kill warlocks most efficiently?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard soliciting Pandaria class balance feedback

Blizzard soliciting Pandaria class balance feedback
Community Manager Zarhym has posted a thread over on the official forums soliciting player class balance feedback based on their experiences and number crunching in the beta.

Mind you, this is not meant to be a simple thread for pleading for buffs to your favorite ability. Blizzard's looking for serious theorycrafters slinging serious math to justify their positions. In addition, while this thread does mean the dev team feels numbers are in a solid place right now, it does not mean beta class balance is done or that further issues won't be addressed. Right now, the devs want to give player beta testers a chance to run wild, crunch numbers, and reconcile their data with Blizzard's data.

Read on after the break for the full text of Zarhym's post, and if you have some serious analysis to share, go post in that thread.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

This Too Shall Pass: Balance and imbalance in World of Warcraft

First off, we know that game balance is an eternal goal. As the game evolves and becomes more complex (as it does every expansion, because new abilities are introduced and new classes or races make their debut), balancing them all for every role they can fill and every aspect of the game (Arena PvP, BGs, 5-man instances, raiding) becomes ever more complicated. Abilities that seem minor in impact can mushroom in importance due to synergy with other talents or abilities. As an example, Vengeance in PvP became important enough to cause it to be turned off, as gear improved and health pools rose.

This has been the case in World of Warcraft since its debut. Heck, thanks to Indalamar, warriors got nerfed before the game went live. Balance is ephemeral. Your class may be on top one day, but your day will end. Anyone who's tanked for the past six years can attest to the roller coaster of which class is best at which aspect of the role. There was a time where paladins were the undisputed kings of AoE tanking, a time before Death and Decay or Blood and Thunder.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, PvP, Raiding, Hotfixes

Arcane Brilliance: The Class Balance Q&A -- more Q's than A's for mages

female gnome mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we look at a few mage-related questions, and the answers to those questions, which end up raising even more questions, which then get answers that only provoke even more questions ... it's like an episode of Lost, only one in which the smoke monster was made of frostfire. I'm 99% sure Desmond was a mage, anyway.

So just a heads up in case you haven't seen it somewhere else: The latest build on the PTR is tagged as a release candidate, which means patch 4.3 is imminent. I'm expecting it some time in the next few weeks. I wouldn't be at all surprised to be eating turkey and pie while queuing for the Raid Finder. Although, disclaimer: I eat turkey and pie for every meal. In other news, my heart just stopped. No worries, though. That also happens every meal. It's nothing a good chest compression or two can't fix. Look for a mage patch prep column right here next week.

Now, on to the business at hand. On Wednesday, the developers allowed us to pick their brains with all of our most burning questions about our classes. The mage community asked some good ones, and some of them even got answered. And though the answers given are perhaps not as definitive as you or I may have preferred, there's still a great deal of enlightening information to be gleaned from what the developers did share. And no, my own question -- "If I turn a warlock into a sheep, then hit him with a Pyroblast, then add a bit of mint and some red potatoes, what should I serve for dessert?" -- wasn't answered. Though I think we all know the answer to that question is "pie."

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Ghostcrawler explains patch 4.3 balance changes

With patch 4.3 on the horizon, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (lead systems designer) has taken to the WoW community blog to discuss class and balance changes that are coming with the next big update to the game. Ghostcrawler had previously discussed some balance changes in part one of his balance change blogs, but it was missing some classes that Blizzard wasn't ready to talk about just yet. Now, we've got notes and discussions on each class currently in game. I'm a huge fan of Ghostcrawler's to-the-point blog posts about the focus and design of classes, and this is just another in the now long line of awesome insights into the design process.

Death knight and druid tanks are getting some buffs to bring them more in line with the block-heavy warriors and paladins, and block capping for both warriors and paladins is not being discouraged. Feral druids are getting a Glyph of Shred change that will hopefully help their rotations, and beast mastery hunters are getting a slight buff. As we found out from before, paladins' Holy Radiance is getting a change to be more of a focused AOE heal, and priests are getting a buff to Guardian Spirit.

Shaman initially were hit with a huge Wind Shear nerf, which has been rolled back slightly. Demonology and destruction warlocks are getting a slight buff to be more competitive with afflocks, and hopefully warrior "charge jumping" has been fixed for good. You've promised me this before, Ghostcrawler! Where's my charge-jumping pony-moose? Check out the full blog post after the jump.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Class Balance and Design Q&A transcript

Today's class balance Q&A has ended and went off without a hitch. With so many developers participating, the answers came fast and furious. (That's a good thing!) Every class was touched on at least a little, and we even learned a little more about Blizzard's intentions with inscription and other non-class topics that do ultimately impact balance overall.

If you're at work or otherwise away from your computer and were unable to attend the event, don't sweat it. We have a transcript of the entire event for you and we've broken it all down by class. Or if you want to read the whole thing in one go, no problem. Just click through the break below and you'll be able to read the entire transcript in all of its glory.

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Filed under: News items

Class design and balance Q&A session coming this Wednesday

Q & A
Hot off the heels of its wildly successful Mists of Pandaria live Q&A, the WoW dev team plans to hold another online Q&A, this time on the subject of class design and balance. Community Manager Zarhym's just announced that it will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 10:45 a.m. to noon PST. The chat will be held on CoverItLive, hosted by Bashiok and Zarhym. Answering questions will be Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street along with Celestalon, Koraa, Watcher, Wradyx, and Xelnath.

As with the last Q&A, the chat will use the CoverItLive system, so make sure you're signed up and familiar with it if you want to ask a question. Check after the break for the text of the announcement.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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