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Vanguards

Member Since 16 Jan 2010
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On Pruning, PvP, and Our Goals for Legion

17 April 2016 - 09:13 PM

On Pruning, PvP, and Our Goals for Legion

Lore recently made a post on Blizzard's goals for Legion, with an in-depth answer towards pruning.

Official Blizzard Quote:

So, let’s talk about pruning. I’d like to give some clearer insight into what we’re trying to achieve, and the type of feedback we’re looking for. Warning: there are likely to be many, many words here.
What you’re seeing in Legion falls under one of two different goals:
  • Refocusing each spec around their core concepts
  • Reduced reliance on cooldowns, both offensive and defensive
I’ll explain these one at a time.

On refocusing: Over the years, as we’ve attempted to add new toys for every class in each expansion, we feel that the gameplay of quite a few specs has drifted away from the philosophies and ideals behind them. For some classes, such as Rogue, the specs don’t really feel very different from each other. For others, such as Priest, the differences are purely mechanical; Discipline uses absorbs, and Holy uses direct healing, but it’s not really clear why.

So, in Legion, we’re taking a hard look at what each spec should make you feel like when you’re playing it, and making sure that the abilities you’re using tie into that. When we talk about “class fantasy,” that’s more or less what we mean. It’s also made us realize that, frankly, we’ve made some mistakes over the years. Each spec is supposed to have some strengths and weaknesses, and as we’ve added abilities to shore up those weaknesses, we’ve diminished the value of their strengths.

Compare a Mage to a Warlock, for example. Mages were supposed to be highly mobile, but very squishy if you can lock them down; Warlocks were supposed to be able to take more direct punishment, but have a harder time getting away. But then we started giving Warlocks more mobility, which meant we had to give Mages more survivability, and nowadays those differences are subtle at best. The two classes should feel a lot more distinct than they do, both to play as and to play against. That means dialing back the mobility for Warlocks, and dialing back the survivability for Mages.

End result: Yes, you’ve probably lost a couple tools in Legion. But so have other people. So, when we get feedback along the lines of “Now I don’t have any way to deal with X”… we might actually think that’s a good thing. In PvP, this means you’re going to rely on your teammates a little more often. In a raid or dungeon, it means you might not want to purposefully stack Warlocks just because “they have the best numbers.”

On cooldowns: We’ve gotten a ton of feedback over the past couple of expansions that players feel like they aren’t able to do much without cooldowns active. When a Ret Paladin uses Avenging Wrath, Holy Avenger, and Execution Sentence all at once, they hit like a freight train carrying a truck full of bricks, but as soon as those effects end, they just kind of… keep themselves busy until their cooldowns are back up. “Your class is fun and exciting 17% of the time” isn’t awesome.

We’ve also gotten to the point where there’s entirely too many “get out of jail” cards in PvP. The Mage is in trouble… Ironbark. In trouble again… Nature’s Swiftness. Then Ice Block. Then another Ironbark. Then a trinket. Then Nature’s Swiftness. Then maybe, if you’re really good, you can get the Mage’s second Ice Block before Ironbark comes up again. He had to use Cold Snap, what an amazing play!

I’m obviously exaggerating here – most of the time, your goal is to force several of those cooldowns at once – but that kind of illustrates the point. In order for a kill to ever happen, things have to get excessive. So, in Legion, we want to chill out on just how strong those cooldowns can be, so that we can let you be more effective once they’ve worn off. Theoretically, we could accomplish that by just making the numbers on those cooldowns lower, but that quickly gets to the point where each individual cooldown just feels flat. “Increases damage by 5% for 20 seconds” just isn’t that exciting. Our only real alternative is to reduce how many cooldowns you have available, so that the ones that are left can still feel substantial.

Now then, on feedback: We recognize that all of these changes are pretty scary, and we’ve been in the MMO business long enough at this point to know better than to assume we’ll get everything right on the first try. So, let’s talk about feedback, and what you can do to help us make Legion an amazing expansion.

Many players have already been providing great feedback and bringing up good points of discussion, which we’re extremely grateful for, and have already made several changes that were influenced by that feedback. For example, pretty early on in the Legion Alpha, we decided against our original thought of removing resurrection spells from non-Healer specs (such as Shadow, Enhancement, or Balance). A lot of you thought that felt weird, and we agreed. More recently, several PvPers have expressed concern that Legion is currently too focused on simply dealing damage, and there aren’t enough opportunities for a skilled player to shine. That’s a big concern of ours as well, and one we’re doing our best to avoid.

However, sometimes good feedback gets so bogged down in hyperbole that it’s hard for us to tell if the point you’re making is based on actual concerns and testing, or if you’ve just been misinformed. For example, one complaint we see a lot is that “classes only have 5 or 6 spells in Legion.” That’s simply not true – as of this post, most specs have between 20 and 25 baseline abilities, with talents, Honor talents, and your Artifact active skill adding up to 5-10 abilities on top of that (and yes, we recognize that not all of those skills will be useful in all situations).

So, the biggest thing that can help us understand your concerns is to be as specific as possible. “I have too few abilities” is certainly a reasonable opinion, but that doesn’t tell us why you feel that way. Instead of leaving at that, try to expand on it a bit:
  • What specific ability do you miss, and why do you feel it’s important?
  • If you’re concerned that your spec will be too weak in a given scenario, what makes you feel that way? Do you feel you shouldn’t be? Why?
  • If you want more abilities, but are taking passive talents instead of active ones, why is that?
  • Are the new abilities your spec has in Legion not doing it for you? Why not?
Those are obviously just some examples, but that’s the sort of feedback that lets us really understand what your specific concerns are. And while there are certainly going to be cases in which we just disagree (we’re always going to do what we feel is right for the game), pointing out the underlying issues goes a long way towards making sure we recognize when we need to improve.

Blizzcon 2016 November 4 and 5, Esports World Championships at Blizzcon 2016

08 April 2016 - 12:02 PM

Blizzcon 2016 November 4 and 5

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Official Blizzard Quote:

Summon your mounts, open up a portal, and set a course for Southern California for BlizzCon 2016! Blizzard’s tenth epic gaming convention and community celebration is returning to the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, 2016.

Group up with your fellow Blizzard gamers and get ready for two days of in-depth discussion panels with our developers, hands-on play time with our latest games, and intense esports tournaments featuring top pro gamers from around the world. We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate 25 years of Blizzard games—and you, the players everywhere that have helped bring them to life.

BlizzCon 2016 Tickets

BlizzCon 2016 tickets will go on sale in two batches on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. PT and Saturday, April 23 at 10 a.m. PT through the online event ticketing service Universe, priced at $199 each (plus applicable taxes and fees). Check out the BlizzCon Ticket webpagefor all the details.

We’re also planning a special pre-BlizzCon Benefit Dinner the evening of Thursday, November 3 in support of Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), where guests will have a chance to raise a glass and geek out with developers, artists, community team representatives, and other members of the Blizzard family. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. PT, priced at $750 each, and attendance will be limited—visit the Charity Ticket page for more information.

Virtual Ticket and Goody Bag – Coming Soon!

If you can’t make it to the show in person, don’t fret! You’ll be able to participate in our tenth BlizzCon from the comfort of your home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, offering comprehensive live coverage of the event via a multichannel Internet stream. Once again this year, Virtual Ticket buyers will have the option to purchase a special BlizzCon Goody Bag filled with a cache of loot to mark the occasion (while supplies last). Further details on the Virtual Ticket, including pricing, availability, programming info, and Goody Bag will be announced at a later date.

Check out the BlizzCon Ticket page for more information, and be sure to visit the Universe ticket page at the dates and times above for a chance to purchase a ticket to the show. We hope to see you there!

Esports World Championships at Blizzcon 2016

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Official Blizzard Quote:

Pro gamers from all around the world are currently putting their skills to the test, competing to secure a place on one of esports’ biggest stages. BlizzCon 2016 will once again mark the culmination of multiple Blizzard global esports championships—but you don’t need to wait until November to start following the action. The StarCraft II WCS Circuit and WCS Korea leagues are already underway, Hearthstone Spring competitions commence in May, World of Warcraft Arena competitions start in the summer, and the Heroes of the Storm Summer Championship kicks off this month! How do you get in on the action? We’re glad you asked.

2016 World of Warcraft Arena World Championship

World of Warcraft Arena teams from around the world will be heading out on the Road to BlizzCon soon. The World Championship will once again culminate on the BlizzCon stage, where a prize pool of $250,000 is up for grabs. Last year’s all-Europe final saw SK Gaming claim the title against Skill Capped EU in a thrilling five-game series. Will Europe dominate the competition again this year, or can we look forward to seeing teams hailing from the Americas, China, Korea, Taiwan, or ANZ in the final?

Keep an eye on the official BlizzCon site for more information on the 2016 World of Warcraft Arena World Championship in the coming weeks.

Updated Warcraft Movie Trailer

28 March 2016 - 01:42 AM

Updated Warcraft Movie Trailer

Movie Trailer was posted on The Digital Theater this Saturday and uploaded to YouTube by MMO-Champion.


Legion PvP Blue Posts, Zarhym No Longer with Blizzard Entertainment

11 March 2016 - 08:21 PM

Legion PvP Blue Posts

Official Blizzard Quote:

Skirmishes are now available on Alpha
We've opened up Skirmishes for testing on Alpha. Please keep in mind that Skirmishes have changed in Legion. Healers will only be placed in 3v3 matches while DPS and Tanks may find themselves in either 2v2 or 3v3 matches. Good luck and have fun!

PvP Healing
We definitely agree that healing feels undertuned in PvP right now. We'll do a pass on it.

PvP Queue Times
It's very important to us that we're able to get feedback from this process. As such, it's important you're able to find PvP matches so you can offer feedback. We'll be watching the queue situation closely as the new build comes up.

Ashran in Legion
Wintergrasp, Tol Barad and Ashran were all made during different technological eras of World of Warcraft. Ashran being the most recent, it is far easier for us to convert it to a battleground like instance supporting region wide queues. The work involved with adding that support to Wintergrasp and Tol Barad is equivalent to making them from scratch. Perhaps we will do it one day but currently our efforts are directed else where.

Zarhym No Longer With Blizzard Entertainment

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RPPM Bug and Legion Changes

16 February 2016 - 03:39 AM

RPPM Bug and Legion Changes

Official Blizzard Quote:

Aye, thanks to you and a few other community members for helping identify that bug. Indeed, we're going to wait until 7.0 to fix it.

But we're going to go a step further, as well. Warning, the following is super techy. You do not need to understand it, it's just for the theorycrafters.

Conceptually, the intended difference between random chance procs and On-Use effects should be that the chance ones are unreliable, whereas the On-Use ones are active when you want them to. This extra proc chance on the pull (which you identified is actually stronger than intended) goes against that rather significantly, ensuring that the random chance ones are active when you most want them to, on the pull.

As such, we're going to change the functionality of RPPM procs in Legion. The TimeSinceLastProcSuccess and TimeSinceLastProcAttempt will both be set to 0 on the start of boss encounters, instead of the 120 and 10 respectively that it currently is. This will significantly affect the overall DPS value of these trinkets, and we'll adjust tuning on all trinkets to account for this change.

I think the issue behind why the current system was originally implemented is that there are two brands of "random" trinket currently - RPPM and % chance to proc + ICD. The issue is the % chance to proc + ICD variety is actually incredibly consistent (pretty much get a proc upon expiration of each ICD window - and these trinkets also start boss encounters with their ICD window cooled down, so you can reliably get a proc on the pull with these trinkets, especially as a dual-wielder).

Are there any changes to this flavor of trinket being planned, or "tuning will fix it?"
Yes. ICD trinkets are relatively rare these days, but are a different flavor that we'll still use from time to time. As others have pointed out the extra proc chance on the pull for RPPM trinkets was significantly related to trying to compete with those ICD trinkets, which were the vast majority of trinkets at the time. Nowadays, they aren't the norm, so we don't need to make RPPM ones overpowered to compete with them. ICD trinkets will likely be a little less consistent, but still more consistent than RPPM. We don't want to have too much difference between ICD and RPPM, because it's a distinction that the vast majority of the playerbase shouldn't need to understand.

If you want consistency, On-Use trinkets will be attractive to you. If you don't mind randomness, chance to trigger ones may be up your alley.

Overall, we're attempting to cut down the on-the-pull cooldown stacking, and this is just one angle that we're attacking that problem from.

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