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Max Camera Distance in WoW

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For years, players have used a script to "unlock" the maximum camera distance in game. In Legion, the maximum distance will now be restricted to nearly half as far.

Let's start this off by looking at the blue post from Watcher over on the forums. 

Blizzard LogoWatcher on Camera Distance

This is one of this changes that we realize will be intensely unpopular with the group of players that has used console/WTF CVars to increase camera zoom beyond what the UI slider permits. For everyone else, they probably won't see what the big deal is, since it's removing a hidden option that most never used. But for those who are accustomed to an increased max zoom, it's changing the way you're experiencing the game in a way that feels restrictive and simply worse. So why would we do that?

In a broad range of gaming genres (from RTS to Action RPG), being able to zoom out and see more of the world around you provides an objective advantage in the form of information. Due to that competitive advantage, camera-unlocking or increased zoom distance are features commonly found in third-party hacks for a variety of games. Whatever the maximum allowed, that's what competitive players will use in order to maximize performance, even at the expense of the game's overall look and feel. 

We strongly believe that there needs to be parity in this area between players who are using the default UI and those who have addons or knowledge of hidden console variables. One option was certainly to just allow the in-game slider to go all the way up to the CVar hardcap. But that scale is beyond the one around which the game was designed at its core. The development team builds the world, its art, its combat mechanics, and other interactions, around the base UI experience and scale. At the 3.4-CVar zoom level, your heroic Warcraft avatar takes up about as much screen-space as one of the dozens of marines you might control in a game of Starcraft.

Basically all of us started out playing WoW at the UI-enabled zoom level, and fell in love with that world enough that we now find ourselves here posting on an expansion beta forum discussing its future. At some point, we saw a raid video and wondered how they could see so much of the field at once, or we saw a forum post or got a helpful tip from another player, and learned that if you typed "/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 4" you could zoom out way more, and we never looked back. But was that original experience bad, or have we just grown accustomed to something different?

There may also be a bit of hyperbole in the discussion around the change. This is a screenshot I just took with the max UI-selectable zoom settings in the current Legion build: http://i.imgur.com/e8vFT6t.jpg

I'm not sure it's fair to say that this level of zoom entails your character dominating the screen, or removes all awareness of nearby threats.

Finally, why did this happen suddenly now, late in the beta cycle, seemingly without any communication? Honestly, the intent was for the change to have been in place from early alpha onwards. I believe that what happened was that one of the CVars (CameraDistanceMaxFactor?) was clamped from the start, but a second CVar (CameraDistanceMax?) was overlooked. That issue was entered and tracked as a bug, and was just fixed recently. As a development team, at this point we're fixing up to 2000 Legion bugs a week, and it's not always obvious which player-facing build will contain a particular one of those fixes. This clearly wasn't something we ever imagined could just be swept under the carpet.

(source)

We can very clearly see where the development team's thinking lies, but is it really being considered in the context of the gameplay itself?

The screenshot provided by Watcher is a simple shot, with nobody around him and in an empty zone. If we consider this change in regards to raiding, it paints a slightly different picture. Take Archimonde as an example; the boss is huge, he has mechanics that happen 50+ yards away from the melee, you have to find your character in the middle of all the other melee, hunter pets and mechanics, and still focus on the boss. I understand that the developers want us to experience the art as it was intended, but staring at Archimonde's hooves while your character joins a mosh pit underneath him isn't exactly a positive experience, at least in my opinion.

It's also important to note that this will severely hinder the field of view of, for example, a raid leader that plays a melee or tank. While a ranged/healer can still get a good view of the fight in front of them, the melee/tanks will be unable to see much of what is happening in front of them or behind the boss.

Was this the right change? Should the maximum distance have just been added to the default UI and allowed every player to use it?

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categorizing it as a bug really? that console command has been in the game for how many years now? since its creation it certainly was there when i started raiding seriously in Wrath...   Both alpha and beta testing including raid testing went on with this in the game with no adverse effects on immersion or gameplay and suddenly its a problem? why?  and im not buying that the game was designed around that either. If it gives an advantage the solution is mindnumbingly simple increase the allowable max camera distance in the UI and then remove the cmd I dont melee and it is glaringly obvious to me why this is a problem they create the game and dont see why this is a problem

Im sorry i don't believe a word of that hogwash its like they need to piss off ppl or they don't feel good. Who ever came up with and implemented that idea has never tanked/ melee dps or Raid leaded ever and needs to be shown the door (same with the whoever came up with that new rested area talent restriction  get those people need to go)

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archimonde was a great example when u need that zoom out. i've been there on mythic and it's alot to handle and the distance is huge. having that extra zoom helps out alot.

if blizzard now wan'ts to remove it they should atleast make the bosses smaller and easier to handle with less zoom out view.

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4 minutes ago, exaldor said:

archimonde was a great example when u need that zoom out. i've been there on mythic and it's alot to handle and the distance is huge. having that extra zoom helps out alot.

if blizzard now wan'ts to remove it they should atleast make the bosses smaller and easier to handle with less zoom out view.

This is a serious problem, especially given how HUGE some of the Legion bosses are. I can only pray they reverse this.

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Never used that feature and it was never a problem for me as ranged DPS, but cutting a feature that is:

1)practically very useful

2)accessible to all players because you can just google how to do it

3)isn't a 3rdparty app or somehow breaks anything

4)doesn't give an advantage in PvP

5)belongs to a game that's slightly light on "visual information coming in" matter

is not really a great idea design-wise. Make it a UI option so we can do it without console, if you want to "preserve parity".

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Sure, parity is a reasonable concern.

But, the developer's attitude is "players are doing something that helps them - but when we originally designed the game this isn't what we intended - so let's remove that option". How does it matter that this wasn't "how the game was designed at it's core" or "what we fell in love with" when the game began. If you apply that logic then the game will hardly ever improve.

Blizzard, let's consider this. Who cares what you originally intended! We are your paying customers, and this makes the game more enjoyable. And, you persevered with this whilst admitting it will be intensely unpopular.

Someone at Blizzard should adjust the thinking of your developers. Where are the Blizzard executives who will stand up for customer service and satisfaction ?

 

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