Starym

Watcher Adresses Class Balance in Legion

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Major balance pass postponed to after first raiding week, some outliers to be addressed sooner.

 

TLDR: a major tuning pass was supposed to happen at the end of this week, but it's been postponed to after the first week of raiding. The balance at the moment focuses on aoe because Heroic/Mythic dungeons aren't very hard and that content is coming next week, so that' a better time to look at the classes and how they really function. Some outliers will be addressed sooner, however.

Blizzard LogoWatcher

Since the expansion launched, aside from fixing bugs, our class and systems teams have been keeping an eye on qualitative class feedback, looking for things that can be addressed via hotfix. We recently increased the default number of Warlock Soul Shards to 3 to decrease their ramp-up time; we also reduced the base cooldown of Arms Warrior Colossus Smash to 30 seconds, to mitigate the worst-case scenario when Tactician failed to reset its cooldown.

In the Developer Q&A last week, we touched on the general topic of class balance so far in Legion, and suggested that we were looking at making tuning changes via hotfix towards the end of this week. However, after further consideration of available data and the current state of the game, we feel that it’s still premature for a broad tuning pass.

World of Warcraft’s endgame consists of a range of activities, including varied raid encounters at different difficulty levels, random matchmade dungeons, Mythic dungeons (both baseline and Keystone-modified), outdoor questing, and of course arenas and battlegrounds (though I’ll be focusing on other gameplay modes in this post, since we can now handle PvP tuning separately). That’s the game that was available in beta, and it’s what our classes are designed and balanced around. But right now, everyone at max level is playing a very narrow slice of that diverse endgame: we are running dungeons, and we’re specifically running them with a focus on efficiency rather than success. Many players have learned the various dungeon encounters, and now zone in with their Heroic or Mythic groups not wondering whether they’ll be able to prevail over the challenges within, but rather how quickly. Unsurprisingly, that places an inordinate value on sustained AoE/cleave damage, and especially on-demand burst against the groups of four or five targets that comprise most enemy packs in dungeons, and so those specs that excel in those areas seem elevated above the rest.

But in a couple of weeks, when we talk about balance, major considerations will include things like meeting the single-target DPS check on Ursoc or handling the spread-out tentacles of Il’gynoth in the Emerald Nightmare, or making sure that your group can reliably interrupt Odyn’s Stormforged Obliterator in Halls of Valor, while running away from Radiant Tempest, so that he doesn’t derail your Mythic Keystone run entirely. Until we can see data from the endgame in its entirety, we can’t make informed decisions about which numbers need adjusting, and by how much. Therefore, at this point we’re aiming to hold off on a broad pass of tuning hotfixes until the end of the first week of raiding and Mythic Keystone dungeons.

In the meantime, we are looking at a couple of targeted changes to address some clear outliers: in the near future, we’re planning on deploying hotfixes that reduce tank damage output across the board (tanks should be very sturdy and effective at killing things, but too often their damage output rivals that of pure damage dealers), as well as reducing the AoE burst damage capabilities of Windwalker monks (mainly Strike of the Windlord’s area component) and Havoc Demon Hunters (mainly Fel Barrage). Those specializations will still excel in that area, but will not be so clearly dominant over their peers.

In the long run, our tuning goal is simply for everyone to feel that they can play the class and specialization they prefer. There will of course be areas of strength and weakness, and some specs will thrive in certain situations while lagging behind in others, but those gaps should not preclude viability. We’ll continue to look at available data and player feedback and make adjustments until that is the case, but that process will not begin until next week. Thank you for your patience.

 

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5 hours ago, PatrickHenry said:

I always forget that we're literally just into legion...  Barely scratching the surface!

I know, right? The game is so vast, but we didn't even get the first raid yet.

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I would hate to see prot pally damage output get nerfed. Back in vanilla, my pally was my very first character, but once I saw how much damage other classes were doing, I soon made a Mage and hunter and made them my mains. Was it Lich King where to buffed pally damage, or Cata?  Either way, I've gone back to my prot pally as my main because he's a genius at doing damage while mitigating attacks. 

(I should add that because of scheduling, I don't raid or even group much anymore, so 99% of my play time is solo.)

I realize you're just trying to keep all classes viable, and that you have about 11,999,999 other players to serve as well as me, but just want to voice how much I would hate to see the bad old days of vanilla (for pallys anyway) of taking 2 minutes to kill a mob come back. 

Edited by Whiskey
Clarity

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6 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I know, right? The game is so vast, but we didn't even get the first raid yet.

Haven't been this excited for a LONG time tbh.

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On 16/9/2016 at 10:59 AM, Blainie said:

Haven't been this excited for a LONG time tbh.

Haven't been this excited to play an expansion since WotLK, tbh.

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9 hours ago, Weltenfeind said:

Haven't been this excited to play an expansion since WotLK, tbh.

Remembering this comment to check back in a year or two. Can see if we were right or wrong :D

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What would be great to see for tanks is that when solo they would be at full dps, but as the number in your group increases they would do less and less dps. That way they could still enjoy solo questing and farming, but, yet, be where Blizz wants them to be in a group or raid setting when they are just supposed to get beat on and stay alive so the rest of the raid can burn down the boss.

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4 hours ago, Crazysoul said:

What would be great to see for tanks is that when solo they would be at full dps, but as the number in your group increases they would do less and less dps. That way they could still enjoy solo questing and farming, but, yet, be where Blizz wants them to be in a group or raid setting when they are just supposed to get beat on and stay alive so the rest of the raid can burn down the boss.

Could see this being abused though, perhaps for beating certain enrages and such by removing people from the group to boost numbers

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