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Reddit Developer AMA Summary: June 23

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Many interesting questions related to Class Design were answered in the latest AMA on reddit yesterday and our roundup has all of them.

Table of Contents 

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General [Top]

When Ghostcrawler was apart of the dev team he often did, "Watercoooler talks" to discuss class changes and the ideas of what was going on with each spec. It gave the community some insight on what you guys had planned and what your specific goals were.

Will we ever see the return of that?

Definitely something we're still open to. Lately we've been leaning more in favor of responding to specific concerns (such as what you'll see on the Class Development forums). That's definitely left something of a void in terms of sharing overall design philosophy, though. It's something we'd like to address.

Worth noting that that sort of thing isn't always branded as a "Dev Watercooler" - for example, early on in Legion development, we did a series of blog posts that explained our overall philosophy for each class (at least at the time - some have changed since). They weren't called Watercoolers, but did have the same general content.

Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) has spoken some on Blizzard's apparent philosophy of not needing devs to play their own classes they work on provided there is reliable data and things are done in a balanced manner among other things. But they aren't oftentimes, so if this continues to be the philosophy which seems to include the mistakes in does in design, why is it adhered to?

I wouldn't say that's our philosophy at all. I don't remember exactly what Greg said, but there is an expectation that a developer working on an aspect of the game is going to be very knowledgeable about that aspect of the game. We're just a very large (and growing) team, and the game itself is very expansive, so we generally don't expect e.g. a character animator to keep up with the ins and outs of top-level Arena gameplay.

There's probably a theoretical state in which someone makes up for a lack of direct game experience through a massive amount of research, but I'm not personally aware of any developers for whom that's the case. It's certainly not the case for our class and PvP designers.

"Class Fantasy" has been the major buzz word of this expansion so far. For many people I've spoken to, it feels like that nebulous term refers to the Dev Team's fantasy for the class rather than that of a class' players. I feel this disconnect between the players' fantasy and the devs' vision/fantasy for classes is responsible for a lot of the hostility and tension after class balance/tuning/rework passes.

Will you guys look at incorporating more player feedback moving forward to give players a greater sense of connection and ownership of their particular class/spec? If yes, what would that look like?

Class Fantasy is certainly a subjective topic, and we listen to as many players and developers as possible when carving out their unique identity, inevitably there will be differing opinions.

There is an inherent risk in moving further in a particular direction with class fantasy for any spec because of this, but if we believe confindently in a vision for that spec that is unique, cathartic, resonant, and fits their design kit, we go for it.

Is there any spec in particular where you believe we are not hitting the mark?

Hi there!

Thanks for the AMA! I was just wondering if in the future there'd be class based AMA's with the devs in the future? Just seems, by looking through all the questions, that all the classes are competing with each other for attention and I'm worried that some classes just won't get many of their questions answered.

Thanks!

It's certainly possible that we'll do this again. Class-based feels like a lot to chew and swallow. Would we open up 12 different threads? 36?

That seems very unlikely to me, but anything is possible.

How do you feel trinket design has been so far in legion, specifically for casters? How do you balance trinket strength in each raid, is making raid trinkets the best available a priority?

Among the warlock community we have been constantly disappointed by the trinket options in raids so far, EN offered little in the way of strong trinkets as was expected for an initial tier, Nighthold brought whispers and metronome which were both uncontrollable haste procs of different magnitudes and 3 different aoe proc trinkets that were almost universally useless among all casters. ToS brings marginally better options, however 2 of them are on-use single target-focused trinkets and one is an on-use stat buff meaning they cannot be used simultaneously since there’s a 20s cooldown after using a trinket. The result of this is that by and large we’ll be using one of the on-use trinkets and whispers/arcano/stat trinket for single target and two of the older trinkets for multi-target / aoe since none of the ToS options are particularly strong. Granted, we tend to exaggerate relatively minor differences in damage, but the amount of nearly-useless raid trinkets this entire expansion has been really disheartening.

There's two parts to this, and I think its important to separate them: trinket design, and trinket balance. Overall, we're pleased with the variety of trinket designs we've provided in Legion. There's a breadth of complexity available, interesting mechanics to play with and explore from encounter to encounter, and we like trinkets feeling closely associated with the bosses who drop them.

Trinket balance is never going to be perfect, and some of that is deliberate in our designs that have different gameplay impact. Switching between trinkets that are better for some fights and not others is a design goal, which is quickly made more complex by spec-specific quirks like cooldown alignment.

We do agree it's tough to make a comparison between two different trinkets, both because the trinkets often do complex things and because it's not easy to get two trinkets of the same item level. We'd like to improve that readability, and reduce the impact of class-specific mechanics like Battle Cry as the dominant factor of which trinket is best in a given situation.

We are also very reluctant to change trinkets once players have them, which contributes to the perception of imbalance. If you spent 5 bonus rolls or wrangled a deal with a guildmate to get your Draught of Souls or Unstable Arcanocrystal, it’s going to feel really bad if we nerf it. We’ve applied a light touch to trinket tuning this expansion to avoid undermining that investment.

Do you plan to take a look at the Convergence of Fates trinket?

Current plan (which may change) is probably to nerf Convergence of Fates around the time Argus raid opens. That’ll be more than long enough time for CoF to remain extremely strong for many specs.

What is the current status on the spell animations update? Will we see more in 7.3? There are a few classes that have seen little change for many years for much of their core spells, especially some healers shadow priests, and arcane mages, while some classes seem to get their spell looks redone every 6 months to a year or so (Balance) [It's a exaggeration!]. How do you decide which classes get work done first on their spells? Can you share some plans for upcoming specs and classes?

Melee was our focus for the first round of updates in Legion because there was significant ground to gain, but that has set in motion an ongoing effort to update as much as we have time for, as often as we can. I'm happy to say that we are actively working on caster specific animations, as well as sound and spell FX updates for multiple classes. Keep a lookout for what's next for casters, you should see updates very soon :)

Is there any information you guys can drop here about any class tuning changes that might drop over the weekend or when Mythic Tomb Launches on the 27th?

There are likely to be some PvP-specific changes next week. Unsure if there will be any PvE-focused tuning just yet, as we're still compiling data from the first week of Normal/Heroic Tomb.

One thing that's worth noting is that our general strategy toward class tuning in Legion is much more ongoing than it has been in previous expansions. In other words, there's no longer a point where we consider tuning to be "finished" for a patch cycle (aside from maybe in the couple of weeks prior to another patch being released). We're constantly monitoring performance and make tuning changes where it makes sense.

Hello Devs! My question is regarding the Druid community and the Lunarwing Form.

I'm sure you've seen the 1600+ thread on the General Forums regarding a large amount of Druids who are unhappy with how our class mount was released.

The thread has not been blessed with any response from Blizzard on the issue, so can one of you please tell us if something is going to be done about our concerns with Lunarwing form, or are we stuck with what was released?

Druids got a flight form ONLY.

Druid alts will NOT be able to use this until they pay for epic flying and have Swift Flight form.

Others have mentioned that they would like to see colors by spec or another way to unlock them, instead of getting forced into one color due to their race, along with some other ideas.

The Class Mount questlines were a chance for us to do class-specific content and rewards, which are generally pretty rare. Perfect parity is not necessarily a goal for these. Different classes are different, we had different kinds of rewards, and we didn't want to limit ourselves by mandating that the rewards be consistent between classes. Obviously, we didn't want anyone to feel like they got nothing, but we saw it as totally fine if one class got a mount that came with a pet, another got multiple color/theme variations, one came with a toy, one talked, etc.

In Druids' case, the reward that felt right to give was actually a new form, rather than a mount. Druids are special because, the vast majority of the time, they don't use a mount, they use Travel Form instead. As such, we decided to make Lunarwing Form fit into that existing model, rather than try to force it into a mount, and accept that there will be pros and cons to that difference (and this was not a 'temporary' thing, as you suggest). Naturally, this creates controversy, because it's rather different from the mounts that the other classes get. Obviously, as you point out, there are still places that Druids use mounts (PvP). And since it's a form explicitly designed for flight, it isn't usable in non-flyable areas, which expands that 'deadzone' to include mountable areas in dungeons and other non-flyable places. There are also pros, like it being instant cast, rideable by your friends, and automatically transitioning between flight/aquatic.

We already have problems where, because Water Striders are functionally superior to other mounts, players feel like they're the only ground mount they can use. We didn't want to repeat that problem here, by giving Lunarwing out to Druids as a mount, and having them feel like they wouldn't use it due to the functional advantages of using Travel Form.

We should be able to make Lunarwing Form should be usable on low-level alts; we'll look into that. And it's totally fair criticism that it doesn't have sit/perch animations, and we've learned from for the future. Similarly, if we could revisit the entire design in hindsight, it would potentially have been ideal to design something that had ground animations so that it could replace both the ground and flight parts of Travel Form.

Monk/Priest/Paladin - This could be a really dated question, but what was the reasoning for shifting Mistweavers away from healing on damage done? I thought it was cause y'all didn't want a healer to rely on damage, but we see this now in Discipline Priests and, to a degree, Holy Paladins. Thanks!

Designing alternate playstyles of a spec that differ too much from the standard baseline spec can be highly contentious. I think it’s certainly possible for us to design an alternate spec playstyle that works, and is fun/balanced with iteration time. However, we often get into trouble when we stray too far from the spec’s standard playstyle if a large portion of the playerbase vehemently dislikes the alternate playstyle. That’s a problem for us even if a similarly large portion of the playerbase enjoys the alternate playstyle. So usually what we end up with is a talent or two that supports the alternate playstyle, but we end up tuning them to be weak so that the contentious playstyle doesn’t become the norm. That’s how we’ve operated in the past, but we’re not entirely happy with the situation. I think when we put playstyles/rotations into the game, we should be happy enough with them to stand behind them and say – if this playstyle ever becomes the norm, we are okay with it. That probably means we should rein in how off-the-wall some of these playstyles are, while maintaining as much difference as possible.

Discipline Priests were completely redesigned from the ground up to be this damage-dealing Healer spec. Everything from talents and artifacts supports it. That's probably the kind of comprehensive spec direction that's required to make a healer into a true damage-dealing healer spec that is enjoyable to hopefully a large portion of players who play the spec. Additionally, Priests have two healing specs, so it was the correct class to add this alternate damage-dealing healer spec.

There’s also the question of – what’s the benefit of this alternate playstyle? In the case of Fistweaving or Melee Holy Paladin, is it they get to do more HPS than normal ranged Holy Paladins? I think the answer is probably not, because then very quickly the only way to play the spec (according to the community) will probably be to be a Melee Holy Paladin, which we don’t necessarily want. Probably they just get to deal more damage, which is something that won't often feel required.

/u/Seph_WoW What's your secret?

Sephuz's Secret is kind of a reference to a scene in Kung Fu Hustle, where The Beast (the bad ass bad guy) shoots a gun at his own head point-blank and catches the bullet with his fingers, then says something like "In the world of kung fu, speed determines the winner." I always thought that was really bad ass, and Sephuz's Secret is a speed-themed item (movement speed, haste) so there it is.

I've always loved flavor text (probably stemming from my MTG days) and love adding references to names/flavor text of things. I could probably do an entire writeup just on references in the names and flavor text of legendary items. Many of them players have figured out (e.g. Tak'theritrix's Shoulderpads) and it definitely makes me really happy to see when people get it.

My question is this: Do you have any plans to redesign the current PvP Elite Gear gearing system and their respective seasonal ensembles?

The way in which we’ve distributed the Elite appearance in Legion is something we’ve been discussing a lot internally throughout the entire expansion. While we have nothing concrete to announce yet, an idea we’ve been entertaining is returning to a classic system where you would earn different slot appearances at different rating milestones. So imagine getting 1800 in Arena and you get the Elite chest appearance instantly, then the shoulders at 2100 etc.

Again, we have no immediate changes planned yet but do expect changes in the future. Happy to hear your feedback!

Why when you said you wanted all specs to feel unique did you decide to move all 3 warlock specs to soul shards?

Spec uniqueness is certainly a goal but not at the cost of class fantasy. A Fire Mage without Blink or Frost Nova would be incomplete.

Soul Shards felt core to Warlock fantasy, and we decided to unify them similar to Death Knight runes or Rogue combo points.

Describe a typical "Day in the life" of a class developer.

PS: It would be really cool to see a video of this hint hint /u/devolore

Thanks, shyguybman! This is a fun one :)

1. The typical day starts with, as with most tech jobs, email. Blizzard's an international company and people around the globe play World of Warcraft, so there are often fun surprises waiting in our inbox in the morning. Addressing those and making sure we're providing information to the rest of the team is a priority.

After that, what we do tends to be dictated by which phase of a project we're working on. If we're in ideation mode, there's a lot of brainstorming, looking at reference media, talking to our lore team about historical reference within the game, and thinking about both the fantasy we're trying to communicate and the gameplay we're trying to engender. Brainstorming also tends to be a collaborative effort - a lot of times we'll grab a meeting room and have an hour-long jam session that generates hundreds of ideas, which are then winnowed down to the unique/fun/cool/fantasy forward ones.

Implementation is where the rubber hits the road - you've come up with a fun idea, and now it's time to actually build it. Building an ability typically involves using our internal tools to author spells, scripts, and hook up the spell visuals our artists have created, as well as a healthy dose of Excel for working out correct numbers. This process typically involves a great deal of coordination - talking with other class designers, encounter designers, artists, and programmers to see if the particular way in which we've built this ability is right for the game.

After that comes iteration, polish, and playtesting - is the ability actually cool in game now that it's built? Does it fit into the class the way we expected it to (ideas are always better in our heads)? Do other people find it fun to play with? Does it deliver on the fantasy? Does it feel impactful? Is the timing of the swing correct? How does it look in the context of other people using their awesome abilities? Is it readable in PVP about what's going to happen? This phase is also where the inevitable bugs from initial implementation tend to be corrected - our QA teams are awesome and find all sorts of fun edge cases and interactions with our very large game. It's also where a lot of ideas either die (because they weren't good enough) or are completely re-imagined with only the original elements remaining.

I really have to emphasize: nobody does it by themselves. Design's an intensely collaborative endeavor, and while one person may ultimately be responsible for the implementation of a given thing, everything that ends up in the game is the product of the hard work of dozens of members of the team.

2. As Forge noted, good question!

Starts with e-mail, mostly making sure nothing happened that needs some immediate response.
Some days I have a bunch of feedback on my mind after a night of raiding or running dungeons or playing a new alt and will likely go talk to the relevant people about things while it's still fresh on my mind.

I check my bug list many times per day to make sure nothing was assigned to me that needs immediate attention, or if something is sent my way that needs to be escalated to someone else or just needs to be resolved by a different person. I tend to fix simple bugs like typos or very obvious missing checkboxes bugs when I see them.

Throughout the day I tend to have a whole lot of open windows on my machine, whether it's an excel sheet planning out something new, or email drafts of half finished thoughts, or a half dozen wowedit windows open from whatever I was working on last, and figure out which needs attention next.

I'll spend a bunch of time building new things or trying to figure out why what I made isn't working as expected. It's about inevitable that at least one point during the day a discussion (or multiple discussions) spark up around me that I either should be listening to or involve myself in. Sometimes this goes on for 5 minutes, other times much longer.

I ask a lot of people around me for help when I get stuck on a problem, or if I need advice on the best way to approach a problem I ran into or how to fix a tricky bug. It's a lot of back and forth discussion with the people around me, and thankfully they're all within earshot.

Once a project is finished, I either end up revisiting it due to feedback or further iteration, or move onto another project.

3. I think the most prominent feature of any day for me is working with other developers from all over the team to execute a new project. I talk with engineers about the best way to implement new awesome visual things without breaking the other 90% of the game (or whether we are ok with doing that in a targeted fashion), artists about how to push rosy-tinted spell effects of our memories of WoW into the modern era of gaming, and designers about what feels good to play, what is the right design given all of the information we have available.

I think the best thing I can say about the WoW dev team is that everyone is super passionate about the game, and each of us in our own way. We foster a culture of each developer pouring themselves into something they believe in, all while receiving feedback and iterating as far as possible.

Whether a day full of meetings, or a day full of getting the feel of a single ability just right, it's always a challenge, and always rewarding to see the vision of a project become reality.

How hard is it to balance class/spec fantasy with creating meaningful and fun game play? We've seen definite strides in Class fantasy for a lot of specs but I would argue that some miss their mark for the sake of gameplay or vice versa. Can you comment on any potential changes coming down the pike to improve player experience or class fantasy for those not currently up to par?

Some are certainly harder to pull off than others, but our best successes come when a spec's kit is clear and we can focus both aesthetics and mechanics into the same end goal that flows pretty naturally. I think our recent work on subtlety was a great example of how a clear vision (planning, patient, focused ninja) can make everything flow from that core.

I think on the flip side, something like explosive trap is a great example of really awesome fantasy, but doesn't really deliver fulfilling gameplay in practice. Which makes it difficult when a spec has a main theme around damaging traps. The upside though, is that we get to see what parts of the spec do feel natural and work well in both flavor and gameplay, like Dragonsfire Grenade.

Legion brought lots of opportunity to deliver a more focused identity to each spec, and invariably some found their footing better than others. We're always iterating and looking to make changes we believe in.

How do you determine how much utility or benefit a spec can provide to the raid (nonquantifiables rather than damage) and where those tradeoffs with personal benefit, if any, occur?

This has been visited in the past (last I recall being Ra-den), but what are your thoughts on Reincarnation resetting on boss encounters like most other cooldowns? It feels awkward being one of the least durable specs and have an ability to assist with that not being available for every attempt.

We'd like to move into a direction where utility is more meaningful in all types of content, not even necessarily at the loss of performance. Players should be rewarded for making smart decisions that affect the success of their group as a whole, and we'd like to broaden that space.

Reincarnation remains a super powerful and unique ability for Shaman, and it's in a place where it is neither overpowered nor required, which is a great place to be.

Hello I am here with a few questions about the developers thoughts and plans going forward for WPvP. I know that WPvP is only a big deal to a small portion of the community but on my Home server of Emerald Dread(RP-PVP) it used to be the end game for the majority of the server. With that said the current state of the game has lead to a massive decline in WPvP due to sharding, lack of World Defense, legendary items, Player on Player damage. So my question is does blizzard have any plans in the works to help with WPvP? Particularly in regards to the damage players do to each other and does blizzard have any plans or interest in adding "PvP situation" nerfs to some legendary items that do millions of damage to single or groups of players? Thanks and I really hope you get to my question as it is an important aspect to our server and anything would be appreciated.

Designing WoW PvP is a sort of tug-of-war between two philosophical ideas. On one side, WoW is an MMORPG where you have freedom of your gear choices and where power progression is core to the game. On the other, competitive WoW PvP gameplay feels best when players are on an even playing field in terms of power gained from items. Historically we’ve always favored the former idea most – that power progression should matter everywhere. It definitely is a more elegant design – you gain an item, and it increases your power everywhere in the game. But in a world with legendaries, artifact weapons and powerful trinket abilities we felt in Legion we should make an effort to flatten the power curve by disabling legendaries and trinkets, and by applying the “stat templates” to players in competitive PvP environments like battlegrounds and arenas.

When it came to world PvP, we decided not to apply those rules to players for a few reasons. Say you’re fighting a world boss on a PvP realm as a healer and another player attacks you. Do we disable your trinkets and legendaries, and set your stats to something you may not want in a PvE situation? We’re not sure yet if that’s in the best interest of the player, because those creatures and encounters could be balanced around assuming you may have a legendary or two.

We could disable your trinket effects or legendaries as a damage dealer from happening to just only players, but what about healers? If I’m in a World PvP encounter against creatures or bosses, and I get into PvP combat, do we reduce your healing done to other players in that situation just because you’re in PvP combat?

Those are just some of the challenges we’re facing with World PvP and why we haven’t simply flipped on stat templates. While we don’t have anything to announce yet, we definitely aren’t completely satisfied with class balance in world PvP so I would expect changes in the future. We’re very interested in your feedback here, so keep it coming!

Are we likely to see the cap on the amount of legendaries we can equip raised during the expansion?

We’ve talked about granting the ability to wear 3 Legion Legendaries as part of the reward for the Argus questline in 7.3. It’s not really something that the game needs one way or the other, but it would be cool. We’ve also talked about (mostly jokingly) about removing the Legion Legendary limit entirely in the week(s) before 8.0 launch, and letting people go wild west with them. That’s probably not going to happen due to power level reasons, as it would be a very jarring when you level from 119 to 120 and suddenly all 12+ of your legendaries you have equipped turn off.

PvP talents are neat and seem to be doing a good job balancing PvP however have you guys ever thought of making some of them regular talents to spice up the pve balancing for some classes.

We’re very happy with the strategic tradeoffs that PVP talents afford, and in cases where one is particularly cool (Death’s Embrace springs to mind) we have made them into regular talents.

If there are particular PVP talents you really love, let us know! :)

Are there any plans to give the tournament UI to normal arenas? Everything that it does is currently possible with an addon (all elements are exposed) but none exists at the moment. I feel like this would be a good way to help people learn different classes abilities instead of having to learn what every single class's spell effects look like. One barrier to entry is knowing what battle cry looks like, then what serenity looks like, what ascendance looks like, what icy veins looks like, and what chaos blades looks like, and so on and so on and so on. Having this UI as an arena UI would really help people learn.

We probably wouldn't copy the tournament UI into normal arenas directly. I could see a hypothetical future state in which we add some of the functionality it provides to the base Arena UI (similar to how we recently added a tracker for trinket cooldowns), but as of this exact moment we haven't made plans to do so.

(As an aside, for any tournament organizers out there, as of 7.2.5 the UI we use for official Blizzard tournaments will display automatically for anyone using the /invitespectatormatch command!)

How are items designed? Do you have a specific stat budget that has to be spread out on items? What deicdes which stat goes on which item?

How is tier sets designed? Since all 3 warrior specs seems to have crit as their worst stat. Should tier sets not be desireable?

Currently most pieces have this awful stat to us. So I'm thinking there has to be some amount of it, to offset powercreeping?

I also understand making trinkets such as DoS is problematic when Fury and Arms can benefit so much from it. Will trinkets be tailoreed with such outliers in mind in the future?

Itemizing the equipment in a dungeon or raid is all about creating exciting moments and interesting choices. The spread of secondary stats on items, whether its off-set pieces or Tier, creates valuable texture over time. We purposefully give Tier a fairly even spread of secondary stats to ensure that if stat priorities shift from patch to patch, it won't fall out of usability. Putting the best stats on Tier gear isn't viable for every class (because many specs have wildly different stat priorities), and we think the game of gear acquisition is more fun when the player has choices to make.

Part of creating that texture, and building a foundation for exciting moments to occur, is making sure each dungeon or raid tier feels different from the previous one. When the best-in-slot Critical Strike/Mastery belt drops and get equipped immediately, that's an awesome moment! However, those Haste/Versatility leggings that just dropped aren't the best stats, and there's no alternative until the last boss... maybe the Tier legs have better stats, or maybe there's a Legendary in that slot to experiment with? Having players ask those questions, and find the answers for themselves, is an important part of making items fun to chase after and acquire.

To speak to the process itself a little bit, itemizing a raid generally goes through a few stages: Determine the boss layout, decide where Tier, trinkets, and weapons drop (since these categories are the hardest to move around later in development due to how much they impact other item placement), fill in gaps with offset items, name everything, and finally choose secondary stats. By leaving stats for the end, we can be confident in the placement of each item, and set their stats accordingly. For example, if all of the items on the first three bosses have Critical Strike rating, that's not great texture. We'd much rather have those items spread throughout the raid, so that the specs who like Crit continuously have something to look forward to.

Thanks for the question, blackshirtguy! Item design, especially stat budgeting and layout, is one of those things that tends to feel "behind the scenes", so having an opportunity to talk about it is awesome.

My experience with legion healing in arena is quite negative, its not very fun, lots of insta gibs, damage is way to high in my opinion, which makes arena miserable as a healer. I no longer play healing classes in arena, and my friends that still play healing in arena say they don't enjoy it anymore.

The pace of damage has definitely increased in 7.2.5, which puts a larger stress on healers than other roles. We're very happy with the current pace of high-end Arena matches outside of a few specs, and we want to preserve this speed of Arenas.

We're planning on buffing most healers in the very near future with throughput increases (aimed at Arenas mostly), but we understand that healer frustration in PvP right now isn't just limited to the amount of raw healing they can output. Buffing healers too much can lead to long games (dampening), and the perception of 'unkillable healers' in random battleground situations.

I'd like to thank all the healers that have been providing constant feedback about their experiences healing in battlegrounds, Arenas, and RBGs. We've been taking this feedback into account when we make changes for healers, and we'll continue to iterate on their toolkits until we're more satisfied with playing a healer in PvP.

(PvPers, remember to thank your healers!)

My primary concern is casual PvP. Are there plans to bring back gearing rather than templates? Or more specifically, to allow stat customization in instances?

The goal of templates is to level the power playing field between players. Instead of researching your ideal stats, instead we set their distribution through the template for you. I think our question for you is: why do you want to change your stats? We suspect it's because you feel you have a better stat distribution than us, and that you can increase your character power if only you had the freedom to set your own template values. That may be true, but if we balance your spec or class assuming you have our templated stats, and you min/max out a better distribution then that causes balance issues. Suddenly now we have to balance specs and classes assuming a variety of different stat distributions, which is challenging assuming you could argue we have balance issues already with the strict templates set by us.

What I think could be useful is give feedback on your specific stat template. Is the stat template good for battlegrounds, but feels weak in arena? Does it make your spec unfun, or doesn't fit the kit? Are you looking for a different type of playstyle for the spec through stat customization, such as sacrificing health for more damage for a glass-cannon feel?

Will there always be (a) spec(s) that have no RNG involved in their rotation? With all the RNG in Legion gameplay, I'm starting to get tired of it and want something stable and known.

Three of the simplest games I can think of are Tic-Tac-Toe, Black Jack, and War. Representing the spectrum from 0% to 100% RNG. Each game can be taught in just a few sentences. Black Jack clearly stands out as a game you can play and enjoy for many more rounds than the other two. Middling amounts of randomness provides something that the abundance of and lack of do not – a change of state that requires you to react in an unpredictable way. In war, randomness is so extreme that there is nothing to react to, you just win or lose. Tic-Tac-Toe games may vary slightly, but like War the outcome is practically predetermined. Black Jack does have basic strategy, but there’s just enough randomness to react to and change your decision like doubling down, splitting, tracking a hot or cold deck.

The core take-away here is that either end of the RNG spectrum provides a fairly dull experience, where somewhere in the middle provides you with a multitude of things to react to and think about and is ultimately more engaging.

Certain specs in WoW do this, but not all. Fire is one of the specs that immediately comes to mind, and if we made a simple change like giving Fireball 100% crit, I would probably get bored and look for another spec to play. Subtlety, which we sometimes affectionately refer to as our Master Planner spec, has little to no RNG but requires you to think very very far in advance - which on the surface doesn’t have randomness, but because of the length of the loop can be affected by the environment quite a bit: did a poison cloud just pop under you, did that mob you were about to use a finisher on get blown up by someone else, etc. Your randomness is expressed by things throwing a wrench into your long term plan as opposed to a short term one. We try to provide as many unique options to players as possible when it comes to our plethora of specs, and some specs have ways to curb a bit of it. Ultimately there is a threshold when a spec becomes both too simple and too smooth where the experience becomes flat and boring.

I have definitely felt the frustration at a chain of bad RNG in a row, but I would so much rather have peaks and valleys where I can be occasionally frustrated contrasted by Huge moments of awesome, than have a flat experience and tune out from being bored.

Death Knight [Top]

As Unholy DK im currently feeling forced to use Convergence of Fates because it makes Apocalypse sync perfectly with Dark Transformation and Dark Arbiter. It will be such a huge QoL change if you guys reduce the cooldown of Apocalypse down to 1 min. It will be matching perfectly with DT/DA/Garg and army once you have 4p T20. Otherwise you need to use COF or delay Appoc/DA which does not feel fun at all. This change will also make CoF trinket less desirable and people will use Tomb trinkets. What do you guys think about this?

As /u/Seph_WoW mentioned, the cooldowns of abilities are tied primarily to how powerful and impactful the individual ability feels. For something like Apocalypse, we’re happy with 90sec window because it allows the ghouls room to breathe(well, shamble) and chomp on the brains of your foes without being up all of the time. If we tied all cooldowns to the same refresh rates, we’d essentially be removing any sort of meaningful choice (just press them all together always), and each individual button that’s in that synchronized window loses its identity because you’re just in The Cooldown Zone.

We’re definitely aware that Convergence is a very powerful effect that is highly valued by a number of specs, and we’re monitoring the impact it has on gameplay.

Demon Hunter [Top]

Hi there! Are there any plans on the table to allow additional customization options to Demon Hunters' Metamorphosis form (i.e change the colour of the skin)?

If you change your hair color or tattoo style at a barbershop, your Metamorphosis form will already change to match! We don't have plans to add further Demon Hunter customization at this time.

Fel Rush DCs are less common now than they had been, but still happen on occasion (mainly on bumps). Why has this been so tricky to solve?

I can't really go into detail, but Fel Rush disconnections are as you mentioned, tricky to comprehensively solve and an ongoing issue which we are investigating. We have people actively working on this. Sorry that it's still an issue. I've personally been disconnected many times Fel Rushing.

Eye Beam is visually great, but has ended up falling out of use ST and is only used in aoe because the opportunity cost is too high. Additionally we invest 2 full 4 point traits AND a gold trait (9 total) into an ability we barely use. Any plans to bring it back to ST usage?

An AOE cooldown spell like Eye Beam being used or not in single target is a matter of tuning. It's really easy for a purely AOE ability to be used on single target given high enough numbers (e.g. Fists of Fury). On single target, I would say the spec plays fine with or without Eye Beam. It's certainly arguable that the rotation could use a little more to do on single target sometimes. I think we could go either way on this.

[Eye beam] is only used in aoe because the opportunity cost is too high

What do you mean by this? I kind of laughed when I saw this, because I read it as "This cooldown button is only used because not pushing it would be bad for me". I might be misunderstanding but I think you just described all cooldown buttons.

Nemesis is a 1 minute long CD where we can’t swap targets unless we get a kill on the target. This can also cause problems on fights like Sisters of the Moon and Mythic Botanist where they despawn or don’t count as “dead”. With the current tuning it feels pretty forced. Any thoughts on the tunneling behavior it promotes / the issues where it gets removed early / untyped enemies?

In a single-target boss fight, Nemesis by normal calculations is a extremely strong talent. An average of 12.5% damage bonus (slightly concentrated into on-the-pull Meta) is high for a talent. The clear downside of the talent is, by design, that it doesn't benefit you on AOE without the condition being met. We consider that part of the gameplay of the ability, and part of the theme of the talent. We would consider adds dying vs. despawning/teleporting away part of the natural variance between boss fights. If there are cases of mobs that seem like they should actually be considered to have died, and Nemesis doesn't trigger, then we'd consider that a bug to fix.

Meta is a great CD. Visually appealing, the extra haste makes it speed up gameplay, A+. However, outside of CDs our sustained damage feels low impact (obviously required because how high our damage inside CDs is). For example, on our Goroth kill I did 61% of my damage inside meta (1 minute out of 3:28, or 28.84% of the fight). Alongside that, with all of our damage being forced into small windows it’s extremely punishing to be forced off target during your CDs. Is this kind of CD strength what you were expecting?

This is the nature of strong cooldown abilities. Meta is something around 2-3x as strong as most 2-minute cooldowns because its cooldown is 2x as long. Ignoring patch-to-patch fluctuations for a moment, we want to balance specs equally with each other, and that's generally over fight lengths of 3-5 minutes. That means if you are doing 2x the damage of other specs for the first 30 seconds, you can be sure that you will deal some percentage less damage than those other specs until your Meta comes off cooldown. Crusade is in this same camp for Ret Palys.

I will say though, generally speaking: we realize the fact that even though we do want Havoc to win in the first 30 seconds of a pull due to Meta's long cooldown, you don't need to need to win by a factor of 2 (rough numbers, subject to RNG) in that time frame to feel great and to feel like you are solidly winning. The higher your damage during Meta, the lower your damage will be when Meta is down. You can't have high highs without low lows. If we were to rein in damage during Meta, relative DPS when Meta is down would go up.

To go with that, because our burst is so high the belt synergizes with our damage quite well. However, it’s a pretty passive legendary, along with Chaos Theory. The shoulders are very well designed - they can pay off big, but require good timing to do well with them. Are you all happy with people desiring the “generic” legendaries compared to the class specific ones because it simply provides more damage?

We don't have strong feelings either way with the belt being one of the strongest Havoc legendaries. It's a good thing that the belt ends up being one of the best legendaries for one of the specs in the game. I wouldn't really say the shoulders are more interesting or better designed. In fact it's a very simple design shared across other legendaries/talents/passives in the game, and I suspect players like them a lot because they are actually just tuned to be very strong. Though it does feel amazing to get in an extra Meta during a fight

Loramus feel underwhelming even on what should be its niche of aoe. Any plans for making them better?

We'll keep looking at legendaries that are drastically underperforming. No solid plans at this time.

Our T20 was very strong on PTR. After the double nerf it ends up slightly better than T19, sometimes (for me personally, gaining heroic tier which is +10 ilvls over my mythic pieces is showing a small loss). Was this the intended tuning target?

What you described seems to imply that given T20 pieces being +10 ilvls higher, T20 2pc+4pc is still a downgrade over T19 2pc+4pc? If that's the case, we did not hit our intended tuning target and I would want to look into adjusting this. This applies to any spec.

We have several talents that at the moment are rarely taken - their times to shine just are never good enough. For example: Fel Eruption has never had time to shine, and the Prepared loses most of its value without Momentum (though the recent change has helped bump it up). Is there anything you can share about making them more attractive?

Fel Eruption has probably been undertuned all expansion compared to Nemesis. To be fair, Nemesis is an extremely strong talent in terms of raw throughput, especially when it's used the way it is on practice (always with Chaos Blades, usually with Meta).

To some extent we’ve been carried by trinkets - the Kara trinkets up until 7.2.5. With Dinner Bell being removed as a viable option and us not being compensated in other places it appears like we’re falling behind. Is this on the radar?

We try to compensate whenever we make a change like nerfing Dinner Bell for Havoc. It's hard to perfectly hit the target because not everyone uses the item, so it's hard to math out exactly what the impact will be to the overall landscape for the spec. Rest assured Havoc DPS in 7.2.5 is on our radar.

After the changes to Chaos Blades in 7.2.5 mastery has fallen from one of our best stats to our worst since depending on the fight it only works for about 50-65% of our damage. Last time Chaos Blades got nerfed Mastery got bumped up in value to compensate. Is there any plans to improve on the value of mastery for us?

Yeah, we need to look at Mastery's value with the changes in 7.2.5. The spec switching in Tier 20 to First Blood also reduces the value of Mastery some more due to Fury cost.

After all the changes that have happened to Mo’arg, the Fel Barrage changes at the start of the xpac, and Bloodlet being nerfed (and us being shoehorned into First Blood with tier) our burst AoE is ok, however our sustained cleave / aoe is very lacking feeling at the moment, even when specing fully for AoE. We basically do nothing different for AoE which makes us feel rather lackluster in it at the moment. As an example, I did 1.13m dps on Mistress Sassz, which was rank 28 out of 1866 at the time I wrote this, or ~top 1.5%..and on Goroth I did 1.1m. I gained under 30k dps, while many in our raid almost doubled in their damage. Is there anything in the works for this, or is our niche supposed to be single target now despite the kit being seemingly geared for cleave?

I don't think we would say Havoc is a sustained cleave/AOE spec. Due to the nature of having many cooldown abilities, it's more of a burst AOE spec. That works better in some environments (e.g. dungeons) than others (e.g. sustained cleave fights).

I do have to question "many in our raid almost doubled in their damage" as hyperbole. Not even specs designed to be strong at multi-target cleave (e.g. Affliction, Destruction, Shadow) gain anywhere close to double damage moving from 1 to 2 targets - more like 1/3 more damage.

Not really a question here, but there have been a fair number of hotfixes that go out that are undocumented (for example Dblades damage was recently changed along with class aura (likely to provide more options in the row), M+ changes like the adds from first boss in CoS stunning, etc). It would be nice if we got confirmation on what changed.

We always intend to and try to patch note changes/hotfixes that affect gameplay. We definitely sometimes miss things in patch notes and hotfix notes, then it's a rush to make corrections and get them translated to other regions, but it's not always immediate.

As a personal note that it feels rather bad to put in all the work for bug reports, feedback, and asking for clarification only to seemingly be ignored. I can personally name over 10 major bugs I reported in beta though now that made it live, not including the more minor ones. For example tier19 and blind fury is still bugged despite reporting it before 7.1.5

We have various members of the team looking over and investigating bug reports. I don't know what bugs you're talking about exactly, but hopefully we can do better. Keep making those reports because they do have impact - thanks to everyone who makes bug reports. I definitely get linked bug report forum threads pretty often. It's a great first step to getting them fixed.

Do you feel you have successfully targeted your design ideas for demon hunters in a way that addresses both the class fantasy in a manner consistent with lore, and by play style, allowing the player to really feel like a demon hunter, as you originally envisioned them to play?

I remember in an interview where a designer was quoted as saying that demon hunters didn't really come together as a class until the sound design was added in (the gutteral growls and yells while in combat), and I have to wonder, do you class designers feel like the sound of the demon hunter class is really one of it's defining features?

Finally, I was wondering if the statement that there will never be a third demon hunter spec is set in stone, or more "for this expansion"? Is there a possibility that a 3rd demon hunter spec will ever appear in game, maybe in a later expansion down the line?

A class really only comes together when all of the pieces lock into place. Imagine blade dance without its unique animation, or Metamorphosis without dissolving into a custom demonic model, or all of the character customizations unique to the class that deliver on the fantasy.

Demon Hunters are all about their constant struggle with the demon within, fast, furious, and voracious. They live up to that charge.

Regarding a third spec, nothing is ever off the table, but we will only release content that feels right for the game, and for Legion it made more sense to deliver two focused specs that fit within Demon Hunter lore, rather than delivering 3 specs that were more watered down.

7.2.5 was a huge step in the right direction, Spirit Bomb works well as a flip of the playstyle for smoother damage intake at the cost of less burst healing, but causes many traits/set bonuses to be undervalued.

We'll be keeping a close eye on Spirit Bomb's performance during Tomb of Sargeras progression. This ability is doing a lot of things, and getting it to shine in one area without overshadowing others has been challenging. As it stands, Spirit Bomb probably pushes Soul Cleave of the rotation a bit more than we'd like.

Last Resort is solid for progression, but the lack of any passive benefit makes it feel like an incredibly poor choice any time it doesn't proc. Could we see a small (i.e. 5%) stat passive attached to it?

Cheat Death effects are extremely powerful, both psychologically and in terms of tangible gameplay benefit. The comfort provided by knowing that you have a Get Out Of Jail Free card has a lot of value, and we like the talent being focused on that.

The self-cast portion of Concentrated Sigils has been a macro function now since 7.1, possible to combine its extension bonus with Quickened (Maybe call it Sigil Mastery) and replace the talent?

We're really happy with the choice offered by Concentrated Sigils. Two extra seconds of Silence in particular has a visceral impact in dungeons and PvP content, but the cost of always having to place the effects on yourself is high. We've found that players either love or hate Concentrated, and that's a really good spot for a talent.

Additionally, as awesome as the @player macro functionality is, it isn't something that every player knows about. Concentrated Sigils is a great way to help new Demon Hunters become comfortable with the utility provided by Sigils, without being burdened by the placement requirements.

Our Artifact Ability works decently with with Spirit Bomb, but provides remarkably low defensive benefit compared to every other tank spec. Any chance of improvements here?

The changes to overcapping Soul Fragments made Soul Carver easier to use. We're unlikely to make significant changes to it this far into an expansion, but there might be room to improve it (spitballing here, lasts longer and spawns more Souls) if Vengeance needs a defensive buff at some point.

What happened to the major rework for DH that was supposed to happen on the 7.2.5 ptr?

At the time we announced the rework, it was early in the process and the details were still being fleshed out. As we tried different things (talent tree rearrangements, new abilities, etc.) none of the changes clicked in quite the same way that the Live class did. This time around we didn't find anything that was significantly more awesome, but we've pocketed a couple individual ideas that felt like they had potential, and might revisit them in the future.

Druid [Top]

It is currently beneficial for feral to farm t19 for high titanforges over the current tierset. Do you think this is acceptable, and if not what would the likely course of action be? Having farmed previous content for just a single warforge with RoRo in Siege I personally don't have any desire to go through months of farming old content, often in pugs, ever again.

In general, we want players to move onto the next raid tiers. However, there are some caveats. If you're comparing your Mythic titanforged Nighthold gear compared to Heroic Tomb gear, there's certainly a chance that based on ilvl alone, your Nighthold gear might be better. We currently don't tune the bonuses on Tier 20 to be better than Tier 19 or vice versa, and expect the ilvl increase to carry much of the throughput increase in cases where they are similar. In the cases where T19 was out of band, we did a tuning pass in 7.2.5 to reduce the throughput of those overperforming T19 set bonuses to make room for T20 to be good. That all said, if the power level of T19 2pc+4pc is significantly higher than the power level of T20 2pc+4pc, we would want to adjust one or the other to address it.

Feral T20 has seen a big change going from PTR to Live. The reduction of the damage increase on Rip is acceptable, but a lot of people are [something annoyed] that the duration increase of Rip got reduced, as it made the rotation feel different and [better], and made the aspect of multi-dotting "feel" better. [Something more about 2pc]. How do you feel about this.

The changes were made purely for tuning purposes. T20 2pc+4pc was coming out to be far out of band in terms of our target throughput for a 2pc+4pc set bonus (somewhere around 8-10% total). I understand Ferals were upset with the changes more because they saw T20 4pc as something that made the spec's Jagged Wounds short DoT-duration gameplay a little easier to manage, and which also would have opened up the recently buffed Ferocious Bite to be used more. It might have been better to chance it to Rip damage increased by 5% and Rip duration increased by 6 sec instead of what we have now, but I'm not sure it's something we'd want to change now that the set bonus is out.

In reaction to the weak tier 20, another conundrum has arisen regarding the class's tuning, currently we are looking to be an exeptionally good generalist. Another flat buff could risk exacerbate this, whereas further adjustment to our tierset and tying in our power with it would help the specc keep up to pace whilst having a bit more of a niche for the duration of the tier. What direction do you see feral going in, something more of a niche role focused around multidotting or the current incarnation which is something inbetween?

I'm not sure I know what answer you're looking for but, I would say: Feral is probably going to be a strong single-target spec. Its playstyle and damage profile is similar to Assassination Rogue (which is clearly a single-target spec) in that it has many damage over abilities. The spec clearly has talents that can help in multitarget situations (e.g. Sabertooth, Soul of the Forest, Brutal Slash) but other talents on those tiers (Jagged Wounds, Savage Roar, Bloodtalons) are so much stronger right now tuning-wise that it's hard to pick the "AOE talents that make your AOE life better" because it's probably not a gain.

Are you aware of problems with Ekowraith and Sylvan amulet and is there any plan to fix them ? The current logs were feral is just about keeping pace is largley propped up by this problem by a factor of almost 4-5%, are we likely to see any compensation in the event of a fix ?

Generally speaking, in the event of any bugfix which significantly changes the throughput of a spec, we would always want to compensate by tuning, unless that spec is clearly overperforming.

Haste is a crazy stat for feral, its good in small quantities but it gets increasingly worth, and theoretically even into negative value at high levels, any thoughts on how it could be made a more interesting stat for us ? It's primary problem is that it serves to help resource generation but doesn't give any throughput to raw damage, unlike critical strike which is able to grant damge throughput while increasing resource generation. Personal ideas include interaction with duration / cooldown on tiger's fury, or allowing haste to affect bleeds. This haste problem also puts us in a position where we really don't care about heroism, something that's meant to feel like a really cool and awesome moment for the whole raid when playing feral just feels... meh.

Honestly... I have no idea why Haste doesn't affect Bleed tickrates. I just looked at Sigma and asked him if he knows, and he doesn't know either. That's the way it was when I got here. Maybe fantasy-wise the thinking used to be that magical DoTs are magic, so Haste can magically dynamically change their tickrates - I'm not sure. I think it's a problem worth looking into more deeply - it affects Assassination Rogue as well. Maybe Haste can affect Bleeds in the future, but we'd have to dig in deeper to clearly understand all the ramifications of such a change, and this isn't likely to happen within a patch.

What are your thoughts on snapshotting for feral? Many players enjoy this, many feel it is overly complicated, do you think it works well as a unique mechanic for feral?

Snapshotting Bleeds is definitely more complexity than we generally like for specs, but we realize it's something Ferals have been playing with for a long time, and as such are reluctant to change. It definitely works for Feral, but it's complex enough that to leave it as is, it should probably be THE defining aspect of the Feral rotation (in other words, we'd cost it as something like 75% of the Feral rotational complexity budget [this isn't a term we actually use]) and other parts of the spec (e.g. Bloodtalons, Savage Roar as a 3rd finisher) should probably be simpler as a result.

What are your plans for Jagged Wounds? It's currently the strongest talent of its tier, and generally the default choice for most players. However, it is a very non-interactive talent, as it takes away most of the opportunities to use Ferocious Bite, which reduces the decision making process to be "refresh SR or Rip, whichever is the lowest" most of the time.

Current plan is to probably reduce its affect on DoT duration - so something like reduce it from 33% to 20%, add a damage bonus to the talent if it's not in band for the throughput of a talent, and buff the spec if needed. It's really the combination of Jagged Wounds and Savage Roar that makes using combo points so difficult and pushes Ferocious Bite so much out of the rotation. Another option - put Jagged Wounds and Savage Roar on the same row.

General statement across classes: We want to limit how much of a impact any given talent has on the rotation, because if a spec ends up in a spot where the most complex talents and most rotationally demanding talents are the strongest due to tuning, we want to guarantee that the spec is still playable without a large amount of frustration. Current Feral unfortunately probably falls into the category of "if you mess up once, you are likely completely screwed" and that's something we want to address.

Hunter [Top]

Marksmanship question here. Is there any chance of Lone Wolf being made base-line and changed to how it worked in WoD? You can use a pet at any time, but you lose the buff while your pet is out. This would free up the first talent row to have a meaningful choice instead of every MM Hunter picking Lone Wolf.

Marksmanship during Legion almost made it to live completely pet-less, as a way to separate their identity more into ranger/sniper so that Beastmaster could have more heft as the ranged pet spec. Beastmaster however landed in a place of having ALLTHEPETS! so the core ranged hunter with a pet was lost in the shuffle and thus Lone Wolf was brought back.

Looking back, I think that losing the pet completely from the spec probably feels like a bridge too far for hunters, even though there is definitely space for the Legolas/Robin Hood archetype in our favorite gun and bow slingers. Honestly I really like your suggestion because it maintains the spec's identity while allowing us to still go into the ranger direction. I call my pet when I'm really in trouble, or just when I'm out for a stroll in the world.

Is there any plan to update Hunter pets? Right now, most hunters carry some mix of Quilen (for brez), Core Hound (for Bloodlust), and then either a turtle for tanking or a Devilsaur for PVP.

We don’t have any solid plans currently, but I fully agree that we’re not in a great place right now. I would love to improve the situation. With the power of Battle Rez (Quilen) and Bloodlust (Core Hound), I don’t think I’ve used a different pet on my BM Hunter alt in PvE in a long time.

What is the future of BM Hunters?

I think BM Hunters aren’t far from being in a good place. Adding a 2nd charge to Dire Frenzy went a long ways, because I think the future of BM in 8.0 will be Dire Frenzy baseline, with the gameplay of maintaining Dire Frenzy stacks being one of the core parts of the rotation. Another missing part is giving Cobra Shot a reason to exist outside of Bestial Wrath with Killer Cobra. In general, it’s better when spammed spells either push another resource forward (e.g. combo points for Rogues/Feral) or have some procs/triggers attached to them (e.g. Cobra Shot during Bestial Wrath with Killer Cobra, Fireball/Frostbolt procs Hot Streak/Fingers/Brain Freeze for Mages, Shadowbolt generates Soul Shards for Demo). It gives those spells a feeling of a reason to exist. Current thinking – I want to try something like Cobra Shot reduced Kill Command cooldown by 1 second baseline or something along that vein. Right now Cobra Shot admittedly feels a little bit just like you’re bleeding off your resource simply because you don’t want it to cap and be wasted.

Mage [Top]

Mage: A common theme across all Mages in Legion is the proliferation of 2 or 3 charge spells.

The answer is really – case by case. Is it really worth it? It’s very easy to add charges to a cooldown spell. It generally “gives the button more gameplay” because you don’t need to always push it on cooldown to get maximum use out of it. You’re very astute in making the observation that adding charges to spells has a cost, and that’s a cost on the complexity of the class. There’s no hard rule for this. We add charges to spells for a large variety of reasons. Subtlety got a 2nd charge on Shadowstep because we think Sub should be the most mobile Rogue spec. Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy got a 2nd charge because there’s much better gameplay in maximizing your Dire Frenzy stacks when the spell has 2 charges. Fire Blast has charges because it’s not a button we want you to push on cooldown – you should push it when you get one crit and are heating up.

Frost: Icicles (Frost's Mastery) benefits a small part of Frost's kit. Over Legion, this has swung back and forth between wanting as little Mastery as possible and as much Mastery as possible. What are the plans to make Mastery more attractive in general, without causing degenerate gameplay such as ignoring Ice Lances?

Correct tuning windows for things can often be threading a needle between “So strong it distorts the rotation and possibly pushes something else out of the rotation” and “so weak it doesn’t get used”. Also the tuning window changes based on the tuning and existence of other talents, set bonuses, legendaries, and trinkets. Also it changes as the expansion goes on. Also many more factors I’m sure. Answer is – sometimes we just have to react to the changing landscape. Retuning things multiple times is somethings just what ends up being needed and thus, we’ll continue to do.

Frost: The new Flurry and Winter's Chill mechanic has led to multiple awkward mechanics that resulted in changes. Players abused the travel time to Shatter spells cast prior to it, or cast multiple Ice Lances within the debuff window. How does the dev team feel about how Winter's Chill has panned out? What are the takeaways from its addition?

The big thing we’re happy with is how good Frost feels when you land a Frostbolt/Ebonbolt -> Brain Freeze’d Flurry -> Ice Lance combo. We currently think that part is good enough for the spec that we’re willing to live with for now the things we’re unhappy with as long as we think we can address them in the future. Things we’re not happy with: 1) playing around travel times of missiles, which can vary based on boss distance (I don't think combo even works against a Ragnaros-sized boss), timing, and lag 2) Shimmer can be used as a DPS increase 3) how to correctly execute the shatter combo is incredibly non-obvious to the first time Frost Mage.

Mostly is that a lot of specs have some form of aoe built into their rotation due to PvE (or single target abilities that end up cleaving). This ends up being problematic/frustrating in PvP when you have so many spells that are mainly used for single target damage even just as your rotation, yet end up having some cleave that breaks CC. It's kind of frustrating and makes the gameplay feel very unfluid due to this.

Legion has pushed us a bit too far into the world of passive cleave on abilities, and we'll keep this in mind as we change classes in the future. As a PvPer it can be frustrating when your abilities break crowd-control on a target, especially when you're not specifically targeting them.

However, I -do- like the choices you make with the volatility of some spells via talents. Your example of the level 90 tier for Mages is a great example - do you want your Frostbolt to hit harder but might have a chance to cleave (and break cc?). In this example, we also need to keep in mind that there should be a healthy alternative for PvP Mages in that talent row who don't want to opt into this gameplay style. Arcane has a great alternative with Erosion - Fire+Frost need to take talents in the row that aren't optimal in PvP if they want to get away from the auto-cleave.

Continue to leave us feedback about spells that are breaking crowd-control when they are completely out of your control, and we'll evaluate and address them on a case-by-case basis in PvP.

As a non-mage player, can you explain why shimmer was thought to be a good and appropriate talent with the lens of pvp?

Mages have traditionally been amazing at control and you only increased their ability to control with shimmer. Additionally, while everyone believed mages dmg was nerfed and put in a decent place with regards to control vs dmg, rogues were buffed to the point where the Rogue-Mage synergy is still brokenly good.

We've seen RMD and now the resurgence of RMP dominate the meta. Rarely do we see other classes always have viability and consistently tier 1, are there any changes coming to mages to account for this? Specifically reducing their slows and snares on top of their ability to spam cc and land it around corners with shimmer?

There are aspects of Shimmer that we both like and dislike in PvP. Mages that talent into Shimmer give up the strongest stun break in the game to gain Shimmer's additional utility and mobility. We also like that Shimmer gave a new unique 'cast while blinking' tool to Mages, especially in a world with high Melee uptime.

However, we also are concerned with the increased volatility of healer positioning when playing against a Mage with Shimmer. Right now it is too easy for a Mage to land a Polymorph or Counterspell against a healer that is minding their positioning during an arena match. We share the same concerns with this ability as we did with Warlord's Blazing Speed talent.

RMP (and RMD) have been extremely successful comps since the very dawn of Arenas, largely due to the synergy between Rogue and Mage as you pointed out. Rogue/Mage synergy isn't something we dislike at all, but we have to make sure that the composition is balanced when taking the toolset of other compositions into account. Historically, some of the most exciting Arena matches to watch have been setup/control compositions (such as RMP) play against compositions with a vastly different playstyle, such as Warrior/Lock/Healer or Feral/Hunter/Healer. That said, we're continuing to monitor Assassination and Subtlety Rogue damage in 7.2.5 to make sure that the damage they bring to the team is in a healthy balance with the amount of utility and control they bring to the table.

....and thank you for not calling it PMR

Monk [Top]

This was certainly the most popular type of questions that were asked, because they're the most important, so I've included a lot of data to support them. I promise there's a question there.

Windwalkers have historically scaled very poorly as a tier has gone on, I have put together all the past tiers that I could and how Windwalker's aggregate score (the score when compared to other specs) has consistently declined over the course of a tier. Full Album

As you can clearly see, Windwalkers have nearly always fallen compared to other specs as a tier goes on. This is largely because of a poor gear scaling and the amount of setup time much of our AOE and Cleave takes, so as things die faster as others get more gear, Windwalkers dont have enough time to get up to their damage potential. Windwalkers have nearly always been strongest on early progression and fallen as time went on.

Now, starting Tomb, Windwalkers are already starting off at the bottom when looking at the data available so far (its not a lot, but enough to draw statistically significant conclusions) in Normal and Heroic. This doesn't bode well for the future of Windwalkers. Obviously there are tier bonuses to get, but so far it doesn't look like Windwalker's have strong enough tier bonuses (even at 10-13% more damage) to bring them from the bottom.

I have also aggregated the date from Nighthold and Tomb in a chart, to show that Windwalkers, right now are over 1.5 standard deviations below the mean based on currently available data.

Questions

  • Looking at the available data, do you have plans for Windwalker Monks in order to bring them up closer to the average? What are they?

  • Do you have a plan for fixing the overall scaling problems present for Windwalkers? What is it, if you do?

A few of the strongest suggestions have been:

  • Adding Haste scaling to Touch of Death and Strike of the Windlord, increasing single target damage without drastically effecting AOE/Cleave, and simultaneously making Haste more desirable.

  • Adding a damage modifier (like 300% more damage) to the Blackout Kick! proc so that its more rewarding and only increases single target damage.

  • Integrating a form of MW's "Teachings of the Monastery" into Windwalker.

What do you think of these suggestions?

So, I'll follow up a little (edit: a lot) since the previous response got so much reaction. I know it was more of a general-interest philosophical post--and while I think that's still a discussion worth trying to have, it wasn't specific to this set of questions. As I said before, I'll do a deep dive into the scaling analysis as well. (And I appreciate that these posts probably would have gone over much better if they appeared in reverse order--I was trying to prioritize discussions that were of interest to all specs instead of one, when I wasn't sure if I'd have time for both).

This post is contending that something about Windwalker makes it scale less well than other specs with increasing ilvl. This is where I wind up putting on the "scientist" hat I mentioned in the long post on methodology. The goal is not to prove the player wrong. If the claim is right, nobody is more interested in knowing it than we are. The only obstacle is that demonstrating a statistical claim this complex is a challenge no matter who is doing it.

When I look at something like this and try to evaluate it, the two main questions in my mind are: 1) Is the conclusion a correct inference the data, as an empirical matter? 2) Is there a mechanism explaining why that would be the case? Addressing these in turn:

1) Possibly--the data shows that the WCL "normalized score" decays within a tier. At least--it possibly does, and very slightly. Looking at your Nighthold 7.2 link (the most recent/relevant one as it reflects the most current design), your downward-sloping linear fit is not very pronounced, and does not have very high slope (it's only the compressed y-axis that makes it look steep). Looking for example at the same chart with all classes included: http://imgur.com/a/RDLxB , the Windwalker line (you can make it out if you look closely) does not perceptibly change relative to the other specs.

So the answer to #1 is "maybe". The Emerald Nightmare graph is indeed more pronounced. I wouldn't say that anything before 7.0 is very informative due to the heavy design changes.

Aside: something I didn't realize was even a question until reading various posts, including on this thread. We look at the community-aggregated logs a lot. We probably, on any given day, know what the WCL (or whatever the current popular source is) rankings look like, because someone has it sitting open. Most of why it's not interesting to link it to us isn't that we don't care about it, but that linking it to us is almost by definiton telling us things that we know. This is especially true of the "All Bosses 75th" stack rank--the default display.

2) This is equally important, if not moreso. Not only are we much less likely to change something if there's not a clear understanding of what's causing it, but we would be much less informed about what to change even if we wanted to. In your post you allude to "poor gear scaling", but give no proposal for why you think that's so.

Poor gear scaling has to mean poor scaling with either primary or secondary stats. Poor scaling with primary is all but impossible in the current paradigm where all class ability damage is proportional to primary stat (or equivalently, primary stat + weapon damage). There are rare exceptions like 7.2 Arms, where a non stat-based damage source (Draught of Souls) was a such large portion of their damage that it displaced the value of primary stat somewhat. Those instances are rare these days.

Aside #2: I believe I recall that somewhere in the runup discussion to this, people discussed my post here: https://eu.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/17614841410?page=2#24 . That's still accurate and something we want to look at, but as I say even in that post, it doesn't effect this analysis.

Secondary stats are much harder to evaluate. I find a very informative approach is: how do the other three stats on a spec compare to Versatility? Versatility's behavior is perfectly uniform and equal on all specs. If two specs are both in the situation where crit, haste, and mastery all have similar values relative to Versatility, it's near-impossible that those two specs "scale differently" from each other. Now I'm typing this on the fly, but a brief glance at Windwalker community sources/guides reveals nothing of the sort "our secondaries are worse than Versatility" (and, guides aside, I don't think that would be correct). Haste may be borderline, but that alone would have be to a pretty extreme effect to drag the spec down noticeably.

There is also the suggestion that maybe the primary explanation is Windwalker's long rampup making it worse on heavy farm when fights get very short. That is entirely plausible, and of course a comparative analysis of rampup on different specs would be pretty interesting. But for right now, I hope this post helps forward a rigorous discussion of the question of whether Windwalker "scales poorly with gear", how we see it as our job to evaluate that as a factual claim based on the evidence shown to us, and what our thought process is so that people know how better to give highly technical feedback such as this.

My takeaway presently is that there may be something here, but the question of whether WW is simply a bit undertuned right now is likely more immediately informative than a subtle potential gear scaling issue. The biggest way to continue the discussion on a potential gear scaling issue is to demonstrate (or at least conjecture) some mechanism that would be causing it.

As to the Big Conclusion: are we going to buff Windwalker in the immediate future? I know you took umbrage at my characterizing your post that way, but I think it's fair to say that, all the technical discourse we could have notwithstanding, it's what most people want to know.

The answer is, we don't know yet. Usually when we do know, it's announced at nearly the same time. As always, we are quite aware that today's "WCL Heroic All Bosses 75th" suggests that buffing WW might be a reasonable thing to do. It probably would have been a lot better to say that up front. Usually we don't discuss tuning changes until we have a final conclusion, but I'm trying to use today as a chance to explain the thought process in detail, with both this specific response and the earlier general response.

Many Brewmasters view the tier 20 set bonuses as a very essential part of the Brewmaster kit for being able to deal with challenging content after the changes made in 7.2.5. A lot of Brewmasters also feel that the bulk of the 7.2.5 Brewmaster nerfs were to compensate for how strong the tier 20 set bonuses are. What plans, if any, are in place to address the Brewmaster dependency on the tier 20 set bonuses when tier 21 comes out?

When we make set bonuses, the goal for them is not to remove all weaknesses from whatever spec the bonus is for. While the set bonuses certainly do provide some power increase to your role, and have sometimes made playing the spec more forgiving, we don't start the creation of them by thinking "What problem does <spec> have that I should fix?", we instead like to think "what is a cool thing that <spec> does, and is there room to add something on to that?".

We don't create them with the intention of them greatly transforming your gameplay or adding significant complication to your rotation. Sometimes you get a reason to press a button that is used infrequently, others it just increases the damage of a button you already press a lot.

The changes to Brewmaster in 7.2.5 were not because of their new set bonuses. Ideally when a new tier set comes out, whatever new set bonuses are there are cool and exciting and compelling enough to get you to want to use the new bonuses.

Paladin [Top]

Why does a defensive spell (Shield of Vengeance) do damage? It can make for some pretty bad game play by us not actually using it as a defensive but as a DPS boost. And if we don't take enough damage then the shield itself does not explode which only adds to the frustration as that is now damage we have lost and can not gain back.

General answer - adding damage to defensive abilities and movement abilities always causes gameplay problems. The damage portion of Shield of Vengeance can be problematic, but the name and theme of the spell currently suggests the damage should be there. That's not saying we will or won't necessarily remove all damage effects from all defensive/movement abilities immediately, but we're careful about adding any more.

Once, Ion replied to an email thread saying something along the lines of "every time I ask my raid's Warrior to use Heroic Leap (one of the best movement abilities in the game) for a boss mechanic and he says he can't because he needs to use it to proc the Heroic Leap Applies Colossus Smash legendary, I die a little inside" and I started packing up my stuff and updating my resume.

Would it be possible for paladins to have their divine steed spell replaced with their class mount? Possibly using a glyph?

We love this idea, we'll look into it for our next round of cosmetic glyphs!

Why does retribution have "judgement window" as a mechanic? Why was the ability to opt out of the mechanic via the lawbringer pvp talent removed for pvp? For PvE this mechanic hasn't really been something we have had to care about from very early on with proper gear.

Lawbringer had too large of an impact on Retribution Paladin's rotation in PvP, especially in multi-target situations. We're not always concerned when an Honor Talent has strong transformative gameplay (when compared to PvE rotations), but Lawbringer threw a large part of Retribution's core rotation out the window.

We'll continue to monitor the duration and damage of Lawbringer to make sure that the talent lives up to our gameplay expectations.

Priest [Top]

Surrender to Madness is obviously a very polarizing ability. Some people love it, some people hate it; its severely overpowered or drastically underpowered. Can you speak to its intended role in the shadow priest's kit and how successfully you feel you have achieved that role?

It was definitely an experimental talent--and overall that's something we feel we should keep trying to do. It's too early to know the future direction of it: keep the current version and focus only on balancing it (which is unusually challenging for a talent, but that itself is not something to shy away from), or decide that most of its value was novelty that will have worn off after a time.

The reason that experimental talents are important is we will find out what aspects of them work. We should push ourselves to keep exploring the space of what talents can do, the chance of death--sort of the ultimate drawback that a talent could have--is a good sign that we're doing that. I'd say the bigger problems with Surrender are 1) the accelerating haste getting to a point where it is far too finicky or even uncomfortable to play, 2) the way the death drawback currently works heavily limits the times at which you can use the ability. My gut right now that we should see if there's a way to address those in the future, but Shadow would be a little less cool if the concept goes away entirely.

How successful do you feel that you have been in pushing Disc in 7.2.5 away from the more ramp/burst/downtime style that was infamously named degenerate? Are there certain areas that you would have wanted to iterate upon more with the spec that would have taken much too long, something for a future expansion perhaps?

Holy Priest throughout Legion has had an exceptional foundation of baseline abilities, but do you share some of the concerns that the playerbase might have with passive talents/spells playing such a large role in their overall healing (PoM, Echo, Divinity, Benediction)? Seeing very large portions of Holy healing tied to passive talents which cause more passive healing and do not largely augment the existing playstyle it gives the impression that these talents, while powerful, are not engaging, i.e. still casting HWords/Pom on cooldown regardless of Divinity/Piety/Benediction talented or not.

I wouldn't say it's a dire problem, but overall, the Piety/Benediction engine is pretty prominent for something that's so passive. Because it's still based on a spell with an 8s cooldown, it's not like it takes over your whole rotation--you still care about and have to make use of your Holy Words and other core mechanics.

This all, at worst, seems like a minor tuning issue. Benediction and Apotheosis are good talents to have in opposition to each other, and are both pretty effective right now.

Beast Mastery recently had its Dire Beast legendary, which increased the amount of charges from 1 to 2 baked into the spec because it smoothed out the rotation so much. Currently, Shadow has the same issue with Mangaza's Madness, which smooths out the rotation and dominates single targets scenarios. In a raid like Tomb, Mangaza's Madness is proven to be the best legendary for most (currenty 7/9) encounters. Can we have that QoL change for Shadow too?

I don’t want people to overestimate the likelihood of baking talents (or other bonuses, like artifact traits or legendaries) into baseline specs. It’s a necessary, but not nearly sufficient, condition that the talent is very popular. The cost is high: we’re adding an ability or passive to the spec, which we can’t do willy-nilly. The analysis is not so much about whether the talent is popular (we hope to always have many popular talents), nor is it about whether the talent is fun to use or makes the rotation feel better (that is also the hope for all talents). It’s about whether the best version of the baseline spec, looking ahead to the future (when lots of other things might be changed or added to the game) is one that’s based on having that talent as a major element. Is it one of the handful of things that is so important to the central spec concept that it should be there, independently of any current happenstance situation where it’s tuned too high, or interacts with some artifact trait, or somesuch.

Mantle of Command was an example. Mantle of Command was too strong for a legendary, which is a problem, but one that could have been solved in a variety of ways. The fact that a legendary is somewhat overpowered and popular on live shouldn’t much affect our decisions about what’s the best version of the spec in the distant future. What caused us to change it was a long discussion that “2 charges of Dire Frenzy” was, in our current estimation, most likely to be the best future model of the spec.

A converse example is Instructor’s Fourth Lesson. It has been strong and popular throughout the expansion. But I think that few people, all other things being equal, want the version of Unholy where 1-3 Wounds randomly disappear unpredictably and often. It makes your rotation harder to control and narrows your ability to pool Wounds. Making it baseline would likely be shortsighted, and would be one further obstacle towards refining the Unholy spec in the future.

We have added lots of cool bonuses to every spec in talents, traits, and legendaries in Legion, because the specs have room for cool things to be added. It’s important to maintain that space going forward, and resist the urge to permanently use up some of a spec’s complexity budget except where it’s necessary to do so.

Do you feel that the changes made to the spec in 7.2.5 have been successful overall ? Disc is still very much being played as an AOE damage burst healer, the only difference being that now it is much harder to achievee a high number of atonements, and makes the 'Evangalism' talent mandatory.

Whilst the spec definitely feels less mana starved now, (and better in 5 man content) I personally have made the shift to holy, purely for an easier playstyle. So, I was wondering whether you feel that the changes made have had an overall positive impact on how Disc works in a raid.

On a related note, how do you feel about the criticism that evangalism and a recharge on Radiance make the spec feel much more 'Resto-Druidy', for lack of a better term ? One the one hand, I'm very happy that such a niche spec with a fairly limited player base got such big attention and TLC from the Devs, but also, that perhaps we've suffered a little homogenisation as a result.

With the patch a week old, it is probably too early for a realistic postmortem of the changes. We're certainly happy about how it looked as it went out the door.

Evangelism certainly was a bit counter to the stated goal of eliminating burst potential, but that was okay. 1) Heavy burst is part of what the spec's been in Legion, and completely undoing it is a huge change midstream. If it's balanced and the spec is working smoothly, that's okay. 2) It's a cool and powerful concept that really fits how the spec plays and what it tries to do. We're only too happy to add those things when the idea is there and we have the opportunity. The Disc burst using the level 100 talent with a clear purpose and function is still better in many ways than the one based on PW:Radiance spam.

I don't think anyone should be too surprised by some convergent evolution between Disc Priest and Resto Druid. The heart of each spec has a very similar mindset--apply an effect on various targets that does healing on the timescale of the next ~15s. The specs play differently enough that nobody's going to confuse one for the other, but basic concepts like "abilities that care about how many buffs you have applied" are natural supplements to both of those specs' core mechanics, and of course we'll use them for both. Whether something works well and is fun on a particular spec is more important than trying to avoid some similarities.

Curious to learn more about the design behind Holy Priest. Often seems like you guys keep pushing Renew to be a passive spell rather than something to cast. Even after the recent buff in PvP, the mana cost makes it hard to justify casting. We are also one of the few healers that don't have a cooldown that reduces damage, rather some that just stop damage entirely or buffs our healing. Side note, why do you guys keep fun mechanics like instant PoM gated behind PvP? It is insanely fun to use in PvP and was insanely fun to use when it was baselane instant cast as well. What were your design justifications behind these choices?

When we were initially designing Holy Priest honor talents, we wanted to reinforce their role in groups as the healer with 'saves' and strong throughput heals. It is important that Holy provides a different playstyle than other Healers (especially when comparing to Discipline). Options such as Ray of Hope, Spirit of the Redeemer, Miracle Worker are excellent examples of propping up and solidifying Holy Priest's throughput in PvP. Their defensive options including Holy Ward, Inner Focus, and Greater Fade also make Holy stand out with unique tools of their own.

We really appreciate all the feedback that we've received with Holy Priests in PvP this expansion. Historically, most Priests that heal in PvP have gravitated towards Discipline, so all of the feedback has helped carve out Holy's niche in PvP.

Rogue [Top]

First, what led to the decision to put a 25 sec CD on Toxic Blade for Assassination?

The cooldown was derived from the debuff duration. I think a cooldown about 3x the debuff duration plays well in terms of – it’s not up so much that it’s forgettable, but it’s not so rare that it would have to be a very high damage bonus, which often causes distortive effects on rotations and priorities. For the debuff duration, at a base/simple level, I wanted a window just long enough for you to do a Toxic Blade -> 5-6 pt point Envenom -> get back to 5-6 combo points -> Envenom combo without clipping Envenom uptime. I know in many circumstances you can get in more than 2 Envenoms with the correct items and other cooldowns available, and that's fine too. Figuring out optimal ways to use abilities given other factors is great, but at a naive level it's good for the use case for an ability to seem understandable at first glance.

In terms of “these buttons don’t line up cooldown-wise”, we want cooldowns to not line up. When buttons have the same cooldown, it becomes no-brainer to push them at the same time. Is it really more or less complexity when cooldowns sync up compared to when cooldowns don’t sync up? I don’t think that it’s a good thing that I haven’t pushed either Nemesis or Chaos Blades on my Havoc DH alt since I hit lvl 110. Instead, I hit my macro that casts both at once, because there’s rarely a case that I need to use the buttons separately.

How do the designers feel about Poison Bomb?

Poison Bomb as a random proc is okay, but it definitely has too high of a swing on final damage output. Poison Bomb can easily vary your damage on a pull by 15%, which is far too much for a single artifact trait/talent/etc.

When we changed Poison Bomb from RPPM to flat proc chance on combo points spent, we gained the ability for it to proc on Rupture and removed the incentive to spam low-CP finishers, but ended up with too random of an ability.

I like Poison Bomb as a passive proc, but would want to adjust its RNG to a different version. In 7.2.5, we used a version of random proc chance we call Deck of Cards for several proc legendaries (e.g. Chaos Theory, many of the healer legendaries). The way it works is: Chaos Theory reads “Blade Dance has a 10% chance to grant you Chaos Blades for 6 sec.” But it’s far from a simple random 10% chance on casting Blade Dance. Instead, we track its randomness with a deck of cards. In this case, it’s a deck of 20 cards (outcomes) where 2 of the outcomes are True/Proc and 18 of the outcomes are False/Don’t Proc. So on your first 20 casts of Blade Dance, this will proc exactly 2 times (10% proc chance), but the distribution of those 2 procs are random and can happen at any point within those 20 casts of Blade Dance. This is a kind of controlled randomness that I like, and I want to use for more procs in the future, including Poison Bomb. The goal would be: in a 2-3 minute window, the distribution of the procs is random, but the total proc percent remains consistent.

Current future plan for Poison Bomb is to probably put it on an AOE talent row for Assassination along with (pick from) Death from Above, Crimson Tempest, Venom Rush. We’ll see, we’re still a while away from 8.0.

Are there any plans to address the problems Assassination has with target-swapping?

Honestly, target-swapping will probably remain a weakness of Assassination as long as it retains the Poison/Bleed gameplay, which we think is working well on most fronts. It’s fine for specs to have some weaknesses, as long as the spec isn’t completely useless in a specific damage profile area of the game (namely Single Target and AOE, sometimes burst damage windows). I don’t think there are many cases in current raids where frequent target swapping is crucial to success. Even on things like Eyes on Gul’dan or Maiden on Fallen Avatar, when target swapping is needed, I think Assassination can still pull its own weight in terms of burst damage to high-priority short-duration targets.

Hey Stjern, I see you in Ravenholdt (the Rogue class discord) pretty often. The Rogue community has certainly benefitted from the work you and others in the community like Aethys have don. Thanks and keep it up.

Grappling Hook is a great ability allowing players to deal with movements in raid pretty well. However, Acrobatic Strikes' power is too good not to use, especially when using Blade Flurry. How would you feel about making Grappling Hook a baseline ability like shadowstep?

Grappling Hook is a great and powerful ability (when you don't fall through the world). However, saying Acrobatic Strikes' power is "too good not to use" really isn't saying much. That can be said about many things that are both strong and feel great to use. I don't have a decision on Grappling Hook baseline at the moment, but it's definitely not off the table that Outlaw gets it baseline as their Shadowstep.

As of right now, players need to track Shadow Techniques using information not presented in game (either in the tooltip, or a UI element, or anything of the sort) in order to maximize DPS. Would it be possible to add two buffs to the game that move some of the internal state into external state? Specifically, it'd be useful for addon authors if we had two buffs, one of which indicates that the internal counter for shadow techniques is at three, so the next melee hit has a 50% chance of proccing Shadow Techniques; and a buff that indicates that the internal counter for shadow techniques is at four, so the next melee hit as a 100% chance of proccing Shadow Techniques.

Certainly a possibility. I can look into it.

Early on in development of patch 7.2.5 there was mention of introducing a talent for assassination to give us some control over our burst AOE (poison bomb). What were the reasons for going away from this and any chance the idea could come back? Maybe as an alternative on the 90 tier? Especially as Exsanguinate and Toxic Blade pretty much serves the same purpose.

That was definitely a possibility at the time and is still in the cards for the future, but for the current layout of the talent tree, I wanted a talent to compete with Exsanguinate – a single target talent. In terms of talent rows, we want to actively move towards a world where talent rows are no longer Single Target vs. AOE talents but rather Single Target vs. Single Target or AOE vs AOE talent. That makes for more interesting choices on a talent row and reduces the need for me to wait while people are hearthing and asking for summons in the middle of raid.

Additionally, while Toxic Blade and Exsanguinate "serve the same purpose" in that they're single-target talents, their gameplay and theme is distinct enough from one other.

Current future plan for Poison Bomb in 8.0 is to probably put it on an AOE talent row for Assassination along with (pick from) Death from Above, Crimson Tempest, Venom Rush.

Sub rogue - 7.2.5 definitely brought some improvements, thank you. However, I have to point out that sub is now the lone spec with a positional requirement that is problematic in both PVE and PvP. Would you ever consider just changing it to Stab, and allowing it from any position? Failing that, it seems that removing gouge from sub, which facilitated re-positioning, was a huge mistake. Perhaps it can return?

Gloomblade is an excellent talent option (and very popular in 7.2.5!) for PvP Subtlety Rogues that want to ignore the positional requirements of Backstab. Backstab with its positional requirement continues to reinforce the class fantasy of the hidden Rogue attacking from unexpected angles.

(We also didn't think 'Facestab' was a great rename for 'Backstab')

Shaman [Top]

As of Legion we had a lot of improvements with targeted spells like Warriors Heroic Leap, but often times as a Shaman, targeted totems still feel very limited and prone to having "No Path Available" a lot of times, is this an intentional design choice or just a limitation that could have improvements in the future?

We'll take another look at our totem placement rules, especially now that we have an increased number of totems that are spawned on your reticle. I share your frustration with trying to throw totems in situations such as from the top of Blade's Edge Arena bridge to the floor.

Any chance of Earth Shock getting an animation that makes it feel as epic as Chaos Bolt or Pyroblast?

Earth Shock is definitely on our list of visuals to address :)

Warlock [Top]

Hello there. If Demonology warlocks weakness is target switching and AOE, what is their strenght? And just a fast summery of what their intended role is?

Demonology Warlocks' strength is probably going to be sustained Single Target, especially among the 3 Warlock specs. When you look at Affliction and Destruction, it's pretty obvious that Affliction's strength is sustained multi-target/multi-dot and Destruction is going to specialize in 2-targets due to having Havoc. That really leaves Single Target as the spec for Demonology, and that sort of makes sense with many pets focusing on the same target.

This may not have materialized yet, but that's probably more due to current tuning than anything.

Hey Devs thanks for doing this AMA! Are there or were there ever any plans on letting demonology warlocks summon one massive demon as a cool-down? (A pit lord for example) I love demo but the class fantasy of being a master summoner is a bit hard to believe when we summon 4 imps and 2 dread-doggos at a time.

Yes, we've talked about giving Demo (and possibly the other two Warlock specs) a single massive demon as their 2-3 minute ultimate cooldown ability. High hopes for that materializing in the future.

Rotationally, summoning less, more powerful and interesting creatures is a direction we’ve talked about internally and would also like to pursue in the future. "Master of a pet army” is a fine fantasy, but often doesn’t really have much gameplay in practice. When you summon a lot of AI-controlled pets that just deal damage and don’t have interactive abilities, they end up being mostly just visual clutter, lag, and noise that provide little actual gameplay. A world where Demo might go in the future is: It has a 1 baseline melee pet that can also tank (e.g. Felguard). It has 1 baseline ranged DPS pet (e.g. Doomguard). It can talent into 1 of a number of temporary summons that provides some damage (e.g. Mega Imp) or utility (e.g. Succubus). Maybe each of the baseline units would have 1 cooldown ability which we’d expect players to have on their main actionbars and treat as their own spell (e.g. Felguard's Stun or Doomguard's Counterspell). We’d want to keep an eye on how many total pets you have out, and definitely reduce it from where Demo is at now.

As an affliction warlock in pvp, shaman totems are incredibly difficult to stomp out being that no spell affects them and you either have to send your pet after them (which cannot be macro'd) you have to run up to melee them. Any plans to ease this up ?

We've been discussing the possibility of opening up totems to be the target of more types of spells, such as damage over time effects. We agree that killing totems and interrupting base assaults as an Affliction Warlock can be frustrating.

Warrior [Top]

As a main warrior for many years, the most fun I've ever had with the class was in the start of WoD with the Gladiator talent. It was a blast to play and I was super sad that it was removed.

Have you discussed it internally? Will it make a comeback?

That’s an excellent question, walkingtheriver.

We agree that Gladiator stance delivered on an awesome fantasy (who doesn’t want to be Spartacus?), but ultimately it muddled what Protection was about and led to player confusion when grouping with or playing against Prot Warriors. As a result, there currently there aren’t plans to bring it back in talent form right now. We’re cognizant of the fact that sword-and-board damage dealer isn’t represented, but packaging it as a sub-spec that co-opted the existing tank fantasy wasn’t the right way of delivering it.

Can you please remove or alter the "Defensive Stance" equipped shield? We all hate it. It ruins transmogs. It completely goes against Arms class fantasy (2h weapon). With the spinning shields as well, the whole thing is way too busy. PLEASE remove the equipped shield.

This is definitely the dilemma of old favorite versus new hotness, and we have players on both sides of the fence regarding which way Defensive Stance should be portrayed. The equipped shield is definitely starting to show its age though, so I think this change is inevitable.

The Arms rework has been received positively by most, myself included. However, Focused Rage is effectively dead and a non competitive option. It also offered a much faster paced game play and the visceral component of larger mortal strikes, especially combined with executioner's precision. Even if you have the new legendary ring to allow you to take the old trinity of talents, it does not play even remotely the same and the damage is lackluster to boot. The new arms model simply can not cast the ability often enough to matter. Any plans to address and bring back that gameplay for those who enjoyed it?

The fast pace of the Focused Rage playstyle is something I think serves Arms better when it is a moment, rather than an always-on state (as it tended to devolve into at higher gear levels). Being able to build a huge Mortal Strike by utilizing Deadly Calm and Focused Rage was exciting, and the ability to ride that influx of Rage all the way down to the next Battle Cry was not as awesome, because it weakened the highlight moment in comparison. Figuring out how to bring back that feeling, whether its through Focused Rage or another design, is something we'll definitely be keeping in mind for the future.

Can you guys help to address some Fury Warrior execute concerns when wearing tier 20? Without tier 19 pieces, our enrage uptime during execute phase is very low, which causes us to generate less rage, and leads to less juggernaut stacks also. We pretty much all have to rely on convergence of fates from nighthold in order to help a little with this rage generation and enrage issue. In execute phase now, we pretty much have to rely on BT critting in order to enrage, and now that we don't get an additional source to boost this crit chance, it can be difficult.

Is it also possible to give odyn's champion the same treatment as rage of the valarjar to proc from both rampages and executes? Odyns champ will never proc during execute phase unless you're using massacre or using the massacre ring, which is a bit weak atm.

I think the tunnel mechanic of juggernaut stacks is a fun mini game to play, but there should be a big pay off in damage when we execute it correctly. Currently we don't see that unless the raid afks and watches us get to over 40+ stacks and then execute with a BC window. A lot of this is just the damage ramp takes too long, and we ramp up even slower if we don't have the rage to keep building stacks and are not enraged while doing so.

The initial goal for Juggernaut was to create an exciting ramp into crazy damage at the end of a fight, but it ended up overwhelming the entirety of Execute phase. Additionally, 99 stacks is probably too high; the dream of getting to max stacks is never realized in actual gameplay, leading to some disappointment.

Enrage uptime and other rotational considerations don't have room to breathe with Juggernaut in the mix. The buff to an 8 second duration gives a little more leeway, making it less likely that Juggernaut will fall off during periods of high movement, but Ayala's Stone Heart presents a potential issue that stops us from pushing Juggernaut's duration any higher.

We're also looking at the strength of Frothing Berserker relative to Massacre. Massacre does wonders to alleviate the stress from Juggernaut, and bringing Frothing Berserker down a bit (and compensating Fury's overall damage) to make Massacre a viable choice is something we'll talk about.

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I was really disappointed with this AMA. so many people asking questions weve already had answered 10+ times. And the 1 chance we had to get clarity on what happened to the DH changes got stopped short of we couldnt think of anything that worked.

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I was disappointed with it as well, but I expected nothing less. For quite some time now, the stock Blizzard reply to any call for change is "We agree that this is a good idea, but we're happy with the way things are, so we're not changing anything." This lazy and arrogant attitude defeats the whole purpose of an AMA, and makes it resoundingly clear that once Blizzard puts any work into something, they will refuse to change it even if the forums are blowing up with complaints.

Obviously, not everything can (or should) be changed to suit the whims of the player base, but when the class forums have thousands of posts clamoring for tweaks to the same few abilities or mechanics, something is obviously wrong. Sadly, Blizzard seems to have adopted a new motto: "Every voice matters, as long as it agrees with us."

 

Edited by Larssen

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