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WoW Classic: Class Balancing Discussion

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Community Managers Ythisens and Ornyx discuss class balance on Classic servers.

Classic servers are very early in development and the latest discussion is about class balance. Some players would like to have a genuine Vanilla experience with no balance whatsoever, whereas others would like to see certain specializations updated to make them viable.

Do you think Classic servers should be exact copies of Vanilla or are you open to various improvements to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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I personally think its fair to have a discussion about classes/specs in Classic, considering class balancing as a philosophy didn't exist back then as it does now. The idea of a "hybrid tax" was obviously not very good in the grand scheme of overarching class design and it made some specs arguably not viable/unplayable. I'm not suggesting we make huge changes or even small changes at all for that matter, but that it is a worthwhile conversation to have.

I have to ask since you're a Blizzard employee. Does your opinion speak at all for the design team working on this?

It's more of a personal opinion. As you've read numerous times, the team for Classic is just now coming together, so I wouldn't say there's much of an opinion internally one way or the other. 

This is more so a "we", the Community team, remember that class balance was one of the more contentious discussions during the early days - and it could be useful feedback to continue those discussion so we can have a concrete place to look at how players feel Classic balance should be.

Should class balance be left as it was, or should it be tweaked within a certain margin, or should it be constantly tuned and worked on? I'm not so certain that any specific one is the default, correct choice.

He is most likely here to spark discussion for the developers.

Shhhh don't give it away! Nobody has noticed I'm here yet.

This comment right here is not something I was hoping to read as a returning player excited about the prospect of a vanilla server option. I guess it was too good to be true.

I wouldn't read too much into it. I'm just saying its a worthwhile conversation to have in the grand design of "How do we pull this thing off?". Its honestly one of a thousand questions and it isn't as simple as just pick a patch and roll with it. I feel that its more likely that nothing class design wise will change and I'd be fine with that too. I just want the conversation to happen personally.

Keep breathing and discuss.

Where do we go to actually panic though?

So Ornyx and Ythisens, are you going to be regular posters here with us? Im sure all of us would love some blue company in this madness of a forum :)

As regular as we can be!

It's going to be interesting bouncing between Classic and Live discussions and trying to not mix anything up. :P

In my opinion this leaves the entire design aspect of this server now open ended. Just me, but I think it'd be far more productive to first determine what the design goal of this server really is. Is it supposed to be as much of a 1:1 emulation of the old experience as possible? If so, then these discussions are just setting up some false expectations.

That's kind of the beauty of it - I don't think anything has necessarily been decided. 

These decisions will really be made by the kind of discussions we see here, so... if folks want a true 1:1 Vanilla experience, then we want to see the discussion of that. If people think there should be changes here or there, then we'll want to see that too.

The community will truly be what shapes the direction of Classic as we move forward, together.

The community will truly be what shapes the direction of Classic as we move forward, together.

Ornyx may even be understating here, because so much is still up in the air. Even the discussions we've had as a Community team every day since we knew it was coming have been around the numerous QoL changes, class changes, content changes, and each of us has a different opinion on what Classic "should be" because to each of us Vanilla WoW was obviously different. 

Just please tell us you'll read as much as you can and listen to as many opinions as you can. We're having problems at others shouting down any opinions they don't agree with and trying to get them silenced/to leave.

I'm so pumped to see a blue posting here, just to confirm someone is listening on occasion.

We're going to be reading a lot, that's for sure. The Warcraft community is obviously very vocal so we won't have to worry about not having things to read. I mean the fact that this project exists is because of you guys. We've heard you and we're still listening.

Just to add to what Ythisens said above: 

We've been reading and talking about Classic within the Community team almost every day. Before BlizzCon we were all so nervous and, really, amazed that this project was actually going to be announced at the show. But we do need to make sure things are kept in perspective - we don't want to jump onto too much of a hype/posting train, as its still all coming together and there's not much that is concrete.

I can guarantee you that the Classic team will be listening, and we will be forwarding as much along as we can. We know this project means a lot to a lot of players, and it means a lot to us too.

Any chance of a dedicated Classic MVP / Blue forum poster? 
Maybe one that will hop into our raids every once and a while? :)

We're working on a bit of a bigger revamp of the MVP program for WoW in the background, as well as a few other projects that should be a good solution to this.

I wouldn't expect myself, Ythisens, or any other CM to move over to an entirely Classic role at this point, however.

Paladins are always whining about ret, don't give them a thing.

I feel personally victimized by this statement.

A few things have been taken out of context here, and I just wanted to course correct and say that nothing for Classic is set in stone.

We want to work with the Community on making sure we can do World of Warcraft: Classic the right way. We want to listen to the opinions of the players who have worked to get to where we are now.

We do not want players on our forums attacking each other left and right. People are free to have their opinions, on both sides of these arguments, and we will be following them closely.

We will not, however, play into the hands of people directing their followers to make attacks against our community or otherwise conflagrate the community we have on these forums.

I have read the majority of the discussion in this thread, and I think it's easy to see that a majority of posters here are against changes to class balance in any form in Classic. I'll make sure that feedback is passed on when the time comes for it. I think this thread has served its purpose and the feedback has been clear.


A word of warning: we're seeing a huge increase in outgoing forum moderation and punishments for harassment and toxicity from people who are participating in this forum without an active subscription. We would very much like to keep this option open, as I personally realize that Classic players may not necessarily play in Legion. However, if it becomes the best move for our community, and to maintain a constructive environment, I am not opposed to flipping the switch and returning this forum to subscribers only. Please be mindful of how you are treating each other, and please make sure your posts are constructive and provide good context for the thread you may be posting in. Thanks!

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here's the problem. If they implement the modern class balance into classic servers, the feel of the old Vanilla will be gone. Same for the QoL changes. I mean Vanilla wouldn't be what it was if for example locks didn't have soul shards in backpacks or hunters used ammo and mana.  So that is my problem. How many modern things can you implement without losing the vanilla feel?

The same goes for classes, not to mention  the talent trees. Oh, and flight paths

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1 hour ago, Stan said:

Do you think Classic servers should be exact copies of Vanilla or are you open to various improvements to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

I believe it to be a waste of time and resources whatever decision is made, unless it is cancelled entirely, which would save time and resources.

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 I feel that it should be as close to the original experience as possible. If we wanted a more balanced game then we would just play live.

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If it's going to happen, it should be as close to a 1:1 as possible. I'm sure some people want to see what vanilla would be like if it was released with more recent QoL/balancing, but I think that would ruin (most) of the point. after all, those things were released in expansions! which isn't classic. Although i think 'balancing' certain specs just enough to not be unforgivably bad, but not making them better enough to change the dynamic of how they where played would be a fine compromise

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I think people need to stop seeing the word "vanilla" when it reads Classic.  
Obviously, things like locks having soul shards in backpacks and hunters retaining ammo/mana can easily be kept. Same with feeding their pets to keep them happy can easily remain. The old tech trees, etc.  
HOWEVER, making a spec viable (like Ret for Paladins, etc) isn't too much to ask. 
This isn't going to be a carbon-copy of vanilla so stop expecting it to be.

If your honest intention is to log back on in "2005", you might as well not bother.  A classic remake is NOT a clone and this juvenile rage the player base is displaying is going to get it shut down.   

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Wasn't it literally like 70% roguecraft with Polymorph and Sap lasting like a minute in pvp, hunters kiting anything indefinitely and classes like paladin and druid basically going healer if they wanted to do end game content while warlocks farmed half of Elwynn Forest for soul shards just to wipe on the first boss in BLW for 4 hours? 

A U T H E N T I C E X P E R I E N C E 

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Personally I am of the opinion that they should keep it as it was originally (except update some models if needed). The one class fits all that is prevalent today does not belong in a vanilla server.

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Biggest problems I see if it's a 1:1 classic release:

1) Alliance are ridiculously overpowered due to the presence of Fear Ward and Paladin buffs for raiding.    Huge, huge advantage on a lot of fights, was really sour about that horde side in vanilla.   

2) Original Thunderfury in the hands of a rogue completely breaks pvp.    If that rogue gets tier 3 there's simply no way to stop him, ever.      Similarly, Original Thunderfury on a warrior tank completely breaks PVE (I had it myself).    The upgrade from Quel'Serrar (the best alternative) to Thunderfury was ludicrous, so many of the fights were threat based in difficulty, and Thunderfury effectively negated that, while producing a significant dps boost.

3) Several specs just don't work, at all.   

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I started in Vanilla, and would like to see class balance in it.  It was said before that you can have specs viable without sacrificing the experience.   Paladins shouldn't be pigeon holed into just being buff/cleanse bots for the raid.

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Comon guys! It was first patch of wow series and full of bugs!

balancing doesn't mean they r destroying nostalgia! 

I mean what will happen if they change damage of an ability from X to Y?

Or if they do some minor improvements which makes it better why not?

it matters if they change talents or abilities !not playing with numbers!

then why u want to have it on blizzard app if they don't rework or make balances???? Just search blizzlike vanilla servers on Google and enjoy!

Edited by MZLICH

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In my personal opinion, the desired outcome of a legacy/classic server would be to allow today's player base to experience how the game used to be; designing it 1:1 would be ideal. World of Warcraft has become very user-friendly, and that just simply wasn't the case back then. The ease of gameplay in modern WoW is so drastically different than it was when the game was first released, and it would make sense to want to replicate that experience. Hence, legacy. Taking the game from that original state and tweaking things to add class balance would not make it a legacy server, it would then become a separate game.

We're not anticipating a legacy server without knowing what we're getting ourselves into. Anyone who played during Vanilla knows what to expect, and will relearn some long forgotten details too, and any new player that started their WoW adventures in any expansion post-Vanilla will be able to see for themselves, that WoW has certainly come a very long way.


As iDots commented above, make it as close to the original game as possible, if not an exact version. And when the player has had enough of classic, just switch back over to live.

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I would have to say go ahead and do a 1:1 conversion. That way we can see how many people truly miss classic and how many are still wearing goggles.

Personally I don't miss most of the issues of way back when. The only real reason I am some what excited about Classic servers is I can revisit the world before Deathwing broke it. Hell, I would be happy if they just gave us a bronze dragon to flip the world state like they did in Theramore and Blasted Lands. Granted that is impossible due to the scale.

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IMO, some outright broken things need to be changed. Even in Vanilla, Mages got a talent revamp. It wouldn't be much different for a Prot Pally to get his numbers changed in a way that reflects vanilla play style.  Though, in theory, it would be hard to make a tank class with no threat buttons viable without outright changing everything about it.


6 minutes ago, Granis said:

I would have to say go ahead and do a 1:1 conversion. That way we can see how many people truly miss classic and how many are still wearing goggles.

1:1 of what version, though? The version where Rouges destroyed everything, or the version where Mages got big changes?

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15 hours ago, Murasaniko said:

1:1 of what version, though? The version where Rouges destroyed everything, or the version where Mages got big changes?

The very first alpha where the boat to Theramore actually cruised through land on Theramore.

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Here's the issue that I see.  The people that don't care about playing WoW Classic that strongly are the people arguing for 1:1 conversion (not all but some).  The reason for this is that they feel it should be as close to the original as possible, because that's what everyone "claims" they want.

The other people that appear to want to play WoW Classic over Live are crying because it's not balanced, "Rogues own everything" waaahh waaahh waaahh.... (flame me for it idc).

It's been said by several and I'll say it again, If you want a Classic/Vanilla/Remake authentic experience, make it 1:1, because the moment you begin implementing class balance and QoL changes it no longer becomes a Classic/Vanilla/Remake experience, it becomes a bastardized Pre-TBC version that might as well be running as if it were a Private Server.

"I want something that gives me nostalgia without all the bad.... oh wait this isn't giving me nostalgia... I bitched and moaned for nothing."

I for one will play Classic when it comes out (if it remains true to 1:1, or stays as close as possible), however because the nostalgia doesn't dictate what I decide to do with my future I will continue to play Live as well, because Live is the actual game and not some rebooted version to make the fangirls quit crying.

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Just some spec's dps and tanking tweaks to make specs viable and removing of considering dots as debuffs as part of that (maybe then even lowering maximum number of debuffs because of that), that`s all changes vanilla need, QoL was pretty fine there in terms of gameplay and feeling of the world. Changing stat balance on items is a big question because of it`s deep nature (i'm speaking about a ton of intellect without spellpower on dungeon-early raid tier gear, that`s just a terrible design flaw, i didn't even started speaking about so called "druid" gear)
And before anyone start shitshtorming about other person's opinion - no, i don`t have any kind of nostalgia because i didn`t played official vanilla. It`s just other game than Legion entirely, it has it`s pluses and minuses and i want to play it, but there are also ugly game-design flaws that have no right to exist just because "waaaa, vanillllaa, nostalgiaaa, don`t chaaaange".

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Class balance would be the only thing I would change. I just think you make everyone viable with numbers tweaks, not try to make everyone as close as possible like today's WoW. Overpowered is fun, and it was my understanding that it was not easy to get there in Vanilla, but make everyone viable for end game. The one issue I see is that, now, everyone knows which classes are worthless, especially with how the interwebs is in 2017, opposed to 2005. Easy to Google "Best class in vanilla WoW" and get a million pages on which classes not to play. WoW is all about end game, so people are only going to play the easier and more viable classes (we will literally see 80% Rogues, I bet). To make everyone happy, there is an easy answer:

I doubt only one server will be sufficient for launch, as they will probably get over 5 million people in the first week (though I expect that to dwindle to less than one million very soon after). So, I say, do one server / server type that is a total classic 1:1, then everyone who wants to go back and experience the agony... I mean... nostalgia, can do so.

Then, have a second server / server type with tweaks to class balance, but very little beyond that (preferably nothing beyond that). You make characters transferable between servers so people can level on one, but play on both. Then, you get to try out end game on both levels and settle into your preference. Seems like a no brainer to me!



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I think they should just release 1.11, the Naxx Vanilla Patch as is on new hardware.

No Battle.Net integration, no balancing, no graphics enhancements.  Non-Vanilla Players want to experience what the old school players talk about with Vanilla.

That means Warriors being the only viable tank.  It means Holy Paladins wearing cloth.  It means Debuff slots / limits on bosses.  It means locks being debuff bitches.  It means each class basically having only one viable spec.

I want Classic to just be Vanilla so nostalgia snobs can STFU and people can see how terrible Vanilla was compared to the current product. Maybe then people will get over it.  As for people that play private servers?  Well for them they will finally have a stable version of the game they've been playing for years.

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      Essence of Fire, Essence of Water, Essence of Earth, and Essence of Undeath are no longer account-wide.
      Death Knight
      Death Grip never really did what it says and cause death, rather than mere inconvenience to the target, so Death Grip has been renamed Tug Throat.
      Now that everyone is a Death Knight, we’ve added a new Death Knight ability: Directory – activate to hold up a chart that you can compare other players to, in order to figure out what race they are.
      Demon Hunter
      New ranged DPS spec: Tizzy. With a Tizzy DH, you’ll still jump around and make funny noises like there’s a bee on you, but you’ll do it from 40 yards away.
      Eye Beam has been given those new high-intensity bulbs, and now blinds everyone in front of you for miles.
      Added a new Druid ability: White Claw – disorients you and frustrates your enemies. It shows up everywhere, even though you’ve never once heard anyone say that they like it.
      Shaking a Druid while in Tree of Life form now has a chance to spawn a swarm of angry wasps.
      Beast Mastery Hunters whose pets do 70% or more of the player’s total damage are now given a comfy bench to sit on during fights.
      Freezing Trap is now 30% less effective on targets who keep a sweater at the office.
      Mages who say in voices comms that they’re putting down a portal to Boralus, but then it’s actually a portal to Dalaran Crater, are awarded the Achievement “Why Do They Fall For This Every Time?”.
      Blink distance reduced by 50%. You guys really need to tone it down with the Blinking. It’s gotten out of hand. Don’t make us turn this Blink around and go right back where we came from! Stop Blinking! I’ll give you something to Blink about!!
      Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew are now noticeably less hoppy than they were a few years ago during the hops craze.
      New Mastery: Savasana. All Monks have transcended to an elevated state of being, where the answers to all problems are beyond the need for violence. Monk characters are prevented from casting any damage-dealing abilities or using any attacks whatsoever. Namaste.
      Lay on Hands no longer causes your hands to get all tingly and numb and then you wake up and shake them and they feel so weird.
      Divine Steed updated to look less like you’re just running away from a fight, except when followed by the use of Divine Shield and Hearthstone.
      Xal’atath, Blade of the Black Empire voicelines updated in the hopes that you’ll start using it again. You used to be so close and nowadays you barely even see each other. Baby please come back.
      Corrected an issue that would occasionally cause Holy Word: Serenity to take the sky from you.
      Rogues who save their Sap can now make it into a nice syrup.
      Rogues who use Cloak of Shadows, Vanish, and Shadowstep in rapid succession now disappear from the game altogether.
      No adjustments needed. Warlock
      Seed of Corruption must now be planted in the correct time of year and moisture, or else it will become Flowerpot of Disappointment.
      Doom duration increased to be a really long time, but not so long that you’d call it eternal.
      Heroic Leap now occasionally ends in a pirouette.
      Pummel now looks even more misspelled if you stare at it.
      Following a tremendous amount of feedback, we’re happy to announce that WoW Classic now comes in three new old flavors:
      There are no changes to WoW Classic in this patch.
      Here come the April Fools official patch notes!
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