We’ve recently posted a Dev Watercooler in which Ghostcrawler lays out several different models for how class roles could be designed in World of Warcraft in the future. We’ve locked down comments in the blog post and are instead asking that if people would like to discuss the topic, they do so here in this thread.
Please first read through the entire article, and if you have any comments or would like to discuss the pros and cons with others, that you please do so in this thread.
Edited by Lorinall on 2/8/12 6:09 PM (PST)
Please first read through the entire article,
edit Okay, for the sake of being constructive, I will say that I like the new logo you're using. Also, the forums are a much better place to have this sort of discussion than the blog post. Those got filled with meaningless spam pretty quickly.
Edited by Alona on 2/8/12 6:17 PM (PST)
I read through the entire blog and I agree and disagree on some points. I disagree that none of those ideas is the right one because the idea is that you need to get a combination of the feel of all of them in order to provide what you guys are looking for. However, I have never liked the idea of just reverting all characters to hybrids. When I sign on to a certain class I generally play that class in one role. I hated having to gear my hybrids for multiple roles for those nights when someone would ask if I could swap to heals/DPS because so and so was missing. But the vanilla model was awful as well because it meant that as a shaman, I was resto. Period. End of story.
I do think the game should be about bringing the player and not the class, and people should be able to play the spec/role that suits them the most. The uniqueness that has been lost in terms of paring down the talent trees and spellbooks could be found elsewhere in characters through things that you guys haven't even scratched the surface of. Transmog was a great start to make us feel more unique, but tauren female characters have had the same hairstyles for going on 7 years now. When you strip the uniqueness from character mechanics, you need to add it back in elsewhere so that the balance isn't lost for the players.
Time and time again these kinds of things have been put on the backburner. The dance studio, the mostly failed hair salon, character skins, etc. have all fallen by the wayside. Perhaps if you all explored these avenues more people would complain less about their characters not being unique to them anymore.
I also think that PVP and PVE specs should be separated again if anything than for the fact that it's so much easier to balance them when it's like that. It certainly pigeonholes PVP talents, but at the same time everyone is already using cookiecutter builds anyway. At least if you made dedicated PVP specs you could tweak those talent trees as you saw fit to give people more options within them rather than just kind of muddling them with PVE stuff. I'm pretty terrible at PVP, but even I can see that the development of PVP related things has fallen a bit by the wayside. We have three specs, we can only use two at any given time anyway. PVP should never be sacrificed for the sake of PVE mechanics, and vice-versa.
So in all I think the game has made great strides towards game balance. I feel like the stacking in the raid fights is the result of what happens every time heroic modes go into the game. Certain fights work better for certain classes and eventually the rest catch up. It kinda sucks but short of making it so that raid bosses all use the same mechanics over and over again there's nothing that can be done. It gets to be a problem when certain classes (*cough resto shaman at the start of cata*) are never brought or stacked (*coughdruids*) continually. And at that point it becomes a matter of looking at the class being left out and figuring out why it's happening and whether it's the fault of the raid model or the class itself.
So in short, nothing is ever easy. You just have to take things day by day and hope it works out.
Edited by Frostfel on 2/8/12 6:17 PM (PST)
I like what Ghostcrawler wrote. Now all Specs wil lbe more or less equal/pure. no more mixing and matching talents.
Mages, you want the movement bonus from Blink? You must now roll Arcane.
Plates, you want Bonus 3-10% armor? You must now roll Tank spec.
No more dipping into other trees. I actually think that's fair.
Edited by Coriel on 2/8/12 6:19 PM (PST)
There is a model missing.
Model 6: Do not have multiple specs for certain classes.
There is only one rogue, hunter, warlock, mage spec. Balance that spec against the other classes.
Two warrior specs: tanking, melee dps.
Two priest specs: healing, ranged dps.
Three shaman specs: healing, melee dps, ranged dps.
Three paladin specs: healing, melee dps, tanking
Four druid specs: healing, melee dps, ranged dps, tanking
This is like Model 5, but no need to add new specs into the game to cover totally new roles. Just remove specs.
Of course, a lot of players woud howl. I don't think this would be a good solution in the current WoW. But it would get rid of the arms race between Arcane Mage and Fire Mage. There would be only Mage.
Thank god this isn't about Tanking or Healing, since model 1 pretty much must apply to those roles. At least for critical functions.
In terms of DPS I think model 2 is probably the "best" option. The biggest problem with it is that suddenly "hybrid" classes (Druid/Shaman/Paladin) may suddenly find themselves without the tools necesarry to fill their intended role. Further having to maintain two distinct viable gear sets (Feral vs Moonkin, Enh vs Ele, Ret vs Anything) is a pretty big strain on a character that the "pure" classes don't really have to deal with.
That could easily be fixed by toning the DPS checks the hell down and requiring more execution based encounters than simply stacking one class composition because they have the highest kind of DPS you need.
As for the rest of them....
Model 1 is easily the hardest (See tanks and healers), and probably not worthwhile to bother with anymore unless / until PvP and PvE are split entirely.
Model 3 I don't really have a problem with either, as long as the options exist. What the heck is a Ret Paladin to do with only 1 DPS spec? What about the Monk? If we're moving most of the "utility" to the talents themselves then the problem goes away and this suddenly becomes the ideal option.
Model 4 is dead and died in BC. Leave it that way.
Model 5 would certainly be interesting, but I think the ROI on it is drastically too small to attempt. Especially this late in the game.
85 Human Death Knight
Varieties and competitiveness are equally important. All dps specs must be variable in both pvp and pve. Make all must-haves things such as short burst cooldowns and pvp cc talents and make people choose. What this boils down to is spec equal flavors and talents equal power.
The closest model would be #1 I guess.
10 Undead Warrior
Edited by Seneselina on 2/8/12 6:26 PM (PST)
Can we do something about being unable to switch specs without visiting a reforger and spending 300+ gold.
Because, say, fire and arcane, have completely different stat rankings, you would have to reforge almost every piece of gear, change gems, and enchants, just to use another spec to be optimal on one fight.
The correct decision is a melding of model 3 and model 5. Every "pure" DPS spec needs to become a hybrid, but not by getting a tank or healer spec, but by being given a true fourth role.
The problem with the way this model was implemented in Burning Crusade is because the utility specs weren't really utility specs. They were DPS specs who brought utility while performing a DPS rotation. The poster child of this, the Shadow Priest, had no option to do DPS at all since the other two specs were both for healing. It was too specialized, as you had to have a Shadow Priest, not any of a handful of specs that brought utility.
To really make model 2 work you have to really commit to it. Dungeon finder needs to create groups of a healer, a tank, a utility spec, and 2 dps. They need their own forum, and the way they bring utility shouldn't be exactly the same as doing dps, except they do less of it. A true utility spec should have different gameplay and be making different decisions then a damage dealer.
Take all of those interrupts, crowd controls, offensive dispels, and non-damaging debuffs and put them on one spec. Give the arcane mage time warp, polymorph, etc... Make it so those players that choose Survival, or Affliction, or Assassination are those DPS party member who are always looking to interrupt, or the first to volunteer when something needs dispelled or cc'd. Then support that fourth role in your dungeon design.
It could be good for the game in a lot of ways. It would reward those former dps players who excel at those tasks extra tasks and want to shine at helping their party in a different way than tanking/healing. Plus they would probably have shorter queues than their pure damage dealing alternate specs.
It also clearly communicates that when you choose damage dealing, that's what you will be doing: dealing damage. Those players who only want to pew pew would only have to worry about not standing in the fire and not all that other stuff they thought they were going to get to avoid by picking dps. It could also help dismantle the "arms race" of every spec getting their own interrupt/cc/dispel/self-heal...etc...
It could also be damaging by increasing queues and making it a little bit harder to form a party. But there would no longer be anything called a "pure." And Players supposedly hate homogenization right? Adding a fourth role would be a big, bold step away from homogenization.
Edited by Empirical on 2/8/12 6:27 PM (PST)
I personally prefer "Model Four – There is just a best spec for PvP and PvE" for the same reason DKs were changed so Blood = Tank spec. It allows 1 spec to be focused on and get all the goodies, without worrying about blowing balance out of the water. As someone else said, people are just going to gravitate towards one spec or the other anyway, all Blizzard would be doing is saving a trip to an outside forum for a talent/spec calculator. That said, I think all specs should be allowed in pve and pvp, with the understanding it just isn't going to be as good.
edit: As far as pve goes, I'm happy with what you've been doing. You keep arcane good for a couple tiers, buff/nerf and I get to play fire for a few :P I really miss Wrath launch Frostfire bolt spec though!