The State of the Game - and Ideas to Fix it

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Edit: Thanks everyone for the amazing responses, keep it coming!

Edit 2: Lore just extended the cap on this thread, so we're good :)

I.Table of Contents/Introduction
II. TL;DR - I realize most people probably will only read this, but the rest goes into more detail
III. The Good
IV. The Not So Good
V. General Issues
VI. Balance
VII. Mechanical Combat Design Issues
    i. Damage
    ii. Healing
    iii. CC & CC Breaks
    iv. Defensives
    v. Casting
    vi. Interrupts
    vii. Mana & Dampening
    viii. Mobility
VII. Pruning Gone Wrong
VIII. Class by Class Breakdown
IX. Collection of Excellent Feedback/Posts
X. What can Blizzard do?
XI. What can we do?

I. Intro:
The impending sense that the game is dying is far from new; in WotLK people cried “bring back TBC!” in Cata people cried “bring back WotLK” and so on and so forth… But as someone who has played since TBC it's fairly clear this game is not what it used to be (in good and bad ways alike). Spend five seconds on the Twitch front page and WoW is so far down I wonder how many people even play (stream) this game anymore. Many of the top WoW streamers have either started playing much less, or quit altogether. Though we should not exclusively use the opinions of top streamers as a litmus test for the game as a whole, it is important to appropriately weigh the experiences of people who have played this game at a very high level, for a very long time. We should certainly not base our personal experiences of the game on who streams or doesn’t, but my experience has been largely the same. My once extremely active friends list has dwindled down to a couple of players who are rarely even online, some only logging on to do garrison chores.

Despite these feelings, what GCDTV has been able to do has been an extremely good sign. Not only is it a venue for high level players to play and for anyone interest to watch, but it shows there is still hope for the game, and most importantly, what this community can do if a few people step up.

Quoting Babbi
I !@#$ing love this game, well at least I used to. The main question is: WHAT HAS CHANGED?

And that’s what I’d like to figure out. Inspired by numerous posts on these forums and Arenajunkies, I’d like to start an intelligent and calm discussion and try and figure out where this game has improved, where things have gone south, and what we (the community) and blizzard can hopefully do to address them. I’ve compiled praise, complaints, and suggestions from many, and though I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, I’ll include as many as I can because it is important to have a discussion on this topic. This will make observations on the game as a whole, but mostly focusing on PVP.

II. TL;DR Version:
There have been many improvements to streamline the game as a whole, but they have come at the cost of “MMORPGness” and immersion.

PVP Problems

Though the game is more balanced (meaning nearly every spec has a top tier comp), people seem to be having less fun.

Burst damage is too high, sustained damage is too low, and burst/sustained healing is too high in comparison.

That results in a meta that somehow both feels slow, and too fast. (Because people’s health spikes up and down significantly under CDs, yet nothing happens when CDs are down.)

Dumb/unskilled CC still exists. CC breaks should have their model changed from reactive to proactive (used before CC hits, instead of breaking it after it lands).

Too many defensive cooldowns perpetuates the current problems in the meta & encourage training targets.

Too many spells (damage and healing) that provide significant burst are instant casts.

The number of interrupts in the game requires that there are many instant casts. (Add something like an interrupt DR so the game can be shifted back to casting.)

Mana is no longer an integral part of arena, which forces dampening (bad mechanic) to end games. (Make healer mana relevant again, no longer need artificial fix.)

Pruning abilities resulted in unfun mechanics at the core of many classes. (Rather than pruning damage rotations and niche abilities, mobility, passives, defensive cooldowns and CC breaks should have been removed/merged.)

There is a difference between mechanics and tuning. Look at both and address bad mechanics as well as tuning.

There are many tools the game has to make changes for the PVP community that only affect PVP.

We as a community need to be more positive and helpful (in dealing both with ourselves and Blizzard).

All this being said, I don’t think the game is nearly as bad as many people will claim. Many steps have been taken that undoubtedly have improved the game in many ways. Adding account-wide collections for mounts, toys, and heirlooms have all been great; reducing clutter and streamlining fun. Mounts and toys are fun, but they’re just that -- appropriate and good steps taken that don’t address the core aspects of the game. But high level PVE seems better than ever, the fights are more engaging, complex, and most importantly fun. The effort blizzard has put into this portion of the game has paid off.

Many improvements have also been made for PVP. Adding more flavor items and cosmetic rewards such as the bloody enchant, tabards, elite gear sets, and mounts have certainly provided extrinsic incentive for more people to participate in PVP. The overwhelming majority of the PVP community is very happy with PVE gear being removed in PVP. It is problematic when PVE items are virtually required for some classes to compete (warriors and ArP, many classes in TBC, etc.) or are grossly overpowered (Shadowmourne, Dislodged Foreign Object, Bauble, Gurthalak, legendary daggers, etc.).

But there is also a very legitimate argument that PVE gear in PVP adds an additional element that is good for the game: further customization and min-maxing. The ability in to choose whether to stack more PVE gear at the expense of resilience and survivability can be a meaningful choice that adds to character customization. Min-maxing secondary stats can also be a fun part of character customization. Yet these elements don’t have to be exclusively from PVE gear - more options on PVP gear could address many of these desires. Ashran gear is somewhat of a step in the right direction, but comes with a set of its own problems.

Many dumb and RNG determined mechanics have also been fixed. Spells such as 95% cloak of shadows, sacred cleansing, low chance to resist/miss/etc, are fun for neither party. Removing bloodlust from arena, and removing RoV altogether were both great decisions.

Blizzard has also displayed a humility and receptiveness to feedback that was certainly once absent but is now encouraging. Going into WoD, so many people were optimistic because it seemed for the first time, Blizzard was aware of the wishes of the community and genuinely working to address them. And after implementing 10% reduced PVP damage in a hotfix, the community cried out overwhelmingly against it, and it was reverted not long after.

And yet, despite all of these things, it seems we’ve gone one step forward and two steps back.

V. General Issues

Let’s look at the general trends of the game as a whole before diving into more specific issues. Many complain that WoW simply no longer feelings like an immersive MMORPG because everything is instanced. Players rarely have to go into the world to do anything: nearly any form of PVP can be queued from anywhere (Arena/RBGs/etc.) and LFR and LFG tools achieve the same for PVE. People once were required to go out into the world, see other players, quest, farm, and occasionally experience world PVP. Nowadays, the game is largely played through a menu. Garrisons, though a good idea, undoubtedly play a major role in this phenomenon as well. Why, in an MMO, is a foundational part of this expansions storyline effectively single player content? These changes not only have adverse impacts on how the game is played, but how the community interacts. Game structures contribute to the erosion of the community -- but this is largely also our own faults.

The group finder, a well-intentioned and potentially useful tool, has led to what I call the group finder paradox: we now have access to more players than ever (through connected realms and cross realm groups), and we have more tools at our disposal to reach these players, but it seems harder than ever to find willing partners to play with. Back in WotLK before all these tools, people had an easy job finding partners because they knew who the top players of every class were on my realm and who they wanted to play with. Sure, the number of people one could potentially play with was less, but the willingness to communicate after losses, try new tactics, play together more, and improve is simply not found with people in the group finder.

This is explained pretty well here,
04/22/2015 09:12 AMPosted by Swordzman
For a random, fameless player such as myself without a glad title, it is EXTREMELY difficult to find solid partners that are willing to work together to overcome teams and learn more about the game together with you. After one or two losses, the random Rsham you have, who unsurprisingly died by the Jungle train, will randomly leave the skype in an either polite or impolite way, saying something along the lines of "This isn't working, good luck." They'll then delete you, and you'll never see them again. These people automatically assume you're the deciding factor in their losses, and leave in fear that they will lose more rating.

After this scenario above, you have lost:
- Rating from the losses
- A healer partner
- Morale for pushing, since you've been losing and NOW you don't have a partner.

Once again, I’m hesitant to take one person’s account as gospel, but I’d be willing to bet he isn’t the only one who has experienced this.

His great thread, here
which I’m sure many of you have seen, talks about these issues and more in more detail.

Class flavor is also largely gone. Abilities like eyes of the beast, disarm trap, divine sacrifice, and many more have been removed. None of these were gamebreaking, or even found tons of common usage, but they seem to be unnecessary victims to the ability purge and strive for class homogenization. The fact that Warlocks have no curses is bizarre, to say the least. Class quests have largely been removed; seemingly sacrificing immersion and uniqueness for a more streamlined leveling experience. The warlock green fire quest was great for everyone that did it. More similar class specific, flavor adding quests should be added. The changing talent trees certainly contribute to this— there is certainly an element of freedom and customization missing. Finally, and most importantly, core abilities such as dispel, interrupts, MS effects, have been largely homogenized across all classes. Some see this as the most important variable in explaining the current state of the game, but I’ll get to this later.

Random World PVP seems dead. The problems I detailed above about nobody being forced into the world seem to be the main reason behind this. The skilled player killing people 1vX that was once commonplace in world pvp has become nearly impossible. In this regard, class design takes a lot of the responsibility.

Many have also lamented the removal of the ability to buy off spec items for honor once 27k conquest points have been earned. If Blizzard wants to encourage playing multiple specs (which it seems think they do) adding this element back would streamline gearing and remove unnecessary grinding.
VI. Balance ≠ Fun
As much as we cried for class and spec balance in TBC and Wrath, we still undoubtedly had fun. But even now that we have balance that we’ve so long been asking for, it seems many of us are missing the fun. Though some specs are too strong in certain areas, every class, and most specs, that ever belong in PVP (not you tanks, sorry!) has at least one top tier comp. The problem with the game is not balance:

Turbocleave, WLS
Ret: Ret Hunter Sham/Priest.
Holy: Godcomp/Turbo/Jungle
Boomkin: Balance/Frost/Holy
Feral: Jungle
Resto: RMD/Godcomp/Turbo
Balance/Frost/Holy, RMD, RMP, Godcomp
Shadow: Godcomp
Disc: Jungle, Ret/Hunter, RMP(?)
WW: Walking Dead (DK/WW/Hpal)
MW: Turbo
Jungle, Ret/Hunter, Thug
Resto: Ret/Hunter, WLS
Enh: Turbo
Walking Dead

VII. Mechanical Combat Design Issues:

i. Damage:
Contrary to people’s initial reactions, damage is actually too low. Before you stop reading here, let me explain: consistent damage (without CDs/procs) is comparatively far too low than burst damage (with CDs/procs). Looking back on the WotLK model (all numbers approximate): high overall consistent damage, with CDs 150% more damage. Now: low consistent damage, with CDs 500% more damage.

Now nobody dies in a normal scenario without cooldowns being used. Steady pressure is far too low, thus many classes and comps revolve around CCing/turtling until their kill window (CDs) are back up again. Normal rotations are often simply incapable of putting out significant pressure. Certainly, setting up kills is and should be a large part of skilled gameplay, but when the best option for a team is to spam CC, mindlessly hit one target, or run around pillars until damage is up, the game becomes boring.

Cooldown stacking also contributes to this. Take, for example, a BM hunter. On their own, Crows, Bestial Wrath, Frenzy, Barrage, proc trinket, AND on-use trinket are fine tools. But when all of them are combined, you have a class capable of insane burst damage with only pressing 2-3 actual damage buttons. Ret paladins are another example; regular damage is low but with cooldowns stacked extremely strong.

As consistent DPS matters less, DPS rotations simply matter less. Combined with the simplified ways classes do damage, it means that every global is significantly less important that before -- not what one wants to create skilled gameplay.

When consistent damage is high, and cooldown damage is only slightly higher, everything matters more; pressure is higher so offensive/defensive cooldown usage, positioning, casting/interrupts are more important at all times. Instead, we have this current suboptimal (to put it nicely) meta which fluctuates between too slow and boring without CDs and broken and too bursty with CDs.

I think everyone can agree: a meta that is faster paced and every decision matters more is much more fun than the current meta.

Solution: increase sustained DMG, tone down offensive CDs.

This issue is compounded by the fact that healer healing and passive healing is far too strong.

ii. Healing:

Quite simply, compared to damage, healing is way too high. When people asked for slower paced gameplay, they did not want what we currently have (which is barely different than MoP, by the way.) The ability of healers to simply heal through most damage creates a situation in which the game is actually much slower paced, even though people’s health spiking gives the illusion that things are happening more quickly.

Before WoD launched, Blizzard claimed they wanted something like triage healing -- more time spent at <100% health and healers not focused on keeping everyone topped at once. Yet this has not happened at all; it is far too easy for healers to top people. Topping mechanics such as NS regrowth or execution sentence allow healers to recover far too easily. Even considering non burst/CD healing, it is still relatively too easy to heal through regular damage.

Compounding this is the absurd amount of passive healing/damage reduction in the game. Spirit bond, Ysera’s Gift, Flameglow, etc. make many classes too tanky vs regular damage, and comparatively weak vs burst damage. The problem with passive abilites should be fairly evident: it requires no action, no thought, and is fundamentally unskilled. Again, encouraging a meta that is CD dominant, boring at times, and too bursty at others.

Further exacerbated by:
05/03/2015 11:46 AMPosted by Cdew
self healing being to strong for not only hybrids in some cases, but pure dps classes healing is absurd for some classes. Pure dps classes should not be able to sustain without a healer outside of maybe a CD for healing (enraged regen, dark regen)
Lolflay explains the interaction between current damage and healing excellently,

- regular damage being too low

- healing being too strong, both under cooldowns and outside of it ( in tbc/wrath/cata, you did higher standard damage compared to standard healing, and did higher cooldown damage compared to cooldown healing )

- way too many defensive cooldowns being available to DPS classes
the argument of standard damage>standard healing and burst damage>burst healing being the norm back then, this actually meant that because you weren't able to outheal the damage if you straight up tanked it, you had to collectively use your CC in a smart way to stop the damage rolling in.

If you're not getting my point - you had to use CC in a smart way, compared to mongoloid spamming it off cooldown/diminishing return in MoP/WoD. Back then, if you mindlessly spammed CC, you allowed that random team to instagib you more often than not; the order of things was pretty clear - you were to do damage, and CC only when really near a kill, or when enemy team is going guns blazing on you. Back then, you did damage first and CC second, damage was the primary tool of scoring kills, CC was the secondary tool allowing you to finish people off. Now you have a situation where CC is first and damage is second, because damage on its own, even when under the strongest of strongest cooldowns, doesn't !@#$ing do anything as long as your healer is allowed to do his thing.

The removal of 50% MS effects also effectively increased healing. PVP was balanced around classes/comps having a 50% healing reduction. And so when it is removed/nerfed, it shouldn’t be a surprise healing is too high. Maybe it is time to bring back 50% MS to some classes? Or maybe, as much as flat % nerfs or buffs suck, it is time to bring back a mechanic like battle fatigue to reduce healing in PVP.

iii. CC & CC Breaks

Though much has been done on this front (ty Blizzard for listening <3) but there is still much that can be improved. Instant CC (PoM poly, NS clone, etc) has been removed, and DR categories merged. But there is still too much dumb CC in the game. Low CD CC (paralyze, chastise, gouge, etc.) interrupts the game flow, and isn’t fun.

There is also a common thread here regarding homogenization: more and more classes have been given CC. It seems everyone has a 30s CD stun. Ranged, undispellable, instant, low CD, CC from melee classes -- stormbolt and asphyxiate -- is especially problematic. These spells have little to no counters and are way too easy to use (no opportunity cost or requirements). An ability like kidney shot is not problematic because it has an opportunity cost (CP = damage), requires melee range, has a CD, and is avoidable.

CC problems are only made ten times worse because the aforementioned problems contribute to a meta in which spamming CC is often the best option in many situations.

A CD on dispel also makes this problem worse. Whereas good healers were once able to keep their teammates out of spammable CC, an 8 second CD makes it almost inevitable that people will sit CC. There is certainly an argument to be made that making dispel have a CD makes the decision of who/what/when to dispel more important. But good healers were still able to differentiate themselves under the old model by spending their globals more efficiently and keeping players clean of trash debuffs. This model had its own set of problems, namely lots of RNG, but also made the problem of spammable CC seem much better.

In the same boat, there needs to be a shift in CC breaks. There are currently way too many abilities that break CC. Nimble Brew, Desecrated Ground, IBF, Berserker Rage, (MoP Tremor Totem + Bestial Wrath are examples of this too) make it way too easy to get out of CC. Skillful gameplay, stopping casts or using LoS to avoid CC, has been marginalized because it is simply much easier to simply press a CC break. When CC is instant, unavoidable, and there is too much, these abilities are necessary. If there is a shift to reduce CC, there needs to be a shift in CC breakers accordingly.

Change model from reactive to proactive (ie icebound/nimble being used BEFORE stun, rather than as a CC breaker).

iv. Defensive CDs:

Most classes also have way too many defensive abilities to chain together. This may not seem like such a huge deal, but it makes many classes too tanky and hard to punish. Knowing when to properly rotate defensives certainly takes skill and is important, but when each class has so many this becomes much easier to do. Too many defensives also encourages training one target and discourages swaps.
Voksen put this whole issue very well, so I’ll let him explain:

For me the problem is simple. Consider for a moment two classes of (defensive) abilities. For simplicity, I'm going to ignore a bunch of the middle ground utility escapes/snares/interrupts that can be used for misc. exceptions and scenarios to gain control, tempo, etc.

TANK -- raw dmg-reduction and/or hp gain. basic i-win vs. dmg button. can be slow or long, insta or over time, etc. DMG means you tank dmg somehow or another.

BREAK -- basic i-win vs. cc button. again it can be slow/long, work for some types vs. others, etc. BREAK means you use a cooldown to get out of cc. Can be used offensively or for utility, but mainly talking about a defensive context in terms of responding with healing or peeling.

The issue:

In the sense that both TANK or BREAK are used in arena, basically most classes have a large TANK/BREAK ratio. This is problematic because:
It is much, much easier to "eat through" someone's BREAK capacity then their TANK capacity.
It is much, much easier to control 2/3 people all game then to threaten them with death all game.

Which yields the following metagame efforts/rewards:
If you swap targets a lot, you have to eat-through twice as many defensives (TANK as well as BREAK on multiple chars).
Thus, its WAY more efficient to train one person into the dirt with damage the entire game, slowly eat through their (e.g.3-4) TANK abilities, and blow cheap disposable CC on quickly eating through the other 2/3 peoples weaker (e.g. 1-2) BREAK reserves, which are small relative to TANK.

If you pick one target and force them to burn TANK while the others burn BREAK, you rapidly transition into a middle-game or endgame scenario where there is little in the way of counterplay, dynamic target swapping, or complex multitasking.

The hardest part of the game (or in some sense the part which contributes the most to winning) is coordinating 2 kinds of cc (e.g. mage with druid).

This ultimately contributes to a state of the game where everything is blown synchronously rather thanasynchronously.

Because the TANK/BREAK ratio is high, you produce game physics involving solo target training, less swapping, and more of these hold cds until all-in cc-rotation+burst windows become active. This is synchronous play, whereas in e.g. TBC you had a lot of asynchronous play where people would stagger out (instead of stack) their abilities in order to do differential amounts of pressure to different targets at different times -- resulting in a different kind of outplay and win.

Shadowpriest’s dispersion is a perfect model of a well designed defensive ability: 2 minute cooldown, not too strong or weak, has counters (can be cloned), and has drawbacks (prevents offensive spells). More defensives should be like this and have meaningful tradeoffs and counterplay.

v. Casting:

Going into WoD, it seemed the general approach was a shift back towards casted heals and damage. Yet nobody casts to do meaningful damage. Mages: ice nova x2, comet storm. Spriest: DP and instant mind blasts, Boomy: 3x instant starsurge. Though healing has shifted somewhat more to casted, you still have druids running around and barely needing to cast.

What’s wrong with instant casts? It’s easier to get off and harder to prevent. It has less counters. It makes positioning and having to CCing to cast irrelevant. Effectively increases mobility. It’s often gated by CD which makes gameplay more predictable. Removes the juking/interrupt mind games. And the list can go on…

This also interacts with how damage is structured -- when instant, frontloaded damage is the best and most important burst, casting one’s regular rotation matters less. It doesn’t really matter if casts get prevented, because when its time to burst the damage is just instant and can’t be interrupted. Pressing instant damage also feels significantly less rewarding. Sure, it might be fun the first few times you burst someone down, but so many players complain about the change in playstyle.

Bringing back casting adds another level of skill and depth to the game. It isn’t hard to implement -- make instants casted, or nerf instants and buff casted damage -- but one glaring barrier currently stands in the way.

vi. Interrupts:

The proliferation of interrupts and pseudo-interrupts is the main reason there has been a shift to instant casts. Pallies, monks, ferals, and hunters of all specs, have all been given interrupts. Many more short CD pseudo-interrupts have also been added, such as disc priest silence, numerous knockbacks, short duration/CD cc (incapacitating roar, paralyze, gouge, etc.) that make casting much much harder.
Many classes were given interrupts because they cried for an expanded toolkit and more skilled gameplay, but it only furthered the instant cast / interrupt arms race. Another major step in class homogenization, proliferation of interrupts seems to have taken the game in the wrong direction.

Interrupts also seem to matter less. Because players have so many ways to interrupt casts, getting juked is less significant -- another pseudo-interrupt can be used. In addition, the actual spells they are interrupting are less significant because burst dmg is tied to instants. Smart juking and interrupting should mean more than it currently does and be rewarded accordingly. A perfect example of this are the Rogue and Affliction 2 piece PVP set bonuses: when a rogue interrupts they get CP (good, interrupting rewarded), but when an Aff lock gets interrupted they get 1 soul shard (bad, getting interrupted rewarded).

Want to bring back casting but (correctly) worried about too many interrupts? Well, good thing there are some options. An interrupt DR system could be added (full, then half, then immune, or some variation) to prevent casters from being completely locked out. Or interrupts could split into two different DR categories (either by magical/physical, or ranged/melee) in which getting hit by one type makes you immune to interrupts of that same category for the duration of its CD. This would also have the added benefit of encouraging melee/caster/healer comps. These options are far from perfect, but are a good start in shifting the game back towards casted spells.

vii. Mana & Dampening:

Once an extremely fundamental aspect of gameplay, mana has been reduced to only matter in few scenarios (deep dampening, or only for certain classes). This section will mostly focus on healer’s mana, though it is important to recognize that the mana of DPS classes also once was critically important.

Removing mana-return abilities and massively buffing passive regeneration has removed a once critical aspect of the game. Using mana efficient spells, getting drinks, or ensuring full use of mana returning abilities were once fundamental aspects of Arena gameplay. Mana burn mechanics also added another layer of depth that made mana more important. Now healers can, for the most part, never worry about the use of their mana. Vs melee this is less of the case, but vs casters this is almost always true. It’s troubling that certain healers have to worry about their mana efficiency, but others don’t at all.

The problem with dampening is fairly simply: it is a mechanic designed to artificially ensure that games end. Either by OOMing healers, or incapable of healing through damage, games will end. Dampening may be better than previous mechanics that ensured this goal, but the best way to address this problem is to make healer mana relevant again. Adding back active mana regen abilities will also add another element of skilled gameplay.

Dampening is a tie breaker and should only be used as such, currently it seems like it's used as a way for the majority of games to end

viii. Mobility:

Another classic case of an arms race. Melee mobility has been increased, and so caster and healer mobility was increased in turn, and the cycle repeats. Not only is this annoying for casters, and contributes to the problem of too many instant casts, but also makes positioning matter less. When a druid can simply blink halfway across the map, a monk fly/roll everywhere, warriors ping-pong between targets, proper positioning doesn’t matter nearly as much. Getting caught in the middle of the map can’t be punished if there are numerous ways to get out of trouble and move quickly around the map.

VII. An Empty Toolbox: When pruning goes wrong

A large reason the game has simply become “unfun” and stale for many players is the lack of meaningful buttons to press in any given situation.

It seems self evident to say that damage and healing rotations have been massively simplified. Though certainly good for new players, or encouraging players to play new classes, it is also a detrimental to high level gameplay. Niche abilities that once differentiated the best players are removed. Sure, these abilities contributed to cluttered action bars, but they also made the game more skilled in situations. A priest could use mind soothe to eat spell reflect, a hunter could scare beast a druid, and the list goes on.

Some may have been okay with the removal of these rarely-used abilities, but the most significant change is the simplified DPS and healing rotations. Skilled players could differentiate themselves through mastery and optimal execution of their damage/healing abilities. This is no longer the case, as classes often have ~4 rotational abilities. This not only raises the skillfloor considerably, but makes the game much less engaging at the most basic level at all times.
Though this post is specifically regarding Mistweavers, it applies to nearly every class/spec:

04/28/2015 07:03 AMPosted by Criming
In the past when a player did something to me, I could choose between X, Y, or Z to deal with it. Now I feel I only have X available. Since I only have X available the player already knows what decision I am going to make before it's made.

These problems culminate in: slow, boring, predictable gameplay, in which swaps are discouraged. Without unique abilities to “make plays,” counter comps are also harder to beat than ever.

Rather than pruning damage rotations and niche abilities, mobility, passives, defensive cooldowns and CC breaks should have been removed/merged.

VIII. Class by class:

Apologies for the apparent incompleteness on this section, I think its best if experienced (and ideally the best) players of their class respond and contribute their ideas to the classes they are most familiar with. The previous posts I think do a good job talking about the overall state of the game, but it is important to give Blizzard good suggestions on class by class basis. I can & will edit this section to add suggestions that people post.

EDIT: Discussion on this section has become somewhat muddled and the less serious comments have come as a result of it. I have "pruned" this section to only include the main themes/problems. I made a copy of all these suggestions, should someone want to post it in another thread.

-too many defensives/trinkets
-sitting in frost presence should be more punishing offensively

-feral: burst too high, self healing too high
-resto: HPS too high w/o having to cast, encouraged to sit bearform
-boomkin: instant cast damage

-far too many passives
-overtuned and unskilled damage (somewhat fixed in 6.2)
-significant damage tied to instant casts
-passives promote tanky gameplay
-encouraged to CC spam

-MW: fix mana issues
-55sec CD cocoon, unfun design
-WW: buff consistent DMG
-glyph slots bloated (make touch of karma glyph baseline?)

-ret: affected strongly by the no CD/CD disparity
-can rotate cooldowns far too easily
-too easy to instantly top players
-ability to use too many abilities while CC

-utility gutted (need minor glyphs for what were basic spells)
-needs more efficient heal
-Shadow: too much dmg in mind blast and DP, not enough reward for keeping up dots

-too many defensives lead to tankiness
-too high mobility, too great of an ability to lock someone down
-combat damage far over tuned (addressed in 6.2)

-Resto: mechanics allow for healers to too easily top players/recover
-echo of the elements promotes instant casts every global
-Enhance: self healing too high
-needs damage adjustment
-Ele:hit very hard by multistrike nerf

aff:-only 1 school to cast on
-no curses, no way to kill totem, no slow

-D stance is too forgiving
-DPS rotation too simple "unfun"
IX. Collection of Excellent Posts/Feedback

I'm going to post some links here to posts made by exceptionally well-informed (ie, rank 1) posters, so that we can find them and refer back to them easily.

Pikaboo (bless his heart): "plz fix game blizzard !"
Lolflay (EU multi-season gladiator):
Dilly (response to Shoe):
Nahj (part 2):
Nahj (response to Maitto):
Venruki (ideas re: incentives and mechanics, summarized by Soxo):

I've also compiled some excellent responses from the OP and a few of us who aren't that same level of player as those above, but still had some insightful and well-written responses.

Soxo (response to Novoz):
Soxo (response to Lore):
Soxo (2nd response to Lore):
Soxo (3rd response to Lore):
Soxo (response to Shoe):
Shoegäzer (response to Soxo):
Shoegäzer (response to Lore):
Shoegäzer (response to Cdew):
Shoegäzer (response to Dilly):
Jamesington (response to Shoe):
Reignz (response to Lore):
Massiveload (newbie PvPer responds to Lore):
Trilltko (monks as a case study):
FIannor (PvE Hunter, on the side effects for PvE):
Aowyn (on pruning/Valuation):
Aowyn (on PVP/PVE interaction & solution):
X. For Blizzard:
I challenge you to listen to peoples suggestions. You did an excellent job reverting the PVP dmg nerf and it was noticed and received very well by the community. Taking more actions to show that you are not only listening but care about the PVP community would go a long way in reducing the current levels of disillusionment. Take pride in your work, you’ve made a great game, but be humble and receptive to suggestions. If the community says something, they might not be “right,” but don’t marginalize their experience.

It would be unrealistic to respond to everyone’s complaints or questions, but the more community engagement the better. We feel much better if you don’t just say “we’re currently looking at under-represented, underpowered class X, but we feel it is currently in line with over represented, overpowered class Y,” but rather further explain what evidence you have. You ask us to give you evidence about our experiences, but please at least do us the same courtesy?

Balance is certainly important, but don’t look at issues exclusively in those terms -- address dumb/bad design too. There is a large difference between overturned abilities and flat-out unskilled/dumb/broken abilities. Take for example, 8 second kidney for combat rogues. In MoP it was perceived as ok, because combat was simply an average spec. But as soon as combat became the best and most played rogue spec, people realized 8 sec kidney was extremely broken, was looked at and nerfed. Take the opposite situation: MW monks and a 55 sec cocoon. Early in the season when MW were one of the top healers in the game, many people explained and complained, (and rightfully so) about the spell. Now that MW aren’t as great, it doesn’t seem to be a concern. But that doesn't mean a 55sec CD on cocoon is healthy for the game.

Don’t just look at how strong things are, but how good/bad design it is. The examples I have given are relevant: 55s CD cocoon is not good design, 8 sec kidney not good design. Address design issues before they become a problem. If something is designed poorly, no matter how over or undertuned it is, it is a problem.

This brings me to my next point, classes entire toolkits must to be carefully evaluated when making decisions. Ex: the combination of a rogue’s strong damage and lockdown abilities was absolutely fine when they were extremely squishy -- messing up could be heavily punished and control was necessary. But now that rogues have been given extremely high survivability, we have the abomination that is currently combat rogue.

Regarding the separation of PVP and PVE: either stop separating PVP and PVE, or go the whole nine yards. If “its too confusing for new players” to have PVE and PVP abilities differentiated, balance the game in such a way that there is no longer any need for this (i don’t recommend this, it would be very very very hard given the current state of the game.

Or differentiate MORE or nearly all the abilities so players have a foundational understanding that abilities fundamentally work differently in different environments. This has the benefit of being able to better balance PVE and PVE respectively, but also unties the hands of blizzard employees working on PVP, Holinka especially. There seems to be this perception that Holinka has good ideas and intentions, but his hands are tied because simply “PVE game.” This would clearly address that. Show players you care, differentiate between the two; the instances you have done it have worked well -- nerfing starfall, and the upcoming nerfs to BM. Continuing this trend would help PVP significantly, if the correct changes are made.

Use your tools creatively. The ability to differentiate between PVP and PVE abilities is clearly there. Use the PVP sets creatively, even if it means changing playstyle of a class. For example, if you want to make mages have to cast more in PVP-- nerf the damage ice nova does vs players, add a set bonus that increases the damage of frostbolt by 100%. Set bonuses don’t necessarily have to be exclusive to 2 and 4 piece, since everyone uses full PVP gear 6, or even 8 piece bonuses could be added. Also, glove bonus could be added back in. The point is: you have many tools to make changes for the PVP community that only affect PVP and would show us you care.

Another option that some have suggested (though unlikely) is to only encourage certain specs for PVP, encourage certain comps, and balance around this. By making only certain specs for each class viable, the number of specs to balance in PVP is significantly reduced. This seems to be the approach taken in TBC and WotLK, and has the benefit of encouraging certain compositions. This absolutely has its problems however, as many players would be outraged if their spec was suddenly no longer viable in PVP. Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this myself, many have suggested it and it does have its benefits.
Want to encourage world PVP? Just look at what has been successful and what hasn’t. Wintergrasp, Tol Barad, and Ashran, while some have enjoyed it, the feedback seems to be overwhelmingly negative. These each have their own set of problems, but the common thread is this: creating a zone designed to encourage world PVP often creates an unfun zone revolving around non-PVP mechanics (vehicle combat, side objectives, etc.) and zergy and messy battles. Yet, the Isle of Quel’Danas and Timeless Isle were great. Fun for both PVPers and PVE, these zones encouraged players to be out in the world, grinding, questing, and most importantly, interacting with each other in meaningful ways.

XI. Community Do’s & Don’ts: What we should do as a community
Stop the constant doom & gloom. Don’t wallow in self pity. Provide POSITIVE, unbiased feedback.

Respond to posts like these whether you agree or not, discussion on the matter is good regardless. But please think before you post; obviously biased and unsophisticated responses only clutter the forums and obscure the real issues and debate.

Don’t tweet @holinka “your %*@, fix this game ffs” or “NERF HUNTERS AND COMBAT ROGUES.” But actually talk about your experience, giving details reasons etc. on why you feel that way and what can be done. Listen and trust what Blizzard is saying — but not blindly. Perceptions that implementing the selfie camera directly resulted in less resources being spent on PVP or PVE probably aren’t true— the designers for these aspects likely have very little overlap — and when Blizzard points this out, listen.

In game: the flaming, the acidity, and the negativity in the community makes it worse for everyone. Many of us enjoyed this game not only because it was well designed, but because of the people we got to play with. Nobody likes playing with someone who is volatile, nobody enjoys being raged at or kicked from a group. And let’s be honest, it isn’t fun being the one doing the raging either. I may sound like your mom; but the best way to fix this community is for the members of it to simply treat each other with civility.

Something I think is hugely important for the health of this game as a whole: complaint/criticism/suggestions should try and include a hint of impartiality. That is, consider not only your own class(es) experience (important) but also how it affects other classes and the game as a whole (also important).

In order to have a better (and more fun!) game, changes need to be made, things need to be removed/reworked. Coming to this place is much easier when blizzard receives unbiased feedback, rather than rage-fueled knee-jerk reactions in defense of one's class.

Thanks to everyone posting positive criticism, your ideas inspired this post.

Special thanks to: Dillypoo, Shwayzee, Narator, Smexxin, Vanguards, Tublat, Shoegäze, Lolfay, Cdew and especially everyone commenting, supporting the cause, and tweeting this around. Can't do this without you!
Realize most people will not read 99% of that, but worth checking out the TL;DR section in the first post, or specific issues re: your classes
disc priest wtb buffs
05/02/2015 09:00 PMPosted by Rapture
disc priest wtb buffs

In what ways? Buff to flash heal? Anti PW:S dispel mechanic? Fear baseline?
i appreciate the time you have put into writing this.
05/02/2015 08:40 PMPosted by Soxo
-D stance
-execute dmg -- both arms and fury
-mass spell reflect should have 1 shared charge
-zerker rage -- maybe use preemptively?
-give arms a non whirlwind filler

1) Defensive Stance is fine for the most part and fits warriors being focused on mitigation rather then self healing. Although personally I would like to see Shield Barrier being changed so that it reduces all damage taken by 20-25% while shield barrier is active with a shield equipped.

Equipment swaps have always been a part of a Warrior since Vanilla but the problem with this was the fact that if you didn't know how to macro you lost an entire element of your warrior's defensive AND utility toolkit making it brutal to new players who know how to macro especially when DKs perfected mongolid in November 2008.

HOWEVER by making shield barrier effectively absorb 20-25% more damage with a shield equiped I think is a good balance to blizzards model of "easy to learn, but difficult to master" because this change to shield barrier wouldn't bar new players from using the ability due to a lack of macros (You can still shield barrier without a shield unlike the old "Shield Wall requires a shield N00b so if you can't macro just uninstall before that DK face rolls all over you by spamming Obliterate!" ) but at the same time would reward more skilled players who know when to sacrifice the damage of a 2handed weapon for stronger defensive power with a sword and shield.

2) Execute Damage imo is fine. Its preventable and its extremely satisfying especially when your Arms. Execute should be an execute and the basic idea behind it is sound.

3) Mass Spell Reflect takes the place of Spell Reflect and is on a longer cooldown. (25 seconds up to 30 seconds). Warriors don't have 2 spell reflects like they did in MoP and thank god its gone cause it was stupid. I've seen soooo many warriors this season who were 2k last season and can't even break 1.2k this season and I think double kick, double stun and double spell reflect was part of the reason. If you missed one of your reflects/kicks in season 14 MoP you had another reflect/kick and if you STILL missed that you had a 4 second stun followed by another 2 second dr stun (it hardly encouraged warriors to use shockwave right... to peal off/control multiple targets!) and by then your pummel was back off cooldown. It was retarded and makes a WoD ARMS warrior look like a WotLK warrior in comparison to MoP.

4) Warriors already have a lot of reactive abilities that can only stop a CC before it happens starting with Spell/mass reflect, (can stop any magic based cc in the game and is good for giving dks a taste of their own deathgrip) Bladestorm, (makes you immune to all cc but can't be used to break it exept for root) Die by the Sword (can stop rouge kidneys and druid bashes at the cost of your Shield Wall) and Safeguard/Intervene (which can block rouge silences/stuns/blinds and really any non-attack CC on your teammates.) I do think having one free 30 second trinket out of fear and incaps which has been around almost since the launch of vanilla isn't going to hurt warrior skill cap too much. We got more ways to proactively stop CC then we do have to reactively stop cc.

5) I don't mind having a AoE attack in my rotation personally. Although I wouldn't nesarially say no to another single target ability that does semi-heavy amounts of damage that I could line in a Colossus smash window.

tl;dr version I think the basic design philosophy of Arms warriors "few BIG hits with some small filler hits in between" is good Arms warriors and should remain largely intact for next expansion with only minor tweaks.

We are at our core a Heavy Damage/ healer reliant Medium Tank class with non-spamable filler cc AND have very meaty hits in WoD and not a non-stealthing stun crazed rouge in plate and it should stay that way.
actually went in and read it, good stuff.

blizz still won't read it, though

when a mage sits in my face and spams frostbolt (which does 0 damage) after being kicked on poly rather then making any attempt to kite away, there's a !@#$ing problem

it's like without CD there's zero threat of dieing and nothing is gonna happen until he gets a sheep on something anyway, so why bother even walking away

fix it

also you might want to repost this on AJ, even if it is dead

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