The State of the Game - and Ideas to Fix it

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Thanks Nahj, lots of good content in that post. I'd just like to highlight this:

05/05/2015 12:54 PMPosted by Nahj
No fun varying class design match ups like priest vs wrath tremor instead of black and white hardcounter designs like faerie swarm spam when dispel has a cd, crows just getting vanished or the availability of bop vs physical CC's.

People want smart preemptive gameplay to set them apart from other players not turn based combat around cd's which is why people were excited you were changing tremor. Mechanics like Freedom (with lower cc glyph), IBFing out of stuns as opposed to before stuns like in wrath, Desecrated ground, nimble brew and unbound will are horrible mechanics when looked outside of a vacuum. Obviously compensation could be given elsewhere, but design wise they just get out of jail free cards.
Just saw this post on ArenaJunkies by Vadren, thought I'd post it here because it has alot of good content:

Unfortunately the dev didn't address how major cooldowns are too strong in arena and dictate the pace of the game.

However, I do think the dev's points about ability pruning are valid. Having a bunch of niche abilities bloating up action bars isn't good for the game. Although they should try to make the existing abilities more dynamic whenever they remove something.

What's troubling with arena today is that the number of important decisions a player makes is reduced to only a handful during an entire match because cool downs are so strong. If cooldowns and instant healing were weaker then the small frequent decisions would matter more and lead to an increase in skill.

Cool downs should either be minor boosts to healing/damage or be like alter time. Alter time was amazing because there was so much depth to its use. Alter time could be used offensively or defensively. It also took setup and cleverness to use well, and it could go wrong if used poorly (altering off a burst of healing). Vanish is another ability with a lot of depth. Things like pillar of frost and avatar don't add any valuable game play.

Also, if we're being real, disabling addons in arena would go a long way to increase the skill of the game.

I don't completely agree on the points about niche abilities (my views on this have been explained numerous times) or addons, but the rest is spot on.
Another major suggestion: If you're going to nerf a spec into the ground because of PvE, compensate it somehow in PvP. Destruction went from competitive to downright awful in WoD, entirely because of its representation in raiding.
05/04/2015 05:11 PMPosted by Ryutiz
05/04/2015 04:55 PMPosted by Lore
due to pruning, players don't have enough options to respond to something another player is doing, which leads to predictable gameplay.

This isn't true. The issue is that pruning did not remove enough tools, or removed the wrong ones. Players today have PLENTY of tools at their disposal. Too many.

All the pruning did was make the game easier to play on all ends of the skill ladder, creating an extremely small gap from horrible players and really good ones.

For example, instead of removing things like Stormbolt, Asphyxiate, Posthaste, and other such things, we merged Serpent Sting into Arcane Shot or made Slice and Dice permanently passive.

These things remove depth to the class and create considerably boring gameplay for both PvE and PvP and remove skill requirements.

This is precisely true.

The best example of this is what happened to Windwalkers; massively rewarding when played articulately and effectively, utterly laughable when not played well. I mained Windwalker for half of S15 and my mood, attention and mentality affected how I played. I could never play my windwalker when I was tired or angry or whatever. If my attention wasn't there and I wasn't 'zoned in', the class just didn't work.

Spinning Fire Blossom is the prime example of this. Pruned for absolutely no reason. It was probably the best example of a spell that poor players could not use well and good players were rewarded for using properly.

@Lore - you do touch on the fact that objectively 'bad' players have to be considered when making changes like this. And you're right. If you balance around how games are played at 2900, the 'average' players which comprise the majority of your ladders (1600-2200) will suffer for it.

Spinning Fire Blossom is an example of a spell that separated average monks from great monks, but its not a spell that crippled monks if not used properly. Windwalker isn't dead in this meta because they don't have blossom. So it's important to really understand when a spell's "efficacy ceiling" is genuine and when it isnt.
05/04/2015 04:55 PMPosted by Lore
I wouldn't expect any huge, game-redefining changes in Patch 6.2, but that doesn't mean we aren't listening and acting on your feedback, and taking it to heart as we make our plans for what comes next.

All that I needed to hear. Wish I could unsub if I hadn't spend all my gold on WoW tokens for the next 4months. Sad to see even runescape always ahead of WoW lately when it comes to viewer trends on twitch.

Next expansion will fix it has been the situation since cata. The amount of PR selling that was done in mop for this expansion (with the pvp summit and holinka etc) was incredibly nice to hear and actually made players think blizzard had changed their ways. Only until this expansion completely dropped the ball with it''s core design in regards (or non-regard) to PvP.

Dispel having a cooldown is one of the worst changes you ever could have made to this game in MoP. Sure having a dispel that removed everything helped with RNG, but it's still the sole complaint of the "too much cc in the game" problem that always comes up even when using the double dispel glyph.

The ability prune hit the entirely wrong mechanics. For example, Lock curses/fel flame were fine, disarms were fine (arguably besides monk's due to range), warriors were fine having more than 2 buttons offensively etc. The majority of mechanics that should have been removed were just the instant CC's (which you mostly got good job) and almost every mop mechanic like shroud of concealment to help with the identity crisis of classes homogenization wise.

However, the niche mechanics that were removed also promoted some types of strategy. For example if you played mage druid you could cast both hibernate and sheep on a druid at the same time to get around shapeshifting and that teamplay and coordination was cool. This could work in unconventional comps as well with things like scare beast +sheep/hex and it made bad players have to think/react more to curveballs.

There is no more clever use of gameplay mechanics besides occasional bugs. RIP vanish immune, kicking warstomp clone etc. I'm honestly surprised meld immuning has lasted this long as it's not a casual racial.

No fun varying class design match ups like priest vs wrath tremor instead of black and white hardcounter designs like faerie swarm spam when dispel has a cd, crows just getting vanished or the availability of bop vs physical CC's.

People want smart preemptive gameplay to set them apart from other players not turn based combat around cd's which is why people were excited you were changing tremor. Mechanics like Freedom (with lower cc glyph), IBFing out of stuns as opposed to before stuns like in wrath, Desecrated ground, nimble brew and unbound will are horrible mechanics when looked at in a vacuum. Obviously compensation would need to be given elsewhere, but design wise these mechanics are just get out of jail free cards.

Dampening is a horrible bandaid to cover up the excuse that PvP should be way ahead of damage in PvP. This exacerbates the problem of sustained damage being too low compared to bursty cooldowns which make the game practically turn based instead of being fast paced and fun. Healing should just be way lower across the board of every healer being on discs current level in PvP and matches should be on average 3-5min.

The amount of a player just being a "body" on auto pilot this expansion is at an all time high due to the floor being so high this expansion. There are so many auto pilot mechanics like asphyxiate just turning into a silence if used on a target that is immune on stun DR's.

Not to mention the fact that the majority of match ups for every comp this expansion are played by tunneling whoever is squishiest and do the same CC setups on CD. This problem is also based off the varying degree of tankiness (or should be lack of) for classes being so far apart due to mechanics like feint(elusiveness), defensive stance, soul link + eternal resolve, flameglow, blood presence being too good and with very little drawback.

If I wanted to PvE i'd do PvE, but there was an odd charm of the accident that was Arena that made it a unique genre in the first place many years ago. Arena doesn't have to end up as a Moba moba deathmatch without items after more pruning. If the casuals want a very simple minimalist game they can move on to heroes of the storm once it launches.

This is pretty much exactly how I feel. I don't even feel the motivation to play arena in the past few weeks, I pretty much play my garrisons and hope that someday, arena will be better.
I'll have to challenge this. I have to go to work and unfortunately can't write a long detailed post, but you can check my account, I've played since open beta. (lol stress test, blizzard also started testing p2p tech for dl's around this time if I recall)

But I can tell you so many epic stories of playing this druid and running into Schafer the ret paladin on kalecgos server back in the day, and as a feral or restoration druid, and him as a ret paladin, we both knew exactly each others fight patterns. This isn't nostalgia, this is gameplay I've highlighted. Running into the same rogue in the Noxious subzone in EPL when we were both farming, and after a while we would look out for each other.

The battles of Blackrock Mountain, a hub where raiders of top tier content and players first scratching into max level content would collide.

If someone showed you 1000gold, it was an event that prompted a statement to all chats. Global chat wasn't a thing...

The world was larger, and more inconvenient, it wasn't designed for every player on earth, it was devoted to the players who started the game and loved the world.

Now due to commercialism, blizzard has more people to please. Noone's to blame, its the nature of the beast, but please, give something to those of us that remember pre wotlk. It was different, and wow2.0 did start with wrath.

Thank you for taking the time to read my opinion :D
While I agree with everything you said, it has nothing to do with arenas...
Since we're really close to the cap on this thread, I'm gonna go ahead and make a continuation post (you'll see it pop up in a minute or two), but please fill up this thread before going onto the next week. Keep the constructive posts coming!
05/04/2015 04:55 PMPosted by Lore
I'll also stress the importance of remembering that there are a lot of people who play this game, with a lot of different playstyles, in a lot of different communities and sub-communities. That's not just a PvE vs PvP thing -- it happens even within the PvP community. While a multi-rank 1 Gladiator might like having a few niche abilities they only use in specific circumstances, an entry-level PvP'er could be turned off by having to learn so much about other classes they've never played.

This is 75% of the reason I quit recently (sub ends soon, haven't played though in about 2 months) and switched over to Rift. What you said Lore, is why this game blows now, you guys worry WAAYYY too much about casuals and pretty much say !@#$ hardcore players and make the game stupidly easy to learn and play, stats arent event something to worry about, no reforging so only enchants/some gems to customize...

My 45 Pyromancer Mage on rift (65 is lvl cap) has more abilities to use in a normal rotation than any of my 100 characters (combat rogue, blood dk, fire mage, mw monk). Yes, its not easy to learn, but while youre leveling you have time to learn, and its fun to learn how to better your class instead of getting it down instantly than going insane worrying about mix/maxing. Theres more to do under level cap in rift than there is in wow at cap... which is pathetic, raids have blown this xpac and theres only gonna be one more tier in a contentless xpac.... Did no one at Blizzard take the hint when Ghostcrawler left and said "Different approaches work for different products, and I don't want to second guess the WoW team. Let's just say that after working on Age of Empires and World of Warcraft for a total of 16 years, it's really refreshing to work on a game where I don't have to worry whether someone's grandmother can pick it up or not."..HELLO...CLEAR SIGN...this game is too focussed on casuals. Whats sad, I played this game for 6.5 years, got me to pursue the career I want, and dont get me wrong, the time i spent before now wasnt wasted, the little time in BC i had and in WOTLK were awesome, the game just went to crap starting with Cata, I stuck it out to see if itd get better but...its gotten worse. Its a shame to quit after sticking with it for so long (almost quit when Rift first came out too). Blizzard, you need to fix this game big time, look at some of the things Rift has. Few ideas, ZONE EVENTS, i.e. rifts, invasion, also things to do other than raid/pvp in the world, give us several currencies for different items and tiers, similar to WoTLK.

TL:DR: This game has turned into a boring contentless game that worries too much about casuals making classes boring, content boring, and blizz has given us nothing to do outside of raiding/pvping with a team. Rift has a promising setup, classes that dont take 20 minutes to read up on and master, plenty of things other than raids/pvp, other currencies to get for different gear, rifts, invasions, footholds, zone events, etc. Don't get me wrong, if there was a decent amount of stuff to do other than raids/pvp/leveling and some zone-wide events like i mentioned that actually had incentive for max lvl players, id be glad to resub
Another point that needs to be made is that one-dimensional abilities (read;CDs) should be far, far less prevalent than they are.

A fundamental aspect of sound game design is having the players make choices in real time about their playstyle. Reactive gameplay is the fundamental distinction between PvP and PvE. (this isn't to say that you don't have to adapt in PvE, but it is far less important outside of Mythic). However, it is also a trait that creates a more exciting environment in PvE, so I suppose this argument carries.

Anyway, CDs that do not offer repercussions or force consideration (before or after) are bad game design. Or at least they're worse than the alternatives.

Deterrence is an example of good design in a CD. The processes behind effective Deterrence usage are more complex than a defensive CD like Shield Wall. With SW, the only consideration is "am I taking enough damage to warrant using this right now" because using SW doesn't affect your gameplay in any other way.

Deterrence is more complex because you cannot attack during; this forces the Hunter to consider whether or not there will be an opportunity for a kill window during the Deter, or if they have to CC while deterred, etc. Yeah, you can just make a /cancelaura macro but it still requires more thought.

Old Recklessness was similar; the trade-off for increased damage dealt was increased damage taken. A warrior that popped Reck without situational awareness of his healer's location or what his opponents could do in return was punished. Good game design.

The point is, the thought process behind using most CDs right now is either "Can I kill the other player if i use this right now" or "Will the other player kill me if I don't use this right now."

If you're going to enable and facilitate a meta that revolves around CDs, which is exactly what is happening right now, those spells must have more depth. I don't even mind a CD-centric meta, that's fine. Its just that using those spells are, at the moment, rewarding on their own merits and that is not enough.
05/04/2015 04:55 PMPosted by Lore
We think we made a lot of great changes

"you" think.

the community at large doesn't

ashran? failure
rng loot? its NOT fun.
loot gating? horrible.
major beta problems carry to launch? yup...yet again.
Mana being a thing for healers in PVP would be way better than dampening
So this is from a Disc perspective and is in reference to the Pruning subject. It's also worth noting that I posted this before noticing it was in the PvP section. Oh well.

I can't speak of Holy as until this expac I haven't touched it since Wrath so I'm not sure how the pruning went for them - though I will say I'm enjoying it well enough ;)

I actually had hoped pruning would help curb keybind bloat a bit more for some specs. It's not that I want some lame 2 button gameplay like Arms warriors essentially had at the start of this expac, not at all, it's just that I'm having to use modifier keys on everything (which is fine) and still struggling to get everything bound that I need. I don't mind needing modifier keys. I know some players do, but I don't. I don't want to lose all our skills, but I hoped that I would have less bind bloat, and that just didn't happen.

Meanwhile, a lot of Disc's interactivity among abilities was lost. Most of what was pruned for us seemed to be passive effects and interactions between skills. I've posted in more depth about this much earlier in the expac when what was lost was a little more fresh in my mind, and don't feel like rehashing it too much. But I still feel like some specs have a really excessive number of keys for how simple and/or lacking the interactions are.

Disc just feels a little hollow now. Lots of keys, little depth or interest.

This is not to dismiss the issues of specs who were reduced to just about "I don't even need one action bar" levels of "where did my buttons go!?", it just shows some of the problems with the pruning.

Some of the feedback seems contradictory because the pruning went very differently for some specs vs others. The feedback is uneven because the pruning was uneven.
05/05/2015 12:12 PMPosted by Shoegäzer
05/05/2015 12:08 PMPosted by Fiannor
Very well written post, thank you. But I wonder how many of the problems you identify, if fixed by Blizz, would have huge unintended consequences for PvE play. That of course is one of the conundrums of the current state of the game: If you tweak this thing for PvP, what ramifications does it have for PvE (and vice-versa)?

I wonder if we are getting to the point where we have to admit that the two are in fact different games, and maybe it is time to separate them more from each other.

I agree we can't always predict the side effects (that's why Blizzard's job is very difficult) but I don't think our purpose is served by not trying. Can you tell me what side effects the following changes might have on the PvE game that couldn't be addressed by tuning boss numbers and mechanics a bit differently?

05/05/2015 11:22 AMPosted by Shoegäzer
1) buff base damage (and reintroduce abilities like colossus smash) 2) nerf cooldown damage and healing 3) nerf and/or prune (but only prune as a last restort) mobility and 4) reintroduce situational abilities like disarm trap, scare beast, etc etc

Oh, I absolutely agree that nothing is served by not trying. I am just saying that the game has gotten so complex that any change can have catastrophic unforeseen consequences, which Blizz has been very slow to correct when they occur.

I am certain I cannot predict every fallout from your examples, but I can make some guesses. They are all hunter-related, but that is what I know best. I suspect other classes could give similar examples.

For example buffing base damage and nerfing cooldown damage would likely cause SV hunters to be extremely OP, as we currently have zero cooldown burst ability beyond talent selection of stampede (which is usually not a good selection for SV). In the case of hunters, it is not possible to nerf mobility without gutting the essence of the class -- even though I understand the huge advantage it gives in PvP, in PvE it is about the only thing keeping hunters useful now in raids, more so in 6.2 when SV AoE gets the gigantic nerf. A hunter without mobility might as well be a mage, except without any useful raid cooldowns.

As for situational abilities, yes absolutely bring back Hunter's Mark!!! I still miss that, it was an extremely useful ability pruned mainly because of PvP complaints.

But you see the problem -- in many cases the competing needs of PvP and PvE cannot be reconciled. As well thought out and well expressed as your post was, it does not take into account the whole game picture. So back to your point, which is just because it is hard doesn't mean we shouldn't try. I still agree, but any discussion of changes such as you suggest must be balanced with a PvE point of view, then thoroughly tested, and Blizz must demonstrate a willingness to walk back changes that cause unacceptable game play for either PvP or PvE. To date, their track record doing so has been pretty dismal.

Please keep posting, though, you have excellent ideas, and it is refreshing to see someone offering ideas and generating constructive discussion.
05/05/2015 01:20 PMPosted by Soxo
Since we're really close to the cap on this thread, I'm gonna go ahead and make a continuation post (you'll see it pop up in a minute or two), but please fill up this thread before going onto the next week. Keep the constructive posts coming!

I've extended the cap, should be good to keep everything here.
Since Lore locked the new thread, i'll just crosspost back here.

These threads are great, but there have been dozens of them since WoD launched.

Lore comes in and communicates with an agreeable, tepid message that can always be loosely boiled down to "we understand your concerns"

Which is nice, and that's what I hear from every customer service representative on the phone, and it's a good way to calm customers down temporarily.

And we can cap a thread and upvote everything and praise each others' outstanding awareness of glaring problems and Lore can pat people on the back and say "good job telling us things we're already aware of", but nothing changes.

The frustration from being both wholeheartedly encouraged to communicate on these forums and at the same time wholly ignored or met with a pat on the back at best...that's something i'm a little shocked is happening.

This whole thing just feels bizarrely futile.

OP: "I can't guarantee they'll listen or do anything, but I'd rather try than do nothing. Hell, I've enjoyed writing, reading, and responding to this post alot more than my time in game recently."

The terrible thing (for me) is that WoW is the only competitive game I play. I don't play Rift, Smite, CS:GO, etc. So, frankly, no matter what happens to WoW PvP there's a good chance that i'll still play. Even if I enjoy it a whole lot less.

I'm not ashamed to admit this, frankly. But I am legitimately concerned that the perception at Blizzard at this time is that they can read a comment like this and decide that everything is fine because I've admitted i'll still play.

But it has been demonstrated that, for the most part, they wouldn't read a dozen capped threads that intelligently, lucidly and patiently explain the opposite sentiment and decide that things are not fine.
The horrible Twitch viewer numbers is what should be leading Blizzard to make urgent fixes. It's one thing if people are complaining but are still interested.

But when you are losing to Runescape that means that people are just bored with your product and many of them have moved on. And once people move on to something else in their life a lot of them tend never to come back since they may decide they are spending their time on something more productive and don't want to get burned again.

Just letting this stuff slide til the next expansion isn't going to cut it- WoW will be a fading memory in the lives of a lot of players by then.
05/05/2015 02:19 PMPosted by Lore
05/05/2015 01:20 PMPosted by Soxo
Since we're really close to the cap on this thread, I'm gonna go ahead and make a continuation post (you'll see it pop up in a minute or two), but please fill up this thread before going onto the next week. Keep the constructive posts coming!

I've extended the cap, should be good to keep everything here.

u cool, dude

- not just for extension, just saying in general

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