Class Design: It Needs Improvement

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
Yeah, I don't actually know anyone who has played since MOP and feels like their class has improved since then. Most classes were vastly more fun to play. This ESPECIALLY applies to brewmaster & windwalker.
05/23/2018 07:06 PMPosted by Faraya
Classes must be finished before talents/honor talents/azerite armor/heart of Azeroth. If classes are not finished before these then this creates a huge disconnect


This right here is 100% the problem with class design. Classes should feel complete as soon as you reach max level, if not before. Talents and Azerite Armor should only amplify or change a classes play style, and not be required for a class to feel complete.
Every class / spec has been really fun to play at various stages in WoW history, and the community is happy to praise things they think are fun. This means Blizzard knows what a good class design is and they've chosen to chuck it in the bin in favor of what ever the most recent flavor of the month idea is they've gotten excited about while talking around the water cooler.

WoW is a great example of putting the cart before the horse because the Devs frequently change something that people really like because they had some kind of game developer 'idea' that they think will make things better but they instead end up breaking something that didn't need fixing.

Every expansion is a real roll of the dice because not only can you not count on the developers fixing up classes that have a lot of issues, but you also can't rely on classes that are doing pretty well on Live to survive Beta in tact.
I wish I could mass email the OP's post to all blizzard employees.
I am going to try to not wall of text my agreement with the OP. I'm at a point where I am going to try to get a very well articulated, well written feedback response and see if I can't get any traction on it.

WoW class design in Legion, and even more so in BfA, feels like it's at war with itself. I would broadly break this into 2 major categories:

1)Specs vs. Classes

2)Leveling vs. Max level and Progression

Specs vs. Classes
I know this might seem weird, but Blizzard is still really struggling with managing specs vs. classes. I think part of this is a by-product of MoP and the talent changes. While Blizzard handled the initial transition well, they've since struggled with this row-talent world where each spec is a "mini-class." What I mean by that is specializations are no longer a way to customize how you play, but rather they behave almost like a class unto itself. It's not even guaranteed that your core resource gameplay will be the same in a specialization vs. your base class anymore.

In MoP, this was only really the case with Warlocks and even then, there were creative solutions for it. But in BfA, you look at something like Outlaw Rogues -- are we really calling them Rogues because they use energy and Pirates just vaguely thematically fall into the Rogue archetype? What even "defines" a rogue anymore? Is Outlaw still a rogue because it can stealth? Is a feral druid a rogue then?

And a lot of classes fall into that. Those unifying aspects of specs are gone, so now you have 36 half-classes instead of 12 classes with 2-4 avenues of expression. A Bear druid that dips into Feral should play differently than a Bear druid that dips into Balance should play differently than a Bear druid that dips into Resto.

instead, we're given just...bear druid. Honestly, if not for the iconic history of the bear druid, what's particularly druidy about it besides the fact it's a bear? How does it harken back to the total druid gameplay fantasy? You don't weave shapeshifting, all of your "druid utility" is passive now -- is just the fact you're a bear enough to classify you as a druid?

Now, it is fair not all specs fall as hard into this trap as others. But you look at Death Knights and what's the unifying system there? Is it just because they use runes? That's all it takes?

I bring this up because if not for specs, base kits could be more robust. The need to create spec separation and distance specs from the base class is part of what leads to pruning. To an extent, I get it. Rogues probably don't need Mutilate, Backstab, and Sinister Strike if they all did the exact same thing. But what if Backstab and Sinister Strike and Mutilate did similar things, but differently? what if we re-introduced player choice there?

We could do that if we moved away from the "Specs are a subclass" design paradigm.

Leveling Rewards
The second consequence of pruning is leveling rewards feel really, really bad at every stage of the game now. You go massive expanses of time without getting a reward in the pre-100 game. In Legion, you at least have the artifact progression to help abate that gnawing feeling of nothigness, but then in BfA you have...I mean, you have nothing. You don't gain any substantial amount of Azerite, and what Azerite you do gain is sort of trivial because by 120, you at MOST have 3 pieces, with it being very likely your 3rd piece requires you to have double your current AP values to even use the first trait on.

Leveling is just this burdensome little task I have to do before I start playing the game. It doesn't gradually introduce me to new mechanics or skills for the expansion. Sure, the story is pretty decent, the zones are beautiful, etc. But there's no reward here. I mean that almost literally -- there's gear I'm going to replace as soon as I POSSIBLY can, there's an almost irrelevant amount of azerite I gain, and I'll make 10k gold or so.

At least warlords gave us the "skill morphs" or whatever. BfA gives us literally NOTHING while leveling. Out of fear of skill bloat?

If the goal is to slow the game down, that's technically fine, but then there's checkmarks that you have to be able to honestly give yourself to do so. Can the dev team, with a straight face, tell me that there's specs left that have a meaningful decision to make with their abilities?

Because OVERWHELMINGLY my experience in BfA has been either that I am so resource starved that I can't make decisions, or my ability cooldowns themselves make decisions for me.
Concluding Thoughts
Talents and items can't be what makes a baseline kit feel "complete." That's just not acceptable design. It will lead to player frustration every single expansion. That moment of getting the piece you finally need to feel functional as a character will feel good, but at what cost? Because eventually, the magic of that moment is lost. Eventually, my set-and-forget talents just become another boring check box, and I am left with no way to flavor my gameplay because you use the thing that was SUPPOSED to be for flavor to give me a completed spec.

Bloat can be a real problem. We weren't even close to being bloated again after Legion. In the context of neutered secondary stats, even more ability pruning, and the GCD changes, the game feels significantly slower than it has in a VERY long time, but none of the things required for slower gameplay to feel good have been accomplished.

I'm left with a 1-2-3-4 rotation that I just push slower, and that's on the better specs.

If the goal is small rotations, then the game needs to play faster, not slower. Neverwinter can get away with 4 button rotations. Tera can get away with 4 button rotations. Guild Wars 2 can get away with 4 button rotations (though it's generally more involved but that's a separate conversation).

WoW isn't those games, it's WoW. 4 button rotations don't feel good in WoW, and they especially don't feel good slowly.

It's extremely offputting in a tab target MMO to have a less robust toolkit than your average MOBA character. I feel pretty confident saying there are Heroes in HotS that have more depth in their kits than some specs do in BfA. It's unsettling that doesn't seem to be a problem.
Everyone is saying the same thing bro.

Im pretty sure the devs know and just don't care.

I watched a dev stream before and he was back peddling and clicking his key binds.

They make the game easy because they think its "too hard" the same reason they put priests shadow word: Death as a talent. Because hurr durr too many buttons.

there has been rumors they are trying to make wow work on consoles. That could explain some of the pruning but i don't know.
05/24/2018 01:11 PMPosted by Auntlers


It's extremely offputting in a tab target MMO to have a less robust toolkit than your average MOBA character. I feel pretty confident saying there are Heroes in HotS that have more depth in their kits than some specs do in BfA. It's unsettling that doesn't seem to be a problem.


This. I've played in the last couple of WoW betas, and each had me sold into staying in beta, except this one.

Even though the atmosphere is awesome, story is ok... I cannot stay logged into beta. Class and specs seem way too boring. My main, SV, is incredibly boring in bfa.

1,1,1,2,1,1,2,1,1,2....

I've tried monk, rogue, shammy, priest, dh, and dk. I have all these as alts in live, and beta plays so terrible I cannot stay logged in.
05/24/2018 01:43 PMPosted by Rélik
05/24/2018 01:11 PMPosted by Auntlers


It's extremely offputting in a tab target MMO to have a less robust toolkit than your average MOBA character. I feel pretty confident saying there are Heroes in HotS that have more depth in their kits than some specs do in BfA. It's unsettling that doesn't seem to be a problem.


This. I've played in the last couple of WoW betas, and each had me sold into staying in beta, except this one.

Even though the atmosphere is awesome, story is ok... I cannot stay logged into beta. Class and specs seem way too boring. My main, SV, is incredibly boring in bfa.

1,1,1,2,1,1,2,1,1,2....

I've tried monk, rogue, shammy, priest, dh, and dk. I have all these as alts in live, and beta plays so terrible I cannot stay logged in.


I'll go a step further. In many cases, Blizz seems to either be avoiding the "advanced" implementation of something or just not see it.

Easy example: Ignore Pain. Currently costs 40 rage, which is too much. Now, they could just reduce the rage cost, right? But that's a passive change.

Ignore Pain (40 rage): Shrug off incoming blows, absorbing 50% of the next [%str] damage. While Ignore Pain holds, double your rage generation.

I'm not saying that's perfectly balanced, but it creates 2 sided gameplay and adds skill cap to the ability while addressing a resource economy concern.

(Truthfully, this doesn't fix BV being damn-near mandatory on Prot Warrior at the moment, so truthfully IP's rage cost and effectiveness should be cut in half under this design but stack up to 2 times, to allow for Shield Slam -> Thunderclap -> IP but even then you're still gonna string that into Demo Shout + avatar and be forced to run Booming Voice and Anger Management so there's still tweaking to be done there, there's a separate thread for that though).
I see my character as the window I view content through. If the character is shallow and boring that's how the content comes across no matter the quality of the content. That's the only feedback I'm going to give.
05/24/2018 01:31 AMPosted by Llearryn
I completely agree with what Faraya said.

I have over 600 days played on the same mage and I've always been excited for a new expansion, especially when I get a beta invite.
This is the first time I've gotten beta access and no motivation to play. I always find something to get me into an expansion, this time I cant get the motivation. It makes me sad.


And I completely agree with everything you just said. Lol. Thanks.
05/24/2018 06:09 AMPosted by Adamology
05/23/2018 11:19 PMPosted by Faraya
...

Actually I was referring to other players. Not the devs, tbh.

It doesn't matter who you were referring to, you're saying no one can disagree with you. That's extremely childish and completely removes the ability to discuss anything you've said.


Your view is valid. I mostly just said it because I am tired of arguing with people that think class design is in a good state...
A lot of talents are simply being renamed lol.

I mean I guess that is work...>.>
I've tried several classes so far and it pains me so far wasting talents for abilities that feels it should be accessible from the start. Rotation looks incompletes and most of the time you seem to spam the same single or AOE basic attacks.

Best example I have : Retribution pally. Hammer of wrath and Consecration. Thes are very thematic abilities, they add choices, but you have to wast talents to get them. Give them back and add talents that improve them (stats or effets) instead.
05/24/2018 09:51 AMPosted by Zantum
I wish I could mass email the OP's post to all blizzard employees.


Lol. Thanks buddy. For real though. It's on the forums at least, right?
05/24/2018 04:57 PMPosted by Mafic
A lot of talents are simply being renamed lol.

I mean I guess that is work...>.>


Lol, you always make me chuckle when I see your posts, buddy.
Sad part.. fired up D3 after 6 years.. with 4 buttons all the classes have more variety/depth and most importantly fun in their possible builds than any wow class currently. But guess I can say thanks to Bliz for one thing.. you broke the 14 year addiction and now I can play all the cool games I missed ( seriously Bliz.. after playing some new stuff you need to step it up.. removing things is not innovation.. you guys are slowly killing the game)
05/24/2018 01:39 PMPosted by Kîlljøÿ
They make the game easy because they think its "too hard" the same reason they put priests shadow word: Death as a talent. Because hurr durr too many buttons.


This frustrates me to no end. A skill thats been iconic to spriest for over a decade gets moved to a talent. Yeah. Spriest feels completely awful right now BTW.

I dunno, its looking like I might skip this expansion unless something magical happens with azerite armor, which everything i've seen so far has been a complete disappointment. And honestly, with the changes I've seen to classes, I doubt that miracle could even happen.
05/23/2018 09:46 PMPosted by Belerian
05/23/2018 07:26 PMPosted by Chopskii
Bliz.. with other games out there competing for player time.. you need to do better than to prune/shuffle same old class design. Content is always good but current class design direction ruins that experience.
Yep. Who pays a monthly fee for a game that plays like crap? I definitely won't.
Not me. I didn't buy BfA and unsubbed. I won't be back unless they take class design back to more like it was in MoP. I skipped most of Legion because it was a boring grind with boring classes and BfA looks worse.
Very good comments here. BfA is the first expansion I haven't pre-ordered since I started playing, and my experience with beta hasn't changed that.

The world is beautiful (seriously, the art team did an absolutely incredible job) and questing is pretty decent. But my main feels so dull that I can't bring myself to enjoy it. Shadow is a clunky, boring spec that doesn't appear to have had any thought put into it, and they seem determined to ignore all feedback about it. So my beta experience now is deciding whether WW or affliction are enough fun to be worth a main switch, or whether I'll just quit playing entirely.

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