Ion's Comment on Spec Tuning

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
Hey all, I'd like to go ahead and talk a bit about Ion's comment on tuning low-performing specs.

His first comment was that, sometimes, community perception can be more important than real numbers tuning. And that's completely true, players are never going to be perfectly informed, so they might form opinions that aren't well-founded. And, all of that especially applies to underplayed specs, where leaders may not have very much experience playing with them at all.

His next comment is that the spec communities are doing themselves a disservice by telling others to reroll or by constantly memeing their own spec. And, that is also true to an extent. However, you have to realize that there's a reason that we tell people to reroll: we haven't really seen any kind of progress being made on our spec, which just leads us to believe that Blizzard either thinks it's ok, or that they are intentionally keeping it tuned the way it is because of something we players don't fully understand.

Finally, he commented that Shamans are maybe only 2-3% behind other specs. This part really just hit the hardest, because it showed a disconnect in understanding >why< we are rallying for change. A lot of players would be happy with just upwards tuning, but the overall reason for our outcry is because we have mechanical problems that won't be easily fixed by just some numbers. Not to mention, saying a spec is only "2-3%" behind is almost unreasonable, now that auras exist. If there is any thought that a spec might be behind, then it should be addressed in the next hotfix; that kind of hesistation is exactly the thing that causes us to feel like we're being ignored.

Also, I think it is important to note that any tuning concerns players have is not them wanting to be overpowered, it's more that they want to compete with the other top specs. People are told to reroll because the top specs are so incredibly far ahead that even when there is tuning, it seems to just be slight bumps to bottom specs that bring them closer to the middle (meaning, it would still have been in your best interest to have just gone and played a spec that was already at the top and already had a much more versatile kit).

Speaking as an Ele player, here's a few of my concerns that just bumping the aura wouldn't address:
1) We're designed as a low-mobility spec, but do not have either of the countermeasures to address that weakness. We could either be made more beefy, allowing us to more easily "stand our ground". Or, we could be made slightly overtuned on "stand-still" DPS, with the expectation that we'd have events during the fight that would cause us to lose damage.
2) Our cleave DPS is awful, which hurts us a LOT in Mythic+, an environment where the spec should honestly shine. Any time the tank is pulling fewer than 4 targets, we're suffering for it.
3) Our AoE is amazing, but it is limited to stationary targets. As such, certain situations (i.e. any time the tank needs to kite) can really hamper what is really our only niche.
4) We don't really have any kind of interesting interactions in our kit, things that would help good players stand out against bad players. This is especially true on AoE, which ends up boiling down to two buttons with no procs.

As far as our rework in 8.1, I don't really see anything that addresses these concerns, which we should have had months to outline and work with Blizzard on iterating through. I even wrote about my concerns with the currently planned rework (which effectively boils down to more LB damage and a T90 talent rework) in the megathread in this post: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20768867246?page=31#post-616 . It just feels like everything we bring up falls on deaf ears, and because of that, we end up hurting our own community perception by telling people to reroll to classes that are already in a good state.

And, my spec is not the only one with concerns. I'd like to hear from other players outlining what their own concerns are.
2-3% is at TOP END with max level gear that fills the insane requirements that the class has.

90% of enhancement shamans are fighting just to beat the tanks... just cause we have HORRIBLE item distribution, horrible secondary stat requirements, ect.

Seriously. For enhancement shaman Haste is more important than iLVL... think about that... now back up... think about it again... just slower.

Yea... it's that messed up.

Until things like that get fixed... the spec will be all or nothing.

But, as usual, Ion 'Elitist Jerk' Hazzikostas doesn't listen to anyone but himself, and maybe a few people from Method. Which is why we have this problem with enhancement.

At top gear levels it performs... at LITERALLY ANY OTHER LEVEL it's garbage. But Ion, being Ion, will just tell us not to suck at his class...

That's part of why I canceled my sub.
Tuning isn't as bad as the forums would have you think.

It's also not as good as Blizz would have you think.

And yes, some specs suffer from outdated/flawed mechanics that need redesigns, not numbers tuning.

I fully expected to see no real changes until 9.0 and after the last QA it's safe to say that Blizz did not disappoint.
Funny how shamans are horrible in PvE, while being one of the best classes for PvP.
Or the other way around, Arcane mages being rly good in PvE, while being one of the worst specs for PvP.
Idk how blizzard manages to screw up balance so much.
There are whole threads and discussion on the matter, and some specifically for elemental.

One of the major issues with the Elemental transition from Legion into BFA were the gameplay flow, specialization flexibility, and survivability.

Many individual spells were obliterated from the spell priority and rotations due to poor tuning. Talents that were acceptable for certain builds became obsolete due to poor tuning. Options for survivability were removed. Secondary stats, of which we heavily rely upon were decimated with the stat squish, while passives and talents that historically shored up those deficiencies until the late game were removed.

Yes, there's a form of shaman that can perform 2-3% below acceptable levels of gameplay, it is the discovered optimal build. But that's equivalent to saying a genus of an animal is doing fine, when 60% of the species are wiped out. Talent diversity took a nosedive from roughly 3 builds with plenty of variations (including many legendary dependent ones) to 1 build with two variations (with known solutions for the best Azerite gear).

Oh you didn't choose that one build and get your best Azerite gear as required? yeah, you're going to be below that 2-3% suboptimal mark.

People were having fun with the spec during legion playing builds that were enjoyable, and then pre-patch and if you didn't like playing the optimal build, you were doing it wrong and you weren't having fun. Also the optimal build, boring and an non-interactive process of building maelstrom over the course of 12-16 seconds for a spender spell that only varies based on whether you're fighting 1 mob or 3+ mobs. no-fun no-fun situation

It is my understanding that this affected other classes as well, but I can't talk to them in the same specificity.
Speaking as a Shadow Priest main I can tell you for certain no one in the Spriest community thinks its just a numbers tuning issue. We absolutely mechanically hate VoidForm its so bad for so many reasons. We have around 2k responses in the two spriest threads right now and we got some numbers moved around. Doesn't fix the core issues of the spec at all. For instance, one of the main problems with shadow is the ramp that doesn't accomplish anything for us outside of some meaningless haste and the forced clipping of Mindblast and Voidbolt.

Our rotation in VF literally is 3 buttons MB VB MF/S depending on Single target or Multi target. Mindflay gets clipped at 1 tick every time. Our execute that used to be baseline is a talent. Our 3m CD is literally a pet with no utility or interactions. Fire and forget has like no interaction what so ever. There are many other problems like there's only one PVE build thats even viable the other options are pretty trash for talents. For instance to fix the rotational problem above you are forced to pick up the talent Shadow Word: Void to stop the clipping of VB and MB.
That seem's like really bad design when you have to pick a talent to fix your rotational problem.

So to sum it up basically mechanically and rotationally spriest does not function well and the changes we received seem to be a net dps loss not gain. We got buffs to voidform and voidform damage but we got a 3% aura nerf to all spells which makes the damage literally the same or worse overall.
The problem is that Ion is just speaking from a spreadsheet. Sure, in a game where all the enemies stand perfectly still and don't do any damage to anyone, Elemental Shaman might only be 2-3% behind. However, in BfA, enemies constantly move and actually do damage to their attackers. Elemental shaman can't deal with either issue very well, so in the actual game they are probably closer to 10% behind. Add in poor defensives and they are unwanted in high M+ and progression raiding.

Other specs have similar issues - shadow priest is a good example. Also, the issue that many specs simply aren't mechanically FUN, kind of takes away the point of playing a game. It isn't supposed to be a second job, it's supposed to be an enjoyable leisure activity. Blizzard seems to have forgotten this.
Community perception should be ignored BM hunter got gutted because of community perception

It was never even the best spec in it's own class.
OP, I very much agree. Numbers tuning is one thing and not really a big concern, it's larger rotational and utility concerns. I started to rehash everything again, but not going to, much better players have already covered it. We're saying "this feels bad to play" and they're saying "but you're only 2% behind the others"
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20769128575?page=4

Yeah, I called that Hazzikostas would come back with the “player perception” excuse a month ago.
11/05/2018 07:12 AMPosted by Kharn
90% of enhancement shamans are fighting just to beat the tanks... just cause we have HORRIBLE item distribution, horrible secondary stat requirements, ect.
I hate to be that one but looking at your logs it's clear your problem is more about the mechanical skill with the class than actually numbers tuning.
11/05/2018 06:43 AMPosted by Omajarn
A lot of players would be happy with just upwards tuning, but the overall reason for our outcry is because we have mechanical problems that won't be easily fixed by just some numbers.


Honestly, I see these conflated all the freakin' time, across nearly every spec and from everyone from new players all the way up to Ion himself. There are two things players complain about as far as specs go: tuning, and gameplay. And yet, when players from high-performing classes like rogues, DHs, DKs, warlocks, etc complain about gameplay clunk, other respond that they are already a dominant class and don't need buffs. And, less commonly but still regularly, when players from well-designed specs like Destruction, Fury, or Balance complain about tuning issues, they are often responded with "hey, at least you're not Feral/Unholy/Shadow/whatever".

Classes near the top of the rankings can still have and complain about gameplay issues, and classes with well-designed rotations and fewer gameplay issues can still have and complain about tuning issues. And to be honest, the vast majority of the complaints I see anyway are gameplay and mechanics related, with tuning as a secondary concern, so pointing out that spec's current tuning is kinda irrelevant.
11/05/2018 06:43 AMPosted by Omajarn
Hey all, I'd like to go ahead and talk a bit about Ion's comment on tuning low-performing specs.


Ion one ups the "its your problem" motto of a lot of A-holes and just goes with a straight up, "You ARE the problem".

His mentality is in his DNA and he wont change. The way Activision is running Blizzard into the ground, they likely wont change him as the director either.

So have fun guys!
11/05/2018 09:23 AMPosted by Chimisuto
11/05/2018 07:12 AMPosted by Kharn
90% of enhancement shamans are fighting just to beat the tanks... just cause we have HORRIBLE item distribution, horrible secondary stat requirements, ect.
I hate to be that one but looking at your logs it's clear your problem is more about the mechanical skill with the class than actually numbers tuning.


Translation: Nothing you said is right, you just suck at the class.

Let me guess. Any shaman who says anything about enhancement having issues is going to get the same response right?

I mean it's not like I haven't been doing this since beta. But sure. I 'must' suck at the class. A few numbers posted from the log of a guy on the other side of a room show me as being bad, so I must be bad. Sure chief. You hide behind that. - That shaman who use to tank Ultraxion for fun.
11/05/2018 07:35 AMPosted by Vindecaytor
while being one of the best classes for PvP


No. After they nerfed Enh mana regen for PvP it is pain in the !@# play it. Dmg is the pretty much the same but simply you can't purge anyone anymore or any action which cost mana is hindered ALOT.
I definitely think Blizzard is slow to responding on PvE balance. But, it's also very true that the community perception is often worse than reality.
So we don't remember that Ion himself said before launch that some specs, like Elemental, Enhance, and Shadow (specifically, he specifically called these out in Q&A) would need reworks in 8.1 because simple buffs in hotfixes would not fix them? They needed reworks because they were not just a simple flat percentage behind other classes.

Because that's where the 'community perception' is coming from- his own lips.
11/05/2018 09:55 AMPosted by Kharn
11/05/2018 09:23 AMPosted by Chimisuto
...I hate to be that one but looking at your logs it's clear your problem is more about the mechanical skill with the class than actually numbers tuning.


Translation: Nothing you said is right, you just suck at the class.

Let me guess. Any shaman who says anything about enhancement having issues is going to get the same response right?

[/quote]
I never said anything the state of the class as a whole. But your performance compared to what other shamans are able to do reflects blizz's statement about community/player perspective and actual balance.

Currently under performing and instead of self improvement it's all down to blaming blizz.
11/05/2018 10:50 AMPosted by Varrow
But, it's also very true that the community perception is often worse than reality.


You can always blame community but stock prices don't lie m8
11/05/2018 10:02 AMPosted by Riidatar
simply you can't purge anyone anymore or any action which cost mana is hindered ALOT.


You mean you might actually have to THINK about how you utilize having two of the Arena's more powerful utilities? (Off-Healing and Purging)

Oh and at least you can still do full dps etc as normal when you're OOM. If i cast more than 10 fears in an entire arena match, i go OOM and can no longer even refresh dots.

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