The importance of class design.

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
For the last few expansions, Blizzard has shifted their design philosophy in a completely different direction.
They've started stripping away difficulty and complexity from specializations by removing abilities, synergies and downside effects from offensive and defensive cooldowns(like Divine Shield reducing your damage by 50%).
Overall mosts classes rotations has come down to very few buttons.
The mechanical skill ceiling has being brought down a lot, as well as the entry basic skill requirements for new players or when trying out a new class.

Instead the game difficulty has been shifted into content(dungeons, raids, etc) by making more complex mob/boss mechanics, while also lessening the importance of gear requirements.

Most of these changes might be good on paper to increase the game's accessibility to a broader audience. But in practice, that requires an extremely good execution, and this is where Blizzard has been failing.

If you want to make most spec's rotation consist of 4-5 spells, then all of these spells MUST have some sort of synergy with the spec and they MUST feel impactful when used(3k incinerates do not feel good).
This mainly comes down to proper tuning for EACH INDIVIDUAL spell, instead of buffing/nerfing specs across the board with lazy percentage auras, that affect every spell of a specialization.

Also specs should have a good flow of their baseline rotations, WITHOUT the need of taking certain talents to make them less clunky.
TALENTS SHOULD BUILD UPON THE SPEC, NOT COMPLETE IT!

Every spec should have weaknesses, but not to the extreme.
Priests having no baseline mobility unless they spec into a talent, warlocks having only gateway every 2minutes for baseline mobility or mages having no stuns or self sustain, these examples are unhealthy and unfun. Core mechanics like these should be owned to some extent by all specs BASELINE, otherwise specs do not feel complete and PvP turns into rock/paper/scissors.

Blizzard has to realise that class design is the most important thing in a RPG, no matter how much content there is, if you're not having fun on your character, everything else is boring as well.
Besides that, the learning experience of how to play your character in different situations, is simply the best content with the best longevity.
Raids and dungeons might have difficult mechanics. But they are static, once you learn them, they become simple to complete. And no design team can produce enough content fast enough, for such a massive playerbase.

A very good example of this is Black Desert Online, a game with many many downsides and issues. But it's solely carried by few things: Its graphics, proffession/life skill systems AND its extremely fun, fast paced and skill intensive combat.
I myself played it for almost 6000 hours solely for the learning experience of my class and PvP. This just goes to show how important class design is.
https://i.imgur.com/AGjKjai.png


TLDR: Fun classes with high skill ceiling > any other content.
10/26/2018 06:59 AMPosted by Vindecaytor

TLDR: Fun classes with high skill ceiling > any other content.


They will get it eventually, just hopefully not right before the game is forced to go full FTP mode and you have to buy Mythic+ access tickets via the in-game store for $5.

For now we'll have to wait for them to finish bumbling around with expeditions and azerite gear that don't matter in the long run.
Good post. I understand Blizz wants to make the game friendly to casuals, I would consider myself fairly casual. I'll months without playing and have gone years.

Ability pruning has killed class identity and if you couple that homogenization of class design you get a game where classes feel the same and makes the game boring. Why level an alt if it plays the same as every other toon. For instance the builder-spender model.

In reality, Blizzard only got it half right. There should be classes that are pruned down and easy to play for the casual, but there should also be classes that have a high amount of abilities to effectively play it at its fullest. I dont know what the ratio should be, but there should be classes with high skill cap that require more than 4-5 spammable buttons for their rotation.

Just my $.02.


Also specs should have a good flow of their baseline rotations, WITHOUT the need of taking certain talents to make them less clunky.
TALENTS SHOULD BUILD UPON THE SPEC, NOT COMPLETE IT!

Every spec should have weaknesses, but not to the extreme.
Priests having no baseline mobility unless they spec into a talent, warlocks having only gateway every 2minutes for baseline mobility or mages having no stuns or self sustain, these examples are unhealthy and unfun. Core mechanics like these should be owned to some extent by all specs BASELINE, otherwise specs do not feel complete and PvP turns into rock/paper/scissors.

TLDR: Fun classes with high skill ceiling > any other content.


These two lines are specifically what I've been talking about every single day on the two Shadow Priest threads. I keep saying without classes every system in the game is worthless. The problem being all of our classes/specs are hollow because they pruned everything to a core shell.

The rotations are so bad for some of the classes like Spriest for instant we have so many counterproductive mechanics to the point where you are like why does this even exist. To do burst aoe we have to generate energy use it to Void Erupt and then we want immediately out of the Voidform it put us in to rinse and repeat. The spec on the other hand wants you to stay in voidform for a meaningless haste gain which they heavily nerfed coming into bfa and moved the damage around.

The other problem we have is the talents we are forced to fix because the rotation is constantly clipped and screwed up because of how the cooldowns work on our main insanity generators Mindblast and Voidbolt.

They cant be sitting there at blizzard hq thinking "these players are just complaining about everything".... When in reality they are the ones who designed themselves into a corner.

I cannot say this enough either Auto Attacks are not fun having a good portion of your damage coming from Auto Attacks is really bad design.

Also having an attack be 75% of your damage is also bad design looking at Arcane Mage with most of your damage coming from AB. Does anyone actually enjoy pressing one button for 75% of a fight?
10/26/2018 08:37 AMPosted by Weberorelius
In reality, Blizzard only got it half right. There should be classes that are pruned down and easy to play for the casual, but there should also be classes that have a high amount of abilities to effectively play it at its fullest. I dont know what the ratio should be, but there should be classes with high skill cap that require more than 4-5 spammable buttons for their rotation.

I don't mind simple rotations, that is completely fine.
Having a simple rotation doesn't mean that a spec cannot have depth and high skill ceiling.
Arcane for example, never had a difficult rotation, but in patches where the spec was done right, then there was a big disparity between a newbie and a veteran mage due to mana management and other small tricks that could differentiate you from the average player.
That just doesn't exist anymore. We are all pretty much watered down versions of our former specs.
They have completely alienated their current player base by pruning down every spec in the game to mind numbing proportions.

So not only did they not attract any new players to the game by making specs easier to play, they have alienated and spit on everyone who spent years trying to improve at the game.
God yes.

Shadow is unplayable right now. The rotation is an absolute mess. The talents make no sense. Our spells have no synergy. Our resources are illogical and create multiple conflicts of interest.

It's not fun, interesting, or challenging.

Shadow is a worst case right now, but it's not at all isolated to Shadow, that's just what affects me the most personally, but it's true for many (most?) specs.

Whatever this new class design ideology is they need to abandon it and go back to making classes fun.
10/26/2018 10:06 AMPosted by Vagaboondo
They have completely alienated their current player base by pruning down every spec in the game to mind numbing proportions.

So not only did they not attract any new players to the game by making specs easier to play, they have alienated and spit on everyone who spent years trying to improve at the game.


This is exactly how many of us feel. They took everything I loved about this game and took a dump on it. My classes aren’t fun, I’m disgusted by what they’ve become. It’s time for the devs to admit that this was a horrible mistake and correct it. I would love to play this game again, I’d love to throw money at them again, but I won’t while classes remain this way.
To be honest I've been looking to other games since the development team here is very quiet about changes and forces things on you that no one asked for or likes. GCD change is a good example of this. The only logical reason you would want to do that is if you want to condense everything down to a playstation or xbox controller. Even then in that case you should not destroy the PC game to accomplish that.

I just can't believe some of the obvious backward changes they did coming in to BFA everyone used to joke about this being WoD 2.0 but realistically WoD had way better class design than this even though they were prunning the hell out of everything. If anything this is WoD 0.5. Going from MoP class design to WoD class design pretty much destroyed class identity and its been continuing into this current version of the game.

I hate to say it but the reason people are starting to complain so much is because they genuinely are waking up and realizing they are not having fun anymore. You should design your game around fun. If you did that you surely would end up making 2-3x more money than you make right now. RNG is not fun in excess at all this isn't Diablo, we aren't playing a single player experience this is an MMO where many people interact with each other all of the time.

Forcing Loot to personal which no one wanted, forcing gcd changes which also no one wanted and this god awful pruning of class fantasy, utility and niche. These are the exact reasons people are complaining about the current game.

By now someone should have had a serious talk with the community talking about where things went wrong and what changes are going to go forward. Instead we are stuck with this deafening radio silence.

If I wasn't passionate about WoW I wouldn't even bother talking about this at all but I've been playing for what 13 years now, thats 1/3rd of my life.
10/26/2018 08:59 AMPosted by Maybeitsroxx
The other problem we have is the talents we are forced to fix because the rotation is constantly clipped and screwed up because of how the cooldowns work on our main insanity generators Mindblast and Voidbolt.

Yea, I recently started leveling a spriest and I've noticed that the void form rotation can be a little awkward. There's always a little gap before void bolt comes off cd and I use 1 global for mind flay instead so I don't sit around doing nothing.

10/26/2018 08:59 AMPosted by Maybeitsroxx
To do burst aoe we have to generate energy use it to Void Erupt and then we want immediately out of the Voidform it put us in to rinse and repeat.

That can be fixed by just buffing Mind Sear. It's just bad tuning.

10/26/2018 08:59 AMPosted by Maybeitsroxx
I cannot say this enough either Auto Attacks are not fun having a good portion of your damage coming from Auto Attacks is really bad design.

I partially disagree. I think it's fine to have strong auto attacks, but not for melees with high uptime. Issue is most melees have uptime so auto attacks are insane.
Also hunter autos shouldn't be as strong, they already have plenty of AFK dmg.

10/26/2018 08:59 AMPosted by Maybeitsroxx
Also having an attack be 75% of your damage is also bad design looking at Arcane Mage with most of your damage coming from AB. Does anyone actually enjoy pressing one button for 75% of a fight?

You have to be under-exaggerating, or are you talking about raid boss fights?
Cuz in dungeons, it's more like 90% of my damage in ST.

10/26/2018 10:06 AMPosted by Vagaboondo
spit on everyone who spent years trying to improve at the game.

Essentially they've been doing this since TBC, cuz usually every expansion brought a lot of class changes, meaning that we all had to relearn our classes every time.
Only BFA is different, cuz most specs are pretty much exactly the same as Legion, but worse.

10/26/2018 10:28 AMPosted by Yvaelle
Shadow is unplayable right now. The rotation is an absolute mess. The talents make no sense. Our spells have no synergy. Our resources are illogical and create multiple conflicts of interest.

I wouldn't say unplayable, it's rotation is a bit clunky due to cds overlapping and it has some AOE issue that can be fixed with simple tuning.
10/26/2018 11:32 AMPosted by Maybeitsroxx
GCD change is a good example of this. The only logical reason you would want to do that is if you want to condense everything down to a playstation or xbox controller.

Some of the GCD changes were not bad, but that's a minority.
Incarnation on GCD for example, I think is fine.
But something like Arcane Power with only 10sec duration, dispellable and for a spec that has very low instant damage, that shouldn't be on GCD.

10/26/2018 11:32 AMPosted by Maybeitsroxx
I just can't believe some of the obvious backward changes they did coming in to BFA everyone used to joke about this being WoD 2.0 but realistically WoD had way better class design than this even though they were prunning the hell out of everything.

Depends on which spec you played in WoD. Mage design in WoD was absolutely abyssmal, almost as bad as current arcane, but even more boring.
I agree on basically every level.

I personally know many people who have quit the game for the reason that their class is not fun to play anymore mainly because of pruning or the class fantasy changes in Legion which was just pruning in disguise.

It seems like now even some of the casuals, which rarely care about such things like how their class feels and plays are starting to realize what Blizzard has been doing to their class for the past 4-5 years.

I was pretty sad that Blizzard didn't include the option " my class isn't fun anymore because of X " in the recent survey they sent out to people with expired subs.

I really wish we would go back to MoP or Cata class design/complexity, even WoD was better than Legion and BfA.

this probably wont happen but a man can dream.
10/26/2018 12:43 PMPosted by Pogmitch
starting to realize what Blizzard has been doing to their class for the past 4-5 years.

"starting to realize" lol.
I've been complaining about the mage changes since WoD beta. Legion arcane was a breath of fresh air, but they absolutely destroyed that in BFA too.
I'm not blaming the class devs only though, there was a small minority of mages on the forums that were complaing about "I'm a fire mage! Why the heck do I have frost and arcane spells??" and other similar stupid complains, which blizzard for some reason listened to...
10/26/2018 10:06 AMPosted by Vagaboondo
They have completely alienated their current player base by pruning down every spec in the game to mind numbing proportions.

So not only did they not attract any new players to the game by making specs easier to play, they have alienated and spit on everyone who spent years trying to improve at the game.


Can't say it better myself.
Awesome post, I agree completely .. I hate relearning my class every xpac and I further hate the way the simplify everything down just so they can eventually make it playable on phones
I totally agree. For me, class design is everything and I haven’t enjoyed wow since Legion. It’s very upsetting to me because I used to be addicted to this game. I have held an active subscription since BC and this is the first expansion I’ve considered unsubbing simply because I’m not having any fun anymore. Sure there’s a lot to do and I love grinds but class design the last two expansions has ruined the fun for me.

In the past I used to refuse chances to hang out with friends or girlfriends and I’d always find an excuse to play WoW in my free time. Nowadays I try to find any excuse not to play WoW. It’s just so dull and unrewarding nowadays and it’s extrenely upsetting. I will be unsubbing soon for the first time since I started playing and I’ll give all my excuses when I do. I also plan on not coming back until Blizz pulls their heads out of their asses.
Blizzard unwittingly made the most brilliant form of pruning available. Look at the Havoc DH T2 talent Demon Blades. It replaces an ability with a passive.

Actually the entire T2 of Havoc DH is well designed. One talent prunes. One talent adds a new ability. And another leaves your action bar untouched.

The significance here is that players get to choose if they take the prune or not.

THAT is a well designed pruning system.

Entirely optional.
10/28/2018 06:09 AMPosted by Milynde
I hate relearning my class every xpac

I'm fine with that as long as the new iteration is fun too.
But this is not the case with BFA for my main sadly.

10/28/2018 06:56 AMPosted by Sokarg
Actually the entire T2 of Havoc DH is well designed. One talent prunes. One talent adds a new ability. And another leaves your action bar untouched.

The significance here is that players get to choose if they take the prune or not.

THAT is a well designed pruning system.

Entirely optional.

It's good only if the "prune yourself" talent is the worst or all 3 are balanced.
I'm pretty sure most DHs don't like when Demon Blades is their best talent DPS wise.
Blizzards current approach to class designs reminds me of the Monty Python bit in the Holy Grail where the guy keeps trying to build castles in the swamp.

King of Swamp Castle: When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. And that one sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Son, the strongest castle in all of England.

They just keep building stuff on crap foundation and starting over. Eventually they might get a few specs that work by taking the good bits of what failed and using that. !@#$ would be a lot smoother if they made stuff play nicely without talents and artifacts to prop them up and then built ontop of that.

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