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Class Design & Balance Live Q&A and Transcript
09.11.2011 um 12:40
Fresh from the success of the recent live Q&A about Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard hosted another
live Q&A today
at 10:45 am PST.
Today's chat was with the class design team, covering the past, present, and future of World of Warcraft classes. As with the last Q&A, we updated the transcript live and provided highlights of the chat. There were so many questions this round, with the whole class design team present, so we broke down the highlights by class to make it easier to browse!
The current 5.0 model is that there are 8 raid buffs: health, attack power, spell power, melee haste, spell haste, crit, mastery and stats.
Skeptical that there will ever be a talent build that is the perfect build for every PvE fight in the game, but players can still find an ideal set of talents for an encounter. However, there is still more room for customization than in the past.
Would like to bring level of primary stats closer to level of secondary stats.
The goal of providing resilience as a base stat is to make players who primarily do PvE content able to enter the PvP space with their PvE gear and remain competitive.
For Mists--Intellect to no longer directly increase the size of player mana pools. For healers, Spirit will remain as the pure regen stat. More of a tradeoff between regen and thoroughput in the future.
Dispels are currently too frequent. In 5.0, dispels should have a cooldown and duration more like Spellsteal but get all buffs or debuffs at once.
Changing talents: The current idea is that
becomes a "Training Manual" or something and that the same consumable can be used to blank out a glyph or a talent.
Current niche of
and bugs with Runic Power generation will be fixed in 4.3.
Gorefiend's Grasp will work like
--only enemy targets pulled, but you can center the affect on an enemy, ally, or yourself.
is kind of boring--plans to change it so DKs aren't stuck with just using one runeforge at max level.
Overall philosophy is to bring hybridization back to Druids. Will use abilities that require multiple forms, even for Restoration Druids.
Incarnation in Balance turns the Druid into the Chosen of Elune form--increases spell damage and Solar and Lunar energy generated.
Plans to simplify Feral Druid rotation. In 4.3, the
is triggering off
instead. In 5.0,
will no longer cause a bleed damage debuff and so no longer be required in the rotation.
talents are becoming part of Wild Charge.
will both exist for Feral (cats).
will no longer apply a debuff, but will be usable from any facing, whereas
will offer slightly more overall DPS if you are able to stay behind the target. Guardians (bears) will have
, but not
PvP weaknesses of Resto Druids addressed in 5.0--being able to pick abilities like
and Wild Charge together, for example.
The level 90 Druid talents deliberately come in 3 different levels of work required--from lazy to complicated.
One of the new abilities Resto Druids will get baseline is a replacement for
that can be cast on others with the same effect and cooldown.
New level 87 ability abiltiy in mind for all Druids called Symbiosis--potentially add a lot of flexibility and utility, including survivabiltiy options.
In the future,
won't daze when hit.
Transmorph Trap will allow you to cast Scare Beast on the transmorphed target. It will have a similar duration to
is intended to be utility, not damage.
Will lose the ability to parry, can still equip melee weapons for vanity looks.
are 'dull' for level 90 talents--many other classes have gotten new skills. Mages probably getting a few new talents as a result.
RNG is a part of Fire.
Frost tree currently has too many CC abilities.
Looking for ways to make Arcane less immobile--possibly add
to the PvE rotation.
Healing similar to Discipline priests, can heal or 'smite.' Will involve a lot of non-targeted healing--could heal competitively without ever having to target a friendly player.
Healing monks will use mana--too tricky to balance a non-mana healing class.
Sample Windwalker mechanic: Summon what are similar to Diablo III health globes that heal players when they run through them.
Roll may cost mana in healer stance. It may also gain other abilities, through talents, that heals and does damage to targets you "roll" through.
Tanking "Brewmaster" monks will use a "dual combo point" resource (Force). For example, Dark Force may contribute to an absorption shield while the Light Force may build increased avoidance.
Brewmasters also have drinks which provide short-term buffs that restore Light or Dark Force, Chi, etc. Also an interesting Ox Statue!
Ret paladin playstyle should be a bit less RNG as
will be a talent players may skip.
goes back to a finisher in 5.0 since Ret and Prot both have
Hammer der Rechtschaffenen
Judgment in 5.0: tentatively 6sec cooldown, 30yd range, and to generate 1 Holy Power.
Possible glyph for Inquisition which would significantly increase its duration, at a cost of slightly reducing its effect.
Wort der Herrlichkeit
won't be on a cooldown in 5.0.
Spirit Shell is a new ability for Discipline priests in 5.0--it does not cause
Possible changes for
--perhaps Discipline-only and interact with
Possible new model for
With Vendetta up, rogues can dps to their maximum capability at ranged.
Goal is to have rogues use one damage and one utility poison at the same time. New
will essentially be like merging the old
Another goal is to reduce impact of ramping mechanics for Rogues in 5.0.
may become an inherent buff on the Rogue.
New changes to
allow you to control how frequently and how many times you teleport.
are forced alternates in the same talent tier on purpose. It is currently a no-brainer to take both for PvP--they want players to make interesting choices. Don't want to balance a class around assumptions that they will have two overpowered talents at the same time.
The team was saddened by how many 10-player guilds didn't take rogues because "they didn't bring anything." Plans to change this perception.
The team also really likes how Energy works--the model is tolerant for lag, player error, and allows players to tunnel less on a target.
2T12 bonus for Elemental Shamans was too powerful. Was nerfed and the
and other talents were buffed accordingly.
Totems removed in MoP, but core buffs will remain passive auras on the shaman, the way
Totems at first had restrictions like the GCD cost and limited range back when they were unique buffs to the raid--but after homogenization, these restrictions seem outdated.
Elemental Harmony does not apply to Fire totems, and does not allow you to drop multiple of the same totem.
New resource is Infernal Embers. As you generate more and more embers, your character slowly ignites, until you're basically a walking torch.
All Warlocks get
at level 1. At level 40, it will transform based on spec. Affliction--Malefic Grasp, Demonology--Demonic Slash, Destruction--Incinerate.
New Soul Shard changes: Passively regenerated out of combat, generated by
Like Druids using other forms, they want warlocks to use other pets that aren't tied to their spec.
All pets should be comparable on single-target DPS, with the Felguard as the best AoE pet.
will get a 40yd range in 4.3.
changes: 15 second cooldown, but each ability used can only be soulburned once a minute, soulburn will affect more abilities like curses.
Pet Swapping/Twisting will be fixed by replacing Soul Shards and fixing
Malefic Grasp is a channelled nuke which increases the damage of your DoTs on the target by increasing their tick rate by 100%.
Blood and Thunder will be usable by both Arms and Prot warriors.
should end up feeling the same.
Changes to Rage mechanics in MoP. Some core rotational abilities will generate rage instead of consuming it. Idea is to make Rage more valuable and interesting as a resource.
Fury Warriors will have
replaced by Wild Strike--an off-hand attack without
's cast time.
will allow you to do 3 cheap Wild Strikes on a 1 sec GCD. Also has
reworked as a +AE damage stance and removing all stance penalties and restrictions.
Click to expand for the full Q&A Transcript.
Bashiok: Welcome to the World of Warcraft class balance and design Q&A! We have our entire class design team here today to answer your questions! Hi, I'm Bashiok. Myself and Zarhym are here to run the show. Say hello Zarhym!
Zarhym: Hello, Zarhym! <3 Welcome to our second CoverItLive world of Warcraft Developer Q&A! Our class designers will be fielding questions on the past, present, and future of class design and balance. Whether you want to talk about current affairs, 4.3 changes, the upcoming Mists of Pandaria talent system, or the monk class, all's fair...
Sorry about that question appearing and disappearing. We had a publishing travesty. Our developers are preparing their answers to the first round of questions now.
Q: When are we gonna get a crack at the official Talent Calculator for MoP? Even just a work in progress one that perhaps could change as you guys make changes. Would be VERY cool to see how the talents progress form now until release.
A, Ghostcrawler: We are working to get one up soon (TM). We want to include all of the core class and spec spells, because the main concern from players (especially those not at Blizzcon) is what happens to various spec spells. The talent calculator will also help alleviate concerns about leveling up, because you'll be able to see that you get new spells about as often as you do today. Just remember that the individual talents and spells will change a lot before we ship 5.0.
Q: Hello, the warlock community has been excited/intrigued/concerned by the announcement of the three resources for warlocks in MoP. Could we have more details about them, especially on the Infernal Embers of Destruction ?
A, Xelnath: Hey Zumzum, while the new Warlock resources are still in-development, here's the current iteration:
When you incinerate an immolated target, your character builds up Infernal Embers. Infernal Embers increase the power of your next single Conflagrate or Soul Fire by 10% each. That ability uses all of the embers you have.
There may also be additional abilities which generate or consume Infernal Embers, but we're still experimenting.
Here's a little bonus: as you generate more and more embers, your character slowly ignites, until you're basically a walking torch. Infernal Embers currently have no cap, but we'll likely add one before Mists ships.
Q: A lot of warriors feel like the stance mechanic is a bit outdated. Are there any plans to make changes to warrior stances in MoP such as giving the passive stance bonuses to each spec or allowing all of the warrior abilities to be usable in all stances? I say the latter because I know a lot of Arms warriors would love the 10% damage boost over the 5% damage boost and 5% damage reduction. Thank you.
A, Ghostcrawler: At the moment, we are considering Berserker as a +AE damage stance and removing all stance penalties and restrictions. Just use Battle for single-target and Zerk for AE. That isn't set in stone of course.
Q: With Firelands, elemental shaman DPS was brought up to a very competitive level primarily due to 2 piece T12 and fire elemental. Are there any plans to change the cooldown of fire elementals in the future so that elemental DPS isn't hurt so badly when fire elemental is on cooldown, or any plans to reduce fire elemental damage and compensating for it in other areas?
A, Celestalon: The 2T12 bonus for Elemental Shamans was very powerful. Too powerful, in fact, as it was going to lead to Elemental Shamans hanging on to their 2T12 bonus for so long. So, we reduced the impact of the set bonus, and slightly buffed the damage of the Fire Elemental for them, along with several other minor (and major) buffs in 4.3. We're confident that Elemental Shamans will be totally viable in 4.3.
Q: I want to talk a bit about Frost Presence for Death Knights. It's sub-optimal for all dps specs right now, and it just feels so slow. That said, I don't necessarily WANT to go back to Frost Presence. It just feels SO slow. Honestly, I think if Frost Presence were to be changed to be the best presence for Frost DPS, I would have to go Unholy, which I don't enjoy as much right now. It would just be too painful to give up the fast playing speed and the passive run speed since we don't have a PvE gap closer. The extra run speed is SO valuable that I don't want to go back. Right now, I feel more like you need to find a new niche for Frost Presence, even if it's to make it the "AoE" presence in some way, so that both Frost and Unholy use it in certain situations, or make it a niche kiting/control presence (maybe tying the Icy Touch slow/Chains of Ice root into the presence somehow, instead of the spec). I think that would be a better solution if at all possible. I'm not married to the idea of Blood Spec + Blood Pres, Frost Spec + Frost Pres, and UH + UH Pres. I think making the presences a little more dynamic would be a great change. I was wondering what your plans are for Frost Presence, and if you’re looking more at making it “married” to Frost Spec again, or if you’re thinking of a more dynamic approach to dps presences.
A, Watcher: The intent is for the death knight class to encompass a variety of DPS playstyles (the pet focus of Unholy, a more variable and reactive Frost versus a more rotational Unholy, and so forth). Earlier in Cataclysm, the difference in preferred presence between 2H and Dual Wield Frost allowed for two variants of Frost that used essentially the same set of abilities to have a very different feel. The current niche of Frost Presence clearly isn't ideal, and one of our design goals for Mists is to ensure that both DPS Presences have clearly-defined purposes, while allowing as many players as possible to find a style of play that suits their personal preference while being effective.
Q: With the introduction to monk, many players are speculating exactly how this class is going to heal. We were given that the stance that allows healing would give mana, but what many players are wondering is how will this effect abilities that require chi(such as roll), and will healing monks be rewarded for meleeing like the Paladin is, or will it become a requirement, making them less appealing to fights with small range aoes, or has the idea of melee healers been replaced?
A, Koraa: The Monk will be able to choose whether they want to melee DPS to heal or heal from range like other classes, similar to how a Discipline Priest can choose to heal through using Smite or to use mostly cast heals. So you could heal a fight as a Monk without DPSing at all and still be competitive. Roll may likely cost mana and get some kind of cooldown once you're in healer stance. There's also currently a talent that changes roll into a different ability that heals and does damage to targets you "roll" through, which makes it interesting for the healer Monk.
Q: I'm very excited about the upcoming revisions to Warlock specs in Mists of Pandaria. Looking at the new talent tree, I noticed that Demonology warlocks will be casting a spell called "Malefic Grasp." Will this be Demo's new filler spell in the rotation and how does it play differently from Shadow Bolt and Incinerate? Last, does the name of the spell imply that it will be a spell which is cast at melee range?
A, Xelnath: Demonology Warlocks...? I don't recall any demonology warlocks running around with Malefic Grasp...
Okay, okay, since you asked - Malefic Grasp replaces Shadow Bolt for Affliction. It is a channelled nuke which increases the damage of your DoTs on the target by increasing their tick rate by 100%.
Q: Is the Frost Mage ever going to be competitive in PVE? (I know it is within about 10% but it's still the lowest DPS spec in the game at the moment)
A, Ghostcrawler: Part of why we are changing talents in 5.0 is to let every spec have a shot at getting good utility. This means we can abandon the current (and tired) model where some specs (Frost, Subtlety especially) have to trade off dps because they have good control / survivability / escape. The biggest difference between Frost, Fire and Arcane in 5.0 will be which spells (including procs and other mechanics) you use to do damage.
Q: ITEM SQUISHING QUESTION: Item squishing sounds smart, but have you guys thought about the possibility of using item scaling like you do for Heirlooms but backwards? Sets between ilevel xxx for level 85 and xxx level 90 curve downward. Example would be at level 85 the item has 200 str but at level 90 the item has 100str because the ilevel doesnt match the content. This would allow you to stay at roughly the same numbers possibly.
A, Wradyx: We've looked at the item squish problem from many different angles, and definitely considered this approach. However, the solution you mention has problems. Players are already very unahppy that their ratings get "nerfed" as they level up. Doing what you describe would make that feeling of getting weaker as you level even worse, as you saw your primary stats decline as well. You could even have the effect of creatures getting harder as you gain levels.
Zarhym: Wow. You folks have a few questions this morning. :)
Q: Hello Blizzard! Will the hunters be able to parry with bows in MoP? :O
A, Ghostcrawler: No. Hunters will lose parry as part of the trade-off for losing minimum range.
Q: Are there any plans to do something about Demonology Warlocks and Pet Swapping for 4.3?
A, Xelnath: Hey Baldana,
Yes, we plan to eliminate Pet Twisting for Demonology. Step 1 - replace Soul Shards. Step 2 - fix Demon Soul.
One popular idea has been to give each spec a different version of Demon Soul. However, we haven't finalized that idea. We'd love to see some discussion about this on the Warlock forums.
Q: Any plans on making Ret paladin damage less random?
A, Ghostcrawler: In 5.0 we moved Divine Purpose to a talent, so if you skip that one then the main source of RNG will just be Art of War procs, which should be a lot less random than today if that suits your play style.
Q: Will hunters be able to equip melee weapons instead of a ranged weapon in MoP, even if just for show ?
A, Xelnath: Yes.
Q: In the Dev watercooler 'Threat Level Midnight' GC effectively stated that the short term solution for tank threat was to increase across the board and a long term solution, if any, to be decided upon at a later date. Have you decided what the long term solution(s) is going to be yet? Can we get a followup on where you see threat going into 5.0?
A, Celestalon: We're currently investigating a form of 'Active Mitigation' for each tanking class. This means that tanks will continue to do similar damage (relative to DPS specs) as they do today, but that their skill usage in combat will directly impact their ability to survive and mitigate damage. We aren't firm on any of these mechanics yet, but we're considering options like no longer generating rage from damage taken, only from ability usage and white swings. For example, Shield Slam could generate rage instead of costing it, and Shield Block could cost a large amount of Rage, but have no cooldown. This would lead to offensive stats (such as haste) increasing rage generation, and therefore increasing mitigation.
Q: Where is our moose at?
Zarhym: There's a pony you can ride in the new 4.3 Darkmoon Faire. :D I'm not a developer! Disregard if you feel the question was not important. :p
Q: I noticed in a sample of the druid talent tree coming up in MoP, that there seems to not be many restoration-specific talents. In fact it seems a lot like hybrid-esque talents. Is this intentional? Will the lack of restoration talents be made up for in the spells they get?
A, Wradyx: The overall philosphy of the Druid talent treee is to bring some hybridization back to the Druid class. The 4 Druid specs have become very focused on never using the forms that they do not specialize in. We would like to bring the whole class back together more. So, interesting functionality themed around the different combat roles has been introduced. Some players have objected that they aren't good at the other roles, and those abilities aren't worth the global cooldown they cost. To address this, we are making the existing Nurturing Instinct talent baseline to both Feral and Guardian Druids, and making a new talent which grants attack power based on Intellect for Restoration and Balance Druids. That will make the occasional use of core class abilities that require other forms useful even to the Restoration Druid. In addition, the combination of talents may let a Restoration Druid do things like use Demoralizing Roar, which cc's nearby enemies, triggers an instant heal (from Disentanglement), and increases armor and health all in a single gcd. That capability is useful to Restoration Druids even in a raid setting.
Correction, not a new talent, a new baseline abiltiy for Resto and Balance that grants ap from Intellect.
Q: Is there any reason (other than balance) that you decided to give healing Monks a Mana bar instead of their cool new resource? (I was really looking forward to playing a healer with endless resources). I feel anyone who wanted to play the old healing triage with Mana can play one of the existing healers, and chi/orbs is a great new and exciting way to heal (On top of the mobile healing the Monk should provide)
A, Koraa: Having the Monk not use mana was discussed early on, and there's a (small) possibility we could still go that route but the reason we didn't is because there is a significant amount of design challenges for a mana-less healer. For one, they could heal for literally forever. They would not value stats other healers would. Mana potions and other power-ups that raid bosses give would be useless to the Monk. Not that those challenges couldn't be solved, but there would have to be some compelling gameplay benefit to going through with it. And we're not sure that would be true.
Q: Any additional information about how Soul Shards will work for Affliction? How is the new resource going to change up the "rotation"?
A, Xelnath: Four major changes.
1. Soul Shards are passively regenerated out of combat. (1 per 45 sec atm)
2. Soul Shards are generated by Drain Soul, even if you don't kill the target.
3. Soulburn has a 15 second cooldown, but each ability can only be soulburned once a minute.
4. We're adding new Soulburn: X abilities. An example - Soulburn: Curse - your Curses apply to all targets within Y yards of the target.
Q: Hey there, since the arcane mage playstyle is a bit "simplicistic" nowadays (one button spam in burn phase and two button use in conserve phae) can we hope to see other, more engaging ways of spell interaction? Would it, for example, be possible to get a resource system out of arcane blast stacks or can we get more spells into our rotation?
A, Celestalon: Arcane Mages' rotation (or lack-there-of, depending upon your point of view) is something we have plans for in 5.0. We still want mana management to be a major part of their gameplay, but we want to mix up their rotation a bit beyond that. Additionally, their rotation being entirely immobile is debilitating for them at times. We're currently planning to include Arcane Barrage in their PvE rotation, so that they at least have an instant GCD that allows them to move small distances without losing DPS. Arcane Missiles while moving is something that we've considered several times, but currently aren't planning to use (that may change though).
Q: Sometimes it seems you try to fix 'underpowered' class specs by increasing numbers, rather than trying to solve the underlying issue (like RNG in fire spec: you just increased numbers rather than making the dps more stable)
A, Ghostcrawler: RNG is what you are signing up for when you play Fire. We don't view that as a crippling problem that needs to be fixed. Now there is such a thing as too much RNG, but we don't think Fire is in that spot. Sometimes you'll get a lot of Hot Streak procs etc. and sometimes you'll get less. Our design intent is that if that bothers you, play Frost or Arcane instead. (Obviously the DPS needs to be similar overall for that to feel like a real option.)
Q: I know this was an idea/plan for Cata, but for MoP is there any plan to give discipline priests different shields such as a shield for tanks.
A, Celestalon: Spirit Shell is a new cast-time shield spell for Discipline priests coming in 5.0, that does not cause Weakened Soul.
Q: is the priest spell Holy Nova going to be changed to make it useful in mop as there is no need to even have it on you action bars as it is atm.
A, Koraa: We've talked about it. Its possible we may make Holy Nova Discipline only and interact with Evangelism in some way.
Q: While playing a Fury Warrior, missing Auto-Attacks when you are counting on the rage from them is unpredictable and frustrating, especially when it happens during an important timing. This random event can mean the difference between performing poorly or amazingly. Saving rage to have decent-sized bank can somewhat provide insurance against this, but sometimes it doesn't provide enough coverage when consecutive misses occur. This is especially prevalent with the slower swings of Titan's Grip. Is it possible to allow Auto-Attack misses to generate a full or partial rage gain as dodges and parries do? To counterbalance, the Rage per speed coefficient could be lowered from 6.5 to say, 6. I'm sure most Warriors would be happy giving up a few rage per swing to have a more predictable resource system.
A, Watcher: One of the defining characteristics of Rage, as distinct from Energy, is its unpredictability. If you could predict with certainty what your Rage generation over the next X seconds is going to be, then the two resource types become essentially indistinguishable. That said, a dual-wielding warrior should have enough combat events occurring that the randomness is smoothed out in practice, and of course gearing for Hit and Expertise allows players to exert more control over their rage income if they want less variability, potentially at the expense of other stats.
That said, we have some changes in the works regarding Rage mechanics in Mists, including changing some core rotational abilities to actually generate Rage instead of consuming it (in addition to autoattacks). Currently, warriors need to reliably have enough Rage to perform their core rotational abilities at nearly all times, or the result can be very frustrating. However, this doesn't leave much room for Rage generation to grow without resulting in having more than a player can reasonably spend (or a return to constantly hitting Heroic Strike). This may also increase the sense of control you have over Rage generation, while simultaneously allowing us to make Rage itself more valuable and interesting as a resource.
Q: I have been very interested in the thoughts/discussions around item level inflation, and the proposed solutions you have/are considering. My question is more centered around how items will scale in the future. Wouldn't it make more sense to try and keep the item level gains uniform? If they begin to grow exponentially again, you would have to 'squish' again, which might disrupt things even further in the future.
A, Wradyx: We don't anticipate changing the way item levels scale in the future. We've founf that in order for item upgrades to feel good, they need to be a percentage increase over prior items. That's the very definition of exponential growth. Using a very simple example, if your first item is +1 str, and second is +2 strength, etc., when you get that item upgrade that goes from +100 strength to +101 strength, the upgrade is clearly not as worthwhile. So, percentage growth has to exist in some form. Knowing that reality, we are exploring to find ways to mitigate the impact of very large numbers on the game, including the item squish as one option.
Q: Looking over the new talents for MoP, it still looks like there will be "required" talents, or talents that obviously designed for a certain spec. Demo warlocks would obviously pick the talent that gives them the upgraded pets, or bear druids would pick the talents that give damage reduction. Is there any plan to go back over these talents and make them truly optional?
A, Xelnath: Hey Kitch,
You know that's a great point and we're still working on our talent trees. In the case of the Warlock Grimoire of Supremacy and Grimoire of Service - both of those talents benefit from your demon boosting mastery.
... However, Demonic Fury (currently) also increases the damage you do outside of Metamorphosis and this value increases with your mastery. Which means Sacrifice can be strong too...
Disclaimer: This can and will change as needed between now and Mists.
Q: In the old talent trees, a lot of the talents gave players spec-specific gameplay mechanics that are core to its gameplay, such as the Mage's Hot Streak talent. Others, such as Infected Wounds for Druids, also provided important benefits/mechanics, but might not be necessary to take depending on raid composition (i.e. if another player brought the debuff). With the new talent system, how are these mechanics going to be incorporated into the classes? It would seem overwhelming to players to roll all of the core spec mechanics into the "Level 10 Pick Your Spec" decision, and are talents like Infected Wounds going to be made choices of some sort, or are they also just going to be rolled into the spec?
A, Ghostcrawler: In most cases, if it's a fun mechanic, we give it to your spec. All Fire mages get Hot Streak at a certain level. Feral druids (but not Guardian druids - the new bear spec) learn Infected Wounds. As with every expansion, we are taking a close look at buffs and debuffs, simplifying the matrix a bit, and making sure you don't feel like you are locked into a certain debuff.
Q: Hello, for the hunter Talent; Transmorph Trap. Can more of a description be given on it? Is it the same as a hex effect, or can you also fear the target after while they're turned into a beast?
A, Celestalon: Transmorph Trap is a nature trap (and so can be placed at the same time as Freezing Trap), and allows you to cast Scare Beast on the transmorphed target. It will have a similar duration to Freezing Trap.
Q: Is intercept being replaced by charge for fury warriors now that its usable in every stance?
A, Celestaon: With Charge being usable in combat and in all stances, we didn't really see enough difference between Charge and Intercept to keep Intercept around. Instead, we plan to allow you to Charge more often (through talents) to get the same effect.
Q: Retribution, and the paladin class in general, has seen many iterations since release. The past few expansions have brought changes that basically make spec unrecognizable to how it handled in the previous expansion. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, players are forced to completely relearn the class with each expansion. Will Retribution recieve another overhaul in MoP in regards to Holy Power, resource management, and rotation, or are you happy with the "feel" of the class as it currently performs in cata?
A, Ghostcrawler: That's always a hard decision to make (when to overhaul a class). Demo and Destro locks for example are gettign a bit of that in 5.0. We like the Holy Power model for Retribution (and all paladins) and aren't going to dramatically overhaul it. We are fixing some issues with it that players have brought up. We understand some players liked the LK version of the Ret paladin, but we worry they liked it either because it was very simple to play or because it did too much damage, neither of which is great for the long term of the game. We think classes need a resource of some form to be interesting.
Q: Are there any plans to simplify the feral cat druid dps rotations or are you happy where they are right now?
A, Wradyx: The Feral rotation has been simplified slightly in 4.3 by renaming the Glyph of Shred and allowing it to trigger off Mangle instead. In addition, in 5.0 Mangle will no longer cause a bleed damage debuff and so no longer be required in the rotation. At that point, the two abilities will be interchangeable, changing only by whether a Feral Druid can attack from behind or not. That will make Feral easier to play in high movement encounters and encounters with facing restrictions. The current Feral Charge and Stampede talents are becoming part of Wild Charge, so you can select not to have that complexity with Ravage. Past that, we are pretty happy with the rotation and feel there is a strong Feral community that enjoys the current rotation.
Zarhym: The sound of developer keyboards clunking away is... palpable? We have 45 minutes to go. Keep the questions coming!
Q: During the presentation at Blizzcon, it was announced that Shaman Buff totems are gone, what exactly is going to replace them? How am I going to get those buffs when 5.0 hits?
A, Watcher: The core shaman buffs (like Strength of Earth and Windfury) will likely become passive auras on the shaman, the way Unleashed Rage currently works. The reality is that originally, the restrictions inherent to totems (the GCD cost, limited range, original group-only restrictions, etc.) served to balance unique and powerful buffs. But in a world where buffs are raidwide and exclusive, those restrictions serve less of a purpose. And as we've noted, there isn't a tremendous amount of interesting gameplay in dropping Strength of Earth relative to something like Earthbind or Tremor.
Q: If there's no hybrid tax, what's the point of playing a pure DPS class? Raid/pug leaders will always prefer players that can fill multiple roles. When hybrids like Boomkin and Shadow Priests are out DPSing the four pure classes across most parses, I think something's wrong.
A, Ghostcrawler: We want to make sure there are pure DPS classes in raids. That doesn't mean that hybrids just have to be support classes as they were back in the BC days. But it does mean that you should neglect mages, locks, rogues and hunters at your peril. There may very well be more hybrids, because they just have a chance at more roles, so you can't just look at popularity of classes, but we will take steps to make sure the pures don't vanish.
Q: What are your thoughts on the state of Demonology's pets? Our Felguard does sub-par single target damage and is only used for its Demon Soul and AoE, leading to a very clunky pet swapping mechanic. Is there any chance that our Felguard could stand out like it should, or are we going to have to wait until 5.0 to maybe use our spec's signature ability.
A, Xelnath: While I can't speak for everyone on the class team, I am really upset I haven't seen my succubus in like two years - I promised her the heart of a gnome and fresh hunter tears.
We really want to make it viable for each spec to use a pet that isn't tied to their spec. For that reason, the intent is to decouple the pet from the spec and instead increase your pet choice based on its utility.
However, I realize I haven't hit your personal question - the Felguard. I love Jhootom as much as anyone else, but it became quickly clear that if we made the Felguard defacto better than every other pet for Demonology - you simply wouldn't use an Imp, Succubus or Voidwalker.
So our intent is to make the single-target DPS close, but the Felguard remains the best AoE pet. Oh - and Grimoire of Supremacy allows you to upgrade your Felguard into a Wrathguard. (It was just missing from the tooltip in Blizzcon)
Q: What was the main reason that Shaman-Buff-Totems are going to be deleted in MoP?
A, Ghostcrawler: We don't think the buff totems were fun to drop and they competed too much with utility or damage totems that are fun to use. As we said above, we'll still have shaman provide the buffs, just not through totems.
Q: Since in MoP you guys plan on getting rid of relics for pallies, shamans, druids, and stat sticks for hunters are you planning on boosting stats in other areas to compensate? Or are the range slots for the other classes being removed as well?
A, Celestalon: The ranged slot is being removed for everyone in 5.0. Relics are gone. Ranged Weapons will be usable in the main hand by appropriate classes. Wands will become a type of main hand weapon. This effectively is a slight nerf to the stats of everyone equally, so doesn't cause class balance concerns.
Q: There was a question a few minutes ago about Monk tanking, can you provide some sort of idea on how it will work? Also, how will it compare to the current tanks in PvP? Where most groups find anything other than a warrior tank to be lacking.
A, Koraa: All Monks (DPS, Tank and Healer) will use the "dual combo point" resource (Force). So for the Brewmaster (Tank), they will choose between using two different types of mechanics through Dark and Light. For example, Dark may be an absorption shield which is larger depending on how many Force you consume. And Light may be increased avoidance. So you can do things like build up and store Dark for a big shield when you need it, or if you don't really need much self-survivability (maybe you have me healing you ;) then you can just spend your Dark Force on DPS instead.
The Brewmaster also has drinks as short-term buffs, which restore Light or Dark Force, Chi etc. There's also an Ox Statue that they can summon which will do something cool :)
Q: Moonkin are losing many of their core talents to the general "druid talent tree." How will they be compensated? It seems like we'll probably be forced to take these talents while the other druid specs will have options. Why were many more (500%?) balance talents taken away while talents from other specs werent?
A, Wradyx: If you look at the tree carefully, you will find that talents from other Druid specs were also placed in the tree, such as Tree of Life, Feral Charge, Feline Swiftness, and Nature's Swiftness. In general, if a Druid wishes to keep the exact same abiltiies they have today, they can, they are just locking themselves out of some of the new choices. In particualr, the level 60 row has Feral Charge vs. Tree of Life vs. Force of Nature. Each of the existing 4.3 specs has something in that row, and the exciting opportunity to take something that belonged to a different spec instead.
Q: Forgive my obsession with visuals: any chance Templar's Verdict will get a new spell effect/animation in the near future? It feels wimpy!
A, Ghostcrawler: We know Retadins love their Divine Storm, so we want to make TV use a similar graphic (perhaps just one spinny hammer) so both finishers will have the same feel. DS goes back to a finisher in 5.0 since Ret and Prot both have Hammer of the Righteous. We are looking a lot at spell effects for melee in 5.0 since their attacks just aren't as flashy as the casters'.
Q: A while back you guys mentioned the ability for Warlocks to change the gender of their pets. Is this still being talked about? I didn't hear anything about it at Blizzcon and I'm still very interested in customizing my pets.
A, Xelnath: We haven't forgotten about this - however, when it comes down to getting a cool, new race for Mists or getting a Femguard model - we need to make the right choices for the whole game.
A poll popped up asking if players would like to see Mages or Mages nerfed :)
Bashiok: Weird. Mages win.
Q: What are your intentions for Rogue poison design in Mists? The talent preview showed new poisons that could be taken, but without changes those will be limited to PvP use because it's too big a DPS loss to break the Instant/Deadly combo.
A, Watcher: Our current intent is to allow players to use one damaging poison and one utility poison at a time in Mists. Currently, rogue damage is so dependent on dual-damage poisons that, as you note, running a utility poison entails a drawback that is often too large to justify the benefits. Allowing damage poisons to compete against each other, and utility poisons to do likewise, should result in more interesting choices. The logic is similar to what led to splitting up warlock Banes and Curses.
The poisons will effectively be on both weapons at once, and running Deadly should essentially duplicate the current functionality of dual Instant+Deadly, allowing you to focus on which secondary poison best suits your current situation.
Q: As a hunter I love collecting the odd pets that only a BM can but I dont get to use them much while raiding because to max my DPS I raid MM. I spend the time and effort to get these pets but noone sees them very often. Will we in the future see hunters be able to use these pets in any spec?
A, Celestalon: We're actually excited to see how spec balance for Hunters turns out in 4.3. We're pretty confident that their raw damage is competitive between all 3 specs now, and so hope to see more exotic pets in raids, as well as survival hunters, and specs chosen based on the situational utility that they offer. We definitely want to reserve exotic pets as a BM-only perk though.
Q: Is Word of Glory still going to be on a 20s CD for protection paladins? With the new active mitigation paradigm, it would seem "paladin-ish" to heal myself every time I can (or to choose a heal OR a holy shield).
A, Ghostcrawler: Word of Glory does not need a cooldown in 5.0. Prot can choose whether to use it for healing, Holy Shield for absorption, or Shield of the Righteous for block.
Q: You talked about making resilience a base stat that would increase with level. Are you going to make a way for people who spend their time obtaining PVE or PVP gear do the PVP / PVE content in the gear they are in and be able to stand a chance. It seems right now that PVP gear can enter PVE content with ease but you can't obtain PVE gear and stand a chance in PVP.
A, Wradyx: The goal of providing resilience as a base stat is to make players who primarily do PvE content able to enter the PvP space with their PvE gear and remain competitive. We feel resilience is doing the job we intended of slowing down PvP combat, but has become a must have to play. This change will let you play PvP content in PvE gear without feeling like you die much too easily.
Q: Will there be some changes to the Warlocks Affliction spec in 4.3? I've only seen changes for Demo and Destro
A, Xelnath: We feel internally that Affliction is one of the best feeling specs in the game. While not planning any major changes, internally, we've implemented a system that allows you to refresh Corruption, UA or Bane of Agony up to 6 seconds before the DoT falls off without clipping any ticks.
Zarhym: We asked Ghostcrawler if there's a specific poll he'd like to publish. He's reading "too fast" to think. Thanks for keeping us on our toes. ;)
Q: Considering the remove of melee weapons for hunters in Cataclysm, will the currently existing utility spells that require a melee weapon be replaced. (especially Raptorstrike Glyph)
A, Wradyx: Removing melee weapons from Hunters and removing their minimum range on their attacks will have many different balance implications. We will carefulyl evaluate all their defensive abilities to make sure they don't become too survivable, or conversely too easy to kill. Mechanics on glyphs will be kept in some form if we feel they are valuable to the design, but some glyph mechanics may go away as no longer necessary.
Q: Regarding healers : do you have any plans for more proximity spells ? That is spells that use your real position in the world rather than clicking on health bars ? I really can't stand the UI anymore. I miss so much of the fight.
A, Koraa: We did do some of that in Cataclysm, with Healing Rain and Holy Word: Serenity and Light of Dawn. The Monk healer will also involve a lot of non-targeted healing. Anything can change, but I'd like to say you could heal as a Monk competitively without ever having to target a friendly player.
Q: Is it possible to get some new Warlock demon designs? Like a random imp model when you first summon it and if you want a different look you pay like you do with the names. Is this possible? I mean it can't be too hard, you have different color variations on most of the models...
A, Xelnath: You know, while that sounds easy, the underlying system that supports the Warlock pet system is slightly different than the Hunter pet system. I would love to have a bright green Felguard - however, if we were to add such a thing, I'd rather it be something you earned as a player, rather than just adjusting a slider on your character screen.
Q: Is there any possiblity of giving us a few more talent choices? to decrease the chances of having everyone in the same spec, some abilities will end up being a given in certain fights
A, Wradyx: We actually looked at having more than 6 rows and having more than 3 choices per row, but felt that both options did a couple things we didn't like. They introduced additional combinatorial complexity which would make it much more difficult to balance and tune. The number of different ability combiantions on a potential PvP opponent shouldn't make your head explode. In addition, we found that when we had more choices and rows, the choices often weren't very compelling or creative. Lowering the number of choices let us focus on a good strong design. New rows may always be introduced in some future expansion.
Q: Regarding about the Tanking version of the Monk Class. Will we see some "Tipsy" animations for activating dodge increase abilities like bending backwards to take a drink?
A, Koraa: Currently the Monk Brewmaster stance is an animated "drunken" stance, so you do look... well, "tipsy" at times.
Q: Haste and Crit are terrible secondary stats for Enhancement. Have you any incite on what may be done to increase their value for Enhance? I do 25k on Alysrazor DPS'ing adds, when I go up in the air, I do 26k with 25 stacks. With Time Warp/BL/Hero the rest of the raid shoots by me, and the only thing I can do to prevent that is pot/blood fury/trinket. I feel like I'm cheating when I pot before the pull just to get some extra DPS. People with a proc trinket and no racial must have it REALLY bad. Any thoughts?
A, Celestalon: While the value of various secondary stats for many specs (such as haste for Enhancement) are unlikely to change in 4.3, we do have plans for 5.0 in that regard. We'd like to bring the value of primary stats down closer to the level of secondary stats (but probably not all the way down; they still will likely be clearly better), and we'd like to bring the value of the various secondary stats applicable to a spec closer together. There will still be some stats that are better than others, but we don't want to have the situation where some stats are so terrible for your spec that you just immediately ignore any gear which has that stat on it. Primary stats being stronger than secondary stats is important to preserve so that higher tiers of gear are more attractive than lower tiers of gear. By tightening up the values of the different secondaries, we have room to bring down the primaries without endangering that.
Q: Will there be any talent info realeased for Monks before 4.3? I feel the community is interested in getting a feel for how the class might play out.
A, Wradyx: Monk class design is still too early to have a talent tree fully designed. Anything we showed you now would be so subject to change it would be meaningless. You're going to have to be patient and wait for beta testing on monks to see what their talent trees look like.
Q: I'm wondering if you plan to make runeforging for the DK more interesting so DK's aren't stuck with just using one runeforge depending on their spec?
A, Xelnath: Yes, we're going to do something. We'd love to hear your ideas on the DK forums.
Q: Class homogenization has been problematic in the eyes of the player base. How are you planning to make classes feel unique while still maintaining the "bring the player, not the class" ethic?
A, Ghostcrawler: Homogenization is one of *the* hardest challenges we face. Players become upset if they feel like they are losing what is uniquely theirs, but then they get just as frustrated when they lack e.g. self-healing or mobility or a cool toy that another class gets. With 11 classes and parties, (some) raids and PvP teams much smaller than that, we can't make every class mandatory and we don't think it's reasonable to have 11 (or even 34 if you include specs) spells, buffs and mechanics that are unique but completely equal. We just try to keep the pulse on the community and see when players think we have gone too far or not far enough. This next bit might start a firestorm of controversy, but we heard from a lot of 10-player raiders who asked "Why make a rogue legendary? We don't have a rogue." When we asked why, they said 'Rogues don't bring anything we need, so we don't want them." That's not cool. I'm not saying the legendary is the answer for why bring rogues, but you should feel like you have room for rogues without sacrificing something else and that rogues should bring something that makes you happy they are there.
Q: You mentioned at Blizzcon that all mages will be getting Living Bomb. How will this along with talented Scorch be balanced so that it is not too powerful for fire and too underpowered for other specs? Because certain spells like Arcane Blast and Frostbolt will be only available to their respective spec, does this mean the specialization bonuses such as "your fire spells do X% increased damage" are being removed and the extra damage worked into the spell itself, so that cross spec spells such as Living Bomb do the same amount of damage no matter which spec you are in?
A, Ghostcrawler: Mages don't really need their +fire, +frost or +arcane specializations in 5.0 because only Fire mages will have Fireball. So Fire mages won't do more damage with LB or Scorch. They will still feel like Fire mages though because of Fireball, Ignite, Combustion and Hot Streak.
Q: How exactly did you land on 6 talent points?
A, Xelnath: Originally, we had a grid that was 10x3. When we sat down and looked at the talents we had, we realized that the number of permutations to balance was immense - and that we were diluting our design to fill out that many slots.
Kalgan asked frankly - how few rows can we do and make them feel awesome. We started cutting until we had 6.
Q: About the level 90 shaman talent "Elemental Harmony". There seems to be no limit on it. Does this mean i can place every single fire totem on the ground? or is there a 4 limit restriction like one of each totem?
A, Celestalon: Elemental Harmony does not apply to Fire totems, and does not allow you to drop multiple of the same totem, just multiple of the same element type of totem. For example, you can drop Mana Tide, Healing Tide, and Healing Stream Totems, all at the same time. You cannot, however, drop three Healing Stream Totems. You can indeed drop more than 4 total totems at the same time using this talent.
Q: Speaking of Warlocks, I really miss the Imp Cannon build from back in the day. Will the little guy be given some more love in either Demo or Destro spec?
A, Xelnath: I'm going to be collecting feedback on Warlock pets from the forums this week. Let me know what you loved or hated about them on the class forums.
Q: I'm glad to see you guys are still interested in making the talent system as unique as possible, but it seems like by giving so few choices that cookie cutter specs will be even MORE easy to come up with then now. i know there will always be "the best choice". but if you guys do all this redesigning just to have the same outcome, what do you have in store to try and fix it from there? and are you concerned the new talent trees might not offer the unique build options players want to have?
A, Wradyx: Since so many of the talents focus on survivability, movement, and utility we are skeptical that there will ever be a talent build that is the perfect build for every PvE fight in the game. It is likely that as players learn specific encounters, each spec finds an ideal set of talents for that encounter. Those will be the "cookie cutter" builds. However, that will mean that players are interacting with the system and picking a unique set of customizations on a frequent basis. This is a vast improvement over a system that is solved once by a dps spreadhseet and then everyone copies that build once and ignores their talents for the rest of the expansion. In addition, there will be likely disagreement over which talents are best for which encounters.
Q: How do you plan on balancing healer mana management in MoP? I for one enjoyed the beginning of Cata when healing was a little more challenging but now Disc and Druids barely have any worries while shamans and Holy priests have a little harder time.
A, Watcher: We agree. It's a nearly-unavoidable consequence of gear scaling under our current system. Fresh level 85s in mostly quest gear need to have enough mana and regen to be able to set foot in dungeons and sustain a healing rotation for a couple of minutes in the face of reasonable incoming damage. But then a healer in Heroic Firelands gear now has nearly double the stats of a healer fresh out of Uldum questing, and the mana cost of that healer's spells is unchanged, often resulting in a large mana surplus.
Our current plan for Mists is for Intellect to no longer directly increase the size of player mana pools. We intend for our mana-based DPS and Tank classes to be entirely self-reliant regardless of mana pool, so the gameplay impact for those players will be nil. For healers, Spirit will remain as the pure regen stat, and healers after multiple tiers of raid progression will clearly have far more mana at their disposal, but there will be more of an inherent tradeoff between regen and throughput stats. A healer with amazing regen will have amazing regen because of a choice to focus their stats in that direction.
Zarhym: If you're asking questions about the female pandaren model... for shame. Class design!
Bashiok: But what does they look like!?
Q: Frost Presence and the Improved Frost Presence talent only increase the Runic Power generation of runes consumed, but doesn’t increase the runic power generated through other means, such as the Chill of the Grave, Might of the Frozen Wastes, Scent of Blood, etc. talents (which, for the record, represent more than half our RP generation). Is this going to be corrected in 4.3 ?
A, Watcher: Yes.
Q: Any chance we can go ahead and change Judgement to produce Holy Power baseline for 4.3? It's so needed. And it's a shame to have wait to get the tier bonus just to have stable rotation.
A, Celestalon: We currently plan for Judgment in 5.0 to have a 6sec cooldown, 30yd range, and to generate 1 Holy Power. In 4.3, the set bonus should be fairly accessible, to get the Holy Power generation.
Q: Retribution have some issues with Hand of Freedom and Wings being dispellable. Especially against mages I feel like it's bad using Hand of Freedom because it can be spellstolen so easily
A, Ghostcrawler: Dispels are just too frequent. They are supposed to be decisions, but they aren't. We don't think the answer is to give everyone dispel protection. We think the answer is to make dispels harder. In 5.0 we want dispels to have a cooldown and duration more like Spellsteal but get all buffs or debuffs at once to make them more tactical -- you can dispel Avenging Wrath if you really want to, but then you won't have it if the paladin uses Freedom immediately after.
Q: Some of the MoP talents seem really "OP", is this intended?
A, Wradyx: One of our core design philosophies is "Make it Overpowered". As much as possible, we like to start with abilities being very strong, and then correct problems as they occur.
Q: Why won't Blizzard hotfix overpowered classes between major content patches more often?
A, Xelnath: Sometimes a spec is genuinely broken and trivializes the other classes. In those cases, we try to address the issue. However, sometimes players just haven't discovered the optimal way to play a particular class. For example, Unholy, Survival and Subtlety have the capability to perform far better than most people realize.
A, Ghostcrawler: To add to that, we do it when we think it is necessary. The community has a tendency to always think balance is the worst it has ever been, but if you look back objectively, it's probably the best it has even been. We also see a tendency for players who lose a PvP engagement or get beaten in DPS by a friend view that things are HORRIBLY OVERPOWERED and then assume everyone agrees with them. Try to keep in mind that forums have a huge echo chamber effect.
TLDR: They may not be as broken as you think.
Q: With the previously mentioned removal of the +bleed debuff will Feral druids have Mangle taken away to become Guardian only and Shred lose its positional requirement. Without the bleed debuff and its obvious lower damage output than shred, Mangle is extremely situational especially when somebody else is already providing the ability. Or will Mangle debuff on the target just increase the feral druids bleeds and shred damage?
A, Celestalon: Mangle and Shred will both exist for Feral (cats). Mangle will no longer apply a debuff, but will be usable from any facing, whereas Shred will offer slightly more overall DPS if you are able to stay behind the target. Guardians (bears) will have Mangle, but not Shred.
Q: For the Druid talent: Incarnation, what does this talent do to Balance/Moonkin Players?
A, Wradyx: Incarnation for Balance transforms the Druid in to the Chosen of Elune Form, which currently increases spell damage done and Solar and Lunar energy generated. That is, of course, subject to change.
Q: Why did you pick Blast Wave, Dragon's Breath, and Slow as the level 90 mage talents? Most every other class has gotten new skills at 90. Why put spells we mages get a lower levels at 90?
A, Xelnath: You know, that's an excellent point - we've heard from several people that Mages could use a few more new talents. We'll take a look.
Q: I noticed in one of the screencaps from Blizzcon that Slam was considered an Arms ability. What is going to replace slam for fury warriors?
A, Ghostcrawler: There is a new attack called Wild Strike. At the moment it is an off-hand attack without Slam's cast time. The Bloodsurge proc then lets you do 3 cheap Wild Strikes on a 1 sec GCD. Wild Strike also has the MS debuff, replacing Furious Attacks.
Q: One of the first Warlock talents mentions Shadowbolt, Incinerate and Malefic Grasp. Are those going to be the 3 main nukes of the various Warlock specs? If so, what are sub-10 Warlocks going to use?
A, Xelnath: All Warlocks get Shadow Bolt at level 1. Then Shadow Bolt will transform around level 40 based on your spec.
Affliction: Malefic Grasp
Demonology: (in Meta) Demonic Slash
Q: Is Inquisition on a ret pally going to see some changes, currently it's needed for decent DPS but has such a short duration, to a point the ability feels awkward.. People liken it to Slice and Dice, but Slice and dice has such a nice long duration even with a single combo point, and feels so much more natural to keep it running.
A, Celestalon: We're currently considering a glyph for Inquisition which would significantly increase its duration, at a cost of slightly reducing its effect. We're interested in hearing feedback on how people would feel about that sort of glyph.
Q: Rogues and Feral Druids currently spend a good portion of their attack time just sitting and Autoattacking because they have to wait for Energy regen. Is there anything that you guys are thinking about to help lessen the waiting?
A, Ghostcrawler: Honestly, we would prefer if all classes worked like that. The Energy model is the one that is most tolerant for lag, player error, movement and just giving players a chance to stop tunneling so much on the target and pay a little attention to the rest of the fight. We don't like it when any class fills every GCD. It works okay for casters, as long as they aren't using all instant spells.
Q: I just saw that you guys will improve the range of resurrection spells across the board in 4.3, but no Soulstone love for now. Any plans to do it? If not, why? I think that SS has the lowest range of all res skills (saying by experince, cant find range on tooltip), which makes me run around a lil' bit to res someone in midfight.
A, Celestalon: Soulstone will indeed get a 40yd range in 4.3.
Q: Hello, for assassination rogues, will there be a faster ramp-up time? (other than the mutilate change)
A, Watcher: We would like to reduce the impact of ramping mechanics for all rogue specs in Mists. The combo point generation system that is core to the rogue class already causes them to prefer staying on a single target, with abilities like Redirect serving to create occasional exceptions to that general rule. Layering additional sources of ramping on top of that, such as Deadly Poison stacking, or Bandit's Guile for Combat rogues, compounds the problem without necessarily adding additional gameplay. Deadly Poison will likely no longer stack, and Bandit's Guile may become an inherent buff on the Rogue, maintaining the cyclical gameplay without making life quite as painful when you need to switch targets.
Q: Once there are no more cookie cutter builds, a player doing low dps will have no excuses. He will not be subpar because he has the wrong talents. He will just be bad at his rotation. Do you see it as purely a good thing? Or some inevitable outcome?
A, Wradyx: Separating dps choices from the talent trees will be a good thing, but I would not call the new trees "cookie cutter." There are a host of decisions that can make one player worse than another at dps: gear choices, talent choices, glyph choices, latency, ability sequence used. Removing choosing bad talents as a way for a player to go wrong will raise up the players having the hardest time with the game, and make them better able to compete and have fun.
Q: For the warlocks new minions, would their jobs be the same as their lower form jobs? Lke Felgaurd being for groups of bad guys, void walker for Tanking, Imps for magic blastic, and succubus for single targets and seduction? Also, I hope the Shivan's are awsome. Can you give us some of their abilties?
A, Xelnath: Yes.
Actually... we were talking about Shivan abilities yesterday. We don't know what she'll have yet. What would you like to see? Let us know on the forums.
Q: I think this is the main question that feral druids seems to have right now: when you said that Shred will do "slightly" more damage than Shred, did that mean that mangle is going to get buffed a little to provide less penalities in the several encounters we can't Shred? Because the difference between those skills is pretty big currently. ^^
A, Wradyx: Our own internal numbers show that once the Glyph of Shred works from Mangle as well as Shred, the difference between a Mangle and a Shred rotation is actually fairly small (in the 5% range).
Q: At first excuse my english. It is not my first language. As a person who is playing in a very ambitious 10 men raiding guild we have problems to bring all the buffs out there to our raid. So sometimes I, as a rogue, have to raid without melee-haste oder without sunder armor. You may know that it is very frustrating to fall behind in damage because of reason like this. We are also trying to recrute the missing classes for our setup, but can not find players who are good enough. Are there any plans to bring all the buffs more easily to a 10 men raid?
A, Ghostcrawler: The current 5.0 model is that there are 8 raid buffs: health, attack power, spell power, melee haste, spell haste, crit, mastery and stats. We'll get CATERING TO THE CASUALS feedback on that, but we don't want the "fun" of raiding to be assembling the group. Neither do we want you to be able to stack just the highest DPS or healers for certain fights. Also remember there are still debuffs and utility abilities, such as knockbacks and snares.
Q: Currently, Shadow Priests are very RNG dependent for Shadow Orbs. This can affect our dps a lot, especially the beginning rotation when we start dotting up the boss. It usually isn't as much of an issue mid-fight, when we can manage to keep the dots running with ES. Is there going to be any changes to the Orb mechanic in 5.0?
A, Koraa: Shadow Orbs are random because otherwise you would always have a full stack when your Mind Blast was off cooldown, and you wouldn't even care about the mechanic. To address that in 5.0, you will never "cap" on Shadow Orbs. Mind Blast will cost 1 Orb, and have no cooldown. So the more orbs you generate "through RNG" the better, whereas currently if you generate more orbs before Mind Blast is off cooldown its kind of a waste.
Q: how are you planning to rework glyphs with the new talent system?
A, Celestalon: We're not happy with how Prime glyphs have worked out, and are considering removing them. Don't worry, scribes, if we do this sort of change, we'll keep you heavily in mind; we don't intend to 'nerf' Inscription in any way with this potential change.
Q: Are the new spec abilities replacing must have talents going to be in the order you would get them now, or are you going to change it around a little bit (For instance, getting Hot Streak together with Pyro)?
A, Wradyx: We are completely reflowing when you get spec abilities to make the gameplay the most fun we can make it. We want to spread the abilities out over as many levels as possible, but core mechanics should be learned early, and more situation or raid-oriented abilities come later.
Q: What is the reason for adding additional resource management to so many classes now? (combo point systems). How is it any different in gameplay than a proc? ie, in both cases, you wait a certain amount of time to use a certain ability or choose between a couple. Why not just use the cooldown system? It's all essentially the same. Cooldowns are just the most reliant.
A, Xelnath: That's a great question. We try to keep our classes as simple as possible.
Resource bars are more visible than a proc, but consume more of the player's attention. The line between where a stacking buff and a resource bar comes to play comes down to how often the player cares about that value.
For example, we could make make the enrage effect on Warriors a resource bar - one that goes from empty to full. However, that would be more annoying than helpful.
tl;dr - its a tough judgement call with no easy answer
Q: In regard to healing, specifically holy priests. I love lightwell. Awesome spell. Probably one of the most OP healing spells in the game. Is it possible to give every player a macro for using it ? Kidding, but are there any changes to make it a more viable talent for Holy priests without becoming completely repetitive (click the lightwell, click the lightwell, click it damnit)
A, Koraa: We've talked about this issue. We like that you have to look at the gamespace to click it to heal yourself, but creatures getting in the way or its hitbox can be problematic. So its possible we may get a new model for Lightwell that is "taller" and make it less of an issue to see it and click it.
Q: Whenever Ele shaman need a buff, it is always Shamanism that gets buffed slightly. It started out at a 10% modifier in 3.0 and has eventually crept up to 36% in 4.3. Have you considered buffing Ele shaman in a more meaningful and interesting way? Perhaps adding a DoT component to Lava Burst or rolling the new T12 2pc into a talent (a la Feedback in 4.0)?
A, GHostcrawler: It is interesting to me that players sometimes view passive buffs as a cop-out of some kind. When we like the rotation then the clear choice for us is to buff damage across the board. Buffing Shamanism also means we don't buff, nerf or change Enhancement's rotation as an unintended consequence.
Q: For the DK talent, Gorefiend's Grasp, it mentions "friendly" targets being affected. What is meant by "friendly" in this context? (My guild leader is excited about mass-pulling the raid into... dangerous situations...)
A, Xelnath: It works like mind sear - only enemy targets are pulled, but you can center the gravity well effect on either an enemy, an ally or yourself.
Q: How do you plan to balance Titan's Grip and Single-Minded Fury in 5.0? Will Wild Strike now hit with the main-hand as well, and if Deep Wounds is still available to Fury warriors (or all warriors in general and not an Arms-only ability), how do you plan on making that not so not-terribly-great for SMF warriors?
A, Xelnath: It will activate the appropriate effect based on the item you have equipped.
Q: The new "Vendetta" talent allows the rogue to perform a ranged attack. What is the main aim of this ability?
A, Watcher: The requirement to be in melee range to deal damage to an enemy is an inherent restriction of the Rogue class. We think that being able to essentially "break the rules" for a short period of time will allow for some fun gameplay. Obviously the final numbers will be important, but the intent is for a rogue to be able to operate at nearly full damage capacity against the marked target from range, while Vendetta remains active.
Q: Prayer of Healing only affects people from 1 raid group. So the priest has to make the raid groups accordingly. In your eyes, is this a fun design as it adds a particularism to the Priest class or is there a plan to modify it?
A, Ghostcrawler: From a pointy-headed designer standpoint, it isn't ideal because the party within the raid doesn't mean anything in the game world (compared to say targeting an area). But we think PoH feels really different from say Holy Nova, CoH etc. and it's a fun spell so we don't think it needs to be changed.
Q: As a Druid, I feel that the level 90 talents feel too much like work. You guys put so much effort into making the Moonkin unique and more complex, so why force us to shift more often to "fill other combat roles?" Poor kitties are going to have a nightmare of a time dealing with this...
A, Wradyx: The level 90 Druid talents deliberately come in 3 different levels of work required. Heart of the Wild is perfect for an encounter where there is a period where increased healing is needed for a short time, and dps is not the need of the encounter. Something like the Chimaeron encounter where more healing is needed at certain times, and dps is less important. Master Shapeshifter targets the Druid who is willing to do a lot of work shifting back and forth or occasionally needs to heal or damage, such as Blood Queen Lanathel, where a Tranquility boosted by the talent would help your group a lot during her air phase. Disentanglement is there for the "lazy" Druid who doesn't want to do that work, but still gets some benefit from a well-timed shapeshift.
Q: How "Kij'jeaden cunning" will work? I stand still and cast spell at normal rate, then move so casting speed slows down and if I'll cease moving will casting speed increase to normal again?
A, Celestalon: If a spell would have been interrupted by movement, the spell casting speed slows down (to half speed) for the remainder of the cast, regardless of whether you stop immediately after.
Q: Hey, you guys said that Talents would be as easy to change as Glyphs are, how do you plan to go about this?
A, Ghostcrawler: The current idea is that Dust of Disapperance becomes a "Training Manual" or something and that the same consumable can be used to blank out a glyph or a talent. The cost of the consumable means that players can change when they think it's important but won't do it for trivial gains. Remember it only needs to compete against the inconvenience of visiting a class trainer.
Q: What is your plan for dealing with all the interrupts currently in PvP. There is a greater risk/reward for a healer trying to juke an interrupt than their is for a DPS trying to interrupt it. What I mean is, if a healer gets interrupted, they can't heal for 4 secs which is a long time in PvP. But, if a DPS gets juked, the onl punishment the face is the have to wait 10 secs to try again.
A, Koraa: We want mana to be a finite resource in PvP that you want to spend intelligently. So if you have two healers on either side, the one who spends his/her mana more effectively has an advantage. Because of lot of factors (self healing, too much mana regen, class mechanics) that is diminished a bit. So you shouldn't be killing healers just because you burst them down and keep them interrupted, but because you cause them to have to use mana inefficiently. We aren't there yet, but that's the goal.
Q: How will low level balance be fixed in Mists of Pandaria.Right now you can one shot a lot of npcs or players at low levels.
A, Wradyx: We plan to put some additional careful effort into balancing low level combat for MoP.
Q: im saying this for most hunters but y hasnt the snake trap damage been increased i have used it at max lvl a few times but the trap when the snakes attackk each one only does like 25 damage each is there a way you can fix this trap so that it does more damage
A, Koraa: Snake Trap is intended to be utility, not damage. The damage on it is just there for flavor, really.
Q: Is there a specific reason leap of faith has a facing requirement? When used to save a life, I usually have less than a second to cast it, but when you add in I need to figure out where I am facing, where my target is and orient, it's often too late. As all heals have no facing requirement, would it be possible for leap of faith to be the same?
A, Koraa: We want healers to have to pay attention to the gamespace more, not less. We don't intend you to just look at your raid bars for low health targets to use Leap of Faith.
Q: Hey Xelnath, there's the same problem with rogues! All 3 of our level 90 talents are ones we already have (albeit tweaked a tad)!
A, Xelnath: In the case of the Rogue - you're getting an ability you otherwise couldn't have obtained previously. In addition - the rogue 90 abilities are pretty amazing.
Furthermore - the increased control on Killing Spree allows you to control how frequently and how many times you teleport. That's far, far sexier than the original.
Q: during blizzcon you said that rogues and warriors will be able to "throw" their weapons. is it just going to be the throw ability we have now scaled by our main hand weapon dmg ?
A, Ghostcrawler: Yes. Throw is a base rogue and warrior ability that uses your MH. You can also get Deadly Throw as a rogue talent. Warriors still have Heroic Throw.
Q: Whats the plan on Blood and thunder and it's heavy use for prot warriors? Is it going to become a prot only spell, a class spell with pvp implications, or is there a new War AoE in the works?
A, Celestalon: Arms and Protection will both get Blood and Thunder.
Xelnath: While we're here - I'd just like to give a huge thank-you to the players who have been testing on the PTRs. The amount of feedback and testing we've gotten for 4.3 has been amazing.
Q: There hasn't been any questions answered about Resto Druids yet. Can you talk about our extremely weak state in PvP and the fact that we're the only healer not only not seeing a buff but seeing a nerf in 4.3?
A, Wradyx: We will definitely be addressing some of the PvP weakness of Resto Druids in 5.0. For one, the ability to recreate the Restokin builds of earlier expansions was introduced in the talent trees. Carefully selecting talents like Typhoon and Wild Charge together will give Restoration Druids a lot more opportunity to control. One of the new abilities Resto Druids will get baseline is a replacement for Barkskin that can be cast on others with the same effect and cooldown. Finally, we have a new level 87 ability abiltiy in mind for all Druids called Symbiosis that will blwo your mind and potentially add a lot of flexibility and utility, including survivabiltiy options.
Q: Will the various races animations for Monks be uniform (for the most part)? Or will each race have unique animations for their monk class?
A, Xelnath: Because the Pandaren taught all of the Monks of Azeroth - they use similar stances and style, though there might be slight variations between races.
Q: Is it possible to get another character slot for MoP? I know it's a big tech problem, but would really like to try out the monk class without without having to go to another server.
A, Wradyx: We are exploring that option.
Q: I love ring of frost AND Cone of Cold, why will i have to choose ?
A, Ghostcrawler: We think choosing between two powerful things is a lot more fun and interesting than choosing between a no-brainer and pile of poo. In this case specifically, we thought that mages and Frost in general have too many CC abilities and we didn't want to keep adding more and more with every expansion. But if you have to choose which CC you want, then it gives us the design space to keep adding potentially interesting alternatives.
Q: @Community Managers, Is there any chance of a PVP-focused Q&A in the future? =D
A, Zarhym: It's possible. It all depends on what we feel fits and is relevant to what's going on within the development halls. We'd also like to start doing some live Q&As for Diablo III and StarCraft II as well. ;)
Q: A big concern for me and a large part of the Rogue PvP Community has been that Preparation and Shadow Step were put into the same Tier of Talents, along with Burst of Speed. While Burst of Speed and Shadowstep are a great two talents to choose between, Preparation is a very powerful cooldown, and instead of feeling like it's making a hard choice between abilities, it feels like we're getting nerfed, because we already have Preparation and Shadowstep currently. Are there any updates to this situation and what was the reasoning behind grouping these abilities together?
A, Watcher: We definitely understand why it's a source of concern, but ultimately the Subtlety tree offering the combination of Prep and Shadowstep is the core reason why it has become the de facto (and perceived mandatory) PvP spec. If we moved Preparation to a different tier, then the community is clearly saying they'd all take it, and that runs counter to our aims with the new talent system. And if we add a baseline class-wide ability that resets multiple cooldowns, then we may as well just adjust the underlying cooldown lengths directly and save people a keybind.
In defense of that rogue tier as it currently stands, if we know that rogues with Prep are sacrificing a high-uptime movement ability, then we have the flexibility to balance (i.e. buff) the class as a whole around that restriction. If rogues can (and thus will) take both abilities, then the class as a whole gets balanced around the survivability and mobility of having both.
Q: You guys must have nerves of steel when visiting the official forums. do you ever take what players say about class design & balance seriously or just brush it off as angry nerds venting?
A, Xelnath: I actually spent about a week reading through the class feedback threads. There was a ton of well-written, thought out posts.
Believe it or not, we really do read those threads. A lot of the changes that came in 5.0 were the result of players pointing out broken or difficult mechanics.
Q: One continues result of character design and stat inflation that devalued my experience in wow was that characters started feeling too powerful, back in vanilla it would take skill, knowledge and consumables to solo an even leveled elite mob (unless playing a paladin or bm hunter) as opposed to this in cataclysm players seem to have little issue soloing a mob with 7 times their hitpoints and a fair ammount of damage output, are there any plans to bring the players power back in line and return the feeling of being mortal once more?
A, Wradyx: If you play through Twilight Highlands with a fresh level 84 character, I believe you will find that you cannot attack multiple creatures or elites with impunity. It is quite possible to overpull and get killed. This philosophy will most likely continue in our end zones for Pandaria.
Zarhym: We're almost ready to wrap things up. Our developers are typing up their final thoughts and feelings. ;)
Q: So since all these warlocks are talking about their demons and pets and whatever the case may be. How will you make it so that Unholy Death Knights can change the Gender of their ghouls?
A, Xelnath: This is already live. Didn't you notice the eyeliner on Cryptgobbler last night?
Q: What about Windwalker Monks is gonna make us wanna play them? Like, what skills/abilities/buffs will they bring to the raid comp that's gonna make people wanna bring them along?
A, Koraa: Here's one Windwalker mechanic. You can summon what are similar to Diablo III health globes with a maximum of 3-5 or so that heal players when they run through them. So you could setup a few of those in an area, and players who have to run from beams or fires can run through your orbs for some quick healing. Not "must have" but something other healers dont' exactly bring right now.
Q: Aspect of the cheetah/pack have seemed a little outdated with the daze on hit mechanic and can't really use them effectively in raids or pvp. Are there any plans to change these aspects to more a cooldown spell like stampeding roar or a self run speed for aspect of the cheetah?
A, Koraa: Yes, we plan on it not dazing you but turn off the speed bonus for a short while when you get hit in those aspects (or at least Cheetah).
Q: Have you considered having a pet stampede spell where our 5 pet stable rushes our enemy for a 5min cd? Too epic for GC?
A, Xelnath: Yes
Zahrym: Haha. It appears it was considered then. :)
Xelnath: There's no such thing as too epic. Just ask Thrall
Koraa: Anyone see my Mining Pick, I can't find it...
Q: A lot people are worried that with druids being able to do well at our other roles, we'll see the return of the "hybrid tax". It's the same old story: if we can perform any role when needed, raids will stack us, unless we don't do as well in our specific roles, in which case we're bad at what we most want to do. What assurance can we get that we won't have this problem?
A, Celestalon: We are very interested in opening opportunities for more hybrid gameplay in druids, as you can see in the level 90 talent tier, while still allowing an option for players who want to never do anything outside their role. We don't intend for that added hybridization to be offset by any sort of DPS nerf. While DPSing, a druid's DPS will be entirely competitive with other DPS. We hope to see druids that do things like, "DPS in Cat Form most of the fight, but during one phase, when healing is super difficult, pop out of Cat, hit Heart of the Wild, Tranquility, and spam heals on the raid to help top everyone off, then go back to Cat and resume DPSing." In that sort of the situation, the Cat will have spent less time DPSing than other DPSers, but his/her DPS while DPSing would have been competitive, and in exchange helped save the raid when healers were falling behind. You can probably think of many situations where this would be useful in raid content, or in some 5man content, and frequently in PvP. To clarify a bit further on how the druids will perform at their off-roles: Ferals and Guardians will have Nurturing Instinct, which increases spell power based on Agility, and Balance and Restoration will have Killer Instinct, which increases attack power based on Intellect. They will have a smaller toolbox of spells for their off-role, but the strength of those spells will be competitive, when under the effects of those hybrid talents.
Celestalon: Thanks for all the questions; it was a pleasure chatting with you all! We look forward to further interaction like this in the future. Believe it or not, this sort of thing is actually very helpful for us!
Xelnath: Helpful? What? Wait - are you getting paid to do this, Celestalon??
Celestalon: I'm getting paid to *watch* this. ;)
Xelnath: Watcher would say something witty here if he wasn't busy writing a 20 page answer to the next question. :)
Xelnath: Alright guys, it's time for us to get back to work.
Until next time - dream of Mega-Damage(tm).
Q: Firelands seemed to do a good job at highlighting a disparity between healing classes and specs. Some, like shaman, have had to struggle to maintain healing numbers that were reasonable for the content and comparable with other healers, while other healers just shot ahead of everyone else with seemingly little effort. Are there going to be systems in place to keep this from happening again? Is this problem something that has been actively reviewed? How will healing balance be maintained while adding a 5th healing capable class?
A, Watcher: We've made some class-level adjustments to healer balance for 4.3, but healer performance often ends up being as much a reflection of the encounter design in a particular tier as anything else. Healer specs in their current form have strengths and weaknesses, and niches in encounters that play into those strengths. Using your example of shaman, there were fewer situations that were ideal for shamans in Firelands than in Tier 11 (or in Tier 13, for that matter) -- If there had been more encounters like the second phase of Beth'tilac, for example, perceptions might be different.
We feel that it's important to maintain those niches to ensure that the different healer specs feel distinct from each other, and that means that some fights will play to some specs' strengths and less so to others. Of course, just because a fight doesn't fall squarely into the niche of a given spec does not mean that anyone should feel unable to perform adequately in that situation. Our ongoing healer balance efforts aim at ensuring viability in all setting, but particular encounter mechanics will often dictate what is strictly optimal. Our class and encounter designers work closely with each other to keep things diverse and balanced on that front.
Zarhym: Thank you all very kindly for reading and participating! We hope you found all of the information provided helpful. **Also, I gotta give my love to our class design team for donating their time.** If you have any feedback about how this chat went, as well as about the CoverItLive format in general, we'd love for you to join the conversation on Twitter using #WoWCiL. Bashiok and I will be tracking your thoughts via @Bashiok and @talkingcongas. Say goodbye, Bashiok!
Watcher: And, with that, farewell. Back to watching things, and thank you all for the great questions!
Bashiok: Goodbye Bashiok! And thanks everyone! I look forward to tweetering you. We're going to roll this Q&A system out to other topics, and our other games, so let us know what you'd like to see next. Diablo III? Blizzard DOTA? Female Pandaren eye shape? We'll see you next time! Exclamation points!
Class Design & Balance Q+A
To follow up on our first
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria developer Q&A
on the CoverItLive platform, we’re gathering the entire class design team to field your questions on the past, present, and future of World of Warcraft classes. Anyone is welcome to join in the live Q&A this Wednesday, November 9, beginning at approximately 10:45 a.m. and concluding around noon PST.
You can read along via the CoverItLive client embedded below while the Q&A is live. To participate, you just use your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or OpenID credentials, or simply sign in as a guest. If you’re on the go while the event’s underway on Wednesday, be sure to check out the free mobile apps available on the
We’ll see you back here on Wednesday morning!
Relevant Topics & Reading Material
Explanation of 4.3 Balance Changes, Part One
PTR Patch 4.3 Notes
Rate of Change
Threat Level Midnight
Mists of Pandaria
BlizzCon Class Talent System Panel
Meet the Pandaren Monk
The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pandaria
Class Designers Celestalon, Ghostcrawler, Koraa, Watcher, Wradyx, and Xelnath
To follow up on our first World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria developer Q&A on the CoverItLive platform, we’re gathering the entire class design team to field your questions on the past, present, and future of World of Warcraft classes. Anyone is welcome to join in the live Q&A this Wednesday, November 9, beginning at approximately 10:45 a.m. and concluding around noon PST.
You can read along via the CoverItLive client embedded in the blog linked below while the Q&A is live. To participate, you just use your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or OpenID credentials, or simply sign in as a guest. If you’re on the go while the event’s underway on Wednesday, be sure to check out the free mobile apps available on the Android Market and iTunes Store.
We’ll see you on Wednesday morning!
Just a quick question, any chance of future Q&A sessions reverting to the original times as this is a pretty bad time for Aussies - as in 5:45 am start.
But it's a much better time for Europeans. We'll always try to fluctuate the Q&A schedule a bit to accommodate for our global audience. :)
But it's a much better time for Europeans. We'll always try to fluctuate the Q&A schedule a bit to accommodate for our global audience. :)
Unfortunately, the "good time for Europeans" is slotted for the Q&A that the majority of your player base will most likely hold the most interest in.
It's also a matter of gathering all six developers together, plus a number of members from the community team (myself included), and ensuring we have the appropriate room booked to hold this Q&A. It takes a lot of internal scheduling to make these things happen.
There are a number of factors that play into the times we choose. It's never arbitrary, and we'll never find an ideal time for everyone on the planet.
On the bright side, those who can't participate live can read the transcript afterward.
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