In which Coreus tells Blizzard they are doing it wrong

Several years ago I made the complaint that Blizzard sucks at planning, giving the evidence of a raid release schedule which could have been much better timed to how long players would likely take to get utterly bored with each raid. Basically, they gave us far too little time in Ulduar and far too long in Icecrown Citadel. (There was another raid in there too but I’m pretty sure that was mostly a jousting minigame and some PvP.)

It doesn’t seem like they have learned from it because the exact same thing happened last expansion. And again this expansion: A spectacular second raid tier was cut short so a fairly middling final raid tier could sit around for a year gathering flies.

“One expansion every 12-14 months” is the very long-stated intention and… I’m sure they’re still working on that one.

I’m not really sure where the imperative has come from, but WoW’s dev team is cutting class abilities left and right. Their market research probably indicates that games with fewer buttons sell more mounts or something.

I’ve always given Blizzard the benefit of the doubt when they improve their game at each expansion. It’s mostly all worked out so far. The Warlock thing was probably a bit severe so I’m glad they’re backpedaling on that a bit.

I just feel like I’m seeing change for change’s sake. Nearly every existing ability has its niche. The ones that didn’t find theirs immediately were modified to fit better or removed. “WoW has too many buttons!” is one of those things that sounds obvious in a meeting, but when you get down to it even small changes like removing a passive mean adjusting everything else to compensate. I guess I’m trying to say it would be nice if they could concentrate a bit more on making the expansion exist before they worry about it having too many buttons.

HAY BLIZ HOW ABOUT REMOVING CRANE STANCE OMG SO MUCH BUTTON BLOAT.

I totally understand toning down crowd control abilities, though. Let me tell you a story. Back during the Burning Crusade, tanks were rubbish at holding threat against more than a stiff breeze and AoE was a niche thing that Mages did, so CC was essential for completing high-level dungeons. However, only certain classes had CC, so the classes without any complained on the forums that they were being left out. Meanwhile Paladins had started picking up Warrior gear and groups suddenly realised that AoE tanking was easier and faster and would never ever go back to CC and fuck any non-Paladin tanks.

Blizzard gave everybody what they wanted: Wrath loaded nearly every class with effective CCs, and it also gave every tank spammable AoE, making all CC redundant. And nobody used CC ever again. The End.

3 thoughts on “In which Coreus tells Blizzard they are doing it wrong

  1. “I'm not really sure where the imperative has come from, but WoW's dev team is cutting class abilities left and right. Their market research probably indicates that games with fewer buttons sell more mounts or something.”

    They're mainly cutting abilities that needed to be keybound and thus took up valuable real-estate but were only used <1% of the time.

    Like Void Shift. Needed to be used fast so needed a keybind…but excluded from Arenas due to being too powerful and I can count the number of times I've used it in PvE on one hand.

    Losing that won't make any difference 99.9% of the time but it'll free up a keybind.

    Or look at non-keybound abilities like Inner Fire — completely passive, non-dispellable, infinite duration. Why even have it as an ability compared to just a passive class benefit? Completely unneeded button at this point.

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  2. What I'm really questioning is why they are spending precious development resources on changing things which don't make a difference 99% of the time.

    It's hard not to notice the corporate language shifting in the last couple of months from “look at all these awesome new features in development” to “we are doing as many features as we can with the time we have”.

    The class changes all seem like very deliberate determinations, like they have a very high development priority. I see massive sweeping changes; throwing out fun class mechanics for other mechanics which might possibly be better but we'll have to wait and see; all while telling us how stretched the expansion team is and to stop getting our expectations too high.

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  3. “What I'm really questioning is why they are spending precious development resources on changing things which don't make a difference 99% of the time.”

    Because people still need to keybind it. Way too many abilities need to be keybound, very much excess complexity without depth.

    Also, the people who work on that stuff aren't the ones making new zones and quests.

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