On Design Intent…

Piggybacking off of Curoar’s previous post (Shut up my rock is super comfortable you Panda jerk), and in light of Watcher’s post here, I’d like to take a moment and discuss the reasons and intents for design changes in Warlords of Draenor. I’d like to also state up front and center, that while I don’t have beta access (c’mon Blizz you jerks wtb betas! D:), I’ve been in close talks with Clutch and Curoar, as well as paying attention pretty much non-stop, until I’m able to actually test what I want to test in the environment I’d like to be testing things in. Anyway, let’s get started.

First of all, let’s just cut right to the chase: changes we like and don’t like are going to happen, as such is the nature of early Beta. Do any Protection Warriors remember the MoP Beta, where Devastate had a 4.5 second cooldown? I sure as hell do. And that changed, in terms of community outcry and feedback to the devs. Frequently, whole ideas of class synergy between abilities and utilities is sacrificed in the development process, and lots of things end up on the cutting room floor. In that sense, Warlords of Draenor’s Beta is no different. However, here we’re specifically seeing a (global) trend of more cutting and removing than addition, which is a first for the franchise for about as long as I’ve been playing this game (since Burning Crusade).

This being said, I’d like the idea that this is fairly consistent with their design intents kept in mind throughout the rest of this post. Things will change. Nothing is set in stone yet. As a poster on the forums once said recently, no need to get bent out of shape about changes that are carved in wet sand.

There is, however, a point that I’d like to stress alongside that: If something doesn’t make sense, it should be addressed, and changed, or the idea should be further clarified and iterated on until it makes sense.

Watcher’s post linked above mentions a few things I’d like to go into, knowing what I know about Protection’s (lack of) changes versus Fury and Arms’ current set of changes thus far (as of June 30th). The first, and most glaringly obvious, is the following:

“The goal of some of our changes to a number of classes or specializations is to make them more accessible. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean “simple.” We want our classes to have nuance and depth in practice, and inquisitive and competitive players will always ferret out and theorycraft ways to maximize performance. We’re not looking to get rid of that behavior, but we are looking to refocus its impact.“

I have to ask then, why bring back Stance Dancing for utility abilities, like Spell Reflect, Rallying Cry, or the entire level 75 talent row? If the goal for this expansion is cutting down on “button bloat” and “needless complexity,” then why are you injecting it here? Stance Dancing was never about skill, it was about macroing abilities to their required stances. Does anybody remember what 4.3 Arms Warrior was like for the majority of DPS warriors during Dragon Soul? It wasn’t skillful at all, it involved mindlessly following your rotation and occasionally double-tapping a button to fire off your stance change.

It is the very definition of needless complexity, and bringing it back is a step in the wrong direction, not the right one.

Removing this in MoP was a wonderful idea, and injecting it again into the game is honestly a very bad one, but moreover, it flies in the face of what’s being done now with Heroic Strike, which is supposedly being removed for the sake of removing unnecessary complexity. The point regarding Stance Dancing actually takes away from the idea of making the specs more accessible, but still possessing depth. It injects needless complexity, and adds absolutely zero depth.

As for Heroic Strike, I’d rather not belabor the point about it any more, because it’s been discussed enough for now by people who have demonstrated its impact already. I do however, find it curious that Protection and Gladiator specced Warriors will be keeping it. Furthermore, I find it even more curious (and foreboding) that the only Warrior spec with a halfway decent rotation is the one that hasn’t been changed yet in any massive regards on a rotational, or really even statistical level.

I realize this is an iterative process, so I’m trying to keep on the positive side…but simultaneously, as a career Protection Warrior (and tank), I find it unsettling that our DPS specs are currently so janked up, and we (Protection) are just fine because we literally have not changed at all. And furthermore still, I find it beyond unsettling that (as of me typing this) the unequivocally “best” spec in terms of play for DPS Warriors is going to be a Tank Spec with a talent propping up its sustained damage done. That’s going to have its own barrel of balancing issues, trust me.

I’d like to talk more about Gladiator Stance and what it means for Protection, but this post is already rather long and I’d like to dedicate time to it on its own, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the near future.

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