I Don’t Understand BfA Class Changes (So I Quit)
My mains in WoW are a Feral Druid and Shadow Priest.
I don’t understand Class Changes, and I don’t think Blizzard understands how they effect players by
delaying fixes and telling us to be patient.
“Patience is not the greatest virtue, it is in fact Understanding. If you understand why you have to wait, if you understand why things take time, you can wait indefinitely on the knowledge of what will come at the end of the road. Without Understanding… your just will lose all patience in an instant, waiting for nothing and not knowing why you being kept uninformed”
What Blizzard Commented On!
Transcribed from June 14th (171 days ago) - Game Director Ion Hazzikostas
Can we get a timeline for specs that are still on the radar for major changes prior to prepatch?
The window for major change is rapidly closing. They’re still listening to feedback and talent changes may still happen, but shouldn’t see any large reworks like Demonology Warlock from the beginning of Alpha. Fury Warrior and Balance Druid aren’t as big as the Demonology Warlocks from the beginning. E.g. Tiger’s Fury for Feral Druids will be off GCD in next build.
Now they also have to focus on tuning and balance as well. Discussion on complexity, awkwardness and other feedback is still ongoing but large changes will likely need to wait until Patch 8.1 at this point as they need to work on balance and stability.
Ion specifically mentioned Enhancement, Elemental and Shadow for changes in Patch 8.1.
From the short-hand reported on the WoW Q&A Panel
It is entirely justified to blame Blizzard when a class gets the reputation for being bad, and they want to address these bad reputations. However, community perspective is often increased when players of a class constantly speak negatively of themselves.
The Character is the Players Interface. (Why I Feel Broken)
Players don’t experience through the client, user interface, or through their graphics card and monitor, or through the quest system or loot… they experience the World (or Warcraft) through the single mechanism of common to every game… The Avatar.
We form a bond with our Avatar, be it a main or alt, we invest part of ourselves into that character at different levels. For our main, our chosen class and specialisation that attachment is a deep experience for many players, either its through the play-style, the fantasy, or just after a decade or more you and that toon have been through a lot together.
This is my main, most of the buttons I press are linked to an ability your main has.… but more importantly its a reflection of me through my monitor onto this virtual world.
I will run old content happily and tirelessly for a single piece of transmog I must have, but will head butt my keyboard in frustration if I have to run LFR again to get BIS that never drops. Its a complex relationship I have with Pantsless (my druid) and Dirtymind (my shadow priest).
When the class/spec feels good, I feel good… but when it feels broken, I feel broken!
And I am talking personally, the players bond with their favourite avatar is deep and its a form of player depression… and I don’t think Blizzard understand this with their comments at Blizzcon and the attitude of “we will fix it next patch”
World of Warcraft is Competitive (VERSUS!!!)
The “we will fix it next patch” class balance can sour a players experience so much. 4 months (110 days and counting) waiting for changes since the launch of BfA, is brutally unfair way to handicap many players.
World of Warcraft is a competitive game on so many levels from casual to hardcore, from single player experiences to group progression. Trying to compete in a whole season of content with a class/spec that is already handicapped is a nightmare for most players.
… but for it also to be the opening of the new expansion, was Brutally Unfair.
Your slower, weaker, take longer to clear trash and are can be a hinderance in high level content that you just don’t want to be in the game.
The first part of an a new expansion 8.0 is a busy time for players, lots of leveling, gear and rep grinding and finding your place in mythic+, raids and pvp… with a broken class. This hurts players love for the game, cause Blizzard refuse to give their class right in Beta, we needed a little more love than a delayed patch.
The Meta is Key! (and why I get picked last in Basketball)
Why not just play another class? Cause players are attached to their favourites after 14 years.
Players don’t want to chase the meta down the rabbit hole, cause that is so messed up… by the time the meta is locked down, if you get that toon levelled and geared the nerf bat comes down and your in the same position as you were when you started.
The meta also effects players attitude to other players in that class and spec, I think Blizzcon comments ignored that and given they have Overwatch and HotS in their stable of games they should know that bringing the wrong toon creates friction between players (putting it nicely).
As a Guild player, you want to be performing your best, doing your share, beating the enrage timers and surviving the encounters/pvp… your friends deserve it. You don’t want to be carried and you don’t want to be sidelined. You want to be the pick on the team, and not the last nerd picked cause the PE teacher let the jocks pick the Basketball teams… but more importantly, you don’t want to disappoint your Guild.
When you see you missed the enrage timer and look at the DPS meters and realise no matter how much better you do, your doing the best with a handicapped character and its better if you step out rather than continue.
Blizzard you created this game to be competitive. VERSUS. You have to keep the Meta fair and NOT broken for a whole season of content.
Iterative Changes vs Innovative Changes (Shadow Priest Example)
My Shadow Priest was my dungeon and raid main for many expansions, I am bonded to it.
After waiting 171 days of it not getting its second pass in Beta, the “Major Update” promised in June 14 for Shadow Priests did not feel major (plenty of threads on this). It was for the most part iterative changes to percentages, resources and few survivals… but nothing stood out as innovative… We were expecting solutions to critical issues, that have been documented and reported. The changes while a balanced, its more of a roll-back to return some of our past glory in Legion, rather than innovative. I still don’t understand why this isn’t an immediate hotfix or an 8.0.X update to deliver improvements immediately to that class. Delays to class fixes should not be acceptable or tied to large content updates.
When I thought about it, when were the Innovative changes delivered to Shadow Priests… and I came up with a few like Shadow Apparitions and Void Form, but nothing totally on the scale of changing the way we play (pvp or pve)… like say making them Stealth Range Assassins (shadow priest stealth is my #1 wish) or something unique, and that ticked a thing in my mind, why do we still see more innovative game designs in HotS and Overwatch, but still get the cookie cutter class designs in WoW.
I tried to think about what changes really made Shadow Priests feel really good to play, what were the milestone improvements and they weren’t class changes… They were mechanical changes for all classes.
3.0 The End of Burning Crusade when they removed most of hybrid penalties and normalised damage to 10% within the core dps classes… in Black Temple made you feel like a new hero.
3.3 Bought Haste scaling for DoT classes, that changed our status from a depressing mess that was benched at the Argent Tournament (3.2 sucked) and we got front row seats to Icecrown Citadel and melted Lich Kings face…
4.0 when they made DoTs Crit and allowed clip recasting… Icecrown was epic especially the first few weeks when Shadow Apparition army procing off every crit they had to roll back the proc rate.
I think the sandbox that classes are made in, limits innovation to the base game code and that 11th hour of Beta/PTR results in a high number of iterative changes being thrown at a class to deliver a balanced product… and with BfA this failed to even get to this point as they ran out of time due to “scheduling”. I would like to see Blizzard spend more time looking at the fundamental mechanics of the game code, cause when they do, they always seem to bring the best changes to all classes.
Conclusion (This is the End!)
Thank-you for reading this my resignation from World of Warcraft. I hope I explain why I cancelled my subscription and why it ties directly to how classes were managed in Battle for Azeroth.
I leave WoW cause I felt broken, cause my two favourite toons felt broken, that behind the scenes the development of WoW feels broken cause they rushed a product to market without doing proper due diligence on its classes. Its was for me the worst start a new expansion feeling broken.
Please accept this is my opinion on the subject, and that I am addressing this to Blizzard. I need them to Understand why I am leaving, and its cause I don’t Understand their approach to classes and I think they misunderstand the relationship players have with their characters and that they have turned WoW into a very competitive game that should stop handicapping players and telling them to wait for fixes that take forever to release.