Ian and Lore had a Q&A session. I always find these interesting. In my real life job, I’m trying to get the team to operate under “open principles”, which means transparency and disclosure along the way. Clients may not always agree with the why, but it does end up building trust.
Anyhow, the Q&A is the WoW attempt at transparency and honestly, I think that works pretty well. MMO-Champ does have a good summary, or you can watch the video. The points I’d like to cover are:
The last Q&A they mentioned that a few classes were essentially broken. Arms and Feral had a massive temporary buff to numbers, which honestly seems a bit odd after launch. But there’s a difference between tuning and class overhaul. There are classes that need that do be done – Druid and Shaman are top of that pile.
My experience with development delays is a lack of internal expertise to take on the challenge. It is not a small task to overhaul a class, and it’s good that they are taking their time. It’s less good that the issues that were in Legion for 2 years didn’t meet the criteria for a fix.
Auction House Lag
I laugh a bit at this since the service I manage is in the middle of something similar. It’s been 18 hour days to try and resolve it. Stormrage’s AH is almost useless, but it’s not so much critical now as it will be the week before raid launch. I’ve had issues with the AH interface and structure for a very long time. The mobile app was an improvement and with that gone, things are just worse.
There are two issues at play here. First is the actual mechanics of the AH and the database transaction load must be insane. Single items instead of stacks should be outright banned (or the deposit fee increased 100 fold), and there should be a cap on the number of active auctions per player. That would provide time to get a larger fix in… which honestly will likely require rebuilding the AH from scratch. I do not envy that team.
The second issue is Blizzard’s lack of internal market expertise. I am sure they have internal metrics on the income of gold, the average per player, and new ways to add sinks (like a 5m gold mount). Way back in WotLK I mentioned that daily quests were flooding the game with “easy gold” and we’re so far along now that there’s no way to put that genie back in the bottle. We’re at a point now where design decisions are based on the fact that everyone can make X gold per day with minimal effort, and that everything past that is for customization. The exception here is Azerite gear respec costs, which frankly make no sense to me. But that’s for another post. Best of a bad hand in this.
(Another example of poor game planning due to economic is pretty much any gathering WQ – though particularly herbs. 40 herbs is something like 1500g. Who in their right mind would do that? Or a champion mission that rewards 70g. The daily heroic dungeon bag gives more than 1000g.)
The reasoning here is that it breaks the social aspect of the game. So, shenanigans? Are they actively playing the same game as me? Have they tried using the horrible interface to find a group? Even the world-boss group finder was atrocious due to tons of spelling mistakes – and the leader getting spammed with invites even during the battle. Anyone playing now is looking at either the quest ID in group finder (piles of numbers) or getting whispers. Lunacy.
I’ll give a better example – Legion assaults, in that I mean the sub zones with 3-4 stages on Argus. Those should AUTO-group everyone that enters. It’s crazy that it doesn’t. You end up clicking/inviting everyone manually because the group finder is likely to port you to another instance altogether.
Every single UI mod is based on someone’s critique of Blizzard’s UI. The most popular ones are clearly massively popular critiques.
“It’s been that way since 7.2 and we’re not going to change it”.
Let’s cover this off shall we?
- The leveling curve was not applied to Legion zones in 7.2.
- The curve was applied to all other leveling zones, and took over a month to tweak the numbers.
- The 8.0 stat squish made this oh so much worse, enough that they had to boost EXP gains to offset some of it
- It therefore only impacted a small portion of the playerbase until the launch of BfA
It now impacts every single character, as everyone is leveling. It clearly has less optimized pieces during the journey from 110 to 120. PvP scaling is also impacted. See video below at the 2:26 mark where a 120 loses 50% of their HP in 1 GCD, with a defensive cooldown activated – against a level 116 player.
The question is, does it matter? The problem goes away once everyone is at 120 and >ilvl 300. We all know that in 2 months when 120s are running in full epics, anyone leveling in BfA with War Mode is going to be eating dirt all the time. Will anyone care then?
The answer here is no. Blizzard has zero motivation to address any of this. There are not enough people who care about PvP balance at different character levels to move a finger. Blizzard will focus on two specific areas instead – level 120 PvP at similar ilvls, and level 120 PvE content so that time to kill is 2 GCD or more.
The rest of the items are all in line with previous discussions, and it’s good to see that the thinking behind them is stable. Some items it was just good to see the logic behind it – like island expedition rewards, or artifact power.
I manage a development team, I know there’s a lot required manage these types of events, and even more required to ensure that the message transmitted is as clear as possible to the largest audience. I may not agree with the design (group finder!) but I certainly appreciate their openess on it.