GC, Proactive is better than Reactive:

#1 - June 17, 2011, 5:33 p.m.
Blizzard Post
"Necroed" Thread to as a Thank you to Ghost Crawler

I "appreciate" the explanations from GC, but this post should come before they start making adjustments not after. That gives the community something to focus their attention on because Blizz has already concluded from their data that certain things need to be changed.

Here's an example of what I would like to see immediately before starting changes for 4.3:

Theoretical GC Post:
I would like to give a quick overview of the balance areas we feel need to be addressed in in the next patch.

--== Death Knights==--

Blood: The blood tank isn’t working the way we had initially intended. A lot of this has to do with their mastery talent, but also their disease application. As with all of the other tanks, the rotation should not be as complex as their DPS counterparts as they have a lot of other things to keep track of. We hope to simplify the complex nature of the blood tank and may be replacing the mastery with something more straight forward.

Frost & Unholy: The damage spread between these two specs was abnormally wide until last patch. The nerfs to frost pushed Unholy ahead once again. However, the spread is tighter than ever. As I mentioned previously, I do look forward to a discussion about how close two specs have to be before players play the one that is most fun rather than the highest dps.

--== Druids ==--
- Balance: Damage is lacking relative to other casters in PvP. Their heavy reliance on casted spells and limited mobility really shows in competitive situations. However, we feel they are "in the right ballpark" in PvE. So we will be trying to directly address mobility for PvP reasons.

- Feral DPS: Feral DPS has sacrificed several "sacred cows" to the balance gods, and we appreciate the sacrifices as they have brought us closer to balanced. We didn't adequately compensate Ferals for mobility losses during prior changes so we hope to improve their PvP mobility. Conversely, we over-estimated the effects STR had on damage output and damage is now scaling much faster than it otherwise should have.

- Feral Tanks: Bears seem to be having more problems during the initial agro grab than their peers. We will exploring ways to boost initial agro generation. Additionally, bears suffered the most when we normalized health pools and were not compensated enough on the mitigation front. While we made improvements last patch, it fell short of our expectations and will again be looking for ways to improve survivability.

- Resto Druids: We feel resto druids are currently in the right place. They should still feel very much the HoT healer, but not at a sizeable expense to their direct healing capabilities. We hear a lot of calls for druids to get a mitigation cooldown, however should this happen healers should know that it would come at a hefty toll on healing output.

--== Hunters ==--
All Specs: The implementation of focus has significantly impeded hunters in all PvP situations. It is likely you will see a number of iterations to help hunters become a more respected DPS class in PvP. We are considering removing the minimum range. However, damage will scale based on distance from the target. You will see a new feature that looks much like the druid eclipse bar. This will measure your “accuracy” based on distance to the target.

The highest damage point will be at 20 yards, and the lowest damage points will be at 40 and 0 respectively. We have not yet concluded the penalty for being too close or too far from the target.
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Community Manager
#18 - June 20, 2011, 7:40 p.m.
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The blog seemed to be popular, and even players who disagreed with their being nerfed seemed to appreciate the fact that we tried to give some insight into what we were thinking. GC and the his crew are going to try to keep making similar blogs for every patch. I think it was one of the more positively received blogs in long while.

Offering a lot of justification for changes early on a patch though is challenging for a number of reasons. First is that patch builds are often just snapshots of the data at any given time. We wait until everything is near perfect for actual releases (as far as you can ever do with as complex a game as this), but when we are in PTR mode the devs are trying to get builds out quickly. That means you'll often see a change that was half-implemented or something that a designer was messing around with. There often isn't justification for those type of changes -- it could just be trying to fix a bug or seeing how something feels with a slight redesign. Second, it takes a lot of time to justify those changes and designers are often really busy implementing the actual changes at that stage in the beta. When the changes are not even necessarily 'real' changes, justifying what might not stick probably isn't a great use of time. Finally, we greatly appreciate feedback from the community and it can have a big influence on our game design, but at the same time we want to avoid the perception that the players are collaborating on with us on designing the game. It's tricky to manage expectations in that way, but if we lead players to believe they have more influence on design decisions than they actually do, then there's a lot of undue frustrated and dismay when we don't make a change that some may really wants us to make. Being able to take player feedback while making sure they don't expect that feedback to be implemented as-is can be a tough balancing act, but is still a necessary one.
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#28 - June 20, 2011, 8:11 p.m.
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06/20/2011 01:06 PMPosted by Sethmann
Second, it takes a lot of time to justify those changes and designers are often really busy implementing the actual changes at that stage in the beta. When the changes are not even necessarily 'real' changes, justifying what might not stick probably isn't a great use of time

Bashiok, with respect. I pray to god Blizzard fires those designers.

If a designer can't come up with a concrete reason for a change other than "I'm just playing around with it" in a game that is in current use they need to be removed from the team.

There needs to be clear and concise decisions made on class balance and less of this "well I'm just gonna do it cause."

With respect, that's incredibly rude, uncalled for, and shows you didn't grasp the point of what I said or what actually goes in to (or is required of) game design or balance.
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Community Manager
#70 - June 20, 2011, 9:26 p.m.
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Communism, I "FEEL' you don't understand. I "FEEL" like there is a miscommunication. I "FEEL" like the nerfs aren't justified. Feelings can be interpreted 1000 ways and make it seem like the devs go by emotional swings and not logic. Hence, post the logical explanation and eliminate the "FEELINGS".


As soon as players don't have feelings about their experience, feelings for how class balance actually works, or emotional attachments to their characters I'm sure it'd be really easy to get completely accurate data and gameplay sentiment.

That isn't the case, and so feeling and emotions very much play a part of player experience, and so too must balance take those feelings into account.

There's a misconception that perfect mathematical balance means the game will be the most fun it can be.