We’ve been working on getting the raids in Wrath of the Lich King Classic ready in these past weeks and wanted to touch on a few systemic adjustments we plan to make to raids in Wrath of the Lich King Classic.
Buff “Audit” System
One interesting quirk of the Original Wrath of the Lich King Dual Spec system was that certain buffs could be gained or snapshotted at a larger magnitude in one specialization and then in some situations retained after swapping talents to a second saved spec. While in many cases authentic, this has been pointed out to us as a bug multiple times during Beta and we agree that this undoubtedly would have been something we would have tried to fix in 2009. As a result, we are implementing a system that checks all talents and abilities at certain times and will clear or reduce the magnitude of buffs that either should not be present in your current group, or are too powerful based on your current specialization. This is very complicated under the hood, but the general effect is that players can no longer expect to snapshot more powerful buffs when swapping specs around before an encounter, or retaining buffs that their raid group should otherwise not have access to in its current composition. One specific thing to call out with this fix though is this will not interfere with interactions such as buff “high-fives” that happen when, say, a mage and a priest pass each other on the road and give each other Arcane Intellect and Power Word: Fortitude respectively. Single target buffs that don’t require players to be in a group with each other will be unaffected outside of instances to preserve these uniquely Classic interactions.
One of the more arduous things that we’ve gotten feedback on–and indeed many members of our team experienced ourselves during progression in raids such as Sunwell Plateau–was dealing with long cooldowns on certain abilities after wipes. In situations where a wipe would occur early in a fight such as Mu’ru, many raids would often find themselves waiting around for several minutes for buffs such as Bloodlust or Heroism to come off cooldown so it was available for the next attempt. This didn’t feel particularly engaging and could have a very negative effect on motivation and morale during progression raid nights. In later versions of World of Warcraft, this problem was solved with a system that allows long CDs to refresh after an encounter ends, and while we want to take care about any modern features and systems we include in WoW Classic, we also recognize that there’s very little value in having to wait for multiple minutes after your raid has resurrected, run back, and is fully buffed for an arbitrary cooldown on abilities to be confident that you can perform properly. As a result we are going to be implementing a similar system in Wrath of the Lich King Classic where class abilities with a base cooldown of 2 minutes or more (with some exceptions, such as Reincarnation, Ritual of Doom, Astral Recall, and Lay on Hands) will reset when an encounter ends. This is a fairly big change for Wrath Classic, and we didn’t make it lightly, but the downtime between boss pulls during progression can be significant even without considering cooldowns, so this feels like a solid improvement to overall flow and time management within raids.
Along with the adjustment above, we are also going to be implementing a complementary system where the Exhaustion and Sated debuffs caused by Heroism and Bloodlust will persist through death, but then will clear when the encounter ends along with the cooldown on the ability itself. This largely feels like it make sense as part of the adjustment above, and also prevents degenerate behavior where players may intentionally die to clear Exhaustion/Sated and benefit from multiple Heroism or Bloodlust buffs in a single encounter.
We hope you like these adjustments and as always, thank you so much for the feedback you’ve provided on these and other issues during the Wrath of the Lich King Classic Beta!