3/9 Alpha Build Design Notes

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Game Designer
#1 - March 9, 2016, 9:30 p.m.
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Hey all,
We have another alpha build going up today, with some exciting updates:

  • New Specializations Unlocked – 2 more additional specializations ready for testing. We’d love any and all feedback about gameplay, artifact quest line, abilities, etc.
  • Frost Mage
  • Assassination Rogue
  • Class Status – We’re continuing to iterate on our class abilities and talents, based on testing and feedback. This build has many revisions scattered around the classes, but here are some highlights:
  • Haste and Core Combat Abilities – We’ve taken a pass on core combat abilities, to ensure that Haste properly accelerates the pace of your rotation, and provides solid stat value. In many such cases, we made the ability’s cooldown slightly longer, but reduced by haste. (EDIT: *ALL* specs should now fall into either a 1.0sec GCD, or a 1.5sec GCD that is reduced by Haste. More clarification below.)
  • Multi-target Ability Tuning – While overall tuning is still not done, we’ve adjusted the relative tuning of many multi-target abilities to make it more rewarding to switch to them in 3+ target situations. This primarily applies to abilities that you actively choose to use in place of single target abilities (such as swapping from Templar’s Verdict to Divine Storm), not multi-target abilities that you’d use anyway (such as Keg Smash).
  • Demonology Warlock – Continued revision of talents and core rotation. Notably, Demonic Empowerment now buffs all pets, and Power Trip has been changed to a new effect.
  • All Hunters – In order to ensure that Haste can properly affect them, all Hunter specs now have a 1.5sec GCD that is reduced by Haste. Ability cooldowns have been adjusted to ensure a consistent combat pace.
  • Marksmanship Hunter– Some tweaks to the core rotation. Notably, Hunter’s Mark will trigger more often.
  • Beast Mastery Hunter – Tweaks to the core rotation.
  • Outlaw Rogues – Bribe adjusted and Sap returned. Roll the Bones tuning adjusted. Significant bugs fixed with Between the Eyes and Run Through damage.
  • Enhancement Shaman – Tweaks to core rotation.
  • Arms Warrior – Colossus Smash and Tactician revised. Many talents revised.
  • Fury Warrior – Enrage’s duration is no longer reduced by haste. Some talents revised and abilities retuned.
  • Artifact Trait Status – Many artifact traits have been revised in this build. The following artifacts have received the most changes in this build:
  • General – We’re in the process of transitioning all artifacts to provide 1 ability (usually an active ability) baseline, and the rest through traits, instead of 2 baseline. Many of the previous procs are being moved into traits. This has been done on most, but not all artifacts.
  • Marksmanship Hunter – Significant revision to many traits.
  • Holy Paladin – Revision to several traits.
  • Guardian Druid – Revision to several traits.
  • Demonology Warlock – Revision to several traits.
  • Destruction Warlock – Significant revision to many traits.
  • Shadow Priest – Several traits revised.
  • Elemental Shaman – Several traits revised.
  • Enhancement Shaman – Several traits revised.
  • Beast Mastery Hunter – Hati has a new model that varies based on selected artifact variant.
  • Unholy Death Knight – Several traits revised.
  • Arcane Mage – Significant revision to many traits.
  • Heroic Dungeons – Heroic versions of the Legion dungeons will soon unlock for testing.

Thanks, and we look forward to your feedback!

Also, check out the design notes from the previous build, if you haven't already as well: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742614769
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#3 - March 9, 2016, 9:42 p.m.
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Clarification about haste and GCDs:

*ALL* specs should now fall into one of two categories of GCD:
  • 1.0sec GCD, not reduced by Haste. Provides an extra-quick and bursty combat feel, such as on Rogues.
  • 1.5sec GCD, reduced by Haste (to a min of 1.0sec). The standard GCD used by everyone else.

Since that's a consistent game-wide rule now, we no longer mention the fact that Haste reduces some specs' GCD in tooltips.
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#13 - March 9, 2016, 10:50 p.m.
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Additionally, to help guide feedback, we've made several posts over in the Alpha Class Feedback threads about upcoming changes that didn't make it in in time for this Alpha build, but should be in the next one:

Enhancement: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742765264#2
Blood: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742715227#2
Survival: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742625222#2
Fire: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742665296#2
Affliction (and other Warlocks): http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742755251#7
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#17 - March 9, 2016, 11:16 p.m.
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03/09/2016 01:51 PMPosted by Smaxystab
Thanks for the update, can't wait to look at Assn Rogues. One thing though:

03/09/2016 01:30 PMPosted by Celestalon
Also, check out the design notes from the previous build, if you haven't already as well: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742614769

In last week's notes, it was mentioned that Subtlety received "many changes to talents and baseline abilities to adjust rotational speed." However, the changes in that build (and this build for that matter) are not reflective of that statement. Are those changes scrapped, coming in a future build, or still in iteration?


Datamining may have missed them, but they were there.
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#18 - March 9, 2016, 11:17 p.m.
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03/09/2016 02:46 PMPosted by Kriellya
Does this include the Druid Shapeshifts or 'missed' Dispels? Both of those spells have a 1.5 sec GCD unaffected by haste on Live and last time I was testing in Legion, even on specs which have every other spell at 1.5 second GCD reduced by haste.

If you find any 1.5sec GCDs on class abilities that are not being affected by Haste, let us know!
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#19 - March 9, 2016, 11:20 p.m.
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03/09/2016 02:54 PMPosted by Pawketsz
Feral falls into neither of those categories. Haste doesn't give us any discernible increase in our direct damage, and the rest of our damage (the majority) does not benefit at all. Are there any plans to address it?

Druids use a mix of the two categories. The first for everything within Cat Form, and the second for everything else. Haste tuning may be low on Feral right now, but there's nothing design-wise that forces that to be the case. It's just not tuned yet. (Further Feral-specific feedback in the Feral thread, please!)
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#26 - March 10, 2016, 3:19 a.m.
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03/09/2016 03:48 PMPosted by Isentropy
Void Bolt's cooldown is no longer affected by haste in this build, assuming this is a bug.

This is a bug and should be fixed in the next build.

03/09/2016 04:15 PMPosted by Tanned
The 1.0 sec GCD floor is disappointing news. Do Shadow Priests just need to have awkward haste caps all expansion as a result of GCD overage and Void Form stacks?

Voidform gives some added room to below the 1.0 GCD floor so that you don't hit it during normal play (you may during Surrender to Madness).