We have a lot of players at 85 now doing everything from Heroic dungeons to rated Battlegrounds, and the class design team is starting to prepare our list of items to investigate for our next patch.
Before you dive down into the meat below (not really a pleasant image, that), be advised that we’re still early in the preliminary stages. The patch isn’t coming out tomorrow. I wrote this before the end of the year and other things may have cropped up in the meantime. Just because your class or pet problem isn’t mentioned below doesn’t mean we won’t address it.
We’re happy with damage overall. We have very few traditional tank and spank fights (even Argaloth likes to parry melee) so it’s hard to get consistent numbers without very large data sets. Still, we see Survival hunters and Unholy DKs on top of a lot of single target fights. Arcane, Marksman, and Beastmaster damage is too low. Retribution, Shadow, and Fire and Frost mage damage might be too low, but we’re still watching them. We aren’t seeing a lot of Subtlety rogues in PvE yet, so that sample size is still small. On fights where there is a lot of area damage, Demonology warlocks, Frost DKs and possibly Survival hunters are all too high. Shadow priest AE, mostly due to a weak Mind Sear, feels too low.
Healing in PvE is working out pretty much as intended. There are some Heroic dungeon bosses that are probably tougher than the required item level average permits. In general, you might have a tough time upon zoning into a Heroic dungeon with a bunch of strangers as soon as Dungeon Finder permits, especially if your group isn’t willing to communicate and work together. We want Heroics to be challenging -- if you want to zerg the content, stick to normal dungeons.
Tank balance overall seems good at this point in time. Threat seems to be in a good place -- good tanks don’t have much of a problem, but they can’t “phone it in” either. We’re seeing all four tanks get a lot of use, even on Heroic raid fights. That could change as more guilds are able to make serious heroic attempts.
The larger health pools, decreased impact of Mortal Strike debuffs, and slower healing are all having the desired effect in PvP. Burst damage has its place, but doesn’t determine the outcome of every encounter. There are several individual abilities that we aren’t happy with in PvP.
We’re keeping a close eye on dispels. We still like the design of making dispels more of a commitment rather than liberally sprinkling around dispel resistance or consequences for every class. Defensive dispels (removing a debuff) generally feel good, but we think offensive dispels (removing an enemy buff) feel too powerful, especially for DPS specs. In particular, Purge and Spellsteal will probably get nerfed.
We’re also looking at crowd control, interrupts, and self-healing in PvP. It’s possible we’ll reduce the durations of some crowd control effects, especially the area effect ones, and decrease the duration of interrupts.
Priests are a little weak in PvP, especially at mobile healing. We have made some changes to glyphs and talents to enhance their survivability and instant healing.
We also want to make sure the epic PvP gear isn’t too easy for just anyone to obtain, given that the PvE endgame content is more challenging than it was in Lich King. We don’t want the player base to just migrate to the most efficient epic delivery mechanism; we want you to participate in what you find most enjoyable.
We’ll make a pass to make stats that aren’t attractive (but are supposed to be) more attractive. For example, we don’t want Assassination rogues to dismiss crit or Feral tanks to dismiss haste. We are considering making some physical attacks such as Lacerate, Steady Shot, and Slam scale with haste.
Mastery is a new stat for us, and there are a few specs that don’t value it enough. In some cases (e.g. Combat rogues), the design for mastery is fine and we just need to buff the effects to make it more desirable. In others, we don’t think it’s possible to buff mastery enough in its current form. For example, the Retribution mastery, Hand of Light, is fun, but it doesn’t contribute enough damage. To make it contribute enough damage, the proc would need a very high chance, which then can cause paladins to devalue other sources of Holy Power. Instead, we are redesigning Retribution mastery to add a percentage of the damage of Templar’s Verdict, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm as Holy damage (which also plays better with Inqusition). Because Hand of Light is fun, however, we are going to change Divine Purpose as a chance to proc Hand of Light instead of a chance for extra Holy Power (which will also remove a little of the randomness from the rotation). Unholy DKs are another spec for whom mastery just isn’t working out. Our current intent is to redesign their mastery so that their attacks cause more damage to diseased targets (in a similar manner to the Restoration druid mastery).
Some additional class-specific tweaks (keeping in mind this is not the full list):
“GC, is this the final list of changes? Does this mean I can expect no changes for my class? Does this mean you don’t care about me?”
No. This is some stuff we are looking at so that you’ll have some context if you see changes on a future PTR. The final list of class patch notes for the next patch will doubtless be much longer.
-Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. He uses words like “potpourri.”