- 2011/07/07 04:42:00 PM
Something we’ve been hearing for a couple of years from players is that our spell effects, which are typically designed to look awesome when used all by themselves, create an undecipherable visual cacophony when used in large group settings, such as raids or Battlegrounds. In Cataclysm, we made a major effort to reduce the visual impact on targets that were being bombarded with multiple spells at once. For example, some visuals that looked cool (but weren’t really conveying any useful information that the group needed to know) scaled up way too large on bosses. Moonfire and Incinerate are two examples of spells that had this problem, and were changed for Cataclysm. We also offered a nifty UI option called “Emphasize my spell visuals” which still makes your spells look awesome to you, but slightly diminishes the visuals being produced by the rest of your group. After all, isn’t it most important that *you* look amazing?
That option, by the way, can be found in-game by going to Esc|Interface|Display.
With the visual spam on enemy targets relaxed a bit, we then turned to the visual spam on friendly targets. Some spells, and heals were particularly guilty of this, had a lot of visual flourishes that looked awesome, but were simply overwhelming when layered on top of all of the other visual commotion going on in an encounter. Two spells we changed at the last minute were Divine Light and Divine Aegis. To use the particular example of Divine Aegis, the visual wasn’t too bad when it was only created by infrequent crits, but once we allowed Prayer of Healing to always cause Divine Aegis, the flashes on the screen became distracting and obscured the view of what was actually happening in the fight. If you want to see this for yourself, check out some pre-4.2 raid videos.
We changed Divine Aegis very late in the 4.2 patch cycle, so we used the temporary solution of using the Power Word: Shield impact, which is much less prominent. A more permanent solution will be to get a new visual for Divine Aegis that is unique but doesn't go too far, or perhaps distinguish between the shields caused by crits and the heals caused by Prayer of Healing. We recognize that there is some visual information conveyed by Divine Aegis (for example, you may want to dispel Power Word: Shield but not Divine Aegis) and we totally agree that the new (temporary) visual is not as cool as the older one. We’re looking into some other solutions as well as we strive to find a balance between making your spells look flashy while still having a battle that is possible to comprehend by, you know, actually looking at it.