I guess my question is, why do developers say they're content with something and defend their decision not to change it, then suddenly find it 'unacceptable' and change it?
There’s a saying in my country that says “only fools never change their minds”.
Developers are not machines, they do their very best at trying to design the game as balanced as possible, it’s true that some opinions can be very strong sometimes, but the values that are initially attributed to constants and variables in the formulas for most abilities are not simply made up on the spot, there’s extensive math involved there and sometimes it’s only natural that one can trust the math a bit too strongly, the problem is that sometimes math doesn’t directly translate to a live gaming environment, so an ability/spell can look absolutely perfect on paper and in a simulation but still end up being horribly tuned for certain PvP situations because simulating 11 classes, 34 specs, talents, glyphs, and human behaviour all at the same time is never easy.
This game is incredibly vast and we need a lot of resources, proper data, and a good amount of samples to be able to really check out all the facts, constant data analysis and listening to reliable feedback can have a tremendous effect in catalysing and accelerating changes being applied to the game because it can point devs in the right direction, thus saving our most precious asset, time.
If you look at the rate of constant hotfixes and patches that we release, you can’t really say that devs are stubborn, if anything, WoW must be one of the most iterated games of all time, it’s in a permanent state of change, constantly adapting to the needs and requirements of the present time, that means that devs are quite open minded and are always ready to listen to facts and the opinions of others, also remember that most of them are also players so they have the same experience that you do, they want to make this game the best that it can possibly be, both as players and as developers, and that’s a tough combination to beat if you ask me.
Almost no one can have a grasp over everything in WoW, it’s simply that vast. This game is a beast ;)
If we ever appear to be locked into some fixed idea it’s because there must be a very strong reason for it, and also because applying changes always takes time, quality control is particularly important, we want to avoid applying changes and then going back and forth regretting about them later on, so time for proper testing is extremely important for assuring reliability.