Regional FlagClass Design on the 7.1.5 PTRSource
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#1 - 2016/11/19 03:12:00 AM
Hey all,

We’re making some significant changes to many specializations in Patch 7.1.5, and this has understandably resulted in some concern and confusion, particularly from players who may be less familiar with our PTR and development processes. So, we’d like to take a moment to explain what’s going on and how it pertains to what you’re seeing (or haven’t yet seen) on the PTR.

First, it’s important to understand the role that the PTR plays in our overall development process. At this stage, Patch 7.1.5 is still a work in progress. The PTR is only a snapshot of where we happened to be in development at the time the build was created. There are a lot of people working on WoW, and a lot of projects in various stages of completion. As a result, especially at this early stage of the PTR cycle, you’re going to see a lot of incomplete or unfinished work. Quite often, when something you see doesn’t make sense, it’s simply because we hadn’t finished making it make sense before the latest build was created.

Looking specifically at class design, the changes you’re seeing so far are focused primarily on how each spec plays in terms of mechanics, rotations, ability sets, talent options, etc. As some of these changes are fairly significant, we haven’t been making many adjustments to overall performance just yet. We need each spec to be completely functional before we can start tuning its effectiveness.

Right now, the build currently live on the 7.1.5 PTR is only about halfway through those mechanical changes. We’ve been continuing to work hard on getting those finished, and the next build should give you a clearer picture of what’s happening with your spec. We’ll try to share as much insight as we can into what we’re doing at that point.

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#268 - 2016/11/22 06:00:00 PM
As we mentioned before, the next PTR build will have a fairly substantial number of new class changes. We wanted to provide some insight into our goals and strategy with these changes, particularly for the specs that have seen the most change. Note that one of our overarching goals with Patch 7.1.5 is to increase talent diversity by making some of the less popular talents more attractive, which may open up new styles of play and new ways to approach different situations for all specializations, not just those we've listed here.


Protection Warrior:
While Protection’s performance is still solid, we want to provide Revenge a clearer role in the live rotation, and eliminate the need for an off-GCD ability (Focused Rage) to deal damage. To address both of these problems, Revenge is made into a higher-damage ability, which is used rotationally with its usual activation proc, but can also be used outside of that proc by spending Rage. This eliminates the need for Focused Rage. Thunder Clap will fill the role of a second Rage generator, and be used regularly while tanking. Also of note is a new talent that allows you to adopt a more open playstyle if you prefer, by making your auto attacks trigger Devastates automatically, rather than fitting it into open spaces in your rotation.

Survival Hunter:
Survival's most notable addition is some new gameplay for traps. As all Hunters will once again have traps in 7.1.5, we want to make sure that Survival still feels like the master of traps. In particular, we want to restore the concept of baiting enemies into traps, as opposed to merely dropping them at their feet for an immediate effect. A new Survival passive will grant all your traps an added effect if an enemy is led into the trap after it is placed, encouraging you to anticipate the movement of an enemy, or coordinate with your tank in group content. Talents further enhance this, allowing you to increase the bonus in situations where you can reliably make use of it, or to use a new effect on Steel Trap to singlehandedly eliminate enemies who walk into it of their own accord.


Marksmanship Hunter:
We agree with players that Marksmanship currently relies far too much on Patient Sniper not only to do good damage, but also to make the rotation feel fun and rewarding. As such, we’re changing baseline Vulnerability to essentially bake in Patient Sniper, and adding a new Patient Sniper talent in its place. We are also adjusting some talents to allow for more diversity within talent rows and reflect the change to the base rotation. In particular, the Level 100 row: while Sidewinders was commonly used in all situations for its effects on the rotation, we’d rather the base rotation felt fluid on its own, and Sidewinders was a talent focused on the wide-area cleave that is its most clear purpose. Among other changes to help with this, Marked Shot no longer requires the targets to have Vulnerable to do strong damage, so builds without Sidewinders will be able to use it more effectively.

Shadow Priest:
Shadow’s overall pacing is being adjusted so that the highest peak is at the end of Voidform, rather than just before the start of the next one. As a part of this, Lingering Insanity is removed, but overall Insanity generation (and therefore Voidform uptime) is increased. Additionally, Mind Sear is replaced with a new passive effect that allows Mind Flay to fulfill the same purpose. Shadow already has significant multi-target gameplay from the desire to maintain two damage-over-time effects on each target (a process which being is made smoother by allowing Void Bolt to extend DoTs on multiple targets at once). Finally, we are continuing to tweak the Insanity decay rate in Voidform, and the strength of Surrender to Madness, to better balance the Level 100 row. We want to preserve the purpose and strengths of Surrender to Madness for players who enjoy it, without it being quite so ubiquitous as it is currently.

Arcane Mage:
Arcane is receiving several significant talent changes, to increase talent diversity and move away from some of the more problematic gameplay centered around Quickening. In addition to a new Arcane-specific shield to replace Ice Barrier, there are few utility updates not yet on the PTR: Presence of Mind will be baseline for all Arcane Mages, and a new talent will be added that allows Arcane Missiles to be channeled while moving.

Fire Mage:
While Fire was mostly in a good place, we’re looking at two related issues in 7.1.5; the degree to which critical strike dominates other stats, and the overly high amount of damage concentrated into Combustion. Focusing on critical strike’s very strong contribution to the damage of Combustion, as well as that of Pyretic Incantation, addresses both of these. We'll be adjusting the damage of Fire’s core spells to leave its total damage similar to what it was before these changes. We're also giving Fire its own element-themed shield, as with Arcane.