Artifacts | BlizzCon 2015 World of Warcraft: Legion Game Systems Panel Transcript

 

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Class Changes

Kris: Hello, BlizzCon! It’s great to be here again. I am class designer in World of Warcraft, and I am going to tell you a little bit about class changes in Legion; and Craig told you a lot about what we are doing with Class fantasy, and really delving into the fantasies of your Class Order Halls. We felt for class design this was the perfect time to take a hard look at the classes and make sure they really deliver in the fantasy that they are about.

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So that was our goal. Now what exactly makes a strong class fantasy? What does that even mean? We thought about it a lot, and it came down to three things for us in World of Warcraft:

First, the class feels immersive. You feel like everything you do is completely involved in what the class is about. The abilities you are using, the name of the abilities, the animations, how they work together is all about that theme.

They are distinct. They feel completely different to each other, each class, each spec has some mechanics, some abilities, some capabilities that nobody else has. It’s unique to them.

And they are empowering. You feel like your character is powerful, you are in total control of what you are doing, you can accomplish things that you are set out to do, use the abilities the way you wish to use them. It doesn’t mean you are overpowered, that you can just destroy everything; but you have total control of your character.

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So how do I go about making some of the classes a little bit more empowering? One great example that wasn’t empowering the game was death knight runes. You have got six runes, you also had death runes, and they all have different cooldowns, and when they are coming up, when you have them, and you can’t push the button you want to push when you want to push it because you are waiting on that rune to comeback or crap I screwed up and now I don’t have the rune I needed … so we cleaned all that up. There is now one type of rune. You still have six of them.

The way you use your abilities together still matters, but you don’t have to worry about staring at the UI instead of using the ability you want to use when you want to use it.

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Another great example is the Fury Warrior. Right now, the Fury Warrior is completely controlled by how many charges it has. You got Enrage, you got Raging Blow charge, you got Meat Cleaver charge, you are tracking the UI keeping track of all these buffs to decide what you can do when. We cleaned all that up.

When you push Whirlwind, your ability AOEs for several seconds afterwards. No need to pay attention to Meat Cleaver anymore. When you enrage, you can use Raging Blow as much as you want. There is no more Raging Blow charges. We cleaned that up. You are not staring at the UI to figure out what you can do.

In general, we took that step of everywhere where there was a stacking buff or debuff that was controlling how a character works, we tried to either eliminate that from the game as much as possible, or actually turn it into a resource; and that’s what we did with Arcane.

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Arcane charges are now a resource in addition to mana, instead of being this little buff icon in the far corner of the screen.

On top of that, we really felt like Arcane was a spec that has a really strong fantasy, but when you actually played it, you didn’t feel powerful when it came down to this very specific sequence of: you push this button, and this button and this button very very carefully and if you screwed up and pushed arcane blast a few too many times, now you sucked the rest of the fight. You have spent too much mana. You are not very powerful.

The way arcane mana works is the more mana you have the more damage you did. You spent too much mana, now you aren’t very good. So we said let’s keep mana the way it is, but let’s try to fix that problem.

So the new mastery is called Savant. What it does is it increases how much mana you have, which works really well with how arcane works because if they have more mana they can spend more mana on arcane blast, they can do more blasts; so the higher the mastery, the more often you can do that heavy burst damage; but even more importantly, because your mana level doesn’t matter anymore, you can do it when you want to do it. You got control of your character again.

In addition, also increases how much damage the arcane charges increase your arcane blast in this build play.

Let’s talk a little bit about how we made the classes more distinct. Survival Hunter. You probably heard Ion Hazzikostas at GamesCom hint they are going to have the Eagle Spear as their artifact, but the spear … it is a melee weapon, right? So going back to old 2004 World of Warcraft, Survival Hunter is going to be a melee spec, going toe-to-toe in melee combat with the enemies with their beast fighting side-by-side with them with the spear.

Abilities like Harpoon, Raptor Strike, Mongoose bite, Lacerate, all this stuff you remember back, but actually awesome this time.

We took a hard look at the Discipline Priest. They really always felt a little too much like this sort of different flavor to the Holy Priest, but didn’t have their own unique, distinctive mechanics. They have power shield. That’s cool, that’s fun, but it’s too narrow. Not enough there. So we decided to make them really different from other healers.

They have this other mechanic called attunement. It is now their core healing mechanic. The way they heal is by dealing damage to their enemies, and that’s their primary means in Healing. They are very different from Holy.

Similarly, our rogues kinda felt similar to each other, in particular Subtlety is this really cool strong fantasy of being the Master of Shadows, the ninja, teleports from place to place, moves around the battlefield. How can we strenghten that and make that even more distinct from the others?

They have this really cool ability called Shadow Dance, it has a cooldown, rogues use it as an opener over and over again; but this is our better version of Shadow Dance.

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So we redesigned Shadow Dance. It is now a passive ability. Every time you do a finishing move, you have a 20% chance per combo point to re-enter stealth and that stealth won’t break for taking damage. So you have time to figure out what you want to do, do a new opener, do that core routine that every rogue really wants to do.

You do your opener, your combos, your finishers, and repeat. No other rogue can do this. Very distinct and different. To add further to that, we added one of my favorite new abilities that really feeds off Shadow Dance. It’s called Shadow Strike. What it is, it let’s them teleport to a target anywhere in the battlefield and do ambush level damage as an opener.

So you have finally have a target, you use cheapshot, some combos, do a finisher, teleport across the room, beat up that guy, they all come for you, teleport again somewhere else, you are a true ninja moving around wherever you want to be. It’s a lot of fun.

Along the way, some generic rogue abilities. Things that were cool, but not really part of that fantasy got removed. Like Honor Among Thieves, but it has been replaced by things that are much more central to that fantasy.

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Finally, I want to talk to you about how we made the game more immersive. Let’s start with the demonology warlock. So we think back to Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Warlocks were about summoning demons, and using them to destroy the Alliance, right?

Somehow over the years, it kinda got lost on that on the demonology warlock. There are about — turning into a demon — it should be about summoning demons. Hordes of demons to destroy their enemies. So we completely redesigned the demonology warlock. They have more new minions to summon than ever before, buffing them and sending those demons to attack as a core part of their combat rotation, but they are not about turning into a demon anymore.

Metamorphosis is the terrain of the demon hunter. The demonology has even more cool stuff to replace it.

Similar to that with the guardian druid. We imagine the guardian druid — they should be like a grizzly bear. This giant wall of flesh, and fur and bone that you can’t just get past. It’s immovable; but instead they are all about dodging from place to place like … it doesn’t make any sense.

So they are no longer the dodgy circus bear. They are all about increased health, increased armor, increased survivability, and being what people imagined them to be.

Finally, on the topic of immersive, we took a hard look at the shadow priest. This kinda felt like the poor cousin of affliction warlock. They got a lot of cool things. They got mind abilities, they got damage over time, they got vampiric abilities, but they don’t fit together into a cohesive whole. So what is a shadow priest really about? They are about tapping into powers of the void. And who controls the void? The Old gods.

And to deal with the power of the Old gods that causes you to — think about the Cho’gall encounter or fighting Yogg-Saron — you slowly lose your mind. You go insane.

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So the new resource for shadow priests is insanity. They no longer have mana, or shadow orbs. They tap into the power of insanity, gradually going more and more insane, and using that as a source of energy.

Their shadow form goes darker and darker, they start to grow tentacles from out of their body until they transform into void form. As insanity builds it gets stronger and stronger as the inner-void form. They get more and more powerful the longer they can stay there, but insanity was not meant for mortal man to control. They can only hold on for so long.

The insanity slowly drains away, but the more insanity they can generate, the longer they can stay there, the more powerful they get the ultimate the leading power they have control over.

Before I go, I’d like to talk a little bit about talents.

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Major Talent Revision

This is our biggest talent revision we have done since Mists of Pandaria. Still the same format. Seven rows, three things of them; but we got to remove some of those theme rows. You know — the ones that said Pick AOE-1, or AOE-2, or AOE-3, and they were all kinda the same thing … and it doesn’t really feel that cool?

Now those will be available in different rows from each other. There are more choices that matter, there are more ways to customize your character, and there are more talents that are specific to your spec, not shared with the other two or three; and as a result that means there are literally hundres of new talents coming out in Legion. More talents than there have ever been in any previous expansion.

One last comment, I am going to be over at the Darmoon Faire booth all this afternoon answering questions about this, and starting tomorrow you will see a series of blogs detailing every single of our classes, and specs, what their core abilities are now, and some examples of some of their talents that are coming, so that you get a sense of what is coming as soon as we are moving to beta. Now I hand it to Paul Kubit to talk about professions.

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Browse these pages:ArtifactsArtifact PowerRelicsUpgrading ArtifactClass Halls
Class ChampionsDemon HunterClass ChangesProfessionsItemization

 

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