Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Final Countdown (Day 26) :: Two Becomes One

Not just one kind of game... ^^

There is one aspect of any new Expansion that tends to get overlooked by many commentators when it is announced: PvP is hardly the poor relation of the game, but as Blizzard did not launch Pandaria with a regular PvP 'zone' regardless of gamestyle choice (as had been the case with Wintergrasp and Tol Barad in previous expansions) one might be forgiven for thinking that encouraging combat is something Blizzard is not now interested in promoting. However, what is becoming increasingly apparent in the last few months is that PvP balance is important enough for PvE to have to bow to its demands. PvP is not going anywhere, and with the next expansion it will be expected to provide the dedicated and pretty much constant portion of the playerbase with something new to biff. Looking at Holinka's comments yesterday, I'd like to take a guess at what the reduction and frequency of Crowd Control means on the wider stage, and why understanding and simplicity are two words that are likely to affect everybody in the next couple of months.

We've spoken in the last few months about phrases such as 'ability bloat', generic terms that certain commentators like to throw about in relation to having too many buttons to press when we want to do damage. There are those who read this blog (hello Chris!) who'll tell you that the basic mechanics of their class are simply broken, and have been for some time. Then we have factors like the staggering list of crowd control abilities currently available in game, which affects every class and which covers the following:

  • Roots
  • Stuns
  • Mesmerizes
  • Fears and Horrors
  • Silences
  • Disarms
  • Knockbacks
  • Other Effects

This list is going to be pretty significant I suspect as time goes on. There are signature abilities (Roots, Polymorph, Sap) which I'd put good money on not losing any time soon, but I can see a cull coming at Expansion time, which will see a vast number of the less significant abilities vanishing forever... and not simply to appease the Combat Crowd. Reducing both the amount makes sense to keep PvE simple, and frequency will allow PvP to balance itself and not give bias to classes who come loaded with more CC abilities. I'd suspect from a Hunter perspective this will mean pet abilities are going to suffer considerably, with a move away from roots and snares and a shift towards pets as buffers (that's having buffs, not standing between you and the mobs ^^) If this makes things easier for people to grasp when learning a class from scratch, so much the better. However, there are still caveats.

Blacksmithing's version of Crowd Control was met by a distinct lack of enthusiasm...

We have seen at least one instance in recent memory of a PvP 'change' (see, I didn't use the N-Word) having a detrimental impact on PvE, to the point where the ability was re-instated in PvE as a result. However, that in itself is a significant step forward: the fact that abilities can now be programmed to react differently when applied to a player and not to a mob (or in arenas and not in instances) shows that Blizzard know they cannot disadvantage one side of the game at the expense of the other. What is clear however, ON BOTH SIDES OF THE GAMEPLAY FENCE, is that we can expect a reduction of abilities when the Expansion hits. If we're going to be handed ten levels of new content, by the old token of levelling that could mean between 3-5 new abilities to learn on top of everything else, and that just isn't going to happen. In fact, if you wanted a mantra for what's coming in November, I reckon I can give you a pretty certain one even at this distance:


If you're not doing so already, it's time to make a list of the abilities you think you could do with losing, or you simply don't utilise enough. Blizzard have all that data, and I'm sure someone is crunching the numbers even as I type on what's about to stay and what's on the way out. Once that's all sorted, then we have to discuss what's coming in, and next week we'll be suggesting some of the new features we think might be introduced to the next Expansion in an attempt not to re-invent the game, but to put a new spin on an old idea. After all, Blizzard have enormous amount of raw materials with which to work from...

1 comment:

dobablo said...

I've lost track of the last time I used cc in PvE. The only times it is useful is AoE stuns (or other stuff that doesn't break on damage) on non tanked wave trash or for that very short time in each expansion when the 5man trash pulls are hard.