Legion Alpha Back Up, 1/13 Alpha Build Design Notes, Tank & Healer Ability Tuning

The Legion Alpha is back up with the third Alpha build! 7 new specs have been unlocked, check out the handy visual guide Blizzard put out below:

Check after the break for some words from Celestalon about the changes coming to Tanks and indirectly to healers! Tanks will be taking more steady damage in Legion!

1/13 Alpha Build Design Notes

Quote from: Blizzard
Hey all,
There’s a new Alpha build today, which includes a number of new additions and changes. We’d like to provide some additional context and info, and also focus discussion on the topics that will provide the most useful feedback at the moment.• Tank and Healer Abilities and Cooldowns – Tanks and Healers will notice significant changes to the tuning on many of their defensive abilities. These may appear to be “nerfs” at first glance, but are actually part of a widespread adjustment to improve overall tank (and tank healer) gameplay, that includes reducing the strength/frequency of defensive cooldowns, and adjusting creature tuning to compensate. We’ve made a separate thread to give full context about these changes here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20420493025
New Logging Feature – The Advanced Combat Log now includes additional data that will be of use to developers and users of data analysis sites and tools. We’ve made a separate thread to provide the data structure for the new COMBATANT_INFO log event here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20419432775
New Specializations Unlocked – There are 7 new specializations ready for testing! Several additional specializations have been unlocked for testing. We’d love any and all feedback about their gameplay, artifact quest lines, abilities, etc.
o Vengeance Demon Hunter – NOTE: Vengeance abilities, talents, and artifact traits are still preliminary and are being heavily iterated on.
o Guardian Druid
o Restoration Druid
o Marksmanship Hunter
o Discipline Priest
o Enhancement Shaman
o Elemental Shaman
Honorable Medallion – This build includes our solution for the “CC break trinket” for low level classes. Upon entering a battleground or arena for the first time, players will learn the “Honorable Medallion” (temp name) spell. This spell removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character while in PvP combat and has a 3 minute cooldown. Players can learn this spell at any level and it resides in the General section of your spell book. The first row of PvP talents then modifies the Honorable Medallion. This will provide the “CC break trinket” mechanic for all levels of PvP player. Feedback on this solution would be appreciated!
Talent Design Status – We’ve reached a ‘first draft’ level of design for talents for all specializations. There are some that we still have outstanding plans to revise or replace, but the vast majority are ready for feedback. Tuning has not been done, so you’ll have to imagine that numbers are adjusted such that talents are balanced, but we’d love to hear feedback about what talents you like or dislike. Especially useful is feedback on particular talent rows, and whether they feel like interesting choices or not (again, assuming numbers will be balanced).
Artifact Trait Design Status – More artifacts are available, and you’ll be able to unlock further traits on existing artifacts. At this time, feedback is welcome on artifact traits, but we still have much work to do on them, and have many revisions planned. Expect significant change to many of the artifact traits in the future.

Thanks, and we look forward to your feedback!

Tank & Healer Ability Tuning

Quote from: Blizzard

In the latest Legion Alpha build, tanks and healers will notice significant changes to the tuning on many of their defensive abilities. These may appear to be “nerfs” at first glance, but are actually part of a widespread adjustment to improve overall tank (and tank healer) gameplay, that includes reducing the strength/frequency of defensive cooldowns, and adjusting creature tuning to compensate.

Over the course of Warlords of Draenor, tanks have been mostly self-sufficient, providing the vast majority of their own survival, with only minor direct assistance required from healers. Encounter design has unfortunately reinforced this, focusing tank damage into more and more bursty moments in an attempt to challenge tanks. This has made long-cooldown defensive ability usage more and more important, while also further trivializing direct healing requirements.

For Legion, we want to return the overall tank gameplay to a more stable environment. In that, we have laid out some specific goals that we aim to hit:

  • Tanks will require more direct healing. This will also improve on healer gameplay, as it’s more engaging when there’s a mixture of the types of healing that need to be used on any single encounter.
  • Active Mitigation abilities for tanks (such as Shield Block or Death Strike) should feel rewarding, allowing an experienced tank to meaningfully reduce damage taken.
  • Healers should care about the time and mana required to heal tanks, so that taking less damage as a tank is considered valuable.
  • Tanks and healers’ long-cooldown defensive abilities (such as Barkskin or Shield Wall) should feel like a valuable resource. These abilities should be strong, but not necessarily available for every danger during a specific encounter.
  • Tanks should have much more survivability than a non-tank. However, they don’t necessarily need to be extremely more sturdy. If the difference in ‘tankiness’ between tanks and non-tanks becomes too much of a gap, we then risk having situations such that if any one add gets loose, it’s likely to instantly kill any poor healer or damage dealer they hit–as the damage that these creatures deal would need to be exponentially higher to offset the sturdiness of the tank. This also brings a risk that tanks would opt to ignore enemy abilities that are designed to be dangerous to non-tanks, just taking those relatively minor blows rather than trying to avoid them as intended.
  • In raid encounters, tanks should spend more time tanking, and less time waiting for their turn to tank.
  • Tanks should be able to handle solo content quite effectively. They need to do less damage than dedicated damage dealers, but that difference can be moderate. It doesn’t have to be a massive difference.

Looking at these goals, we’ve made the following changes for tanking in Legion. We hope that these explanations will help you understand the bigger picture, in that these should be viewed as an overall improvement to the style of tank gameplay, rather than nerfs.

  • In order to ensure that tanks require direct healing from healers, we’re increasing the amount of damage that makes it past a tank’s mitigation. This will include reducing or removing passive defensive abilities, along with the below changes.
  • We’re toning down how frequently you’re able to use Active Mitigation abilities. This change will generally affect the length of their cooldowns, and not necessarily the strength of the ability. We believe these abilities are important to tank survival; but, when the uptime on these abilities gets too high, skill in knowing when to use them strategically matters less.
  • There are many long-cooldown defensive abilities that will be able to be used less frequently, and, in some cases, these abilities may be weaker. Many of these abilities are currently either too numerous or usable too frequently, resulting in a strong cooldown for almost every threatening moment of every encounter.
  • Encounter design will be adjusted to account for these changes. Overwhelming burst damage will be toned down, in favor of more steady and consistent damage on tanks.
  • The damage of creatures that are intended to be tanked in group content will be reduced overall, in order to ensure that tanks can still perform their role just as well as before.
  • Damage output by tanks will be increased, and their scaling with gear will be improved. This is being done so that tanks can stay in-line with damage dealers as a group gears up together.

Please note that many of these changes are preliminary, and we’ll be tweaking our changes based on testing and feedback. We’ll continue making adjustments as the Alpha moves along, until classes are in a more balanced state, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts throughout this process.

For more info on the latest Legion Alpha changes, see our summary thread: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20420212939


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