World of Warcraft

The story of MoP Warlock’s amazing class design, and why Blizzard should be collaborating with the playerbase to fix classes.

wow3 - The story of MoP Warlock's amazing class design, and why Blizzard should be collaborating with the playerbase to fix classes.

If you ask veteran Warlock players what expansion was the most enjoyable in terms of class design, the vast majority of people will point to Mists of Pandaria. The entire class got a massive overhaul and the response was near-unanimous praise.

The person behind the overhaul was Xelnath. Years later, he posted on his blog the story behind the overhaul, from its inception and the problems faced with his team to finally the end result. It's a fantastic and insightful read.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me was this, however: Xelnath reached out to 6 long-time Warlock players to help him redesign and test out the class. It wasn't just him alone doing whatever, but rather a bunch of invested players looking to create the most fun and interesting gameplay experience possible. The results speak for themselves.

I look around to other successful products that made similar approaches. For example, the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons is known for its long open beta and the unprecedented (for D&D) amount of player feedback helping shape major design philosophies of the edition. Again, the result speaks for itself: it's a huge leap forward for the franchise, making it more popular and financially successful than ever before, a clear winner with the customers.

This is what I want to see with WoW's class design as well. I want Blizzard to reach out to dedicated long-time players of each class: the people who curate the class guides like the Shaman leaders at Storm Earth and Lava, the people volunteering to moderate class discord servers and help both new and veteran players alike, the people contributing guides to icyveins, PvP veterans who have mained a class for years — reach out to them and ask them to help. I'm sure they'd be thrilled to help out and go above and beyond to help craft the most enjoyable experience possible.


Even Reddit organized an amazing response about class design! At the beginning of the expansion they reached out to class leaders and had them organize detailed, well thought-out posts about the problems of each spec and specific solutions to them. Complete radio-silence from Blizzard. These are the people Blizzard should be reaching out to!

Blizzard's current approach to class design is a complete mystery. We don't know who's working on what, and why. In most games we'd expect sequels and expansions to be better than what came before it, but BFA's class design is worse than it's ever been for years. The Arcane Mage rework felt like a lone intern had an idea for something and then just gave up midway. It's just jumbled, half-baked ideas by one or two people clearly rushing to meet deadlines. It's sad that so many people would've been happier if their spec was literally unchanged going from Legion to BFA; that's how low the bar is right now.

Blizzard, let the playerbase work for you! It's free labor from passionate, informed people! Yes, it's more work for you organizing and listening to multiple people instead of just one dude making all the decisions, but clearly your normal approach isn't working. Collaborating is key, and there's hundreds of people just begging to help you with their class.

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