Thursday, December 10, 2015

Game Design and Player Behaviour

There's a really great theorycrafting discussion going on in the WoW Twittersphere that was kicked off by a post that challenges how guide writers present information as "the only choice". Basically, given two choices that are fairly similar mathematically, by changing how you present said information, the general community opinion can swing significantly.

To anybody who studies communications and/or marketing, this fact should come as no surprise. But the more interesting aspect of the discussion was what Celestalon--a technical game designer on WoW--posed to the community at large:
Many of the responses that came out of that boiled down to, "You can't, it's the community's problem." Which is a frustratingly unhelpful answer, and possibly flat out incorrect.

Game design, you see, absolutely influences player behaviour, in-game and out. There seems to be two schools of thought on the matter: design the game and let players interact with it and each other as they will; or design the game specifically to encourage players to behave in certain manners. When said like that, it sounds pretty clinical, but it's really not in practice.

Real-Life Examples

In World of Warcraft, and many other MMOs, to do group content you used to have to find and build a group yourself. You spent time (often a lot of time), gathered people, and hopefully managed to get through the content okay. Good players built up a reputation with other players on a server, and jerk players generally got shunned.

Enter LFD in the Wrath of the Lich King era, which took players from any server and threw them together in a random group to play the same group content. Less control over your group in exchange for a high level of convenience. This absolutely changed how players behaved. More people did group content because of convenience, but things like personal reputation mattered less because the pool of people to group with was orders of magnitude larger.

This was a case where the system was designed, but the influence on player behaviour was either not thought totally through, or deemed okay in balance with what the game gained from having such a tool available.

FFXIV evolved the concept keeping player behaviour in mind with further systems like handing out extra currency and experience to parties with a newbie in them, and commendations to hand out to others for whatever you wanted--good behaviour, great guide, awesome player, the rare dragoon that didn't die in the fire--and as such has helped FFXIV's community be nicer players (even if they aren't generally better players, but that's a different discussion).

In Eon Altar, we design around a very specific player experience--the couch co-op slightly competitive but mostly cooperative experience. Players play together as a group, but the game story and mechanics all subtly (or not-so-subtly) nudge players into competitive play styles. Friendly fire for AoE, real-time looting system where trading with each other is important, character agendas and secret quests/missions that may conflict with each other. Playing Eon Altar with friends is a very different experience than say, playing Goldeneye or Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles with friends, despite all of them having heavy focus on local multiplayer.

The Eon Altar example I use very specifically because it shows that game mechanics and meta player behaviour are absolutely intrinsically linked. You can't just design something and say, "players will be players, yo." Can you imagine if we released Eon Altar in its current state online? Without having players be local and therefore with local social norms to enforce acceptable behaviour, the game would be troll city. That's not to say we don't have ideas, but it's clear because of that player behaviour component, the game would not translate well as-is to pure online play.

Simultaneous Insufficient Info and Info Overload

For Celestalon's issue of cookie cutter builds and people just wanting/requiring/taking a given choice suggested from the community, there isn't an easy answer. Some people like choices, others just want to be told, "this is the best option," because they don't want to choose or can't fathom the choices available.

But just because it's not easy doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile exercise. MMOs like WoW are complex beasts, and so much information isn't in the base game itself that gets built by the community at large. Other times some of the information is in the base game, but without any context from the designers and so the players are expected to come up with ideas themselves, to which a large subset turn to the community to make those decisions for them.

Some of the problems are that they're imminently calculable. When someone can say, "this talent or ability does 20% more DPS than that one," it's a no brainer, and a robust theorycrafting community will discover these quite quickly. Some of the problems are that the theorycrafting community gets something wrong, or right but heavily caveated and the caveat gets lost, and then you have this strange state where the community as a whole has a gospel that's factually incorrect.

But at the end of the day, you're in a group, and that group requires a specific minimum level of performance, therefore between peer pressure and mathematics, there's a heavy push towards conformity and the "correct" choice. If the designers won't--or can't--provide the information towards the players or even make some of their choices for them if the player opts into it, then the player will seek that information elsewhere. To be fair, even if the designers provided that information, the player might seek that information elsewhere, but is there anything the designers can do to reduce that need or requirement?

What to do?

If we're spit-balling, perhaps remove talents entirely, or making talents generally utility-only perhaps so there isn't a correct answer? Maybe provide default options--all passives because a player who doesn't want to think about the game will probably not play at a level sufficiently to use active talents to their maximum effectiveness.

If the designers can help solve or ameliorate this issue, it's a huge win for them because it means they're a step closer to interesting choices (or they've basically cut them from the game and no longer need to spend design time on them). But leaving it to the community to solve by itself probably won't solve anything.

Rather, they should use game design to help address the issue, and Celestalon's question probably stems from recognizing that. Heck, if they can "solve" it, you bet many other games would take note and follow suit. 

Rohan at Blessing of Kings has an interesting take on whether it's an issue to be "solved" at all.
#WorldOfWarcraft, #GameDesign

Sunday, December 6, 2015

[WoW] Artifact Weapons as Alternate Advancement

There's a little consternation in the community on Twitter at least that Artifact Weapon advancement is ultimately dull. Eventually you'll get everything, and it won't even take that long.
As far as I can fathom, there's two primary goals about Artifact Weapons that Blizzard wants to achieve:
  1. They want an alternate advancement method that goes beyond hitting level 110.
  2. They want to reward people for playing a specific spec (or just playing their character in general).
When Blizzard moved to the current talent system--which works better at end game in my opinion than the old talents did--they lost that zing when you ding. Even if it didn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, choosing where you put your talent point as you leveled felt good. It made you feel like you had direct input on the growth of your character.

At the end of the day with respecs it actually didn't matter. At all, really. But it gave you a sense of steady progress and the illusion of choice, which might be almost as good as actually having choice.

Blizzard tried to return that to us in the form of Draenor Perks, but because they were random, it didn't quite have the same oomph. So with Artifact Weapons, Blizzard returns us to the benefits of the old talent system, but not tying it to levels means we can continue advancing beyond 110, adding longevity to the advancement system.
Of course, in modern day gaming, there's no way they could lock you forever into specific choices, so you'll be able to unlock the entire tree eventually. This means that short of world first raiding, there probably isn't much "game" to deciding what you want first outside of, "Oooh, that sounds cool!" There's still an open question of respeccing your Artifact Weapon as you level it, but I'd be shocked if you couldn't reset the point distribution on it somehow.

If you're looking at Artifact Weapons as a way to add choices to your character and interesting Theorycrafting differences between paths, you're barking up the wrong tree, as that's clearly not what Blizzard intends for the Artifacts based on the info they've handed out. And once Legion is over? They can just bake the Artifacts into the specs baseline (or bits and pieces of them) and drop them for WoW 8.0.

The part that doesn't fit this is, of course, relics. This is where Theroycrafters will get to play mathmaker and determine which traits are the greatest for adding extra levels to. Of course, we might not get that much choice in the matter; do we know yet if relics will increase specific traits? Or subsets of traits that we can choose from? But it's a minor amount of customization, throwing TCs a bone if you will.

Overall, it's a nice alternative advancement system, but it's not nearly as complex as some folks wanted. But that's why we (ostensibly) have talents anyway. #WorldOfWarcraft, #Artifacts, #Legion

Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Do I Sound Gay?" Documentary; Thoughts and Reactions

Today I'm going blogging off-roading for a bit because I watched an interesting documentary that I feel I need to unpack and analyze.

The documentary, "Do I Sound Gay?" has been on my radar for quite some time, and I was excited to hear it was on Netflix. After seeing it, it was definitely good, but also rather difficult to watch at the same time. Aside from a couple of content warnings--news footage where they show a gay kid getting assaulted, and a couple of censored porn scenes as examples of hyper-masculinity in gay culture--David's story was also largely my story.

The Gay Voice

There's a definite "gay voice" that acts as a flag or a tell for many people. Sometimes erroneously, but fairly often it's accurate. Listening to someone, it's easy to hear certain affectations that sound "gay"--at least in North American culture, more on that later. I'm damn sure I sound gay, given I've been asked a few times when streaming if I was (the answer is yes, duh).

In the documentary, speech academics talk about certain tells, such as elongated 'S' sounds; overly-enounced 'T' or 'K' sounds; the voice tone sliding up into a sentence, or ending up when more masculine voices end down. All of which now I can clearly hear in my own speech in this Archimonde N kill video (surprise, we downed Archimonde last night! hooray!).

Of course, there's the question of why do I care? And is it really a bad thing?

Self-Hate, or Valid Concerns?

It's easy to dismiss the documentary early on as David being a self-hating gay--many of the reviewers do, and I know I was tempted to at the beginning as well. But at the same time, how much of that is rooted firmly in trying to pass as straight, to hide, not draw attention to oneself? When you spent most of your early life hiding in fear of getting beat up, or even killed, hiding is a pretty sensible maneuver.

Into adulthood, I know it's something that I've been concerned about when giving presentations to my peers. Are the other programmers going to take me seriously if I sound like a queer? Early in my career some of them evinced homophobic attitudes, but thankfully later in my career it hasn't seemed to much matter, which is a huge confidence booster. But these are totally valid questions to ask oneself, especially given research into female speech affectations being a liability in the corporate environment.

And then there's the fact that my voice apparently didn't always sound "gay." Mirroring David's experience, sometime during University my voice became more nasal, higher pitched. More from my throat and nose than from my chest. I knew this because my sister commented on it, wondering aloud if my singing voice would be different when my speaking voice had changed. I apparently never noticed the change, but then again it happened gradually for me, but "suddenly" for my sister.

Was it because I was mimicking the gay peers I generally didn't have growing up? Was I flaunting my sexuality as out and proud now that I didn't have to hide, over-compensating and camping it up? Where did that voice come from?

It's not so much a matter of, "Oh god, why did this happen to me?" as it is an intellectual curiosity at this stage of my life, but there were times when I was younger where I wish I could have code switched to a "straight masculine" voice more easily.

Fascinating Introspection

Something the documentary didn't touch on but I thought was an interesting bit of info is the whole speaking from the throat/nose vs. the chest. Both times I was in Australia, the standard way to talk in Sydney and Melbourne is from the throat it seemed--or at least it was easier to mimic the accent by speaking from the throat--and most voices tended to be higher than they are in North America. The documentary pays lip-service to this by having a couple of interviews with other language speakers, but never sits down to make a serious comparison, so I don't know if it's really extensible outside of this continent.

Overall, it was a fascinating documentary. One which tackles head on historical stereotypes, cultural contexts, and even the dangers that the gay voice can represent. Something a little different, but something pretty interesting in my personal opinion.
#Documentary #Sexuality #Gay

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

[IndieDev/EonAltar] 3200% Physics Performance Increase

There are certain numbers you pretty much never see in programming. You're often pretty pleased when you can get an algorithm performing 25% - 50% faster. Once or twice in your career, you might nail a mind-boggling number like 3200%. Not a typo.

Green wireframes indicate colliders.
In Eon Altar, we use physics colliders for just about every type of interaction you can think of. Actors and the movement cage to keep them on-screen; turning environment rendering occluders on/off; determining when actors are in melee range of other actors; quest triggers; snapping the movement marker to interactable objects; raycasting the movement marker to the ground; occluding ranged attacks; when to change the camera angle/position; and so on.

My list of systems that had physics colliders, and what they interacted with.
With the sheer number of things we use colliders for, the physics system can get really bogged down really quickly. Whereas the engine can cull geometry that's not visible in an active viewport--for example, when a statue goes off screen, the engine isn't spending time and resources rendering that statue: there's no point--that's not the case for physics objects. If the statue has any physics components, they must be calculated. Things off screen absolutely can and should still run in the physics simulation as they can possibly affect things on screen.

Colliders that don't touch other colliders, or don't move, don't cost much to maintain. However, the more contact points colliders have, the more expensive the calculations get. In Eon Altar, before optimizations, an average level would have upwards of 2000 active colliders, with over 8000 contact points every frame. This bogged the system down to about 10 FPS on a good machine. It dipped to 2 - 5 FPS on crappy machines.

This is a small piece of E1S2, The Portal Obstinate. You can see the actors, plus colliders all over the place.
So the end result was clear, we needed to reduce the number of active colliders at any given moment, and when colliders were active, we needed to reduce the number of contact points. Believe it or not, reducing the contact points was actually the easier of the two tasks.

Unity has a pretty handy feature where you can tell it to only have colliders on specific layers contact colliders on other specific layers. For example, the UI colliders need never interact with say, camera colliders because those two systems never interact with each other. Below you can see the default setting in Unity: everything colliding with everything else.

This is the default, and the default is dumb.
This is clearly not what we wanted. I told my boss, Ed, that I needed 3 days of alone time to break down the system and re-design it. At the end of the third day, if I hadn't received the kiss of True Love from my prince, I'd turn back into a mermaid.

However, making it system-wide that only certain layers interact with other layers was easy, once I figured out what layers had to interact with what other layers (which was seriously the hard part, as it required a lot of thinking/designing/researching code). Add to that code to ensure certain components are on specific layers to make them designer-proof--because you don't want to rely on the designers (or programmers for that matter) remembering "rules", that path leads to bugs and heartbreak--and boom, you've significantly reduced the number of contact points even for colliders that are overlapping, as they may not contact at all if their layers don't interact.

Interaction diagram. Note that some layers interact with themselves, but many don't. One layer may interact with a second layer, but the second layer may not interact with the first, which is a subtle but powerful feature for reducing collision calls.
A much more sparse physics layer setup. This is slightly evolved from the above diagram, so they may not match 1:1.
That alone netted us an 800% - 1600% increase in frame rate, depending on the level.

The second trick was to create "Encounter Zones". Giant colliders that turned a bunch of objects in the hierarchy on or off when the party encountered them. The idea being we don't need a bunch of AI or colliders running if the party is nowhere near them. So everything from enemies to traps to loot to interaction points get grouped up in these Encounter Zones, and when the party gets close enough, voila, everything appears!

This caused some other issues, like having to create a method to slowly load NPCs over time (because initializing an actor is really expensive, and if you initialize 15 actors in a single frame, that frame is going to last on the order of seconds), but for the most part it did the job rather admirably. 

Adding in that gave us another 200% - 400% performance increase depending on the level, so in theory, in the worst levels, we could have been looking at upwards of a 6400% total framerate increase, but in practice I measured a 3200% increase in some of the worst parts of some levels.


Granted, these are things we probably should have implemented off the bat, so it's not quite as impressive as I'm making it out to be, but that's sort of the breaks when you only had 2 - 3 programmers making an indie game and way too much to do to keep other people like design unblocked.

Sadly, these sorts of optimizations took a backseat to feature work until design was all, "WTF the game runs so slow!" and engineering was all, "Whelp, time to put features on hold/cut them and fix this issue instead."

Not that the situation was anyone's fault per se, but the reason we got into situations like that was partly because we had not enough programmers and not enough time to finish infrastructure versus feature work, and partly that nobody on the team at the time had shipped a product from scratch, so we didn't necessarily know we'd hit these situations--though I'll be honest, the physics overhaul had been on my list for months and it was just a matter of waiting until it was unbearable such that I could tell folks to leave me alone while I worked my magic. It also ended up being easier, I think, that most of the systems had been implemented and I could holistically solve the system instead of doing it piecemeal over time.

But at the end of the day, it got fixed up, and it's super solid now. Programmers have to remember that new components with colliders need to have their layers thought about (and we have a wiki with guidelines and instructions), but designers can just use the tools and it all does the right thing, which is pretty awesome.
#IndieDev #EonAltar #GameDevelopment

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

[WoW] The Talented Mr. Enhancement Shaman - Datamined Talents and Thoughts

Thanks to WoWHead, MMO-Champ, etc. we now have a lot of datamined information. With the alpha client actually accessible to some folks (not me, though), I'll be working on the assumption that the new talents that were datamined actually somewhat reflect what's currently in the alpha client.

NOTE: The datamined information is not final. Numbers may change, abilities may change. Heck, half this stuff might've already been altered on some internal test server Blizzard runs. Take everything below with a large grain of salt. I won't be focusing on damage numbers too much.

You can find the Enhancement Shaman talents here:

Before I dive in, from a high level there doesn't seem to be much in the way of spenders (as mattH also pointed out on the previous post in the comments). 3 AoEs, 1 interrupt, and 1 big hit plus vulnerability debuff on the target. Our primary rotation largely doesn't change either. I see nothing in the talents that alleviate any of my concerns in my previous posts.

Warning: This is going to be a really long post.

Rehashing the Basics

Before I dive into the talents, let's just cover the basics that Blizzard revealed in the class previews and what's in the datamined information:

Rockbiter is our primary attack. It's a 10yd free instant spell that deals Nature damage and generates 15 Maelstrom. Spam this when we need to generate Maelstrom and we have empty GCDs.

Flametongue is our maintenance buff plus some damage on the target, 10yd, free, instant, Fire damage. It "enhances" our weapons (this is important to an unannounced mechanic that was datamined, more on that below), and basically acts as the ye olde Flametongue, dealing fire damage normalized by weapon speed.

Stormstrike is our big hit. 60 Maelstrom, melee only, 16s cooldown. Deals about 4x as much damage as Rockbiter, and just under 3x as much damage as Lava Lash as datamined (both before Mastery)

Lava Lash is our Maelstrom dump. 30 Maelstrom, melee only, no cooldown. Deals about 1.5x as much damage as Rockbiter.

We generate 5 Maelstrom per melee hit, Windfury still exists, and Stormfury sometimes procs, allowing us a 30 Maelstrom Stormstrike + 60 Maelstrom Stormstrike back-to-back. See my Maelstrom Power post for calcs about Maelstrom generation.

Our opening rotation is basically FT->RB->RB->RB->SS->RB->RB->LL->RB->RB->FT->..., ignoring the fact that we want to hit ~70ish Maelstrom ASAP to pool for Stormfury procs.

Note the significant number of Rockbiters. Note that the number of Rockbiters will go down as our Haste goes up (as we get more auto-attacks which means more Maelstrom generation). Also note how simple it is, especially compared to our previous rotation. Blizzard is on record stating they want to reduce the number of sources of our damage, but 4+Auto Attack is getting a little silly in terms of simplicity.

The Talented Mr. Shaman

Let's dig in without further ado.

The Enhancing Weapons Tier

Windsong is a 15s maintenance buff, with a 30s cooldown, with a slightly more powerful than Rockbiter damage component. Similar to Flametongue, except instead of extra fire damage, it increases attack speed by 50% (so if you have perfect uptime, it amounts to a 25% average attack speed bonus). A 25% attack speed bonus increases Maelstrom generation by a decent amount, but since it's only auto-attacks, this only helps if you have few Rockbiter casts. I could see this being useful if you have ways to reduce your overall Rockbiter casts.

Spiritual Resonance is passive, and increases the Maelstrom generated by Rockbiter and Feral Spirits by 10. I fully expect that 10 to go down because a 66% increase in Maelstrom generation via Rockbiter is massive. It radically alters our rotation and removes pretty much a full Rockbiter cast every set (ie: FT->RB->RB->SS->RB->LL->RB->LL->RB->LL->RB->FT->...).

Passive, plus a better Maelstrom generator than Windsong means that Windsong will probably lose unless it gets a relatively large damage component as well, OR it can generate 15 Maelstrom like Rockbiter can, basically allowing us to slot it into our rotation subbing it for Rockbiter without any loss.

Fists of Stone is a 10s DPS mini-cooldown on a 30s cooldown timer, increasing Crit by 10% and all damage by 5%, but reducing Attack Speed by 50% and movement speed by 50%. If you have a chance to hunker down for a short period of time, this allows you to boost your DPS. Except the attack speed decrease lowers your auto-attack DPS and reduces the amount of Maelstrom you generate. I can see sort of why Blizzard built this talent, but as is I don't see anyone taking it. I fully expect a balance pass to increase the damage dealt and/or reduce/remove the attack speed decrease.

Overall I see Windsong and Spirtual Resonance being somewhat competitive with some number tweaks, but Spirtual Resonance feels like the winner largely because it's passive. The active abilities need to be better than the passive, or everybody will take the passive. Fists of Stone needs to go back to the drawing board.

The Movement Tier

Gust of Wind looks like Shaman Blink. 15s cooldown, no cost.

Feral Lunge is a gap closer in Ghost Wolf only which basically is a Charge +  Stormstrike opener. Interesting that it can only be used in Ghost Wolf, though brings up something strange where it might be worth the 2 GCDs to Ghost Wolf and Feral Lunge on cooldown because it's a free Stormstrike (and SS does 4x as much damage as Rockbiter). I really like it though because it does address the whole issue where we require Maelstrom to use Stormstrike as our opener when traditionally SS has been our opening move. I also enjoy that it's tied to Ghost Wolf, and gives us a way to get adds or back to the boss after a heavy movement phase.

Overall this talent is A+ awesome for me, but the damage component is worrisome as it encourages weird rotation shenanigans, and probably makes it strictly better than Gust of Wind.

Wind Rush Totem is basically Feral Roar (a group speed buff), except with a Shaman Totem twist. The totem lasts for 15 seconds and boosts allies' movement within 10yd by 60% for 5s. Can you imagine having this totem for the dance on Will of the Emperor?

A solid tier, though Feral Lunge is going to be default, with Wind Rush probably chosen for specific encounters. Gust of Wind isn't strong enough against Feral Lunge to be worthwhile in my opinion. Ghost Wolf and walking out of the bad is usually sufficient, and then you can Feral Lunge right back. Why bother with Shaman Blink?

The Crowd Control Tier

Lightning Surge Totem is Capacitor Totem renamed and made a talent rather than default.

Earthgrab Totem is the same as it ever was.

Voodoo Totem replaces Hex and basically acts as an AoE Hex, which is pretty neat.

Something to note here is that Enhancement seems to have lost all of its totems from its kit aside from talents. No more Healing Stream, no more Magma Totem, no more Earthbind, no more Tremor Totem. All gone. Talents are the only way to get them back. So I guess that's one way to deal with the fact we won't have free GCDs for utility: remove our utility. Maybe it's a datamining error, but both wowdb and wowhead show the same thing.

Otherwise this tier seems pretty solid. You'll take the totem that makes the most sense for a given encounter.

The Self-Buff Tier

Lightning Shield is now a talent, and it costs a variable amount of Maelstrom to deal damage to random enemies within 10 yards. The base cost of 20 Maelstrom plus 5 per second is pretty hefty for what seems like a pittance of damage, but that's just tuning. It's basically single target Liquid Magma by the looks of things.

Ancestral Swiftness is now only what Enhancement Shaman took it for in the first place: the passive haste/attack speed buff.

Landslide is a new ability that makes Rockbiter "enhance" your weapon, increasing Attack Power by 20%.

Unless you're swimming in Maelstrom, I don't know if Lightning Shield is going to be a great talent to choose. If you're doing AoE damage, you'll be wanting to spend your Maelstrom on Crash Lighting + LL/SS. If you're doing single-target damage, you're spending 7.5 Maelstrom per GCD to deal a very small amount of damage. This needs a significant buff to be worthwhile.

Ancestral Swiftness will increase your Maelstrom generation along with your passive DPS, versus Landslide which will basically provide a flat 20% attack power increase given how often we cast Rockbiter. The "enhance" your weapon mentioned there (which I still have to explain!) is a useless keyword, as Flametongue's uptime should be 100% already.

Overall, a really boring tier. Harkens back to the talent trees of old.

The First Cooldown Tier

Tempest modifies the Stormfury proc to give 2 Stormstrikes with no cooldown and 30 Maelstrom cost. Sort of a variant on the old Echo of the Elements. If Stormstrike hits proc Maelstrom generation, then if we have 90+ banked, we should be able to take advantage of all three Stormstrikes back-to-back. But 90 Maelstrom banked means you're probably losing Maelstrom. Still, given just how powerful Stormstrike is this could be a decent choice if you have enough Mastery to boost the proc rate.

Spiritual Affinity reduces the cooldown of Feral Spirits by 60 seconds, basically halving it (or the 100 talent, Feral Kin). So every 60 seconds you can have 15s of Spirit Wolves. Something to note is that Feral Spirit is our only major DPS cooldown now (Ascendance is a talent, and no more Fire Elemental for us), and it is effectively a mini-bloodlust, increasing Haste by 50% while active, and also generating 5 Maelstrom per second.

This talent works out to an average increase of 12.5% Haste if you use Feral Spirit on cooldown (and with a 1-minute cooldown you really should be). It's far less effective for Feral Kin to the point where it's not worth even looking at if you're running Feral Kin. It really needs to halve the cooldown rather than reduce by a static 60 seconds.

Sundering is a 60 Maelstrom AoE with a knock-side effect, good for interrupting en-masse normally uninterruptible mobs. The damage on it is a pittance, and I expect that to get buffed significantly.

Sundering is a special case, I expect either Tempest or Spiritual Affinity to be the defaults here. It depends on how the math shakes down, though. I'm sure there'll be a Mastery inflection where ~12.5% extra Haste is overtaken by Tempest's extra Stormstrike per Stormfury proc, but that's a far more complex calculation than I care to do right now.

The AoE Tier (Plus a Stun)

Fury of Air is what Lightning Shield aspires to be but fails miserably, which makes me think the Lightning Shield talent is completely unfinished. 20 Maelstrom plus 5/s for up to 10 seconds of 8 yard wind AoE damage. Also slows enemies down so it's harder for them to leave the vortex. Expensive as heck, but does a lot of damage. If you need significant on-demand burst AoE, assuming you have the Maelstrom, this is probably your talent.

Crashing Storm increases the range on Crash Lighting (which is melee range, blech) by 4 yards. I'm a little underwhelmed by Crash Lightning now that I know it's melee range. This talent gives it a bit more leeway (though we don't know if it increases the range of the SS/LL cleave as well).

Stonefist Strike is a proper stun, 30s cooldown, 30 Maelstrom, and deals extra damage if the enemy is unstunnable. Lava Lash should do more damage still, I think, so I doubt you'd want to use Stonefist Strike on unstunnable enemies. But hey, we finally have a real stun!

Crashing Storm feels underwhelming. I expect Stonefist Strike or Fury of Air will be the choices depending on if you need stuns or AoEs.

The Second Cooldown Tier

Ascendance got turned into a talent. Now a 10 minute cooldown, and lasts for 1 minute, but otherwise the same as our old Ascendance. It's underwhelming except for possibly anything that has a long ranged-only phase, as we can sub Lightning Bolt for Lava Lash as our Maelstrom dump, though without Flametongue and Rockbiter being upped to 30 yards, this is of limited utility still. It's awkward.

Feral Kin doubles the length of Feral Spirits, but increases the cooldown 150%. Short of trying to line it up for longer with Bloodlust, I don't see much point. This is likely not the final form of this talent.

Earthen Spike hits harder than Stormstrike (!!!) at 10 yards on a 20 second cooldown for 30 Maelstrom. It also increases the Nature and Physical damage taken by the target by 10% for 10 seconds. I'm expecting this to be a typo, or work similar to how Stormstrike only debuffs the enemy for the Enhancement Shaman today. Otherwise an Enhancement Shaman will be required for raiding and will be required to take this talent.

I expect Earthen Spike will be the default, but this tier is really wonky overall; all 3 talents need work. Clearly unfinished.

Other Datamined Changes

As mentioned above, Feral Spirits is now our only DPS cooldown, and acts as a shorter super-powered Bloodlust every time they show up (plus bonus Maelstrom generation!) making them quite powerful. But Ascendance is now a talent, and no more Elementals for Enhancement.

All of our totems are gone, and along with them most of our utility. It sort of solves the issue of throwing out utility in empty GCDs if we don't have much utility left.

Lightning Bolt and Healing Surge still exist, and scale based on Maelstrom spent. I wouldn't suggest spending Maelstrom on Lightning Bolt though unless you can't reach the target for an extended period of time. Even with spending 20 Maelstrom, the damage is so anemic that you're probably better off waiting. Lightning Bolt is instant baseline though. Healing Surge has a 2 second cast time.

Frost Shock got replaced by Frostbrand, which is literally the same. Just a new name.

Crash Lightning is our cleave, and turns Stormstrike and Lava Lash into a cleave for 10 seconds as well as long as Crash Lightning hit 2+ targets. A little underwhelming, as now we have to be in their face like a Warrior does.

Flurry still reduces the global cooldown of a bunch of melee abilities using Haste, but it still lists a bunch of old abilities that are gone so take that with a grain of salt.


Stormlash is a passive ability that looks really neat, and really concerning. As long as your weapons are "enhanced", whenever you attack there's a 5% chance to enhance up to 2 allies or yourself, causing attacks and spellcasts to deal additional Nature damage.

Basically, it turns you into a ye olde Stormlash totem, along with all of the problems that Stormlash totem brought before they axed it in Warlords. It's a unique buff, so stacking Enhancement Shaman might be a thing. It's also boring, it's passive, and thanks to Flametongue your weapons should be enhanced 100% of the time unless you're really bad at uptime.

This ability either needs to go, or needs to change significantly. I like the concept of buffing my allies, but making it passive feels really lame. I'd rather it just go away rather than being a passive effect. Or turn it into a talent or an active spell. That'd be fantastic. But as is? Nope. Not interested.

Overall Thoughts

With some talents, and the Feral Spirits cooldown, I think Maelstrom as a resource will yo-yo a bit faster than Rage does on a Fury Warrior (hopefully), which will keep a more fast and furious feel that Enhancement is today, which is nice.

Overall, however, we're still just magic Warriors. We have Bladestorm, Charge, Colossus Smash, and a Stun in our talents; we have a spammable generator, and both a major attack and a rage Maelstrom dump; we seem to have lost most of our utility which set us apart from other melee classes; our spell casting range has been reduced significantly (from 25yd to 10yd in nearly all cases).

I'll still wait for more implementation to occur as the class is clearly in the early stages of development. They're basically recreating Enhancement from scratch, the ground up. Ambitious, really. But I'll be honest, the direction that Enhancement is heading in doesn't really interest me long term. I said it before and I'll say it again: I liked Enhancement because we were a spell caster who was capable in melee, using our melee to super power our spells.

I'm trying to stay positive, or at least neutral. Let it be said again that I really enjoy the direction Holy Paladins are taking, so it's not like I hate everything about Legion.

I don't have anything against the spellsword concept; I actually really like the concept. I just dislike the fact that the only spell/melee hybrid class got gutted for this new concept. The reasons I play Enhancement keep getting whittled away in this redesign. But I suppose they're finally making good on their promise to simplify the class.
#WorldOfWarcraft, #Shaman, #Legion

Monday, November 16, 2015

[WoW] Are Maelstrom Weapon and Maelstrom Power All That Different?

I've doing a fair amount of thinking on Blizzard's Enhancement Shaman preview, and the gut reaction of myself (and much of the community) is that we're turning into magic Fury Warriors. But I want to put on my designer cap for a few minutes and break down how the two mechanics ostensibly work and see if they're actually all that different.

A review for those who aren't aware of one or either mechanic (which are frankly, mildly complex). Note that I'm deliberately "renaming" Blizzard's Maelstrom to Maelstrom Power to better differentiate it from Maelstrom Weapon for the purposes of this discussion.

Maelstrom Weapon (Today)

A buff that stacks to 5. Each melee swing/attack has a chance to generate 1 stack of Maelstrom Weapon (MW). Currently today that includes a number of abilities, plus Windfury, a random event that deals 3 melee weapon attacks simultaneously.

Each stack of the buff reduces the cast time and mana cost of Nature spells by 20% and increases damage/healing done by said spell 10%, meaning a full 5 stacks makes your next Nature spell free and instant for +50% damage/healing, consuming up to 5 stacks of the buff. You lose any stacks generated above 5, so you need to spend that 5 stack immediately.

Note that a special set of armour will increase the maximum stacks to 10, and increase the damage of Nature spells by an additional 12% per stack of MW consumed (for a grand total of 22% per stack).

Maelstrom Power (Tomorrow)

A resource that stacks to 100? (I'm going to assume 100 for now). Each melee attack generates 5 Maelstrom Power (MP). This includes Windfury, a random event that deals 3 melee weapon attacks simultaneously. Judging by the text "When you deal damage with a melee weapon" this seems to include abilities that spend MP and have a melee weapon component (ie: Stormstrike and Lava Lash).

Certain abilities now cost MP specifically (i.e.: Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Sundering), and others generate it specifically (i.e.: Rockbiter). You lose any MP generated above 100, so you need to spend some immediately when you approach maximum.

Thanks to Stormfury random events, you'll want to ensure you have at least 70 Maelstrom Power banked (or more) to be able to capitalize on the event and get two Stormstrikes out back-to-back.

An Abstract Viewpoint

Let's pretend that instead of 5 stacks, Maelstrom Weapon was actually a value that went up to 50, and each MW proc gave you 10 MW value. Spells would still eat up to 50 MW, and have their cast time/mana cost reduced and damage/healing increased based on the amount of MW consumed. Now, toss in the special set of armor to bring that up to 100 MW maximum, and spells can still consume up to 50. You want to sit at around 50 so you can get two big spells out back-to-back when needed.

That's...starting to look an awful lot like Maelstrom Power. In fact, all we have to do is change MW procs to always just give us 5 MW instead of sometimes giving 10, and boom, now we have Maelstrom Power.

So from a high level abstract viewpoint, MW and MP are actually pretty similar mechanically. MP prevents bad luck streaks as we always generate a floor of 5 MP per weapon swing, even if we never proc Windfury or cast any spells to generate MP. Add to that spammable Rockbiter, and we have unprecedented control over our Maelstrom generation.

As Wordup mentioned in his FinalBossTV interview, Maelstrom Power as designed can be super swingy. A single 2.5s global cooldown (GCD) can net us 5 MP from main-hand, 5 MP from off-hand, 15 MP from Windfury, and 15 MP from Rockbiter. That's 40 Maelstrom when we get lucky (~12% of main hand attacks with average gear, apparently). Though, that's not any different from Maelstrom Weapon today. Stormstrike generates 2 melee hits, and can still proc Windfury, plus two auto-attacks meaning a total of 7 possible stacks of Maelstrom Weapon in a single GCD. But if you got 7 stacks in a single GCD, you should go buy a lottery ticket.

So all in all, the big difference between the two seems to be Maelstrom Power is more consistent, Maelstrom Power can be manually generated via Rockbiter, and how the two are spent.


In the old world, Maelstrom Weapon is spent on spells. Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Healing Surge, and Healing Rain all have instant cast time with zero mana cost when consuming 5 stacks of MW. We use our melee attacks to generate Maelstrom Weapon to blast our enemies and heal our allies with big instant spells. We can still cast those spells if we have no MW, but they'll be expensive, slow, and hit way weaker.

In the new world, Maelstrom Power is spent on melee attacks. Stormstrike, Lava Lash, and other abilities yet to be released are castable only via MP. We use our spells and auto-attacks to generate Maelstrom Power to blast our enemies with big spell-powered melee hits (and heal our allies,. ostensibly, but those details are minimal). No MP, though, can't cast the ability.

Maelstrom Weapon allowed us to be flexible. Most of our attacks were still available (cooldown based), so we weren't hamstrung without MW stacks, but our spellcasting was largely driven by MW stacks. But if we wanted to dump our limited mana pool into Healing Surge or Lightning Bolt spam we could.

Stormstrike and Lava Lash? Need that Maelstrom, or you can't cast them at all. We have fewer options when we have no Maelstrom than we did before, but at the same time, we should generate Maelstrom far more consistently.

Jury's still out on Maelstrom Power with respect to spellcasting. The devs on Twitter have mentioned that Healing Surge and Lightning Bolt would be available to Enhancement, and they'd be like Elemental's where they take 0 - 20 Maelstrom (though how that affects the cast for Enhancement is unknown). It also is a question of how effective are they going to be at 0 Maelstrom? When we had mana, we'd run out quickly if we were spamming Healing Surge, so there was a natural limit to that. With a 0 MP version, they're going to have to either neuter it pretty severely, or put a cooldown on it or something.

Healing spells currently are basically limited by our mana pool (and the fact that our healing sucks without MW stacks). Having that dual resource system works for the hybrid caster because we have a limitation somewhere in the system. With moving to a single resource, we lose that limitation, so some other action needs to be taken by the designers to fix that. Otherwise we'll have PvP matches where the Enhancement Shaman hides behind a pillar and heals to maximum.

Final Thoughts

The Maelstrom Power mechanic seems solid enough, though by giving us more control we're still basically blue bar Fury Warriors, my opinion doesn't really change on that after closer examination. And by giving us more control, the devs had to make Maelstrom mean something more than just free/instant spell casts. So they've turned the class on its head and made all of our heavy hitting stuff tied to Maelstrom rather than only the spells.

I still don't like the "fantasy" that Blizzard has presented for the class. What made us special was that we could cast spells, and we were a true hybrid in the sense that we could throw out the occasional awesome heal or the occasional awesome spell. I like our frenetic cooldown-based primary rotation, and now I'll have to stare at the Maelstrom bar to keep track of when I can use abilities.

I actually detest that about the current 4 piece tier armor that makes our Maelstrom Weapon stack to 10. Now I have to carefully watch that resource rather than just slamming the spell I want when it hits 5 stacks. Mind, with our primary rotation simplifying, that leaves mental throughput for tracking the resource bar.

At the end of it all, despite Maelstrom Weapon and Maelstrom Power being similar with respect to building, it's our core rotation and Maelstrom spending that changes drastically. Today most of our complexity is in the rotation, and Maelstrom Weapon gives us some extra options on occasion. Blizzard is removing the complexity in the base rotation, and moving it all into how Maelstrom Power works. In their quest to give each class a distinct "fantasy" and to make every class easy to learn, hard to master, they're homogenizing resource mechanics, and it still rankles a week later. What makes us different mechanically seems to be lost. I'm still waiting to see what they drop for talents and non-core abilities, but I'm still wavering between nonplussed and upset.
#WorldOfWarcraft, #Shaman, #Legion

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

[WoW] Enhancement Preview: Not Sure if an Enhancement?

More class previews, go! Enhancement is up, and, well, while I was ecstatic over Holy Paladins, I'm not actually very happy about Enhancement at first blush. Let's dive right in.

Shared Shaman Changes

A few changes affect all Shaman, and they're pretty sweet quality of life changes, for the most part.
  • Totems of the same nature type can now be summoned together, allowing you to have Healing Stream Totem and Healing Tide Totem up at the same time. 
  • Elementals are no longer tied to totems, but are guardians that follow and assist you.
  • Totems’ maximum health will always equal a percentage of your maximum health.
  • Totems that need to be placed at a specific location will be directly placed using a targeting reticle.
Love that Elementals can't be totem stomped anymore, and the rest is just basically rolling in the totem tier of talents into totems baseline. Good moves here.

Old, New, and Changed Abilities
To give you an idea of the Enhancement Shaman in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
  • Rockbiter
    10 yd range, Instant
    Assault your target with earthen power, dealing moderate Nature damage, and generating 15 Maelstrom.
  • Flametongue
    10 yd range, Instant, 12 sec cooldown
    Scorch your target with fiery power, dealing moderate Fire damage, and enhancing your weapons.
    Each of your weapon attacks cause up to minor additional Fire damage, based on weapon speed. Lasts 16 sec.
  • Windfury
    Each of your main-hand attacks has a 7% chance of triggering three extra attacks, dealing minor Physical damage.
  • Lava Lash
    30 Maelstrom, Melee Range, Instant
    Charge your off-hand weapon with lava and strike your target, dealing strong Fire damage.
  • Stormstrike
    60 Maelstrom, Melee Range, Instant, 16 sec cooldown
    Energize your weapons with lightning and deliver a massive blow to your target, dealing heavy Physical damage.
  • Maelstrom Weapon
    When you deal damage with a melee weapon, you generate 5 Maelstrom.
  • Stormfury
    Each of your attacks has a 2% chance to cause Stormfury, resetting the cooldown on Stormstrike, and causing your next Stormstrike to cost 50% less Maelstrom and to trigger no cooldown.
  • Mastery: Enhanced Elements
    Increases the chance for Stormfury and Windfury to trigger by 5% (with Mastery from typical gear), and increases all Fire and Nature damage done by 40% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of an Enhancement-specific talent:
  • Sundering
    60 Maelstrom, Instant, 20 sec cooldown
    Shatter a line of earth before you, causing strong Physical damage and knocking enemies to the side.
Hold on for analysis, because a lot of the above makes little sense to discuss until we've covered Enhancement's new resource:


Enhancement and Elemental lost all of their standard resources (mana, LS charges, MW charges) in favour of Maelstrom, which best I can tell is basically just a blue Fury bar. For Enhancement, melee hits charge it (5 per melee hit, including Windfury procs), as do certain spells, like the new spammable Rockbiter ability (which is basically just a short range Maelstrom generating Earth Shock). You then spend that Maelstrom on melee finishers, like Stormstrike and Lava Lash.

Wait, what?
The identity of the Enhancement Shaman is cool, but we don’t feel that the mechanics do well to establish that. We want this spec to be more than a melee-range Elemental Shaman, while having a distinct “Battle Mage” feel. Enhancement’s niche focuses on dishing out devastating spells and punishing strikes at melee range to destroy their enemy. Rather than leaving you with a multitude of buttons, many of which are inconsequential, we’re emphasizing empowering your weapons and allies in the fray.
Instead of having melee abilities charge our resource for cool spells, we now use spells to charge our resource for cool melee abilities. I'm not sure why they didn't believe the current Enhancement didn't deliver on the "battle mage" aspect, but I'm not really convinced that turning our spec on its head fulfills it any better. Though, they did mention they were updating melee animations, so we'll see if they look super awesome.

Rotation and Interactions

So how does all this add up?

The basic rotation is basically going to be keep Flametongue up, Rockbiter spam to generate Maelstrom (alongside your auto-attacks/windfury procs), and then spend it on Stormstrike, or Lava Lash if you're close to capping and SS isn't off cooldown yet. Which is basically a Fury Warrior, except blue.

We won't have empty GCDs anymore, because empty GCDs should be filled with Rockbiter to generate more Maelstrom. This is going to make using totems or other buffs/situational abilities an even bigger trade-off than they are today. We no longer have room for utility, we're taking a DPS loss (doubly-so if we're spending Maelstrom on off-healing, but that's no different than Maelstrom Weapon today).

Talents may provide extra finishers for you to spend Maelstrom on (ie: Sundering), but unless you're generating enough Maelstrom, you won't get to use those finishers very often. I've run the numbers, you end up getting something like ~18ish - 20ish Maelstrom every Rockbiter GCD at 2.5s swing timers, but that number will get tweaked so I won't fixate on it too much, but the gist is that the more Maelstrom we generate, the more finishers we can perform.

Secondary Stats

This is going to make Haste even more important than it was previously, as more Haste means more swings, and more swings means more Maelstrom. It also means more Windfury procs per minute, and if Rockbiter is a spell GCD rather than a melee GCD, it also means shorter GCDs. Haste will become king.

Mastery also increases Maelstrom generation, but only with respect to Windfury procs, so it won't be quite as powerful. Mind you, Mastery still increases nature and fire damage, and also increases Stormfury procs, so Mastery is still a decent DPS boost, but doing more will probably beat doing less but harder.

Critical strike and versatility will still probably be ignorable, largely.

The Stormfury Wrinkle

Stormfury states, "Each of your attacks has a 2% chance to cause Stormfury (increased by Mastery), resetting the cooldown on Stormstrike, and causing your next Stormstrike to cost 50% less Maelstrom and to trigger no cooldown."

Resetting the Stormstrike cooldown is neat. You'll pretty much always have at least 30 Maelstrom banked, and being able to replace a Lava Lash in your rotation with a Stormstrike will be a great way to introduce variety in the rotation. However, what concerns me is that said 30-Maelstrom Stormstrike won't trigger the cooldown.

That means to make the most of your Stormfury procs, you'll want 90 Maelstrom banked at all times in case you get a proc. 30 for the first half-price Stormstrike, and 60 for the second full-price but still off cooldown Stormstrike. Depending on the maximum Maelstrom, this could be really awkward (especially if it's 100, because I bet money it'll be 100). Going over 100 means you lose that Maelstrom generated, but you'll feel like you're behind or punished or unable to take advantage of the Stormfury proc if you're scrambling to collect that 60 extra Maelstrom when you weren't prepared for it because you expected a 16s cooldown on Stormstrike and Stormfury procced at the 5s mark.

I'd actually vote to remove the "and to trigger no cooldown" portion because that's going to feel really awkward. Procs should make you excited, not anxious.

Doubling Down on the "Melee" Part

Another thing I noticed is that all of our ranged spells are down to 10 yards. Enhancement traditionally felt mobile and great because we could opt to spell-sling at a distance for a short period. Other melee classes were stuck, but we could keep a decent 30% of our DPS going for a few seconds at range with Lightning Bolt, Flame and Frost Shock (and Searing Totem).

We lost most of that. 10 yards isn't very far, and while I suppose Blizzard doesn't like the overlap with Elemental, it helped differentiate us from other melee classes. We lose some versatility with this new model. It focuses on the melee part of "melee battle mage", at the expense of the "mage" part. Which is a similar complaint that I have with turning our spec on its head to use spells to fuel melee, rather than melee to fuel spells.

We still will have Lightning Bolt, but since it's not in the core part of our rotation, is it spammable? Cooldown? Cast time? Relative damage? Many questions here, but ultimately we lost a bunch of tools.

On-Demand Burst? Worse.

With the changes, Enhancement burst damage gets reduced. We lose our initial burst that we're capable of today. With Stormstrike, and to a lesser extent, Lava Lash as our primary damage outputs, today we can use them up front, allowing us to take out small things with ease and jump into our rotation immediately. Tomorrow, we'd need to build 60 Maelstrom to use our first Stormstrike. That's a minimum of 3 GCDs before we can make our major attack.

This can possibly be mitigated by allowing us a talent to use for an on-demand Maelstrom gain (like a 2 minute cooldown or something), but still, it's bad enough that our current AoE rotation needs a 3 GCD wind-up, our single-target rotation also requiring that is super not fun.

Smoothing the Damage Curve
Rather than leaving you with a multitude of buttons, many of which are inconsequential.
Right now Stormstrike does about 3x - 5x as much damage as Frost Shock, and Lava Lash just a little bit less than that. We're basically biding our time until we can hit SS or LL on live right now, which feels kinda awful because waiting. So I agree with Blizzard that building towards is better than waiting for off-cooldown.

In the new Enhancement, Stormstrike is a 16s cooldown, and takes twice as much Maelstrom as Lava Lash does (which is spammable). That means that Stormstrike will have to do equal to or more damage than 2 Lava Lashes less a Rockbiter to make it worthwhile to cast.

Say Rockbiter does 50 damage, with a 1.5s spell GCD. Lava Lash needs to do at least 34 damage to compete with it, or more than 50 damage to compete with it at enough Haste to bring the GCD down to 1s, but then why not just spam Rockbiter because it's just as good, so let's say Lava Lash does 60 damage (both are affected by Mastery, so let's ignore that for a second).

So then we know that Stormstrike needs to do at least 70 damage (60 + 60 - 50) to be better than Lava Lash. Except Stormstrike isn't affected by Mastery, so it has to basically be better than Lava Lash with stacked Mastery or you just drop it from your rotation. If "average" Mastery for +Fire damage is 40%, the Stormstrike needs to do at least 84 damage per shot. So basically, Stormstrike needs to hit at least 68% harder than Rockbiter, at a bare minimum.

That's still much better than the current which is Stormstrike hitting 200% - 400% harder than our filler today, so the damage curve should be a fair bit smoother than it is right now on live. So we lose our on-demand burst, but should be more consistent damage-wise from fight to fight.

I'm not actually sure that's better. It's a thing. I have no idea if I feel that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Final Thoughts

I don't like it. We're missing a lot of information, such as what precisely AoE will look like--though as per the tweet below, we have an idea, though how much Maelstrom it costs to set up the AoE combo makes me think we're still going to need 4+ GCDs to set up AoE-- we don't know what talents exist to fill out the complexity in our rotation, and final numbers such as Maelstrom generation will get tweaked.

But we lose a lot of what I personally liked about Enhancement: the ability to play ranged caster for short periods of time, lots of utility with occasional room in our rotation to use it instead of a crappy filler ability, casting awesome spells (hit, hit, parry, dodge, hit, boom lightning bolt to the face!) which we lose in favour of casting crappy spells to fuel awesome melee (rockbite, rockbite, rockbite, boom Stormstrike!), and our Maelstrom Weapon resource got turned into a Rage bar, with a builder, a big spender with a cooldown, and a small spender if we're capping, maelstrom. Because if I wanted to play a warrior, I'd go play a warrior. Hint, I've never had a warrior make it past level 30.

We also lose our complexity, big time. I main Enhancement because it's one of the few complicated rotations left. Depending on talents, we'll see if they fix that back up, but I'm not looking forward to a boring DPS rotation again. I'd probably just go back to healing full time, or play a different game. I don't begrudge other classes or specs for having easier or simpler rotations, but at least I had an option. I might not have one any longer after this.

The Stormfury strangeness is pretty minor. A small tweak to it will fix it right up, so not really that concerned there. I also won't miss Searing Totem/Magma Totem.

I'll wait for the talents and further ability clarifications, but unlike Holy Paladins, I'm really apprehensive about Enhancement's overhaul. We've been basically the same for 4 expansions (Wrath, Cata, Mists, Warlords), so I guess we're overdue for a re-envisioning, but I don't think I'm on board here.
#WorldOfWarcraft, #Shaman, #Legion