The only thing that’s constant about Blizzard is how inconstant it is toward World of Warcraft class design. The tides go in, the tides go out, seasons change, and the second a new expansion arrives on the scene, the developers suddenly have a new vision for how they want to do classes and retool everything. Maybe this time, the eighth time around, they’ll get it right. This time will crack the code. Maybe.
But I wouldn’t bet on it.
Listen, I’m not completely inflexible on this subject. MMOs feature change and adjustments over time, and I’ve yet to meet one that gets all of its classes exactly right out of the gate. Devs will get in there and monkey with things to make them better, with the expectation that if it gets good enough, they’ll leave well enough alone and offer careful, incremental improvements after that.
This is not Blizzard’s approach.
Blizzard’s approach is the interior designer who is never, ever satisfied with the layout of a given room and will forever be rearranging the furniture and decorations even if the last dozen or so iterations looked fine. Millions of players are spreading out their arms, yelling, “Stop, please stop, stop doing this all the time!” and it goes on anyway.
Oh, Blizz always has a reason. They’ll always show up on a Q&A stream or at BlizzCon and claim that they’re responding to feedback and performance and that one guy on the forums who had a really well-written post that one time. It’s always for a Good Reason and never because of raging insecurity and a lack of a cohesive, persistent vision for these classes.
The studio can’t even take a hint from the popularity of legacy servers in this regard. You know why players take a shine to these, Blizzard? It’s because it rolls back all of the last six rounds of changes you made to the classes they used to know intimately and liked. It returns the players to what used to be without the ever-present threat of an expansion class revamp.
So the revamp is coming, yet again, with Shadowlands. I can’t really tell if it’s bad or not, although the theme this time around is “unpruning” and giving players back abilities Blizzard took from them. The studio is presenting this to the community as if thanks is to be expected for slightly unmessing up a mess it made, but I don’t think it’s going to go over that great. We’re just tired of this antsy, jittery approach to class design that fosters not one whit of stability and security.
Seriously, Blizzard, what’s wrong with you? Can’t you just settle down already, pick a direction and go with it without second-guessing yourself every two years?