During the most recent round of hotfixes Blizzard promised a massive balancing patch as soon as they've gathered a significant amount of data from the Emerald Nightmare raid, and sure enough, the balance patch will be released during the upcoming server reset. Unfortunately for those of you that have been coddled by the Overwatch team and their gentle approach to balance, the World of Warcraft team has once again decided to deploy the company sledgehammer in order to deal with the problematic classes.
Most of the changes are actually quite good, don't get me wrong, but when it comes to Shadow Priests, Protection Warriors, and Havoc Demon Hunters one really starts to wonder if the developers even playtested any of these changes. You can find the full patch notes by heading over here, but for now allow me to present you the changes I find particularly troublesome:
Demon Hunter - Havoc
• Throw Glaive damage reduced by 30%.
• Fel Mastery (Talent) damage bonus to Fel Rush reduced to 30%.
• Bloodlet (Talent) now deals 100% of initial Throw Glaive damage.
• Fury of the Illidari (Artifact Ability) damage reduced by 20%.
• Balanced Blades (Artifact Trait) damage bonus to Blade Dance reduced to 3% per target.
Priest - Shadow
• Mind Sear damage and Insanity generation increased by 50%.
• Voidform stacks no longer increase while Dispersion and Void Torrent are active.
• The benefit of Mass Hysteria (Artifact Trait) is now capped at 100%.
Warrior - Protection
• Vengeance (Talent) Rage cost reduction reduced to 35%.
• Intercept Rage generation reduced to 10.
• Shield Slam Rage generation reduced to 10.
All three of these specs were clearly broken, there is no doubt about that. Havoc Demon Hunters had absolutely ridiculous amounts of AoE damage, Protection Warriors were practically invincible due to Ignore Pain, and the entire Shadow Priest specialization revolved around Surrender to Madness. Did all three need changes? Absolutely! So what's the problem?
Well, in the case of Warriors they now have massive issues with rage generation which makes the whole spec about a hundred times less fun to play. Havoc Demon Hunters got their middling single target DPS nerfed by a significant margin due to the Glaive changes, not to mention how now half of the points people spent in the Artifact Weapon tree have been rendered nearly pointless. And finally we have Shadow Priests who have essentially lost their only viable form of high-end DPS and have gained absolutely nothing in return!
I'm not against balance changes. I fully embrace the occasional shake up where the old specs get thrown out and the new ones brought to the top, but when it comes to classes with only one option for doing task X - how about we make sure they actually do said task while still being fun to play? Blizzard has struggled with this for the entirety of World of Warcraft's existence, so to see them make the same sort of mistakes with Legion, the quite possibly best expansion the game has seen so far, is a massive disappointment.
Some of these changes will eventually get reverted, have no fear about that, but is this really necessary every single patch? The community has managed to create detailed simulations that almost perfectly predict how a class will fare in different types of environments, and yet Blizzard always seems to miss the mark by a gigantic 20-30%. Something needs to change, and Legion is the perfect expansion to do such a thing, so hopefully Blizzard will shape up and ensure that at least all of the classes and specs consistently remain fun to play.