The WoW devs have responded to more feedback on the Alpha forums and have announced more changes for Hunter and Evoker talent trees and the Dracthyr Soar racial ability!
Hello again, Hunters.
We wanted to discuss some adjustments coming to your talents in a future build, and briefly mention a few thoughts.
The current design intentionally has almost all utility above the second gate, which means you have 11 points that will almost certainly be spent only on throughput choices in PvE situations. We like having a bunch of abilities located past the second gate that were previously locked to individual specs. This has also created a situation where there’s a lot of bloat of extra abilities and cooldowns that feel mandatory because they are available and likely worth pressing. The last 3 rows of the tree have been shuffled around a bit and will continue to be adjusted to try to prevent most hunters from feeling obligated to acquire multiple extra active buttons.
- Barrage and Explosive Shot are now a choice node.
- Stampede now replaces Chakram in the choice node vs Death Chakram.
- Chakram has been removed from the talent tree.
- Nesingwary’s Trapping Apparatus has been lowered to 2 points.
- Bloodshed and Murder of Crows is now a choice node, and is where Dire Beast previously was.
- Dire Beast has been moved to where Murder of Crows was.
- New Talent – Bloody Frenzy – Barbed Shot has a chance to apply a second stack of Frenzy to your pets. This is located in the second gate area.
- Beast Cleave has been lowered to 2 points, and Beast Cleave’s duration is now 3/6 seconds depending on your rank.
While Rapid Fire is not a required ability, we’re trying to integrate it to the tree where it would make sense. Marksmanship has very limited passive Focus generation, and Rapid Fire should ideally help with that. We want to avoid situations where you drop Steady Shot entirely while doing prolonged combat.
- Deathblow has been made a 1-point node. Rapid Fire casts (not damage events) can now also activate this. The chance for activation is different for Aimed Shot vs Rapid Fire.
- Razor Fragments now also works with Deathblow procs, rather than being tied solely to Trick Shots.
- Bombardment’s design has changed – Every 6/4 (2-rank node) Arcane or Chimaera Shots causes your next Multi-Shot to grant you Trick Shots, regardless of how many targets it hits.
- This will likely be changed to a 1-point node, or adjusted to also boost Multi-Shot damage per rank. The location of this also needs to be adjusted as you can currently select this without Multi-Shot.
- Lone Wolf’s spot in the tree has been moved to above the first gate.
- More things connect to Lock and Load’s talent node.
- Some redundant node connections have been removed.
- Legacy of the Windrunners and Serpentstalker’s Trickery node locations have been swapped.
- Unerring Vision’s design has slightly changed to also increase critical damage while Trueshot is active.
Spearhead and Coordinated Assault are competing for some space in the tree. We’re hoping to identify a set of abilities to that each augments in a way that feels good, and also would prefer a design that doesn’t encourage you to stack both of them at the same time. Some adjustments are being made to these abilities to try to focus on different parts of your ability sets in a manner that lets both Coordinated Assault and Spearhead hopefully feel both distinct from each other, while still feeling powerful on their own.
- Mongoose Bite should actually replace Raptor Strike now.
- Predator returned to 25%, rather than 8%. This was a data error when changing from a 3 point node to a 1 point node.
- A connection between Lunge and Frenzy Strikes has been removed to prevent a dependency problem.
- Deadly Duo renamed Quick Shot, and redesigned. When Kill Command’s cooldown is reset, you fire a free Arcane Shot at your target.
- Coordinated Assault is back to 2 minutes.
- Coordinated Assault no longer modifies Carve. Instead, your pet’s special attack increases the initial damage of your next Wildfire Bomb.
- Birds of Prey will likely be adjusted in a future build to more directly work with the design tweaks of Coordinated Assault.
- Bonded Companion renamed Deadly Duo, and redesigned. While Coordinated Assault is active, Wildfire Bomb’s cooldown is reduced by 25/50%, Wildfire Bombs generate 5/10 Focus when thrown, and Kill Shot can be used on any target regardless of the target’s HP.
- Coordinated Kill redesigned, and is now 2 points. While Spearhead is active, Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite Focus Cost is reduced by 5/10, and Kill Command resets increase the duration of Spearhead by 1/2 sec.
Greetings and well met, Evokers! Some big changes are coming to the Devastation specialization talent tree in the next Alpha build, and I wanted to talk through some of the philosophy behind them and how your feedback is helping to shape the tree. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of every change, and more will be changed than just what is listed here. That said, let’s dive in!
With the current Devastation tree, a few things stood out to us amongst the discourse here and in other parts of the community. Namely:
- The tree strongly signals that there is a “Red dragonflight build” on the left, and a separate “Blue dragonflight build” on the right.
- Effects that scale with empower level, such as Power Swell and Tyranny, remove gameplay by indicating that it is always correct to fully empower your spells.
- Feed the Flames & Everburning Flame are an awkward combination.
- Scarlet Adaptation is having a larger impact than intended on builds.
- Blue-focused single-target builds don’t flow as well as they could.
To dig in a little deeper to each of these, let’s go through them one by one.
The tree strongly signals that there is a “Red dragonflight build” on the left, and a separate “Blue dragonflight build” on the right.
Having thematic groupings on either side is a great introduction to the talent tree. It resonates as something you would expect for the specialization, and makes it easier to know where to look for modifiers to certain abilities. However, Devastation utilizes both Red and Blue magic, and the current tree isn’t celebrating that theme well enough. Builds that use both types of magic should be the norm, with all-Red or all-Blue being much more niche. To make using both colors more effective, we’ve adjusted many talents’ locations or function, as well as added new nodes. A few examples:
- Honed Aggression now affects both Azure Strike and Living Flame, increasing their damage by 5% per rank.
- Catalyze is a new, 1-rank passive on the left side of the tree. “While channeling Disintegrate your Fire Breath on the target deals damage 100% more often.”
- Iridescence is a new, 1-rank passive at the bottom of the right side of the tree. “Casting an empower spell increases the damage of your next 2 spells of the same color by 15% within 10 sec.”
Effects that scale with empower level, such as Power Swell and Tyranny, remove gameplay by indicating that it is always correct to fully empower your spells.
We’re excited about the possibilities of empower spells and have experimented internally with many varied effects, including Power Swell. As a broad concept, attaching more effects to empower spells seems cool – lean into empower levels even more! What we’ve seen on Alpha, though, is that having even small effects get linearly better with empower level, without situational considerations to change up decision making, detracts too much from core empower gameplay. We see (and share) the excitement for choosing talents that make empower spells better, so Power Swell is being adjusted to not disrupt the moment-to-moment gameplay decisions of empower spell level.
- Power Swell is now a 2-rank node that reads, “Empower spells increase your Essence regeneration rate by 50% for 2 sec or 4 sec [based on talent rank].”
Feed the Flames & Everburning Flame are an awkward combination.
Taken together, these two talents quickly push Devastation into a space of having Fire Breath off cooldown for a length of time while an existing Fire Breath damage over time effect gets extended. That said, both talents offer interesting potential gameplay and impact builds in different ways. They will now be in a choice node against each other, and Feed the Flames is being redesigned to fit into more builds:
- Feed the Flames now triggers whenever you consume an Essence Burst effect, instead of whenever Pyre is cast.
- Everburning Flame now triggers from all Red damage spells, instead of only Pyre and Living Flame.
- This means that damage from Firestorm will extend Fire Breath. Damage from Ruby Embers will continue to not trigger Everburning Flame, and Fire Breath will not extend itself.
Scarlet Adaptation is having a larger impact than intended on builds.
The current value of Scarlet Adaptation causes a warping effect on how Devastation builds their talent loadouts, in particular due to the interaction with Leaping Flames – when Living Flame hits additional targets via Leaping Flames, all of the Living Flames benefit from any Scarlet Adaptation damage the Evoker has. The Leaping Flames interaction is intended, and the response to it has been one of excitement. However, it is important for there to be multiple options for how to build your character for area-of-effect damage situations.
The intent of Scarlet Adaptation is to encourage, and reward, hybridization for both specializations. Preservation Evokers who enjoy dealing damage can easily access the node, but aren’t required to pick it up in their path to other high-power healing talents. Devastation Evokers who want to help their group with additional healing can take it to be rewarded for taking action when their group is in a dangerous situation. To better meet those goals, Scarlet Adaptation’s damage cap is being reduced to 2x Spellpower, down from its current value of 6x Spellpower.
Blue dragonflight-focused single-target builds don’t flow as well as they could.
Two key talents to these builds are Charged Blast and Focusing Iris, both of which have been the subject of insightful discussion and concern.
- Charged Blast is intended to be something that can spice up single-target gameplay for those who want an additional layer of complexity within the rotation. Many of you have expressed that the current design, requiring 2 Azure Strikes before casting Charged Blast, isn’t quite hitting the mark because although it does add complexity, it doesn’t add interaction.
- Focusing Iris is intended to be a more passive option that accomplishes similar goals as Charged Blast. However, the combination of timing an ability immediately after finishing a channeled spell, with the relatively high uptime of the debuff, makes Focusing Iris both more burdensome & less potent than it could potentially be.
To address this, we’re combining what we feel are the best parts of both into a new ability! Charged Blast and Focusing Iris as they currently exist are being removed, and replaced with a spell called Shattering Star.
- Shattering Star has a 15 sec cooldown, is instant cast, and does not cost Essence. “Exhale a bolt of concentrated power from your mouth for Spellfrost damage that cracks that target’s defenses, increasing the damage they take from you by 20% for 4 sec.”
- The options in the choice node following this ability are also being redesigned:
- Focusing Iris is a passive that increases the duration of Shattering Star’s damage taken effect by 2 sec.
- Arcane Vigor is a passive that causes Shattering Star to generate 1 Essence.
As always, thank you for your playtesting and feedback. We’re excited to hear how about your experiences with the Devastation tree in the next Alpha build!
With the next alpha build, we’re making a change to Soar for Dracthyr that reduces their maximum speed from (roughly) 930% to 640%. The maximum speed for Dragon Isles Drakes is unchanged. This only applies to the Dracthyr Soar racial ability.
In the Dragon Isles, all characters of all races are on similar footing in regards to their ability to traverse the terrain because everyone can summon a Dragon Isles Drake. However, this isn’t the case in other areas of the game where flying mounts are the mainstay of travel. In Eastern Kingdoms, Soar is currently over twice as fast as Epic Flying which travels at 410% speed. The result is that Dracthyr have a drastic efficiency advantage over characters of other races when doing non-Dragon Isles content, whether that’s Chromie Time quests, clearing old raids for transmog, pet battling, etc.
Soar is important to the identity of Dracthyr. From the outset of the design process we knew that Dracthyr had to be able to fly in some form, even if we didn’t know the specifics until later. But, Soar is also a Racial ability, and was never intended to be a massive efficiency or performance improvement over other races. These two goals are somewhat in conflict: Make Soar fun and fulfill the fantasy of being a flying creature, but don’t give one race an outsized advantage across large swathes of the game.
What we’ve found while playtesting these changes internally is that the speed change didn’t diminish the fun of the locomotion mechanics. The engaging control system, gameplay of conserving momentum, and challenge of navigating obstacles, are all still present, while also rewarding skillful use of Soar with being able to travel faster than Epic flying mounts. This hits both of the goals nicely – Dracthyr can engage in the dynamic, immersive locomotion of dragonriding, but aren’t able to blitz across a continent in half the time as other characters.
The Alpha period is time for experimentation, testing, and learning, and that often leads to change. Due to Soar being an evergreen feature of the Dracthyr race, we feel that reducing the top speed is necessary for the long-term health of the game. Thank you for your passion, feedback, and understanding. See you in Azeroth!