Battle for Azeroth releases later this year, and a new expansion means new ways to balance World of Warcraft’s existing classes. That means rethinking how Artifacts work and the balance of the talent system, but most of all Blizzard are trying to make sure that the classes feel unique in their particular roles.
According to the latest Developer Watercooler blog, Blizzard will likely be “adding some new abilities (or re-adding previously removed abilities) to give classes a more unique signature where needed.” That also means pulling back on certain utility types that have become widespread among the classes. They specifically cite AoE stuns as something that’s become over abundant, making a group’s strategic choices about what classes to bring in less meaningful. “Our goal is that whatever powerful kind of utility a class brings, it’s something that group will be happy to have added to their toolbox as they approach a challenge.”
At the same time, diversifying the classes means the team also want to ensure that quests and dungeons offer everyone a chance to shine. “If we’re arming classes with distinct tools that provide powerful answers to different situations, it’s important that the game’s content provides a broad array of challenges that play into those different tools.”
The talent system won’t get a significant overhaul, but it will be refined. The developers want to avoid having talents on a given row feeling like they boil down to complex math problems, and for those talent choices to feel like more meaningful forms of customization. They’re also working to balance the pacing effect talents have on cooldowns and resource generation, something that’s already begun in Legion patches.
The temporary abilities offered Artifacts are also a source of balance concerns, since the classes have to play well both with and without them. But not all of those abilities are gone for good, since “various specs will likely see one or two familiar traits from Artifacts showing up in their talent trees in Battle for Azeroth.”