We’re all out of control with AOE damage, and Shadowlands is going to rein us in
To be absolutely fair to us, this is entirely their fault. They’re the ones who put the delicious AOE out there, just slathered it on every class, and of course we’re going to use it. There’s literally no feeling in WoW as good as just going completely bonkers on a big trash pull with all of your AOE and watching as the numbers fly and the mobs disintegrate and you cackle like a mad scientist. I’ve had moments on my Death Knight where I get giggle fits watching all my diseases and Defile all ticking off, it’s crazy.
So look. Let’s not pretend we’re surprised Blizzard is looking at ways to tone it down. We knew this was coming. We didn’t want it… of course we didn’t… but it’s simply not great for the game when you can drag half an instance on top of the tank and then go utterly volcanic on it, so it doesn’t even survive long enough to even matter who has threat on it.
While there are a number of variables contributing to this trend, high burst area of effect (AOE) damage against an unlimited number of targets has made it increasingly possible for players to take down large groups of enemies without the players ever facing a proportionate level of danger. In Shadowlands, we’re looking at changes that would broaden the field of tactical options, and in the process, more clearly differentiate the strengths of classes in a variety of AOE situations.
Honestly? I hate this, but I hate it because I love to abuse AOE. I am the problem, and I know it. My Warriors, my DK’s, even my Paladin who barely even has any decent AOE, the second we get trash I’m going crazy trying to throw as many Divine Storms as Dwarfly possible. She’s a Dwarf. A Dwarf who has a serious AOE problem.
And imagine the kind of DPS people who are actually good at the game are putting out on AOE pulls, going nuts with Dragon Roar and Whirlwind and Bladestorm.
So how is Blizzard going to address this? For starters, the target cap is probably coming back for classes that they don’t want to have crazy AOE. Kaivax mentioned Fury Warriors (sob) and Outlaw Rogues as classes that they want to have good AOE for 4 or 5 mobs packed reasonably close together, as opposed to classes like Frost Mages and Affliction Warlocks who should excel in situations with 5 or more targets. So they may go with target caps for some classes, but not others.
But they’re not just going to rely on target caps. Another possibility Kaivax mentioned was a damage falloff so the damage of an ability is decreased the more targets that it hits.
I’m curious when they’ll apply which kind of solution to curbing AOE abuses. For example, would they give Whirlwind a target cap, or would they have the damage fall off the more targets it hits? Which solution is best for which abilities? Should melee DPS generally have target caps applied to keep them in that 5 or lower AOE bracket, while ranged DPS would see their damage spread out the more mobs it hit? I honestly think that might be the way to go about it, but again, I’m an AOE addict and I love blowing stuff up in big trash pulls.
Whatever Blizzard ends up doing, they’re definitely doing something. So be ready to find your AOE numbers dropping in Shadowlands.
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