Wait, what??

Yesterday I posted a few thoughts about Blizzard’s treatment of the hunter class and DPS balance in general, and expressed my faith in them that eventually they would get it all sorted out. Just a few short hours later we were treated to some of the most bizarrely reasoned hot fixes in recent history. It’s kind of like bragging to your visiting Aunt Bessie about your newly adopted dog — how well behaved he is — and then he pees on her shoe.

Blizz — and I mean this in the most constructive possible way — WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING? 

First we get the nerfs to MM hunters, no big surprise there, we all expected it, and no one can be too upset by them. But then, for some unfathomable reason, they threw in a nerf to BM. What?? BM is the lowest performing hunter spec currently, and in fact is near the bottom on the overall DPS charts as well. It’s even lower than SV, which was gutted at the start of this xpac. Yet Blizz saw fit to take 10% off Kill Shot, an integral part to what has become pretty puny burst DPS, if it can even count as burst since you can only use it when the target is below 20% health anyway.

Now, realistically, a 10% nerf to KS in and of itself is not a catastrophe, many BM hunters will probably not even notice. But why make the change at all for an already low performing spec? The only answer I can come up with is laziness combined with utter disregard for the affected player base. Clearly the nerf target was MM, and BM just happened to be collateral damage.

Blizz staff meeting:

Manager: OMG! Marksman hunters are topping the DPS charts! We must act immediately! What can we do?

Staff developer: Well, it’s a bit complicated to nerf only marksman, but we could *techno babble techno babble*. That might take a few days. Or we could just do an across the board whack on Kill Shot. That would affect BM also, so that might not be the best solution though.

Manager: I like it! It’s quick, easy, and I understand it. No worries on BM, it’s already so bad that a few more cuts isn’t going to make a big difference. OK, let’s do it!

As I have said before, there really is no one in upper management at Blizz looking at the big picture. If there were, maybe they might realize the message this sends to hunters: “We’ve pretty much written off BM for the time being, having already written off SV. We are much more concerned that our Frankenstein we’ve created by perverting the basic hunter play style stops terrorizing the villagers by cranking out huge DPS. Can’t have that!”

The other inexplicable action in yesterday’s hot foxes was the whole snafu over the Everburning Candle trinket. And I quote:

With regard to developer comments made yesterday during the Final Boss podcast interview, we understand changing our minds about not adjusting this item may be frustrating. At the time, we absolutely meant that we were okay with it being over-budget in terms of what it provides (reference the unchanged Intellect). However, when designers took a closer look at the item this morning, they realized that the mana being granted was excessive to the point that it risked undermining healer and encounter balance, and creating a world where healers with the Everburning Candle would play a different game with respect to mana longevity than those without.

Recall that the actual dev comment during the Final Boss interview was that players would be safe buying the trinket, as even though it was overpowered they felt changing the stats at this point would be unfair to those who had already bought it.

Now, I personally cannot imagine ever buying a piece of gear for 250k gold. But I get that there are players out there for whom that much gold is the same as me spending 70g on a flask.

There is a business principle here. Namely, when a reputable company makes a public commitment, they honor it. Maybe it was a mistake to make the commitment, maybe the dev misspoke or was assuming authority he did not have,  no matter. Your company representative promised it, you follow through on it. Period. Deal with the employee internally, ramp up your legal prep for anyone appearing publicly, whatever. But meanwhile you do what your official rep said you were going to do. If for some reason that is impossible, then you do the next best thing and make it right for the customers affected. For example, if you paid gold for the trinket, you will get an in game gold adjustment, or the choice to return the trinket for a full refund.

Q: What is the difference between the Cub Scouts and Blizzard? A: The Cub Scouts have adult leaders.

Blizzard, you are a large international company, with millions and millions of customers. When will you start acting like it?