Ummmm, patch notes?

Patch 7.1.5, a “semi-major” patch, goes live in a few hours, and rather than looking forward to it, I feel a certain sense of dread. True, in theory BM hunters are getting some buffs, including the return of traps, but still I can’t shake the feeling that this patch will do nothing to fix the chaotic state of Legion classes, just move the annoyances around a little.

I did not play much on the PTR, on purpose. The Legion alpha and beta test cycles completely destroyed any illusions I might have had about conscientious players being able to influence development in any meaningful way. If good hunters and good warlocks, and other top players in their classes could not staunch the class chaos that ended up being Legion, then there is no chance that any PTR comments will have any meaningful effect. The PTR is just like the dummy thermostat in some offices — there to make the employees think they have some control over their environment.

As I write this, at about noon Eastern Time, we still have no official Patch notes. They may be out by the time this is published, but that does not change the troubling nature of what we are seeing. Whatever term Blizz may give the patch, it is in fact a major one. It includes, according to everything I have read, major changes to classes/specs and to the legendaries players have come to rely on to overcome the initial shortcomings of their main characters. It introduces significant new content in the form of the micro-holidays and Pandaria timewalking dungeons. There will be a new season of the Brawler’s Guild.

It is a maxim in many endeavors that “The job’s not over until the paperwork is done.” In any project, failure to allocate time and other resources to final documentation is judged to be just that: failure. It often means that for whatever reason, the project manager was cutting corners, maybe to meet a looming deadline. When corners are cut in documentation, it is always advisable to look for what other corners may have been cut. If there was insufficient time for producing a user manual, for example, maybe there was also insufficient time for thorough testing of the product.

It is maybe a tad early to say, but I get the feeling Blizz has painted themselves into a corner with their Legion promises. Yes, it is good they recognized the major shortfalls of WoD and are trying to make up for them, but I wonder if their commitment actually made it all the way up the management chain so that appropriate additional resources were allocated in order to fulfill those promises. I always felt that Legion release was rushed by some number of weeks — witness the scrambling Blizz has been doing for the last couple of months to fix the legendary and class balance problems. And I feel like 7.1.5 is being similarly rushed — either Blizz recently promised more than they can deliver in the patch, or they are holding themselves hostage to an arbitrary promise of new raid tiers — and thus major patches — every “4 to 5 months” (per Ion Hazzikostas).

Nighthold will be released next week, and that is right on schedule. Good for Blizz. But I have to wonder: Have we moved away from the meme of “that will cost a raid tier” to a new one of “that raid tier will cost your class satisfaction”?

Just a thought. Here’s hoping for a smooth patch day tomorrow. Oh, and Blizz, not trying to be pushy or anything, but

COULD YOU FOR CRYING OUT LOUD GET OFF YOUR DUFFS AND GIVE US SOME PATCH NOTES BEFORE THE PATCH GOES LIVE?

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About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

8 Responses to Ummmm, patch notes?

  1. Marathal says:

    I mentioned it on my blog post this morning, and on Alt’s. I wonder if Rygarius’s position was never filled. Or if the person that filled the spot is overwhelmed.

  2. Marathal says:

    Just saw the Dev account said they are finalizing, should have in a few hours.

    • Fiannor says:

      Just saw that also. Still a troubling sequence of events, imo. Also, I have been away from reading about WoW for a couple of months, did not realize you were back to blogging again, but I am very glad to see you are back at it!

      • Marathal says:

        Yeah, I had some moments where I just tossed it all in the trash, tried to find a different approach, use some kind of theme. But I think this works best. Just a bunch of words in my head.

        Still miss being a part of Twitter, but it’s not for me for many reasons.

  3. Grumsta says:

    I’m glad I’m in the EU and we get an extra day to understand the changes, I don’t envy NA guilds trying to progress today.

    The apology that Lore posted on Twitter looked genuine: they’ve really let themselves down in communication again. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight they won’t try to push this level of change through so soon after the holidays and one week before a new raid launches?

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, Lore seemed genuinely frustrated. I continue to be dumbfounded that a worldwide company like Blizz cannot seem to hire communications experts and let them put together a professional communications structure. More than that, I continue to be even more dumbfounded that Blizz project managers, time and time again, so grossly misjudge the resources — of which time is one — they need to bring a product to market. It’s not like they are new at this. But they continue to operate like it’s a guys-in-the-garage startup enterprise.

  4. demonnick001 says:

    So the patch notes have officially been posted, and there aren’t too many changes that weren’t already reported on WoWHead. WoWhead has done a very good job reporting on most class balancing “adjustments” the devs have been making, and let me assure you they’ve adjusted and readjusted many spells several times each. This gives me a little hope that perhaps the classes may be slightly more balanced (I hate saying that word so much), this patch. Even if it doesn’t turn out as good as they are hoping, I do believe they put a solid amount of effort in this time, and that satisfies me at least a little bit.

    One thing that blizzard does do to attempt to balance talent choices is nerf the go to choice in a tier. This really irritated me, as I see it as extremely lazy. Rather than addressing the other two choices which are typically either useless or very underpowered, they just nerf the target talent which is actually good, down to the level of the others. However, as I read through the patch notes yesterday I stumbled across something that made me get off my chair, take a step back, and blink a few times at my monitor. In the patch notes, under survival hunter (I know you don’t play it fiannor but bear with me), they took the completely useless talent “farstrider”, and actually replaced it with “Disengage”. Holy freaking crap, they actually listened to the survival hunter community. THEY LISTENED!!!!!!!

    Happy hunting.

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, I also noticed that, for a couple of BM talent lines, they buffed the two “bad” choices but seemed to leave the current “only” choice relatively untouched. I think BM will emerge from this patch noticeably stronger, although honestly for me the Legion problems with it have never been about damage numbers, rather about basic spec mechanics. And I am not sure they have significantly improved any of those. I guess I’ll see when we try to raid tonight!