World Of Warcraft’s Developer Blizzard Clarifies Intentions Of Limiting AoE Abilities In Shadowlands

World Of Warcraft’s Developer Blizzard Clarifies Intentions Of Limiting AoE Abilities In Shadowlands
Credit: World of Warcraft

In a recent interview, World of Warcraft’s game director Ion Hazzikostas clarified the discussion around some of the upcoming changes with the game’s eighth expansion, Shadowlands.

Namely, the issue that has been making the rounds through the gaming community has been the limiting of AoE (area-of-effect) abilities, which reportedly will receive a huge nerf. Supposedly, these abilities will be restricted to affected 5-8 enemies, rather than hitting everything in the radius as the majority of abilities do.

According to Hazzikostas, there’s a good number of changes coming, but a great amount of it is still under construction. Much of this has been framed as the majority of AoE abilities receiving this cap as if the AoE mechanic as a whole was being nerfed. Hazzikostas believes this isn’t the case.

Part of this is serving to increase the distinction between abilities that use a Cleave mechanic, which is a dominant AoE mechanic in melee classes that serves to hit multiple enemies in front. This is different from abilities like Whirlwind, which hits everything nearby.

In Legion, much of this saw simplification that negatively impacted class diversity, making much of the AoE classes feel similar (what’s the difference between a Warlock’s firestorm and a Mage’s blizzard, other than color?). The dominant method of playing ended up seeming to be pulling as many minions as possible, using all cooldowns, and bursting the enemies down as fast as possible with AoE. This even continued into the Torghast dungeon in the Shadowlands, and was prevalent through Battle for Azeroth. It’s even the most popular way people grind in Classic.

Hazzikostas insists that while this is fine, it shouldn’t be the only “right” way to play or level up. At the moment, AoE is such a prevalent mechanic that it seems like the only way to do it, and this is empowered by the fact that PvE and leveling has gotten dominantly easier as the years moved by. The goal here isn’t to kill AoE as a whole, but to allow more ways to play to shine instead of allowing AoE to be the dominant tactic.

As time goes on, there’s likely to be more information coming out on the tweaks. Hazzikostas is confident that the player base will be able to easily adapt to the changes to AoE, and it certainly isn’t going to be dead and buried. As more and more playstyles become prevalent, the team hopes that the players of the game will find a more diverse and rewarding experience.