Blizzard Is Sorry World Of Warcraft Patch 8.0 Messed Up The Game

Earlier this week, what should’ve been the second-biggest event of World of Warcraft’s calendar year landed with a dull, wet thud. The big 8.0 patch, which lays the foundation for the upcoming expansion Battle For Azeroth, sailed into players’ lives aboard a raft of bugs and tedium.

Now Blizzard has apologised and vowed to improve it in the coming days.

Patch 8.0's laundry list of issues is best summed up by WoW subreddit poster Solacespecs. While busted quests, items and achievements are annoying — not to mention the sudden baldness on the part of raid boss Kael’thas — the biggest issues stem from changes to the levelling and scaling systems.

Basically, the dev team decided to “squish” all of the game’s stats down, because between 110 levels’ worth of content and special Artifact Weapons, players and enemies were dealing and receiving damage in absolutely ludicrous numbers.

Post-squish, though, a bunch of bosses are suddenly overpowered, and fighting enemies while levelling takes even longer than it already did. It’s become a demoralising grind, say players.

As part of a Q&A stream today, WoW game director Ion Hazzikostas repeatedly stressed that none of this was intended.

“It’s been an eventful couple days,” he said. “Not the smoothest of pre-patch launches. Not the experience we wanted to deliver or hoped to deliver. Not the experience you deserve, frankly.”

He explained that The Big Squish was in large part to blame for the issues players were experiencing — specifically, the way it was implemented. The last time Blizzard squished WoW’s stats, during the Warlords Of Draenor days, the team did it all manually. This allowed for a lot of precision, but it was also a pain.

“It was hand-editing literally tens of thousands of spells, creatures, dividing it by 25, multiplying, whatever,” said Hazzikostas.

So this time, the team tried to overhaul WoW’s underlying systems such that it’d be easier for them to rescale the game in the future, too. They’d just have to “turn a knob,” as Hazzikostas put it.

That had a few unintended side effects. And by a few, I mean a whole wriggly heap of them across 250,000 spells, 150,000 creatures, and tens of thousands of quests, by Hazzikostas’ estimate. This, he explained, woke up a bunch of dormant bugs.

“When we make a code change that affects mob pathing, when we fix a bug that is causing some AI actions to not occur correctly, that can have ripple effects on basically seven past games’ worth of content,” he said.

“Something that in 2008 has worked fine for nine years, turns out there was actually some subtle bug there that just wasn’t manifesting itself because of a separate issue we fixed that now causes that thing from way back then to break.”

As of now, Hazzikostas said the WoW team is bending over backward to revert levelling and enemy scaling back to how they felt before while keeping the newly squished stats in a non-absurd place.

“Hopefully all aspects of the experience — whether it’s doing Legion raids and dungeons, whether it’s just levelling up — will be smooth and as you’ve known and expect and deserve,” he said.

Community manager Josh Allen added that while this whole situation is obviously far from ideal, pre-expansion patches exist so that this kind of thing doesn’t rain on the parade of the actual expansion’s launch. “It sucks that it happened, but at least it happened the way that it did,” he said.

Hazzikostas expects things to be significantly better in a few days’ time.

“We’re in the process of following up on every bit of community feedback we’re getting,” he said. “We’re literally fixing hundreds a day at this point. All I can ask, really, is for your patience just for the next day or two. I think what you experienced yesterday is the worst it will ever be. Tomorrow will be better.”


Comments

    welcome to legacy codes I guess. when that function you've built to handle 2 things suddenly has to handle 250 things 10 years on you realise whelp we should have done better

    I saw the interview on the way to work and it just sounds like something that had to happen eventually assuming they are dead set on squishing numbers. it's just not feasible for them to manually go through the game code whenever they want to squish numbers

      I feel like they "squished" stats too aggressively. I'd rather see a stat squish that takes you from 7 million health and hitting for 1 million damage to say 700,000 health and hitting for 100,00k. Instead we went to 30k health and hitting for 1000 damage.

      I think they could "squish" at the end of each

      The problem as I see it is there's no wiggle room when they squash the stats so much. For example the difference between a "standard" epic ring and a legendary one in stamina terms is about 8 points, it's not even a 1,000 health. This might be ok if everything did damage/heals based on percentages but there is a mix of percentage and flat damage. So some things hit harder than intended and you're stats don't cover it.

      And of course that's at the top level. We've been "squished" to a 200th of our former health. If you're a level 10 with say 300 health what does that leave you? 1.5 Health? They can't (and didn't) do that so obviously the formula changes with level so it's gotta get funky when changing lower level mobs too.

        I imagine they went to this extreme because it will tide us over for another 2 xpacks (the first squish being in Warlords I think which was 6.0)

        I have a DK at 120 on beta and she sits at about 130K hp as tank spec (just over 310 ilvl) so I imagine they'll ride the train of high ilvls between each raid tier again for a few xpacks then rinse and repeat

        i can't disagree with the fact it does look stupid, previously you might hit for a million and now you do 200. talk about underwhelming

        they did this exact same scale of squish with WOD and it barely lasted us 4 years :) if they dont squish down this far it will just be ludicrous again within a matter of months.

          @sielinth and @rethilgore, that's the thing. I think if the squish was more "reasonable" they could just do it every expansion. I think I'd prefer to see consistency and know that I'm going to start with say 700,000k health and by the end of the xpac end on 7 million every time. Rather than seeing it grow for 2, 3 or more then get smashed into the floor.

            that's an interesting thought, normalise numbers every expansion instead of doing it every X years. I'm down for blizzard trying if it's not too much work (now that they've done the prep work)

    What I'm more concerned about now is how I'm going to run my partner through Legion after artifact weapons are (apparently) nerfed into the stone age. Quick detour back to Azeroth to pick up something more powerful, then come back and only switch to an artifact weapon when required by quests? Forfeit artifact power rewards from quests?

    The current solutions do not seem ideal for anyone who wants to start fresh, catering exclusively to people who stayed on the bleeding edge.

      Don't artifact weapons scale with you as you level through Legion areas now though?

      Artifact power rewards vendor for decent gold. 5-100g based on what I've seen so far. While it's not a huge amount when you start thinking about just how many you get it adds up pretty quick.

      And I can confirm the weapons scale with level. At 103 my warriors weapon was 156 ilvl and at 107 it's now 167 ilvl. To be honest most of the leveling encounters didn't need a powerful weapon, they were tuned pretty low. It's only at 110 that you get tough encounters that really warrant all the artifact abilities (like Mythics and Mage Tower).

      That said, I wish they'd tied the artifact depowering to the quest at 110 so you could have experienced the game properly with the artifacts. I guess they didn't because at say 109 with an almost fully powered artifact you've be OP with the game changes. So it would have wrought havoc on PVP and other aspects of the game.

      your artifact will work as they did pre patch while levelling

    I have always wondered what it would have been like to not have the stat crunches. I mean how epic would your character be if you had like 200 million hp at the end of legion? Sure it means that the average Kul Tiras soldier in the next xpac could solo arthas or deathwing but that's just MMO logic

      if they didn't do the first stat squish I imagine we'll be in the trillions of HP / DPS number

      part of the reason for the first state squish was displaying the value, like do you write 250K instead when it got stupidly big? if you've ever played Final Fantasy (or any myriad of JRPGs) you'll probably get used to big numbers but I can kind of understand the train of thought. it does seems stupid to see you hit for 753,951,456,865 or something lol

    Meh I havent ran into any problems yet, touch wood. I am actually enjoying the change and the new talents to try out. Not looking forward to forfeiting my flying mount when BFA hits though :P

      it's not so bad, there's boat and flight points and not just at major camps / towns anymore. it's a bigger pain of riding everywhere to get it so what blizzard has smartly done is stick quests at or near a point

      quest complete a zone and you're bound to unlock everything (RIP alts though)

        Yeah I was almost going to LVL a Nightborne mage but I think I'll hold off for now.

          if you doing it from scratch (basically 20 onwards for allied races) that i can tell you is out of whack. low level dungeons are odd, tanks losing aggro from a single heal and bosses hitting like a truck

          I don't think I'ver oomed in Scholomance since like vanilla WoW or not being able to chain pull in hellfire ramparts. to Blizzard credit, they've deploy countless hot fixes but yea last week was... interesting i guess haha

            Yeah so last night I decided to go ahead and level the mage. The lower dungeons werent much of a problem save for the influx of new players, which kinda made the dungeon go at a snails pace, tanks are taking some serious spike damage but other than that the outdoors questing has been pretty smooth. PS Warmode is pretty neat with the bonuses.

    This happened when they did the previous stat squish so none of this suprised me. Apart from servers going down 8.0 has been fine for me.

    I'm so sick of the kind of sensationalist language like the kind in this article.

    Blizzard didn't 'mess up' this patch deployment. Think about the scope of what they had to change. WoW is unprecedented in it's amount of content. Even with good quality practices in place, the sheer amount of things to test would make full test coverage impractical.

    There are some minor annoyances that will all be gone inside of a week. The levelling experience is virtually the same. Everything that has been done in this patch is designed with the long term health of the game in mind. Game fans can be such whiny self entitled little sooks sometimes.

      What's sad is that some of these issues were brought up by both Alpha and Beta testers and they still didn't do anything major about it before they deployed 8.0. Specifically old content bosses hitting like Godzilla unleashed on a city, slower mob killing. My two dps classes feel like I'm leveling a paladin in 'nilla.

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