Last month, Blizzard pushed a patch to the Battle for Azeroth alpha. The patch added several abilities to the global cooldown, frequently referred to as the GCD. But since then, the World of Warcraft community has been up in arms about how slow the game feels since the update went live. Now, as announced in a Q&A this morning with World of Warcraft’s game director, Ion Hazzikostas, the developers are walking some of these changes back.
The global cooldown is a period of downtime that follows after almost any ability you cast in WoW. The GCD prevents players from being able to spam fireballs as fast as they can hit their four key. For years, offensive cooldowns — abilities that make players more powerful for a brief period have time — have been off the GCD. This allows players to waste no time while they play popping a cooldown.
Now, almost all of these abilities are part of the GCD, as well as some key movement spells that offer no offensive power. Currently, offensive cooldowns can be macro’d into a single button. All players need to do is hit their macro button and activate all of their cooldowns at once. This removes player’s ability to make interesting decisions.
Players have been responding with YouTube discussions, angry forum posts and a general sourness toward the new expansion in-game. In response to players’ frustrations with how the changes slow down gameplay, the team will be rolling back some of these changes in a few cases, specifically for movement spells, said Hazzikostas.
“In one of the upcoming builds, players will see abilities like Heroic Leap and Infernal Strike back off the GCD,” he said. “Disengage for hunters as well. We’ve made some changes to Fury Warrior Blood Bath to give it some upfront damage components so it actually feels like it’s doing something instead of just a button that’s empowering your future actions.”
However, many offensive cooldowns will remain on the GCD, which is still being tested in the Battle for Azeroth beta. Hazzikostas specifically spoke about those offensive cooldowns inside of class talent trees. When a player chooses an offensive cooldown as a talent, they currently just macro it into their single button press. It turns that talent choice into something that doesn’t actually affect the player, only their damage numbers.
Hazzikostas also went into why the team feels the need to add some abilities to the global cooldown.
“From an overall class balance perspective across all facets of the game, [we were] trying to pull back the importance and power of multiple, stacked cooldowns,” he explained. “Especially in a world where you can talent into new ones. It was such a no-brainer choice that they manipulatively scaled with each other, and the damage you did during your cooldown window was so dominant compared to what you were doing the entire rest of the time.
“That had some negative consequences,” he went on to add.
However, this doesn’t mean that the team is against reverting these changes further. The team asked for specific feedback about why players don’t like the system, as opposed to just complaining to Blizzard that they’re unhappy with the patch.
Players interested in voicing their opinions about the GCD can go to the Battle for Azeroth forums to share them with the WoW team directly.
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will be available on August 14.