He gave us a little history lesson too. There are two types of patch notes: test realm patch notes, and live patch notes. Live patch notes reflect the changes to the live servers. Test realm patch notes reflect the changes that are on the test realm servers. Test realm patch notes are the basis for the live patch notes, but many change are made to them. As players are active on the test realm and balance issues are discovered, they tweak the patch notes. In the end, the final patch notes that went to the live servers were sometimes nothing like the test realm patch notes; a few things were added, a few things were removed. I wanted to check this out for myself so I found the old test realm patch notes for 2.2, and the live patch notes for 2.2. The following changes were made between the two different versions of the patch notes:
In the test realms, but not the live realms:
- Blind duration reduced to 8 seconds, cooldown reduced to 1 minute, Blinding Powder is no longer required to use.
- Elusiveness now reduces the cooldown of Blind by 8/15 seconds.
In the live realms, but not the test realms:
- Kill Command no longer affects the Hunter's current target.
- Hunter Pets: Raptors can now learn Dash.
- Auras: Changing auras will no longer trigger effects that occur when you cast a spell.
- Sanctified Judgement: This talent will now give the correct amount of mana when used in conjunction with Seal of Justice.
- Earth Shield is now canceled at logout.
- Death Coil: Immunity to Horror effects no longer grants immunity to the damage portion of this spell.
- Demonic Knowledge: This effect will no longer deactivate when the Warlock's pet is Banished.
- Unstable Affliction: This spell will no longer fail when a Warlock deselects their target midway through the cast.
So for Patch 2.4, Blizzard is going to work it a bit differently. Instead of saying a lot about class changes now, they're going to wait until they roll them out on the test realm. They're going to be doing this in small increments, and see what works and what doesn't. In the end we should see changes to each section of the live patch notes. From a development perspective, this makes a lot of sense. Roll out one change, make it great, and then roll out the next. Rinse and repeat until everything works the way you want.
Whether or not this is true in the weeks and months that follow during the 2.4 test phase remains to be seen. However, we will revisit this subject when 2.4 goes live on all the realms.
So for your classes, what do you want to see 2.4 deliver? What do you think of this new way Blizzard is rolling out class changes?