The impact of Spell Batching in patch 1.13.7. Classic WoW

Blizzard announced a new Patch on the Public Test Realm, Patch 1.13.7, which details a major change to the entire game, reducing the spell batching window by 40 times! Instead of a 400 millisecond batch window, Classic will be getting a modern batch window of 10 milliseconds.

The impact of Spell Batching in patch 1.13.7. Classic WoW

Posté le 26/01/2021

Blizzard announced a new Patch on the Public Test Realm, Patch 1.13.7, which details a major change to the entire game, reducing the spell batching window by 40 times! Instead of a 400 millisecond batch window, Classic will be getting a modern batch window of 10 milliseconds.

Let's break down how this change will impact the entirety of Classic WoW.

Before we take a look at all the different things that will be changing, let's talk about when Blizzard actually made the change to spell batching. If you take a look at this post Blue Post from June 2014, you'll see Celestalon explaining how before Warlods of Draenor, there was always a spell batch window of 400 ms.

Post officiel Traduit (Source forum Blizzard)

I was wondering when this'd get brought up. I've hinted about this in the past in a couple interviews... Yes, there was a very significant underlying change here, that may have implications for theorycrafting (though minor).

I don't want to get too deep into the under-the-hood workings of WoW servers, but here's a super short version. Any action that one unit takes on another different unit used to be processed in batches every 400ms. Some very attentive people may have noticed that healing yourself would give you the health instantly (minus client/server latency), whereas healing another unit would incur a delay of between 0ms and 400ms (again, on top of client/server latency). Same with damaging, applying auras, interrupting, knocking back, etc.

That delay can feel bad just due to the somewhat laggy responsiveness feeling, but also because the state of things can change during that time. For example: Holly the Holy Priest is healing Punky the Brewmaster. Punky spikes low, and Holly hits Guardian Spirit in a panic. The server verifies that Holly is able to cast it, and that Punky is alive (great!). The cast goes off, Guardian Spirit goes on cooldown, and a request is placed for the Guardian Spirit aura (that prevents dying) to be placed on Punky. That request will be filled next time the 400ms timer loops, which happens to be 320ms from now. 250ms later, the boss lands another hit on on Punky. Punky dies. Sadface. Another 70ms goes by, and the Guardian Spirit aura request pops up, and goes "Hey guys, I'm here!... Aww... damn, I missed the party. Sadface."

We no longer batch them up like that. We just do it as fast as we can, which usually amounts to between 1ms and 10ms later. It took a considerable amount of work to get it working that way, but we're very pleased with the results so far; the game feels noticeably more responsive.

I can't guarantee that you'll never ever again run into cases where Guardian Spirit went on cooldown and the tank still died... but it'll be literally 40x rarer than before, and the whole game will feel more responsive too.

So that means there actually was a 400 ms batch window from Vanilla WoW in 2004 up to Warlords of Draenor in 2014, an entire 10 years before the spell batching window was adjusted on live servers! Why is this important to bring up? Well it begs the question, thousands of players have been asking for Blizzard to make the change before The Burning Crusade comes out (which many people think is coming soon).

But this is a significant change from how Burning Crusade actually was. Why did people not want Vanilla WoW touched for Classic, but are cheering for the change in The Burning Crusade? Or even a more interesting question... How will people feel about this change if Classic F R E S H happens?

Unrelated to this topic, but still a worthwhile point to bring up, the naming system for the Classic WoW Patches have coincided with the Phase releases. 1.13.1 was CLassic Launch (Phase 1), 1.13.2 was Classic Phase 2, 1.13.3 was Phase 3 and so on, all the way up until right now, 1.13.6 with Phase 6. This new PTR Patch is named 1.13.7. Is that a Phase 7? Could that mean Classic Plus? Or just a Pre-Patch for TBC ?

How The Spell Batching Change Impacts Classic

Regardless of what's happening in the future, whether it be Classic F R E S H, TBC, or even Classic Plus, let's talk about how this change will impact the entirety of the game. When Blizzard originally announced Spell Batching as a feature in Classic WoW, many people supported the change, but in hindsight, most of those players didn't fully understand the impact this change would have on the game. Now that the change is on PTR, players are seeing how much Spell Batching impacted the game.

Looting, Buying, Selling, Trading, and Opening Mail is INSTANT

This is without a doubt the most noticeable and significant change that impacts every single player, even as a level 1 in your starting zone. The entire game gets a massive face lift and general day-to-day activity feels so much better. Buying Noggenfogger Elixir, moving Iron Grenade out of the mailbox, or even vendoring all your  Giant Clam Meat after a hard day's work of picking  Blue Pearl, you will see and feel the difference!

Tanks, Healers, and Warriors Rejoice

Taunt applies IMMEDIATELY. Not 0.01 seconds after, not after a player gets hit by the mob, instantly. Of course I'm being slightly hyperbolic, nothing happens instantly, but it definitely feels like it compared to 400 milliseconds!

Healers have been dealing with "Death Batching Heals" since the beginning of Classic WoW. Imagine you're healing your tank, the heal goes off, your mana drops, the animations leaves your hand, your combat log shows the heal connecting... but the tank died anyway. In the same spell batch window, the tank died and your heal landed. But you basically healed a dead person and didn't save the tank! This is no longer the case after the spell batch change!

Fury Warriors should be ecstatic. Take a look at this clip from SalvDali on Twitch, where he shows off how  Execute functions differently with a smaller batch window. On top of being able to efficiently generate and spend threat during Execute phase for more damage, Warriors will be able to start executing even sooner! And will likely be able to reliably Execute on trash mobs (for really fast clearing guilds, it can be hard to squeeze in an Execute on a mob dying from 21% to 0% in seconds)..

General Player versus Player Changes

This one is the most obvious, as Blizzard basically advertised the idea of Spell batching with examples such as two Mages casting  Polymorph on one another at the "same time" and various examples of interactions like that. Well, that's no longer the case and in most scenarios, it boils down to a really basic principle. What player pressed the button first, gets the ability off. Of course, if both players press the button at the same time, well then internet latency takes over and is the final decider.

Rogues are definitely going to feel a difference in Player versus Player, because entering  Stealth has also been a victim of spell batching since Classic WoW's launch. One great example of how things are changing, a Rogue can actually restealth in an enemy's face after using  Gouge with the  Improved Gouge Talent. With Improved Gouge, Gouge will last 5.5 seconds, which is the exact time it takes to drop combat. Right as the Gouged enemy is leaving the crowd control, the Rogue will be able to cast Stealth without being broken out by a spell!

What Isn't Changing

Groups of players will still be able to pick a Songflower for the  Songflower Serenade buff together, without issue. As long as the group is spamming interact with the flower before it becomes available for picking, each player should get the buff just as they do now with spell batching enabled.

Shamans still benefit from  Elemental Mastery just as they do currently. Believe it or not, this wasn't a spell batching issue and Shamans squeezing two critical hits with Elemental Mastery lasted until The Burning Crusade. In Patch 2.3.0 Patch Notes, you can see "Elemental Mastery: It is no longer possible to get two consecutive guaranteed critical strikes from using this ability."

Just as Shamans benefit from Elemental mastery,  Mages can still pull of a double  Shatter combo, but it's slightly more difficult to pull off. With the current spell batching, there was a lot of wiggle room, allowing Mages to re-position for a  Cone of Cold. On the PTR, there is less leniency and it's slightly harder to pull this off.

Melee Leeway was originally theorized as being connected to Spell Batching in some way. Which is a pretty fair thought, because who thought looting mobs, and opening mail would somehow be related? Either way, melee leeway isn't going away with this spell batching change. It's here to stay, at the moment.

When Will Patch 1.13.7 Hit Classic?

Maybe Patch 1.13.7 is the TBC Pre-Patch, maybe it's Classic Plus, whatever it is, we probably won't get a solid answer until Blizzconline on February 19-20th. Either way, many Private Server players who came to Classic WoW because of the promise of stable and reliable servers and Blizzard polish are re-invigorated for the future of the game and excited for the possibility of F R E S H Classic Servers, starting back at Phase 1 - WITHOUT SPELL BATCHING! This is the first big step in the right direction for the longevity and health of Classic, forever.

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