The 6.0 changes are finally upon us, and I will be taking this opportunity to talk about the gameplay changes to the different roles in the game, specifically for PvE. We will now look at the changes towards ranged DPS. I recently began playing ranged DPS character due to the time in between patches and the changes made a big difference in how they play out.
One of the bigger problems we had during Siege of Ogrimmar was how ranged classes were favored in most encounters. This was mostly due to their high mobility while casting most of their spells. Casters are allows to have big hitting abilities because most of them are tied to long cast times that root them in place. In Mists of Pandaria most of the casters’ disabilities tied towards cast bars were removed in some form. This made their hard-hitting spells (and a shrinking concern for constantly moving with the boss) into a big advantage over melee.
Ranged DPS can already switch targets easily and have higher DPS uptime due to moving and casting. There had to be some change in order for there to be balance between melee and ranged. Blizzard decided to take out most of that mobility, which impacts ranged gameplay quite a bit.
Hunters are the obvious exception to most of this, as they continue to have the most mobility as a ranged class. It makes sense lore-wise and gameplay-wise that an agility class that shoots stuff from bows or guns can move while still doing their full rotation. You simply balance out their damage so it takes into account less downtime compared to a mage or a warlock.
Overall, ranged classes feel different to those who got used to moving while casting. I have talked to many players who like to jump while casting their spells and now they are having a hard time getting used to the changes. It has not changed the core of what being a ranged DPS is, however, and people will soon come to terms with this new style.
If you have played a ranged DPS in the Beta, or are currently playing one on live, I would encourage you to post what you think about them in the comments below.