Many players have gotten into the habit of down ranking spells to gain efficiency. While this has been a common practice, it is about to change in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Players in the beta have started asking questions, and here is what Blizzard has had to say about it...
We've been very forthcoming with the truth. Let's look at it from this angle. Downranking added a lot of extra considerations to design and balance. When people downrank, it changes the complexities of different encounters and how those complexities play into the design. We don't want to penalize people using low ranked spells because this doesn't quite address the issue of downranking either. So what we're doing instead is finding a consistent cost of mana across the board and making it so that when you rank up, you get more benefit out of that higher ranked spell. The cost should remain largely consistent as you go along.
What Zarhym has said and what Wryxian has said are not at odds with each other. One is simply saying "this wasn't intended" the other was saying "if you're going to do it, this is the strategy people are using" and highlighting someone elses' post. We are not advocating downranking, but we are now making it a thing of the past.
That said, there are other things that people need to remember when considering this change:
* We anticipate there being some balance concerns and problems due to this change, and will be ready to implement new spells, abilities, or talents to resolve those issues as we feel are necessary. Consider that we are working to make sure that the impact of these changes isn't going to affect people negatively.
* The change is factoring in BASE mana and is not taking into account the added bonuses of intellect, buffs, potions, etc. Base mana is just that. It's looking at the very foundation of your character and basing the mana cost from that.
* It is known that some players may need to readjust their playstyle a bit to accomodate this change. Whether it's focusing more on regeneration, efficient allocation of healing, and utilizing the full range of spells and abilities within their repertoire.
* This is still a work in progress. Adjustments will be made, but these will be made based on testing and experiences within the beta. This change isn't being removed, but will be adjusted as needed. Keep in mind also, that this change affects all ranks of spells and abilities that use mana so we will be keeping a close eye on what is occurring at both the lower end and at the higher end to achieve the best possible results overall.
* Within the beta, people are gaining a lot of new abilities and are still getting used to what these can do and where the potential issues may be. The mana change is only one factor in this experience and it's important to keep an eye on how these changes are affecting everything as a whole.
* Constructive Feedback- We can not stress how important this is. Pointing fingers, or "he said, she said" isn't going to help with getting the maximum value out of this change. Testing, trying things out, weighing and balancing experiences and reporting them to us, this is important. This is the best possible time for this feedback because changes are occurring right now. Could more changes follow even after the release of the expansion? Of course. We are always watching and keeping tabs on what is occurring with players.
In the end of all this, it's important to realize that we aren't making this change arbitrarily. We also understand that this change was going to bring about a lot of conversation. The message is still the same as when we first put it up. We are getting rid of downranking, but we are doing it in a way that we feel is the most beneficial and are keeping a close eye on what may still need adjusted to maximize the overall benefit of this change.
You can find the thread here on the Blizzard official forums.