World of Warcraft players are expressing displeasure at a new version of the Legion alpha that has removed the ability to move the camera back from a player's location by using a known console command "/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 4". The majority of player, many of them raiders, have been active in the discussion saying that it hampers a raid leader's ability to effectively direct other players, most keenly felt by those who are melee.
In response to the thread about this unpublicized alteration in the camera distance, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas wrote a somewhat lengthy post about the reasons behind the change and why there was no prior communication with the community:
Finally, why did this happen suddenly now, late in the beta cycle, seemingly without any communication? Honestly, the intent was for the change to have been in place from early alpha onwards. I believe that what happened was that one of the CVars (CameraDistanceMaxFactor?) was clamped from the start, but a second CVar (CameraDistanceMax?) was overlooked. That issue was entered and tracked as a bug, and was just fixed recently. As a development team, at this point we're fixing up to 2000 Legion bugs a week, and it's not always obvious which player-facing build will contain a particular one of those fixes. This clearly wasn't something we ever imagined could just be swept under the carpet.
Hazzikostas admits that the entire team knew that this would be a very unpopular decision within certain segments of the community, particularly those who have been using the console command for a long while. The change came to create better "parity between players who use the default UI and those who utilize addons or "hiddent console variables". However, rather than create a slider that would allow for distance, it was felt that the world was created for the default UI and scale and that the default distance behind a character is sufficient to play the game effectively.
The first image below shows the distance "as intended" and as it is in the Legion beta, the second showing the camera distance using the console command as it can be currently on live servers.
What do you think? Should Blizzard have enabled a slider or is their decision soundly based? Leave us your thoughts.