Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas
Game Director Ion Hazzikostas answered questions today!


Upcoming Q&A
  • There will be another Q&A in a couple of weeks, focused on PvP with Holinka. There will be an eSports in 2017 announcement after that.

Artifact Appearances
  • The Balance of Power skins will not be made account wide. They are weapon and character specific cosmetic rewards that reflect your accomplishments on that character. The team is looking at the steps and how much effort is required.
  • Hidden appearances from raid and dungeon bosses now have bad luck protection as of Patch 7.1.5.
  • Artifact appearances are just a cosmetic unlock, so being as alt friendly isn't as important as things that make it harder to play the current content.

Patch 7.1.5
  • Overall that changes to secondary stats were successful.
  • Arcanocrystal is a special case. Trinkets in previous expansions with no primary stats were seen as awful, so the team made it over the item budget. There isn't really any way to fix this without making an item worse for players that already have it. It should fall out of favor as item levels go up with Tomb of Sargeras.

Patch 7.2 Relics
  • After completing the next step of your Order Hall campaign, two more tiers of research are unlocked. Research adds a second trait to all relics.
  • Relics having two traits creates more possibilities for desirable relics. It also brings the worst and best relics closer together.
  • If you are a Ret Paladin and want Avenging Wrath traits, there is only one relic that will give you that. You have to run one dungeon to get that relic. In Patch 7.2, any relic will have the chance to have that trait, so you will have the possibility of getting an exciting relic from any boss.
  • This adds more possibilities and customization to the relic system.
  • The extra trait that rolls on these relics will always be a throughput trait (primary role enhancing traits).
  • The extra trait will always be different, so you can't get two of the same trait.

Legendary Items
  • Tier sets and some trinkets that change effects based on your spec are somewhat of a concession.
  • Some legendary items have a name and fantasy that make them very distinct, so it wouldn't make sense to have them change based on your spec.
  • In raids you might not have someone that can use an item that only works for a specific spec, so items that change based on spec make sense, but legendary items are personal loot, so you will always be able to use what you get.
  • Patch 7.2 makes legendary drop bad luck protection more spec specific.
  • The system looks at how many legendary items you have that would drop for your spec, so if you switch specs the system will know how many legendary items that work for that spec. If you don't have any for that spec, you will have a higher chance to get one.
  • The legendary Enhancement bracer could probably use a buff. The team continues to look at legendary items that are somewhat underpowered or overpowered to bring them back in line.
  • Frost Death Knight helm is on the high end of the power range and is on the team's radar.
  • Resto Druid shoulders are also on the radar.
  • Getting a legendary item that you think is awful is one of the concerns right now, not as much how they are acquired.
  • The legendary items that are most problematic are the ones that feel like they are universally the best.
  • Sephuz is actually pretty good on some fights, so it is in a better place now.
  • The definition of competitive is subject to debate. You might be a few percent behind, but for most specs that is within the margin of error of your play on most fights.
  • Guilds that are benching players because their theoretical sim output is a few percent lower than someone else are probably not making the right choice.
  • The four crafted legendary items are all that is currently planned. The goal was not targeted legendary items, but instead making something exciting for the crafting professions to produce.
  • At the start of the expansion, crafted gear was exciting and useful. Over time that became less of the case, as other options became available.
  • Other professions remain relevant and strong today, so the crafted legendary items should add something that can be crafted and sold.
  • The crafted legendary items should be solid middle of the road legendary items. They shouldn't be the best.
  • As people get more legendary items, they can swap them out situationally.
  • The crafted legendary items don't count against your legendary bad luck protection.

Artifact Power
  • With Artifact Power, the team wanted to offer a universally desired currency, a way of progressing your character, and providing some choices along the way.
  • Even if you don't get loot from a dungeon, you got something that makes you a little more powerful. This way you never feel like something was a complete waste of time.
  • If this system is working initially, why should it ever stop working. The system initially had an attainable end point originally, so people felt like there was a finish line that they needed to race towards. Once players got there, they no longer get that extra reward of Artifact Power that is useful.
  • The team understands the desire of wanting to feel no obligation to grind and wanting an endpoint.
  • The team doesn't want Artifact Power to be something that you seek out as the only reward. If you are looking to go and farm Artifact Power with no other rewards, tuning wasn't correct.
  • Repeated Mythic+ farming to grind Artifact Power isn't very fun.
  • Patch 7.2 changes how lucrative how different types of content are. A lot of the AP is taken away from end of dungeon chests to reduce the incentive to chain run them.
  • The team is continuing to increase the Artifact Power rewards, including from the weekly chest. If you clear a +20, you might get 2 million AP from your weekly chest at the current AK level.
  • Overall, the team wants to move players away from feeling like they should grind content to get more Artifact Power. They also want to add diminishing returns, so that you eventually get to a point where you feel like it isn't worth the time to get another 0.5% power increase.
  • For the vast majority of players, the current system is working okay, they just take the Artifact Power as it comes.
  • Artifact Power isn't class wide because the system focuses on your individual Artifact. You empower a specific weapon to unlock new choices.
  • It would feel odd to play one spec, switch to another, and have your weapon fully powered.
  • The team is focused on significantly narrowing the gap between the power of weapons for different specs.
  • In Patch 7.2, if you put all of your AP into one weapon, you will only be a few points ahead of someone who was splitting it between two weapons. The reward for focusing on one weapon is a small reward.
  • The final Artifact trait in Patch 7.2 is still being tuned, but you will probably eventually reach that point of diminishing returns where doing something else over farming AP for that trait will make sense.
  • The final trait shouldn't be a mandatory trait, just something to give players to put AP into as they continue to earn it.
  • Artifact Power items acquired with AK 25 or less will not be usable once Patch 7.2 releases and you empower your Artifact and reach AK 26. This was done to prevent you from feeling like you need to farm AP now in preparation for Patch 7.2.
  • Patch 7.2 will add new Artifact Knowledge catch up tomes. If you are at AK 40 you can buy a AK 35 tome.

Tier 20 Set Bonuses
  • These set bonuses are not final and are still being tuned.
  • Tier 19 set bonuses were changed significantly over time before they released.
  • The Tier 20 set bonuses were just added to start collecting feedback.
  • Initially someone may just add some kind of set bonus to Tier 20 gear so that there is a set bonus, eventually someone will come back and take a look at it to tune it or change it.
  • The team doesn't want to hold back the Tier 20 set bonus ideas, they would rather get it out to players to start collecting feedback.
  • Tier sets went to six pieces in Legion to allow you to put legendary items on while keeping your set bonus. It is also cool to have a cloak that matches your set.
  • There aren't plans to make the 2pc from different tier sets exclusive right now, but you will have to make a choice between legendary items, the 4pc bonus, and other 2pc set bonus. This allows for an interesting gearing choice, but if it ends up feeling like there is only one correct choice the team may revisit this.

PTR
  • With the way the PTR works, there isn't a lot of filtering on what data is exposed when a new build is pushed out. A designer may just add a placeholder to something, causing it to go out with the next PTR build.
  • Often you will see things that are not right and not finished. Experiments and abandoned designs are in the data.
  • It isn't worth the effort and time it would take to go back and clean up or hide things, that time is better spent making new things.

Trinkets
  • There are existing tank trinkets that are very successful and widely used by tanks. Passive stats and mitigation are most reliable compared to an active ability.
  • The team is still iterating on trinkets that will drop in ToS in Patch 7.2.
  • The team was going to make a pass on tank trinkets, did it, and came to the conclusion that the trinkets aren't undertuned, but most players prefer the stat trinkets and aren't as excited by the active ability trinkets.
  • In the past, active DPS trinkets were used in line with other cooldowns, making them more powerful and requiring a power penalty. Other active trinkets don't work in the same way, especially for tanks, so there doesn't need to be a penalty, it will be a little stronger than the passive option if used correctly.

Traits
  • Group buffing traits are just a flavor thing and an experiment.
  • The team doesn't expect altered group compositions or stacking to take advantage of these.

Mythic Raiding
  • The team wants to shift away from players feeling like there is a finish line for Artifact Power.
  • Being in and running a mythic raiding guild is very hard. It is a drain on your time and emotionally.
  • Guilds have risen and fallen throughout the history of World of Warcraft.
  • Guilds leaving tends to reflect the officers and leaders reaching a point where they can't continue, either due to their situation in life or the changes made to the game. They may just walk away, causing the guild to die without the leadership. The remaining players may spread out and join other guilds that are still doing Mythic raiding.
  • The team isn't saying that everything is fine as it is, there is currently a feeling of a grind that the team is trying to address in Patch 7.2.
  • On some level, the game is not meant to be played 80 hours a week. When M'uru was released and guilds raided for 23 hours over a few days to get their world first, players on the forum asked if there should be attempt limits.
  • There is an ongoing arms race to play more and more for a very small advantage in the race.
  • Players used alt raids to learn fights when attempts were limited.
  • Some guild leaders expected raiders to chain run Maw of Souls all week. This was a problem.
  • The team wants to make a game with lots of goals you can progress to if you want to play a lot once in a while.
  • Lots of hard gating on things isn't great, so the team avoids it on most things. You should be able to join your friend for a dungeon Sunday night and still get some kind of a reward. This also means that you can chain run the dungeon for rewards.
  • Playing endless hours for a small advantage is not sustainable.

World Quests
  • The team is aware that some world quests have a static reward that doesn't feel worth it, extra gold or AP sometimes being rewarded might help.
  • Some world quests may be more lucrative up front occasionally, rather than randomly giving you an extra reward.
  • The tech isn't there yet, but the team has talked about it and wants to improve it.


Hatching of the Hippogryphs Micro-holiday Live
Hatching of the Hippogryphs is a micro-holiday that allows players to witness the hatching of hippogryphs in Feralas.

  • This event takes place in the Frayfeather Highlands in Feralas.
  • You can stand near an egg for a short while to keep it warm so that it hatches.
  • Once an egg hatches, you have a baby hippogryph on your shoulder for one day.
  • You can kill Lorthalium to obtain a Spectral Feather, which will keep your hippogryph around for five days.

This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas, Hatching of the Hippogryphs started by chaud View original post
Comments 144 Comments
  1. Leksa's Avatar
    "The Balance of Power skins will not be made account wide. They are weapon and character specific cosmetic rewards that reflect your accomplishments on that character. The team is looking at the steps and how much effort is required."

    Hey look, I'm gonna do the long and horrible chain quests twelve times ! -_-
  1. Triggered Fridgekin's Avatar
    I'm still trying to wrap my head around Ion's reasoning in regards to how Concordance of Legionfall is a good idea.
  1. familiar's Avatar
    Is this all they have left to talk about? The grind?
  1. Jimfire's Avatar
    The system looks at how many legendary items you have that would drop for your spec, so if you switch specs the system will know how many legendary items that work for that spec. If you don't have any for that spec, you will have a higher chance to get one.


    hahah troll blizzard. all players have, who have all the crap legs have a higher chance to get there spec specific ones cause they are the only one left. the other players already have them. no need to buff it
  1. Byrthor's Avatar
    It would feel odd to play one spec, switch to another, and have your weapon fully powered.
    No it wouldn't
  1. Kaedis's Avatar
    Hey look, I'm gonna do the long and horrible chain quests twelve times ! -_-
    At least the EN part only takes a single run now. Took me 5 weeks to get 13 of the things, then 4 bosses to get the remaining 17 after the hotfix.
  1. Matchu's Avatar
    The Balance of Power skins will not be made account wide. They are weapon and character specific cosmetic rewards that reflect your accomplishments on that character. The team is looking at the steps and how much effort is required.
    It would feel odd to play one spec, switch to another, and have your weapon fully powered.
    Blizzard consistently failing to understand their player base.
  1. Diggsworth's Avatar
    I'm confused as to why they're deincentivising mythic+.
    They want to make the game less grindy, so they're making everything time-gated grindy instead?
    No longer can you spend the weekend hammering out mythic + with friends to get ap, now you're better off running one high m+ and then what, logging out until raid?
  1. EVB's Avatar
    so, the AP grind will be endless now. Welcome to the World of Diablo.
  1. Iceleaf's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrthor View Post
    No it wouldn't
    This. It feels really frustrating specially as pure DPS class that might, or might not, get major buffs or nerfs. Like currently im 44 / 34 / 20 traits on weapons.
    I'd rather focus getting that 44 up and up. But what if 7.2. will nerf it to levels of "unplayble for months" and the 20 trait one gets major buffs? Yeah gl switching to it specially after those extra AP talents.

    I wouldnt even mind bit longer grind IF it would go to all 3 weapons. Seeing as NH is already "balanced for 35 traits" (or more if mythic)
  1. General Zanjin's Avatar
    Continue to fail to understand.
    Idiot blizzard.
  1. Shampro's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Keeper Zanjin View Post
    Continue to fail to understand.
    Idiot blizzard.
    Hey Zanjin, I've never seen you like anything about this game, even on the official forums/story forums. Quick question, why do you still follow this video game?
  1. arcaneshot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceleaf View Post
    This. It feels really frustrating specially as pure DPS class that might, or might not, get major buffs or nerfs. Like currently im 44 / 34 / 20 traits on weapons.
    I'd rather focus getting that 44 up and up. But what if 7.2. will nerf it to levels of "unplayble for months" and the 20 trait one gets major buffs? Yeah gl switching to it specially after those extra AP talents.

    I wouldnt even mind bit longer grind IF it would go to all 3 weapons. Seeing as NH is already "balanced for 35 traits" (or more if mythic)
    Considering if you build your weapon a certain way (that is, you forego ALL of the utility talents) you cap out your weapon's nominal base power at around Lv.25 or 26. If you think, other than the flat damage boost, that your weapon is that much weaker it may as well be trash it is BECAUSE you picked up all the utility talents.
  1. Dug's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Diggsworth View Post
    I'm confused as to why they're deincentivising mythic+.
    They want to make the game less grindy, so they're making everything time-gated grindy instead?
    No longer can you spend the weekend hammering out mythic + with friends to get ap, now you're better off running one high m+ and then what, logging out until raid?
    They're trying to save players from themselves because some people can't show restraint in grinding M+ every waking moment and then they complain that they are forced to.
  1. Aliven's Avatar
    "The Balance of Power skins will not be made account wide. They are weapon and character specific cosmetic rewards that reflect your accomplishments on that character. The team is looking at the steps and how much effort is required."

    I get it. No surprise honestly. Another reason why i believe game is no longer for me.
    At least tokens gave me overwatch. Thats something.
  1. Diggsworth's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dugraka View Post
    They're trying to save players from themselves because some people can't show restraint in grinding M+ every waking moment and then they complain that they are forced to.
    Right, but where does that leave players like myself who actually enjoy m+?
    At the moment is a damn struggle to get people to go to them, and with the "planned" hit to AP coming, it'll be basically impossible.
    It'll just shift from "hey, good affixes this week, let's grind some AP" to "I ran my +__ this week already".
    Gutting content because people complain about "being forced to do it" is just going to make those same people complain that "there's nothing to do outside of raids".
    A good portion of my gametime right now is spent in M+.
    I might be the minority here, but if this change goes live my playtime will drop drastically as a result, and I know, "if you enjoy mythic plus so much, why would you run them less just because you get less rewards?", well it's the same reason I don't power through D3 story mode on t13, can I do it? -- sure, is it a good time value investment? -- hell no.
  1. General Zanjin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shampro View Post
    Hey Zanjin, I've never seen you like anything about this game, even on the official forums/story forums. Quick question, why do you still follow this video game?
    I care about lore.

    Why do you care what i think?
  1. Dug's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Diggsworth View Post
    Right, but where does that leave players like myself who actually enjoy m+?
    At the moment is a damn struggle to get people to go to them, and with the "planned" hit to AP coming, it'll be basically impossible.
    It'll just shift from "hey, good affixes this week, let's grind some AP" to "I ran my +__ this week already".
    Gutting content because people complain about "being forced to do it" is just going to make those same people complain that "there's nothing to do outside of raids".
    A good portion of my gametime right now is spent in M+.
    I might be the minority here, but if this change goes live my playtime will drop drastically as a result, and I know, "if you enjoy mythic plus so much, why would you run them less just because you get less rewards?", well it's the same reason I don't power through D3 story mode on t13, can I do it? -- sure, is it a good time value investment? -- hell no.
    The way I understood it but I certainly could be wrong is that there will be one very high AP reward that week and then they'll continue to reward AP just not anywhere near the initial reward. Or maybe like One high AP reward per lvl +2, 3, 4 etc. That way people aren't just running 6-9 all day. Higher rewards means going farther.

    Edit: nope nevermind listening to it again it does sound like just one big reward from weekly chest. But you can still make AP gains just not as much as before.
  1. Polopollo's Avatar
    I'm confused about:

    The system looks at how many legendary items you have that would drop for your spec, so if you switch specs the system will know how many legendary items that work for that spec. If you don't have any for that spec, you will have a higher chance to get one.
    What about Priaz & Sephuz? If my warrior prot got both of them, when patch 7.2 will hit, will they be considered "all specs got 2 legendaries each", "no spec got a legendary", or "tank spec got 2 legendaries"? And what about cross spec legendaries, like the Execute ring (For both Arms and Fury, but not for Prot as prot doesn't have execute)?
  1. Diggsworth's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dugraka View Post
    The way I understood it but I certainly could be wrong is that there will be one very high AP reward that week and then they'll continue to reward AP just not anywhere near the initial reward. Or maybe like One high AP reward per lvl +2, 3, 4 etc. That way people aren't just running 6-9 all day. Higher rewards means going farther.
    I kind of read that too at first, but got a bit put off by the 2 million for 20 number.
    I mean, honestly, I'll just have to wait until the numbers are finalized, otherwise I'll just wing up working myself into a tizzy over nothing.
    That said, anything that comes out of Ion's mouth should really fill you with dread.

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