Developer Q&A - Matt Goss: Legion Itemization
Lead Game Designer Matt Goss answered Legion itemization questions today.




Upcoming Q&A
  • Next week the Q&A has the Content Lead for Patch 7.2, talking about all of the content coming in Patch 7.2.

Secondary Stats
  • At Legion launch, players weren't feeling rewarded by doing more challenging content. Secondary stat priority has been brought closer together in most cases now.
  • The team is happier than they were, things are generally better and higher item level items are usually better than lower item level items.
  • The team did all that they could do without making drastic changes in a patch.

Reforging
  • Reforging lets players make items more optimal, but it isn't a great solution to the current problem of some higher item level items not being as good as lower item level items.
  • Reforging made every upgrade more difficult to figure out, as you had to consider the base item and all of the variations you could make.
  • Reforging also meant an interruption to your raid, as you had to go and reforge an item.

Itemization
  • There is gear that is usable across all classes and gear like set pieces and legendary items that are usable on one class or spec.
  • When selecting stats for things like tier sets, the team is aware that there are now six pieces, so you can mix and match a little more than you could in the past.

Tertiary Stats
  • The role of these stats is to be a bonus. If you are looking at two similar pieces, this could be a deciding factor.
  • The team doesn't want tertiary stats to be a huge factor, just a bonus.
  • Avoidance is something like 8-10% damage reduction with just one piece, so these stats are powerful.
  • Leech and speed are also pretty useful stats. Sneaky good.

Legendary Items
  • The team would have made the drop rate of legendary items a little higher if they could go back and do things again.
  • The legendary system was brand new, the team wasn't sure how they needed to tune the drop rate with legendary items coming from everything in the game.
  • They initially went a little low on the drop rate, because it is easier to increase it than to decrease it later.
  • The gap between utility and power legendary items was too high, but the team brought them closer together.
  • Patch 7.2 attempts to narrow the gap further. You shouldn't feel like you need a specific legendary item to do content. If you have multiple legendary items, you should feel like you have a choice.
  • Legendary items that encourage you to try new things with the different items is cool.

Balancing Situational and Universal Legendary Items
  • Situational legendary items should be good in specific situations, better than the universal legendary items.
  • The team continues to make adjustments to legendary items, but things are in a decent place right now.

Personal Loot Trading Rules
  • The team agrees that the current rules are confusing.
  • If you are a player that is doing a lot of PuG raiding, the personal loot rules were designed to protect you. The team didn't want you to feel pressured to trade away things to someone else.
  • Trading personal loot should be a bonus, not a social pressure.
  • You can't trade loot from bonus rolls right now because the team wants you to spend that token on yourself.
  • In Patch 7.2, loot from bonus rolls will tell you why you can't trade it away.
  • Allowing you to trade bonus roll loot would create the opportunity for the group to tell everyone to bonus roll on a certain boss because someone in the group needs an item.
  • If you are in a guild group and want to trade loot around it is a very confusing system right now.
  • The team is looking at how they can loosen up the rules without violating the ideas behind the initial set of rules.
  • The two set pieces in Arcway and Court of Stars weren't be able to traded because they were technically part of a set.

Item Effects
  • If it makes sense for an item to have an effect, the team will add an effect to it.
  • The Spike Collar Chain in Karazhan did damage when people hit you, the effect makes sense.
  • The team doesn't want to do too many effects because it makes it harder to compare items, but the current rate is probably fine.

Dungeon Trinkets
  • The team looks at trinkets a lot.
  • With Legion and the Mythic+ and item upgrade system there are more items than there ever have been before.
  • The team likes dungeon trinkets being useful.

Dungeon Sets
  • The small two set pieces like the one in Arcway and Court of Stars are cool.
  • The sets give you a reason to run different content to complete the set.
  • This is something that has to be done with a light touch, but is pretty cool.
  • The team has talked about adding small sets in raids, they don't have to come from dungeons.
  • Maybe if an item has a cool story it would be worth making into a small set.
  • The team talks about bringing back dungeon sets every expansion.
  • The Order Hall set includes a piece that requires you to complete dungeons.
  • At what point is a dungeon set item too powerful compared to a raid set item? This is even more of a problem with Mythic+ items.

Tier Sets
  • Your first experience in Legion is leveling your artifact. Unlocking all of these powers, getting legendary items, and collecting tier set bonuses was too much to do all at once.
  • Even with Nighthold, set bonuses were a little simpler to avoid overloading you with information.
  • In the future the team could look at adding tier sets to every raid, or maybe adding upgraded versions in a later raid.
  • The team wants to give players choice. If the Tier 19 two piece bonus becomes dominant, the team make changes, but currently you will be able to wear the Tier 19 two piece and Tier 20 four piece. This is an experiment.

Tier 20 Set Bonuses
  • When patch 7.2 goes live, Tomb of Sargeras won't be open.
  • Tier 20 set bonuses aren't placeholders, the team does want feedback on them.
  • There will be a small patch before or around the time that Tomb opens, something like Patch 7.1.5 with tuning changes.

Active Trinkets
  • Looking at current trinkets, it is hard for the active trinkets to compete with the passive Tank and Healer trinkets.
  • The upcoming trinkets should be better in the past, using the trinket should feel like it has an impact.
  • For tanks, the team hasn't hit the mark where they are excited about active trinkets.
  • For DPS, the team needs be a little cautious with active effects, as they can be stacked with other cooldowns.

Enchants and Gems
  • The tuned against what they thought secondary stats would be like now. At release they were probably too powerful, so with the secondary stat rebalancing they were brought more in line with where they need to be.
  • Feasts were a primary stat, with other food being secondary stats. The other food would dominate because of how powerful secondary stats were.
  • Over the course of the expansion, enchants and gems will diminish in power. Epic gems have been used in the past to offset this, so it could be a solution in another patch.

Secondary Stats and Depth of Gameplay
  • The community is better at evaluating stats now than they were in Mists of Pandaria.
  • There used to be a stat priority list, now we have precisely calculated stat weights.
  • The feeling that there could be different builds based on what stat you are stacking is gone because the community is better at determining which stat is better.
  • The team likes the idea of you speccing your character different ways based on the stat you are stacking, but it doesn't fit with the current reality. The team is working on it, but it is hard to justify using a build that is even slightly weaker than another.
  • Healers live in a great world, where they have the choice between faster heals, more crit or mastery, or other choices.

Solo Challenges
  • The challenges are in Patch 7.2 and are very difficult. Very difficult.
  • When you unlock the building on the Broken Shore you are able to attempt the challenges.
  • The challenges aren't normalized, so your gear matters. It will probably be rough early on.

Relics and Second Traits
  • Only allowing one utility and one throughput trait on relics is a decent suggestion.
  • Giving players more choice in what they get was the goal, but the system as described felt too random.
  • There were also a lot of system things that made it not a great system.
  • The team is still looking at how they can bring back another trait on relics, while giving players more choice and control.
  • The team felt that there is a lot more that can be done with relics in the future, so adding a second trait in Patch 7.2 could interfere with the system in the future.

Changing Relics
  • When the team made Artifacts, they wanted the Artifact to feel like it was infused with power by things from the world.
  • There are systems that let you customize your character already, gear, talents, and other things. The team didn't want to add yet another customization.
  • Wanting to be able to swap Relics to try different things is fine, but feeling like you had to swap relics for every boss would be a burden.

Item Appearances
  • The team realized just how many set pieces they were missing when building the transmog set UI for Patch 7.2.
  • There is a backlog of appearances that the team wants to put back into the game, but they have to find the right place to do that.
  • It could be a new system, or just giving out new items with the old appearance.
  • It would be weird if you go to Patch 7.2 and get all of the new items with new art and then one random item with a recolor of a Vanilla item.

Heirloom Items
  • Heirlooms will scale to 110 in a patch shortly after Patch 7.2, but not with Patch 7.2.
  • More information about this is coming in the future.
  • Artifacts have extended the amount of time players are playing their main characters.

Unstable Arcanocrystal
  • This trinket was over budget and nerfed once already.
  • The team is very cautious about taking an item that people think is really good and making it so bad that people don't want to use it anymore. Doing so punishes people that have the trinket already.
  • Someone who wanted the trinket, gets it, and it gets nerfed the next day would also be sad.

Titanforged and Warforged RNG
  • Warforged and Titanforged was intended to make the upgrade feel like a bonus.
  • If you are a Heroic raider and want to help out a friend in Normal, there is no chance of getting an upgrade. This system gives you a chance to get something that is an upgrade.
  • The team is still looking at the tuning, maybe it is happening more than it should.
  • You don't need Warforged or Titanforged, you can move to a higher difficulty or mythic dungeons.

NPC Armor
  • The team would love to offer some of the armor from NPCs, especially bosses to players.
  • This is usually offered to players by adding one or two of the armor set items from a boss to their drop table.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Q&A - Matt Goss: Legion Itemization started by chaud View original post
Comments 119 Comments
  1. scubistacy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaedis View Post
    Wait, what? What the hell is the point of them, then? These challenges, and their associated tints, were sold as being for people capable of demonstrating outstanding skill with their class. If they are not normalized, all they are going to demonstrate is that the person geared up sufficiently to trivialize it. Without gear normalizing, these tints lose their prestige, with mythic raiders getting them almost immediately and non-raiders being blocked from them likely until Argus, regardless of skill (and I say this as a mythic raider myself).

    Seriously, normalize these things. They don't reflect skill in the slightest if you can simply outgear them.
    Even with normalising there are problems, like some classes / specs performing better in PGs than others. But without normalisation, there truly is no challenge.

    There is a reason that completing the Green Fire questline for warlocks granted no title after a certain point in the timeline. And while overgearing this challenge has been there to some extent, skill was definitively important. I got the title on my warlock, with a bit of overgearing (TI items with basic item levels, some with upgrades, single pieces from SoO LFR, and probably one crafted item). A friend of mine was at about the same gear level, but he did not manage to kill the final boss before they removed the option to get the title. So, I either was practicing the fight more, or was better at playing warlock at that time, or both.

    Let's see how this will turn out... my best geared character is at ilvl 884. :/

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    Quote Originally Posted by caervek View Post
    Trying to explain reforging to Blizzard is like trying to explain art to a robot, it has a functional understanding of what it is but cannot comprehend why it exists or what it's for.
    Feel the same. Blizzard does not like people customising their characters.
  1. BigSarge04's Avatar
    RNG is the dumbest shit, I've run dungeons, heroics, and Mythics as a tank, and have got no loot in the past. How does that HELP me? It doesn't. It makes it harder for me to get better gear.
  1. Niwes's Avatar
    what an "out of touch - we piss on you" team. horrible...
  1. markos82's Avatar
    Are those two scrubs new to the game? Reforging took time and you have to think alot? Reforge lite, addon that when you set caps and stats in few sec can reforge your entire gear, wow... gotta love BS reasons...
  1. lightspark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaedis View Post
    Wait, what? What the hell is the point of them, then? These challenges, and their associated tints, were sold as being for people capable of demonstrating outstanding skill with their class. If they are not normalized, all they are going to demonstrate is that the person geared up sufficiently to trivialize it. Without gear normalizing, these tints lose their prestige, with mythic raiders getting them almost immediately and non-raiders being blocked from them likely until Argus, regardless of skill (and I say this as a mythic raider myself).

    Seriously, normalize these things. They don't reflect skill in the slightest if you can simply outgear them.
    If they're normalised many people (majority?) won't be able to acquire them at all. W/o normalisation bad players will eventually be able to use gear to compensate for their lack of skill, otherwise they won't be able to get it at all.

    And obv they don't want to have yet another case of "Balance of Power" skin and tints. For instance, one of "challenge" tints is unlocked quite easily, you simply have to kill all dungeon bosses while using challenge skin. Others require doing rated BGs and killing KJ HC (boosters are REALLY happy about this one ). I guess they don't want acquisition of the skin being harder than acquisition of one of its tints.

    Blizz designers tend to balance content that's available to everyone around lowest common denominator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markos82 View Post
    Are those two scrubs new to the game? Reforging took time and you have to think alot? Reforge lite, addon that when you set caps and stats in few sec can reforge your entire gear, wow... gotta love BS reasons...
    TBH, that's the problem (in their eyes). If a system requires addon(s) to be used properly it's a badly-designed system.

    IIRC, that's one of few reasons why they removed it, they didn't like how decision making process was automated by addons. Blizzard doesn't like this kind of things in general
  1. Achie's Avatar
    All these Q&A are retarded. Every single line I read I disagree with because of the flawed logic of these designers that are so out of touch from the player base. All these comments just say basically the same.
    Legion is still in beta.
  1. markos82's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lightspark View Post
    TBH, that's the problem (in their eyes). If a system requires addon(s) to be used properly it's a badly-designed system.

    IIRC, that's one of few reasons why they removed it, they didn't like how decision making process was automated by addons. Blizzard doesn't like this kind of things in general
    If that is their stance then they should limit boss fights ( normal/hc or mythic ) to a push one button and stand still, because without addons killing some of them is kinda like winning the lottery.
  1. lightspark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by markos82 View Post
    If that is their stance then they should limit boss fights ( normal/hc or mythic ) to a push one button and stand still, because without addons killing some of them is kinda like winning the lottery.
    Well, that's the reason why they've been limiting addons in raid/combat environments since late Vanilla / TBC launch

    If things go too far, they gut/restrict API, if this approach is impossible, they just don't use feature in question in later expansions (reforging case).
  1. Darkynhalvos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by arcaneshot View Post
    What they said in the Q&A did happen-- once you reforged one item you ended up reforging EVERYTHING.
    That was only because of hit and expertise caps.
    If they re-introduced reforging now, you'd only need to do the one item, not everything.
  1. markos82's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Darkynhalvos View Post
    That was only because of hit and expertise caps.
    If they re-introduced reforging now, you'd only need to do the one item, not everything.
    Yeah but thats why they added mass milling, why they are now adding option to take all mail from mailbox ( after 12 years ), and so on. Some addons are there to show blizzard that people that are not on they pay list have more brain and common sense what this game needs in order to help people. Not to give them unfair advantage just a little bit of help.

    BEcause of that i think the reason they told us why they removed reforging is BS, It has to do with playing more in order to get perfect gear combo while with reforge you could just drops stats you dont need and go for stats you do need. Less time playing in farming dungeons and so on...
  1. Jonuts's Avatar
    Reforging also meant an interruption to your raid, as you had to go and reforge an item.
    Like this can't be implemented on a mount. Not only that, but it was only a major issue because hit and expertise caps were extremely important, meaning you had to constantly reforge nearly all your gear. Reforging would be a fucking godsend right now without that shit making a hot mess of it.

    The team likes dungeon trinkets being useful.
    Not gonna lie. The team can go eat a bag of dicks. All my BiS raid trinkets are...dungeon trinkets. Fuck you team. Fuck you. I suppose this wouldn't be a problem if I was actually excited to run Halls of Valor on Mythic + until my eyes bleed every time the ilvl cap from Mythic + goes up, but I'm not. I'm really, *really* not.
  1. mishiko's Avatar
    So basically they had an interview where they just basically reiterated over and over "We like what we've done. Thanks, we're not changing anything. We're awesome."

    Except, *everyone* who plays your game disagrees with you. Jesus Effin Christ.
  1. Scorpio9's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by goteq View Post
    next xpac notes:

    Secondary stats removed.
    Sounds drastic but i'd support this. That would mean ilvl upgrade = equip it no matter what. I can't think of one single benefit secondary stats on gear adds to the game. They should do simple spec specific secondary stats templates players cannot influence directly. i'm so fed up with constantly circling around the question if an item is and upgrade or not, meeting must have breaks points etc.
  1. Goldenboy1's Avatar
    Back in WOD when mythic dungeons were released, I was adamantly against it. Players were being rewarded with high ilv gear for little effort. The end result was inflated ilvs resulting in unskilled players with little experience being picked over veterans due to a slight ilv difference. Currently gear does not equal skill, a general sense for performance, or even progression. The current warforged/titanforged mechanics ruined character progression. An item from helping Grandma Tauren kill off some grubs is sometimes better than an item received after defeating the Corrupted Bear God Ursoc. In Emerald Nightmare the expansion was new and this was not a massive issue. However, look at Mythic Nighthold. The gear being dropped is competing with ToV, dungeon, WQ, and Emerald Nightmare gear due to this system. Additionally, upgrades have been largely marginalized to the point where seven or eight players receiving gear upgrades did little to help the transition from progression to farm.

    Reforging was not a godsend system in the past. However, currently reforging will be an excellent solution to secondary issues. An item of superior level, which is supposed to be indicative of power, may be worse due to the stats on the item. With reforging players can now select from a range of items dropped from high end content while preserving their secondary stats. Secondary stats are exactly as the name suggests, secondary. Gearing should not be focused on a secondary item component.

    The relic system is a failed design. The drops translate to three "weapon" drops. This concept is not too awful since relics drop from more bosses than weapons did in the past. The main issue is that there are BIS relics, not a BIS weapon. Sometimes, a raid does not even have your BIS relic which leads players to selecting relics from old content which is toxic to a progression based MMO.

    Overall old content needs to return to its "old" status. Players should not be carrying over titanforged items recieved months ago in place of new items from the most difficult content. Dungeons were designed to be a gate way to low end raiding in order to provide players with some items to start raiding. The order for progression, gear included, was max level- dungeons- Lfr- normal raiding- heroic raiding- mythic raiding. Once you hit mythic raiding you only had heroic trinkets or tier pieces that carried over until they were replaced. Now in Legion at that mythic level you still use dungeon items, normal items, heroic items, and now even world quest items.
  1. joebob42's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Rin View Post
    I knew about the change to tokens. Obviously. It was not clear if YOU did based on your post, however. Thus, I replied with the current information, in case you didn't know about it. If you want to argue against something effectively, you need to have up-to-date information, and it sounded like you were arguing with outdated information. But it seems like you just want to be angry and rant at someone, and my foolish attempt to help simply opened myself up as a target, so I'm not going to continue humoring you with replies.
    Dude. Get over it. Seriously. You're the only one ranting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redroniksre View Post
    Problem with that is that people will then start to reforge on a boss to boss basis, and im pretty sure they don't want to add more stuff to do pre-boss pulls.
    That's not a problem. You're doing like the devs and fabricating imagined problems. Some guilds could make everyone join a Skype video conference session to do yoga before every boss if they wanted to. That doesn't make it a problem to worry about.

    You can still leave the raid to redo your talents between bosses if you really want to. That doesn't mean you're going to or that it's even a problem worth worrying about.
  1. Kaedis's Avatar
    If they're normalised many people (majority?) won't be able to acquire them at all. W/o normalisation bad players will eventually be able to use gear to compensate for their lack of skill, otherwise they won't be able to get it at all.
    I mean, isn't that the point of the challenge skin? That it indicators you're particularly good at your class, that you've mastered it in an above-average way? That's how they were sold.

    Without gear normalization, though, the skins actually indicate that you're particularly geared, and as a result will automatically become less and less prestigious over time as power creep from new content eventually trivializes them.

    Without gear normalization, you can't even call them challenge skins, because it's not based around a challenging scenario, it's based on a scenario requiring a certain amount of gear to be trivial.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonuts View Post
    Like this can't be implemented on a mount. Not only that, but it was only a major issue because hit and expertise caps were extremely important, meaning you had to constantly reforge nearly all your gear. Reforging would be a fucking godsend right now without that shit making a hot mess of it.
    Hell, I've been advocating for ages to add the reforging interface back into the same window as socketing. You shift-right-click the item, select the stat to reforge from and to, commit, done. Make the first reforge (ie. from an item that's never been reforged) free and any time (out of combat), and then make changing an item's reforging have the same requirements as changing talents: out of combat and in a rested zone or under the effects of a tome or codex. Problem solved. No NPCs needed, no issues with interrupting raids (because new items that drop can be immediately reforged while out of combat without restrictions), and puts the same restrictions on changing your reforging before every boss as exist on changing your talents before every boss.

    How is this so freakin' hard?
  1. paflodder's Avatar
    Great game , but i really HATE the RNG !
    Makes you "FEEL" frustrated as hell at times .
    Very bad game design .
  1. lightspark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaedis View Post
    I mean, isn't that the point of the challenge skin? That it indicators you're particularly good at your class, that you've mastered it in an above-average way? That's how they were sold.

    Without gear normalization, though, the skins actually indicate that you're particularly geared, and as a result will automatically become less and less prestigious over time as power creep from new content eventually trivializes them.

    Without gear normalization, you can't even call them challenge skins, because it's not based around a challenging scenario, it's based on a scenario requiring a certain amount of gear to be trivial.
    W/ gear normalisation they'd have to undertune them, e.g. PG Silver difficulty, so majority of people would be able to complete them. So why bother?

    You can't make content that's available to everyone and that's kinda supposed to be done by everyone to be really difficult, LFR is a good example of content tuning for masses. For many among its target audience not standing in fire is a challenge.

    Sadly, saying something like "git gud" won't work.
  1. judgementofantonidas's Avatar
    YAY another appearance to earn.
    Great there are some steps to complete it.

    Hey wait this sounds like proving grounds endless redux. Which few average players were capable of completing due to it having little relevance to the actions normally needed to operate in their class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSarge04 View Post
    RNG is the dumbest shit, I've run dungeons, heroics, and Mythics as a tank, and have got no loot in the past. How does that HELP me? It doesn't. It makes it harder for me to get better gear.


    Blizzard is not about helping you. The longer you have to play the more money they make and the less stress is put on them making something new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Narabug View Post
    • It's actually an amazing solution the the current problem because it means the more stats are more globally more valuable, because you can always have at least some of your 'best' stat on a piece of gear.
    • No it didn't. The issue you're talking about is hit/expertise/haste/crit caps and soft caps. Moreover, what is the relation to the problem of something that is a large item level upgrade (untradeable) being a performance downgrade?
    • No it didn't. Actually never. If it did, how is that any different from getting an upgrade today that requires gems/enchants, or grabbing items out of the bank? This is just another excuse that doesn't address the issue.

    • This would be true if warforge was a small bonus, such as 4 ilvl, and Titanforging was a slightly better bonus, such as 8 ilvl. Allowing an item to Titanforge to literally double the base stats is just absurd.
    • There is still little-to-no chance of getting an upgrade. What this has actually created is that people who do not massively out-gear Normal/Heroic raids are quickly unable to join groups because the people who are running them for the low chance of item upgrades are not interested in 'carrying' appropriately geared players. Also, running with higher-geared party members increases the chance of them not needing an upgrade and sharing it.
    • It is not happening more than it should. It simply shouldn't be so required. And it is required.
    • Look above. It is required. I get 0 upgrades from M+ without a titanforge. I get 0 upgrades from Heroic NH without a Warforge. Most mythic raiders get 0 upgrades from Mythic raid without a Warforge. Am I supposed to just run a higher difficulty of +15 to get better gear?

    I actually kind of feel bad for ToddMatt. He obviously doesn't play or understand the game, but he was hired to perform some job at Blizzard, so he took it. I just wish that they'd check their ego at the door and spend some time looking at feedback instead of repeatedly spewing their uninformed excuses and destroying the game that they were hired to maintain.
    have to agree with you on Lore. bring back alienna and we are golden.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mishiko View Post
    So basically they had an interview where they just basically reiterated over and over "We like what we've done. Thanks, we're not changing anything. We're awesome."

    Except, *everyone* who plays your game disagrees with you. Jesus Effin Christ.
    Hitting the bullshit button on "having to stop the raid to reforge". Not one piece was so vital that you need to stop the raid just to go get it reforged.

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