Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas
Ion Hazzikostas answered some questions today!




Patch 7.3 Content Release Timeline
  • The team learned a lot from how Patch 7.2 unfolded. It wasn't clear what you were supposed to do after the intro.
  • Argus has five chapters and three sub-zones and a ton of stuff available right away.
  • You will be able to play through the first two chapters on Day 1 and unlock world quests and other world content.
  • Week 2 unlocks Chapters 3 and 4, which includes Mac'aree, invasion points, and new world quests.
  • Week 3 you get the final chapter, the dungeon, and Netherlight Crucible.
  • There is a lot to do on Argus and the team wants it to be clear what you should be focused on rather than having many things competing for your attention right away.
  • Many players mostly care about power and would race through the content to unlock the Netherlight Crucible if they could do it on Day 1.
  • The first few weeks allow you to experience all of Argus and then on Day 14 it is a short bit at the end to unlock the Netherlight Crucible.
  • Many of the content unlocks on Argus are account wide, such as the dungeon, travel to the sub-zones, and the Netherlight Crucible.
  • There are some specific world quests that won't or can't be unlocked account wide

Artifact Unlocks
  • In Patch 7.3, as soon as you hit Level 110 on a character, all of your relic slots are unlocked right away.
  • You no longer have to do the Broken Shore quest line to allow your artifact to go beyond 34 points.
  • As soon as you hit 110 in Patch 7.3 you will have Level 41 Artifact Knowledge. After that it will increase weekly automatically, no more research required.

Legion Invasions
  • Invasions will remain active in Patch 7.3.

Order Hall Champions
  • There will be catch up tokens from missions and chests that help you quickly increase the item level of your followers.

Netherlight Crucible
  • The Artifact Trait tree is a steady form of progression.
  • The team wanted to offer two trait relics in Patch 7.2, but ended up removing it.
  • Relics point to a trait by index (1-9). Each class and spec in the game has a relic that maps to trait 5, but that is a different trait for each class or spec. This means relics can't be customized as much as the team wanted to.
  • Relics in the Netherlight Crucible solve some of the problem of Relic availability. Any relic can now have another trait that you wanted.
  • In Patch 7.2 players didn't have enough choice or control over the RNG.
  • In Patch 7.3 you can use the Netherlight Crucible to make a choice, giving you some level of control instead of total randomness. You won't have to have your worst trait, because you can choose not to pick a bad trait.
  • You won't be able to get the same trait twice on one Relic.

Reforging
  • Reforging had lots of downsides, such as trying to perfectly get the hit or expertise cap and reforging all of your items every time you got a new item.
  • Every item that doesn't have your best two stats you would reforge to have your best stat. This didn't really make for interesting choices.
  • This also narrowed the distinction between items, making them feel more similar.
  • It also made it harder to evaluate upgrades, as you had to look at the item in its current state as well as how you could reforge it.
  • There were some good parts, such as giving players choices to make.

Artifact Power and PvP
  • The Netherlight Crucible traits don't work in Rated PvP.
  • The item level upgrades (+5) from the Netherlight Crucible do work in Rated PvP, but it is a very small power bump.

Artifact Appearances and Transmog
  • The team doesn't want you to feel like you have to rush to collect all of the Artifact appearances on your alts before Legion is over.
  • The team is looking at a different system that allows you to unlock the appearances by completing Legion content in later expansions, as well as keeping the appearances you already have unlocked.
  • The exception to this is the appearances from the skill challenge and the +15 Mythic ones.

Artifact Appearances
  • The team is done creating new Artifact Appearances.

Prestige and Artifact Appearances
  • Prestige isn't account wide because PvP on different characters means something different.
  • The experience you have when playing a Rogue vs a healer is very different.
  • Unlocking things per character reflects the experience you had on that specific character.
  • If prestige was account wide, you would probably focus on getting a high rating on one character, but what would you have to work towards on other characters if everything was already unlocked?

Mythic+ Changes
  • The team is very satisfied with the changes they made to the Mythic+ system in Patch 7.2.5.
  • Now the most challenging content gives the best rewards.
  • If you wanted the gear from doing a +8 or +10, you previously needed better gear than was rewarded by the +8 or +10.
  • Mythic+ participation is up across the board in all regions.
  • People are actually doing higher keystones now.
  • The system was structured differently than challenge modes because they didn't want it to be about speed runs again. All that mattered previously was cleave and AoE, making the single target specialists not valuable.
  • There has been a lot of positive feedback from people doing higher keystone runs.

Mythic+ Rewards
  • Tier sets have always been one of the things you can get from raiding. Even if you can get similar item level loot from other sources, you had to organize a larger group to earn the sets.
  • There are mini-sets from Mythic+ dungeons that you can earn, such as the items from Court of Stars.
  • Raids and Mythic+ dungeons are parallel but not identical loot systems.
  • The team doesn't want to remove too much of the incentive from raiding by providing the same rewards to players doing Mythic+

Mythic+ and Older Content
  • The team isn't currently planning on expanding the Mythic+ system to dungeons from older expansions.
  • The Mythic+ system allows dungeons to remain relevant during the entire expansion.
  • This is something that could be expanded on in the future, maybe tying it in with Timewalking.
  • It would be strange to do Mythic+ Underbog as part of your weekly Legion activities.

Augment Runes
  • There is a permanent Augment Rune in Patch 7.3 from Exalted Army of the Light.
  • Augment Runes are there for the top end raiders, something that people running Raid Finder to sell.

Timewalking Raids
  • Raids should let you pick up where the leader left off, just like normal raids.

World First Race
  • A week and a half to two weeks is a reasonable time for the world first race.
  • Heroic Ragnaros took around that long to kill and people thought it was a well tuned boss, but Paragon was the only one to kill it in that time. Otherwise he would have lived much longer.
  • The main goal of the encounter design team is to create fights for the broad audience.
  • When the team tunes the last few Mythic bosses of a new tier, they are keeping the world first race in mind.
  • Those bosses should be hard enough to allow the top guilds in the world to distinguish themselves from each other. This is a very hard target to hit and evolves over time, especially as guilds do more split runs or stack classes.
  • The internal testing team has lots of people that pushed for world firsts in the past.
  • Mythic Kil'jaeden was overtuned. They made it a little too hard, allowing them to nerf it. Hundreds of hours of testing took place internally.
  • This tier increased healing requirements across the board by increasing raid damage, but they went a little bit too far.
  • The internal testing team was better than anticipated on the Mythic Kil'jaeden fight and has been getting better over the years, so when they increased everything by a percentage to make it challenging for the top guilds that was a little bit too much.
  • Should the team tune the end bosses to be very challenging for the world first race and then nerf them a bit so that regular guilds can kill them?

Raid Damage
  • Fights are designed and then mechanics are added or removed to address problems.
  • There wasn't enough coordination between encounter designers, resulting in similar solutions (lots of soak mechanics) to problems.
  • The team realized this too late, but it shouldn't be a problem in Argus.
  • The team was happy with the individual fights in Tomb, but want to create a more diverse set of fights in the raid.

Nethershards
  • Nethershards will continue to be used on catch-up gear and cosmetics.
  • The Relinquished vendor is moving to Argus to find Argunite that he will trade for item level 910 items. He also allows you to target a specific relic, like a Holy relic.
  • Existing Relinquished items won't be expanded or upgraded.
  • Don't hold on to Nethershards or worry about them, Patch 7.3 has a new system.

Class Design
  • If your role is damage dealer, you can compete as a damage dealer.
  • There is a disparity between the utility different specs bring. The team would like to address this by shoring up the utility of some specs.
  • Rogues have individual survival utility, which can be useful for the group if they use them to soak mechanics.

Spec Damage Auras
  • Rather than manually adjusting all of the abilities for a spec, they now use a single aura to increase the damage on all of those abilities.
  • In previous expansions the team would focus buffs on specific abilities, but that would change how things played.
  • The team still targets individual abilities when the ability needs to be changed, but there isn't a need to change all of the spells individually to bump up damage by a few percent anymore.
  • Changing all of the individual spells resulted in errors in the past, so this also helps to reduce errors.

Class Balance Changes
  • The team is mostly happy with how often class balance is tweaked.
  • Cathedral of Eternal night probably took too long to nerf. It probably could have been done faster and more aggressively. The team wasn't sure if it was new and unfamiliar or just too hard initially.
  • The team doesn't want to make players feel like their spec or class is constantly changing due to hotfixes.
  • Changes are bundled up to make all of the hotfixes happen at once rather than adjusting things more frequently.
  • If a certain spec is seen as being slightly better, all of the best players will switch to that spec. This makes the other specs look significantly weaker, as the people logging other specs aren't as strong of players.
  • Balance is always a moving target.

Raid Finder Difficulty
  • Keeping all of the mechanics for Raid Finder difficulty but making them weak didn't feel great. There were a lot of mechanics that you could just ignore.
  • The team's biggest balance concern is for the people that are only doing Raid Finder difficulty.
  • Instead, the team moved to having fewer mechanics but making them meaningful and challenging.
  • There is no longer a desire to make Raid Finder a tourist mode.
  • The team is hoping to make difficulty closer to Mists of Pandaria difficulty than Warlords. There are some fights that are too easy still.

Challenge Artifact Appearances
  • Any unlocks that require doing a thing while using another appearance are being changed to doing the thing after earning the base appearance.
  • Now you can get your 10 Rated Battlegrounds wins as any spec or appearance.

Split Raids
  • Both the developers and players don't enjoy split raids.
  • The team wants to make sure that the cure isn't worse than the disease.
  • This is a behavior that takes place in a tiny percent of the playerbase, maybe a couple thousand players in the world and only takes place for a few weeks.
  • Sharing loot lockouts across difficulties would have a big negative impact.
  • The team doesn't want to punish the entire playerbase because of the actions of a few.

Worgen and Goblin Models
  • The team hasn't forgotten about the new models.
  • The priority right now is the new casting animations, but Goblin and Worgen models are still on the high priority list!
This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas started by chaud View original post
Comments 192 Comments
  1. Xjev's Avatar
    "Artifact Knowledge will be unlocked automatically, there won't be any more need to research, just wait."

    Would you still gain it if you are un-subbed?
  1. Bamboozler's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xjev View Post
    "Artifact Knowledge will be unlocked automatically, there won't be any more need to research, just wait."

    Would you still gain it if you are un-subbed?
    Hopefully not. If you're not paying for a sub', why should your character's power still increase?

    Weren't we technically just waiting anyway? So what, now we don't have to click the button that says "Research"? Suuuuch an improvement, if that's how it works.
  1. zlygork's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xjev View Post
    "Artifact Knowledge will be unlocked automatically, there won't be any more need to research, just wait."

    Would you still gain it if you are un-subbed?
    The whole point is for it to help people come back into the game and catch up, so yes.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboozler View Post
    Hopefully not. If you're not paying for a sub', why should your character's power still increase?
    Cuz the whole point is to bring people back.
  1. Shambulanced's Avatar
    Why does the crucible need RNG at all, though? This is just silly.
  1. derpkitteh's Avatar
    "Artifact Knowledge will be unlocked automatically, there won't be any more need to research, just wait."

    he says this like it's a good thing. this increases the "research" time even more than it was before, the current system of 4 hours is so much better than that.

    everything else so far, good to see more account wide stuff. what i've done on ptr, that is an ok amount of questing upfront, that's pretty good.
  1. Zequill's Avatar
    for the relic, they should had made (or change) them so the index fit between spec, like the first few number go to the least desired trait and the higher the most desired trait. So they could just print high number relic to get trait everyone want.

    My issue with the present system is that you have a double RNG. You want a specific relic WF/TF then you want it to roll a not awful Rank 2 crucible trait and the Rank 3 trait you really want.

    Also, that screw the loot system where people will always want to keep/roll for relics to see what kind of trait they will roll. People might no longer trade them, what awesome with the personal loot system we have atm.
  1. Bamboozler's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zlygork View Post
    Cuz the whole point is to bring people back.
    I guess. I think this actually promotes the opposite. "I'll quit paying my sub, and even when I come back, I'll be on par with everyone else with AK."

    I understand it might lure some players back, but I think it would also make people more comfortable with what they'd be losing if they stop paying for the game. I think that's something Blizzard wouldn't want.

    If 7.3 content doesn't bring you back, you're telling me automatic AK research will? What type of players do we want coming back, exactly?
  1. Collected's Avatar
    For them to not have a solid answer about what will happen to artifact appearances post legion at this point in the expansion is rather curious imho.

    I'm not saying it 100% suggest they're planning to carry the system forward but it makes me wonder.
  1. Kellorion's Avatar
    So no decision on Artifact appearance post Legion, except for PVP ones, and the answer is no?
  1. Bamboozler's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Collected View Post
    For them to not have a solid answer about what will happen to artifact appearances post legion at this point in the expansion is rather curious imho.

    I'm not saying it 100% suggest they're planning to carry the system forward but it makes me wonder.
    He did say something about Warlocks transmogging their Demo' skin onto a dagger in the next expansion. To me, that hints that no, they are not carrying it forward.

    It's more confusion on how they're going to implement transmogs for when we do go back to non-artifact weapons.
  1. zlygork's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboozler View Post

    If 7.3 content doesn't bring you back, you're telling me automatic AK research will? What type of players do we want coming back, exactly?
    I totally get where you are coming from and I hate it, but the kind of players blizzard focuses the most on IS sadly the kind of players that ignore or try to skip as quick as possible everything that is not endgame - the same players that absolutely hate the idea of AP
  1. Bamboozler's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zlygork View Post
    I totally get where you are coming from and I hate it, but the kind of players blizzard focuses the most on IS sadly the kind of players that ignore or try to skip as quick as possible everything that is not endgame - the same players that absolutely hate the idea of AP
    I see your perspective, too. The game is always better off with more players playing. In my case, I couldn't give two shits if it works while I'm unsubbed. If I'm unsubbed, it means I don't care about what's going on in WoW or I've totally quit playing. I don't understand why people would want character progression (or even expect it as bait to resub) while they're unsubbed.

    I'm attracted to dungeons, quest zones, raids, etc. To each their own.
  1. Logwyn's Avatar
    "Reforging
    Reforging had lots of downsides, such as trying to perfectly get the hit or expertise cap.
    Every item that doesn't have your best two stats you would reforge to have your best stat. This didn't really make for interesting choices.
    This also narrowed the distinction between items, making them feel more similar.
    It also made it harder to evaluate upgrades, as you had to look at the item in its current state as well as how you could reforge it.
    There were some good parts, such as giving players choices to make."

    I get a choice now.... Does the item have haste or not? No then pass. Wait for RNG to give me a haste item. If you want me to choose the iLVL over what secondary stat the item gives me then just have a primary and no secondary or all secondaries are equal.

    Honestly reforging to me was fun but I like number crunching.
  1. Teri's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xjev View Post
    "Artifact Knowledge will be unlocked automatically, there won't be any more need to research, just wait."

    Would you still gain it if you are un-subbed?
    If you come back to the game yes. Right now PTR is at AK46 without doing anything (56 million%)
  1. Utigarde's Avatar
    Sticking to character bound Prestige isn't going to help the painful death of PvP. If I could actually use all my stuff on all my characters, I'd absolutely PvP more. I don't want to grind to 13 again just because I switched characters.
  1. Teri's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by derpkitteh View Post
    "Artifact Knowledge will be unlocked automatically, there won't be any more need to research, just wait."

    he says this like it's a good thing. this increases the "research" time even more than it was before, the current system of 4 hours is so much better than that.

    everything else so far, good to see more account wide stuff. what i've done on ptr, that is an ok amount of questing upfront, that's pretty good.
    You don't need to wait for anything, the whole region will be at AK41 (16 million%) on day 1, and AK55 (630 million%) 14 weeks later

    Even playing field.

    The second you hit 110 on an alt or returning main then you could get 60 traits within a day at AK55 since they also remove the pre-requirements for 3rd relic slot and 7.2 traits.

    AP rate will increase by about 157.5 x the speed, without increasing current AP trait costs.

    Right now PTR is at AK46, without doing anything.
  1. derpkitteh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Teri View Post
    You don't need to wait for anything, the whole region will be at AK41 (16 million%) on day 1, and AK55 (630 million%) 14 weeks later

    Even playing field.

    The second you hit 110 on an alt or returning main then you could get 60 traits within a day at AK55 since they also remove the pre-requirements for 3rd relic slot and 7.2 traits.

    AP rate will increase by about 157.5 x the speed, without increasing current AP trait costs.

    Right now PTR is at AK46, without doing anything.
    i don't really care about it being an even playing field. i want to get the ak quickly so i can speed up the grind more quickly. this is just more artificial timegating.
  1. Teri's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by derpkitteh View Post
    i don't really care about it being an even playing field. i want to get the ak quickly so i can speed up the grind more quickly. this is just more artificial timegating.
    5 days or 7 days, doesn't matter much. The 4 hours thing was more of a band-aid fix.

    Sure I agree it's a bullshit timegate of 3 months, but they just don't want people to farm at 630million% for 3.5 month.

    Even then, if 7.3.5 lasts longer then 6 months, maxing a weapon to 101 is certainly possible for the most hardcore.
  1. Meggle's Avatar
    Screwww that @ prestige unlocks, that garbage is so grindy and crappy. Not cool...would prefer account wide.
  1. Ilnezhara's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shambulanced View Post
    Why does the crucible need RNG at all, though? This is just silly.
    Because everyone thinks the best part of this expansion was the RNG!!!

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