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. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zlygork View Post
    The whole point is for it to help people come back into the game and catch up, so yes.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Cuz the whole point is to bring people back.
    Yes and No.

    As everything else, your catching up will start as soon as you're back, not while you're away.

    So yes, you'll be behind others. But with the increasing AK, you'll catch the others just like you do now. You'll never be the same as someone who plays non-stop, but you'll be a lot closer (like currently unlocking your concordance faster, but not getting artifact 60, 63 or more like the rest).
  1. cuafpr's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Igneous42 View Post
    They also just said they probably are not going to be removing those appearances availability for transmog post-Legion. So come next expansion you will be able to solo most, if not all of that chain. I thingk that's fine. If they were removing the skins from transmog after legion Iee it would agree if better be account based, but since they will achievable in the future there is no rush to get them. You can just focus on the ones you'll actually use now.
    As much as i think it should be account wide, i do see them leaving it post legion as a comprimise.

    I don't get why the ones for +15 and challenge modes are going away though. no way i'll get all the challenge modes for all specs X.X just leave it the game imo...
  1. BeerWolf's Avatar
    /gasp!

    Blizz actually acknowledged that LFG's a joke and want to make it like MoP's difficulty again...
  1. Flazian's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Spotnick View Post
    The split run issue is something that exists only because heroic gear is better than mythic gear from previous tier.

    It doesn't solve the first tier of an xpac, but it's kind of stupid to replace mythic gul'dan gear by heroic gear.

    Of course, that doesn't solve the problem, guilds will do mythic split runs before the new raid opens, which they already do anyways, but that is not during progression so it's more acceptable.
    From people in top guilds I've been friends with progression for the next tier starts the moment they kill the last boss. They don't really get to skip split runs and stuff so it's not like it's any better for them. They're just good enough to get it done with in a day.
  1. Balager's Avatar
    Well I'll be damned. It sounds like they are learning. Of course only time will tell if this is really so.
  1. Redecle's Avatar
    This is really starting to look concerning about the usage of appearances in the future, we need confirmation about this. Legion is coming to an end as the story doesn't seem to be progressing that much beyond 7.3. And for what's it worth some of us have been working almost day and night to unlock this stuff and are still nowhere close to finishing.

    The last 7 months i've been working on 6 characters and nothing but artifact appearances, that obviously contains doing the content in the expansion, but i haven't enjoyed doing some content, it's just all about doing what the next unlock requires. 6-7 times I don't even know how many of doing Balance of Power progress every week, worst fucking design ever. PVP hasn't been about pvp anymore, it's just what gets you the fastest prestige, cause it's the slowest thing ever. And of course the skin you want is the last tier one.

    I've done the bare minimum to raid or anything really so I can get as many of them as possible on as many characters as possible. Yet I haven't even touched a single challenge yet outside my main, no time simply. And for PVP i've pretty much had to choose only one character to go beyond the first tier of unlocks cause it takes so much time to prestige.

    I just completed Balance of Power on all the characters I needed it with.
    Next week will be all about doing the Glory of Legion Hero and more pvp grind, i'm prestige 5 so 10 more levels to go. Intentionally i've saved the challenges for Argus and 910 gear hoping that's enough to bruteforce some of the specs that I don't play as much hence don't have the experience or skill with, but i'm not sure. Main is now 911 and cannot do the challenge yet, 80% is the best attempt of it on the best day with optimal setup and luck, he should be 915 or 920 in 7.3 so not really worried about that, it's the rest who can't be geared that high, just simply on the matter of the fact that it already takes 3 entire weekdays to do 6 toons through all LFR wings, cause that's the highest one can pretty much go, with the amount of time needed. There's no time to do guild raiding on one character cause that's a 2-3 evenings and only gets you one character high enough, when you need every toon to be that minimum 910-915. Heroic KJ, just buy the kill at some point with gold, no time to progress there. Same for RBGs, just buy 10 wins with gold.

    It was already said the system was meant to encourage to be played only by one character at launch, but Blizzard should know better that people will go above and beyond it.
    I already just had to cut half of my alts out of this progress on the basis of who had the best skins cause 1-1,5 year expansion simply even as a full time job is not enough time to unlock every skin that you want. At launch and after WoD I myself was expecting at least the minimum of a 2 year expansion maybe 3 or 3,5 years of Legion to do this, but it doesn't look like it.

    This is a working task that doesn't even have confirmation are we doing this for nothing? I've given up my other life outside this game to unlock these things that may or may not be usable in the future, just to prevent another CM mode set setback that if you didn't unlock them now you can't use them. Would be nice to know if we spend the entire year of doing something that if it's still there or not, cause this is something some of us actually care about. Last 4 years my WoW has been transmogs, nothing more, would be nice to know with a 100% certainty not a guess of maybe at this point that i'm not spending my time for nothing.
  1. Dracullus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Akande Ogundimu View Post
    Try doing something that should've been account wide on 12 characters and see how you feel when you're done, idiot.

    Use your brain before you comment. It's a long ass chain that takes months to complete and you're bound to do it on every character as they were incapable of making it account wide which the entire community has been pretty vocal about. Nobody likes it the way it currently is.

    So yes, it's insanely long.
    I'm doing it on every char, start new one every two months. It's still only 9 dungeons and around 5 total raid clears (+few quests). Doable in 2-3 weeks (and you must dedicate only few hours a week for that). I give you numbers, you call me idiot - yeah, arguments are clearly on your side.

    And this "vocal community" is like children than ask for more candy, eat everything and cry that there is no candy left. I like to play all chars, after I saw how apperances works, I set reachable goal - I will get only basic, recolors are impossible to get on every char - and distributed my time between different chars. I will never be burned out or have nothing to do.
  1. mingarrubia's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Balager View Post
    Well I'll be damned. It sounds like they are learning. Of course only time will tell if this is really so.
    Oh you sweet summer child
  1. LoveLove's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by UcanDoSht View Post
    Just blame your player base if you're too incompetent and impotent to balance more than 4 classes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    This as a phenomenom has been proven over and over lol
  1. decsis's Avatar
    Or in one short sentence: "Zero fuck given about PVP!"
  1. Fabinas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Balager View Post
    Well I'll be damned. It sounds like they are learning. Of course only time will tell if this is really so.
    LOL. One phalanx should be cut off his fingers every time he claims "the team has learned from...". It's the only way to stop the shit flowing.
  1. Balager's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Fabinas View Post
    LOL. One phalanx should be cut off his fingers every time he claims "the team has learned from...". It's the only way to stop the shit flowing.
    I'm not claiming they are learning. I'm claiming it seems they are learning. Big difference. If I had faith in the developers i would be playing wow instead of FFXIV. But faith can be reclaimed.
  1. Fabinas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Balager View Post
    I'm not claiming they are learning. I'm claiming it seems they are learning. Big difference. If I had faith in the developers i would be playing wow instead of FFXIV. But faith can be reclaimed.
    Just PR shit mate. Don't even fall for the chance that they seem to be learning. They are not.
  1. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    Honestly I kind of like the look of 7.3.

    Still on the fence whether to come back full time though knowing me I will end up doing so and playing this alongside FF14, GW2 and Skyforge.

    Glad that it's only 3 weeks of gating rather than the long boring wait that was 7.2 and Broken Shore.

    On Raid Finder though if they want to make it harder then they need to stop listening to those crying it's too hard. Otherwise we end up with Fallen Avatar LFR where they remove a big part of it. I agree with them on wanting to go back to the difficulty it was in Mists.

    However they have nobody to blame but themselves for making the fights too easy.
  1. Nevcairiel'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.
    How is this in any way worse then we had before?

    Instead of every player doing a research that takes 5 days, now the system just automatically increases the rank by one every week. If you join a couple weeks later, you're not behind, you automatically get to the same place that everyone else is.

    The 4 hour research was solely for catch-up purposes for players that were behind the curve - which is not something that will happen to anyone in this system.
    If you were at the top of the AK research curve, it always took 5 days to research.

    If anything, this makes it far easier for alts and people coming back later. Hit level 110 and be immediately at current max AK, do one world quest and have Concordance unlocked from the huge multiplier. Alts could possibly buy catch-up tomes now, but returning players could not.

    If you saw the 4 hour research time on your characters, you probably were not all that active of a player, and the automatic catch-up should benefit you even more.
  1. Calaim's Avatar
    I've already thrown in the towel for this game in regard to RNG loot and per-spec AP grinds. These systems could have been handles so much better but Blizz doubled- and tripled-down on these godawful mechanics. Raiding was fun but the feeling that I was doing myself and my raid a disservice by playing another spec that wasn't as high as my main spec, or not having the right legos or having a gearset that wasn't as titan/warforged really turned me off to the entire idea of continuing this game. Sub time has run out and I've finally uninstalled all Blizzard games from my computer because I feel every one of them follows the same slot machine reward system for one my day's worth of play. I'm finally free...
  1. Alvito'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.
    They have gone back and forth on people being able to acquire skins down the line. They have been very clear on the fact they do not want to and do not plan to have artifact weapons continue after Legion.
  1. Fappy's Avatar
    At minimum it sounds like I need to do the Guardian and Feral skill challenges (keep wiping at 5% on Kruul). Druid forms are kind of more important than weapon skins, imo. It's gonna feel especially shitty for Feral and Guardian mains that skipped this expansion.
  1. Mhyroth's Avatar
    Let's fix things people wanted to see fixed since the BETA.
    Let's fix it after a year of the Live game to show the community/playerbase we "do" something.
  1. Svad1287's Avatar
    Unlocking skins, in later expacs, wtf? - We have worked for those fucking skins, spent countless hours and days, doing Withered Army scenario, farming hundreads of mobs, spent days without end, waiting for the goddamn blob to spawn in WPL, Fuck blizzard and fuck their dev's who thinks this is a "really good idea".

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