Legion Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas
Ion Hazzikostas was back once again today to answer your questions! Keep in mind that the notes below are rough and you should watch the video for the full context.
Communication and Patch 7.1.5 Release
Secondary Stats and Item Changes
- The team wants everyone to feel heard and will continue to working on improving communication.
- The next Q&A will be shortly after the holidays, probably in the first few weeks of January, around the release of Patch 7.1.5.
- The change to secondary stats should ultimately not hurt specs that heavily rely on Crit.
- The first step of these changes was to reduce the amount of secondary stat percentage you get per rating. The second step was to increase the budget of items across the board by 5% or so.
- If you have 47% Crit right now, you are probably only going to lose a few percent after this change. This will be offset by the extra primary stats you get. Your overall power shouldn't be meaningfully affected.
- Overall this change was aimed at shifting the balance of how much of an item's power comes from a secondary stat to help make item level a more consistent guide for what you should equip.
- For the most part a 15 item level upgrade should be something that you can blindly equip and trust that it is the right thing to do. Most 10 item level upgrades should also be the same way. Once you get below that it may come down to the stats or sockets.
- There is a lot of numbers tuning that is yet to happen.
- Overall your raid group should have the same or a slightly easier time after Patch 7.1.5 comes out compared to the week before the patch came out.
- Overall the team is mostly happy with balance on live right now, in terms of the overall DPS picture. There are a couple of specific outliers, such as extreme Surrender to Madness cases.
- None of the changes in Patch 7.1.5 had the goal of nerfing or buffing a spec or class, it was mostly about fixing talent weightings, secondary stat values, and making itemization more intuitive.
- Legion flattened out the rate at which secondary stats scale over the max-level period of the expansion. The team wanted to start you out with higher levels of Crit and Haste and not let you get to such extreme levels at the end of the expansion. In the past specs would not play well at lower gear levels early in the expansion and then end up hitting soft caps near the end of the expansion.
- On non-jewelry items, the higher item level that you get, the larger share of an item's budget comes from primary stats. On jewelry there were no primary stats for it to go into, so jewelry scaled worse than other items. If you got a helm that is 20 item levels higher than your previous helm, it might have 20% more stats. If you got jewelry that was 20 item levels higher, it might have only had 12% more stats. This made secondary stats matter much more important than item level for jewelry. This was fixed in Patch 7.1.5.
- Primary stats give tanks avoidance, which isn't super valuable for tanks. In the longer run the team can make primary stats have more of a direct mitigation value for tanks. In the mean time, the change to items has reduced the amount of budget that goes into secondary stats. You will get more Stamina and Armor, which does have value to tanks.
- The class changes coming in Patch 7.1.5 are a result of the large sweeping changes that came with Legion. Some classes were stripped down and rebuilt, which resulted in some things not being right. The team didn't want to leave things wrong until the next expansion, so they are making changes to improve them in Patch 7.1.5.
- Legion dropped a boulder in the lake, making ripples (class changes). These ripples will get smaller as the expansion goes on.
Havoc Demon Hunter
- Warlocks have a few issues that hinder each spec.
- Affliction got some mechanical and numerical improvements in 7.1.5. Soul Effigy has been getting a lot of feedback. The idea behind that talent is allowing a DoT class to use the multi-dotting on single target fights. Patch 7.1.5 makes it so that you can only target your own Soul Effigy, making it a little easier to switch to. Other options in that row should be stronger so that they feel like alternatives if you don't like that gameplay.
- For Demonology, Demonic Empowerment is a source of frustration, you spend a lot of time ramping up, you feel like you are juggling a lot of things. This and the Destruction Warlock problem are larger problems that can't be fixed with tweaking some numbers. The team needs to think about how the rotation flows, make changes, and continue to iterate.
- Patches like 7.1.5 and 7.2.5 are targeted to come out around 10 weeks after the last major patch, containing whatever can be finished by that date. Whatever is not completed in time gets pushed to the next patch.
- Shadow Priests and a few other classes got a lot of attention this time around. Warlock issues will get fixed during the expansion, but the team didn't feel like they could get the changes done in time for this patch.
- Rather than having three different resource models for Warlocks, the team tried to consolidate them into one for Legion. Destruction lost something with being unable to generate partial Embers. In a later patch, the team wants to try to let Soul Shards behave like Embers did in the past, allowing you to generate partial Soul Shards.
- The team has tweaked things like Fel Barrage to break some of the synergies that push players towards the Momentum build. It will remain a viable build.
- The team is working on numbers tuning for Patch 7.1.5 so that you don't feel locked into Momentum if you don't like Momentum.
- Simulations and top players in the world can execute high skill requirement rotations almost perfectly, but most players won't. Sometimes the "best" choice is only the best if it is executed perfectly.
- Other options that can be executed more consistently may be a better choice for most players.
- There is more talent diversity than you would think if you just look at various class guides.
Item Stats and Sets
- The nerf to The Emerald Dreamcatcher is an attempt to narrow the gap between the high end and low end of legendary items.
- Your spec shouldn't only be viable with a certain legendary.
- This can be fixed by nerfing the legendary some and buffing the spec some. This way the player with the legendary doesn't have a power change and everyone without the legendary becomes a little bit more powerful.
- This change shouldn't be a nerf for anyone.
- Tuning for Balance Druids isn't done yet.
Unholy Death Knights
- The latest PTR build changed many of the Nighthold loot stats. This way the items cover some of the stats that you want.
- With six items in the set, you will have more choices to pick the four for the set bonus.
- The legendary bracers fall under the same category as the Balance Druid legendary change.
- Festering Wounds is something that is on the team's radar. A lot of the feedback is tied to the Unholy Artifact active ability.
- The reason for the variance in number of Festering Wounds is to create some variation in your rotation, adding some decision making.
- One good community suggestion is capping the number of Wounds consumed at 4 and having 2 Ghouls summoned, making it never necessary to go to 8.
- Roll the Bones will not have the RNG lowered. The ability is themed around rolling dice and is something signature to Outlaw.
- The team will continue to improve Slice and Dice so that there is another viable option in that row if you don't enjoy the gameplay of Roll the Bones. Maybe adding more Haste or something to make it feel more powerful.
Surrender to Madness
- Greater Blessing of Might is a failed design. The thought was to capture some of the hybrid element of the class, but at the same time the team was nervous about balance.
- If you are buffing someone significantly by being there, can you do the same amount of damage as a pure DPS class? If the answer is no, a lot of people might not want to sign up for that. If the answer is yes, you are just better than everyone.
- The team tried to credit the contribution of the Paladin to the Paladin, which resulted in whoever got the blessing being unhappy. The Paladin isn't happy either, so no one is happy.
- The team hasn't come up with a good solution for Patch 7.1.5, but they will continue to work on it and scrap it for a better design.
- Reduced Insanity drain in the first 18 seconds isn't helping lower skill Surrender players.
- Surrender is really iconic, flavorful, and one of the cooler talents in the game.
- There probably won't be a point where Surrender is not the best option for a single target short Patchwerk style fight. On a ten minute fight that will be a different story.
- The goal is robust alternatives to Surrender to Madness, but they aren't quite there yet.
- There should be talents that are better in a longer fight. In an average length fight it should come down to your desired playstyle.
Rune of Power
- Storm, Earth, and Fire has a number of mechanical issues. The team is working on getting them fixed for Patch 7.1.5, but if it isn't done it time it will be tuned around the bugs so that it isn't a DPS loss until it can be fixed.
Holy Paladin Healing
- Some of the problem with this is tuning. Rune of Power is meant to be a situational talent, for fights where you won't be moving too much.
- With the current tuning it feels necessary in every fight, making it feel bad when you have to move.
- The underlying design might be better with a different cooldown and duration.
- In the short term the team will look at tuning of the other talents.
- It isn't likely that more HoT and AoE healing is coming for Holy Paladins.
- Strong single target healing is one of the hallmarks of the Holy Paladin and the team doesn't want to dilute that.
- Healer balance and diversity is pretty good right now.
- Even in dungeons the single target healing gets the job done adequately.
Artifact Power and Knowledge
- The team is mostly happy with Marksman Hunters now.
- Aimed Shot is meant to be a tradeoff. BM hunters are more mobile, but Marks has advantages that offset the lower mobility.
- There is some tuning to be done to make the other specs feel more viable in other situations.
- The current plan is to create a system that won't reward you for holding on to your Artifact Power until Patch 7.2.
- In Patch 7.2 your 20 point final trait may be converted into the new trait.
- There will never be a reason to sit on Artifact Power.
- Patch 7.1.5 makes catching up on alts much faster. If you are AK20, you can buy AK15 for your alt.
- Alts shouldn't have to do everything a main character did to earn something, but there still should be a reasonable amount of gameplay.
Long Loading Screens
- The team could make reputation sources at max level account bound so that you could send them to alts when they are no longer needed.
- Unlocking World Quests and Suramar dungeons is account wide, other things like tradeskills don't make sense to unlock account-wide.
- There are lots of players that want to make an alt to progress on another character when there are no short term progressions they can make on their main.
- The team is actively working on a fix, but it is proving challenging. If it affected all players it would be easier to track down, but it isn't an issue for everyone.
- There have been attempts to fix it so far, but it hasn't been fixed for everyone.
- It is okay for legendary items to not be the best for every situation.
- If you have a legendary that improves your AoE, it probably isn't the best on a single target fight.
- As players get more legendary items, you might change out what legendary you have equipped based on the situation.
- It may have been a mistake to make legendary items that always increase throughput. Items like Sephuz would have been very exciting in the past, but it is no longer exciting because of the alternatives you have, such as the Fire Mage bracers.
- If you were choosing between Sephuz, Prydaz, and some of the situational legendary items it would be a more even choice, but the legendary items that provide more throughput make this
- Players feel bad when they get Sephuz instead of a universally useful legendary.
- The team will continue to tune legendary items so you don't feel that you aren't viable without one, such as the legendary braces for Unholy.
- Quality of Life improvements come from legendary items, just like they have from set bonuses and other items in the past. Most set bonuses are things players would like to have baked into their class, this is how the game has worked.
- Maybe in a future iteration these effects will be baked into the class.
- Legendary effects are intended to be exciting and valuable.
- Over time the team will continue to increase the drop rate of legendary items. Someone who starts the game later this year will be more likely to get their legendary item than someone did back during Legion launch week.