Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
When it comes to dungeons and raids in World of Warcraft: Legion, launch on August 30 is just the beginning. Here’s a list of dates to look forward to as Azeroth fights off a demonic invasion.
Tuesday, August 30–When Legion is live, dungeons will immediately be available on Normal and Heroic difficulties. Mythic dungeon difficulty will be available after the weekly dungeon reset time.
Tuesday, September 20–The Emerald Nightmare Raid dungeon opens on Normal and Heroic difficulties. Mythic Keystones will begin dropping which will allow increased challenge and rewards from Mythic dungeons.
Tuesday, September 27–Mythic difficulty for the Emerald Nightmare Raid dungeon opens. The first wing of Raid Finder difficulty for Emerald Nightmare opens.
Tuesday, October 11–Raid Finder Wing 2 of Emerald Nightmare opens.
Tuesday, October 25–Raid Finder Wing 3 of Emerald Nightmare opens.
We look forward to seeing you in the Broken Isles!
Patch 7.0.3 Hotfixes - August 22
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Blessing of Elune now increases Astral Power generation by 25% (was 40%).
Blessing of An'she now grants 2 Astral Power every 3 seconds (was 2 Astral Power every 2.5 seconds).
Lunar Strike now generates 12 Astral Power (was 10).
Mastery: Starlight bonus has been increased to 2%/point (was 1.75%).
Moonfire and Sunfire DoT damage has been decreased to 50% per tick (was 55%).
Shooting Stars gives 4 Astral Power (was 5).
Solar Wrath now generates 8 Astral Power (was 6).
Developer's Note: We shifted some Astral Power generation from the level 90 talent row into the baseline spec. This both improves gameplay sub level 90 and reduces reliance on these talents at max level.
Arcane Blast mana cost has been decreased to 3.0% base mana (was 3.2%).
Cinderstorm will no longer consume additional stacks of Ice Floes when damage occurs.
Fire Mage critical strike chance has been increased by 5%.
Critical Mass multiplier has been decreased to 1.1 (was 1.3).
Developer's Note: We shifted some critical strike chance from a multiplier on gear to a flat bonus. This brings the value of critical strike for Fire closer to other stats and also limits the very high amounts of critical strike chance that can be reached with certain gear.
Death from Above will no longer refund excess combo points if the player is using Anticipation.
Envenom damage has been increased to 60% Attack Power per point (was 50%).
Deadly Poison instant damage has been increased to 17% Attack Power (was 14.2%).
Rupture damage has been decreased to 25% Attack Power (was 30%).
Agonizing Poison now stacks 5 times (was 4).
Developer's Note: We shifted some damage from Rupture into poison affects to increase the significance of poisons in the rotation and help poison-oriented talents better compete with bleed-oriented talents.
Gamescom Developer Interview Sloot did one final interview with Watcher at Gamescom.
Mythic dungeons will be closed until the first raid reset of each region, so EU won't be able to powerlevel and get in some clears.
The expansion launches at 12:01 AM PT in North America.
The Artifact will be relevant throughout Legion. There will be good reasons to get Artifact Power and things to spend Artifact Power on.
An easy change to make later in the expansion would be to increase the cap on Artifact Traits so that you can put more points in and keep spending Artifact Power.
Artifact Power is a nice consistent reward with no RNG, so you end the night stronger than you started, even if you didn't get any great item drops.
The Artifact Knowledge cap will likely be increased down the road, but that is still to be determined.
Ancient Mana remaining relevant will be touched on when the team shares more Patch 7.1 details in a couple weeks.
The patch has additional outdoor world content in Suramar, continuing the story and quest line.
For the average player, there is an effective cap on Mythic+ loot, which is in the form of keystones. Those aren't infinite and everyone only gets one per week per character, so the typical experience will be that people aren't infinity running Mythic+ dungeons.
Being able to loot an additional keystone from the chest at the end of the Mythic+ dungeon is a bug. You should only be able to get one per week.
There are three ways to get a keystone: Killing a regular Mythic dungeon end boss, looting your weekly jackpot chest in your order hall, or looting the chest at the end of a Mythic+ dungeon run. You should only be able to get one per week total.
Trinkets are one of the coolest and potentially most interesting items that the team has to work with, so they would feel bad going with boring and more passive trinkets. In Legion effort was put in to make trinkets more interesting.
The delta between a raid's DPS during the first 30 seconds of a fight and their damage for the rest of it is bigger than it should be.
A cooldown was added so that you can't use two of the on-use trinkets at once. Allowing the use of both at once makes them harder to balance as well.
Addon Changes and Raid Mechanics
The design for bosses in Hellfire Citadel probably wouldn't have been different if the addon change was made earlier in Warlords.
One of the concerns raised by players is boss mechanics that are designed around addons and otherwise impossible.
Internal testing for raids is done without custom boss mods for each boss and the mechanics. The bosses can be beat with the stock UI.
There are three levels to a mechanic:
Tactical complexity - How easy is it to figure out the right answer to this mechanic? This mostly only matters to the top guilds in the world, as by the time most guilds get to a boss this problem has been solved. Four Horseman in Vanilla was all about the tactical complexity.
Execution - How hard is this mechanic to execute correctly or perfectly? How hard is it to dodge all of the things, spread, not get hit by things.
Failure - How punishing is it when you make a mistake? This is one of the biggest things that can be tuned. Kromog in Blackrock Foundry was mostly done by players with an addon that assisted them. This leads to players thinking that the fight would be impossible without an addon. If it ended up being too hard, the team would have seen that people were having a hard time and changed the tuning. They could have added more time for you to run to the hands, reduced their health a little bit (especially on Mythic), or other tuning so that the actual difficulty in terms of how many wipes it takes to beat the boss doesn't change. Actually playing the dynamic game of musical chairs is more interesting and fun from a cooperative raid perspective than running to a specific point on the ground, assuming equal difficulty. Removing the capability from the addons should lead to a better experience for players.
The addon changes won't affect things outside instances, buff/debuff tracking, and things like TomTom.
The reason this change wasn't in at launch was the team putting in the extra effort to make sure the other addons wouldn't be broken.
You can start on your profession at skill level 1 in Broken Isles.
Leveling your profession gives you more efficiency.
You also need a certain skill level in a profession to get the profession world quests.
It is easier than before to change professions, as you can relearn the Broken Isle recipes that you had before.
The team doesn't want people constantly changing professions to do all of the world quests.
Professions will be kept up to date throughout the expansion.
Legion Preview - World Quests
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In World of Warcraft: Legion, questing at level 110 comes in new variations called World Quests.
The new World Quest system represents a major change from how player characters used to make regular progression daily or weekly. In Legion, you’ll find the war taking place on multiple fronts—all over the Broken Isles, with a wide variety of ways you can participate in pushing back the invaders, as well as growing your character and being a big part of the story of Warcraft.
First and foremost, World Quests are available to players starting at level 110. When you reach 110, you’ll be called upon to prove that you’ve reached Friendly reputation with the five primary factions of the Broken Isles, you’ll receive your Flight Master’s Whistle, and World Quests will begin to appear all over your map.
The Flight Master’s Whistle is one of the most-useful items around—when you activate it, you’ll be (almost) instantly whisked away to the nearest known flight master. More than ever before, you’ll want to get to know all of the flight masters in every zone!
Times and Places
The primary zones in which you’ll find World Quests are: Azsuna, Highmountain, Stormheim, Suramar, and Val’sharah. You and everyone else on your realm will be offered the same World Quests at any given time, so don’t forget to group up when necessary!
World Quests come in varying durations, and those that are more difficult (and rewarding) typically have longer durations. This is so that you can decide when to do them, and since completing World Quests doesn’t cause more World Quests to immediately spawn, you can make the most of your time.
A Variety of Offerings
There are many different types of World Quests that you’ll see on your map. They might include:
A solo adventure.
A difficult challenge that requires multiple people.
A task related to one of your professions.
A World Boss that requires many people.
A dungeon challenge that you’ll do with a group.
You’ll get to see several details about each World Quest for yourself before you travel to it. Those details include rewards offered, such as:
Blood of Sargeras
PvE or PvP gear
Reputation with a specific faction
Some rewards scale with your current item level.
There are hundreds of World quests in store for you in the Broken Isles, so you won’t be seeing too many of the same World Quests anytime soon. You’ll want to keep your eyes on for Emissary Quests, which reward you with a valuable satchel when you complete them. Each day, a new Emissary Quest will become available to you, and you can have up to three Emissaries at the same time.
Each of the Emissary World Quest turn-ins offers reputation with the primary faction of its associated zone. That means that if your biggest focus is Nightfallen reputation, you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss the Emissary World Quests in Suramar when they’re available.
Questions and Answers
On July 14, Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel answered many questions about World Quests. Check it out:
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Game Stuttering After Login
I wanted to jump in here regarding this issue, this is actually something that is being worked on already. The main cause is the game loading in hotfix data, the stutter will go away after ~10-15 seconds or so in most cases and depending on the connection/hardware. So as a workaround, you can try logging into the character let it sit for 10 seconds or so before moving around, should help.
Now that said, if it continues past 60 seconds it's likely a different issue and I would suggest opening a new thread with the issue you're running into. (Official Forums)
Mythic Dungeons Ugh. There's actually mythic only dungeons? I really didn't realise this. That's kind of !@#$ty. Ffs, isn't destiny and vanilla wow a case study in why you don't difficulty gate content anymore. It's not like these games have enough ndgame content for casuals during these huge dryspells as it is. I assume anyone intelligent at blizzard has moved on to other projects (the state of many classes in the beta which are not going to be fundamentally changed before release are a good example of this.)
I think it's worthy to note that base Mythic in Legion is comparable to some of the older Heroic dungeons many are used to in terms of difficulty. These dungeons become harder as Keystones are used to scale them and increase their challenges, but this is not a system you need to participate in if you don't want to.
If your concern is over grouping, the in-game Group Finder tool will be a good way to find groups for Mythic dungeons, much as it is now.
Well that is good to hear. But why force people to use a lfg tool instead of just the Finder? Just ends up with people being weird and dicky about who they bring and will quickly turn a lot of people off. Again, like destiny. To be honest it seems like an even weirder choice to not have the option if they start as the same difficulty as normal heroics.
You then could, of course, create your own group and find people who aren't going to be weird/rude while in the dungeon. Again, the dungeons are a bit more challenging (akin to older heroics), so there is a level of cooperation and communication (CCs, boss strategy, etc.) that may need to take place that, I think, is best served by building a group yourself most of the time.
Since the Mythic dungeons evolve into Mythic Keystone dungeons, I assume that was onr of the driving points behind disallowing LFD groups to take on these challenges, as they require much more cooperation.
Edit: That, and one of our goals with Legion was to create an alternative to Raids as a form of end-game progression. In the same way that if you want to participate in end-game raiding progression, you will also need to find a group yourself to participate in end-game dungeon progression. Grab some of your friends and hop in, and fill the remaining slots through the Group Finder!
My only concern about Mythic dungeons is trying to get a group with this character. I figure if I'm not getting any groups today even with 707 ilvl the situation won't be much better in legion's endgame.
Again, you can always create your own group and find people whose ilvl may be closer to yours, or who don't care about the disparity.
Mythic dungeons are not the same thing as mythic raids, they aren't even in the same realm of difficulty.
This is accurate at the base. With Mythic Keystone scaling, however, we could see high Keystone levels being quite possibly harder than some Mythic raid encounters, I think.
Edit: This is terrifying to think about. Oh god, what have we done.
But those who exclusively run LFD will mostly have no interest in the mythic keystone system. I know I don't. I enjoy running LFD and LFR as my end game content and to see them withheld as a way of trying to make me play in a way that I don't enjoy is a sad change for me.
Completely understandable. The hop-in hop-out nature of LFD/LFR is a good way for many players to engage in that side of end-game content.
I'm interested in what is keeping you away from wanting to try/participate-in Mythics?
So Heroic was rebranded as Mythic, just as I suspected... thanks for the confirmation.
Not necessarily. Heroics exist still, and are more challenging than the normal/leveling version of dungeons, but Mythic is us creating an alternative to raiding and PvP as an end-game activity.
What's the point of putting a label on something when the label has no specific meaning? They are causing too much confusion in the player base by slapping the Mythic label on multiple forms of content that all have different difficulty levels.
What exactly does Mythic mean anymore?
Nothing has changed there. The progression, on the dungeon side, is still:
The only difference is that Mythic can now scale up through the use of Keystones, creating a more and more challenging dungeon experience.
We welcome the feedback and discussion on this topic, but I just want to reiterate that our goal here with Mythic and Mythic Keystones is to create a dungeon-focused end-game progression system as an alternative to raiding, etc.
We have a blog planned for later this week which will cover some discussion and developer insight on the two Mythic-only dungeons - so be on the lookout for that. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Dark Legacy Comics #548 DLC #548 has been released!
Gamescom Developer Interview Sloot was back today with another WatcherDev interview!
Raid Addon Utility and Changes
Addons that do things like tracking boss timers and better visibility on who is being targeted by what are fine, it is all informational.
Some of the things that addons do that interact with the 3D world such as radars or sending people to specific spots on Mythic Kormrok and Kromog are not great.
You could have much more scripted movement with the current state of addons, micromanaging your raid's movement and telling players exactly where to move in the 3D world.
In Patch 7.1, addons will not be able to access unit position in raids, dungeons, and competitive instances.
The team wanted to get this in Patch 7.0.3, but they didn't want to break some mods that are harmless in the outdoor world, such as the ones that help with gathering or collecting treasures.
Anything that projects an arrow on your screen that interacts with the 3D world or giving you your position relative to others will be broken.
The team didn't want to announce this until they were sure it was doable, but that work has now been done internally.
Dungeons and Raids
There will be spots throughout dungeons where Demon Hunters can take some shortcuts, but your healer can't be a Demon Hunter.
Part of why the team never fixed some of the terrain in Everbloom is the challenge mode leaderboard. Fixing it would make the top times unbeatable.
With Mythic keystones, every week is its own leaderboard, so there is more flexibility to fix any issues with the dungeon.
There is some tuning left to do on the enemy forces meters so that you can't skip too much of the dungeon.
You should have to fight most of the things in your path, dodging patrols and maybe some other groups.
Stealth or invisibility potions should allow you to change which groups you have to fight, maybe skipping some tougher ones to do easier ones.
Having new and different mechanics in higher raid difficulties gives the team more tuning knobs and players something to look forward to other than bigger numbers.
Rare mobs in dungeons that are part of the world quest system should be rewarding even if you are a player that is still leveling and doesn't have access to the world quest yet. This way going to kill the mob is still rewarding for the entire group.
The team wants something to feel epic, even at a larger zoom distance, so they scale things up. Things have been huge throughout WoW's history.
Threats that are off screen that you need to pay attention to are trivialized if you can just zoom out to see them.
The team has to tune those kind of threats around a certain camera zoom distance.
If zooming out even more by setting the cvar gives you an advantage, does that make it required?
In a world where you can zoom the camera out and the mechanic is tuned around people doing that, not doing so penalizes you significantly.
Motion sickness and other issues that caused discomfort while playing led to the team trying to find a compromise that let everyone play comfortably.
The team strongly feels that the game looks and feels better at the maximum zoom allowed by the UI.
The new max zoom distance wasn't added to the slider because it will increase the number of people that are experiencing the game in a sub-optimal way.
With new personal loot rules, you can trade an item to another person in the raid if you have an equivalent or higher item level. You can't do this for bonus rolled loot.
The cooperative nature of group and guild gameplay leads to you wanting to pass an item you don't need to a friend. Personal loot denied you this opportunity until this change.
The best loot from Mythic+ dungeons comes from the weekly chest.
The loot that you are getting out of Mythic+ dungeons per clear will need a fair bit of luck to compete with the very best loot in the game.
Most players are not going to farm alts and source multiple fresh keystones on a regular basis to play a ton of Mythic+ dungeons.
The Mythic+ dungeon shouldn't be worse for the average player in order to safeguard against exploits or abuse of the system at the high end by a minority of players.
The team didn't want to be overly stingy with a new system, instead allowing players to have freedom, finding the abuse cases, and solving them with targeted fixes.
A weekly lockout is an easy solution, but everyone would complete their mythic dungeons at the start of the week and then everyone else would have trouble finding a group.
There is a possibility that chests at the end of each Mythic+ dungeon run are a little bit too rewarding right now in terms of a guaranteed item for everyone in the group. It should be a complement to raiding, not the best way to gear up early on.
The number of items that come out of the chest might change before it goes live. Maybe there are always a couple of items in the chest for the group rather than one for everyone.
Mythic+ dungeons are cross-realm. The realm first achievement will be awarded to each player in a five player group that is made up of players from different realms, but this could change to something like 3/5 people being from the same realm to get it.
If a player hasn't unlocked Arcway and Court of Starts they won't get a keystone sending them there.
Most dungeons should have 3-5 bosses and take around 15-20 minutes to run on the low end to 35-40 minutes on a larger and epic dungeon. Anything past that isn't great for random matchmaking content, as the likelihood that someone is going to drop out along the way increases.
In raids, the bosses are the main content, with the trash there for pacing and to make it feel more like a real place.
With dungeons, the team values the non-boss content as well as the bosses.
In dungeons you are only spending 7-8 minutes of a 30 minute dungeon fighting the actual bosses, while spending the rest fighting the trash. There is a lot more thought that goes into the composition of the trash packs, their abilities, and mechanics.
You used to quest through a zone and get sent into a dungeon to wrap up the zone.
The team got away from doing that for a little while, as it increasingly felt bad when you were doing a solo quest line and then had to stop what you were doing to finish the line with a dungeon quest.
With random matchmaking and LFG, it is almost still a solo experience if you want it to be. You can jump right into the dungeon and finish the storyline at the end of the zone.
There is no change to how tier set tokens work from Warlords.
Personal loot gives you the set piece directly while group loot and master loot drop tokens.
It feels better to loot a piece of gear rather than a token, but in a group loot situation the tokens function better.
The team has an internal checklist when they think about encounters, similar to the role tips in the dungeon journal.
Sometimes they get to the dungeon journal phase, look at creating a tip for DPS, and find that there isn't anything they can think of to write there.
If that is the case, they probably need an additional mechanic.
The dungeon is an entire encounter, so as a whole it should have things that are interesting and engaging for all of the different roles.
Rather than items being a fixed power point, they are a spectrum. There is a floor on the stats and then a tapering pyramid of item level with a lower and lower chance to get that item the higher item level it is. This allows content to stay relevant for longer.
Before, dungeons had a fixed place in gearing up. As soon as you moved on to any form of raiding, there was very little reason to go back and do dungeons. The team would come up with excuses to send you back so that people could enjoy dungeons, such as Badges or Valor Points, but the gear was still irrelevant.
Even if you have progressed into raids in Legion, there is a chance that something cool could drop from it that will be useful for your character.
It always will be best to do the hardest content available to you in terms of reward for time spent.
You could still get something great from a world quest or Mythic dungeon, which is nice because that possibility didn't exist before.
The person who does raid finder over the course a patch might end up with a piece of high item level gear, but it is just one piece of gear. No one is going to mistake them for a Mythic raider. For the person that got that amazing drop, that probably made their day.
The team wanted to get back to a place where anything could happen rather than knowing nothing exciting would happen.
Augment runes and the higher stat food are there for min-maxers that want to squeeze every bit of potential out of the system.
There is also an economic side to this, with raiders selling BoE items from raids and using the profit to finance consumables and repairs.
Augment runes allows the team to have a baseline solid reward from Raid Finder when you don't win an item.
Past expansions gave you 28 gold, which didn't make anyone feel good.
The augment runes can actually sell for a decent amount early on in the expansion, which is a better solution than dropping hundreds of gold and causing inflation.
The intent is for augment runes to be a nice bonus to players in Raid Finder, not for Mythic raiders to feel that it is necessary to run Raid Finder.
Guilds that are using augment runes generally use the guild bank to fund them or rich players in that guild.
As soon as the team starting working on the tech to scale the outdoor zones to the player level, they knew that they wanted to do it in dungeons as well.
If you can do any zone while leveling it would be strange to not be able to do certain dungeons, especially when they are integrated into the zone story.
This will also help with queue times, as the entire leveling pool of players can match with each other.
When the team released Warlords, they thought of Highmaul and Foundry as the same tier.
They intended for Foundry to pick up where Highmaul left off, with early Foundry bosses tuned to expect a good amount of Highmaul gear.
Even with the time between the two raids, guilds coming in were not feeling rewarded by the 10 item level increase from Highmaul to Foundry.
It was common for a guild to clear normal Highmaul, do the first few bosses of Heroic Highmaul, and then go into normal Foundry, which was as hard as early Heroic Highmaul.
The team hotfixed the item level of loot from Foundry to make it a full tier apart.
In Legion, there is the sliding scale on item level so the team wanted to make sure that if you have been running Normal Nightmare for a while that when you go into Normal Nighthold the gear will feel like an upgrade.
Going into a brand new raid, killing the first few bosses, and disenchanting everything that drops does not feel great.
There has been some thought about a legendary item token that you could turn it, but it is premature at this stage in the system.
There aren't that many legendary items yet, so you don't feel completely unable to get the one you want.
If there were 20 legendary items for every spec, you might play the entire expansion and never see the one you wanted. That would feel pretty rough.
If you gave players a token, there would be a specific legendary they would spend that token on and feel like a very narrow and deterministic system.
The team is looking for ways to make items more interesting and exciting in a world where it feels like items are very formulaic. Legendary items can change your preferred talent build, stat ratings, or how you play your class.
There is something that would be lost by giving you a token, having you pick the legendary that is best for your existing talent build, and min-max that way.
Initially the team looked at having the legendary items disabled during the World First race, but you can only have one legendary item equipped, making them powerful but not overly so.
There is still some tuning to be done on tank and healer legendary items, as they can have more of an impact than one DPS having one.
There has always been some element of randomness in gearing up for progression. If you got Warforged Mythic Soul Capactiors on your first clear, that was a really big deal, bigger than a legendary item.
There hasn't been a situation where the outcome of the World First race was decided by someone's luck while gearing up.
Legendary items are tough to balance, which is why you can buy them from the NPC on beta.
Wrathion is still around.
In alpha he made an appearance in Neltharion, as it is the home of his father, but the way he did it was a little confusing.
One of the members of the Highmountain Tauren that had been assisting you was revealed to be Wrathion in disguise.
This didn't make sense for the lore.
We definitely haven't seen the last of him.
Order Hall Story
There are plans to continue the story of the Order Hall campaigns. The Alliance and Horde went to the Broken Shore, tried to stop the Legion, and failed miserably.
A lot of the story here is you working with your Order, building up your artifact, recruiting champions, and the Orders are our hope for success against the Legion in the long run.
As the story advances, Orders will be important.
Class Changes and Bugfixes
The Exsanguinate nerf hotfix wasn't handled well.
Since then, the team has tried to post about upcoming class changes a couple of days before they go live, even holding back the hotfix if messaging hasn't gone out.
Players shouldn't have to worry about abilities silently changing in the middle of the raid.
The team fixed a couple hundred bugs a week after the patch went live and a couple thousand a week during late beta.
Class Balance and Artifacts
The team draws the line at changing the relative order of specs in the short term, via hotfix.
If Fire is way too good, rather than bringing them down to a point where they are tied with or worse than Frost and Arcane, they will take them to slightly too good still.
You shouldn't regret what you spent your Artifact Power on.
As the team looks ahead to Patch 7.1 and later in the expansion, there is more flexibility to how Artifact Power can work.
They won't keep the game imbalanced for a long period of time, but in the short term there is a lot of disruption that comes from players feeling like the time they spent powering up their artifact was a mistake.
Treasure Goblins have been removed, they might come back later.
The new Karazhan is definitely not just updating the old boss numbers. There will be some cool stuff that will blow people's minds, genuinely getting hyped!
Gamescom Developer Q&A
Our friends at FatBossTV had the chance to sit down with WatcherDev and talk about Patch 7.1 and Legion!
Patch 7.1 has three major pieces: Karazhan, a small raid, and additional quests in Suramar.
We will get a lot more detail on Patch 7.1 after Legion launches.
Patch 7.1 was announced now to underscore the team's commitment to patch content as part of Legion.
Karazhan is a Mythic dungeon (not Mythic+) with a weekly lockout.
Karazhan is a long enough dungeon that some people might do part of it one night and then come back to finish it another night.
Patch 6.2.3 was a pretty successful patch for what it was, mostly a systems patch that revitalized existing content and gave players a reason to revisit stuff.
The old dungeon structure didn't give the team a good way to add dungeons that fit into the existing ecosystem of dungeons without stepping on the old ones.
When ZA and ZG were introduced, they gave better loot than the older dungeons, so people went from running a diverse set of dungeons to running just the troll dungeons.
With Mythic+ dungeons and Warforged/Titanforged gear in dungeons the team can add new dungeons that have a higher baseline difficulty and rewards that coexist the existing dungeons.
Raid Release Schedule
There will be a blog post coming out in the next few days that has the full raid release schedule.
The schedule will be similar to previous expansions, where everything is closed for the first three weeks, then Normal and Heroic Nightmare open, the PvP season begins, and Mythic keystones become available
Nighthold is an early 2017 raid, towards the very beginning of 2017.
In Warlords, it felt like Foundry came out too soon in relation to Highmaul for a lot of guilds and raid groups. The top end raiders were ready for it, but tons of other players were still working on it. Foundry came out and they felt rushed into that.
The world first type raiders will be playing a lot the first few weeks of raiding. Instead of doing five split clears they may end up doing lots of Mythic+ dungeons, which isn't the end of the world.
The average group will probably play through all of the Mythic keystones in the group and that is it. That might take 12 - 15 dungeon runs, which is longer than most guilds raid in a week.
It would be easy to add a hard weekly lockout on Mythic keystones to prevent people from farming them for loot, but that would lead to people logging in on Tuesday, doing their Mythic run for the week, and being done.
With keystones, if you log in later in the week and have a fresh keystone ready to go, people will be lining up to run the dungeon with you.
Currently rewards cap out at Mythic+ 10, which rewards gear that is roughly on par with Heroic Nightmare gear. The real reward comes from the weekly chest, rewarding the mythic raid gear.
There is a little bit of tuning still to be done on the legendary items that are outliers.
There will still be some items that are the best and some that are the worst.
The legendary items are a chance to try out interesting effects that aren't just a damage throughput increase.
If you are someone that never sets foot in a raid zone, getting a legendary item should still be exciting for you.
There are some legendary items that are amazing in a raid over a long fight that aren't as useful for a player that is just soloing in the world. A more utility related legendary might be a huge deal for that player.
There are plans to add more legendary items as the expansion progresses.
The team decided not to start out with a system that allowed you to target a specific legendary item.
As more are added, there will be some threshold at which there are so many out there that it feels like you can't reasonably expect to get any of the specific ones you want. At that point being able to target certain legendary items will make sense.
The team will avoid nerfing a spec from being a little too good to the worst so that you don't feel that all of your Artifact progression was a waste.
Artifacts are something that will continue to grow and evolve so that Artifact Power matters for the entirety of Legion.
Classes are balanced against each other without Artifacts or Legendary items. The Artifacts and Legendary items are then balanced against each other separately.
Melee vs Ranged
In Mythic+ dungeons melee do really well thanks to their cleave and mobility compared to casters that have to stand still.
Melee may be a little stronger in Mythic+ dungeons while ranged are a little stronger in raids, which is fine as long as the gap isn't too large.
The team doesn't want to solve the melee vs ranged problem by making life boring for melee and making raid mechanics that don't target them at all.
The community doesn't do a great job when something is 1% better and they claim it is the only viable option and everything else is garbage.
You prune a plant to guide its growth in new directions that are hopefully more aesthetically pleasing. It is removing stuff to make room to add new stuff.
One of the themes of Legion class design is to emphasize strengths and weaknesses of classes.
A lot of the things that were removed were removed after looking back at classes over the years where the class designers had taken the easy route. The team was coming up with a new set of abilities for an expansion or needed new talents and asked themselves what that class needed. If a class wasn't very mobile, they gave them a talent row with mobility options. Players thought this was amazing and what they always wanted, but that led to a lot of homogenization.
In a world where no one has weaknesses there are also no strengths.
In Legion there is now room to add interesting utility, especially for specs that feel like they don't bring much beyond their throughput.
Bring the player, not the class was a reaction to the hyper regimented raid structure of Burning Crusade where buffs were party based and synergy was more important than anything else.
The team would like to get back to a place where if you are a PuG leader, you are looking at your raid comp and saying, "We could really use a Hunter, let's look for a good hunter", rather than "Let's look for any ranged DPS, especially the flavor of the month that is 2% better and thus is the only viable one". Obviously this isn't the case literally right now, but it is what the team is thinking about and would like to move towards over the course of patches and future content.
There is a lot that has been done by the server team and how the world is designed that will make the Legion launch smoother than the Warlords launch.
Zones scale in level so the population will be distributed across the different zones.
Under heavy load there will also be multiple versions of the same zone on the same server to make sure that server performance is okay and gameplay feels good.
One of the things that caused problems for servers at Warlords launch, especially on the Horde side, was the Spyglass that was needed to start the Horde Garrison. It was only usable by one player at a time, which caused a bit of a bottleneck.
The team hotfixed the Spyglass to be usable by multiple players at a time, but something went wrong with the hofix and then no one could use the Spyglass!
Horde players in North America were all stuck there for a few hours until the team could fix it, resulting in a big clump of players all hitting the garrison at the same time, making server problems much worse.
Everyone on the server was doing Frostfire at the same time, resulting in a laggy zone and even more players building up there, making things even worse.
Raid Structure and Rewards
The current raid structure didn't change this expansion because there isn't a huge problem to fix. All of the raid structure changes in previous expansions were targeted at solving a particular problem.
Classic to Burning Crusade changed because the logistics of 40 man raiding were overwhelming for a lot of guilds, players were a cog in the giant raid machine. "Your job is to dispel this one person and that is your only job in this giant 40 player group". It was fun for the raid leader to plan all of that out but less fun for the players.
The introduction of 10 player raiding allowed the team to let more types of players and groups experience the content.
Flexible raiding is probably the best raid structure the team has done and is working well.
Three difficulties plus Raid Finder means that there is a raid difficulty for all of the different groups. Normal for friends, family, and PuGs. Heroic for guilds that are formed for the purpose of raiding, Mythic for the extremely hardcore players.
Mythic needed a fixed size so that tuning could be done in a way that is satisfying.
Being able to split the raid into groups that could go off and do a mechanic and assuming that the raid had one of every class was part of the encounters that the team wanted to design for Mythic, so the 20 player size felt like the right number. A smaller group size such as 15 players might have also worked, but that would have been tougher for the groups that were already at 25.
The team was worried that LFR was growing too much in prominence in some ways, so they wanted to make sure that players were doing regular group raiding didn't also feel obligated to do lots of Raid Finder to complement that. The team probably overdid this in Warlords by removing Tier sets from Raid Finder, so they are coming back to Raid Finder in Legion.
Most of the players that are raiding competitively will already have set pieces before that Raid Finder wing opens, so they won't feel obligated to go and do it when it opens.
If you have been really unlucky and want your set bonus, this gives you another chance to go and get that last piece.