Venturebeat Interview with Ion Hazzikostas on WoW's Future
Venturebeat sat down with Ion Hazzikostas to discuss the game's future and current soul-searching. Click the banner below to read the full article!



  • The team created an internal process for employees to flag pieces of the game for review that haven't aged well or could be seen as offensive, and a diverse group reviewed them for change.
  • These changes did not take away from development time and would likely have gone unnoticed if they weren't spotlighted from datamining.
  • The team understands that they aren't fixing systemic injustice by these changes, but why not do it in tandem with working on larger cultural community.
  • The WoW team is also working closesly with the Overwatch team to try and catch toxicity in game right away without relying so much on manual reporting.
  • In the end, the team wants WoW to be a positive place to escape the trials and tribulations of the world.
  • Diversity makes a better game. They don't want WoW to be for a niche audience.
  • There has been a lot of work towards allowing more open communication and feedback within the team about things going into the game.
  • 9.1.5 was born out of the team being allowed to pitch ideas and try out things that they think will make the game more fun.
  • Ion acknowledges that they should have reacted to player feedback earlier about conduit energy, and knows that they can do better about communicating not only that we are being heard, but why things are not necessarily implemented or changed right away.
  • 9.1.5 reflects a shift toward more accessibility and letting go of old lessons instilled on the team from the past that don't necessarily reflect the way that the game is enjoyed today.
  • Cross-faction raiding is a bit more on the radar now. If Jaina and Thrall are working together, why can't the players?
  • They will be talking about the conclusion of Shadowlands in more detail in the future.
  • 9.2 is coming, and we will hear about it soon. They have much more planned after that, but it's hard to say too much more without spoiling some of the story that is coming.
  • At this point, your characters are heroes and there is no way that they can go back to being anonymous adventurers, but the team also wants to go back to simple core fantasy and not so much more escalating cosmic adventures.
  • The team wants to keep expanding on ways to better use what they have built over the years into the game, but it's not quite there yet.
  • There really isn't a time when the game becomes so old that a reboot is needed. However, they need to be mindful of bloat.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Venturebeat Interview with Ion Hazzikostas on WoW's Future started by Stoy View original post
Comments 318 Comments
  1. Aggressive's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by orney View Post
    It's fine if you like WoW and keep playing it, it's fine if you dislike WoW and don't play it.
    But if you still sincerely believe in Ion's buzzwords, well... you are stupid.
    This.....But you can believe there are many within WoW who would believe Ion even if he said he was Jesus from Heaven. Some literally live off whatever comes out the guys mouth.
  1. cface's Avatar
    I think this time, they really fucked up punishing the players for their idiot workplace shenanigan's.
  1. MoanaLisa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by cface View Post
    I think this time, they really fucked up punishing the players for their idiot workplace shenanigan's.
    There needs to be a working definition of ‘punishment’ if I am to understand this. Exactly what was changed that rises to the level of punishing players? Emotes? Paintings? Place names? NPC names? I’ve seen others say this but they never explained how they were punished. Fill me in.
  1. orgonutil's Avatar
    dragons, nozdormu (or muronzod) and time travel incoming
  1. DSRilk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Vindicator View Post
    I don't use either. You're very welcome to explain to me what was wrong about what I said if you wish
    In reference to your gender as a social construct statement... what's wrong with it is this:

    As a term, gender meant biological sex exclusively until fairly recently; even in scientific circles. It started to transition into a term meaning "social construct" first among psychologists who wanted a term that represented behavioral norms associated with biological sex, and only very recently did this meaning filter out among the laity. Because of this, a very large percentage of people still use the word gender as a synonym for biological sex.

    So what's wrong with what you said is that it is only correct in discussions with people who share your meaning of the word. What you're doing is similar to telling a British person that they're wrong to say that boot means anything other than footwear.

    If you ask the vast majority of people (in the West) who say there are only two genders (in their mind meaning biological sex) whether or not there is only one set of "norms, behaviors, and roles associated with being a woman and one other set associated with being a man [per the WHO definition]," I suspect they'll say something akin to "of course not."

    My point is this: until people stop pretending that "the other side" doesn't know what words mean and instead argues from a shared vocabulary, we'll get no where. If scientists back in the 70's had made up a new term instead of hijacking the word gender, I suspect there would be a lot less arguments about this nonsense today. Or at least the arguments would be a lot less frequent and far clearer.

    On topic... I haven't missed an expansion in WoW ever. Though SL is the first one I've dumped in the first month. Unfortunately, I see nothing in this message that makes me want to try the next one. It all seems to be focused on things that in my opinion don't really make a good game. It sounds like they are way too focused on being overly cautious. Games, stories, and comedy are best (imo) when they are willing to take risks; and these comments feel like they are coming from a very risk-averse mindset. To be clear, I'm not talking about not having racial diverse characters or not adding LGBTQ+ characters added to the game or main story, I'm talking about a general mindset. When decisions come from a place of fear, very little good tends to come from it.
  1. DemonHunter18's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwijello View Post
    Seeing Ion's smug face now is like watching gay porn on pronhub and the ads are all big breasted women trying to look sexy. It's just annoying!!!
    LMAO that made my day

    thanks you.
  1. Polybius's Avatar
    There needs to be a working definition of ‘punishment’ if I am to understand this. Exactly what was changed that rises to the level of punishing players? Emotes? Paintings? Place names? NPC names? I’ve seen others say this but they never explained how they were punished. Fill me in.
    Considering that players actually liked some of the more tame emotes (hello, Worgen), and are generally happy when the employees are happily sharing their work, it directly puts them off. These players have built a long-term relationship with the game, so it's understandable to see them disgruntled when certain aspects are changed/removed during a time when the game is suffering.


    On Topic: A philosophy doesn't have more meaning than the actions of developers. No one is held to standards by a mere mission statement, at any company.
  1. oplawlz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Log Cabin View Post
    It is a type of madness gripping the world at the moment. Making a product targeted at its ideal audience is seen as passé. The new trend is to market your product towards people who hate the concept of your product.

    Its a bold new approach lets see if it pays off.
    Gilette learned this lesson the hard way, it's weird that other companies didn't get the message.
  1. Becket's Avatar
    Ion..... HAHAHAHAHAHA, Ion is the worst cancer for the game, period.
  1. DSRilk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Vindicator View Post
    Not really - gender means one thing, sex means another.

    It's not the same as dialect - no matter where you go - gender means one thing.

    People conflate sex and gender all the time and that's usually what leads to the debate
    From the Journal of Applied Physiology:

    "Of the article titles examined by the authors of this article from 1960 to 2004 in the Journal of Applied Physiology, all titles using gender were sex-based investigations ." Emphasis is mine.

    "The recommendation identified by the 2001 IOM report calls for researchers to clarify and be specific in their use of the terms sex and gender in publications and, by doing so, create consistency across the literature."

    As you can see, even in scientific journals the word gender was used to mean sex for a very long time, and it is only recently (for those of us in the 40+ set) that gender and sex began to mean different things. Especially among the laity.

    Dialect (per the OED): "A particular form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group."

    Many on the right (and some older people on the left) still use gender to mean sex. Being specific to a social (and often age) group, the meaning differs (by definition) by dialect.

    You can't just declare that the meaning of a word has changed; we don't have an English version of the Académie Française. Do gender and sex mean two different things to many people today? Absolutely. Does it mean two different things to everyone? Absolutely not. From the looks of things, it's around a 50/50 split. The meaning of words in English is fluid (no pun intended), and while gender has a different meaning today among most of the left (of which I am a part, by the way), half the country still uses it in the classical sense - as sex. They are not wrong in its meaning. The word hasn't fully transitioned, and thus it is still very contextual (i.e. differs based on dialect). If you're discussing gender with a liberal crowd, it has a different meaning than if you're discussing it with many (most?) on the right.

    No one is conflating sex and gender. People are using different meanings for gender. And sadly, this is what STOPS a valid debate, not what leads to it. Both sides seem to want to force their definition on others, when it's obvious to everyone that each person is meaning something different. Until we agree to a shared vocabulary, no reasonable debate can be had.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Log Cabin View Post
    It is a type of madness gripping the world at the moment. Making a product targeted at its ideal audience is seen as passé. The new trend is to market your product towards people who hate the concept of your product.

    Its a bold new approach lets see if it pays off.
    Something similar is happening in the film industry, and for very similar reasons. There's an interesting article by Christina Newland of the BBC who said:

    ...there is arguably nothing today's entertainment conglomerates want less than to risk alienating consumers. "Here, perhaps, there is a kind of self-censorship that doesn’t allow the writers to write other kinds of stories..."

    This is my concern. When creators become risk averse, art suffers.

    "The chief enemy of creativity is good sense." - Pablo Picasso
  1. Motorman's Avatar
    That "Im on my high horse" look of his in the picture does a lot to explain whats wrong with wow. He needs to go away SL, is horrible.
  1. Darkguyver2020's Avatar
    The team created an internal process for employees to flag pieces of the game for review that haven't aged well or could be seen as offensive, and a diverse group reviewed them for change.

    Seriously. Fuck all these rabid Social Media snowflakes and woke loonie lefties that want to censor everything. They either need to grow a fucking backbone or be snuffed out from society!
  1. Bloomer's Avatar
    The team created an internal process for employees to flag pieces of the game for review that haven't aged well or could be seen as offensive
    Ah, censorship. That's exactly what WoW needs and what the players asked.

    and a diverse group reviewed them for change.
    DID YOU HEAR THAT? A DIVERSE GROUP REVIEWED THEM... FOR CHANGE!
    GAME = SAVED

    These changes did not take away from development time and would likely have gone unnoticed if they weren't spotlighted from datamining.
    Even if that's true, it's still a waste of time and resources.

    The team understands that they aren't fixing systemic injustice by these changes, but why not do it in tandem with working on larger cultural community.
    They know it's useless, yet waste time on it, lmao

    The WoW team is also working closely with the Overwatch team to try and catch toxicity in game right away without relying so much on manual reporting.
    Literal communism, holy fuck.

    In the end, the team wants WoW to be a positive place to escape the trials and tribulations of the world.
    "In the end, the team wants WoW to be a safe space for sensitive snowflakes to escape the reality that it is okay for people to be mad or rude at you online or disagree with your views/stands."
    Fixed that for you, Ion!

    Diversity makes a better game. They don't want WoW to be for a niche audience.
    So they're not even hiding the fact that they're abandoning their "niche" audience that shaped the success of this game for more "diverse" audience that would probably play the game for about 2 months then quit with no attachment whatsoever for the game. And they wonder why most people prefer Classic over current retail.

    There has been a lot of work towards allowing more open communication and feedback within the team about things going into the game.
    Not the first (won't be the last either) time we heard this, Ion. You gotta invent new and original lawyer talk for these interviews now.

    Ion acknowledges that they should have reacted to player feedback earlier about conduit energy, and knows that they can do better about communicating not only that we are being heard, but why things are not necessarily implemented or changed right away.
    So it takes a mass exodus of players, almost all e-celebs flaming your shit game and a corporate-wide scandal to get them to listen to and communicate with us now?
    Write that down, boys!

    Cross-faction raiding is a bit more on the radar now. If Jaina and Thrall are working together, why can't the players?
    I am all for this, but it's clear the only reason they're doing this is because the population of the game is close to dead.

    9.2 is coming, and we will hear about it soon. They have much more planned after that, but it's hard to say too much more without spoiling some of the story that is coming.
    Lmao, why do they always do this?
    "We got everything planned out, but oops can't tell you! Can't spoil it for you haha yeah we totally have that planned out! Just wait and stay subbed!"
    We heard this same excuse throughout Sylvanus "story". Didn't seem to end well, or planned for that matter.
  1. Sinured's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Vindicator View Post
    Not really - gender means one thing, sex means another.

    It's not the same as dialect - no matter where you go - gender means one thing.

    People conflate sex and gender all the time and that's usually what leads to the debate
    you sound so smart but have you considered what gender really means?
    who invented it?

    if you would know it you would not spew smartass lines.
    hint: there is no such thing as a gender,
    transgender people are sick in the headm and so are pedos.

    "gender" was invented by a sick pedo.

    normaly I charge people for teaching.
    there are only 2 sexes.
    there is no such thing as "gender".
    and "gender" is only a US thing.

    LGB back then was about "Sex"
    LGBTQ+ are degenerates who hijacked something noble woth their sick perverted shit.
  1. Merie's Avatar
    Blizzard: "We should have listened to the fans' feedback."
    Fans: "We don't want you to scrub the game of all the lewd jokes we just wanted you to treat your employees with respect."
    Blizzard: "No."
  1. ZZhan's Avatar
    The team created an internal process for employees to flag pieces of the game for review that haven't aged well or could be seen as offensive, and a diverse group reviewed them for change.
    These changes did not take away from development time and would likely have gone unnoticed if they weren't spotlighted from datamining.
    The team understands that they aren't fixing systemic injustice by these changes, but why not do it in tandem with working on larger cultural community.
    The WoW team is also working closesly with the Overwatch team to try and catch toxicity in game right away without relying so much on manual reporting.
    In the end, the team wants WoW to be a positive place to escape the trials and tribulations of the world.
    Diversity makes a better game. They don't want WoW to be for a niche audience.

    This guys is the doom of wows future, is so sad reading this.
  1. Magnagarde's Avatar
    This late into the Shadowlands and he still manages to talk about diversity, as if that's got anything to do with the game's quality and improvement thereof; in fact, they're slowly proving the opposite - the more they talk about diversity, the worse the quality, story and content of their games get. Warcraft as a franchise has always had a lot of diverse cultures depicted in a high-fantasy setting; doing so doesn't require a diverse team and that was clearly proven with Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft. They didn't talk about it; they made it happen. The more they talk about it, the more unnatural, forced and widely unaccepted their "diversification" becomes because we can see through the lack of sense behind it. Their staff needs to stop telling us how much they care about diversity and start making good games, good expansions and good content updates within said games; I don't care if an all white, asian, black, indian or whatever team made it happen. They have an "internal team" that deems low-quality pictures of females to be upsetting, replacing them with fruitbowls; that's how low they've fallen.

    I hope they succeed, but Warcraft as a franchise is floating in place; it is slowly being rinsed of everything that has made it popular in the first place and I simply don't see them being able to do anything right when they haven't even got their priorities right.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ZZhan View Post
    This guys is the doom of wows future, is so sad reading this.
    It really is. All good things come to an end though. I'm not doubting that the game will go on for a long time, but the franchise itself is almost unrecognizable.
  1. Powerogue's Avatar
    "The team wants to keep expanding on ways to better use what they have built over the years into the game, but it's not quite there yet."

    I thought Legion did really great with that. The WHOLE of Azeroth was being invaded was a great excuse to re-use a lot of areas in class-specific scenarios. I loved visiting Ulduar and Storm Peaks again as a hunter for Hati.

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