Legion Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas
WatcherDev is back for another Q&A, this time as Game Director for World of Warcraft! Watch the entire stream for context!

Patch 7.1 will release on October 25th!

Patch 7.1
  • The patch is pretty close to ready, October 25th release!
  • Trial of Valor will not open day 1, two weeks after the patch. After Blizzcon.

Class Balance
  • The team is happier with balance than they were before the tuning pass, but there is still more work to do.
  • It is likely that there will be more class balance changes before Patch 7.1 and after Patch 7.1.
  • The numbers people are looking at to gauge balance are a reflection of actual people playing the game, not a reflection of sims.
  • There is a large portion of the community that is looking to play the strongest thing. Those are the same people that are min-maxing and are trying to play at the cutting edge. Whichever spec is currently home to most of those people is going to get a natural bump in the results.
  • Frost mage is way better than the numbers on logging sites suggest because a lot of the best mages are playing Fire right now.
  • If Frost mages were buffed slowly into being the best spec, lots of Fire players will be upset about the effort they already put into their artifact and gear. Those players will also switch to Frost, having it swing far ahead of Fire in logs and making it look very strong.
  • The team is trying to avoid wild swings in class balance.

  • The team wants to make Barrage more consistent, but they have to make sure you can still stand on a hill and hit mobs below you.
  • It may get changed to a cone that is cut in half so that you don't pull things flying high above you. It is less common to want to shoot high up into the air, but fairly common to want to shoot downwards.
  • Barrage also feels like the best choice in that row by far, making it hard to just pick another talent to avoid using Barrage.

Legendary Items
  • There are moments of excitement when a legendary item drops that you would not have with a more predictable way of obtaining them.
  • There are systems in place to prevent extreme bad luck from occurring.
  • Should there be interesting, exciting, and powerful items in the game? Should every item just be primary and secondary stats and nothing else?
  • Blizzard felt that character progression is an important part of the game. Items being able to influence gameplay is a part of this.
  • The legendary items could be sold by a vendor and require some currency, but it would just feel like a long grind. You would feel relief when you are finally done, not excitement.
  • Other systems in the past had you collecting somewhat random drops.
  • Legendary items are a direct complement to Artifact Power. You always are making progress in making your character stronger when you do most activities by earning Artifact Power.
  • There is frustration when you don't get a legendary item and the team is aware of this. Many of them still don't have a legendary!
  • There are players hoping for a specific legendary and they are disappointed when they get a different one. You will keep getting more legendary items over time.
  • The legendary items that provide utility are very valuable in certain situations.
  • There are some legendary items that aren't as great as the team would have liked. These will be buffed or redesigned in the not too distant future.
  • If you are a tank Demon Hunter or Monk that gets Cinidaria, the Symbiote, you probably are wondering why. Instead of being just damage, it may be changed to give you extra damage that is also Lifestealing.
  • The damage absorb neck doesn't feel great for tanks, but there are changes that can be made to make it better.

Mythic Emerald Nightmare
  • Xavius on Mythic difficulty was not tuned to the level the team would have wanted. Ideally he would have taken a couple days to kill with 80-100 attempts for the top guilds.
  • The rest of the zone had a nice ramp up of difficulty.
  • The goal with Xavius wasn't to make a Mannoroth or Archimonde difficulty boss. This is the first raid tier of an expansion, with a lot more to follow.
  • There are plenty of people progressing through the raid at a steady rate and enjoying it.
  • The top guilds are doing things that aren't representative of most of the players in the game. The team doesn't want to design for guilds that are doing several split clears and constant Mythic+ dungeons.
  • Top guilds doing many split clears resulted in clearing the raid with a higher item level than most other guilds.
  • It would be tough to design a fight that feels out of reach for the top world guilds without making it very frustrating for everyone else.
  • In the long run the team would like to find ways to dis-incentivize things that top guilds do like split clears that players don't enjoy but feel like they need to do to stay competitive. This needs to be done without imposing restrictions on the average player who wants to run a raid on a few different characters or share loot around.

Protection Warriors
  • Protection Warriors should be a combination of tanky and mobile, with things like Heroic Leap and Intercept allowing them to move around.
  • Some of the rage from damage taken was a throwback to the old-school Warrior days. Getting punched makes you angry and you use that anger to fuel your tanking abilities.
  • In some ways it was a replacement for Vengeance and Resolve. It is important that your tankiness scale with the content that you are doing.

Shadow Priest
  • The Shadow Priest Level 100 talent tier redesign won't be in Patch 7.1, but hopefully not too long after.
  • There are some problems with Surrender to Madness right now. It was designed to be high risk and high reward, but has come to dominate the class's viability.
  • The team wants to offer other robust alternatives to Surrender to Madness, but this will take some time.

Secondary Stats
  • The way primary and secondary stats have played out is one of the regrets about Legion.
  • There are some very large disparities between the value of secondary stats for some specializations.
  • It is fine to have a best stat and worst stat, but items that don't have your best stat shouldn't be worthless.
  • This is something the team wants to fix, but it will be done slowly and with plenty of notice.
  • Players shouldn't feel that their item selection choices are suddenly invalid.
  • Due to some other changes made to the game, at no point in the game's history have primary stats been less valuable in relation to secondary stats.
  • Fixing things like being really weak with low crit levels and reaching a soft cap on crit levels towards the end of an expansion caused some of this.
  • Some of this will be fixed as item level goes up, as secondary stats are front loaded right now.
  • Item level should be a good indicator of upgrades, but it isn't right now. This is especially bad with the personal loot trading system being based on item level.
  • The team will continue to work on making things better over the course of the expansion.

Crafting Costs
  • The team wants to see how the Blood of Sargeras trader plays out in Patch 7.1, along with some of the new Blood of Sargeras recipes.
  • Once Patch 7.1 is released, there will be a huge flood of resources dumped onto the market, as players that have been accumulating Bloods will have a way to turn them into gold.
  • It is still going to feel more expensive to craft things than it did in Warlords.
  • In Warlords, flasks and potions were very cheap and plentiful, more so than any previous point in the game's history.
  • There has been large increase in supply of materials in the past few weeks as players realized how much demand there is. This is part of a healthy player economy.
  • There needs to be an adjustment in psychology in how to approach consumables.
  • In Warlords, many guilds pre-potted on every pull during progress and farm, as well as always using flasks. Those assumptions should be re-examined now, as things didn't work like this in the past.
  • When you are doing your first pull on a boss to learn strategy, is that DPS potion going to do anything?
  • Some of these consumables were designed to be used when they will actually be useful rather than always using them without thinking.
  • Consumable costs will go down over the course of the expansion. The team is keeping an eye on it and if costs don't go down there may be some adjustments.
  • It's awesome having gathering being useful again!

Mythic Dungeons and Class Balance
  • All specs can't have strong and consistent AoE. The team wants there to be areas of strength and weakness.
  • AoE is emphasized in quick farming runs, especially when people were clearing dungeons before raids opened.
  • Shadow Priest is not the spec that comes to mind when you think about strong AoE, but a Shadow Priest was in the group and doing well in a Mythic +15 keystone clear.
  • It doesn't matter if you and your spec are good if the community perceives your spec as being bad, as it makes it hard to get a group.

World Quest Rewards
  • World Quests don't adjust rewards based on your loot specialization.
  • If the map changed every time you changed spec that would be an annoying experience.
  • Having to cycle between your different specs to see different rewards is not great.
  • It also allows you to get items for off-specs without having to change your loot spec.

Legendary Item Bad Luck Prevention
  • There is no time component to how this works.
  • If you got a legendary, you were lucky.
  • A single digit percentage of people who got their first legendary did get a second legendary item, but it didn't have a big impact.
  • The team should have implemented good luck protection for legendary items to address the perception that the system isn't working! Players can randomly get three legendary items without the system being broken, as random is random.

Action Cam
  • The Action Cam returns in Patch 7.1!
  • It will disable itself every time you log in to the game.

Mythic+ Dungeon
  • Having someone drop from your Mythic keystone run is very frustrating.
  • The team hasn't been able to think of alternatives that wouldn't invite more serious abuse of the system.
  • If you can swap in other people, what will stop the leader from kicking people and bringing in his friends.
  • If you had your keystone restored if someone drops, everyone would just have someone drop when things are going wrong.

Artifact Power and Knowledge
  • There are no plans to allow you to move Artifact Power from one weapon to another.
  • Artifact Knowledge makes it easy to keep another weapon with progression close to your current weapon.
  • Artifact Knowledge and progression are working out well.
  • The team didn't want to have a hard weekly cap, where it felt like your job every week was to hit a cap. After you hit the cap there was no motivation to play.
  • People that play a lot more get something extra, but not a huge amount.
  • Research rates for alts or players that are catching up are a little shorter to help them to get caught up.
  • A few months from now more drastic catch up measures might be necessary to get you caught up quickly.

Hidden Artifact Appearances
  • The team tried to avoid a single formulaic approach.
  • The hunter appearance being on a vendor was done to give players an option that wasn't a gun. There is no prestige from having that appearance.
  • The Fury Warrior appearance only being on a world boss is a valid concern, the team will keep an eye on it.
  • If an appearance is hard to get, it is more prestigious and impressive.
  • It was fun to watch the community find hidden things, hopefully will be more in the future.

  • The attunement should be an account wide unlock.

Bonus Roll
  • Right now the bonus roll system can't give you anything other than gold when you don't win something.
  • The system needs changes to be able to give you rewards like Artifact Power or other rewards.
  • Getting gold feels like an insult rather than consolation prize.

World Quest Variety
  • Overlapping world quests aren't being handled well right now.
  • The system tries to avoid overlaps and prioritize world quests that haven't been seen recently. If another quest is still active in this area it can't put the new quest up.
  • Quests that you see up often are the only quest that can appear in that area.
  • Once there have been UI and gameplay fixes, multiple world quests will be able to appear in one area, reducing the quests that appear frequently.

Class Balance
  • Balance Druids have some utility that is great in Mythic+ dungeons.
  • Bring the player, not the class is a concern, but the game has drifted a little too far from bringing the class.
  • The statement was made back during late Burning Crusade, where you needed a melee group. The Rogue needed a Warrior, the Warrior needed a Shaman, and then there were only 2 spots left in the melee group. This was a problem. Making buffs raid wide and moving away from mandatory interactions between classes solved this.
  • There should be a reason to want some of every class or spec. If you don't have a Warlock in your group, there should be a reason to look for a Warlock rather than just any ranged DPS.
  • Introducing or re-introducing abilities that allow you to fill special roles or give you utility is the plan.

Mythic+ Item Level
  • There are no plans to increase the Mythic+ reward item level when Trial of Valor comes out.
  • It will be increased when the next raid is released.

Emerald Nightmare Trinkets
  • The team is looking at the trinkets that aren't as powerful as they should be compared to other trinkets.

Fury Warriors
  • There are some improvements coming for Fury Warriors in Patch 7.1.
  • The damage penalty is being reduced from 30% to 20%.
  • The team heard the feedback, should have listened during beta, better late than never?
  • The extra damage taken is frustrating because you don't control it.
  • The Patch 7.1 changes are a band-aid, some redesign in the future will probably be necessary.
  • Giving up some defense to do more damage is the fantasy, but having some control over it will help.

  • Unlike other items, item level is mostly the king when it comes to Relics.
  • In general, you should feel like you can trust item level when it comes to evaluating upgrades.
  • Relics not being destroyed would lead to your bag being full of relics that you swap out, somewhat like talents.

Patch 7.0.3 Hotfixes - October 13
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Bonus Events
  • Entering a Timewalking Dungeon will no longer clear any planted plants from the Druid Evergreen upgrade.
  • The fireballs from the cooking buff "Pepper Breath" should now scale properly in Timewalking.
  • Class Hall Set 6-piece and 8-piece bonuses should now scale properly in Timewalking.


Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
  • Ironfur no longer incorrectly multiplies Bonus Armor effects from temporary buffs.
  • (Balance) New Moon, Half Moon, and Full Moon are now in the Arcane spell school.

  • Spirit Cauldrons no longer have collision.

Player versus Player
Reminder: These changes are only active while in PvP combat situations and do not affect PvE. Many more Honor Talent changes are coming with Patch 7.1, including changes to Destruction Warlocks, Windwalker Monks, Death Knights, Balance Druids, and Restoration Druids.

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
  • Ice Form now has a 60 second cooldown (was 45 seconds).
  • Ice Form can no longer be cast while stunned.
  • Ice Form will now cause the Mage to be immune to only stuns, instead of other unintended crowd-control effects, such as Paralysis.
  • Frostbolt no longer deals increased damage in PvP (was a multiplier of +10%).
    • Developers’ Notes: Frost Mages are intended to create burst windows with Shatter and Glacial Spike, but have been reaching unintended levels of damage. By reducing Frostbolt damage, we’re reducing the potential size of Icicles and Glacial Spike burst. The Ice Form fixes should reduce its uptime, which was too high.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
Beast Mastery
  • Beast Mastery Agility reduced by 10% in PvP.
    • Developers’ Notes: We’ve found Beast Mastery damage to be too high, but we don’t feel that it’s due to any specific ability or mechanic, so we’re reducing the overall PvP template.

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
  • Mistwalk can no longer be cast while silenced.
  • Soothing Mist healing reduced by 10% in PvP. (Soothing Mist version of Ancient Mistweaver Arts is unaffected.)
  • Soothing Mist healing cast by Summon Jade Serpent Statue reduced by 10% in PvP.
    • Developers’ Notes: Mistweavers been one of our strongest healers. We feel Soothing Mist is doing too much healing per second on its own, making it so that the Mistweaver doesn’t have to use cast-time healing spells as much as other healers, even when their target is taking high amounts of damage. We’re reducing Soothing Mist slightly to address this. Mistwalk was never intended to be used while the Mistweaver was silenced or locked out of Nature, so we’ve fixed that as a bug.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
  • Pure of Heart no longer causes Cleanse to incur a cooldown when it removes poisons and diseases.
  • Pure of Heart no longer triggers when healed by a periodic heal effect, but will trigger when a spell such as Rejuvenation is initially cast.
    • Developers’ Notes: Retribution Paladins are designed to be a formidable damage dealer and also have a protective, counter-control kit for their allies. Pure of Heart is intended to “soft-counter” poisons and diseases, but we feel it’s too strong currently when the Paladin is paired with a healing-over-time healer. Pure of Heart will now only trigger when a healing spell is applied, but not periodically during the spell.

  • Blessing of Sanctuary now has a 30 second cooldown, up from 25 seconds.
    • Developers’ Notes: Blessing of Sanctuary has proven to be a strong, signature Honor Talent, but we feel its cooldown is too short.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
  • System Shock now properly requires an Envenom cast with 5 or more combo points.
  • System Shock’s damage has been reduced by 20%.
  • Assassination’s Agility has been reduced by 5% in PvP.
    • Developers’ Notes: The Assassination Rogue is intended to be a strong, persistent damage dealer that pressures targets but lacks the utility that Outlaw excels in or the mobility that Subtlety provides. We’ve been monitoring their damage and feel its higher than intended, and we’ve found some bugs with System Shock contributed to this. We’ve also altered their PvP template to effectively reduce their damage.

  • Control is King will no longer stack Adrenaline Rush above a 3 second duration.
    • Developers’ Notes: Control is King is intended to be an attractive choice for the Outlaw Rogue when within a control oriented team composition. This has worked out a bit too well. Now, subsequent procs of Control of King will no longer add to the duration, and instead will just refresh itself.

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
  • Stormstrike’s damage is reduced by 15% in PvP.
  • Heroism and Bloodlust now have a 60 second cooldown when modified by Shamanism (was 45 seconds).
    • Developers’ Notes: The Enhancement Shaman is intended to be a formidable damage dealer who also provides offensive group utility through totems and buffs. Shamanism has been a popular choice for the Enhancement Shaman, allowing them to use Bloodlust/Heroism frequently and also in Arena combat. We like the utility this gives the Shaman, but feel its uptime is too high. Further, we feel the Enhancement Shaman’s burst damage with Stormstrike has been reaching unintended levels.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Legion Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas, October 13 Hotfixes started by chaud View original post
Comments 181 Comments
  1. Traxwow's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Farabee View Post
    When your spec is behind everyone else on sims and needs that boost to be competitive enough to be considered for a raid spot, yes, the spec is broken.

    This is not even taking into account the host of mechanical problems with UH:

    -Poor Mastery scaling, a stat that was clearly designed for a talent that was omega-nerfed in beta (Clawing Shadows)
    -Ungodly amount of ramp up time on ST/AOE with the "best" spec, requiring wounds and DND to be present for AOE as well as the resources to take advantage of them
    -Heavy reliance on complex opener which requires precise timing for overall damage, which means that getting chosen for mechanics during that opener hurts us immensely
    -Mobility issues that require us to sacrifice our mitigation abilities for a small boost to Wraith Walk, which most people ignore exists because it sucks (see below)
    -Buggiest movement speed increase in the game that breaks on abiltiies, damage, and a random rock on the ground. Latter can be fixed...with a 7k gold glyph.
    -Raid utility was gutted; Gorefiends was made Blood-only and AMZ was made a PVP talent.

    The latter 2 points were hand-waved away by Blizzard, telling us that we were designed to be the hardest-hitting class when in range of the boss. Yet arms warriors (our 2-handed, plate wearing DPS counterpart) are head and shoulders above us on Ursoc parses, and don't have to sacrifice any of their mobility for that damage. We do have excellent mitigation, especially against magic, and we have a repositioning ability for 1 mob every 25 seconds (2 if talented and micro'd correctly). We have a battle rez. But those aren't enough reasons to need a DK in your raid when other classes bring similar utility with top-tier damage.

    Ion claimed that he was trying to find reasons in class design why you would want a particular class/spec in your raid or group. If that was the design, the team failed Unholy.
    UH isn't in a bad spot. It still gets raid spots, still gets decent parses. Not every spec can be on the top.

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