BlizzCon 2016 - World of Warcraft: Legion - Design Retrospective

Ion Interview
  • Some class mounts will change colors based or have special effects on your active spec
  • It wouldn't be surprising if Inscription got a mount at some point

Broken Shore
  • The team started with concept art of Azsuna in the Broken Shore.
  • Early on there was coral, ancient elven ruins, and undersea life. There was significantly less demon influence in the original concept, with the Tomb being much more pristine.
  • There were more significant path crossings for the Alliance and Horde, having the Horde and Alliance passing over each other on a bridge.
  • The original Broken Shore intro took 2-3 hours and didn't feel like it was telling the story the team wanted to tell.
  • The pristine elven tomb off in the distance didn't work.
  • The team created a Legion Fel Citadel that felt like a new version of the Legion, never seen before, strong enough to kill of some of the main characters.
  • Concept artists came up with a Fel City. A giant space that the Legion rapidly took over, killing off major heroes.
  • You will be able to experience the pristine version of the Tomb in Patch 7.2.

Demon Hunter
  • The team started talking about doing a Demon Hunter back in Burning Crusade.
  • Within a few days the team had a basic Demon Hunter built into the game for Legion. This allowed them to have the team playtest the Demon Hunter, make changes, and continue the feedback loop.
  • After a few weeks of Demon Hunter testing, the team went back to look at core philosophies.
  • Lots of people were going to try the Demon Hunter, so it needed to be easy to learn. The team limited the number of abilities to those that would fit on a single bar. This helped the team keep on target when they were surrounded by so many cool ideas.
  • Eye Beam came from a discussion about the Illidan fight, Eye Lasers! The first iteration was a beam from you to the target and it did some damage. Next the team added a hover and had the beam follow your cursor around, doing damage. It didn't feel very heroic to hover in one spot, as most mobs don't move. Next the team added even more, but it felt like the ability was doing too much. It was then split into Fel Barrage and Eye Beam.
  • Fel Rush started as a charge towards the target with lots of damage at the end. The team first removed the targeting, turning the ability into a short and very quick dash with the ability to rush over obstacles. Unfortunate it resulted in players lifting off on the slopes in the starting area, falling right to their death. The engineers looked at Mega Man to solve this problem. If you are in the air you stay in the air and dash and if you are on the ground you stay on the ground.
  • Metamorphosis was originally just a damage bonus, but you didn't really feel the effect of it. The team quadrupled the damage and it still didn't feel right. They realized that the ability needed a visual change as well, adding an Illidan leap, haste bonus, and putting the damage bonus into two abilities.
  • Two of Three Legion accounts have made a Demon Hunter. 30% of those characters have been leveled to 110. Kayn is the choice for 73% of players. 7.5% of Demon Hunters have Illidan puns in their name.

  • The Artifact needed to be the single most powerful thing that you have ever equipped.
  • There were examples of items from the Lore such as Ashbringer and Doomhammer to provide examples of Artifacts.
  • The team started by building Ashbringer as the first weapon. It had to be purely for Retribution paladins, so each spec would end up needing a weapon.
  • Originally the Ashbringer had a three prong tree with three flashy abilities at the end of each prong.
  • As soon as you pick up Ashbringer, you had to make a choice that drastically impacted your experience through the game, having to read all of the traits. To solve this the team tried adding tiers of power, requiring you to unlock each tier before moving to the next. This solved the problem of having too much choice, but removed all of the choice. Next the team tried an arc that you started at one point with and then went around, but this didn't solve the problem either. Ashbringer was prominently featured in this UI, so they took the weapon and used it as a constellation layout for the traits.
  • The team then needed to decide what Ashbringer does when you pick it up. The team looked back at legendary weapons, as they had been the pinnacle of power before now. These legendary weapons had a really strong passive, so the team used this model for the Artifact weapons. Player feedback was that their gameplay hadn't changed when they equipped their weapon. The team then moved to adding an active ability, giving you the power to activate it. This also allowed them to add nice visuals for the active ability, as you had chosen to activate the power and wouldn't be doing something else.
  • The Artifact then needed to grow and change with you. Experience was the first iteration here, giving your weapon experience as you earned it. You very quickly would diverge from your friends, where you couldn't play together. Leveling solves this problem with caps, so the team tried caps. This didn't solve the problem, as you had no reason to play once you hit the cap. The next iteration is the one that went live, Artifact Research helps you to stay reasonably close in power to your friends but still rewards you for playing.

  • There are lots of hardcore WoW players that never tried PvP. Originally the team figured that those players just didn't like competitive games. This turned out to be wrong, so the team talked to the community. Originally they thought gear was the problem, putting a wedge into the community.
  • First the team tried removing the influence of gear from PvP. This solved a lot of the problems with gear, but gear should define your character and increase your power. Next the team tried making everyone the same item level, similar to Challenge Mode dungeons. This allowed gear to have some meaning, but you can't pursue getting better gear. The team didn't want people to get one set of gear and then just focus on trinkets and set bonuses, so they tried a hybrid approach. Your stats are set but your gear provides as small boost.
  • Honor Talents allowed the team to make some fun talents that you couldn't have in PvE. These talents were probably something only PvP players care about, so the team added some cool rewards to the honor system that would interest all players.

  • Professions needed to be more than just recipes, so they decided to add quest lines. They started with Blacksmithing and Mining. With Mining you might find a cool rock and bring it back to your trainer and they teach you to mine it more efficiently. The team then realized that all of the quest lines were overwhelming and filled up your quest logs. Having to deal with six profession quest lines would be too much. Secondary professions could have less quest lines
  • Underlight Angler started off as a joke, but then we got a fishing pole Artifact!
  • Dalaran fishing raids were intended. The team hoped that players would figure out that all of the players fishing together would be more lucrative.
  • Garrison fishing raids became a problem, so the team built a hotfix. Before it was deployed the team realized people are playing together in their garrison, which was pretty cool. It is important to protect the value of the rare items, so the team let it slide until Broken Shore came out. This philosophy was also applied to other exploits that resulted in players working together, allowing them to stick around a little longer.
  • Nomi gave you a reason to check in to Dalaran every few days. Unfortunately the system wasn't very clear as far as how to progress. Badly Burned Food was added as a grey item to vendor for gold when you didn't earn something. The team was able to fix this by changing the name of the item, but by the time that fix was ready everyone recognized him and it would not be a good change. Now he just has lots of room to learn and grow!
  • Herb and Mining nodes are shared between up to 10 players. You can make a little Herbalism raid!
  • Skinners didn't get the shared nodes and the experience got a little worse. A fix for this is coming in the future!
  • Recipe ranks allowed you to continue to progress, which is nice, but a lot of the one star recipes were behind long quest lines and two star ones were on vendors in Dalaran. This wasn't great.
  • Oliterum was okay, but obliterating an item didn't provide a satisfying experience.
  • Crafting and Gathering should remain viable throughout this expansion.
  • Patch 7.1.5 brings the Obliterum cap to 865, along with more quests and progression.
  • By the end of the expansion you may not even be gathering from the same gathering nodes anymore.
  • Maybe crafted legendary items along with the new crafted items coming in the future.

World Quests
  • Design goals: Daily/World quests should tell a story, either continuing an existing story or creating a new story. You shouldn't feel like you had an overwhelming number of things to do, such as having 20 daily quests you needed to go and do. You should feel like you an active participatng in the world, where logging in at the start and end of the day gave you different things to do.
  • Mists had a variety of content, but not a lot of variety in rewards.
  • The team wanted to use the entire continent for quests, not just small daily quest areas.
  • The team took level up quests, changed up the objectives, making the content feel a little different.
  • Rare spawns are fun to fight when leveling, so added additional abilities and difficulty so you can use them again at max level.
  • The team also looked at using PvP in PvE with the PvP world quests, both Warden Towers and the FFA arenas.
  • Other aspects of the game were added to world quests, battle pets, trade skills, dungeons, and more.
  • First question, how many icons should be on the map? How long should the quests take? How long should you have to travel between the quests?
  • First the team created a test world quest route with instructions for people to test. It felt like a great iteration on daily quests, so more rounds of iteration brought us to what we have today.
  • The team wanted to vary both the content and rewards of world quests. You could have the exact same world quest two days in a row, but the different reward might change which quests you do, providing varied gameplay.
  • The team made 50 or so world quests but players didn't want to do all 50 world quests. The team took Hearthstone's daily quest system and made the emissary system, sending you to a different zone every day.
  • The emissary quests, differing rewards, and differing quests provide a unique adventure for you every day.
  • The team wanted to do more scenarios like the Highmountain one.
  • They also wanted to do class quests, Legion Invasion points, summonable bosses, rare world quests similar to Huolon, or regional world quests. All of these will be part of Patch 7.2.

This article was originally published in forum thread: BlizzCon 2016 - World of Warcraft: Legion - Design Retrospective started by chaud View original post
Comments 15 Comments
  1. Daniri's Avatar
    Metamorphosis for Vengeance doesn't feel visceral still.
  1. Shirofune's Avatar
    Instead of Fel Rushing to your death, now you Fel Rush to your DC :P
  1. Sylfaine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shirofune View Post
    Instead of Fel Rushing to your death, now you Fel Rush to your DC :P
    You can still fel rush to your death, Cenarius says hello.
  1. reverandmaniac's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sylfaine View Post
    You can still fel rush to your death, Cenarius says hello.

    This is so true I've done the fel rush to your death thing on Cenarius. at least once that I"ll admit to.
  1. Enan1981's Avatar
    Its odd... This Legion presentation shouldve shown at the previous Blizzcon... -_-
  1. effs's Avatar
    Crafted...legendary items?
  1. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by effs View Post
    Crafted...legendary items?
    Yeah fuck that noise. LFM Raid HAVE 1 CRAFTED LEGENDARY.
  1. mmoc2a8ace7582's Avatar
    Patch 7.1.5 brings the Obliterum cap to 865, along with more quests and progression.

    This is such an overkill catch-up mechanic. Unless you fully cleared Mythic by now, that crafted gear will be automatically better than most items you have because you can actually pick the stats.
  1. Sorshen's Avatar
    Crafted legendary items... they're starting to shit the bed in WoW like they did in Diablo. lmao
  1. mmoc0fc2032db7's Avatar
    The game is at its peak story wise and content wise i am quite happy xD
    Only thing that annoys me is that i cant play all my alts cause of catch up mechanics.
    If they do more of the stuff account wide then everything would be perfect.
  1. mmoc4dd871e486's Avatar
    He said Mega Man. All is good in the world.
  1. Osmeric's Avatar
    That wasn't much of a retrospective.
  1. Magemaer's Avatar
    Nothing on legendaries?!?!
  1. RuneDK's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Emerald View Post
    The game is at its peak story wise and content wise i am quite happy xD
    Only thing that annoys me is that i cant play all my alts cause of catch up mechanics.
    If they do more of the stuff account wide then everything would be perfect.
    Artifact knowledge should be account wide imho. Or at least up to two levels under your highest knowledge level. I am not looking forward to leveling my alts, which sucks because I want to experience all the class order hall campaigns.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Magemaer View Post
    Nothing on legendaries?!?!
    there was stuff on was just terrible....Also not sure I'm a fan of losing out on the artifact weapon system post Legion....makes me feel we're killing Sargeras(which is great, but to do it we need to destroy our weapons). I actually like the artifact system, but the relic system sucks.
  1. mmoc4dfe59358a's Avatar
    Great.... brainless Blizzard's devs (pvp teams) fucked us well.... destroy WoW's pvp more and more... no balance, no possibilities... just shits...

    THX for statistics for Deamon Hunters... ya... 7,5% ppl are Ilidary brainless thx..

    and where is 1v1 finally? where is pvp individuality, skill and more possibilities? I don't want play fucked 3s... i want differences between players in PvP. No same talents, eqv, stats.. .everything...

    WTF? pvp gear is about IL only, not about stats, why pvp eq has some stats? we don't need them we need just IL.... Wanna back TBC/WotLK eqv combination... i want boost my stats, not play with Principles of War ...

    Holinka, bastard... pls... burn your class design politics and make pvp playable again.

    More players = better pvp balance... rubbish by Blizzard. Top PvP destroyer.

    Fu**k all, Hawk.

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