Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas - Battle for Azeroth
Ion Hazzikostas is back to talk about Battle for Azeroth!


Zandalari Trolls
  • The story of BfA details Zandalari Paladins and this arc could lead to Zandalari Paladins. We have to wait and see.
  • Zandalari Trolls won't be unlocked at the release of Battle for Azeroth, it is part of the first story arc.
  • Zandalari trolls were made slightly taller in the Alpha recently.

Allied Races
  • Allied Races will always come out in pairs for now, but in the long run they may not come out for both factions at the same time.
  • Mag'har Orcs - Mag'har means uncorrupted, not necessarily the survivors from Outland.
  • Class balance on factions is more linked to lore than equality.
  • Kul Tiran Humans were mentioned as an Allied Race.
  • As new Allied Races are added, more character slots will be added.
  • Allied Races will continue to get more customization options if they are lacking compared to other races.

Non Allied Races
  • More customization options for non-Allied races are not planned on the near horizon.
  • There is no immediate plan to give existing races Heritage Armor like Allied Races, but it is a good idea that could happen in the future.
  • Ion mentioned Racial Questlines for unlocking existing race Heritage Armor, but it's just a thought.

Dev Communication
  • Data and screenshots help get a point across when communicating with devs.
  • Rational feedback is more effective when communicating with devs over emotional feedback.
  • Personal feedback is more effective than trying to speak for everyone.
  • The platform to use for feedback depends on what the feedback is. (Forums for lists, twitter for pics)

Class Balance
  • They don't want to undo class pruning as much as wanting to add unique class abilities.
  • The team wants to double down on strengths rather than emphasize weaknesses.
  • Class envy is okay as long as it works both ways.
  • Adding more abilities every expansion isn't sustainable.
  • Giving classes new abilities usually involves giving them something that they need, and after awhile it leads to everyone feeling the same.
  • The team wants to do more with gameplay modification through external sources. This is what legendary items were trying to accomplish in Legion.
  • In Battle for Azeroth, Azerite Armor modifications are going to fill the new abilities gap.
  • Raids and Mythic + Dungeons should both test the strengths and weaknesses of classes.

Itemization
  • The team needs to do better at making primary stats stronger than secondary stats in BfA.
  • Item level should generally tell you if an item is an upgrade.
  • Items that are 20 or 25 item levels higher in Legion were sometimes not an upgrade, which is a bad thing.
  • You shouldn't have to run sims to find out of items are an upgrade.

Talents and Abilities
  • Some classes don't necessarily need the abilities from their artifact weapons.
  • If a talent choice is taken by everyone and mandatory, then it could shift to baseline or change it.
  • Legendary abilities that are getting added baseline to classes or as talents will stack with the legendary effect.
  • Switching talents between AoE and single target wasn't compelling and just felt like burning a tome.

Artifact Weapons
  • When 8.0 launches, the traits on artifact weapons will be disabled. The weapon and relics will stay, but not talents.
  • Battle for Azeroth will have traditional weapon drops including war glaives.

PvP
  • If CC is too limited, PvP turns into DPS races. It it's too much, it's frustrating.
  • The team believes teamwork comes into play when someone is locked down.
  • Useful feedback involves certain crowd control chains that can last too long.
  • Prestige rewards will still be available and earned from participation in PvP. The team doesn't want to keep adding a ton of rewards, as new players will feel like they can never earn them all. Cosmetic rewards from PvP is something the team wants to continue to build upon.
  • Something similar to the World Defense Channel could come back in some way as the faction war concept continues in BfA.

Personal Loot
  • Personal Loot is the desired loot rule moving forward.
  • Some people have kept using Master Loot to funnel set pieces to specific people, but set pieces are gone in Battle for Azeroth, so Personal Loot only is a good thing. It will help to balance things at the top end of the raid scene and split runs.

Mission Tables in BfA
  • A mission table system will be in BfA similar to Legion but less involved.
  • The mission table will not be used as a time gate.
  • War Resources will be a currency in BfA for the mission table.

Mythic +
  • The team is looking at bringing Tyrannical and Fortified down to the base level, with new Affixes at Mythic 10.
  • The Mythic+ UI will be improved.
  • The UI was based on the previous expansion challenge modes and doesn't make much sense for Mythic+.
  • New affixes are being experimented on. The team is not happy with the datamined ones.

Professions
  • The team is changing the way the universal profession skill system works. It was always a bit awkward, as the team wanted people to be able to catch up for the latest expansion. Going back to craft useless gear wasn't great.
  • There are expansion themed categories for each profession, so you can go back and level those up if you want to craft that old gear.
  • The team wants crafted gear to be relevant, but there is nothing to announce on it at the moment.

Alts
  • BfA will be similar to Legion in terms of alt-friendliness.
  • If you are looking to get varied content from alts, the team has taken a number of steps to deliver that.
  • If you are looking for more alts to farm things, that is less of what the team is trying to prioritize.
  • There were issues with alts early in Legion, but things are closer to okay now.
  • The Heart of Azeroth catch up process for Azerite will work passively in the background, similar to Artifact Knowledge.

Guilds
  • Guilds will have all the same features as the new WoW Communities.
  • Communities are smaller commitments than guilds. They are meant to organize pugs or for players that aren't in the same guild.

Leveling Experience
  • Having two separate continents for Horde and Alliance is not much different than previous expansions.
  • There are still neutral areas with quests for both factions.
  • A unique trait of BfA is once level cap is reached, these faction specific zones become zones that are utilized by both factions.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas - Battle for Azeroth started by chaud View original post
Comments 199 Comments
  1. muto's Avatar
    Personal loot is a terrible idea. Guilds will just take all the loot and redistribute it via loot council. Blizzard can ofc curb this by not making loot tradable, but this also is s terrible idea, because then you might wind up getting 5 rings or multiples of stuff you already have. It's gonna backfire bad.
  1. Unholyground's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucetia View Post
    Like they did when they saw Zandalari Druid forms?
    We are getting Paladin, I will make a bet on it lol.
  1. Celista's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stanelis View Post
    Actually, the reason why raiding is dying is :

    1/ The design of the classes and battle system is more solo oriented than group oriented in their gameplay, as it used to be back in the pre wotlk era,
    2/ The relevant raids are designed with hard limitations related to the number of players required to complete them,
    3/ For mythic raiding, you actually need 20 people that have the same skill level.

    The combination of all these factors make raiding in wow an antisocial experience. Because due to the fact the gameplay is more and more solo oriented even in raid, 1) the swift completion of said raid is more based on the individual skill of the players rather than teamwork, and 2) as such, as the number of players in M raiding is hardcaped, you basically need to replace your underperfoming players to progress instead of allowing their skill level to grow while practicing (as it was the case in old MMORPG where raiding worked well, namely everquest, FFXI or wow vanilla, you could carry learning players in those games).

    It really isn't a problem with the players; The issue is with how the content is designed (and I m not even talking about the fact that due to the oversimplification of the battle system in modern MMORPG, the difficulty must lie elsewhere in the encounters)...

    In old mmorpg bringing more players to a raid wasn't a liability as it can be in the modern one, because back in the day you could give the key roles to a few key players who knew what they were doing and tell the new guys to make themselves useful by doing lesser tasks in the raid. It's something you cannot do in moderns MMO and the first raid in wow where things changed was during sunwell in TBC.
    I disagree with almost everything you said. I don't see any evidence regarding class design being more solo oriented and raiders don't care about solo content anyways, most raiders are motivated to raid because they care achieving things that showcase that they are better than everyone else (achievements, raid mounts, mythic gear, server/world rankings). #2 and #3 have been true for most of the history of the game. Content design is likely relevant but developers have been good about listening to player feedback and designing raid content based on that feedback; the raid design/content has generally been considered to be of good quality by most of the playerbase for the last two expansions.

    I think it's simply due to player burnout. Younger gamers aren't flocking to the MMORPG genre and raiding is time-consuming, the game's core playerbase is aging and with children and work schedules raiding can be difficult to commit to.
  1. Crutos's Avatar
    "They don't want to undo class pruning as much as wanting to add unique class abilities."
    "Some classes don't necessarily need the abilities from their artifact weapons."
    "Giving classes new abilities usually involves giving them something that they need, and after awhile it leads to everyone feeling the same."

    So the entire philosophy of class design in the current expansions is asking themselves "what is actually NEEDED by the class/spec", instead of "what differentiates this class'/specs playstyle/gameplay from the rest, and what makes it fun to play?"? A skill or passive might add fun mechanics or changes to the core rotation but since that's fun and not a necessity for the class/spec to work/function, blizzard thinks it is good design to prune that away and only keep/add (but lets not fool ourselves into thinking they will actually add something new) what a class actually needs in order to be barely functional?

    That's is a glaring issue with current design, so because something is not on a need by need basis blizzard thinks it's redundant?
    What kind of lazy people are designing classes at blizzard? Did they think "oh overwatch is very popular, lets apply the same design philosophy to classes in WoW!"..
    When did FUN and INTERACTIVE get removed from the equation of class design? Where did complexity go?
    Why does blizzard think we want these horribly simplified classes that have maybe MAX a total of 18 abilities with 4/5th of them being really really situational 1m+ CDs that does something boring like increases your haste by X% for 5 seconds.
    Some of the more interesting ones are then giving much longer CDs because we shouldn't have fun too often right? Like Army of the Dead.. 10 min CD. No point in using this outside of raids or the occasional World PVP.

    The team wants to double down on strengths rather than emphasize weaknesses.

    So in a match-up between a ranged class with Mobility as a strength and a melee where mobility is not considered a strength it becomes a rock/paper/scissors game where you just lose as melee and win as ranged by default because you don't have the toolkit as melee in this scenario to actually outplay the "strength" of the other class.
    what ever happened to "bring the player not the class". Oh right, blizzard just gave all classes everything, then decided it was a mistake because it homogenized classes, removed almost everything from some of the classes and gave others a ton. Like mages insane mobility, warlocks barely anything. without compensation.
  1. Lucetia's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Unholyground View Post
    We are getting Paladin, I will make a bet on it lol.
    I didn't say they would or wouldn't. :P

    I was referring to this part you said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Unholyground View Post
    they are being tight lipped about it because they don't want Alliance cry babies to shit themselves.
    When I said "Like they did when they saw Zandalari Druid forms?" Because I heard so many people complain that it was Horde only and Alliance got nothing unique.
  1. Nexsa's Avatar
    Q: Do you guys like the color green?

    A: Ah, well. Well, green, it's something in the spectrum, it's something we look at and it's there, but it's not something we look at often.. *5 minutes later* and that's why green is alright.
  1. Stanelis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Celista View Post
    I disagree with almost everything you said. I don't see any evidence regarding class design being more solo oriented and raiders don't care about solo content anyways, most raiders are motivated to raid because they care achieving things that showcase that they are better than everyone else (achievements, raid mounts, mythic gear, server/world rankings). #2 and #3 have been true for most of the history of the game. Content design is likely relevant but developers have been good about listening to player feedback and designing raid content based on that feedback; the raid design/content has generally been considered to be of good quality by most of the playerbase for the last two expansions.

    I think it's simply due to player burnout. Younger gamers aren't flocking to the MMORPG genre and raiding is time-consuming, the game's core playerbase is aging and with children and work schedules raiding can be difficult to commit to.
    Classes are solo oriented because most of what you re doing in raid is micromanaging your output while handling the boss abilities (that are mostly positional based nowadays) in order to maximize said output.

    In no way your gameplay is oriented toward your group as it used to be when raiding was at its best and everybody wanted to raid. As an example, as dps, you never think about not pulling aggro of the tank nowaday.

    While wow has always been more solo oriented than older mmo, most of what made wow a team based game during vanilla and tbc in its battle system has been pruned out over the years. Thus making raid some sort of underwhelming afterthought for nostalgics (Argus is a good exemple of underwhelming raid encounter, but it is so due to the limitations of the battle system that isn t deep enough anymore).
  1. tripleh's Avatar
    Maybe if they stopped with all the class changes every expansion. They could focus on actual content like heritage armor for current races. I feel as if the whole class tuning is just there as filler. Something for Ion to throw in there for an excuse slack off without doing any actual work. You can already tell that the devs are treating the game as if its an old worn out truck that only has a few miles left on it. Ion seems like hes waiting for something to open up just so he can leave.
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tripleh View Post
    Maybe if they stopped with all the class changes every expansion. They could focus on actual content like heritage armor for current races.
    Art team is plenty busy every expansion, and trust me, it's not redesigning classes, you wouldn't want them doing that. Instead it's, you know, making all the new art assets that com with ANY expansion.
  1. Celista's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tripleh View Post
    Maybe if they stopped with all the class changes every expansion. They could focus on actual content like heritage armor for current races. I feel as if the whole class tuning is just there as filler. Something for Ion to throw in there for an excuse slack off without doing any actual work. You can already tell that the devs are treating the game as if its an old worn out truck that only has a few miles left on it. Ion seems like hes waiting for something to open up just so he can leave.
    I have a feeling that other players might disagree on your definition of "actual content", myself included.
  1. Sundreamer's Avatar
    "When 8.0 launches, the traits on artifact weapons will be disabled. The weapon and relics will stay, but not talents." oh, gee...so i'm gonna get fall dmg again as sub Dx
  1. Unholyground's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucetia View Post
    I didn't say they would or wouldn't. :P

    I was referring to this part you said:



    When I said "Like they did when they saw Zandalari Druid forms?" Because I heard so many people complain that it was Horde only and Alliance got nothing unique.
    Oh ya lol, well people seem to freak out about everything at this point in WoW.
  1. Venivici's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by muto View Post
    Personal loot is a terrible idea. Guilds will just take all the loot and redistribute it via loot council. Blizzard can ofc curb this by not making loot tradable, but this also is s terrible idea, because then you might wind up getting 5 rings or multiples of stuff you already have. It's gonna backfire bad.
    I agree that having only personal loot is a terrible Idea. Individuals joining a guild raid team are agreeing that loot shall be distributed in a fashion that benefits the group and not solely the individual. It is understood by many raiders that joining a guild raid team is to adopt their loot rules. Master looter allows consideration of performance, readiness, attendance, viability of gear for a specific class, etc. with the consent of the group.
  1. Scoli's Avatar
    "If a talent choice is taken by everyone and mandatory, then it could shift to baseline or change it."

    If only they actually practiced what they preach. Fists of Fury stun is mandatory as can be for WW monks in PvP yet it's not made base line. So many things that were mandatory in Legion haven't been made base line.
  1. Crutos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Scoli View Post
    "If a talent choice is taken by everyone and mandatory, then it could shift to baseline or change it."

    If only they actually practiced what they preach. Fists of Fury stun is mandatory as can be for WW monks in PvP yet it's not made base line. So many things that were mandatory in Legion haven't been made base line.
    When blizzard makes a statement you have to look at it in its extremely literal meaning. It technically 'could' but it wont.
  1. therealbowser's Avatar
    Just now noticing the comments about "WoW communities". That's actually kind of exciting. I'd love to hear more about them.
  1. Stockers's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Goldielocks View Post
    They won't. That's the entire point of removing Master Loot. A guild just starting out on BFA raids can just funnel all the loot to the RL and do LC/any other method.

    The interview specifically mentions that they're targeting split runs and other loot funneling methods.
    Cool, so a loot system perfect for slowing down a small % of raiding guilds, but us average Joes who are still working through Mythic raid, long after the world 1st/realm 1st challengers have stopped and unsubbed (if they even pay a sub), we're getting shat on when it comes to loot. Loot is already a delicate subject in raiding. Can't wait for the shit storm to start.
  1. RWJ's Avatar
    Mythic 20 killed many guilds. As a player who has always raided at the highest difficulty, Mythic 20 was the beginning of the end of my top-end raiding experience. It is simply too much work to keep a roster of 25 skilled people and as a result, guilds fall apart. Me and many of my fellow guildies decided to go "casual" for Legion. Not because we didn't want to raid Mythic, but because it was too much roster work. If Mythic 10 was an option, we would do it in a heartbeat. That is my request to the Dev team, please add Mythic 10 to the game!!

    And I'm sure Blizzard can find many ways to incentive Mythic 20 over Mythic 10... (gear, mounts, achievements). I just want to raid Mythic 10!
  1. Vaze0's Avatar
    Awesome!

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