Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas - Battle for Azeroth
Ion Hazzikostas answered questions about Battle for Azeroth today!



Apologies
  • This wasn't the smoothest launch. It wasn't the experience they wanted to deliver or that players deserve.
  • In NA, there were a lot of issues with login and account servers.
  • This was traced back to the one time process that was being run to convert a guild to a community when someone logged in to a guild for the first time. There were some edge cases with really old characters.
  • There have been a lot of gameplay quality of life issues. Random abilities in dungeons are one shotting people, or things in old raids weren't scaled right.
  • You shouldn't have to deal with these issues, the team is working to make sure they don't happen in the future.
  • The past squish was a manual process that involved editing thousands of things by hand, which resulted in a lot of human error.
  • This time around, the team modified systems to be more scalable in the future. This will allow them to more easily squish things in the future.
  • The new system had some bugs, tens of thousands of bugs were fixed thanks to feedback submitted during the PTR and Beta.
  • The team is fixing things as fast as possible when they are reported, hundreds a day.
  • What you experienced yesterday is the worst it will ever be. Hopefully within a few days the scaling issues will be fixed.
  • The more specific you can be with feedback, the easier it will be to fix.
  • After things are fixed, the team will look at how they can do things better next time.
  • Knowing that things can go wrong is why the new content is coming next week rather than this week.

Artifact Appearances
  • Changing actual artifact appearances is a character specific thing. If you have a Monk and want to use an appearance that you unlocked on one Monk on your other Monk, you'll be able to do that when you transmog to an Artifact appearance.

Spell Animations
  • The team is looking to expand the custom casting animations. Warlocks have a couple right now.

Dungeons
  • There should be a bonus for daily random dungeons. If it says weekly, it is either broken or a display issue that will be fixed.
  • End of dungeon objective XP is no longer there, it has been rolled into the final boss of the dungeon.

Personal Loot
  • Mythic Raid mounts should be tradable on personal loot.
  • Leather Azerite shoulders that are being looked at by multiple classes will have different powers for each of those classes. Normally everyone can look at the stats and see who it is better for, but it is complex to evaluate all of the different powers.
  • The team doesn't want anyone to feel pressured to give away loot that is an upgrade for them.
  • With Azerite Armor, item level is important, but there are many different trait combinations that you may want for your item sets. Not allowing it to be traded means there won't be any pressure to let someone else have it.

Mythic+ Dungeons
  • There were some factors about the format of the MDI that made it not totally not representative of live servers.
  • Through most of the rounds, player's entire gear sets were set to a fixed item level. Your Artifact was also the same item level as the rest of your gear, which is different than live. That heavily nerfed classes that rely on their weapons, which resulted in some classes being less optimal.
  • Players were also able to pick Affixes or there was a limited Affix pool, so they would often avoid Affixes that hurt specific comps.
  • The team wants to go further with how Affixes vary optimal compositions.
  • Necrotic was supposed to counter the Blood Death Knight, but legendary items and AMS countered that.
  • Some specs will be better than others with certain Affixes.
  • The team wants to get away from their being one all around best tank like there was at the end of Legion.
  • Patches are increasingly delivering data which is unlocked when it makes sense for the game as a whole.
  • With Mythic+ seasons, the team wants to make it parallel to the other endgame seasons.
  • New PvP season, new raid tier, and new Mythic+ season all at the same time ideally.

Class Changes
  • Class development is an ongoing process. There will be ongoing tuning and balancing for the next few weeks to keep things sane, then focus will shift to making all specs viable at Battle for Azeroth endgame.
  • The team will also tune Azerite Powers to keep them competitive.
  • Larger changes will happen in Patch 8.1 and beyond.

Lore
  • Horde loyalists, don't lose heart! You aren't wrong to be dismayed at the current situation, but there are some things that haven't been revealed. The heart of the Horde still beats, and there are plenty that will take up that banner for the Horde.
  • The Horde is a set of different groups brought together by a common interest.
  • The Orcs are all about Blood, Honor, Glory, and a savage existence. The Tauren, walking in the steps of the Earthmother. Other races, all working together.
  • It's natural that there will be tensions.
  • What is the Horde's purpose and guiding values?
  • Both factions will have to look inward and reflect, what are they fighting for?

Stat Squish
  • It would be nice if there was a way to avoid future stat squishes.
  • Reinventing the entire combat system is a daunting task.
  • Power progression is a core part of the game.
  • There is a large number of content tiers, and the team has settled on a number of item levels between difficulties and tiers that makes the power increase feel meaningful.
  • Defeating a challenging boss to earn an item with +21 Strength that replaces your +20 Strength one isn't great.
  • The stat squish doesn't feel super elegant to the team, but they best thing they've come up with so far.
  • The team didn't want to make leveling more difficult after the additional Patch 7.3.5 changes.
  • Things feel slower right now, but that isn't intended. The team is actively investigating and will fix this. Leveling should feel just as fast after the patch as it did before.
  • The team has considered doing a level squish. A brand new player might be deterred by seeing such a high level they need to attain to play the endgame.
  • Sometimes you go too many levels before you get a new ability, which would be solved by a level squish.
  • If you thought things were broken in the past few days, the risks are far greater for everything breaking with a level squish.
  • It also might feel bad to log in and be level 70 again.
  • If someone has been away for a few years and hears about a new expansion with a level cap of 80, that would be confusing.
  • The time spent doing a level squish is probably better spent making new content.

Camera
  • The team made a slight change to the camera anchor point for the short races to solve an issue with geometry in dungeons and raids.
  • Gnomes had a camera anchor slightly lower than Humans. If you are against a wall with a lip in a dungeon, it wouldn't interfere with a Human's camera, but it would for a Gnome because your camera was slightly lower.
  • If you zoom in the camera on a Goblin or Gnome, it goes towards a spot slightly above your head and then will snap to your head's level.
  • Affix that makes you play in pro (first person) mode? This should be a thing!

Hati
  • We may not have seen the last of Hati or other Artifacts that had unique companions or personalities.

Artifacts and Transmog
  • The Artifact fishing pole wasn't instrumental in draining the power in Silithus. You can keep using it, but it is tied to Legion fishing.
  • It's intended (for now) that transmogging an artifact applies the appearance to both hands.
  • Artifact transmog is breaking the rules, so for now it will just override the appearance of whatever is in your hands.
  • Eventually the team wants to fix this and add more customization.
  • Feral and Guardian artifact forms are tied to the weapons as a result of how the Artifacts were built. For now that is the world we live in. Transmog is built on items and associated visuals.
  • The team could add ways to earn other bear and cat forms for transmog in the future.
  • The team wants to do better with fist weapons in the future.

Azerite Traits
  • There are already a lot of Azerite traits that are gameplay modifying.
  • Some of these traits are more powerful than a set bonus, approaching a legendary item, and you have multiple traits like that.
  • There are some passive ones as well for players that don't want gameplay modifying traits.
  • There will be more traits added in future patches.
  • After you first few weeks with an Artifact, you didn't really get any more choices or see a lot of changes.
  • Azerite Traits will allow you to make more choices as you get new upgrades and build different sets.

Classes
  • There is a lot of depth with Azerite traits.
  • There is bloat if the team keeps adding additional talent rows.
  • The team keeps having to give you something new, just to give you something new. This adds bloat and increases homogenization. If this keeps happening, everyone will end up the same.
  • The team is focusing on systems that are tied to a specific expansion, giving you dozens of traits that modify your gameplay. This will all be left behind next expansion with new set of traits and choices.
  • There might be a new talent row or other permanent customization in the future.
  • The team recognizes it is fun to get new abilities!
  • In the short term, traits are less exciting than new abilities, but the long term health of the game has to be kept in mind. They can't afford to just think about today.

Solo Challenges
  • The team is interested in doing solo challenges like the Mage Tower again in the future.
  • Early on it was a very difficult challenge. It got easier over time as knowledge spread and players got more gear.
  • It was a type of gameplay that many players hadn't experienced before.
  • You didn't have to depend on others, it all rested on you and was a test of your abilities.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas - Battle for Azeroth started by chaud View original post
Comments 177 Comments
  1. Aucald's Avatar
    Though people are often chomping at the bit for new content, it was ultimately good foresight to give some slack time for changes to be shaped and/or fixed before they also rolled out the Teldrassil/Lordaeron content.
  1. Balager's Avatar
    Yep tens of thousands of bugs were fixed. Except the ones I encountered.
  1. Softbottom's Avatar
    Ion + team really dropped the ball this time. This is the worst rollout i've ever seen. Considering how well the legion rollout was this is bad for them.
  1. IIBloodXLustII's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Softbottom View Post
    Ion + team really dropped the ball this time. This is the worst rollout i've ever seen. Considering how well the legion rollout was this is bad for them.
    I guess this is your second expansion then?

    Wrath rollout had the servers down for a week and being on a PVP server meant a lot of paladins running around not able to kill each other and everyone else was dead.
  1. Polarthief's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Softbottom View Post
    Ion + team really dropped the ball this time. This is the worst rollout i've ever seen. Considering how well the legion rollout was this is bad for them.
    I mean, as long as we don't have the connection/DDoS issues of WoD's LAUNCH, I'd say the pre-patch having all the horrible issues is totally fine. There's no new content anyway til next week, this is the perfect time for issues to arise, so I don't see the big deal.
  1. Archmage VoidElf4Life's Avatar
    Extremely disappointed by the transmog limitations. Legion will be easily farmable at some point in BfA and early raids can already be cleared by 3~4 players. Legacy loot mode should've been activated.
  1. SinR's Avatar
    I remember I think it was Wrath there was [SERVER: restart in 15:00] followed 2 seconds later by [SERVER: Shutdown in 0:05]
  1. Blayze's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Polarthief View Post
    I mean, as long as we don't have the connection/DDoS issues of WoD's LAUNCH, I'd say the pre-patch having all the horrible issues is totally fine. There's no new content anyway til next week, this is the perfect time for issues to arise, so I don't see the big deal.
    Oh don't worry, I highly doubt they'll ever have as many people trying to play their game as they had trying to play at the start of WoD after Mists brought them back following the shitfest that was Cataclysm being used to tell casuals to fuck off.
  1. Cheeno's Avatar
    Blizzard is such a great company...admitting things went wrong (honesty), detailing how it's being addressed, and listening to their customers (humbling themselves). Very impressive for a company as large as they are to have such attention to detail to this level and take this level of pride in their product. I wish more companies were this competent and displayed traits such as these.
  1. Cazmosis's Avatar
    Good ol Josh..all he brings to the table is looking like he's sitting on a really bad hemorrhoid, and his trademark catch phrase "RIGHT."

    I'd love for Ion to look over at him one day and go "yeah Josh..I know I'm right. Im so glad it passed your validity check"
  1. Zoldor's Avatar
    Two major takeaways:

    1) Ion owns another shirt

    2) Blizzard has just about crushed Lore's soul. He used to be so happy. He appears so broken now.
  1. Awsyme's Avatar
    One of these days I'd love to see them do non fluff piece QandAs...
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    With Azerite Armor, item level is important, but there are many different trait combinations that you may want for your item sets. Not allowing it to be traded means there won't be any pressure to let someone else have it.
    Such retarded reasoning, can't wait to get 3 heads but no shoulders and someone else get 3 shoulders but no heads. In at least a guild group these restrictions should be removed....
  1. elvor0's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by IIBloodXLustII View Post
    paladins running around not able to kill each other and everyone else was dead.
    Ahh fun times. RIP Original Divine storm Also 10 Retadin Karazahn with holy poke and DS.
  1. Dystemper's Avatar
    Ion looks like he knows he is a short timer at Blizzard
  1. rogoth's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by IIBloodXLustII View Post
    I guess this is your second expansion then?

    Wrath rollout had the servers down for a week and being on a PVP server meant a lot of paladins running around not able to kill each other and everyone else was dead.
    nevermind launch, don't forget the clusterfuck that was patch 3.2 when they had more active players than they had server space so all instance servers capped out and you couldn't zone in anywhere, they had to rapidly upgrade server capacity to solve the issue, made raiding an impossibility until it was fixed.
  1. Orby's Avatar
    Duel wield Artifacts while you can peeps :P
  1. Dracullus's Avatar
    They finally are talking about level squish. I think after 7.3.5 changes more people (since part of playerbase don't like slow leveling) will be pro this change. Also scalled zones help a lot, they have some base for that.

    I think they should squish game big time - 'Base' game 1-40, BC/WOTLK/Cata 30-50, MoP/WoD/Legion/BfA 40-60, new cap 70. It's also possible that they already decided about level squish in 9.0, but want accustom playerbase with that idea few years before change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dystemper View Post
    Ion looks like he knows he is a short timer at Blizzard
    After Legion?

  1. Dainah's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by IIBloodXLustII View Post
    I guess this is your second expansion then?

    Wrath rollout had the servers down for a week and being on a PVP server meant a lot of paladins running around not able to kill each other and everyone else was dead.
    What about BC? The lag/crashing when everyone tried to go through the portal at practically the same time is the reason that Wrath had two starting points for each faction.
  1. Orby's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dainah View Post
    What about BC? The lag/crashing when everyone tried to go through the portal at practically the same time is the reason that Wrath had two starting points for each faction.
    ahh good times, waiting at the Dark Portal counting down for TBC to launch and then....

    *Server down*

    40 minutes later 'yay I'm on' :P

    lol

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