Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas
Game Director Ion Hazzikostas answered your World of Warcraft questions including those on the next content update—Tides of Vengeance.


Azerite Armor
  • An extra outer ring that has two spec specific traits per spec.
  • You'll have access to 3 traits of the 6-7 available.
  • In Season 2 and the new raid, all of the new gear will have a new outer ring that is spec specific traits only.
  • The goal is more customization, more access to traits you want, and more choices.
  • Set pieces in past expansions were an exception to the standard rules when it comes to items. It felt odd to need multiple of the exact same item to cover multiple specs with a set bonus.
  • If you look at how most items work, if you want to play another spec, you want another item for that slot.
  • Azerite armor is more flexible than normal items, as you can change the traits.
  • There is value to having a bit of friction when it comes to changing specs.
  • Someone that is dedicated to a spec should have a small advantage over someone who is constantly switching.
  • If you don't have the perfect gear and traits for another spec and you switch, you'll only be slightly less effective. This matters for the people racing to world first, but doesn't matter nearly as much for everyone else.
  • Spec switching is easier in most ways in Battle for Azeroth than it was in Legion.
  • When it comes to the cost of changing Azerite traits, if you need to change specs long term, that shouldn't feel punishing or overly restrictive.
  • The team didn't want players to have to swap Azerite traits between each fight during a raid.
  • Every time you respec, the cost of changing again doubles. Every 3 days, the cost will become half of what it was.
  • Unlike a lot of items, which are for a specific spec, you have the ability to change the item, just not endlessly without restriction.
  • The team will be able to reset the cost to change traits for Patch 8.1.
  • Mythic+ items will get new traits, you won't be stuck with the same ones forever.
  • Only getting Azerite armor from the Mythic+ chest isn't great. The team is trying to come up with a solution that is a middle ground.
  • There has to be some kind of restriction on how you can get Azerite armor, so it can't just have a chance to drop from every Mythic+.
  • Most people only do one or two Mythic+ dungeons each week.
  • The team wants to provide some way for you to target items from a specific dungeon, but they don't have a great solution yet.
  • If the endgame was just Mythic+ dungeons, the team would just allow drops from the end of run chests.
  • You shouldn't have to go and research what traits do, tooltips should explain them.
  • The team is adding a number of new traits and retiring/replacing some traits across various specs that haven't been popular or successful. Some of those traits can be fixed with tuning, but some of them just need to be retired.

Tanks
  • Tank balance is something that the team is looking at.
  • Brewmaster and Death Knight have too much survivability compared to other tanks.
  • Protection Warrior and Guardian Druid are lagging behind. Some of that is numerical tuning, some (with Prot Warrior) has to do with rotational flow. Changes coming to the PTR in the not so distant future.
  • It's important to remember that tanks bring different things to the fight.
  • When evaluating tanks, keep in mind what they are bringing to a fight as part of their toolkit.
  • A lot of the elements that make a tank skilled aren't quantifiable in terms of damage taken or mitigated.
  • Numerical stuff matters, but at the end of the day tanks shouldn't be in constant danger of death (outside of some exceptions). Feeling like you did everything right but your tank just fell over and died isn't great.
  • Bosses could literally two shot a tank in the past if they had a bad avoidance streak. That didn't feel great.
  • There are things such as Spirit Link that are desirable that aren't reflected in HPS logs.
  • Ancestral Vigor is another thing that just doesn't show up in HPS logs.

Restoration Shaman and Healers
  • Healer balance is on their radar.
  • It is a problem when a healer falls so short in a specific healing scenario that the raid is better off taking an under geared healer of a different class. This is something they want to fix.
  • For dungeons, Ascendance seems to always be the way to go and chain heal feels almost pointless to cast without High Tide. There are tuning changes that need to be done because of this.
  • Disc priests have a high skill ceiling but are over excelling at many of the high end content right now with the potential to outperform other healers while doing good damage. This is something the team is looking at fixing.
  • If one class has strengths and weaknesses and another is a jack of all trades, the latter should not beat the first class in the areas of their strength or this is a balance problem.
  • Tank and healer changes should be addressed in Tides of Vengeance. The team doesn't want to change too much right now as most raids are solidified and they want to provide notice before they shake things up.
  • Healing per second is important, but a little less important than damage per second as there are a lot of good cooldowns that aren't reflected in overall healing throughput, such as Spirit Link Totem.
  • The team wants to better convey to raid leaders the strengths of certain classes outside of raw throughput such as Ancestral Vigor with Shamans.

PvP Balance
  • Unholy DKs and Affliction Lock survivability is on the team's radar.
  • The team is looking at the current pace of Arena matches.
  • There should be a place for burst comps and slower comps.
  • Some recent changes in BfA made Affliction more single target oriented, the team wants to pull them back towards multi-DoT.
  • There should be a balance between quick reactions to feedback vs letting the metagame evolve and new comps emerging to counter what is strong.
  • If this season is known for a faster pace and more burst, and future seasons shift, that is a valid approach to take rather than trying to change the meta right away.
  • Hybrid healing is something the team will continue to address via hotfixes.
  • The team is looking at Shadow Priests too.

Warfronts
  • Patch 8.1 will have Alliance doing the Warfront right away.
  • The two Warfronts will have their independent contribution cycles.
  • Technically both could be active at the same time, but players tend to contribute to whichever is more complete.
  • The team did internal tests with full raid groups queuing for Warfronts. The problem is that with a full raid group you would steamroll the map objectives and get far ahead of the base building and other pacing mechanism. If you get too far ahead of the pacing, it isn't as fun.
  • If you have done the entire map and have to wait 15 minutes for your siege engines to progress, that isn't very fun.
  • The team has been looking at adding another version of Warfronts that is tuned for a raid group.

Allied Races
  • There aren't any plans to update the Death Knight starting area for Allied Races.
  • In Patch 8.1, the team will roughly double the amount of reputation awarded by Legion world quests for the Allied Races.

Raids
  • As of now, the team is going to call the raid Battle of Dazar'alor.
  • The 9 bosses that exist may be in the same order for both factions. Alliance may play through the entire battle, then have the recap of what they missed. Horde players may get their flashback moment during the middle of the raid.
  • In practice, Boss 9 may be the same boss for both factions.
  • There will be mechanical differences and differences in the experience for each faction.
  • The community will figure out which World First matters.
  • It's always amazing watching the best raiders in the world play the game, but the team is building raids to tell a story and provide an epic experience for millions of players.
  • The team won't throw out a cool idea just because it might cause controversy over the World First.
  • The World First race isn't something that Blizzard created, that was all the community. It's up to the community to determine how the World First will work in the upcoming tier.
  • There are a few good trinkets in Uldir. In the Dazar'alor raid there will hopefully be better tuning and trinkets.
  • The community values trinkets from non-raid content over raid trinkets. This is due to how those trinkets are budgeted for. Raid trinkets are created to be more interesting, maybe themed after the boss that drops them.
  • A straight strength proc has more interactions with player skill and other actions than a debuff that a trinket applies.
  • Sims assume that you are playing perfectly, which makes the straight stat proc trinkets more powerful than they really are.
  • The team has moved away from raids being the only/best endgame PvE content. There are plenty of people that are enjoying Mythic+ dungeons.
  • Tier sets were a unique raid reward, but players could jump into a PuG and usually get that set within a few weeks of clearing the raid. Tier sets aren't like they used to be, with a year long journey to get your entire set.
  • The team could have smaller 2 piece sets, or items with flavorful effects added across the game.
  • Each system should have some flavorful and unique rewards that aren't available from other systems.

Island Expeditions
  • Killing creatures will always be part of Island Expeditions, but the team wants to add more events and objectives to the islands.
  • Extraction points will let you set up an extractor to defend, granting a steady stream of Azerite. You'll need to prevent the other faction from taking it, or recapture it if they do.
  • Islands change weekly, but players have seen the giant Azerite Golem more times than they wanted.

RP Realms and Sharding
  • Except for the new content zones, there is no Cross realm zone tech enabled.
  • In the newest zones, sharding is necessary. A zone doesn't support 1500 people in it trying to do World Quests.
  • Normally sharding tries to keep players from the same sever together. War Mode discards that and tries to maintain faction balance over everything else.
  • People from other realms also join groups and will appear on your RP realm.
  • The team can look at the numbers and try to understand if specific servers could support a healthy gameplay experience on their own.
  • Realms with a high faction imbalance can't stand on their own, as it wouldn't be a great experience.

Group Finder and Mythic+
  • The team is still working through design questions, but they want group finder to allow you to list keystone level, search range, bringing your keystone, looking for a keystone, etc.

War Campaign
  • Alt friendliness is important in Patch 8.1.
  • When you finish story chapters, you hardly get any reputation. The team is adding significant amounts of reputation to each chapter, so you'll be able to play through them without a lot of extra farming.
  • Horde and Alliance assaults will provide additional ways to level alts, as well as Island Expeditions. Characters leveled this way may lack flight paths and gear.
  • The team is working on making a BoA book so you can learn flight paths on alts that you already know on your main character.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas started by chaud View original post
Comments 297 Comments
  1. Marrilaife's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Th3Scourge View Post
    I would prefer to see buffs to the other tanking specs rather than nerfs to top tier tanks. I'm biased speaking as a Blood DK but that would result in better representation across all tanking specs.
    I seriously give up. I thought tomb of sargeras tank balance was bad when there were 5 bears for every non bear tank, but it's the same clown fiesta now just with brewmaster instead... Checking logs from mythic Ghuun 80-something brewmasters and other tanks counted on the fingers of a hand (warrior was even not found at all). Bosses meleeing casually for 100k before mitigation, but also before any buffs / special abilities, and healers throwing 15k heals towards me. Amazing balance.

    I tanked since ICC in wotlk. Never before felt so powerless. Fewer tanking cds than ever, and smaller hp pools (in wotlk I had 2-3 times more hp than a dps, now I maybe have 50% more than what they got), useless tank trinkets across the board, no more "tank" enchants existing.

    Waiting half an expansion until my main is viable playing an alt, because balance. Then BFA comes and it's even worse, can't play either because none of the 2 are a brewmaster. Tried to level one. Boring as hell. Can't play a brewmaster since post-WOD pruning and removal of chi. Benching until this horrid tier is over, while the raid is tanked by 2 brewmaster alts.
  1. Ophenia's Avatar
    The team has moved away from raids being the only/best endgame PvE content. There are plenty of people that are enjoying Mythic+ dungeons.
    Most people only do one or two Mythic+ dungeons each week.
    Thanks for the laughs, Ion.
  1. lockybalboa's Avatar
    More lawyer talk and PR bullshit!
  1. Cavox's Avatar
    B-but Ion, why shouldn't I be able to freely switch between my specs?
    Oh yeah, because grinding copies of my gear for different specs = content. Wait... that's dumb.
  1. Archmage Alodi's Avatar
    Game director... More like game dictator.
  1. mmoc76cf1b7b9d's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophenia View Post
    Thanks for the laughs, Ion.
    how many raids you do per week? 1 ?
  1. mmoc7f933b7749's Avatar
    I really do not understand the thought process or logic behind Azerite gear acquisition. The only farmable gear 370 and above comes from raids, Warfront bosses and your weekly cache - these limit your acquisition of interesting or desirable traits for different class specs and also PvP spec builds. The system is rewarding for those who are lucky enough to aquire them. From a design point of view, not being able to farm "interesting" traits from dungeons for all your specs goes against the design philosophy in the first place and undermines all the hard work put into traits and class diversity.
  1. mmoc2e720912d5's Avatar
    They should just add one shot per Keystone dungeon at level 4 7 10 for a Azerite piece.. Or perhaps up it to 6 9 12 (so you have a reason to run higher keys than you usually do).

    Let's say you run Freehold 6 7 8, only the first one of those will have a chance to drop 355 Azerite piece for you, then you run 9 10 11, same thing applies but rewards 370, and if you go 12+ you have a chance for a 385 from the first one as well.
    This will not be used from the normal loot table, so if you're lucky (low chance of course), multiple people could get Azerite pieces + regular loot from the chest.
  1. PlazaPlaza's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanion View Post
    No, you need to read what I said. If people are posting "I quit" and nothing else, then that is not useful and adds nothing to the discussion. Like I said "I quit" threads aren't allowed here because they don't do a fucking thing to help conversations. If people were posting with actual complaints then sure, there are talking points.

    You can say "X thing sucks" all you want, I mean it doesn't fix anything really but sure add your vote to the pile. But an "I quit" helps really nothing. But I don't have to worry about it, because those type of moronic threads get shut down here, so good riddance.
    They are addicts and don't wanna miss out on the content because they put some time in their character. Or they are just trolling, leave them since they are everywhere; 'i quit the game but im still talking about it'... lol

    The mods need to delete or ban negative threads since this is a FANWEBSITE if WoW.
  1. Rafalga's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by PlazaPlaza View Post
    The mods need to delete or ban negative threads since this is a FANWEBSITE if WoW.
    can't tell if lost brain functions or sarcasm.
  1. Galateacyc's Avatar
    I just love how at one point, to one of the only pieces of good news for players, said:
    "Well, that's good news at least"
    I hope he doesn't get in trouble for that.
  1. mmoc9bd0832d21's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pobutati View Post
    I wonder how much players the game lost for that absurde amount of Q&As to take place. Worst part is, the number probably drop even more after each Q&A since Ion always finds a way to be more and more disconnected with what players want each time...
    Agreed, i pretty much had my sub running since vanilla but i cancelled it. They dont seem to give a shit anymore and its frustrating the hell out of me.
  1. mmoc8cf2044c6b's Avatar
    Who cares about graphics at this point?
  1. mmoc9bd0832d21's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Phatte View Post
    You seem like a really angry child who is taking this very personally. Remember, no matter what happens in the game, you'll be okay
    You dont seem to understand that some people have played this game for over 13 years and its been a HUGE part of peoples lifes.
    This game matters alot for people and to see it in such a shitty place hurts.
  1. Gadzooks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Drudgery View Post
    I really do not understand the thought process or logic behind Azerite gear acquisition. The only farmable gear 370 and above comes from raids, Warfront bosses and your weekly cache - these limit your acquisition of interesting or desirable traits for different class specs and also PvP spec builds. The system is rewarding for those who are lucky enough to aquire them. From a design point of view, not being able to farm "interesting" traits from dungeons for all your specs goes against the design philosophy in the first place and undermines all the hard work put into traits and class diversity.
    The design philosophy has changed, it is now almost the same as the D3 philosophy. This new "season" label they're using is all you need to know, patches aren't "tiers" anymore, because they're phasing tier based gaming out, or at least the emphasis and attention to them. "Season" is what D3 uses, and Ion flat out said they see Mythic as the real end game now. Gear doesn't matter now. Lore said as much, they don't want you to care about traits. He didn't just pull that out of his permed poodle ass, he used the royal "we" on that statement. All that matters now is AZ and ilevel. Traits? Glyphs? Sets? Pfffff. Get in Mythic and get grinding, scrub.

    D3 is the same. You wear the set they hand you for grinding Paragon. No deviations, and you're locked in, whatever you choose. Alt? Start over. You're drowning in gear, but only one specific set really works the way the class is intended. Professions are pointless - so much so they removed mats and put them in a menu, because they were clogging up people's bags, there was so much of it. Bounties are WQs - incremental bonuses. You can't even farm for lower level characters anymore, because drops are class specific. And Personal Loot. Gee...I wonder where that will show up?

    If I were more paranoid, I'd wonder what that means for the future of WoW. No more expansions, just "seasons". Just like D3. And then quietly stop updating the whole thing.

    Pace is the key word here now, not polish. He flat out said in the Forbes interview they just shipped what they had done, because the deadline was more important than the quality. That's what you can expect, from here on out.

    This is not the WoW you think you know. They can't be more obvious about it. Adapt, or die.

    Gonna be an interesting expansion. And, don't bother complaining, or providing "constructive criticism". They don't care. They'll pretend to, and Ion will say some glib things in a Q&A to pretend he's concerned, but they're plowing ahead, with Lore telling us what Ion really meant, which is "you're too stupid to play this game if you don't like it, douchebag." They pretend to "listen", and maybe do small tweaks, so you'll settle down and just keep paying. Azerite is here to stay. Everything they shipped, they intended to, and if it wasn't done? Oh well. They might get to it in 8.1. Patches are now catch up time. We'll get to shaman and shadow priests and new worgen models when we get to them, so shut up and keep grinding mythic, because that's Fun™.

    Never forget - the only reason they changed any of it was a massive outcry. They intended to ship what they did, saw nothing wrong with it, and are begrudgingly changing it now. Because fuck you, how dare you criticize the Holy Developers.

    Stop listening to what they say, especially Ion. Pay attention to what they DO. It's not pretty, if you think anything is changing any time soon. He's overtly trying to bamboozle you. It's time to wake up and realize this guy does not respect you, your money, or your time invested in the game. He treats his customers like children, and then his pet poodle calls them douchebags when they act like children.
  1. mmocd842740b60's Avatar
    Someone that is dedicated to a spec should have a small advantage over someone who is constantly switching.

    Hell no, someone that is flexible is much more valuable to groups. Not saying they should be rewarded for that, but certainly they should not be punished by being put at a disadvantage. That first comment SinR is right in his comment, they seem completely disconnected from the people that actually play their game.
  1. PlazaPlaza's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafalga View Post
    can't tell if lost brain functions or sarcasm.
    ...so we don't read retarded post like this anymore.
  1. mmoc9bd0832d21's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by deenman View Post
    even with the 15% healing rain buff it has not been enough.
    You know you've fucked up when you have to buff something 15% yeez
  1. Ophenia's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Piens View Post
    how many raids you do per week? 1 ?
    Are raids 20-minute content ?
  1. martinboy's Avatar
    Is it just me, or did I just watch a whole lot of nothing?

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