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 301 Comments
  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. SteveSTARFIGHTER'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?
  1. Piens's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophenia View Post
    Are raids 20-minute content ?
    yeah, normal raid uldir can be done in like a hour. Are high m+ keys a 20 min content? You have how many dungeons in whole BFA so far- 10? Each have like 4-5 bosses to kill and based on week affixes every dungeon feels like new challenge. And uldir? Uldir has just 8 static bosses.
  1. Ophenia's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Piens View Post
    yeah, normal raid uldir can be done in like a hour. Are high m+ keys a 20 min content? You have how many dungeons in whole BFA so far- 10? Each have like 4-5 bosses to kill and based on week affixes every dungeon feels like new challenge. And uldir? Uldir has just 8 static bosses.
    Guess there is no point continuing this discussion, if you truly believe it's normal that "most of the players are doing 1-2 Mythic+ per week".

    And if you believe Normal Uldir is what we're talking about, too.
  1. Yllana's Avatar
    An extra outer ring that has two spec specific traits per spec.
    A ring with spec-specific only sounds good

    Someone that is dedicated to a spec should have a small advantage over someone who is constantly switching.
    There is already a disadvantage: having to know more than one spec/rotation/utility/UI... they are just adding another disadvantage on top of it

    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.
    That sounds way less interesting than the "...separate faction experiences..." stated earlier
  1. andrewjoy's Avatar
    There is value to having a bit of friction when it comes to changing specs.

    So in opposition to every design decision for years ?

    Why does your agility gear turn into int gear when you switch to a healing spec then.

    Remove all that and lets go back to having a int set and an agility set for druids , and a strength set and int set for paladins. Hell lets put block and defence back on some plate and crit and hit on other.

    You just want people to farm your skinner box more , have some backbone and admit it.
  1. Segus1992's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by andrewjoy View Post
    So in opposition to every design decision for years ?

    Why does your agility gear turn into int gear when you switch to a healing spec then.

    Remove all that and lets go back to having a int set and an agility set for druids , and a strength set and int set for paladins. Hell lets put block and defence back on some plate and crit and hit on other.

    You just want people to farm your skinner box more , have some backbone and admit it.
    Is nuance a difficult concept? Difficult to figure out that "a bit of friction" means "a bit of friction"? Maybe the English is too hard? If so, "a bit of friction" means "not the exact same set of gear between specs".

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Yllana View Post
    There is already a disadvantage: having to know more than one spec/rotation/utility/UI... they are just adding another disadvantage on top of it
    No they aren't. If you're so bad that learning a new spec is difficult then yes it's friction, but that friction has never changed.

    The ONLY case in WoW history where gear was completely shared (in endgame) between specs was pure DPS specs in TBC. Since then, tier sets have been spec specific OR gear has had different stats OR we've had artifacts.

    In BfA, if azerite gear wasn't a choice you had to pay to change, we would only need to change weapons and trinkets for some specs, the rest would share all gear.

    Azerite gear is too rare, but it isn't too restrictive compared to what we've had in the past.
  1. Orpheus1772's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sin Cara View Post
    He still plays.
    I like the %performance of his key runs and raids, especially the raids.
    Says quite something about his "archievements" and the state of resto shaman, I want to be constructive about it but I cant, here we clearly have someone unable to play a class and telling others how they should play the game or a class that is utterly worthless and/or actively hampering others by paticipating in raids/mythics.
    What is worse? Im sure I dont have to answer that.

    And Im also aware now why he thinkgs Blood DK is to strong (he is, but mainly because others tanks are mediocre at best, like he even admitted) and needs a hitting from the side, because he had worse healing in EVERY SINGLE mythic kill they archieved.
    His keys look just the same and while I was to lazy to check those aswell, Im 99% sure he just got carried by DPS.

    Its an actual tragedy to have someone with 370 gear level and 0 performance telling others what is the best for them.
  1. Sephraia's Avatar
    Why is it an issue if people want to change spec? i thought we got over this shit in Legion.........

    Azerite is the shittest thing they've ever added into the game, just delete it next patch and put tier back in again please.
  1. Nagrash's Avatar
    I don't agree with everything said in the Q&A but I seem to be in the minority but I actually agree with the "dedicated to one spec gets the advantage" thing, it's one of the few things that make it still feel like the old days.

    It's also quite hilarious to see people judge Ion for his "low ilvl" and thus concluding he doesn't know what he's talking about
  1. keymil's Avatar
    You should be a little bit annoyed while playing a video game, while also paying to be able to play it. It's totally normal that there should be a fair bit of annoyance in every entertainment activity there exists.
  1. Walkerbo's Avatar
    Players: why cant we queue for Warfronts as a guild group?
    Ion: they are not fun.
    Players: ...
  1. Jwco's Avatar
    I'm pretty sure Ion is Nathanos.
  1. Puri's Avatar
    Someone that is dedicated to a spec should have a small advantage over someone who is constantly switching.

    That makes perhaps sense for someone who would change specs but stay in the role, like a arcane mage going fire.
    Hybrid classes that can not just switch specs but roles should actually be rewarded for it, they are doing the whole group a favour while doing something they might even like less.
  1. Resheph's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by martinboy View Post
    Is it just me, or did I just watch a whole lot of nothing?
    It's you. Clearly nothing they can do or say would satisfy you anyway.
  1. blinzi's Avatar
    yeah still wont keep playing that boring shit.
  1. Metallourlante's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Resheph View Post
    It's you. Clearly nothing they can do or say would satisfy you anyway.
    Well, to be honest they repeated the same things over and over. 1 hour of Q&A for some questions that could have been answered in like 10-15 min max.
  1. Hugh Wattmate's Avatar
    I actually almost fully agree with Ion. No need to always be in best gear. You should have to swap (with a cost) or farm other items for a different spec. That's kinda how its always been no handouts. And he is totally right about unless you are going for world first or high keys being a few % behind the best possible won't be enough to make that content impossible or even feel harder.

    People really need to get out of the whole "i need to be 100% optimal" thing. Majority of the time they really don't need to be.

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