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 300 Comments
  1. Greyvax's Avatar
    I've never been so demoralized by a Q&A. It's pretty clear this team has absolutely NO idea what they're doing, led by one of the most underqualified "game directors" in history.

    Likely going to let my sub run out finally, because there's clearly nothing exciting to look forward to on the horizon. Just more of the same (all talk, no action)
  1. Yanthir84's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Greyvax View Post
    I've never been so demoralized by a Q&A. It's pretty clear this team has absolutely NO idea what they're doing, led by one of the most underqualified "game directors" in history.

    Likely going to let my sub run out finally, because there's clearly nothing exciting to look forward to on the horizon. Just more of the same (all talk, no action)
    Would you please stop talking such an enormous bullshit?
  1. Greyvax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Yanthir84 View Post
    Would you please stop talking such an enormous bullshit?
    Thank you for your contribution to this conversation. Reported BTW. Have a nice day
  1. monteiro's Avatar
    I would be glad enough if, on my alts, I could hit the war campaign quest givers and pick "I've heard this story before".
    We have to do the quests for unlocking the ship to go there on every toon... At least, the extra bases are unlocked.
  1. Menax's Avatar
    I find this actually really insulting. Who is this guy to decide what matters to ME? If min maxing stats matters to ME even though i am not going for world first than it just does. Who does he think he is by literally striping my personal wishes from me? "I say it does not matter to you so it doesn't". What kind of idiot does that? "Eat shit or die"... Goddamn, why is he in charge? He has absolutely 0 idea of what is going on while insulting pretty much 99.5% of the playerbase.
  1. Mayia's Avatar
    Yet again they side step the major issues and give us changes nobody really give a crap about.
    Honestly i don't feel like they understand how playing a character feels anymore they really need to do an in house raid test in order to get a better idea.

    Its still a long long way of fixing this expansion and they still haven't started telling us every change as requested.
  1. Freaking Frumpy Frak's Avatar
    The man really needs to step down, you can tell he's lost his passion for the position.
  1. Khazgrim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeusrules View Post
    "Allied Races
    There aren't any plans to update the Death Knight starting area for Allied Races."

    God damn it.
    I didn't read this as "there will never be Allied Race Death Knights"

    I read it as "there MAY be Allied Race Death Knights, but don't expect an updated initial leveling experience"
  1. Solence's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Greyvax View Post
    Thank you for your contribution to this conversation. Reported BTW. Have a nice day
    Well his comment was about as uninformative and uncontributing as yours.
  1. Molis's Avatar
    Nobody wants these changes, or even gives a shit.

    I play BFA because I have a close knit Mythic+ group

    They have serious issues and do not seem to be addressing them, unless talking down to people with lawyer speak is addressing them
  1. Mordarim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Greyvax View Post
    Thank you for your contribution to this conversation. Reported BTW. Have a nice day
    So if i get it correct , you are annoyed by his comment that doesnt add up to the conversation , while your comment also doesnt add up to the conversation and then you report it also? That is very constructive indeed....
  1. Dartz1979's Avatar
    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. i do like the sounds of that.
  1. Mordarim's Avatar
    To state my opinion for the Q & A , i honestly don't know where we are heading at this moment...it can be improved by a lot but i can go worse by a big margin.
    It can go both ways but one thing is for sure , if 8.1 doesnt address many of the issues many many people will just quit until the classic server comes to play.
    I am going to be one of those. So i will give them one last chance to mend the wounds...JUSTICE FOR ELEMENTAL SHAMANS!
  1. Feida's Avatar
    Oof. Fucking oof.
  1. Drudgery's Avatar
    Azerite is farmable at the lowest of contents. It becomes less accessible the higher you go. You have to refarm azerite power to unlock abilities you could use at lower item level. You MAY have to refarm the very same item multiple times if it's good for either more than one spec or playstyle to avoid the cost of respeccing. The system is flawed because of these points and all because the developers are giving limited opportunity to farm these traits.
  1. splatomat's Avatar
    Does the azerite extractor suck mounts and pets and transmogs out of the ground? Because that's literally the only way I would ever give a single shit about that event.

    I don't even care about winning or losing. Expeditions are not "fun" in any respect. I want the rewards - the end. And my patience for pulling RNG slot machine levers has expired.
  1. Gadzooks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mayia View Post
    Yet again they side step the major issues and give us changes nobody really give a crap about.
    Honestly i don't feel like they understand how playing a character feels anymore they really need to do an in house raid test in order to get a better idea.

    Its still a long long way of fixing this expansion and they still haven't started telling us every change as requested.
    Fixing? Ion is flat out saying he doesn't think it's broken, that it's a balancing and tweaking issue. Azerite isn't going anywhere, stop expecting it.

    The only way Blizzard has ever reversed themselves is when they lose a big chunk of playerbase. It got you flying in WoD. It got you Legion. And now, it's the only thing that's going to change the course of HMS Ionsgame.

    Your game, for the next two years, is azerite, azerite gear, warfronts, and islands. Shut up, pay your sub, have Fun™.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Mordarim View Post
    So if i get it correct , you are annoyed by his comment that doesnt add up to the conversation , while your comment also doesnt add up to the conversation and then you report it also? That is very constructive indeed....
    There's a certain number of people who are sticking their fingers in their ears going "LALALALALA I can't hear you!" and, if that doesn't work, they personally attack you for having an opinion.
  1. Mazinger-Z's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeusrules View Post
    "Allied Races
    There aren't any plans to update the Death Knight starting area for Allied Races."

    God damn it.
    That was a stupid question/answer and designed to waste time.

    They could have spent it talking about Azerite some more and that would have still been a better use of stream time.
  1. Tic Tacs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Wattmate View Post
    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.
    I think noone agrees with "everyone should be in best gear" statement... what are you saying?

    Personally, as a raider throughout most of the expansions I'm disappointed how Blizzard gravitates towards 2 to 5 man content like M+ and Arenas instead of raiding. Granted I didn't play Legion much but what I noticed is that you must farm the above mentioned content nowadays for mythic raiding on top of artifact power which was never the case before and due to so incredibly high RNG of getting the loot on top of warforged and titanforged the whole process becomes some sort of a Casino Royale, try again next week.
  1. aimmachine's Avatar
    I hope this man will be kicked from Blizzard
    My pain now is on the top
    worst expancion ever, worst gameplay (as mm hunter) ever, worst in every part of game.
    Wow is my fav. game btw, i think the only one reason that some of us are still playing - our friends / community.

    As a player i feel huge disrespect from developers
    shame

Site Navigation