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. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Toppy View Post
    He's such a fucking cunt.

    And clearly does not play the game.
    He does. It just seems he believes they are right when players have presented fair criticism on this system.

    Annoys me to no end when devs act as if the criticism means nothing.

    That stupid remark about that there should be frustration/friction when switching specs is bullshit.
  1. Gully Man's Avatar
    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.
    Words fail me.
  1. Cudy's Avatar
    "This matters for the people racing to world first, but doesn't matter nearly as much for everyone else."

    STOP TELLING ME WHAT MATTERS TO ME FFS.

    Honestly, perfect itemization matters less to the world first race, they are pushing with whatever gear they happen to get. RNG is mitigated by split runs a bit, but they don't have time to farm perfect gear if they want to complete the mythic raid in the first/second week.

    Perfect itemization is a giant crutch for slower progressing guilds, not the top guilds.
  1. Psygon's Avatar
    I like to play as BM, MM and Survival.

    Who cares if I want to change specs all the time? What a lame complaint.
  1. RoKPaNda's Avatar
    I usually agree with him, he's easily the best lead dev that this game has ever had, but I disagree with him so much on the azerite trait switching.
  1. Softbottom's Avatar
    Spec switching is easier in most ways in Battle for Azeroth than it was in Legion - LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL. With tier sets there was no respecing traits; it auto swapped for you.
  1. Feida's Avatar
    The reality is, the moment you allow people to switch specs easier, EVERYONE will be happier. Ion, you need to set aside this game design philosophy and just make the damn game fun already.
  1. Kelathos's Avatar
    They can't let Azerite drop from dungeons, or dungeons will be... too good? WTF?

    If only someone could invent a valor point system to both limit the reward and let players pick what they want....
  1. Unholyground's Avatar
    I will say it again my solution to the Azerite Armor system seemed even better than their solution. Give all tier rings on the Azerite Armor an "Azerite Socket" and create "Azerite Relics" that socket into them that can have any of the current bonuses and any new ones they are creating. Allow professions to craft them to create a new stream of player revenue and also have them as regular rewards like everything else. I am sure even my idea can be improved on but mine gives players far more freedom within the system.

    I posted my idea on the official forums too with a bunch of likes but no responses, it is the best solution if they are dead set on staying inside the tiny box they created.
  1. Dystemper's Avatar
    He needs to be fired and quickly .
  1. Leyre's Avatar
    >Azerite armor is more flexible than normal items, as you can change the traits.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    How, in the fucking FUCK is a pos system that has you spending gold every time you want to use a different trait ( oh look, just like vanilla wow when you had to pay to change spec ) better than having a bonus that changes WITH YOUR SPEC, jesuschrist this fucking cunt cant be fired soon enough
  1. Toppy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RoKPaNda View Post
    I usually agree with him, he's easily the best lead dev that this game has ever had, but I disagree with him so much on the azerite trait switching.
    He's been the lead since what? WoD?

    Not a very good track record if you recall that the first half of Legion was fairly shitty from a design standpoint.
  1. Mush's Avatar
    I have a great solution to azerite armor. Make armor with "traits" on them that are only activated if you wear multiple pieces of matching armor. Those traits would be class/spec specific. Every class would have uniquely designed armor instead of one per armor type.

    I know it sounds like a lot of work, but I think they can handle it.
  1. Enfilade's Avatar
    I see a lot of people on here complaining, mostly about the Azerite system, yet they're still giving this shadow-of-its-former-self company their money. Do yourself a favor: Quit.
  1. Toppy's Avatar
    It's important to remember that tanks bring different things to the fight.
    No, fuck that, you brain dead little bastard. The problem is that some tanks bring different things, while others, bring NOTHING. You gutted utility on some but not others.
  1. Phatte's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Leyre View Post
    >Azerite armor is more flexible than normal items, as you can change the traits.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    How, in the fucking FUCK is a pos system that has you spending gold every time you want to use a different trait ( oh look, just like vanilla wow when you had to pay to change spec ) better than having a bonus that changes WITH YOUR SPEC, jesuschrist this fucking cunt cant be fired soon enough
    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
  1. Awsyme's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Unholyground View Post
    I will say it again my solution to the Azerite Armor system seemed even better than their solution. Give all tier rings on the Azerite Armor an "Azerite Socket" and create "Azerite Relics" that socket into them that can have any of the current bonuses and any new ones they are creating. Allow professions to craft them to create a new stream of player revenue and also have them as regular rewards like everything else. I am sure even my idea can be improved on but mine gives players far more freedom within the system.

    I posted my idea on the official forums too with a bunch of likes but no responses, it is the best solution if they are dead set on staying inside the tiny box they created.
    Aren't you literally describing glyphs? (which only got removed so they could take the glyph system and add it to the legion weapons...)
  1. Weeps's Avatar
    Man, these fucking idiots... just basically confirmed BfA as the worst expansion and it ain't even over yet. Not even 1/4 through it.
  1. Feida's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Toppy View Post
    No, fuck that, you brain dead little bastard. The problem is that some tanks bring different things, while others, bring NOTHING. You gutted utility on some but not others.
    How difficult is it to understand that people are passionate about the game and they would like to see good changes?
  1. Kyanion's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Enfilade View Post
    I see a lot of people on here complaining, mostly about the Azerite system, yet they're still giving this shadow-of-its-former-self company their money. Do yourself a favor: Quit.
    What if people like the game but have valid concerns about features in the game? Quitting is not the answer but providing feedback is. Don't tell people how to spend their money either.

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