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. Gadzooks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zyrinx View Post
    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.

    That's just fucking great, so it'll become even harder to get any Rewards/impossible without a premade. Getting Azerite is Not The Problem. I don't get this change, like, at all.
    They're out of ideas. All the creativity left the team, as far as these systems. They don't even have a name for the raid they're talking about yet.

    Ion may have shone as an encounter designer, but he sucks ass as a leader, and his incompetence as a team lead is showing every week. His game is crumbling at the foundations, but he's busy admiring the doorknob he polished so hard.

    I don't think Brack got promoted, it's more he escaped a sinking ship.
  1. oathy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ohanna View Post
    I've unsub'd, BfA is the worst xpac I ever played
    I doubt anything will chnage as long as this clown is incharge
    I really don't know how he managed to bring WoW to a point I log'd in and had nothing to do beyond mythic+ and raids which both are very unrewarding (1 raid loot in 3 weeks).

    they could remove the traits right now and honestly wouldn't even miss them
    when they scrapped weapons the system needed to be at least as good, Its rubbish.
    If he and the team can sort this out fair enough, but considering they designed this
    and thought it was fine doesn't bode well.

    Bellular summed it up weeks ago, the neck should have been the access point to the new system
  1. RoKPaNda's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Toppy View Post
    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.
    The first couple months of Legion weren't spectacular only if you were a Mythic raider. We had our issues. For everyone else though? It was fantastic.
  1. ttylol's Avatar
    same answers over and over... why do they bother doing these?
  1. oathy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by steristumpie View Post
    You lot bitched about Ghostcrawler, then Ion. That’s like a collective 8 years of “This game is terrible, they have no idea what they’re doing.” Have you ever considered after 9 years of crying over developers that maybe this is just WoW? Maybe it’s just imperfect by design and that’s the way it is? But do go ahead and cry about Ion, and in 2 years cry about the new guy. Oh wait, you won’t, because “WoW is dead!” (Circa 2008).
    Never did get why Ghostcrawler got the hassle he did.
    the game was in much better shape then. they could replace Ion but dont think it would help much
    the entire team felt BFA was good enough, and it clearly isnt.

    IMHO they need some new people with fresh eyes and ideas because right now the Game feels
    like they as a whole have lost direction
  1. ohanna's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by steristumpie View Post
    And before him Ghostcrawler? There were more posts here lambasting him than Ion. So by historical deduction of evidence beared by the crybabies of mmoc, WoW has been bad longer than it’s been good. Shit, I hope you all fuckoff to classic servers then, to when it was good. Leave “bad WoW” to us “fanboy enablers”.
    Good, enjoy the crap-fest expansion that you adore so much
    Just don't be surprised when you one day log in and see much less players around you, those "crybabies" that without them your game experience won't be the same.
    Unlike you we are not wired to love anything that Blizzard releases, so have fun with the Azewrong system while we spend our money on better games.
  1. Gadzooks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ttylol View Post
    same answers over and over... why do they bother doing these?
    Because it creates the illusion that something is being done. Now hand over $15.
  1. Firebeast's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper Kazai View Post
    "There is value to having a bit of friction when it comes to changing specs." What a load of crap. "Someone that is dedicated to a spec should have a small advantage over someone who is constantly switching." WHY? I don't even switch spec that often and this still makes me angry. That's such garbage reasoning. They just don't want to remove the cost. ALL respec costs are dumb and antiquated and need to be removed; they add no benefit or enjoyment to the game. Value, my eye.

    Also, I don't think there's going to be much world first controversy when currently 71 Horde guilds are 8/8 and only 11 Alliance are. Maybe they should think about that problem first.
    You're correct, but Blizzard has always been about the horde. Look at the alleged BELF racial nerf, which is more powerful now and used to cheese the zul fight.
    Just get rid of ALL of the racials and let's see how that goes.
  1. Kyanion's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ret4resto View Post
    Don’t even respond to the blizzard apologist, they are a huge part of the reason why positive changes aren’t implemented faster.

    No matter what blizzard does they accept it, and if you’re unhappy they tell you to quit and stfu instead of having the right as a consumer to voice legitimate concerns
    Riiight, except I'm critical of Ion making stupid statements as well. The "it is just a few percentage" points line was stupid to utter and he did it. We didn't need to tell Pratt to quit, he already SAID he was going to quit. So good riddance? People can voice complaints all they want, but an "I quit" circlejerk does jack shit to help the game.
  1. Awsyme's Avatar
    This has been a really weird expansion. The reveal last year had me, my partner and our guild all going 'er... oh.' It was the first time in the history of wow that few of us were excited for more content. Partly because we didn't care about the horde vs alliance conflict, but also felt it lacked any real hook to get people excited. No new races. No new classes. No legendary weapons or garrisons or whatever. Just random islands and pve only warfronts - oh and alliance races/reskins.

    Almost a year later and listening to that chat all I can think is 'ugh. Wish I hadn't been right'. This is a dud of an expansion. There's some nice lore and the zones are pretty as ever but the core design, class mechanics, azerite grind etc all feel pointless or broken. And RNG. SO MUCH RNG.

    He's not saying things I want to hear at the minute. Stuff like 'we realize there's too much randomization in the game.' They could add back reforging. They could introducie, say, a catch up mechanic on gear drops. You'll be able to use sanguicell to upgrade an item to its limit, effectively allowing you to add warforging and titanforging (or sockets) to a piece of loot. They could allow pvpers to target gear more effectively. They could have weekly chests display 3 items and allow you to pick the one you liked best.

    Alas...no.
  1. Kyanion's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gadzooks View Post
    That worked so well for Blizzard in WOD. What was it, 60% of their customers?

    Go team! You can beat that! Let's go for 90%!
    It is quite simple really. If you are going to quit, then quit. What do you want us as players to do? Throw a farewell party? If Blizz puts out a shit product then people will quit, we all know it. If people want to give constructive criticism then great. But saying "I quit" adds nothing to a discussion, it is why those types of threads aren't even allowed here. They are useless.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ohanna View Post
    Good, enjoy the crap-fest expansion that you adore so much
    Just don't be surprised when you one day log in and see much less players around you, those "crybabies" that without them your game experience won't be the same.
    Unlike you we are not wired to love anything that Blizzard releases, so have fun with the Azewrong system while we spend our money on better games.
    Oh no crybabies leave, you mean the type of player I don't take to my M+ and try to avoid in general? That would be just AWFUL if they leave and go play 'better games'. If only they didn't make as much noise on the forums and just fucking left and went to play other things already.
  1. DesoPL's Avatar
    Fucking finally.

    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.
  1. Leyre's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jibjub View Post
    If gamers had as much passion for world hunger as they do video games, no child would feel the pangs of starvation ever again.

    Whatever happened to: "Hmm. I respectively disagree with that. Now let us both go grab a beer because, fuck, life is hard and everybody has got some shit they're dealing with."
    If im going to give a child $15 for food, you can bet your sorry ass im gonna make sure he actually spend the money on fucking food, if im paying blizz $15 MONTHLY for a game, you can bet your sorry ass im gonna call them on their bullshit
  1. Gadzooks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyanion View Post
    It is quite simple really. If you are going to quit, then quit. What do you want us as players to do? Throw a farewell party? If Blizz puts out a shit product then people will quit, we all know it. If people want to give constructive criticism then great. But saying "I quit" adds nothing to a discussion, it is why those types of threads aren't even allowed here. They are useless.
    They're not "useless", except to you. So stop sniveling about them. Stop trying to negate people's opinions and feelings because YOU don't like them. They have every right to express how they feel - and you have every right to disagree, but it stops there. People invest a LOT of time, energy and passion into this game, I know I did for over a decade, before I quit. It's hard for people to just walk away when they're invested in their characters, and their guilds, and their time.

    And fuck "constructive criticism", that's a bullshit barrier the mods over the on the general forums created to stifle discontent. It's not the player's fucking job to fix every problem in the game. If something sucks, they have the right to say "this sucks", and not have a solution, they're not paid to do that, the devs are, and "constructive" anything is THEIR fucking job.

    If you don't want to hear about people quitting, go play a game nobody quits.
  1. Balmong's Avatar
    Man for some reason, it really seems like Ion is out of touch with the player base.
  1. Kyanion's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gadzooks View Post
    They're not "useless", except to you. So stop sniveling about them. Stop trying to negate people's opinions and feelings because YOU don't like them. They have every right to express how they feel - and you have every right to disagree, but it stops there. People invest a LOT of time, energy and passion into this game, I know I did for over a decade, before I quit. It's hard for people to just walk away when they're invested in their characters, and their guilds, and their time.

    And fuck "constructive criticism", that's a bullshit barrier the mods over the on the general forums created to stifle discontent. It's not the player's fucking job to fix every problem in the game. If something sucks, they have the right to say "this sucks", and not have a solution, they're not paid to do that, the devs are, and "constructive" anything is THEIR fucking job.

    If you don't want to hear about people quitting, go play a game nobody quits.
    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.
  1. Mazinger-Z's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mingarrubia View Post
    He does play AFAIK, but he's just a raid-logger. He isn't really interested in the game as a whole.
    And probably won't be gkicked because of who he is.

    He's probably carried.
  1. La's Avatar
    If you asked me "the team" needs to rethink a great many things.
  1. Melius's Avatar
    i miss my artifact weapon more and more as days go by.
  1. mmoc1b83a39230's Avatar
    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.
    Ion, for the love of all that is holy on Earth, please just STOP judging about what is fun or not for the players. You, along with the rest of the dev team are NOT players, you might (for some of you), play the game, but you don't have the player POV. People want to queue to do Warfronts with their entire guild ? Leave them, who the heck are you to say that it's not fun for them ? What does it change anyway ? Warfronts are not dynamic and there is no impact to literally rolling on them appart the fact that it makes them shorted (what is, to be honest, a liberation, because they suck). Being an asshole like you are now is what has driven the game in this current state in the first place, holy christ I'm so fed up with that prick.

Site Navigation