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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. Jibjub's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Leyre View Post
    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
    Problem with this logic... most people are clearly happy with the game. Otherwise, they wouldn't still be this successful. Squeaky wheels rarely get the wheel in game development.

    You're $15 entitles you to play the game they design. It does not entitle you any right to help them develop it. You're yelling into the wind, my brother or sister.

    Also, you can call someone on their bullshit without getting red in the face, stamping your feet and using swear words.
  1. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    And yet again this is the problem with their Q and As.

    The Qs are good but the As are either vague, dodging or just their usual plain "we're right" attitude.

    I'm not saying cave or give everyone want they want but come on be a bit more open minded.
  1. Thelyron's Avatar
    >Brewmaster and Death Knight have too much survivability compared to other tanks.

    No, they don't. They are completely fine. Other tanks just don't have enough. Stop nerfing down and start buffing up.
  1. Cavox's Avatar
    Each Q&A leaves me more and more depressed.
  1. Demeia's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Feida View Post
    How difficult is it to understand that people are passionate about the game and they would like to see good changes?
    It really isn't just a game, it's a hobby to people, and one they are extremely invested in. The angry responses should always be viewed in that light. I'm enjoying raiding but I really think they've made some pretty bad moves this expansion. Not letting azerite swap traits with a spec change is one of them. They really need to not punish us for changing specs. The harm that does is much less than the harm they do when they make people reluctant to swap to tank or healing because they don't have "the right kind of gear".

    While they are at it, they should consider that mythic plus "replacing" raids is probably a bad model unless they go to 6M or 7M dungeons because the ration of dps to healer is higher in raids, which means more dps, which means more players playing your game (since most play dps). The last time they screwed over demographics (25M to 10M) they created a Cataclysm of the kind they did not actually want.
  1. Groh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kamuimac View Post
    simply cant wait for" lfm milion itlv for warfront"

    will be such a "fun" experience geting constant declines since im dps without full mythic gear
    you missed my point. you are talking about a different problem that doesn't matter if the feature is garbage in the first place. and if you are not full mythic geared, you are in the majority. so play with people like you...
  1. Barrages's Avatar
    Why do you people still play this game? Lol
  1. dranlord's Avatar
    Love the forums after a Q&A, since the first one i watch back in the day, ppl complain about what the devs said.

    I dont get why just adapt to the change or stop playing.

    If the game was so bad that they have millions of millions drooping they will have change it already or announce a big change on 8.1

    The true is, as far as i can tell with all the change they did for BFA, the game is really active, alot of new ppl have join, i have notice it on my guild that for the first time after 2 expansion WoD and Legion, we back to have 2 Mythic raid progressions groups.

    LOL, and for how bad Azorite gear is, really we progressing through Mythic. So yeah i dont get why ppl complain.
    Plus they cry about set bonus change your rotation or you gameplay alot, and they change it as much as some azorite traits.

    Just deal with it and play the game or dont. Is easy.
  1. Sithalos's Avatar
    Garbage Q/A, just like all the others.
  1. ShaniAndras252's Avatar
    I will be completely honest, I miss WoD compared to this, at least the class design and rotational flow didn't feel this unbearable. The talents etc where also fun. The current talent rows etc for classes/specs is absolutely trash. I miss Mop the most though.....
  1. Sabinn's Avatar
    Someone that is dedicated to a spec should have a small advantage over someone who is constantly switching.
    Why? Why is there value in one trick poneys? Shouldn't skill level matter more? why is a player that is better at handling different spec be punished?
    Wasn't BFA supposed to be about class fantasy rather than spec's?

    Please someone explain this to me.
  1. TheWorkingTitle's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Weeps View Post
    Fucking BADGE SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like it was in MoP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Or, ya know, no bullshit personal loot and have the bosses actually drop the loot that's on their loot table, rather than fucking RNG chests at the end.
  1. Baine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by juselara02 View Post
    "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."

    Yeah, cool. Wait for the elitist jerks that are doing a pug mythic + 3 and think they are running for the world first, to see if they wont kick you for having "bad gear"
    I run mythic +3s and I don't care about the Azerite traits. Never had any comment about my traits.
  1. Cavox's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dranlord View Post
    Just deal with it and play the game or dont. Is easy.
    I have a right to complain about the game I've put 10 years into falling head first into the shitter. You have to deal with it.
  1. oathy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cavox View Post
    Each Q&A leaves me more and more depressed.
    they really have only such a narrow window to get problems sorted now.
    Cant see it happening myself. Only they know the true extent how many people
    stopped subscriptions and the General health of the Game. but we haven't even hit the mid expansion lull.

    Personally I think Ion is on borrowed time in the job, there's such a disconnect its just not registering with him
    or the team just how unhappy people are. Yes people were pissed with WOD but nothing on this scale.
    they keep saying about how BFA was the fasted selling one, and we know why, because it allowed access to new races
    when Legion was starting to get tired and people wanted something new straight away.

    apparently they spend 21 minutes talking about azerite armor if that doesn't tell us he's seriously worried nothing will
    they can mess around all they like, they need a plan B and drop the entire system mid 2019 and bring in something else
    that links in with the story.

    going down the route of only keeping the neck and opening that up to a new talent system. Dropping the other azertite items
    adding an extra tier isn't going to keep this going for the duration of the expansion its failed after 6 weeks.
  1. Tic Tacs's Avatar
    This guy sounds more like some lawyer than the game director to be honest.
  1. Khazgrim's Avatar
    There aren't any plans to update the Death Knight starting area for Allied Races.
    Err. Allied Race Death Knights? Am I missing something?
  1. hyphnos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sabinn View Post
    Why? Why is there value in one trick poneys? Shouldn't skill level matter more? why is a player that is better at handling different spec be punished?
    Wasn't BFA supposed to be about class fantasy rather than spec's?

    Please someone explain this to me.
    Because it flows from their assumption that somehow people who play one and only one character and spec are more wedded to that character and that they need to encourage this.

    They also likely have some bullshit notions that run along the lines that if they made it too easy to have multiple geared characters and that to cover all specs of a class you only really needed one character that it would wreck their precious e-sports delusions...

    god knows why they do anything but a lot of their crap stems from whatever axiomatic truths they have sat around and navel-gazed up in their groupthink meetings. eventually they will shift around what they "think" is best and what was bad before will come around again as the greatest innovation ever in the history of gaming.

    TLDR: because right now, this is what they "think"....
  1. oathy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cavox View Post
    I have a right to complain about the game I've put 10 years into falling head first into the shitter. You have to deal with it.
    Its the time and money people have put in totally agree with you.
    they let us down, Expansions are supposed to be about progression on all fronts,
    It seems they felt everything went too far in legion and yanked everything back,

    Incursions are basically invasions so all of a sudden parts of legion that were "over" are now back.
    its just showing they didn't plan this out properly. In the earlier q&a's they said hitting max level
    and nothing to do wouldn't happen. that's exactly what happened

    the WOW panel at blizzcon is going to be fun.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Tic Tacs View Post
    This guy sounds more like some lawyer than the game director to be honest.
    Yep his former profession he really cant shake
    they are in dire need of a 3rd person to take part in these Q&A's
  1. xcitng'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).
    Biggest fuck up was allowing everyone to see the raids because I PAY MY $15 I SHOULD GET EVERYTHING FOR NO EFFORT IM ENTITLED TO GET MYTHIC LOOT IN THE MAIL BOX THAT I WORKED SO HARD FOR

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