Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas

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Forbes Interview with Ion Hazzikostas on Battle for Azeroth's Launch
Forbes sat down with Ion Hazzikostas to discuss the launch of BfA and hot topics from the community.



  • The team has enjoyed seeing the millions of people dive into the world of Battle for Azeroth.
  • Ion admits that there was some major issues at launch such as the auction house lag and the Legion Mythic + data carrying over to the first week of BfA Mythic +.
  • When they introduce major new systems, there's a lot to learn in terms of player feedback, from the beta to seeing millions of people interacting with them in a much more real way.
  • The team is actively trying to bring Azerite Traits in line with each other via Hotfix.
  • The "we told you our issues during beta" criticism is always tricky because there are many different people with many different opinions and play styles doing a variety of different content. It is impossible to please everyone, but they are always listening.
  • Things like long ramp up times for Shadow Priests and Feral Druids are major concerns because it essentially does make them irrelevant for the environment of Mythic +, and the team recognizes that as a problem.
  • The team makes sure that the core systems of the expansion are polished and ready to go, but realize that they can't delay an entire expansion for millions of players if a specific class or spec is not perfect.
  • Ion never said that the classes were not complete in the Q & A in which he said certain specs needed to wait for a patch to get adjustments, just that some of them needed to be adjusted and looked at still.
  • The truth of the matter is that classes are never complete in WoW and are always being adjusted and iterated. Often times changes in beta require other unforeseen additional changes in live.
  • The team recognizes that pressing several abilities on the global cooldown that do nothing but buff your character is not good gameplay and plan to address it (such as with frost death knight). They want to further develop classes so that these abilities do more than just buff.
  • Gameplay hasn't necessarily slowed down so much as whenever a new expansion launches stats have to be brought down as a character levels in order to stop characters from getting ridiculous stat percentages.
  • The team's top priority as of now is getting out content consistently and working on the Azerite System and the feel of Island Expeditions.
  • Azerite Armor was easily accessible in early game, but the team realizes that it became hard to acquire as you progressed in item level.
  • They are looking at how they can improve delivery of Azerite armor to get it into player's hands without also just having a loot hose where suddenly everyone is drowning in the stuff and it doesn't feel like it's even a reward anymore. They want to find a happy medium.
  • The team wants the Azerite powers to be more than just an externally solved math problem and give decisions such as what is most enjoyable for gameplay.
  • The team likes some sort of mystery that requires players to solve such as with Reorigination Array. They like to see players figuring out that this special buff takes 3 bosses per week to upgrade and that it basically happens organically as you raid.
  • The team recognizes that they could have done a better job explaining the different phases that happen during Warfront progression.
  • The team also recognizes that they should have explained the changes to the amount of loot rewarded from your weekly cache before BfA went live.
  • The team still wants Island Expeditions to be the best way to obtain Azerite and will continue to iterate on Island Expedition rewards as a whole.
  • They want Island Expeditions to feel more like questing and exploring in the world while leveling, meaning more clear roads and camps that lead to quests and objectives that are more dynamic.
  • The main source of pride for this expansion is the art team and the world that they created.
  • The team is happy with how War Mode turned out as well as the dungeons and raid.
  • It was awesome to see the race for Mythic World First.


Blizzcon Early Access Sale
Blizzcon attendees and virtual ticket holders can now view the early access sale for some Blizzcon merchandise!




Play with the Blues - Darkshore Warfront
You can help test the Darkshore Warfront with the Blizzard Devs tomorrow at 1 PM Pacific!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Tomorrow - Friday, October 12, starting at 1 PM Pacific (4 PM Eastern) - many members of the World of Warcraft design and QA teams will be hitting up the PTR to test the new Darkshore Warfront being added in Tides of Vengeance!

This initial test will feature the Alliance version of the Warfront. For testing purposes, it'll be accessible to characters level 110 to 120, and be forced active for the duration of the test regardless of the state of the Darkshore zone. We've also added an extra Warfront table to Stormwind to help newly-created PTR characters get in on the test easier, and sped up the overall cycle (again, to aid with testing).

Your participation is invaluable at this stage of development for the new Warfront, so we'd love to see you join us tomorrow as we put it through its paces. Thank you!

Join The Great Gnomeregan Run–October 13!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Are you a gnome? Do you know a gnome? Would you like to BE a gnome? (And who wouldn’t?) Then rise UP to the challenge of The Great Gnomeregan Run on Saturday, October 13 from Gnomeregan to Booty Bay.

Where: Beginning outside the gnome starting area and ending in Booty Bay
Who: Alliance-Only (Don’t worry, Horde can create a level 1 gnome and join in the fun too.)

Whether you’re a level 1 gnome (highly encouraged), a level 71 human, or a level 110 draenei, you’ll be able to join in this fun run beginning in the gnome starting area, winding through Dun Morogh, Ironforge, the Deeprun Tram, Stormwind, Elwynn Forest, Duskwood, and Stranglethorn Vale where the run culminates in Booty Bay.


It's a big big BIG world out there, but don’t worry about getting lost, there will be course markers and spectators along the way to help keep you on track. You’ll even see a few familiar faces among the onlookers!



Stranglethorn Vale is a dangerous place for low-level characters so you may want to find some muscle to join you along the way for a little extra protection. If you’re a higher-level character, think about playing chaperone for a gnome.

Whether short or tall, it will be a good time for all.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Forbes BfA Interview, Blizzcon Early Access Sale, Darkshore Warfront with Devs started by Stoy View original post
Comments 122 Comments
  1. MysticsDK's Avatar
    "The team is happy with how War Mode turned out as well as the dungeons and raid."
    /clap /clap
    I'd love to what the team would be upset with?
  1. eolthedarkelf's Avatar
    I used to like Ion.
  1. Sungamnori's Avatar
    > The "we told you our issues during beta" criticism is always tricky because there are many different people with many different opinions and play styles doing a variety of different content. It is impossible to please everyone, but they are always listening.

    What a load of bullshit. Fuck you Ion.
  1. mathiaslindberg's Avatar
    The main source of pride for this expansion is the art team and the world that they created.
    It's official then? Even Ion realizes the art team is carrying everyone else on the dev team.
  1. Maarius's Avatar
    What a load of bullshit. Fuck you Ion.
    he's right though, there WAS a lot of feedback and there WAS a lot of BS-feedback as well. I can imagine that if you have no one who filters out the good from the bad, that it's impossible to find useful information.

    A lot of feedback is also not useful. Statements like "remove the GCD change, it's garbage" isn't useful since it doesn't adress the reason why they implemented it in the first place. I've seen no thread where someone who doesn't like it mentioned the problem Ion talked about above.
  1. Kaira's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MysticsDK View Post
    "The team is happy with how War Mode turned out as well as the dungeons and raid."
    /clap /clap
    I'd love to what the team would be upset with?
    This truly made me giggle slyly... Happy yeah... Ok. Maybe the teams happy but your players arn't.
  1. Unholyground's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by eolthedarkelf View Post
    I used to like Ion.
    I honestly don't think he has 100% say on everything unfortunately and he has to defend their design choices which are not all his. It seems to me like there might be inner turmoil within the dev teams, you can see in his face that he is not happy and is just being a politician about a lot of stuff.
  1. Batar's Avatar
    Funny how they keep saying "millions of people" all the time, like they're trying to tell people how great the game is going.

    Not like it's going bad or that I'm a doomsayer, but it feels so forced out to add the "millions of people" in so meny sentences.
  1. Coombs's Avatar
    I know he doesn't really have a choice when it comes to the photoshoot, but I like to think that smug son of a bitch has that condescending look naturally.
  1. Aoyi's Avatar
    What really bothers me and I'm sure bothers a lot of other players is the stance that they didn't have time to work on these issues before release. They didn't have to release on the day they did. In the past, they've held product to give more time to tune fix known issues. The release announcement said the expansion would release no later than September 21st, so why rush it out more than a month early? They could have done a proper beta test before release if they gave themselves another month.

    In the June 14th Q&A specifically said that enhancement, shadow, and to a lesser extent elemental shaman would not be getting the attention they needed until 8.1 as the window for major changes was rapidly closing. If they knew 2 months prior to release that they weren't able to address these issues and still were going forward with the release date, maybe that's a problem with their new policies? I mean, you have 12 classes in the game and you are saying that you know that both dps specs for one class aren't in the best place. If you've been playing a dps shaman forever and a lead at Blizzard is telling you that they know that you don't have a good option for your class to dps right now, but please wait 5 months for this to be addressed (from the date of the interview, not release to 8.1), don't you have a right to be upset by that?
  1. Gadzooks's Avatar
    He flats out say they released what they had, done or not, because deadline over quality. They KNEW the expansion wasn't done, and they shipped a flawed product.

    Which begs the question, they had two years to do this. Possibly more. The art team has work to show for it. What the fuck were the rest of them doing for two years? If this is the best they can do in two years, then...well, I think they need to hire people that can do better.
  1. Aekero's Avatar
    Not to be a jerk about it, but the gcd changes _were_ garbage. It's a sweeping change that affected mechanics/rotations/flow of classes. Some classes and specs were affected way more, it feels really bad as a class that has like 4 buttons that in essence read "do more or take less damage", but for 1.5s less. As a healer, I'm not always going to have CDs to line up with damage spikes, I need to have a catch up mechanic. Some healers do have their buffs tied to another effect, and those don't feel as bad, but those specs that are literally just a buff feel worse overall. Even if they were to increase buffs by a second to make up for time lost, it wouldn't change the feel.
    I truly believe there were different ways to fix the "push 1 button and pop 5 CDs " problem. Why not just put those buffs on a short CD like they did with trinkets? Would that not be a less painful solution, or is that 1 hit/heal simultaneously with a buff that game breaking.
    If nothing else I certainly don't think this change would have ever happened if they weren't trying to balance the game around arena.
  1. Maudib's Avatar
    Is Ion rockin' a Night Elf Mohawk?
  1. tikcol's Avatar
    I'm happy to know the devs are actually doing their job by not listening to the vocal minority of haters screeching "bad" everywhere. I'm rather pleased with BFA.
  1. dayne87's Avatar
    I don't think we would really get honest answers from him if he was dissatisfied with anything. I felt BfA launched OK but not perfect by any means. It seems like EVERY expansion has some issues, though. I hope the next one will launch smoother, but their track record suggests otherwise.
  1. TheViper's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Maarius View Post
    he's right though, there WAS a lot of feedback and there WAS a lot of BS-feedback as well. I can imagine that if you have no one who filters out the good from the bad, that it's impossible to find useful information.

    A lot of feedback is also not useful. Statements like "remove the GCD change, it's garbage" isn't useful since it doesn't adress the reason why they implemented it in the first place. I've seen no thread where someone who doesn't like it mentioned the problem Ion talked about above.
    For some things yes.

    But there is others, that the dev team 100% knew about. We are talking major bugs like temple with the eye falling through the floor.

    It happened day 1 of beta, it has been happening since....thats just not good enough.

    I am worried they are happy with the shitshow that is wm too. Pseudo Forced pvp because pve rewards are locked behind it was never a good idea.
  1. Ionchannel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Maarius View Post
    he's right though, there WAS a lot of feedback and there WAS a lot of BS-feedback as well. I can imagine that if you have no one who filters out the good from the bad, that it's impossible to find useful information.

    A lot of feedback is also not useful. Statements like "remove the GCD change, it's garbage" isn't useful since it doesn't adress the reason why they implemented it in the first place. I've seen no thread where someone who doesn't like it mentioned the problem Ion talked about above.
    The thing is the feeling was right though and they even admit it.. sure not everyone communicates the right way but what everyone does have in common they play the game to have fun. And atm, and mind you I speak for myself, a big part of the game is no longer fun. And this is no longer a matter of perspective, the state of the game is in a very bad state when we look at several major selling points of the expansion. I had such great hopes for azerite, a plethora of choices, each a strength in it’s own way.. targetable and with traits easily unlocked by farming.

    Let’s see, traits are mostly generic, would not be a big problem. Its also not a big problem if some traits perform better in certain situations as long as they are targetable in mythic + for instance. With all the rng of these traits AND the fact they don’t forge there is NO reason whatsoever to not have them drop from mythic +. Hell, have them drop quaranteed from weekly chest from your highest run for I care but at least some way to counter this fucking poorly designed RNG clusterfuck.

    And this is only one of the problems...
  1. Nurasu's Avatar
    The more interviews he does, the less I like him.
  1. Ionchannel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aekero View Post
    Not to be a jerk about it, but the gcd changes _were_ garbage. It's a sweeping change that affected mechanics/rotations/flow of classes. Some classes and specs were affected way more, it feels really bad as a class that has like 4 buttons that in essence read "do more or take less damage", but for 1.5s less. As a healer, I'm not always going to have CDs to line up with damage spikes, I need to have a catch up mechanic. Some healers do have their buffs tied to another effect, and those don't feel as bad, but those specs that are literally just a buff feel worse overall. Even if they were to increase buffs by a second to make up for time lost, it wouldn't change the feel.
    I truly believe there were different ways to fix the "push 1 button and pop 5 CDs " problem. Why not just put those buffs on a short CD like they did with trinkets? Would that not be a less painful solution, or is that 1 hit/heal simultaneously with a buff that game breaking.
    If nothing else I certainly don't think this change would have ever happened if they weren't trying to balance the game around arena.
    Yeah you are probably right, I also suspect this has something to do with PVP, since in other circumstainces you are right, it does not really make a difference. In raids, over the long run it does not matter that much, some classes just have these dps burst windows...wish they would just counter the dmg via templates in pvp, keeping the gcd as it was and mitigating the burst another way.
  1. Malikath's Avatar
    "BS-feedback"
    lol, you mean like this entire interview?

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