Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas
Ion Hazzikostas answered Tides of Vengeance questions today. The next Q&A is coming in early January to talk about Story and Lore.



Communication
  • Patch notes were thorough, but not complete.
  • Profession requirements on crafted gear wasn't an intended change in the form it took.
  • Patch 8.0 crafted gear didn't have the profession requirement like previous expansions, this was fixed as being a bug without the entire team being involved. This was fixed as soon as the team realized what happened.
  • Going forward, in Season 2 crafted gear will have the profession requirement.
  • Some changes would clutter the notes, like belt clipping or typos.
  • Some changes were missed, such as Stealth detection on Underrot mobs. This change was made a while back, and the team forgot by the time the notes were being created.
  • Going forward, the team will try to ensure the notes are more complete.
  • One of the challenges for the WoW team has been evolving their processes as the team size grew. It used to be 5-6 people working on a certain feature, so everyone was aware of what was going on. This is no longer the case, as more people that are spread out are involved with the game.
  • The team wants to provide more reasoning in hotfix or patch notes when changes are made. They have been trying to do that for class changes, but will do it for more things in the future.

Cross-Faction Communication
  • There was a change that broke an addon that allowed players to talk cross-faction for RP reasons.
  • Cross-Faction communication has the potential for toxicity, but it's very different when there is consent. If you are friends with someone or in a community, you can talk to them.
  • The team didn't mean to break the addon, but can't restore the functionality.
  • The team is looking at adding the Elixir of Tongues, allowing you to understand the opposite faction for an amount of time.
  • This Elixir should go out in a hotfix this weekend or early next week.

Deleting Mythic+ Keys
  • This was a quick change that wasn't fully thought out on the team's part. It was hotfixed in at the start of the season.
  • Deleting keystones caused some bugs and led to emerging social issues, where players would cherry pick what seemed like the easier dungeons.
  • Since Burning Crusade, the team has tried to point players at different dungeons. Remember the Mechanar problem? It wasn't the most fun, but it was the best place to go and farm badges.
  • Some Affixes will make some dungeons easier than others, but the goal is for most dungeons to be similarly difficult.

Mythic+ Changes
  • The team made many changes over the months to make dungeons less punishing.
  • Hopefully at the start of next week, another large set of changes is coming focusing on trash packs and abilities.
  • It feels like now there are a lot more pulls that offer challenges than in Legion. The team wanted to get away from AoE stun, cleave, and move on being the solution to all trash pulls.
  • In the past few days, the team got some more logs and analytics for dungeons. They had lots of good analytics on boss encounters, but not as much visibility on what was going on between bosses.
  • The team can see the most lethal trash mobs, which stretches of dungeons take the longest to get through, what areas are deadly, where difficulty changes too much with Teeming. Removing Infested from lieutenant mobs and some trash mobs are some of the changes coming.
  • A lot of the changes that go into a patch were made months ago, sometimes before the team has seen much gameplay in the Mythic+ dungeons.
  • The team balances hotfixing the live game and working on the next patch.

Mythic+ PuG Experience
  • High end Mythic Keystones are meant for coordinated groups.
  • What can the team do to improve the integrated voice chat experience?
  • The first time around, the voice chat integration was not great.
  • This time around, voice chat should be much better and a good solution for PuGs.
  • Are players not aware that they can use the in-game voice chat for their PuG?
  • Do players just not want to use voice chat at all?

Mythic+ and Azerite Trait Timing
  • Cutting Uldir short at this point would be too soon. It's a healthy tier and guilds are still progressing through it.
  • Three months for the first raid tier would be too short.
  • In-game rewards from Mythic+ progress in parallel with raiding.
  • When a new Mythic+ season starts, the item level cap goes up, so it would invalidate Uldir, current PvP gear, and some of the new raid.
  • New raid tier, Mythic+ and PvP seasons all will happen at the same time.
  • The new Azerite traits are tied into the new gear so that people won't have to go and replace existing gear to get the new traits.

Titan Residuum
  • There may not be a way to add a repeatable source that won't lead to the community trying to endlessly grind it.
  • The system was designed to solve only getting Azerite from your weekly chest.
  • In a raid you can bonus roll or focus on specific bosses.
  • The system that has been set up gives you a piece of gear every 2.5 weeks or so.
  • The current setup is one of the most efficient and lucrative systems for getting Azerite gear.
  • The team wants to see how the current system plays out before making changes.
  • Previous in-game currencies were hard capped or a new currency was introduced for the next season.
  • The team will continue to inflate the prices as new seasons start, so each successive season of gear will cost ~10x more than the previous one.
  • It will keep taking you ~2.5 weeks to get another piece of gear in Season 2.
  • If you buy nothing and wait for the new raid, you might get a small head start.

Artifact Knowledge
  • This is the same way it worked in Legion. When Legion came out, the cap was 25, then raised to 40 in Patch 7.2.
  • In BfA, Knowledge is paced to match available content and the needs.
  • Season 2 will come out and Knowledge will resume increasing then.
  • If Knowledge kept increasing until then, there would be a bigger gap. Players that kept farming would be able to unlock all the powers right away.
  • When Battle for Azeroth launched, the team planned for 15 weeks of Knowledge, it happened to line up with the patch.
  • The same thing will happen next season, there will be a pause before Season 3.
  • The team forgot to tell players about this at the start of Battle for Azeroth.

Heart of Azeroth
  • The team has plans to make the Heart of Azeroth more engaging.
  • On the story side, this was initially a B plot. It wasn't essential like the Legion Artifact weapon was. This will change with Rise of Azshara and beyond.
  • A neck is less visible than a weapon, but the team didn't want to use the weapon slot all expansion again.
  • The team has a lot of work to do on the Azerite system side. Deeper and more interesting.
  • There is one central flaw. On one hand, AP should be relevant and you should have goals to work towards.
  • AP in Legion gave you something to progress towards. What felt best was when you had a new gold medal talent to work towards, giving you a power boost. The desire for AP and the appeal of your artifact weapon faded after getting the gold traits.
  • The system works best when there are exciting goals to chase.
  • It feels really bad if you get a new piece of armor and the powers on it are locked.
  • All you have to look forward to is utility abilities.
  • As the team looks ahead, they want to significantly change how they are approaching the system.
  • This will be the last tier that you'll have to unlock the powers on. Moving forward, they will probably be unlocked, giving you armor that presents choice.
  • The team will shift AP to the Heart itself, allowing you to make choices about permanent powers, potentially active abilities. More to share in the future!

Warfronts
  • Arathi Warfront is going to stay at the current item levels.
  • Darkshore Warfront will have rewards bumped up 15 item levels once Season 2 starts.
  • If you want, you can go back for alts, cosmetic things, or achievements.
  • World Quest rewards will go up based on the item level ceiling. This is just keeping the outdoor world relevant, but is based on gear you got from other sources.
  • Warfronts are like raids, this is the one for each tier, and they don't change.
  • Heroic Warfronts might make an old Warfront relevant again for a tier.
  • The team looked at the rotation rate, but in Patch 8.1 there are now two Warfronts. Every week or two you'll have a new Warfront to contribute to.
  • The team is trying to balance giving players a chance to play a Warfront with the rotation speed.
  • If you could do Warfronts more frequently, the rewards couldn't be as good.

War Mode
  • War Mode faction bonuses are region wide. Every weekly reset the system looks at participation in War Mode during the previous week and will adjust the bonuses.
  • Early on, War Mode participation was better, but some bugs and quirks caused players to turn it off.
  • In the last couple of days, players have been brought together by Assaults.

Island Expeditions
  • Rewards from Island Expeditions will continue to evolve over the expansion.
  • It's likely the team will use the vendor to allow you to target more right before the expansion is over so players that are missing a few items can get them.

Vicious Saddles
  • In Season 2, you'll have your progress bar towards the season mount, but this time the bar will reset and go to a Vicious Saddle. You can keep doing this throughout the season.

Class Design
  • The team is never truly satisfied with the state of class design.
  • At a macro level, there was a change 8 years ago in how class design worked.
  • For the first few years, every expansion kept providing more spells and talents. Action bars started to hit their limits.
  • It was no longer clear what classes needed, as they had all of the tools they needed.
  • Getting new stuff is cool and exciting, and something big was lost when the team pulled away from that.
  • There are effectively 36 distinct classes. Years ago the specs weren't as different.
  • In the last couple of expansions, the team went forward with expansion specific systems that gave you abilities. This wasn't as satisfying as the team had hoped.
  • The team is trying to balance short term excitement vs long term sustainability.
  • The pruning was very controversial, so the team took a step back from that in Battle for Azeroth. They actually added a few things back. Currently the team doesn't think they need to simplify any more right now.
  • The team wants classes to not have prohibitive weaknesses that results them in being excluded from groups.
  • It's hard to keep every spec unique.

Legendary Items
  • No legendary items are planned right now, but they could be added where it fits the story and content.

Artifact Pairs and Transmog
  • The team did a lot of work to make Artifact transmog work, but nothing new to share about splitting the pairs right now.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Tides of Vengeance Developer Q&A - Ion Hazzikostas started by chaud View original post
Comments 134 Comments
  1. eschatological's Avatar
    The crafting changes make sense/are in line with old expansions, but they needed to communicate it more clearly instead of trying to sneak it in.
  1. Mazinger-Z's Avatar
    I like how he mentions crowd control but they Nerf crowd-control in several parts of the Mythic dungeons
  1. Roshar's Avatar
    "Play the game how we say. Have fun the way we tell you to have fun. Stop complaining."
  1. Shambulanced's Avatar
    The whole patch notes/documentation fiasco has been an issue for years at this point, although the volume of undocumented changes definitely increased dramatically in Legion, with no signs of stopping in BFA.

    At a certain point, much like "improving communication," Lore and Ion need to actually state how they're going to fix and improve this, and demonstrate that they're capable of doing so, or it just begins to sound like nobody on the team knows what the other teams/members are doing, and there's little to no organization or leadership.

    In other words, if this is truly accidental and not intentional, they have provided no evidence and it points toward gross incompetence and poor leadership. Not exactly confidence-instilling in your consumers.
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shambulanced View Post
    The whole patch notes/documentation fiasco has been an issue for years at this point, although the volume of undocumented changes definitely increased dramatically in Legion, with no signs of stopping in BFA.

    At a certain point, much like "improving communication," Lore and Ion need to actually state how they're going to fix and improve this, and demonstrate that they're capable of doing so, or it just begins to sound like nobody on the team knows what the other teams/members are doing, and there's little to no organization or leadership.

    In other words, if this is truly accidental and not intentional, they have provided no evidence and it points toward gross incompetence and poor leadership. Not exactly confidence-instilling in your consumers.
    You have to wonder how bad their internal tools are if it's seriously like "Jimmy was asked to change this, Jimmy did change this but Jimmy didn't write down that he changed this, so we didn't know Jimmy changed this"
  1. Sesethi's Avatar
    Imo I am getting tired of the good old PR Bullshit "the team didnt mean to do this or that... it didnt end up the way we wanted... You guys deserve better" get your shit together man, or add more people that can. Player feedback was more than given throughout the end of Legion and until now
  1. Zoldor's Avatar
    We don't want AE stun and cleave and we want CC, but we don't want mobs to be CC able and we want the timer so tight that if you stop to CC and single burn you won't make the timer.

    Cool. Seems like your statements all make sense in the real world of CC and burn single target to beat a timer vs AE stun that shit and burn it all quickly. Wonder which of these works and which doesn't.
  1. Palapop's Avatar
    What fucking idiots are posting these questions?!
  1. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    Patch notes were thorough, but not complete.


    No shit....
  1. kevincuomo's Avatar
    These Q&A's are getting worse and worse. Ion talks for ages and i am always left feeling like nothing was explained or accomplished. The questions that are picked are useless and no one cares about them. Josh, it's almost 2019 and you are rocking a perm my dude... no need to announce you are a virgin like that, time to change the hair. I feel bad for you rocking that perm.
  1. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    Are players not aware that they can use the in-game voice chat for their PuG?

    Are devs not aware that free and superior options exist aka Discord?

    Guilds use voice chat. Just not crappy built in ones.
  1. Ilnez's Avatar
    Imagine the sentence "if we did this, players would be able to use the cool new stuff right away" being construed as a bad thing. O.o
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Eleccybubb View Post
    Are players not aware that they can use the in-game voice chat for their PuG?

    Are devs not aware that free and superior options exist aka Discord?

    Guilds use voice chat. Just not crappy built in ones.
    It may lack features, like ranks and such, but it's really not crappy. It's used extensively in OW and is actually really good quality. So in a pug situation, like M+, I don't see a real reason not to use it.

    It's not bad, probably because Blizzard didn't actually make it lol
  1. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    The team forgot to tell players about this at the start of Battle for Azeroth.

    You "forgot" to tell us a lot of shit at the start eh Ion?

    Seems to be just the usual BS Q and A where nothing of worth is being answered.
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    This will be the last tier that you'll have to unlock the powers on. Moving forward, they will probably be unlocked, giving you armor that presents choice.
    The team will shift AP to the Heart itself, allowing you to make choices about permanent powers, potentially active abilities. More to share in the future!
    oh, like people have been saying all along.... lol
  1. Daemos daemonium's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Eleccybubb View Post
    Are players not aware that they can use the in-game voice chat for their PuG?

    Are devs not aware that free and superior options exist aka Discord?

    Guilds use voice chat. Just not crappy built in ones.
    You seemed to miss the point of that question. They asked if blizzard was going to do any thing to make pugging better with how much you have to communicate. Blizzard has put a voice chat in that works perfectly fine other then that there is nothing they can really do to make little jimmy in a pug communicate.
  1. mmoc4282a3f415's Avatar
    Nothing about class design lol....
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Daemos daemonium View Post
    You seemed to miss the point of that question. They asked if blizzard was going to do any thing to make pugging better with how much you have to communicate. Blizzard has put a voice chat in that works perfectly fine other then that there is nothing they can really do to make little jimmy in a pug communicate.
    Basically, we use that voicechat all the time in OW, it's quality is on par with Discord, not surprising since they outsourced it to a pretty big voip company.
  1. Meia's Avatar
    I've never heard someone use so many words to say so little.


    He starts off saying it's easier to design by not giving people new abilities, admits to it not being received too well, and then rambles for 4 minutes about something different than what he started with.
  1. Palapop's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Meia View Post
    I've never heard someone use so many words to say so little.


    He starts off saying it's easier to design by not giving people new abilities, admits to it not being received too well, and then rambles for 4 minutes about something different than what he started with.

    he just didn't want to say "CLASS DESIGN IS SHIT!"

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