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. mmoc30274401ab's Avatar
    Patch notes were thorough, but not complete.
    The team didn't mean to break the addon, but can't restore the functionality.
    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.
    The team forgot to tell players about this at the start of Battle for Azeroth.
    The team is never truly satisfied with the state of class design.
    It's hard to keep every spec unique.


  1. Diggy's Avatar
    Tis good to see certain peeps here already switching gears to 'Wait till 8.2 before you complain' just like they did with alpha, beta, prepatch, launch and now 8.1.

    Keep moving those goal posts guys!
  1. oathy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Razaron View Post
    The usual Ion word salad, talk forever with no substance!
    His Former life as a lawyer serves him well in these Q&A's.
    Said before they need a 3rd person in on these things, So they stop feeling like a deposition
  1. kamuimac's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by snugglewump View Post
    "Deleting Mythic+ Keys - Some Affixes will make some dungeons easier than others, but the goal is for most dungeons to be similarly difficult."

    I am sorry but King's Rest will never be as easy Freehold and Atal'dazar on any given affix combination.
    depends - imagine if they for example taken out 20% of trash - this would get job done easily
  1. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Diggy View Post
    Tis good to see certain peeps here already switching gears to 'Wait till 8.2 before you complain' just like they did with alpha, beta, prepatch, launch and now 8.1.

    Keep moving those goal posts guys!
    Nope.

    If people want to be critical then feel free to. I'm enjoying the game personally, I get peoples criticism and actually enjoy a good discussion with those who present it calmly, maturely and constructively.
  1. Ungrateful's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Logwyn View Post
    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.

    Sums it up nicely. Their internal communication sucks and/or there's a manager problem. Which ends up with what we get in BFA.

    I cringe at raid tiers being called "seasons" ugh. Just more of the one and done thing they are starting to suck at.
    They really used the 'small indy company' meme as an actual excuse...you can't make this stuff up. XD

    It's a bit concerning that one of the biggest game development companies doesn't have a merge/documentation/review process to get changes into the live build.
  1. Irefusetodie's Avatar
    I'm not holding my breath on the "new" neck system being any good at all. It sounds like it's basically going to be just another artifact weapon and/or piece of azerite armor. They really need to move away from this overall system, and AP, after this expansion or they need to make it a non-core system.
  1. Saverem's Avatar
    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!
    Best fucking news I've seen in WoW in over 2 years! FINALLY! Just have to wait another like 5 months for it...
  1. Dadwen's Avatar
    Every time I see the Class section on these My inner Zodberg kicks in...
    Blizzard your class design is bad and you should feel bad......
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Eleccybubb View Post
    No legendary items are planned right now, but they could be added where it fits the story and content.

    Just don't do Legiondary style crap again.

    The cape and ring were fine. Everyone got to get it but you worked on it over the expansion. Like the relic in FF14.

    Just make the catch up more forgiving.
    If they could do it without making it so generic like the cloak and ring, the ring itself was awful, most people never even got to use it in raid.
  1. Palapop's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ehrenpanzer View Post
    Its handpicked asslicking questions... you didnt actually expect them to answer REAL questions on a Live Q+A did you?
    there was 1 small spark of hope..... but yeah.... nothing more.
  1. dlhak's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by eolthedarkelf View Post
    Patch notes were thorough, but not complete.
    The team didn't mean to break the addon, but can't restore the functionality.
    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.
    The team forgot to tell players about this at the start of Battle for Azeroth.
    The team is never truly satisfied with the state of class design.
    It's hard to keep every spec unique.


    In other words

    WE DON'T CARE ANYMORE ...
  1. FanaticDreamer's Avatar
    For the first few years, every expansion kept providing more spells and talents. Action bars started to hit their limits.
    People made do with addons and macros. This was not an issue for the intelligent player. Also you could have implemented a system where people could switch "styles" so they could click a button and shift their action bars based on what they were doing: dungeons, raids, farming, etc.


    It was no longer clear what classes needed, as they had all of the tools they needed.
    There's always room for new and fun abilities...that much should be obvious.


    Getting new stuff is cool and exciting, and something big was lost when the team pulled away from that.
    LOL you think?


    There are effectively 36 distinct classes. Years ago the specs weren't as different.
    Sorry, I'm going to call BS on this one. The specs were way less homogenized back in the day and it felt different because you could build them differently.

    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.
    You pruned way too much.

    It's hard to keep every spec unique.
    Hire people to do that. You guys are a billion dollar company. I guarantee there are hundreds of fans of the game who could do a better job than your current team.
  1. nyc81991's Avatar
    Blizzard really does seem like it's imploding right now. The devs are majorly out of touch and it's sad to see.

    Also,
    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.
    That was the biggest load of bs. BFA was the worst pruning to date.
  1. Powerogue's Avatar
    "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!"

    I approve. Shifting more towards what was good about the Legion system. I was not engaged at all by azerite armor punishing you for upgrading gear by withdrawing several tiers of perks, that you then have to re-earn. Very poor design and makes gear progression not fun. I'm glad they are reworking this, even if it will likely bring back some of the pitfalls of the legion system (obsessive players that MUST HAVE IT ALL grinding themselves to dust instead of keeping to the pacing of the AP scaling)

    I wholeheartedly approve of what I see: They're taking in feedback and working on integrating it into the game, rather than taking the WOD method of giving up on the expansion entirely to work on the next one.
  1. zoenova's Avatar
    This Q and A is so scripted it worse then wrestling lol

    More hot garbage out of Ian's mouth thanks for the titan residuum for us world questers.
  1. mmoc35f68e9f3b's Avatar
    Is it safe to say that we are now hammering down nail by nail into the coffin?
  1. zoenova's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by nyc81991 View Post
    Blizzard really does seem like it's imploding right now. The devs are majorly out of touch and it's sad to see.

    Also,


    That was the biggest load of bs. BFA was the worst pruning to date.
    Yep look how cocking Ian is, he is totally clueless to what is really happening in the game today lol
  1. baseballfan's Avatar
    Why do they want cross faction communication? Even in an RP experience... It doesn't make sense.
  1. Archmage Alodi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Daemos daemonium View Post
    Not till 8.2 pretty much, there was zero changes they would put in big changes mid 8.1.
    Wouldn't get my hopes up for 8.2 either.

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