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. DrMcNinja's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Niwes View Post
    dont know why ppl have a problem with ion. at least he tries to communicate their intentions, their philosophy behind, tries that ppl understand the why and agree when they failed.
    And what can we conclude from all of these Q&A's combined together? That they hear us? That they're looking into it but not for this patch? That "in the long term, it will be fine"?

    It's the same riddle every single time, he talks a lot but says very little. Even if he's a mere messenger, he's a horrible one. I'd rather have a person who is a good speaker convey these pre-scripted messages than this monotone machine.
  1. Dracullus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Niwes View Post
    dont know why ppl have a problem with ion.
    He's tanking whole WoW dev team. Forum hate is loud, but mostly mindless. If team would put janitor in these Q&As, they would think that janitor is source of all problems.

    For example, I saw many post from people who thought that Ghostcrawler was better game director and he got too much hate. But he was NEVER game director, he just interacted with community the most.

    I like that Ion take more reponsibility than Chilton, who just send people like Cory Stockton to do interviews, so hate was focused on them.
  1. Lei's Avatar
    Ion as a GAME DIRECTOR has the most saying as to where the game goes. It literally means he directs the game to where it will go.
    So when someone (I wonder who came up with that, amongst many decisions in the past 5-6 years...) came up with the azerite armor concept, he had to say the last word as in "yay" or "nay". And he said yay. Someone said "yay" to legendaries in Legion, and professions and reputations and islands too. Who do you think it was?
    I would think nobody "above him" there is to spend sleepless nights thinking what to do with wow, and how to direct the game director to make him do those ideas, that's literally Ion's and his team's job. Hence Game Director.
    Do people seriously think there is a Game Director Director? And he has a Game Director Director Director above him? Wtf?
  1. lyphe's Avatar
    Island Expeditions
    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.
    Good god this level of stupidity.

    How about instead, you keep islands relevent into the next expac similar to how proving grounds work. That will give people that like them something to do anytime they feel like it AND you won't depreciate the effort of every player that actually put work into getting the items during the expansion.

    This fucking obsession with nerfing everything as the expac goes on so that every special princess gets a pony is crazy. They neuter their own content, depreciate the value of things people have worked on, and further propagate the view that you may as well not doing things now since they'll just become easier if you wait.

    This kind of comment literally feels like it sums up all the stupid mistakes they just keep making over and over again.

    Please put some real gamers in charge of WoW again ffs.
  1. Corroc'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.
    Nice try, next time watch the Q/A.
  1. Niwes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by DrMcNinja View Post
    And what can we conclude from all of these Q&A's combined together? That they hear us? That they're looking into it but not for this patch? That "in the long term, it will be fine"?

    It's the same riddle every single time, he talks a lot but says very little. Even if he's a mere messenger, he's a horrible one. I'd rather have a person who is a good speaker convey these pre-scripted messages than this monotone machine.
    you just expect too much. development takes time. they do more often QnAs than they have to say something. its a marketing mechanism to show players: we are here. thats all. yes, ion talk a lot and say just a little. because there is just a little. the guy you wish would come on stage, tell you the hard facts in 2min without context and leave. is this better ? no clue. but i am sure as hell, ppl would even more complain about that. because facts i can also read in text notes. ion at least delivers context.

    maybe ppl expect too much, what can happen in 4 weeks in a game like wow...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Dracullus View Post
    He's tanking whole WoW dev team. Forum hate is loud, but mostly mindless. If team would put janitor in these Q&As, they would think that janitor is source of all problems.

    For example, I saw many post from people who thought that Ghostcrawler was better game director and he got too much hate. But he was NEVER game director, he just interacted with community the most.

    I like that Ion take more reponsibility than Chilton, who just send people like Cory Stockton to do interviews, so hate was focused on them.
    yep. ofc sheep almost hate the face they present to them to transmit the message.

    chilton and stockton both were horrible imo. greg street was ok, since he also at least tried to give context and tried hard that ppl understand whats behind. sometimes too hard for my taste. all in all ion at least give context.

    in the end its not ion. its not the wow team. its the management and the will of the share holders that dictate the direction and foremost give ion a budget of x. imo the wow just tries to make the best they can out of a mid range budget.

    a game director that played that much wow like ion has, ofc has A LOT of ideas what can be done with wow. but in the end, he have to serve the customers, the shareholders and have to get all together in a giant monotlith wow is.

    maybe some ppl could do it better. but i am sure as hell, there are also a lot, that can do it worse.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Lei View Post
    Ion as a GAME DIRECTOR has the most saying as to where the game goes. It literally means he directs the game to where it will go.
    So when someone (I wonder who came up with that, amongst many decisions in the past 5-6 years...) came up with the azerite armor concept, he had to say the last word as in "yay" or "nay". And he said yay. Someone said "yay" to legendaries in Legion, and professions and reputations and islands too. Who do you think it was?
    I would think nobody "above him" there is to spend sleepless nights thinking what to do with wow, and how to direct the game director to make him do those ideas, that's literally Ion's and his team's job. Hence Game Director.
    Do people seriously think there is a Game Director Director? And he has a Game Director Director Director above him? Wtf?

    do you ever have worked in a giant company like blizz. seems like not. you forget that small word called budget. why he said yai to azerite ? because its cheap.

    ppl have no clue what cost effective development means these days. i am a software dev since 20 years, so i at least know how things go. and imo some kiddy ppl here have completely no clue how the business world ticks and have completely no clue what they even talk about. a LOT of BS here. i fear of eye and brain cancer here..

    - - - Updated - - -

    just to add: i am not happy with a lot of things in BfA too. but this doesnt mean i am too stupid to have some reality check. if i no longer like for what i pay, i stop paying 15 bugs a month. simple as that.
  1. Lei's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Niwes View Post
    do you ever have worked in a giant company like blizz. seems like not. you forget that small word called budget. why he said yai to azerite ? because its cheap.

    ppl have no clue what cost effective development means these days. i am a software dev since 20 years, so i at least know how things go. and imo some kiddy ppl here have completely no clue how the business world ticks and have completely no clue what they even talk about. a LOT of BS here. i fear of eye and brain cancer here..
    I've been saying the same thing about the budget stuff for a long time now. And I'm not some kiddy. Nevertheless, it doesn't work, does it? Players simply don't like it, and the relief only comes in ~5-6 months. There are contious bad decisions regards the game. We are mostly talking simple decisions here "will the players like it or not" type of things. They are completely disconnected from the playerbase, so the budget stuff doesn't even apply here, wow can be the cheapest game if players don't like it and don't play it because it's that bad.
  1. Alkizon's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    There are effectively 36 distinct classes.
    Finally! It was officially recognized (exactly this wording)
  1. Walkerbo's Avatar
    So the team had no idea that pruning class abilities and spells without any replacement or new abilities and spells would not be fun?
    How have they become so isolated from players that they could not anticipate that reducing/removing player choices would not be well received.
  1. Deianeira'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.
    What is it that they pruned away in BfA in those major ways that its the worst in the games history?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleccybubb View Post
    I mean you are quoting the guy who thinks firing Ion will solve everything.

    Rationality isn't their strong suit. Or knowledge of industries/business for that matter.
    Seems to me we have had this before, where people cry about the Game Director/Lead Designer endlessly and want him removed. And when he quits/is removed a while after they be like "Those were the days wish we could have him back"

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by huehuehue View Post
    just seems like someone who can reason, to me
    Well it seems all he got to attack him is to insinuate that he is gay as if that have anything to do with anything. Also the sad personal attacks on Lore´s appearance is telling aswell.
  1. JacobusRex's Avatar
    Ion's answers sound like a corporate puppet speaking... he's such a drained, passionless lackey who's ruining this game with these greedy content-stretching choices. It's disgusting.
  1. Novaice's Avatar
    should just give "blank" keystones and let the players choose to run the dungeons they want to run.
  1. Roar-Powah's Avatar
    With Ion at the helm of WoW i cannot see this game getting any better for the foreseeable future. blizz need to go it alone, away from activision, they need to bring people in who have a passion for mmorpg. This will all happen when world peace comes into play...
  1. OGhawaiian's Avatar
    would love some new demons for us warlocks that would be nice

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