PCGamer Interview with Ion Hazzikostas on Patch 8.2
PCGamer interviewed Ion Hazzikostas on the upcoming Patch 8.2 - Rise of Azshara and the lessons the team has learned from Battle for Azeroth's launch.



General Philosophy
  • There is still no exact date when 8.2 will be on the PTR, but Ion says "not too long after this, we're going to have a large info dump for the community and (public test realm) for Rise of Azshara will start."
  • 8.2 is a "very large content patch."

Nazjatar
  • 8.2 will take the best features of past endgame content, but is also trying a lot of new things.
  • The team doesn't just want Nazjatar to feel like a familiar formula applied to a new set of terrain, but an actual meaningful different game experience from the past few months.

Azerite System
  • Having to re-earn your traits as you get better gear is not fun and something they want to completely move away from.
  • 8.2 will continue to have new Azerite traits unique to Azshara's raid or to Mechagon that compliment the existing pool of traits.
  • Traits will be fully unlocked and players can choose their talents that best fits their play style.
  • The Heart of Azeroth will continue to use Azerite Power for a progression path on the Heart itself that consists of both passive and active traits.
  • Active abilities will be actual new spells that are placed on the hotbar and have a meaningful change to your combat rotation immediately.
  • Addressing the core system of Azerite Armor was something Tides of Vengeance couldn't do, and so the team added the 5th ring and more customization while they worked on the new system for the past couple months.

Future Expansion Feature Design
  • The team learned a lot about the importance of player agency.
  • The Azerite System was designed to respond to the failings of Legion Artifacts in which the customization was very frontloaded.
  • They feel that having all traits unlocked on Legion weapons, not having any big choices, and being the same as every other person of your class was a missed opportunity to give players more choice.
  • One of their biggest mistakes in the BfA beta was waiting too long to get the Azerite Armor and traits fully stood up in the beta.
  • Going forward, the team is going to have a much higher priority on getting end game gear progression into the player's hand in the early stages of the alpha and beta tests.

Portal Removal
  • The team has to find a middle ground between many different play styles.
  • Flying is a good example. There are those who think flying makes the world feel smaller and some who want the convenience. The system evolved from getting it for gold, to not having it at all, and ultimately settled on a method that they feel is a nice middle ground.
  • The team wanted to consolidate portals into something that was more intuitive and made more sense within the world. They didn't want players having to place their Hearthstone in old expansion content because it was the most accessible area.
  • Feedback is what caused Caverns of Time to be added to the portal rooms in 8.2

Change and Player Reactions
  • The team sometimes makes changes that seem less fun because they've been burned in the past and are worried about some consequence three years down the line.
  • A lot of the current gear progression systems were designed as expansion only features, and the team wants to be more open to implementing permanent RPG additions to the game and accepting that there will be some untidiness down the road as long as it's exciting for players.
This article was originally published in forum thread: PCGamer Interview with Ion Hazzikostas on Patch 8.2 started by Stoy View original post
Comments 306 Comments
  1. Dylamoo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Roar-Powah View Post
    I cannot tell if serious or not....

    If serious = Blizzard know what works and doesn't, you have to be very asinine to think Blizzard are still "learning". New companies sure, old ones like Blizzard no. They are a company made for shareholders and that is it, they couldn't give two shits about their customer base and will only lift a finger once it hurts their bottom line or has some bad PR attached to it. Ion is the biggest bullshiter out of the lot of them, that is why he has the job for, he is sly, very sly and I've seen a fair few people like him in my time.

    Blizzard deserve what they get, and it's about time people stop putting up with the constant lying.
    You're just part of that internet angry ego mania that thinks they're insightful about the on goings of how companies work. Your lifetime of experience is too small to account for anything substantial especially regarding business and go ahead and insert some bullshit about how your 40 years of working blah blah blah is enough to account for making whatever nonsense you say are facts. If you paid any attention at all the company specifically the WoW team has been changing non stop for the last decade so what do you mean they aren't learning? Anytime you change your team at work you completely disrupt the product and if you don't know that then that's your problem.
    I'm not saying i don't like the current state of the game, but i learned to get my head out of my ass and realized there's so many damn people in this game that actually likes the direction of the game and the people who constantly squeal about hating the game are just the loudest. I personally want TBC/vanilla/wotlk type of game but will i get that? Maybe if vanilla servers are true vanilla servers. You just eventually realize that nothing is perfect in life and the way the internet goes on about handling "fixing" things just works in reverse and makes it worse.
  1. Vilendor's Avatar
    Having to re-earn your FLYING is not fun and something they want to completely move away from.
    There, fixed it for you, Ian
  1. eduwneso's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Yunaqt View Post
    Nope you're not. I am 100% excited for this providing they're meaningful ^^
    It actually makes me sad, and it's not the state of the game, it's the state of the community, I can't see anything negative in this interview yet people just post what they consider negative and nothing positive about it. This just speaks what has become of humanity in the past 2 decades, it's a negativity shitfest all over the world.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleccybubb View Post
    Exactly. Quality over quantity. Which BFA is doing the absolute opposite of. And it's driving people to other games.
    My god, I know you have me on ignore but it really amazes me how you mostly center on negative comments to create a hate/negative echo chamber, it makes you feel good or something?
  1. Cannibalus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusPM View Post
    "The Heart of Azeroth will continue to use Azerite Power for a progression path on the Heart itself that consists of both passive and active traits.
    Active abilities will be actual new spells that are placed on the hotbar and have a meaningful change to your combat rotation immediately."

    NO NO NOOOOOO. We DON'T need active traits.
    Some removed artifact abilities would surely come in hand with the current state of some classes. I personally want the guardian one.
  1. tripleh's Avatar
    ""Flying is a good example. There are those who think flying makes the world feel smaller and some who want the convenience. The system evolved from getting it for gold, to not having it at all, and ultimately settled on a method that they feel is a nice middle ground.""

    He forgot the part were massive wave of players unsubbed. Which then forced the devs to add flying. But what he calls the "middle ground"/pathfinder is just retailiation towards the playerbase that wanted flying. By making players wait months after the expansion has dropped. Here's hoping that activision replaces Ion and other devs. We need some new devs to bring life back into the game.
  1. Pakheth's Avatar
    "The team wanted to consolidate portals into something that was more intuitive and made more sense within the world. They didn't want players having to place their Hearthstone in old expansion content because it was the most accessible area."
    But you didn't Blizz, that's the problem.

    Getting from Zandalar to Kul Tiras is the most unimmersive way of travelling I have ever seen in the game.

    If you don't want us to travel via portal then give us zeppelins and boats.
  1. Cavox's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by eduwneso View Post
    just look at this thread after an actually good interview
    You wouldn't know a good interview if it hit you straight in the face. Let's see what Ion said that's so great:

    8.2 is a "very large content patch."
    They say this about every patch, just so people come back to the game at least to check it out.
    8.2 will take the best features of past endgame content, but is also trying a lot of new things.
    Meaningless PR speech.
    The team doesn't just want Nazjatar to feel like a familiar formula applied to a new set of terrain, but an actual meaningful different game experience from the past few months.
    Meaningless PR speech - it tells you NOTHING about what the content is and how it looks like.
    Having to re-earn your traits as you get better gear is not fun and something they want to completely move away from.
    Saying what people have been saying from BfA day 1. Damage control with no concrete info - what are they changing? when? what about the mechanics that are implemented right now? will they be removed? modified? Nothing.
    8.2 will continue to have new Azerite traits unique to Azshara's raid or to Mechagon that compliment the existing pool of traits.
    Nothing new, every raid tier added new Azerite traits.
    Traits will be fully unlocked and players can choose their talents that best fits their play style.
    First part is actual info, second is stating the obvious.
    The Heart of Azeroth will continue to use Azerite Power for a progression path on the Heart itself that consists of both passive and active traits.
    How to use many words to say nothing.
    Active abilities will be actual new spells that are placed on the hotbar and have a meaningful change to your combat rotation immediately.
    You could consolidate two previous points into: Heart of Azeroth will now unlock Active skills players will have to use from their hotbar. But I guess he's being paid per word spoken.
    Addressing the core system of Azerite Armor was something Tides of Vengeance couldn't do, and so the team added the 5th ring and more customization while they worked on the new system for the past couple months.
    Postponing fixing major problems the game has AGAIN. Making excuses. Great interview so far.
    The team learned a lot about the importance of player agency.
    The "team" has some mental problems, because they have learning problems. They keep "learning" basic concepts of a MMORPG every interview, yet somehow they make the same mistakes over and over again.
    The Azerite System was designed to respond to the failings of Legion Artifacts in which the customization was very frontloaded.
    Doesn't matter what it was "supposed to do" if it failed spectacularly. Excuses.
    They feel that having all traits unlocked on Legion weapons, not having any big choices, and being the same as every other person of your class was a missed opportunity to give players more choice.
    Yet people had more fun with it than your forced "you have a choice with Azerite traits, but not really" approach. You've been taking away choice from players for several years now, so stop pretending like it's a priority for you.
    One of their biggest mistakes in the BfA beta was waiting too long to get the Azerite Armor and traits fully stood up in the beta.
    Your biggest mistake was ignoring the massive feedback that Azerite armor and traits are garbage from the beta testers.
    Going forward, the team is going to have a much higher priority on getting end game gear progression into the player's hand in the early stages of the alpha and beta tests.
    Another bunch of promises of the "we'll do better next time". Nobody believes that anymore, Ion.

    I could go on, but it's a waste of yours and my time. Ion uses PR speech, empty sentences and what "the team wants and feels" to shut people up while they keep ruining the game.
    Defend him if you want. BfA was finally the expansion that killed WoW for me. The amount of WoW refugees in FFXIV speaks for itself.
    I recommend watching https://youtu.be/WVj389dsd6o?t=615 to realize when you're being manipulated by PR speech. Just because "the team" is working on something, doesn't like something, "feels" something about a mechanic doesn't mean they will change or fix it.
  1. BoltBlaster's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cavox View Post
    You wouldn't know a good interview if it hit you straight in the face. Let's see what Ion said that's so great:
    Yep, that's how I read it all as well.

    Ion seems to be a very good lawyer. Saying a lot without saying anything, promising same things over and over again, making non-promises and stating obvious in as many words as he can.
  1. eduwneso's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cena View Post
    No the "very large content patch" has been used in WoD so that made me laugh.
    yeah, you are right here, but it's true this is a very large content patch tho, IF, what they have said so far is not a lie:

    -heroic warfronts for premade groups (10)
    -the raid
    -one zone a little bigger than timeless
    -one bigger zone
    -one mega dungeon
    -fixes to the azerite

    It looks like a really good patch, I understand people that won't believe anything until seen tho, but what I don't understand is bashing because bashing, or just the negative echo chamber that Eleccybub is making just answering negative posts with another negative comment for example.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavox View Post
    --snip--
    I can't deny anything you say, because I'm not that smart to read when it's just PR and not. What I actually meant with a good interview is that they do read it seems and are aware we are anxious for that 8.2 PTR, that's why they made this interview, it eased me and gave me some information about some stuff I was wondering.

    I won't defend everything they say or do, they have done bad shit, but also good stuff, more bad than good with how BFA started, but it has improved and I actually believe that not everything he says is just PR or someone with strings handing him a paper with the answers.

    You must agree with me, that when we as humans are tired or hate someone/something they will see everything they do as something bad or at least it will be hard for them to acknowledge something good from it/him/her.

    I'm not saying this is happening with you, because I don't know you, but I'm pretty sure it's happening with a lot of people on the forums, and that is damaging the community, not just blizzard.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Harbour View Post
    How can he tell something and still manage to not explain it properly? What exactly are 8.2. Azerite armor changes? Will we be able to choose EVERY possible trait in EVERY piece of AA or certain AA will still contain predetermined set of traits but unlocked from the very start (basically HoA level 1)? If its the first option then yes, its basically second talent panel, and thats awesome.
    If its second option then its pointless for everyone who played BFA for more than a week (i got HoA level 40 in a mere 4 days) and its not viable change or even deserving of mention, especially since we still need to level our HoA in 8.2.
    So what is it?
    This is not the complete interview, he said before that, that he wouldn't say much because they want us to see when they dump it all in the PTR, he is just outlining here so we at least get a general Idea before we get our hands on it.
  1. Cavox's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by eduwneso View Post
    You must agree with me, that when we as humans are tired or hate someone/something they will see everything they do as something bad or at least it will be hard for them to acknowledge something good from it/him/her.
    You reap what you sow. Activision-Blizzard sold out the goodwill of their playerbase over the years.
    What really matters is the end product. I don't care that the shit I'm being handed smells quite nice and doesn't taste as bad as it used to, when at the end of the day it came out of Ion's ASS.
  1. Muajin76's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Unholygrounded View Post
    Like someone else said, do it like FF14, Blizzard has taken tons of shit from other MMO's over the years and that would be a good one. Explore a zone completely and unlock flying for that character, it is not hard to understand or implement, and then disable flying in Warmode.
    Too bad they didnt follow the same style as Japan. If an online game/expac is a dumpster fire, it's scrapped..reworked and re-released in a much better state. That's what happened with FF online. It was a clusterfuck in just bout every way. Square scrapped it and came out with a much better version! Sadly, BLizzard doesn't feel shame in anyway whatsoever if an expac gets a negative reception.
  1. eduwneso's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Elkfingers View Post
    The whole 'Blizzard are always ruining the game' thing really loses a lot of its bite when the same people spout it whenever there's literally any news whatsoever, even to the point of contradicting themselves by whining about one thing and then still whining when Blizzard does the exact opposite thing.

    The whole azerite system, amd the loss of rotational complexity was a giant fuckup. I don't think anybody's disagreeing with that. Still, what I'm reading here all sounds really positive and while I'll reserve judgement until we have specifics, it is completely mental to be whining about changes that you literally know nothing about. The implementation might be good, or it might not, but unless you're pessimistic to the point of mostly being an asshole about almost anything ever, this at least represents a step in the right direction.

    I'm sure that nobody is intentionally trying to make their game worse. That's not because I have any kind of pro-Blizzard bias, but because doing something like that would be completely idiotic on its face.

    Either way I'm not sure it matters because any sane person is just going to ignore a vocal minority of people who have been shouting about how the sky is falling since the dawn of time, but having no faith whatsoever in the possibility of positive changes ever happening has to be incredibly tiring.
    If I could upvote you I would, this is 100% spot on.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Boomzy View Post
    It's starting to get really frustrating reading interviews with a fucking lawyer. HOLY SHIT TALK LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.
    If normal for you is the way you are talking here, I definetly prefer the lawyer way.
  1. ArenaDk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Muajin76 View Post
    Too bad they didnt follow the same style as Japan. If an online game/expac is a dumpster fire, it's scrapped..reworked and re-released in a much better state. That's what happened with FF online. It was a clusterfuck in just bout every way. Square scrapped it and came out with a much better version! Sadly, BLizzard doesn't feel shame in anyway whatsoever if an expac gets a negative reception.
    Probably because most people who complain, have no real reason. Open the forum, people say game is to easy and boring with only lfr clear and 1500 rating.
  1. diarx's Avatar
    The Player feels he should not play the take a shot every time "The Team" is mentioned in patch notes or a dev interview drinking game again.
    The Player doesn't want to flip for another expensive ambulance trip to have his stomach pumped after the last time, he hopes The Team can understand this.
    Going forward The Player also hopes he can stop talking in third person like someone with a dissociative identity disorder.
  1. Mighty Tim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RivenXIII View Post
    Azerite getting fully reworked = doubling down? Are you some kind of mentaly challenged kid or wtf is wrong with you?

    Where do all those hating for hatings sake people come from? There are things being adressed in exactly the same way the community wants them to be adressed and even now people are crying over the same things they cried the whole expansion evne though those things do not exist anymore.

    "Mom! We have no bread!!!"

    Mom goes shopping, buys bread

    "MOOOOM!! WE HAVE NO BREAD!!!"

    Yeah, makes sense
    It has been remade from a pointless endless grind to I suspect another pointless endless grind I don't know why you give them the benefit of the doubt at this point.
  1. cface's Avatar
    The ONLY thing Blizzard is learning, is how to create the least amount of content and abilities (cost reduction) for the maximum amount of subs.

    If anything, BFA is the proof itself of how little they have learned when it comes to player satisfaction. I just hope that I am wrong and 8.2 will be sweet and fun, classes left in the shitter will be able to have some sorely needed utility for m+, and casters get some actual on-demand aoe like melee has, tanks will get some look at (not simply nerfing lolclap and call it a day).
  1. Villentretenmerth's Avatar
    I quit BFA after like 2 Weeks and came back to level a Fat-Human but I couldn't do it. Its so fucking boring! I haven't touched any of the other Content. I didn't even log into my 120 Chars after I unlocked the Fatties.

    And don't see why they fucking bother with Endgame Content, when they Core-Mechanics are so fucking bad. They could add 2345 more Warfronts, Islands, Raids and fucking Quest-Zones - I WOULD NOT PLAY IT!

    All I'm waiting for now is Classic, that at least has some good Gameplay and Social-Mechanics that don't rely on new Content ever 2 Weeks.
  1. FelPlague's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by City Pop View Post
    I had a helm that made Dragon's Breath part of the main rotation and gave it range
    A belt that made scorch an execute
    Another belt that made Blizzard a burst ability and worth using ST
    A ring that let me TW twice in one fight
    Hands that let me combust more often, so I had to think more about pooling fireblasts.
    Wrists that made Pyro worth hardcasting on proc
    A chest that made blink give a shield, so I wanted to use it more strategically

    Now Legion wasn't my favorite era of design or anything, but I certainly had more to think about than with azerite traits.


    I haven't played Lock since MoP, but I would guess "Enemies affected by rain of fire take 10% extra damage from your fire spells," and "While you have rift open, all damage increased by 10%" means lining up cds with those windows.
    "doom deal 5% more per demon you have" would mean making sure you max your demons before your next doom.
    "when you cc a target gain movement speed and haste" would mean abusing add fights to get up time on the buff.
    "call dreadstalkers refund 1 shard" you can spend shards more efficiently, which may or may not give more to think about.
    "each enemy affliction by your unstable affliction increases damage by 4%" just sounds like something to teach bad players that maintaining dots on multitarget is important, but it could make you want to spend shards more aggressively rather than pooling for big UA dumps.

    It doesn't sound like locks had as interesting legos as mages, but I'd still say they require more thinking than "you have a chance to shoot a waterball for 3000 damage."

    going into the demo stuff

    rift was very often you had 3 charges and its cooldown was short, and it was one of your strongest hitting spells so yeah you lined stuff up

    doom hit every 15 ish seconds, we are not talking the 1 minute long doom we used to have, it was a dot you just kept up on your target
    but wait, isnt that just "extra stats" almost like how current azerite traits (will go into that at the end)
    lol that does not change anythin,g its literally just you cast 1 less shadowbolt.


    lets talk about some of the azerite traits i know that change your rotation.

    1. baleful invocation- when you summon tyrant, it gives you 5 soul shards instead of normally giving you none... yeah
    2. Explosive potential, means you want to be using implosion to keep this massive haste buff up
    3. demonic meteor, chance to refund soul shards (if you are gunna include call dreadstallkers refund 1 i will include this)
    4. incinerate has chance to generate a full soul shard (again idf you are gunna include dreadstalkers i will include this)
    5. chaos has chance to make your next incinerate instant, meaning you cant just chaos bolt chain, you will break that up with incinerates
    6. bursting flare makes you gain a stacking master buff as long as you use conflag on a target with imolate, meaning you will keep your buff up constantly.
    7.inevitable corruption gives you a stacking buff when you deal damage with agony, that turns drain life from a healing spell, into a massive single target burst.
    8. suddeny onset gives you 4 stacks with agony to start, this is a huge allowance for intial dps and speeds up your rate to 10 stacks.
    9. cascading calamity gives you a buff if you cast unstable affliction while you already have UA on the dude, this means you want to overlap them.
    10. dreadful calling makes UA reduce the cooldown of darkglare, meaning you get darkglarte more often and have to watch those burst phases more often.
    11. supreme commander makes your demonic tyrant once it run out give intellgience
    meaning that for 15 seconds after casting it buffs your demons, then ANOTHER 15 seconds after that, it buffs your intelligence. meaning the 15 second dps duration becomes a 30 second dps duration.
    12.shadows bite makes your demon bolts do extra damage for abit after using dreadstalker, making you pool your demon bolts for when you dreadstalker.
  1. Kataroku's Avatar
    I learned to stop believing that the WoW team can make a game fun to play.

    All of the fun things that they've removed in the past few expansions has finally added up to where it makes more sense to not play at all.

    Blizzard couldn't care less because the players they've retained are the ones who will gladly hand over $100 for extra credit on Candy Crush. Got to milk all of those mobile-gaming casuals.
  1. micwini's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cena View Post
    8.2 is a "very large content patch." LMFAO I died when I saw that.
    They said the same about 6.2 (Tanaan). They say it every patch, and each of them seem to be smaller than 5.2

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