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 304 Comments
  1. Leodric's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Soluna View Post
    Can you name a single open world area that wasn't all about a bit of questing, some mount hunting, some stories, and dailies? Or are we forgetting literally that Isle of Quel'Danas, Argent Tournament, Molten Front, Isle of Thunder and Timeless Isle, Tanaan Jungle, Broken Shore and Argus were all just that? Some of them had more niches than others, but you are lying to yourself if you think that any of the past expansion zones were better than Argus. The only one that might be better is Isle of Thunder and well, what can you do, it will be the best until the next best thing, crazy right?
    That was exactly my point. It is the same as before so obviously it won't be the next big thing either. The problem is that with Argus they should've done something else since it's new. Copying Isle or anything else isn't going to work.

    I personally liked the Argent Tournament and especially the Timeless Isle way more than Argus since it brought at least a little bit of change. I can't come up with anything in my head regarding Argus which was giving me a feeling of "oh, cool, that's something new". I still liked Legion a lot, but Argus was a let down.
  1. Volitar's Avatar
    For the past 3 expansions I have heard that they have learned from their mistakes and are trying to improve dev communication, and its gotten worse every time.
  1. nakigara's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by topitopi View Post
    This. 100%! Go Classic team.

    Sad truth is, if subs go up because of Classic, Ion and Co will keep giving the community the finger so it’s a catch-22: sub for classic, or stay unsubbed bc Ion is just the worst...
    I feel like they're going to tie Classic features or expansions into the Live expansion purchase. Just seems like what they'd do.
  1. Soluna's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Leodric View Post
    That was exactly my point. It is the same as before so obviously it won't be the next big thing either. The problem is that with Argus they should've done something else since it's new. Copying Isle or anything else isn't going to work.

    I personally liked the Argent Tournament and especially the Timeless Isle way more than Argus since it brought at least a little bit of change. I can't come up with anything in my head regarding Argus which was giving me a feeling of "oh, cool, that's something new". I still liked Legion a lot, but Argus was a let down.
    Alright that's a fair point. Regarding Argent Tournament, I really can't see what's so fun about it with seemingly it's only source of content being dailies mostly? Or was it exciting because it was the first of its kind? Just curious regarding what made you like Argent Tournament that much.

    Personally I didn't like Timeless Isle thaaat much (was nice though), but I really loved Isle of Thunder. I think that was a pretty cool place, my favourite most likely with the treasure runs, all the weird rares, the environment, the fel fire questline, the story and how it progressed, etc.

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