Preach Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
Preach interviewed Ion Hazzikostas today! This interview was a good debate. Be sure to check out the full discussion for a lot of valid points about the Covenant system.





  • The reason the team decided for a permanent Covenant choice that can't be easily changed is because they want to give players a more "identity" choice over just "loadout" choices. This is a core mechanic of RPGs.
  • They want to make the Covenant choice a difficult, but informed, decision.
  • The consequence of the choice is much more drastic for players whose play style emphasizes player power. Ion mentions being open to having a scenario to test out the other covenant abilities be available to players even after committing to a covenant.
  • Ultimately the decision comes down to balance. Ion mentions committing to spec at the beginning of Legion was a more impactful decision than anything in Shadowlands as it determined your legendaries. There was problems with this, but it was way more weightier than the covenant decision.
  • The team wants to make sure the gaps between the abilities are never too large and there are scenarios where each one is useful. They want to give players more to differentiate themselves in content other than pressing their buttons harder than someone else of the same class.
  • Ion agrees that random procs are needed, but should not influence gameplay as much as they do now. They want you to feel like you influenced how well you did in an encounter. This is different from choices made before an encounter, however. The core of RPGs is about choices that make you unique from others of the same class.
  • The team has stripped away a lot of unique choices to differentiate each other from members of the same class, and this is them trying to bring some of that choice back.
  • Ion relates it to choices in previous expansions. A warrior that chose to make all of their choices around being a tank would probably take less damage, but they would be less versatile to the warrior who focused on also being able to fill an off-tank role.
  • Blizzard is giving these systems to players much earlier than azerite so that they can iterate on it now.
  • When a pug leaders asks if you are a certain spec over another, they can make associations about you as a player as that choice is easily changeable. Ion argues that when the choice is not easily changed, pug leaders can't necessarily judge your performance based on that choice.
  • Ion argues that having different solutions to problems is impactful. Strength and weaknesses should take into account more than just pure output.
  • It is the team's goal to make sure that your covenant choice isn't going to have a huge impact on interactions with other players and getting into groups. They want to get as much feedback during the beta as possible so they can iterate on the abilities and fix outliers and situations that could cause problems.
  • The team thinks the player power portion of the covenant choice is a meaningful decision. There is a fallback option to remove these restrictions and allow free change, but this is a last recourse.
  • Ion announced that destructible Conduits are a recipe for frustration. They are trying to think of some middle ground to make the decision of what ones to use semi-permanent and not have it be taxing to swap them out on each encounter. They will not be going live with the destructible conduits as they are now, but don't have a change to announce yet. It is still being discussed.
  • Every week until beta ends there will be additional beta invites.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Preach Interview with Ion Hazzikostas started by Stoy View original post
Comments 482 Comments
  1. enigma77's Avatar
    This should be good.
  1. Lurker1's Avatar
    Well said ion well said sir!
  1. Sluvs's Avatar
    It's not much of an interview. It's like a conversation, I think it's better, but preach seems incredibly frustratred already.
  1. Voidwielder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sluvs View Post
    It's not much of an interview. It's like a conversation, I think it's better, but preach seems incredibly frustratred already.
    It's a sort of a debate and I can't help but think that this will be the last time the two will talk on camera.

    Good on Preach for pressing on though, these things need to be said.
  1. Sluvs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Voidwielder View Post
    It's a sort of a debate and I can't help but think that this will be the last time the two will talk on camera.

    Good on Preach for pressing on though, these things need to be said.
    Yeah, I can see that, although I agree a little bit more with Ion on this situation, I do believe Preach need to say it and be heard. I just hope this does not become one "Preaching" (hehe) to the other and nothing changes
  1. Nagawithlegs's Avatar
    It's an interesting interview and I think both sides have good points. I think the biggest takeaway here is that Preach speaks for people who want classes (for example, all Hunters of one spec in a raid) to be near-identical and for mechanics/rotation to determine how successful the player is, while Ion wants individual players to have differences beyond that (not RNG based but different abilities and modifiers).
  1. Harbour's Avatar
    >I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOUR POINT, PREACH, HOWEVER I WILL REPEAT THE STATEMENT I ALREADY MADE AND YOU MADE THE POINT ABOUT


    See ya in 9.3 when you will make this game good, Ion.
  1. Voidwielder's Avatar
    Man, that lawyer talk made me glassy eyed. If that game design gig doesn't work out, he should consider becoming a snake charmer.
  1. Laqweeta's Avatar
    The reason the team decided for a permanent Covenant choice is because they want to give players a more "identity" choice over just "loadout" choices. This is a core mechanic of RPGs.

    That's an odd way to spell Shareholders/Time played metrics. Hmph.
  1. Esper's Avatar
    Oops, you picked the wrong covenant. Now you're permanently locked out of endgame raiding because your utility/damage skill is sub-par. The only thing that should be a permanent choice in this game is your class.
  1. Sluvs's Avatar
    Shit, preach's idea (having to do quests to earn the other covenants abilities) is pretty good. I dig that, it should be a hard quest though.
  1. apelsinjuice's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Laqweeta View Post
    The reason the team decided for a permanent Covenant choice is because they want to give players a more "identity" choice over just "loadout" choices. This is a core mechanic of RPGs.

    That's an odd way to spell Shareholders/Time played metrics. Hmph.
    yes its defintily started with legion, WoW is just made with KPI excel spreadsheets now and every goal is how to increase player time, sub time and "engagment", everything of all these news systems and AP grind cloak grind neck grind is just to get people play longer and stay subbed longer, have nothing to do with making a good game
  1. Haidaes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Laqweeta View Post
    The reason the team decided for a permanent Covenant choice is because they want to give players a more "identity" choice over just "loadout" choices. This is a core mechanic of RPGs.

    That's an odd way to spell Shareholders/Time played metrics. Hmph.
    It's also a part of RPGs that conflicts heavily with the MMO part and has thus been gradually phased out over the last 2 decades in most of them. Especially the themepark variant.
  1. Trinkie's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Esper View Post
    Oops, you picked the wrong covenant. Now you're permanently locked out of endgame raiding because your utility/damage skill is sub-par. The only thing that should be a permanent choice in this game is your class.
    Except you're never gonna be locked out of the endgame raiding. Peopla are taking it to the outmost extremes when this only affects less than 0.1% of the playerbase
  1. JacobMarley's Avatar
    I know that before working at blizz Ion was a competitive raider back in the old days... does anyone know if his job at the time was in politics or law? Because his way of answering questions reminds me of that... It's so unnatural.
  1. Collected's Avatar
    Feels like I'm sat at a bar at Blizzcon listening to them having a chat next to me.
  1. Durantye's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Esper View Post
    Oops, you picked the wrong covenant. Now you're permanently locked out of endgame raiding because your utility/damage skill is sub-par. The only thing that should be a permanent choice in this game is your class.
    If you get locked out of end game raiding cause of your covenant choice then the problem wasn't your covenant choice.
  1. kaid's Avatar
    It seems like preach really just wants to go FPS style for characters. Every DK is a DK they all work the same they all have the same stuff and no differences at all. I can sort of see that at the highest level play the desire for that but that seems like if they got what they actually seem to want it would make a boring game.
  1. apelsinjuice's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JacobMarley View Post
    I know that before working at blizz Ion was a competitive raider back in the old days... does anyone know if his job at the time was in politics or law? Because his way of answering questions reminds me of that... It's so unnatural.
    he was a laywer
  1. Voidwielder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Trinkie View Post
    Except you're never gonna be locked out of the endgame raiding. Peopla are taking it to the outmost extremes when this only affects less than 0.1% of the playerbase
    I had people whisper me I had the wrong talent for M+ 10 run as a healer (I sort of did but I knew better).

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