Preach Developer Interview with Ion Hazzikostas - Patch 9.1
Preach is sitting down to discuss the details of Patch 9.1 with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas!


  • Patch 9.1 Time Frame
    • Patch 9.1 is the first content developed completely from work at home.
    • There is more content already well in the way for the future and it is coming along well.
  • Korthia
    • There is a lot more for the zone that will be dropped into the PTR in the coming weeks.
    • Korthia will have more daily quests, rares, and events that are tied to the narrative and the progenitors.
    • There will be a reward system similar to mana pearls from Nazjatar without the RNG and bis issues from that patch.
  • Gear
    • Sylvanas's bow and unique drops are because she is a special boss fight.
    • The initial unique bow ability was too hard to balance, and so it was changed to what it is right now.
  • Legendaries
    • There are some pain points the team is working on for the future.
    • Wearing 2 legendaries may come later in the expansion.
    • There are no plans to add legendary refunds in 9.1 but the team is discussing it.
    • Covenant legendaries do not swap to their alternative Covenant options when switching Covenants.
  • Conduit Energy
    • Conduits are not perfect.
    • The team still stands by not having too many systems that you switch between fights.
    • They are trying to address conduits that feel mandatory.
    • It is almost impossible to accommodate the playstyle of being perfectly optimal in every situation. There is a distinction between optimal and viable.
  • Torghast
    • There will be updates to the Torghast system in the next stage of the PTR update.
    • The short team fixes of nerfing Torghast was to address the frustrations of the Torghast rewards system, but in doing so the content became less engaging.
    • The death counter in Torghast is gone in Patchj 9.1.
    • Torghast will return to being more challenging in 9.1, but you will always get your soul ash upon completion regardless of performance. You will never leave without feeling rewarded.
    • There are new UI elements for Torghast in 9.1. You will have a "hot streak" rating bar that improves your score by playing well.
    • There will be a Torghast "talent tree" similar to Visions from BFA. You will gain tower knowledge to spend on perks and upgrades to improve your runs.
    • The rating system will be on a 1-5 gem system. You need 4 gems to make it to the next floor. This can be done by being quick, or by being slower and efficient. This is not a speed run system.
    • No plans to add gear drops to Torghast. There are plenty of gear reward options in the game already.
    • They are adding more modifiers to the runs and powers. These will be both affixes and "blessings" which give positive benefits.
  • Raid - Shards of Domination
    • The Shards of Domination system is very early and not necessarily going live as is.
    • The team wants to make sure raid gear is special for raiding.
    • The general goal is to make raid gear improve performance while in the raid.
    • The team wants you to primarily be interested in the gear for the content you are doing, but complimenting that with other sources.
    • The team still plans to add tier sets back.
  • Covenants
    • There is still ongoing balance to address Covenants.
    • Overall the team is happy with Covenants as they relate to Shadowlands.
    • The team wants to carry the idea of branching paths and unique choices and experiences between players.
    • They don't necessarily want it to be in the same way as the Covenant system played out.
  • Borrowed Power
    • Awhile ago the team realized that evergreen adding systems permanently would eventually be unsustainable.
    • They saw in Draenor that there was a gap there with no new systems. This is where the idea to add temporary systems came from.
    • Legion was the most successful of this system largely because it was new to players.
    • However, Legion felt awful at the end when everything was taken away.
    • The team wants to find a middle ground. Ion uses the example of "a mage going to the Shadowlands, learning new things, and coming back better for it."
    • The team agrees that they want to move away from borrowed power.
    • There has always been some sort of borrowed power in the game (tier sets) that you eventually leave behind, but there has to be a balance.
  • Performance Gaps and Gearing Up
    • Power level from item rating has not changed even since Wrath. 1 item level is basically the equivalent of 1%.
    • If there is such a big gap between players 20 item levels apart, it is more likely a skill issue.
    • The team is happy with the catch-up systems for Renown, but they have mixed feelings on other check boxes to catch up. There are areas that could be improved.
    • There are some players who are playing alts because they are done progressing on their main character. Making catch-up mechanics too easy would do them a significant disservice. There are many players who enjoy the journey.
  • Class Design and Issues
    • Damage is a way for healers to contribute effectively when there is downtime in HPS. Disc priests were designed around this philosophy, but they should not be without weaknesses. Reigning in Spirit Shell is a way to address this. Holy Paladins have the same issue, some of which is caused by Ashen Verdict, but the team also wants to give these classes choices between damage and healing like other healers instead of just passive damage while healing.
    • The team wants every class to have a reason not to be sat. They want to make changes to spells like Anti-Magic Zone which feel too effective. An idea is to add its mitigation cap back.
    • The team is hesitant to go back to "spec-specific utility" and instead like "class utility" so that players don't feel compelled to play a specific spec.
    • The team wants to design encounters that allow for a few more melee.
    • The team ultimately would like one class or spec in each available spot, but right not it seems like there are certain classes that are way more favorable for a spot than others. They want to create encounters that allow different utility abilities to shine.
    • The team still wants niches where certain classes excel at 4 target cleave, and some favor other forms of AOE. Having uncapped AoE still exist but only on certain classes is not ideal and they want to address it.
  • World Quests
    • World quests seem less important because there is a lack of "artifact power" Anima is total optional to partake in.
    • Making world quests take longer was a design choice to switch time spent doing world quests vs travel time. Previous expansions players spent way more time traveling between quests over doing them.
  • Solo Content
    • There is nothing exactly like the mage tower in the near term, but the team loves it and wants to include something like it in the future.
    • The team has discussed having a goal for solo players to work for in manner similar to other content. They want to design more things like the Warlock green fire.
  • 9.1 is still SOON TM
This article was originally published in forum thread: Preach Developer Interview with Ion Hazzikostas - Patch 9.1 started by Stoy View original post
Comments 414 Comments
  1. Zorachus's Avatar
    World Quests fucking blow in Shittylands, it's like clocking into a factory job. Time to get to work. And they drop useless crap.

    No flight whistle. Ugh.

    Still needing to travel through Oribos to get between each zone is ridiculous.

    Covenants are stupid and useless.
    Soulbinds and the stuff is dumb
    Anima is stupid
    Soul Ash another grind

    These stupid game systems need to fucking go and never return.

    Bored-ghast a fucking sad tedious joke waste of time, that for some reason doesn't drop gear rewards.


    Man I miss MoP style expansion.
  1. Gaidax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Barzotti View Post
    Nonono, you shouldn't accept such a disrespectful behavior. You're supposed to yell at evil Actiblizz and Ion the lawyer for sucking the fun out of the game, and you should threaten Blizzard to hold your breath and rate them 1 star on Yelp. Not sending you BiS gear via mailbox is already a human rights violation.
    These fiends! We must resist with our hyperbolic outbursts of reality bending until our just demands are met.
  1. Tiwack's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ArchbishopBenedictus View Post
    What... just what?
    I believe he's refering to the old version of world quests often with 1 mob to kill - players would just tour around focussing on that type of world quests as they were quick and easy to do - but also ending up with a ton of travel time and with very little actual play as a result - outside of idling at respawn location only to promptly burst it down in the span of a few seconds and then haul ass to the next one..

    No flight whistle is a low blow though, in some zones more than others, despite all of them having pretty good spreads of flightmasters.
  1. Stardrift's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pufflesmash View Post
    Hello, I am another player in the World of Warcraft. I see that you, too, are a player in the World of Warcraft.

    1. I think there's ways to make conduits fun. If they addressed the outliers, added more viable options, buffed the non-potencies, and made them swappable wherever (basically treat it as another talent system), it'd be a fun way to have access to different builds. I, another player in the World of Warcraft, love messing around with different builds. I understand that cookie cutter builds are a thing, but people overestimate the power difference between talents in many cases. Blizzard could do a better job of balancing the outliers, admittedly.

    2. Cosmetic rewards for Torghast would be cool. I'm really looking forward to the Torghast revamp; Torghast was so much fun before they made it braindead. I, another player in the World of Warcraft, don't really care about whether there's rewards tied to it, it's just fun to play your character in a roguelike setting every now and then.

    3. Absolutely do not reduce the ilvl rewards for M+. M+ is my favorite content by far, and I'm so excited for the increased M+ incentives coming in 9.1. I'm okay with dabbling in other content to complement my gear, but I just want to do M+ with my friends in peace. I, another player in the World of Warcraft, don't care as much about new content, and love just playing my character with new systems that keep the characters fresh.

    4. His comment about borrowed power is one of the only things that I, another player in the World of Warcraft, disagree with. I've always enjoyed borrowed power, and it's one of the main reasons I've been able to play this game as long as I have. Anything that shakes up class/spec progression and playstyle is fun to me.
    Fair points, I'm glad you enjoy the things that you do. However, M+ has dampened raid progression significantly and wish things were different. There's gotta be a system in place to keep players like you happy and players like me happy.
  1. ArchbishopBenedictus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zorachus View Post
    World Quests fucking blow in Shittylands, it's like clocking into a factory job. Time to get to work. And they drop useless crap.

    No flight whistle. Ugh.

    Still needing to travel through Oribos to get between each zone is ridiculous.

    Covenants are stupid and useless.
    Soulbinds and the stuff is dumb
    Anima is stupid
    Soul Ash another grind

    Bore-ghast a fucking sad tedious joke waste of time, that for some reason doesn't drop gear rewards.


    Man I miss MoP style expansion.
    I stopped doing WQs weeks ago when I realised it had become a chore. I really don't understand how making them take longer is a good thing. Some people literally spend their entire gaming time trying to figure out ways to do things quickly and efficiently and then post it online. So how can Blizzard justify making something take longer? To balance travel time is such a non-reason...
  1. Gaidax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwack View Post
    I believe he's refering to the old version of world quests often with 1 mob to kill - players would just tour around focussing on that type of world quests as they were quick and easy to do - but also ending up with a ton of travel time and with very little actual play as a result - outside of idling at respawn location only to promptly burst it down in the span of a few seconds and then haul ass to the next one..

    No flight whistle is a low blow though, in some zones more than others, despite all of them having pretty good spreads of flightmasters.
    In my opinion they went and "fixed" something that did not to be fixed.

    I'm glad, at least, that their immersive story WQs with 500 steps of wiping dirty butts and noses for the whole X covenant family are now truly completely unrelated to any sort of actual power progression.
  1. Stardrift's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alroxas View Post
    Yeah but it keeps those dungeons relevant from expansion launch to the Nth content patch of the expansion. Consider the alternative, dungeons reward up to mythic+0 gear and don't get refreshed as new patch come out (see WotLK, Cata, MoP, WoD dungeons).

    By the time you get to the X.2 or X.3 patch of an expansion, the "catch-up" gear for new players would be better than the crap you can get from dungeons. Basically negating all that dungeon content as irrelevant for the "current" content.

    By having M+ and gearing from M+ that increases with every season, yeah it's a repeat to go get IQD for the nth time in the expansion BUT at the same time, it provides something more to do than just log in, raid, then log out, wait for weekly reset (which is a gross oversimplification).
    M+ absolutely does bring a lot more to the table, but like I stated above, it also dampens raid progression. There's just not much incentive to go get AOTC other than an achievement/mount/title that a good amount of people pay for anyways.

    There's got to be a way to synergize the two forms of endgame content. As of right now, raiding offers nothing in comparison. So instead of waiting once a week for a few months to progress through a raid, you're gonna come to a halt and ditch the moment you get your one or two BIS items.
  1. Tiwack's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
    So I remember being perfectly happy to farm MC in Vanilla to get T1 and feel like a badass for having killed Nefarian once (lol). And I'd inspect all the players with AQ40/Naxx gear and be envious, but still happy overall with the game. Now people can't even tolerate a number being higher, let alone lower players generally not having access to cool looking gear in Vanilla, whereas now even if you're in quest greens you can look pretty cool thanks to old content and transmog. And yes, I remember being mad that the Tauren hunter in T2 could easily beat me in PVP, but that wasn't THE reason that I quit back then.

    Is this just an overall cultural shift in both WoW and IRL that people whine for equality rather than saying, "Yes, that is a nice Mercedes, and I am just thankful for what I have" or am I some sort of weirdo for having had these attitudes back then, let alone now?
    Competition fosters envy and jealousy, what do you expect? lol
    Remember this is the first tier off of the big number squish, comparing things to 'back in my day' is dismissive and unhelpful to the discussion.
  1. Stardrift's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aggressive View Post
    This is a idiotic suggestion. I just got into another discussion with someone else earlier about reducing the iLvL of covenant gear. Like WTF are you and that other guy smoking to give suggestions about reducing iLvL gear. As if this shitty expansion isn't hard enough to gear a toon with.
    Living up to the username I see.

    You're way up there, while I'm down here. Meet me in the middle okay?

    I just want raiding to be more rewarding than it is right now.
  1. FelPlague's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zorachus View Post
    World Quests fucking blow in Shittylands, it's like clocking into a factory job. Time to get to work. And they drop useless crap.

    No flight whistle. Ugh.

    Still needing to travel through Oribos to get between each zone is ridiculous.

    Covenants are stupid and useless.
    Soulbinds and the stuff is dumb
    Anima is stupid
    Soul Ash another grind

    These stupid game systems need to fucking go and never return.

    Bored-ghast a fucking sad tedious joke waste of time, that for some reason doesn't drop gear rewards.


    Man I miss MoP style expansion.
    Yeah fuck bored-ghast not dropping gear!
    man i remember mop where challenge modes and scenarios totally dropped gear!
    oh wait.
    Almost fucking like not literally every single thing in the game needs to drop loot.
    or is your next complaint gunna be you cant get mythic geared through pet battles?
  1. Barzotti's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stardrift View Post
    I just want raiding to be more rewarding than it is right now.
    I don't get your point. After the fixes, the raiding loot drops are the same than in previous expansions (minus the bonus rolls, but the vault has been added for a weekly guaranteed loot). The best loot comes from raiding and the last two bosses. Raiding is still the most efficient way to gear up a character (pvp and M+ have very strong diminishing returns). Having alternate paths of gearing doesn't diminish raiding in itself and doesn't take away what raiding offers. The M+ loot is scarce, has a lower ilvl than heroic gear from raiding, the odds of getting the desired item in a M+ run are pretty slim and the vault is limited to one item per week.
  1. Sunderella's Avatar
    It always disturbs me why in a game based around waiting in queues for instanced content, nobody ever asks when are we going to get a revamped LFG tool that is less limited and lets you enjoy the rest of the game while waiting for queues.
  1. Gaidax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stardrift View Post
    M+ absolutely does bring a lot more to the table, but like I stated above, it also dampens raid progression. There's just not much incentive to go get AOTC other than an achievement/mount/title that a good amount of people pay for anyways.

    There's got to be a way to synergize the two forms of endgame content. As of right now, raiding offers nothing in comparison. So instead of waiting once a week for a few months to progress through a raid, you're gonna come to a halt and ditch the moment you get your one or two BIS items.
    Eh... to each their own.

    IMO, M+ is a great addition to the game, clearly a successful mode. But then WoW raiding in itself is pretty awesome, it is a big part of what keeps people playing WoW - the best raiding experience of any popular MMO and the social guild aspect with it, which is also pretty big.

    I really don't think there is any need to unite or separate these modes - they are good as they are.
  1. Nite92's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunderella View Post
    It always disturbs me why in a game based around waiting in queues for instanced content, nobody ever asks when are we going to get a revamped LFG tool that is less limited and lets you enjoy the rest of the game while waiting for queues.
    Uhhh, what? This is an MMO, and the issue is not that it has too few players. The tank to dps ratio is the issue.
    If you want a single player game that is ok, but the "group forming process" is part of this game.
  1. Tzunami's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Wu View Post
    I actually hate Preach. What a pathetic meta slave. This entire interview is a case study in how completely out of touch the developers and their elitist butt buddies are.

    This game is dying and it's evident because they give no fucks in developing for casuals. Kevin Jordan put it best, this is a game for 'chasers" who chase the top 1%. There's no room for anyone else.
    I don’t think you understand how interviews work....

    Questions are screened by ion’s team.
    They go over beforehand what they can talk about and what they can’t. The also ask you don’t go too of topic with surprise questions. You can see this when preach starts questioning about tier sets.
    Remember this is promo much like a “live” talk show, they don’t want negativity.

    This is how it works in live television.
    If the show is tapped we use to stop and do a second take of a question or just cut it.

    From the moment a game comes out it begins to die....

    It still makes a shit ton of money though.
    You would have to be an idiot to think the game is currently in trouble...
  1. Gaidax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunderella View Post
    It always disturbs me why in a game based around waiting in queues for instanced content, nobody ever asks when are we going to get a revamped LFG tool that is less limited and lets you enjoy the rest of the game while waiting for queues.
    I really hope this home-grown RIO they pull out is a first step towards that.

    It would be awesome if you could just sign yourself up to do let's say M+15 Mists and have your name listed automatically for group leaders to consider in their 15 Mists run, while you merrily do your stuff.
  1. Villager720's Avatar
    I refuse to believe there is less travel time between world quests in Shadowlands than in Legion or BFA. For starters, I didn’t have to fly back to Dalaran to get between Azsuna and Suramar.
    If that is really their “official” reasoning behind making them take longer, I’m not inclined to believe much else that Ion is saying.
  1. Toppy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FelPlague View Post
    Yeah fuck bored-ghast not dropping gear!
    man i remember mop where challenge modes and scenarios totally dropped gear!
    oh wait.
    Almost fucking like not literally every single thing in the game needs to drop loot.
    or is your next complaint gunna be you cant get mythic geared through pet battles?
    Scenarios did lead to gear, so wrong.
    MoP challenge mode had cosmetic rewards, mounts, titles, and teleportation. It also wasnt a wholly seperate feature needing large sums of dev time but rather an addition to an already existing thing: dungeons.
  1. oldgeezer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FelPlague View Post
    Yeah fuck bored-ghast not dropping gear!
    Boreghast. Chop your way through a tedious amount of trash to eventually collect currency from a boss. Enjoy.
  1. Zorachus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FelPlague View Post
    Yeah fuck bored-ghast not dropping gear!
    man i remember mop where challenge modes and scenarios totally dropped gear!
    oh wait.
    Almost fucking like not literally every single thing in the game needs to drop loot.
    or is your next complaint gunna be you cant get mythic geared through pet battles?

    https://www.wowhead.com/news/mists-o...e-modes-206398

    Challenge mode gave some of the best looking transmog gear. Plus some other useful stuff for the expansion.

    Bored-ghast gives you jack beef nothing. And Soul Ash is dumb.

    I'm just saying for running Bored-ghast and waisting your time in that useless place, you should be rewarded at least something cool. Not saying it needs to be top end gear, of course not.

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