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. Orby's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MechanoDruid View Post
    So nothing about professions, nothing about adding some fun to game, nothing about adding RPG elements.

    Just usual nonsense.
    Professions haven't been relevant since TBC
  1. Kiwijello's Avatar
    It's as if he sticks his fingers in his ears and screams "LALALALALALALALA". /smh
  1. Wrath of the Lich King's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stardrift View Post
    Remove conduits, put in actual cosmetic rewards for Torghast, reduce ilvl rewards for M+, and give us real valor points for raids. That's it. That's all you gotta do, Ion.
    Agreed. I hope they make it even easier and simply re-release Wrath of the Lich King. They don't need to worry about WotLK Classic, just make it the retail version of the game again.
  1. Stardrift's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nnyco View Post
    You forgot to add the point to not listen to people like you. Reducing ilvl from m+ for example is quite idiotic.
    I'm sorry you felt the need to make a defensive comment over my wishes for the game, and hope your needs in this game are eventually met in a way that satisfies you.

    But as of right now, I'm only stating my desires for the game, as Torghast is entirely unrewarding and null the moment you've got your BIS legendary. M+ rewards detract from raids and also nullifies raid progression if you don't care about/don't have the time for mythic difficulty. Not to mention as seasons go by, every dungeon still drops all the same gear with all the same effects, becoming incredibly stale and boring. Imagine if every new raid dropped the same tier sets, same appearances as the last one. Just isn't fun.
  1. cateran100's Avatar
    "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."

    WTF does it means? You can play in Torghast as you want but if you won`t do it as WE want from you....you gonna fail?
  1. jk1895's Avatar
    No plans to add gear drops to Torghast.
    This is shit! Torghast makes no sense and fun without drops. Add them!
  1. Sanguinerd's Avatar
    Hearing this guy talk its almost like he's not even talking about a GAME anymore, you know something we should be doing for our enjoyment...
  1. Pufflesmash's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stardrift View Post
    Remove conduits, put in actual cosmetic rewards for Torghast, reduce ilvl rewards for M+, and give us real valor points for raids. That's it. That's all you gotta do, Ion.

    His comment about borrowed power so far is the only step in the right direction here. How they choose to move away from it and what they'll replace it with is a careful step they'll have to make, however.
    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.
  1. Nyfaria's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaelia View Post
    I really want to empathize with this man but he makes it so hard. Give the players what they want for gods sake
    Yes, lets give the players what they want.
    Harder Raids, but at the Same time, Make Raiding Easier.
    More Content, but at the Same Time, Less Content.
    More Abilities, but at the Same Time, Less Abilities.


    You can't give the players what they want, because the players don't all want the same thing.
  1. RoKPaNda's Avatar
    It's so weird that this community will idolize a completely out of touch man like Jeff Kaplan but hate Ion. Ion at least acknowledges that his game has to be made fun for a wide variety of players. Blizzard is failing at it miserably right now, but that's not necessarily Ion's fault.

    Shadowlands is definitely a low point for the franchise though. I think WoD is the only other time in the history of WoW that I stopped playing before the first major content patch.
  1. Utrrabbit'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.
    Yeah.. no. You are 100% wrong. SL is the most casual friendly the game has ever been. Vanilla was more sweaty than SL. If you think SL caters to the top players, frankly your just wrong.
  1. MechanoDruid's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orby View Post
    Professions haven't been relevant since TBC
    That depends on what you consider relevant. If you want top end raiding gear, then yes, TBC. If you want some added things to do in game, then I think professions started dying after Pandaria. But then in Legion they had interesting idea with quests for professions, even added fishing artifact.

    Professions they have never been as dull and streamlined as they are now (though I haven't played BfA, so maybe it was just as bad there). I think they are currently at the lowest point in WoW history. Also abundance of materials and ways to get them without even having profession makes it even worse.

    But yep, I'd love to return to TBC style professions, which can reward good stuff for effort, where it took actual effort to level them up, recipes took a while to get and required hunting for them rather than just visiting trainer, crafting ingredients were more than just copies of each other. Then add a bit of Legion style profession quests, Legion style fishing with artifact, reputations and group fishing, Cataclysm style archeology (could reward really good gear at start of expansion + mount + recipe for 2 player mount). Developers had many good ideas regarding professions over many expansions.

    Shadowlands has absolutely nothing. Developers even managed to fuck up fishing by adding most powerful fishing pole and baits to vendor (not that it matters because fishing skill is irrelevant), invalidating all previous content.
  1. Alroxas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Erous View Post
    If I wanted to DPS, I'd play a DPS spec...P E R I O D. Why even have dps specs in the first place if every class and spec is expected to dps? Such horseshit. I really despise this direction.
    Because tuning of raid encounters means that for every extra DPS that a non-DPS can contribute means that the group as a whole can proceed with less DPS numbers (not necessary a function of skill but perhaps a function of lack of gear).
  1. Avelphina's Avatar
    Absolutely nothing about new customization for Allied Races what is this lmao
  1. Utrrabbit's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RoKPaNda View Post
    It's so weird that this community will idolize a completely out of touch man like Jeff Kaplan but hate Ion. Ion at least acknowledges that his game has to be made fun for a wide variety of players. Blizzard is failing at it miserably right now, but that's not necessarily Ion's fault.

    Shadowlands is definitely a low point for the franchise though. I think WoD is the only other time in the history of WoW that I stopped playing before the first major content patch.
    Low point.

    This xpac literally has more players than the last 4xpacs.

    My guid has gotten 200 new members in the last month. Returning players.
  1. T-34's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaelia View Post
    I really want to empathize with this man but he makes it so hard. Give the players what they want for gods sake
    1. Do YOU know what the players want?
    2. And how do YOU know that all players want the same?

    Blizzard does its best to make as many players as possible to stay subscribed for as long as possible.
    Furthermore Blizzard does its best to make players return to the launch of new expacs and for patches, if possible.

    Does this make everybody happy? Most certainly not. But that would be impossible anyway.
    Why does Blizzard do it like this? To maxmize its profits, just like any other company.
  1. Sanguinerd's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Utrrabbit View Post
    Yeah.. no. You are 100% wrong. SL is the most casual friendly the game has ever been. Vanilla was more sweaty than SL. If you think SL caters to the top players, frankly your just wrong.
    Err.. how exactly does SL do shit for casual players then?

    The Anima grind is waaaayy too high and character progression stops at around ilvl 200 or so.

    Keep in mind m+ is not casual friendly, nor is trying to get into raid pugs.
  1. Tic Tacs's Avatar
    Ion Hozikostas:

    https://www.mobygames.com/developer/...operId,583182/

    World of WarCraft: Warlords of Draenor (2014) (Lead Game Designers)
    World of WarCraft: Battle for Azeroth (2018) (Game Director)


    Notice when the guy is in leading role, the expansion is most likely going to suck for a player. Lets see what Shadowlands brings to the table.
  1. exsanguinate's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orby View Post
    Professions haven't been relevant since TBC
    wrong wrong wrong

    cataclysm professions where very strong throughout the expansion.
  1. Alroxas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stardrift View Post
    Not to mention as seasons go by, every dungeon still drops all the same gear with all the same effects, becoming incredibly stale and boring. Imagine if every new raid dropped the same tier sets, same appearances as the last one. Just isn't fun.
    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).

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