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. Alanious's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RoKPaNda View Post
    The absolute last thing this game needs is the community making decisions about the direction of the game. I can't think of any way to run this game into the ground like a lawn dart faster than that.
    The community doesn't agree with everything that blizzard changes. If it's broken down into percentages the Dev's can make a collective decision. If the devs decide to make a stupid change it can be shut down. We have forums do we not? we have discussions do we not? They don't listen, they don't care. How in the fuck isn't that justifiable?. People would make fake accounts with fake evidence? We have a system in place that allows us to have discussions but nothing changes. Please explain how exactly will the community destroy the game? Take for example all my post regarding this topic has been nothing but abrasive and toxic correct?. You didn't agree with me correct? So if that system is in place how exactly will the community uphold wrong decisions? mic drop.
  1. RoKPaNda's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alanious View Post
    The community doesn't agree with everything that blizzard changes. If it's broken down into percentages the Dev's can make a collective decision. If the devs decide to make a stupid change it can be shut down. We have forums do we not? we have discussions do we not? They don't listen, they don't care. How in the fuck isn't that justifiable?. People would make fake accounts with fake evidence? We have a system in place that allows us to have discussions but nothing changes. Please explain how exactly will the community destroy the game? Take for example all my post regarding this topic has been nothing but abrasive and toxic correct?. You didn't agree with me correct? So if that system is in place how exactly will the community uphold wrong decisions? mic drop.
    What the community wants and what is best for the game can be and often are two entirely different things. Popular doesn't necessarily equal good. I'd rather have professionals in charge of decision making than the community or emotional content creators.
  1. Orwell7's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RoKPaNda View Post
    What the community wants and what is best for the game can be and often are two entirely different things. Popular doesn't necessarily equal good. I'd rather have professionals in charge of decision making than the community or emotional content creators.
    Fully agree.
    The thing is that Blizzard devs are "rockstars", with mind-blowing childish attitudes who are sadly more "emotional" than those who you are refering to.
    Blizzard devs are the ones who get OFFENDED if their products are not well-received.

    Hell, if I go to a restaurant and my food tastes like shit, I demand my money back AT LEAST, and not the opposite that the chef comes out and lectures me about how my privilege of having good taste buds offends them. What a clown world!
  1. Sunderella's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Syegfryed View Post
    i wonder why is always that image of Smug ion in the thumbnails and in the foruns.
    Because it makes people want to punch him. Which makes the hate go up which in turn makes the flamewar heat which in turn makes more activity on websites/forums/etc,
  1. Tumile's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stardrift View Post
    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.
    isnt that exactly what we have now with trinkets being the only exception (if you can call it an exception with the insane amount of nomalization surounding them)? only difference from raid tier to raid tier is Ilvl. the exact same as the M+ you're trying to chastise? also the appearance part is as close to irrelevant as it gets with Tmog in the game.

    - - - Updated - - -

    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.
    oh god pls no.
  1. mojusk'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.
    youd rather do nothing during periods when theres nothing to heal? maybe instead of dps, when theres nothing to heal you could have support spells that buffs dps players or maybe build up a dmg reduction on tank/raid as prep for incoming dmg spike, just an idea.
  1. Stardrift's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tumile View Post
    isnt that exactly what we have now with trinkets being the only exception (if you can call it an exception with the insane amount of nomalization surounding them)? only difference from raid tier to raid tier is Ilvl. the exact same as the M+ you're trying to chastise? also the appearance part is as close to irrelevant as it gets with Tmog in the game.

    - - - Updated - - -



    oh god pls no.
    M+ gear overrewards you, and gives you quite the edge through your progression in a raid.

    Normal raids can be skipped entirely. Heroic is made a lot more trivial. Overall difficulty and time spent progressing is down.

    Quite a large amount of people care about what new appearances are released throughout the game. Especially raid tier sets, which have made their return. Have you not seen people talking about it?

    No idea what you mean about the trinkets. However, both modes clearly need to be separated from one another. Progression just feels awful and many people agree. I'm but making a simple suggestion among many on fixing it.
  1. Alanious's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RoKPaNda View Post
    What the community wants and what is best for the game can be and often are two entirely different things. Popularity doesn't necessarily equal good. I'd rather have professionals in charge of decision-making than the community or emotional content creators.
    Could you define professional?
    (BFA)
    1) Twilight Devastation (Professional)
    2) Infinite Stars (Professional)
    3) Oozing Wounds (Professional)
    (Shadowlands)
    4) Divine Toll? (Absolute Professional)
    5) Combustion Meteor ( God Tier Professional)
    6) Elemental Shamans? ( Fantasy Professional)
    7)Chorghast ( Slavery Professional)
    I can keep going if you'd like?
    Ion has recirculating answers to every question he's asked. His examples are absolute bullshit, his explanations towards changes are based on your quote "I Feel" which ties to "emotion" and not facts. It's a Development problem "not a player problem". It's the most ignorant response you can get out of a person trying to convenience himself he's correct when he's absolutely wrong. As for popular? I think you mistake proven fuck ups and failures are a part of the learning curve that's used on a major platform for whenever things don't work out. If you're aware that we have community leaders who are far more skilled than the average player you'd consider popular then so be it. The small percentage of them would make far better decisions than the entire fucking Dev team. After all, you're aware only 1 Dev is assigned to every class right? Nothing governs these changes should he tie his bias opinion to it.
    There are no solutions to ignorant Mf's you just let them rot, Professional idiots are more like it, if you cant accept logic you're fucking ignorant and that ties into emotion.
  1. Alroxas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAmbient View Post
    I just don't get why they're leaving Torghast as it is. Put some bloody loot in it, seems like such an easy fix to make it worth doing.
    Double dipping rewards is a no-no in Blizzard's development team. It's also why we don't have tabards that give rep when you wear them for dungeon runs.


    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAmbient View Post
    No-one wanted world quests to take longer. No-one. No-one asked for Pathfinder and being stuck without flying mounts either. Sometimes it feels like Blizzard want to punish me just for trying to play the game.
    That's not true. Bean-counters at Activision-Blizzard wants players to stay subbed for longer periods of time. No better way to do that than make everything take just a little bit longer to do.

    Even with flying around the corner in 9.1, you still have several limitations: No flying between zones as you can't fly to Oribos. No flying in the Maw or the new zone added to the Maw.
  1. RoKPaNda's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alanious View Post
    Could you define professional?
    (BFA)
    1) Twilight Devastation (Professional)
    2) Infinite Stars (Professional)
    3) Oozing Wounds (Professional)
    (Shadowlands)
    4) Divine Toll? (Absolute Professional)
    5) Combustion Meteor ( God Tier Professional)
    6) Elemental Shamans? ( Fantasy Professional)
    7)Chorghast ( Slavery Professional)
    I can keep going if you'd like?
    Ion has recirculating answers to every question he's asked. His examples are absolute bullshit, his explanations towards changes are based on your quote "I Feel" which ties to "emotion" and not facts. It's a Development problem "not a player problem". It's the most ignorant response you can get out of a person trying to convenience himself he's correct when he's absolutely wrong. As for popular? I think you mistake proven fuck ups and failures are a part of the learning curve that's used on a major platform for whenever things don't work out. If you're aware that we have community leaders who are far more skilled than the average player you'd consider popular then so be it. The small percentage of them would make far better decisions than the entire fucking Dev team. After all, you're aware only 1 Dev is assigned to every class right? Nothing governs these changes should he tie his bias opinion to it.
    There are no solutions to ignorant Mf's you just let them rot, Professional idiots are more like it, if you cant accept logic you're fucking ignorant and that ties into emotion.
    I never said that the devs never make bad decisions. what I said was that what the community often wants isn't what's best for the game more often than not. You have an awful lot of faith in people with no qualifications or experience. I'm aware that once upon a time one of the lead theorycrafters for one of the classes was a literal astrophysicist, but the current guy for my main class microwaves bacon and American cheese on flour tortillas with roughly a kilo of cilantro and calls them authentic tacos, so there's some variance.

    Often times the loudest voices in this community with ideas on how to fix the games propose things that would 100% kill the game for anyone that wasn't in their personal small bubble, and then they get extremely mad when Blizzard, a business, has to consider other players.
  1. Alanious's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RoKPaNda View Post
    I never said that the devs never make bad decisions. what I said was that what the community often wants isn't what's best for the game more often than not. You have an awful lot of faith in people with no qualifications or experience. I'm aware that once upon a time one of the lead theorycrafters for one of the classes was a literal astrophysicist, but the current guy for my main class microwaves bacon and American cheese on flour tortillas with roughly a kilo of cilantro and calls them authentic tacos, so there's some variance.

    Often times the loudest voices in this community with ideas on how to fix the games propose things that would 100% kill the game for anyone that wasn't in their personal small bubble, and then they get extremely mad when Blizzard, a business, has to consider other players.
    Professional with qualifications and experience. I'll dumb this down for you as best as I can. There are no qualifications to common sense, it can't be taught or learnt, you either have it or you don't. It's like someone commenting on a post with proper suggestions and an opposition responding with no evidence, no facts, coming to conclusions without properly observing all the information. It's as if almost that person hasn't played the game much or even comprehend what exactly has taken place over 3 expansions. They also find every solution to every problem without qualifications or experience or knowledge.Could you imagine that?
  1. ClassicPeon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orwell7 View Post
    Fully agree.
    The thing is that Blizzard devs are "rockstars", with mind-blowing childish attitudes who are sadly more "emotional" than those who you are refering to.
    Blizzard devs are the ones who get OFFENDED if their products are not well-received.

    Hell, if I go to a restaurant and my food tastes like shit, I demand my money back AT LEAST, and not the opposite that the chef comes out and lectures me about how my privilege of having good taste buds offends them. What a clown world!
    What are you basing this on?
  1. Dracullus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Orwell7 View Post
    Fully agree.
    The thing is that Blizzard devs are "rockstars", with mind-blowing childish attitudes who are sadly more "emotional" than those who you are refering to.
    Blizzard devs are the ones who get OFFENDED if their products are not well-received.

    Hell, if I go to a restaurant and my food tastes like shit, I demand my money back AT LEAST, and not the opposite that the chef comes out and lectures me about how my privilege of having good taste buds offends them. What a clown world!
    You just described most if not all WoW big youtubers and streamers. Never seen dev acted this way.
  1. Alanious's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicPeon View Post
    What are you basing this on?
    This is a response that Ghostcrawler made years ago. He's being sarcastic.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Dracullus View Post
    You just described most if not all WoW big youtubers and streamers. Never seen dev acted this way.
    This is a response that Ghostcrawler made years ago. He's being sarcastic.

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