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by Published on 2016-11-05 07:51 PM

BlizzCon 2016 - World of Warcraft: Legion - Design Retrospective

Ion Interview
  • Some class mounts will change colors based or have special effects on your active spec
  • It wouldn't be surprising if Inscription got a mount at some point

Broken Shore
  • The team started with concept art of Azsuna in the Broken Shore.
  • Early on there was coral, ancient elven ruins, and undersea life. There was significantly less demon influence in the original concept, with the Tomb being much more pristine.
  • There were more significant path crossings for the Alliance and Horde, having the Horde and Alliance passing over each other on a bridge.
  • The original Broken Shore intro took 2-3 hours and didn't feel like it was telling the story the team wanted to tell.
  • The pristine elven tomb off in the distance didn't work.
  • The team created a Legion Fel Citadel that felt like a new version of the Legion, never seen before, strong enough to kill of some of the main characters.
  • Concept artists came up with a Fel City. A giant space that the Legion rapidly took over, killing off major heroes.
  • You will be able to experience the pristine version of the Tomb in Patch 7.2.

Demon Hunter
  • The team started talking about doing a Demon Hunter back in Burning Crusade.
  • Within a few days the team had a basic Demon Hunter built into the game for Legion. This allowed them to have the team playtest the Demon Hunter, make changes, and continue the feedback loop.
  • After a few weeks of Demon Hunter testing, the team went back to look at core philosophies.
  • Lots of people were going to try the Demon Hunter, so it needed to be easy to learn. The team limited the number of abilities to those that would fit on a single bar. This helped the team keep on target when they were surrounded by so many cool ideas.
  • Eye Beam came from a discussion about the Illidan fight, Eye Lasers! The first iteration was a beam from you to the target and it did some damage. Next the team added a hover and had the beam follow your cursor around, doing damage. It didn't feel very heroic to hover in one spot, as most mobs don't move. Next the team added even more, but it felt like the ability was doing too much. It was then split into Fel Barrage and Eye Beam.
  • Fel Rush started as a charge towards the target with lots of damage at the end. The team first removed the targeting, turning the ability into a short and very quick dash with the ability to rush over obstacles. Unfortunate it resulted in players lifting off on the slopes in the starting area, falling right to their death. The engineers looked at Mega Man to solve this problem. If you are in the air you stay in the air and dash and if you are on the ground you stay on the ground.
  • Metamorphosis was originally just a damage bonus, but you didn't really feel the effect of it. The team quadrupled the damage and it still didn't feel right. They realized that the ability needed a visual change as well, adding an Illidan leap, haste bonus, and putting the damage bonus into two abilities.
  • Two of Three Legion accounts have made a Demon Hunter. 30% of those characters have been leveled to 110. Kayn is the choice for 73% of players. 7.5% of Demon Hunters have Illidan puns in their name.

  • The Artifact needed to be the single most powerful thing that you have ever equipped.
  • There were examples of items from the Lore such as Ashbringer and Doomhammer to provide examples of Artifacts.
  • The team started by building Ashbringer as the first weapon. It had to be purely for Retribution paladins, so each spec would end up needing a weapon.
  • Originally the Ashbringer had a three prong tree with three flashy abilities at the end of each prong.
  • As soon as you pick up Ashbringer, you had to make a choice that drastically impacted your experience through the game, having to read all of the traits. To solve this the team tried adding tiers of power, requiring you to unlock each tier before moving to the next. This solved the problem of having too much choice, but removed all of the choice. Next the team tried an arc that you started at one point with and then went around, but this didn't solve the problem either. Ashbringer was prominently featured in this UI, so they took the weapon and used it as a constellation layout for the traits.
  • The team then needed to decide what Ashbringer does when you pick it up. The team looked back at legendary weapons, as they had been the pinnacle of power before now. These legendary weapons had a really strong passive, so the team used this model for the Artifact weapons. Player feedback was that their gameplay hadn't changed when they equipped their weapon. The team then moved to adding an active ability, giving you the power to activate it. This also allowed them to add nice visuals for the active ability, as you had chosen to activate the power and wouldn't be doing something else.
  • The Artifact then needed to grow and change with you. Experience was the first iteration here, giving your weapon experience as you earned it. You very quickly would diverge from your friends, where you couldn't play together. Leveling solves this problem with caps, so the team tried caps. This didn't solve the problem, as you had no reason to play once you hit the cap. The next iteration is the one that went live, Artifact Research helps you to stay reasonably close in power to your friends but still rewards you for playing.

  • There are lots of hardcore WoW players that never tried PvP. Originally the team figured that those players just didn't like competitive games. This turned out to be wrong, so the team talked to the community. Originally they thought gear was the problem, putting a wedge into the community.
  • First the team tried removing the influence of gear from PvP. This solved a lot of the problems with gear, but gear should define your character and increase your power. Next the team tried making everyone the same item level, similar to Challenge Mode dungeons. This allowed gear to have some meaning, but you can't pursue getting better gear. The team didn't want people to get one set of gear and then just focus on trinkets and set bonuses, so they tried a hybrid approach. Your stats are set but your gear provides as small boost.
  • Honor Talents allowed the team to make some fun talents that you couldn't have in PvE. These talents were probably something only PvP players care about, so the team added some cool rewards to the honor system that would interest all players.

  • Professions needed to be more than just recipes, so they decided to add quest lines. They started with Blacksmithing and Mining. With Mining you might find a cool rock and bring it back to your trainer and they teach you to mine it more efficiently. The team then realized that all of the quest lines were overwhelming and filled up your quest logs. Having to deal with six profession quest lines would be too much. Secondary professions could have less quest lines
  • Underlight Angler started off as a joke, but then we got a fishing pole Artifact!
  • Dalaran fishing raids were intended. The team hoped that players would figure out that all of the players fishing together would be more lucrative.
  • Garrison fishing raids became a problem, so the team built a hotfix. Before it was deployed the team realized people are playing together in their garrison, which was pretty cool. It is important to protect the value of the rare items, so the team let it slide until Broken Shore came out. This philosophy was also applied to other exploits that resulted in players working together, allowing them to stick around a little longer.
  • Nomi gave you a reason to check in to Dalaran every few days. Unfortunately the system wasn't very clear as far as how to progress. Badly Burned Food was added as a grey item to vendor for gold when you didn't earn something. The team was able to fix this by changing the name of the item, but by the time that fix was ready everyone recognized him and it would not be a good change. Now he just has lots of room to learn and grow!
  • Herb and Mining nodes are shared between up to 10 players. You can make a little Herbalism raid!
  • Skinners didn't get the shared nodes and the experience got a little worse. A fix for this is coming in the future!
  • Recipe ranks allowed you to continue to progress, which is nice, but a lot of the one star recipes were behind long quest lines and two star ones were on vendors in Dalaran. This wasn't great.
  • Oliterum was okay, but obliterating an item didn't provide a satisfying experience.
  • Crafting and Gathering should remain viable throughout this expansion.
  • Patch 7.1.5 brings the Obliterum cap to 865, along with more quests and progression.
  • By the end of the expansion you may not even be gathering from the same gathering nodes anymore.
  • Maybe crafted legendary items along with the new crafted items coming in the future.

World Quests
  • Design goals: Daily/World quests should tell a story, either continuing an existing story or creating a new story. You shouldn't feel like you had an overwhelming number of things to do, such as having 20 daily quests you needed to go and do. You should feel like you an active participatng in the world, where logging in at the start and end of the day gave you different things to do.
  • Mists had a variety of content, but not a lot of variety in rewards.
  • The team wanted to use the entire continent for quests, not just small daily quest areas.
  • The team took level up quests, changed up the objectives, making the content feel a little different.
  • Rare spawns are fun to fight when leveling, so added additional abilities and difficulty so you can use them again at max level.
  • The team also looked at using PvP in PvE with the PvP world quests, both Warden Towers and the FFA arenas.
  • Other aspects of the game were added to world quests, battle pets, trade skills, dungeons, and more.
  • First question, how many icons should be on the map? How long should the quests take? How long should you have to travel between the quests?
  • First the team created a test world quest route with instructions for people to test. It felt like a great iteration on daily quests, so more rounds of iteration brought us to what we have today.
  • The team wanted to vary both the content and rewards of world quests. You could have the exact same world quest two days in a row, but the different reward might change which quests you do, providing varied gameplay.
  • The team made 50 or so world quests but players didn't want to do all 50 world quests. The team took Hearthstone's daily quest system and made the emissary system, sending you to a different zone every day.
  • The emissary quests, differing rewards, and differing quests provide a unique adventure for you every day.
  • The team wanted to do more scenarios like the Highmountain one.
  • They also wanted to do class quests, Legion Invasion points, summonable bosses, rare world quests similar to Huolon, or regional world quests. All of these will be part of Patch 7.2.

by Published on 2016-11-05 12:49 PM

Update 12:00 PM PDT: Thanks for all of your questions - the Art and Production interview was completed and we'll have information from that up later!

Blizzcon 2016 - Day 2
Hold on to your hats and join us in the chat for the biggest Blizzcon viewing party! Keep checking back to explore the new content as we update live during the panels!

Blizzcon 2016 Schedule
Note: all times are converted to the timezone your computer is currently in.
by Published on 2016-11-04 09:45 PM

Patch 7.2's New Class Mounts

Patch 7.2's New Artifact Appearances

BlizzCon 2016 - World of Warcraft: Legion - What's Next
Plenty of content is coming soon!

Patch 7.1.5
  • In the past, the team has had large monolithic patches that have anchored the entire expansion.
  • A patch like Patch 6.2.3 was very effective. The team wasn't trying to add a ton of content, Moose Mount, Valor Points, Timewalking, and other things.
  • Patch 7.1 is a good example of a medium sized patch.
  • Patch 7.1.5 is Legion's first small patch, similar to Patch 6.2.3 in size. It will revolve around systems, new rewards, and evergreen content.
  • Pushing out a smaller patch allows the team to give us some new content faster.
  • Patches should be designed to be broken apart into multiple pieces, so that if one piece isn't ready, it can be removed and the rest of the content can be released.
  • Patch 7.1.5 will have Mists of Pandaria Timewalking, with six dungeons.
  • Timewalking will probably only ever be updated for the expansion before last. No one is excited about going to Warlords dungeons right now.
  • Patch 7.1.5 will also bring back the Brawler's Guild! It will come back with dozens of new bosses.
  • There will also be a new type of battle that can occasionally occur, called Rumbles. These spawn raid level bosses that will pull in all players who are waiting for their turn into the arena. Everyone can share in the rewards.
  • A new currency is being added, earned through your brawls. It is spent on shared benefits, such as a graveyard that lets people respawn at a graveyard next to the fight area.
  • There will be shirts and a Basilisk mount as rewards.
  • New micro-holidays are coming. These might last a day or two, rather than a week or more. These are part of building a living word.
    • Jan 22 - Ahn'qiraj Remembrance Day.
    • These holidays won't have any pets or mounts that would make you sad to miss out on the event.
    • Volunteer Guard Day - You can patrol the city and keep it safe from NPCs that attack.
    • Hatching of the Hippogryphs - You can get a baby hippogryph that can perch on your shoulder, no battle pet or anything.
    • Boat Day - Like Spring Break for Azeroth.
  • Patch 7.1.5 will also update Blade's Edge Arena. No gameplay changes, just updated visuals. Arena will have a built in voice announcer, will call out some events.
  • Patch 7.1.5 will also bring lots of class updates, allowing the team to make larger changes to classes rather than just number tuning.
  • The team looked at all of the talent rows, there are some talents that are never worth considering. These talents may need tuning or redesign. The talents that 98% of players are taking may just need to be baked into the spec.
  • This patch will also allow the team to look at secondary stats to make them a little more balanced, so that anything but one specific stat isn't useless. If an item has a higher item level, it should usually be an upgrade rather than having secondary stats make it a downgrade.
  • The team is also going to try to improve the feel of the classes and add some utility to classes that had a little bit much pruning.
  • Only allowing Survival Hunters to have traps was a mistake. Other specs don't feel like a Hunter when they don't have traps.
  • Rogues that wish they had Shroud of Concealment will also be happy to see it return in Patch 7.1.5.
  • Patch 7.1.5 - Artifact Knowledge catch up mechanisms, purchase levels without waiting up until Level 10 or more.
  • Patch 7.1.5 is going on the PTR right after BlizzCon.

Patch 7.2 - Tomb of Sargeras
  • Return to The Tomb of Sargeras, this time it might end differently.
  • Continues the Order Hall Campaign.
  • New Faction.
  • New World Quests, including class world quests.
  • Making our way to the tomb requires claiming a foothold and fortifying it. Build a base and plan the assault similar to Isle of Quel'danas. Players will be able to choose which buildings to build, allowing them to earn different rewards and change the story. Unlock world quests, rewards, vendors, world bosses. Not a linear progression this time.
  • Legion Assaults - Inspired by pre-expansion event. Defend against Legion invasions in the Broken Isles.
  • When a zone is under attack, world quests in that zone are disabled, the skybox turns dark, and the Legion appears in the skies. You will complete a variety of world quests to clear the Legion out of the zone. These count towards your Emissary quests. Once you clear out enough of the Legion forces, you can go after the commander.
  • Once you finish the assault on the ground, you can join a three player scenario (role-agnostic) taking the fight to the Legion ships in the skies.
  • Different invasion content for each zone.
  • Flying returns! - The second part of the Pathfinder achievement is added, no raid or dungeon content required, just outdoor world gameplay.
  • Flying will be unlocked account-wide!
  • Each class will have their own epic class mount in the patch. These are rewarded by your Class Order campaign.
  • After the Nighthold comes the Tomb of Sargeras. Nine boss raid.
    • The Tomb of Sargeras was the Temple of Elune. Venture into underground caverns where allies of Queen Azshara await us.
    • Another part of the Tomb has been sealed since the time of the Sundering.
    • Infernal / Pit Lord type boss will come through a wall and block your path at the start of the raid.
    • A melee variant of the Jailer is the second boss.
    • Naga Brute and Sea Witch are up next.
    • Fallen Avatar of Sargeras is another boss.
    • Kil'jaeden himself awaits us as the final boss.
  • New Dungeon - Cathedral of Eternal Night, 4 boss dungeon, normal, heroic, and mythic+ difficulty, use the Aegis of Aggramar to open the way.
  • PvP Brawls
    • Inspired by brawls in other Blizzard games. A week long event that varies gameplay and lets you experience PvP in a new way.
    • Brawls will be fun and allow the team to experiment with different modes of PvP gameplay. If they are well received they could be added into the regular game.
    • Southshore vs Tarren Mill, Warsong Gulch (cap the flag without requiring your own flag), Packed House (15v15 arena), Winter Arathi Basin (Low visibility due to weather, water frozen), Eye of the Horn (Eye of the Storm with everyone on Ram mounts)
  • Further empower your Artifact, new traits, including a gold border one, three points with utility. Also allows you to put another point into all of your three point traits. 15 new points to be added. More Artifact Knowledge coming.
  • New types of Relics are coming, modifying two traits!
  • Patch 7.2 continues your Artifact Quest Line, allowing you to unlock the previously mentioned new traits.
  • You will also be able to unlock another Artifact Appearance. This one will recognize solo player skill, mastery of your spec. Inspirited by Anathema and Benediction or the Warlock Green Fire quest.
  • Guardian druids get a werewolf-bear style skin!
  • Warriors are finally getting their flail weapon appearance.
  • Patch 7.2 will retune Heroic and Mythic+ dungeons, both difficulty and rewards.
  • Karazhan will be broken into Upper and Lower sections, queueable random heroics, Mythic+ as well.
  • Court of Stars and The Arcway will also become queueable.
  • New Keystone affixes are coming.
  • Patch 7.2 - "Soon". Coming to the PTR after 7.1.5.
  • Patch 7.2.5 coming after Patch 7.2.

  • After Patch 7.2 we are going to Argus.

by Published on 2016-11-04 05:59 PM

BlizzCon 2016 - The Opening Ceremony has Started!

Update 12:13 PM PDT: The Necromancer is coming to Diablo 3 in 2017 in the Rise of the Necromancer character pack, which includes the Necromancer character class, additional stash and character slots, and cosmetic goodies.
Update 12:11 PM PDT: Two new zones coming to Reaper of Souls.
Update 12:07 PM PDT: The Diablo patch will be on the PTR next week!
Update 12:07 PM PDT: Diablo is being recreated in Diablo 3. The Darkening of Tristram will send you back into the cathedral, facing four main bosses from the original game. Will be available to all current characters. Many secrets to discover!
Update 12:02 PM PDT: Mean Streets of Gadgetzan is coming in December
Update 11:55 AM PDT: Mean Streets of Gadgetzan is the next Hearthstone expansion!
Update 11:54 AM PDT: Hearthstone is getting a new expansion, sending players to Gadgetzan.
Update 11:53 AM PDT: Nov 15 to Jan 4th, Nexus Challenge is live. Team up with one or more friends to unlock free rewards in Heroes and Overwatch. 15 games for Oni Genji skin, Zarya Hero. 30 games grant four additional heroes, 30 day stim pack, and more!
Update 11:48 AM PDT: Varian and Ragnaros heroes are coming to Heroes of the Storm! Varian is a multiclass hero, becoming a Warrior or Assassin depending on the talents you select. Ragnaros has a Molten Core trait that takes over any fort, standing or not, and become gigantic. You become the raid boss, defending against an enemy siege or bolstering your push. Varian comes out the week of November 15th with Ragnaros following in December.
Update 11:41 AM PDT: Heroes of the Storm is getting a new brawl, Blackheart's Revenge. In this brawl, only one team has a core. You defend it or sail the seas to blow it up. Coming November 15th.
Update 11:33 AM PDT: Overwatch League is a new eSports initiative forming regional teams, team owners, baseline salaries, benefits for players. Coming in 2017.
Update 11:30 AM PDT: A Heroes of the Dorm documentary releases next week to the world and tomorrow at BlizzCon.
Update 11:26 AM PDT: Blizzard is opening out SC2 to AI researchers around the world. Releasing an API to allow people to build code that will play SC2.
Update 11:25 AM PDT: Oriol Vinyals from the DeepMind team is here to talk about AI
Update 11:22 AM PDT: The rest of the SC2 missions are coming out this year.
Update 11:21 AM PDT: Sombra, Arcade mode, and more are coming to the PTR next week. Oasis map is coming in December.
Update 11:21 AM PDT: New game modes are coming to Overwatch.
Update 11:21 AM PDT: Eco Point Antarctica is one of the upcoming Overwatch maps, for the new Arena, 1v1, and 3v3 game modes.
Update 11:21 AM PDT: Sombra will be the next hero in Overwatch, playable at BlizzCon!
Update 11:15 AM PDT: Sombra has taken over the ceremony!
Update 11:11 AM PDT: The new Make a Wish pet is a Fel Kitty named Mischief!
Update 11:10 AM PDT: Allen Adham is rejoining Blizzard!
Update 11:04 AM PDT: Mike Morhaime is taking the stage

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