Liveblog: Legion developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas
Today starting at 1PM CDT there’s a scheduled World of Warcraft: Legion Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas, and we’re here to liveblog it. They plan to address 7.3 mainly, but also any general questions or concerns about Legion as a whole. If you’d like to follow along you can watch on the WoW Twitch channel, and we’ll also be rehosting to the Blizzard Watch Twitch channel.
And we’re off!
Good afternoon, Josh “Lore” Allen and Ion Hazzikostas! We like the suit, Lore.
1:00 First Q: Are there any plans to update artifacts post Legion?
Unlocks will be available going forward, except ‘earned’ apparances: mythic and mage tower challenges.
1:00 Question 2: will we use new Druid forms after Legion? YES!
1:02 Repeatable quests to upgrade legendaries? Yes, but the team doesn’t like changing items “out from under people.” New ones will drop at 1000.
1:04 Will legendaries be more available in 7.3.2? We understand getting your first few feels necessary, they’ll likely increase the drop rate here.
Clarification for datamined legendary “tokens.” If you have all the legendaries for your class, these will drop to help out alts, maybe. This is subject to change, but Lore noted this answers the question of what happens when you Collect Em All.
1:07 Plans to balance under performing specs prior to Antorus? Briefly, no. The team sees people succeeding with all specs, and balancing now based on Tomb doesn’t mean things will be balanced for Antorus. They do plan to balance just after Antorus drops though. They also noted that the balance issues they’re seeing aren’t big enough to make sweeping changes.
1:09 Plans to reduce the number of slots for set bonuses? Yes! They’ve noticed this, too. Unhappy with how this is playing out, and how it “makes room” for the legendary system. This also means any slot in sets is ‘dead’, and won’t be an upgrade when it drops if it’s in that slot. They’re making changes going forward to change things up here. The balance between making sense and being powerful enough is a tough line to walk!
1:11 Some sets force certain play styles. Havoc example given, certain set bonuses push toward specific talent choices or ability rotations. Is this intended? Will this continue going forward? Ion says it’s not intended to make people change things completely. A few little tweaks, like using this ability more quickly, eg, may be good, but not to the extent of Havoc.
1:14 MDI questions! With the success seen there, will there be ‘seasons’ going forward? Will there be changes based on making Mythic into an esport? Ion and Lore were both super excited for the Mythic Dungeon Invitational. They noted there are sort of seasons already on the leaderboard.
1:15 Continuing the MDI theme, will they develop based on how different classes’ strengths were showcased? Ion noted certain classes having the “trump card” like warriors vs Shade of Medivh or Shade of Concealment to skip trash were actually neat, and they wanted to do something more with that in the future, maybe. The role of battle res is being talked about, for one. Ion wishes all classes could have that one unique moment to shine, but realizes that goes against certain design approaches. They don’t want to ‘steal’ these unique things from other classes, though.
1:18 Better mission rewards when followers are 950? Hotfix yesterday to help with this. When Antorus raid missions are available you’ll need 950 as a hard gate, but they increased rewards for higher level followers, too.
1:19 Argus Whistle upgrade account-wide? Yes! Hoxfix is incoming!
1:20 PVP Seasons are synced with patches. Intended or coincidence? Sort of! PVP seasons linked to ilvl bumps, like when raids come out. Raids come out during patches! They usually don’t want to change things up as balance patches are applied, to avoid shaking up the meta mid-season. Ion noted that the timing of seasons should be indicated more by the playerbase, if things are getting stale, etc, more than being tied directly to patches.
1:24 Will AK cap go up again? It sort of does until AK 55, which is really high. They don’t plan to allow higher than that. AK 55 is kind of awkward, but catch-up mechanics are essential.
“Will the spider world boss in Suramar ever be back up?” Lore asks in an old-timey voice. They’re changing things to alter how often bosses spawn. Ion noted that it’s kinda cool that there are some different recipes not everyone has. Harks back to the olden days of the Arcanite Reaper plans. RNG not the best way to do that, however.
1:28 If world bosses stay at their current low ilvl, could they be available more frequently? The reason their ilvl isn’t higher is because the game has “passed them by” and it’s fine that players don’t have to go back and do all the things every single week. Don’t update ilvl in Emerald Dream either. This is ok, and intended.
1:30 Any development of Sylvanas vs Greymane? Of course! We have a lot of characters to get to just now though. I mean, where the heck has Jaina got off to? The focus of the story right now is the assault of Argus, but we’ll be back to Sylvanas and Greymane. Sometimes you need Dany to chill in Game of Thrones so other people can get airtime.
1:32 Will Broken Shore buildings ever be permanent? It wasn’t an ‘eventually we’ll do that’. Number of supplies needed have been reduced. It’s part of the backbone of that content. It makes sense to continue the building/destroying of it all. You can still go to Icecrown and joust if the mood strikes you.
1:34 Why does the last Mythic boss only drop one mount, not two? Takes longer to farm mounts than the tier last. The disparity between MoP and Invincible in Icecrown. No plans to change for now.
1:36 Why is there so much RNG in Legion? We get a classic Ion, “Sigh. So.” RNG is at the core of all RPGs since forever, with dice in D&D. Has to be managed carefully in the digital age. RNG is in more places, but they tried to make RNG have less impact overall. Back in olden times, there was less loot, fewer places to get loot, “raid or die.” You might clear forever and get nothing, which is why DKP proliferated. You now have more opportunities to get those items. However, they want to keep “the chase” intact. They don’t want there to be zero reason to do the content. Cited Titanforged, having the item or a slightly better version of a similar item. Things they regret most is where RNG has an impact on real power, namely legendaries. They can’t really change that too much because “welcome to the new patch; we deleted your hat” feels extremely terrible.
1:44 Will there be a Netherlight Crucible catchup mechanic for alts? It’s already account-wide and AK 55 is supposed to fill that gap. Lore noted he plays a lot of alts, and now is a really good time to do so because of how many account-wide unlocks there are and how high AK is now.
1:47 Any new info about connecting realms again? WoW is better with friends. They were doing a lot of backend work on the servers last time they Aed this Q. Most of the issues have been fixed, and got tried out on a Brazilian servers. Ion apologized it’s taking this long, but it is coming.
1:48 Any info on getting off-spec weapons up to speed? Ion repeated AK! The power gap shouldn’t be too big once you hit Concordance. Having two weapons ready to roll becomes a much better prospect once you hit those incredibly large numbers.
1:49 Do you use SimCraft or WarcraftLogs, or depend on internal data. Both! It’s a combo. Logs more than SimCraft, because that’s a snapshot of what actually happened in a raid, but that’s always compared against their internal data. In some ways, these are more important. If Logs says things are imbalanced but the internal data says something different, the players see things as imbalanced. Damage isn’t the sole factor though, due to utility of different specs in encounters. Nobody’s going to be happy with DPS as the sole reason to bring a class to a raid. It’s not just about the maths.
1:55 Flying in Argus? Nah, sorry. The artistic choices they used to make Argus seem like a whole planet won’t work with flying. Note, this isn’t how all future zones will be, but how Argus is.
1:56 How about that active tanking mitigation? Skill floor is a problem, and how effective it is can be a problem. Most tanking involves a lot of macro, making sure the boss is in the right spot, won’t cleave, etc. That’s ‘better’ with classes which are just naturally tankier. Active uptime, cooldowns, etc, all be discussed.
1:59 Anything from the Legion pruning you regret removing? Anything coming back? Yes. Mostly utility stuff. Shroud of Concealment, mentioned earlier. May be too much focus on number vs utility in the moment. Don’t want to point anything specific out, or promise anything, but yes, we may see some coming back.
2:00 Can Prestige be account-wide? PVPing on alts feels bad. In PVP they lean toward character-specific, with appearances, titles, etc. When you see somebody with Prestige 18 you know they’re playing that character in PVP a lot. If they had that when switching to an alt, it makes that seem less… prestigious. “Why do anything on an alt, in that case?” More progression on your main versus playing alts will always be a trade-off.
And that’s it! We’ll see you (and MUSE!) at BlizzCon.
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