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WoWDec 7, 2016 11:50 am CT

Legion Q&A liveblog

In just a few short minutes, the latest Legion Q&A with World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas will begin. You catch watch live on Twitch, but if you’re unable, we’ll be liveblogging the Q&A right here on Blizzard Watch.

There’s no particular stated focus for this Q&A, so the questions might cover anything and everything, including the live game and patch 7.1.5 currently on the PTR.

In this liveblog, you will need to refresh the page to see the latest updates. Please be aware, depending on the pace of the panel, the liveblog will not include verbatim quotes unless otherwise noted. While we will strive for accuracy in the information presented, nothing should be cited as a direct quote from the developers.

We’ve begun! Ion starts off pointing out, due to the nature of patch 7.1.5, classes are a hot topic right now. However, he isn’t personally a class designer, but rather oversees the game overall. He begs forgiveness if he gets a class detail incorrect.

Q: Is the secondary stat “squish” not going to hurt specs that rely heavily on Crit, etc?

A: It shouldn’t. The first step of the squish how much of a given rating appears on gear, but the next step is increasing item budget overall. You might lose a little bit in a given stat, but you shouldn’t lose a lot. The idea is to make item level a better compass for upgrades. Something 15 ilevels higher (one tier higher) should be an obvious upgrade rather than something you make an ugly face at because the secondary stats are wrong.

The goal was never to nerf players. Extreme cases may see nerfs, but in general, it’s just a gearing rebalance.

Q: Secondary rebalancing and jewelry changes on the PTR encourage stat stacking even more. What’s the deal?

A: Something that contributed to the secondary stat problem in Legion was flattening out the rate at which you get secondary stats. For example, in previous expansions, you could start out at 10% crit and not perform very well, but at the end of the expansion, you’d hit a soft cap. That isn’t meant to happen anymore. You’ll start higher in Legion, but not jump as high by the end. Jewelry was initially bugged because it didn’t scale properly, but that won’t be the case anymore.

Q: What is being done to ensure tanks want ilevel upgrades since primary stats mean far less to them?

A: There’s more they can do to ensure primary stats do more for tank avoidance later. The current changes (coming in patch 7.1.5) mean tanks will get more armor and stamina from ilevel upgrades. They’re still working on this.

Q: What is the reason for the large mechanical changes slated for 7.1.5? A lot of classes are going to feel drastic changes on the order of the changes going from Warlords to Legion.

A: Ion says this may be overstated. There aren’t a lot of classes getting drastic changes, and the changes aren’t as drastic as a new expansion. The reason they’re going these changes in 7.1.5 is because they changed so much from Warlords to Legion. Some things worked. Some things didn’t. Should they leave the things that didn’t work until the next expansion? Probably not. Trying to solve these problems now seems like the right thing to do.

Q: Long term plans for Warlocks? Numbers aren’t terrible, but none of the specs feel fun to play.

A: “I’m sorry to hear that.” Couple issues for each spec on their radar. Affliction’s Soul Effigy is awkward. The idea is affliction warlocks are good at multi-dotting, so you were given the option to always be in a multi-dot scenario. Improvements can be made here. For Demonology, Demonic Empowerment can be a source of frustration. “Juggling.” Ion recognizes these are large problems and not just numbers problems and will require many interations on the PTR to figure out the rotation. PTR cycles being what they are, the developers need to choose their focus to get something into a patch. Warlocks will be fixed during the expansion, but they didn’t feel they could fit it into this patch cycle given holidays and so forth. They’ll get there.

Ion also gets into Destro Warlocks. They wanted to consolidate Warlocks into one consistent resource type rather than three different resources which seemed unwieldy. However, granularity was lost with the loss of Embers. This will require some UI work. They want Destro Lock soulshards to work like embers used to, with partial charges being built by different abilities. The rotation flowed better that way.

Q: Can Havoc have a viable DPS build that does not use Fel Rush/VR as DPS abilities?

A: Yes. They’ve made tweaks to spells such as Fel Barrage to provide an alternative. This will continue. There are people who enjoy the heavy movement-based rotations, but it isn’t necessarily good to have it as the only option if those movement spells are getting you into trouble. (Rushing off of cliffs on boss fights, being hurled into AOEs, etc.)

Q: The Emerald Dreamcatcher nerf only helps lessen the pain between Balance Druids, but also removes the possibility of Balance Druids being competitive.

A: They’re still nerfing it, but they’re nerfing it in a different direction. Numbers aren’t final. (We’ll likely see this materialize on the PTR.) Speaking generally about legendaries, they went to narrow the gap between the good and the bad legendaries. In a situation where a class is only competitive with a specific legendary, they’re likely to nerf the legendary but buff the class, so the class is better and the legendary doesn’t have such a drastic impact. Balance Druids will be brought up to compensate for the Emerald Dreamcatcher nerf.

Q: Why is there not a single piece of Warrior T19 with Haste/Mastery? Those are their best stats.

A: These items have been rebalanced on the PTR. They don’t want every piece of tier gear to have everyone’s best stats, but there should always be some. This will now be the case.

Q: Unholy DKs rely heavily on RNG and the right legendary to do competitive DPS. Current PTR does not address these issues. Any plans to fix?

A: Similar to the Emerald Dreamcatcher, some Death Knight legendaries are too powerful and will require some rebalancing to the base class. Some of the class’s RNG elements have been there since the beginning and are a core part of the spec. For Festering Wound, they might cap at 4 wounds removed by Apocalypse, and each wound spawns 2 ghouls. That would mean you don’t need to build all of the way to 8 wounds for the best outcome. (I, the writer of this liveblog, don’t play a Death Knight. Apologies if I misinterpreted something.)

Q: Are there any plans of lowering the RNG of Roll the Bones for Outlaw Rogue?

A: They won’t lower the RNG of an ability fundamentally based around rolling dice. They want to improve Slice and Dice if people don’t want that gameplay. It’s possibly they can buff up the weakest outcomes of Roll the Bones to make it feel less-bad.

Q: Why is Greater Blessing of Might a thing? This ability has been met with near universal criticism since its implementation.

A: Ion admits it’s a failed design. They wanted a callback to some of the original Shaman/Paladin gameplay with totems/blessings. If you’re giving someone else more DPS through your presence, should you have the same DPS as them? If no, that feels bad. If yes, you’re just better. Then the idea is, if that damage counts for the Ret Paladin, the person receiving that buff doesn’t feel good about it. The Ret Paladin is then counting on the other person to play well to give them free damage.

They haven’t coming up with a replacement yet for patch 7.1.5, but they do want to replace it.

Q: The alternatives to Surrender to Madness meant to be coming in patch 7.1.5 aren’t there on the PTR. Where are they?

A: Reduced Insanity loss in the first 18 seconds of Voidform makes a standard Voidform better than it used to be relative to a Surrender to Madness Voidform. Ion says there’s not likely a world in which they can have something better than Surrender to Madness on a short-duration single-target fight, or else Surrender to Madness just becomes bad in comparison. However, there could be better options for longer fights. They aren’t ready to talk about anything, but they’ll get there.

Q: Any word on fixing Storm, Earth, and Fire? Frustrating when a DPS cooldown can be a DPS loss.

A: They’re working on fixing the mechanical issues with this spell. Some of the fixes are quite complex and may not be fixed in time for patch 7.1.5. If it isn’t fixed on time, they’ll buff it up (taking those bugs into consideration) so it isn’t a DPS loss, then bring it back in line once they’ve fixed the bugs.

Q: Can you remove Rune of Power? This ability has been a burden for the past 3 expansions and it’s still here.

A: “It’s controversial, I understand.” Some of it is tuning. If Mirror Images etc were comparable in power, mages would have more options. Rune of Power is meant to be situation. If it’s a low-movement fight, it would be a good option. On a high-movement fight, maybe you wouldn’t take it. It might also be better as a short-duration cooldown which gives a higher benefit while it’s there, rather than tethering a mage to one spot for an entire encounter. It isn’t meant to be the all-purpose every-situation talent.

Q: Possibility for Holy Paladins to get more AOE/HoT healing spells? Single target is awkward in some fights.

A: “In this case, the answer is honestly no.” Strong single-target throughput is the focus of Holy Paladins. AOE/HOT is for other healers. Holy Paladins doing will in all types of current content. Play to your strengths and other healers play to theirs. Even in small-group content, single target heals get the job done.

Q: MM seen as the top raiding spec for Hunters currently. Hunters unhappy with the Vulnerable mechanic and with the immobility of MM Hunters. Devs happy with this?

A: Generally, yes. With Aimed Shot, the immobility is part of the theme of the ability. You take a moment to carefully aim your shot. There’s some tuning to be done to make BM and Survival viable options in more situations.

Q: Do you have any plans to stop players from hoarding Artifact Power at level 37 until patch 7.2?

A: You shouldn’t do this. Regardless of where they land on the design, their system will not allow players to do this. All you’re doing by hoarding Artifact Power until then is denying yourself power right now. It’s also a good time to level up alternative artifacts/off-specs if you’re interested in that.

Q: Why isn’t Artifact Knowledge account-wide?

A: They haven’t done this directly, but some things in patch 7.1.5 move towards this. Mailing tomes to your alts, etc. They want Artifact Knowledge/Power to still be an active part of gameplay. Your alt should have gameplay to increase its own power rather than your main funneling it back. The Compendiums in 7.1.5 also accelerates Artifact Knowledge for alts, while the faster cooldown on turn-ins is meant for new players.

Q: Any plans for making more things account-wide? I like the Compendiums and would like something similar for reputation.

A: They might make more sources of rep (such as tokens) account-bound rather than soulbound. World Quest unlock and Suramar dungeon unlocks are also account-wide as of patch 7.1. They think it’s reasonable alts also need to have a progression patch, not just main characters.

Q: In patch 7.1, we have 3-5+ minute loading screens, especially in Dalaran. Any fix?

A: They’re investigating, but it’s turning out to be a complex issue. Not everyone is experiencing this issue which is exacerbating the problem of tracking down the issue. It’s high priority and they’re trying to find the problem.

Q: What is the philosophy around Legendary usability? Some Legendaries require a specific situation to be useful at all and often feel like you don’t even have one.

A: Mixed feelings. It’s okay for there to be situational legendaries. A legendary that boosts AOE is not going to be useful on Ursoc. That’s fine. Eventually, players will get to the point where they have many legendaries and can pick and choose which will be the most useful in a situation like talents. Ion says the mistake may have been making universally good throughput legendaries. If they were all situational, players might have been happy to get a legendary that helps in X situation. With universally good throughput legendaries, players are unhappy they didn’t receive that one. Rather than excited for what you got, you’re upset you didn’t get the “right” one.

Q: Why are you introducing Quality of Life boosts to Class Design via Legendaries?

A: Similar to set bonuses, they’re things players should want. If it’s something that’s truly an improvement to the class, it might one day become a baseline property. They don’t remove things from a class to put it on a legendary/set bonus, but those legendaries/set bonuses might reveal things that fundamentally make a class better to play.

Q: Any “catch up” mechanic on legendaries for alts?

A: As time goes on and more legendaries are available, they’ll accelerate how quickly players can acquire them, which will apply to mains and alts. Eventually it’ll be commonplace that everyone will have a legendary and there will need to be an accelerates way for new players to get theirs and be competitive.

And that’s all for today’s Q&A!

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