WoWFeb 23, 2017 12:53 pm CT

Legion Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas liveblog

In just a few short minutes, another Legion Q&A will be kicking off on Twitch. Game Director Ion Hazzikostas will be answering previously-submitted questions on all things Legion.

In this liveblog, you will need to refresh the page to see the latest updates. Please be aware, depending on the pace of the Q&A, 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’re getting started! Josh Allen (CM Lore) starts off by mentioning the next Q&A, a couple weeks from now, will be focused on PVP with Brian Holinka.

Are there any plans to make the Balance of Power skins account-wide?

Not currently planning to make it account-wise. These are meant to be weapon-specific and character-specific, purely cosmetic rewards reflecting what you’ve done on that character. In some cases, rare drops can have their droprate increased when content is no longer relevant, such as Emerald Nightmare.

30 Il’gynoth kills across all difficulties and still no hidden shadow appearance. When will these get bad luck protection?

It was added in patch 7.1.5. It isn’t retroactive so any boss kills before then won’t count toward that protection, but any kills since then do.

Do you think the 7.1.5 secondary stat weight changes were adequate/successful? The impact didn’t seem uniform. iLevel 860 Arcanocrystal still beats 900+ trinkets for some classes.

In most cases, the rebalance worked. The Arcanocrystal is a special case due to the narrow gap between primary and secondary stats in Legion, which isn’t something they can’t 100% fix mid-expansion. The Arcanocrystal was overbudgeted as a deliberate throwback wink-and-nod to old trinket design, but Legion trinket design resulted in something even more powerful. The goal is to still get players to use higher ilevel items over lower ilevel. They’d rather not heavily nerf the Arcanocrystal or massively buff every other trinket.

What’s the reason behind making second trait on relics another layer of RNG?

In patch 7.2, the next level of artifact research will give relics two traits rather than one. The RNG element is there to open up possibilities: if you’re someone who really wants a relic with a specific trait, there might be only one relic that modifies that trait. Through random generation, more options with that trait might appear. Handcrafting a relic for every single trait would mean cluttering loot tables. Ion also specifies the secondary relic traits on these relics will also be aimed at throughput and your primary role: a Retribution Paladin won’t get a secondary trait that improves Flash of Light, for example.

Any chance we can see more relic drops/options? Currently choosing only by ilevel, would be nice to choose by trait.

The previous answer covers there. The random element will ultimately provide more trait options and combo potential.

How come legendary items don’t change their effect with specialization, like Tier sets do? I’m sure you considered that during development, what were the bad sides of that?

The developers understand why players would want this. If you’re someone who likes filling multiple roles, it’s nice to have items fit to do what you want. Making everything work that way makes those items less distinct, though. If someone tells you they got a specific drop, if it has a specific effect, you’ll recognize it and know what it does. If it did something different for everyone, specific items would have no meaning. Tier sets work differently because, for a raid group, it’s a negative thing to go a piece of loot that only applies to one specific spec and you might not have anyone in your raid who can use it.

Any plans for reducing the large barrier to spec-swapping presented by Legendaries?

Ion admits this is a real problem they want to move toward eliminating. If an Arms Warrior needs to cover for their raid tank one day, but they lack the legendaries and it feels like they’re holding back their raid, that sucks. They’re changing how the legendary system looks at how many legendaries you have to determine droprates. If you have 2 Fire Legendaries but you switch loot spec to Frost, the loot system will view it as you having 0 Legendaries, meaning you will get your Frost legendaries more quickly than you would that 3rd Fire Legendary.

Any plans on buffing underperforming legendaries? Enhancement bracers, for example, do literally nothing right now.

“Well, not literally nothing.” Ion understands the sentiment. If there’s a legendary that feels like it’s pushing you to play the wrong way or it feels like a waste, it might be undertuned or underperforming. There are still some legendaries they feel are OP, but there are some on the low end, too. If a legendary makes a different playstyle suddenly effective, they consider that a good thing. If using it causes your spec to be less optimal, though, they’ll look at those.

As many classes’ ability to maintain competitiveness is dependent on having best-in-slot legendary combos, what are the plans to fix this?

Previous answer covers it. They want to narrow the power gaps in legendaries. Making the worst ones better, and the overpowered ones not as overpowered, will help this. There will always be a “best” for what you’re doing in a particular scenario or encounter, but there shouldn’t necessarily be a best one for every situation.

Ion takes small issue with “competitive” and calls out raid leaders who might be benching good players because they have the wrong legendaries. Good players are still good players and benching them for that reason may not be the best “competitive” choice.

What are the plans for the craftable legendaries? Do you think there will be more than the 4 slated to come out in 7.2?

(These are on the PTR.) Currently only the 4 planned. They weren’t necessarily created to target specific classes or roles, but to give professions something really cool to make. Professions like Alchemy are still relevant in high-end raids, but the other crafting professions, less so. These legendaries are meant to be valuable, lucrative things they can craft even on the high-end.

They aim for these items to be solid, middle-of-the-road legendaries rather than eternal best-in-slot items. These legendaries also don’t count against your droprate for other legendaries.

Why do developers insist on making AP a long-term system when it has so much effect on the game?

Artifact Power was created to be a universally desired currency acting as a form of progression. If you run a dungeon, even if you don’t get loot, you’d get some Artifact Power to make it feel like you still progressed your character. Having an endgoal made players feel like there was a finish line, though. Having a point where there was no longer a need to get more artifact power, players felt like they needed to get there as soon as possible.

Separately, he understands a player’s desire to be free from that urge to grind Artifact Power. They want to get to a point, though, where Artifact Power isn’t something you specifically grind out. If your choice in World Quests is between AP and Gold and you choose AP, that’s fine, but if you go out of your way to specifically grind AP and nothing but AP, they don’t consider that fun and they want to move toward removing the need for that. They want to increase the reward for players partaking in an activity, but reduce the reward for grinding it out over and over every day/week.

Wouldn’t be better to make AP class-wide? Why must I gather all AP from the beginning for every spec’s weapon and stay far behind relative to other players?

The system is fundamentally about your artifact. In that specific system, you empower your weapon, customize your weapon, and so forth. It would feel weird if you primarily played Holy, then picked up your Ashbringer one day and it’s already super powerful. They want to narrow the gap, however, like Artifact Knowledge has somewhat done already. Gains and costs are exponential, so splitting AP across multiple artifacts doesn’t really put someone too far behind someone who goes all-in on one, but they want to narrow the power gap even more. Someone who does focus should still have rewards for making that decision, though.

Are there any plans to extend the Artifact Knowledge catch-up in 7.2 to follow the same trend as the compendiums in 7.1.5?

Yes. There will be Artifact Knowledge 30 and 35 tomes.

The T20 set bonuses seem lackluster compared to T19. Thoughts on that?

The set bonuses on the PTR are not final. The set bonuses on the PTR are, in my cases, first pass ideas. T19 went through that sort of iteration going all the way back to beta, so T19 vs. T20 is comparing a final product to a first draft. Feedback and ideas from players are great, but none of them should be considered final. Datamining often includes unfinished content, experiments, and things of that nature.

Since there are now 6 pieces for each tier set, are players expected to wear 2 piece + 4 piece combinations come 7.2 or will that be prevented somehow?

They decided to go with 6 piece partially because having a cloak that fits with your set aesthetically is cool, but also because they knew they were adding legendaries. 6 pieces provides more flexibility, meaning you didn’t need to choose whether you were going to use a legendary or a set bonus. They have no plans to prevent people from using 2 piece + 4 piece. It probably won’t be the optimal thing to do, and if it ends up being a headache, they’ll look at it.

Do you intend to release proper Tank trinkets? Most tanks are best off getting Stat Sticks or Stat Proc trinkets.

Ion believes there’s a wider spread of trinkets tanks have gotten value from than stat sticks, but understands tank trinkets with on-use mitigation or proc mitigation can be difficult to use in a fight. They’re happy to receive feedback about which tank trinkets feel most effective or most fun to use. They want loot to be exciting and are curious which trinkets tanks find exciting.

There has historically been a penalty attached to on-use trinkets, because it meant you could guarantee its use lined up with all of your abilities. They’re starting to feel on-use trinkets should actually get a bonus, because it takes more planning and attention to maximize their benefit.

Mythic raiders seem to be burning out faster than ever due to the grind. Any plans to address that?

Some of it was dicussed earlier, such as the adjustments to and shifting expectations of Artifact Power. The nature of being in a Mythic guild is hard, though. Cutting edge progression can cause a mental and physical drain. These guilds have had a long history of this happening, though. Eventually, some of these players (and usually the officers) decides they can’t do it anymore and the guild disbands, because keeping up that kind of schedule is a drain on them. Just a few people stepping back can cause the entire guild to break up, but many of the players simply move to a different guild.

While they do want to address some of the grind, these guilds don’t split only because of a grind. They split because they don’t want to go on anymore.

Ion does address raid leaders and officers directly, however. If raids are forcing their players to play 80 hours per week to be competitive, that’s wrong. Blizzard can try to include some systems that limit attempts on a boss or hours played, but ultimately, it’s up to the individuals to control themselves. Blizzard tried to put attempt limits on some bosses previously, but all that happened is these raids did the bosses on alts for extra attempts. Blizzard is there to give players activities to do, they want to give players content and goals, but they can’t control players’ time and health.

Some world quests don’t feel worth it. For example, rewarding 50g. Have you considered allowing those rewards to Warforge or Titanforge for more gold?

It’s a cool idea. They’ve considered letting the gold reward crit, or straight up making some WQs more lucrative. World Quests were great at the start when every possible reward was valuable, but once you’ve geared up a little, it loses its value. It would be cool if once in awhile you saw a World Quest that granted significantly more gold than usual and offered that level of excitement again.

And that’s all for this week! Thank you for following along, everyone!

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