Liveblog: Post-BlizzCon Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas
Game Director Ion Hazzikostas answered questions about Patch 7.1.5 and 7.2 on today's Q&A. Some hotfixes are also on the way - legendary items will be upgraded to ilvl 910 on Tuesday, and all Trial of Valor items will get a +5 ilvl boost.
Watch live video from on www.twitch.tv
If you want more details on this content, check out our BlizzCon 2016 coverage:
Legion: What's Next Panel
Patch 7.2 Artifact Appearances
Legion Interview with Chris Robinson and John Hight
Patch 7.2: Legion Flying, Wowhead's Flying Tool, Class Mounts Gallery
What follows is a summary of the questions and answers, not an exact transcript. Please refer to the stream linked in the post for exact wording.
When is 7.1.5 on PTR?
At BlizzCon it was announced that the 7.1.5 would be up very soon. Blizzard is actively working on bringing it up--aiming for early next week as the target.
Was Karazhan as a 5 man raid a successful experiment? Can we expect to see more challenging 5-man content on par with raids in the future?
Great reception and encounter team had a great blend of nostalgia and exciting new stuff in the Upper part of the tower.
Many players running Karazhan in spite of attunement and Mythic only. Some numbers: 300,000 Karazhan groups were made last week in Group Finder.
Would love to do a large-scale dungeon again.
What about Karazhan runbacks? Especially towards the end.
Looking at making a couple of tweaks but nothing specific to share.
Blizzard could do a better job of exposing how to run back in the earlier half (eg around Moroes, other routes can open up).
Blizzard tries to time runbacks - if it's up to 90 seconds it's considered fine.
What is your opinion on the current reward vs difficulty in Trial of Valor?
It is a bit off for rewards.
Blizzard is happy with Trial of Valor overall; they view it as Bosses 8, 9, and 10 of the initial Raiding Tier.
Intended for people done with Emerald Nightmare and looking for something new.
Some outliers has been tweaked, such as Odyn's AoE, or raid-wide damage from Helya's Trampling Charge.
Difficulty is fine; rewards are off. They are only slightly higher than Emerald Nightmare. You likely have a good number of Warforged and Titanforged bumping your ilvl up to make baseline ToV rewards underwhelming.
This upcoming week, loot will be bumped up another +5 ilvls: 860 for Odyn and Guarm, 865 from Helya Normal.
What will you look at regarding secondary stats? Eg an 870 ring worse than 845 ring.
This is an issue - rewards which should be exciting don't feel that way.
Looking at classes and specs with extreme stat discrepancy, if one stat is 2x is better than another, or even better than primary stats. Eg Fire Mages and crit.
Jewelry has a few flaws in Legion. Formerly, those slots were the weakest and in Legion, now they only have secondary stats and feel more "interesting." The problem is that the secondary stats started at a higher baseline and grew more slowly over ilvls/expansion: this solution worked for most gear slots but made jewelry scale more slowly. Was more of an impact to receive a jewelry piece with the right stats than a higher ilvl.
7.1.5 solution: Increase the rate at which secondary stats grow on jewelry.
Other 7.1.5 solution: across-the-board adjustment of secondary stats in relation to primary stats. Secondaries that beat primaries are brought down a bit, to make item level more impactful.
Success story: a +15 ilvl upgrade should always be worth considering.
Changes may not be apparent on the very first 7.1.5 PTR build.
With the disparity between secondary stats for some classes, wouldn't this be a great time to reintroducing Reforging?
Hit and expertise made Reforging awful, and while they are gone - it's still a tricky situation.
Reforging may solve some current situations but not all of them. Plus it does not boil down to an intuitive situation - going to addons, tools, websites, complex math. Plugging a character into a tool is not "interesting."
Reforging can make some items upgrades, but the reason to remove Reforging remains. Items should be easily seen as upgrades, vs needing complex math to make some items upgrades.
Can you share more information on the reworking of some classes mentioned at BlizzCon?
Reworking is too strong of a word, and if it was used at BlizzCon it was not the correct word. Implies its an expansion-level project and massive rebuilding.
What is being done: talent choices, talents that are too good, talents not selected, restoring utility, looking at secondary stat weights.
First look at the PTR will not have a complete set of changes; but some of them. This is an ongoing project. 7.1.5 will hopefully solve some of the worst problems, and see how they play out, then iterate further.
Class changes fit very well into the ".5" style patches, expect to see more.
Explain more about the Artifact Weapon Appearances that will be removed after Legion?
The appearances will always be there and able to unlocked after Legion.
Right now, you can't actually transmog something to look like your artifact. After Legion, Blizzard would like to add a way to earn those appearances for transmog.
This is a way to reward people who unlocked appearances to carry them forward in regular content.
After Legion, you can still acquire artifacts and unlock all the tints, you just can't transmog them onto other weapons if you were not playing during Legion.
You said artifact weapon skins will be added to the transmog library post-Legion. Does that include bear and cat forms?
They will have to figure out a way for players to keep them, even if it doesn't fit into the transmog library naturally.
Could Frost Mages and DKs have some model update love for
Ghoul is actually coming in a future patch - likely 7.2 That work is underway.
Water Elemental is also on the list.
Blizzard has been targeting core class pets as an ongoing thing; Warlock pets just got a revamp. Warlock pets were good timing with Legion needing lots of new demon models
Any new Battlegrounds in Legion?
No plans atm, but need to find something that fits in thematically with the expansion. Not a big Alliance and Horde moment right now.
Hard to leverage the threat of the Legion into a new battlegrounds, but there are active discussions. Area that doesn't have as much done on it as it should.
Brawls are coming and they are battlegrounds remixes - like Winter Arathi Basin.
At this point, Blizzard has a lot of existing Battlegrounds which leads to questions. Does Blizzard move to a rotation, or smaller pools?
? A couple can change the feel of the class, while others feel undertuned and not as rewarding.
Not all legendaries are meant to be equal. However, Blizzard is listening to feedback where the 'last place' legendary doesn't feel worth it at all.
Some legendaries are getting buffed in 7.1.5, but high-end ones are getting nerfs (eg
). A few new exciting ones are coming to the pool.
The issues with stat weighting on jewelry and item level will also factor in.
Upcoming hotfix for Tuesday: increase item level of all legendaries by 15.
Utility on legendaries is hard to measure; legendaries which increase DPS are easier to measure because of damage meters. Utility ones may not feel immediately awesome, but it can open up strategies for your raid and save your life.
Blizzard is concerned that people aren't giving the utility ones a chance and just put them in their bags without discovering why they are cool. It is something they want to look into improving for 7.1.5
Will upgrading legendaries affect their equip bonuses or just the stats? How long will it take an average player to upgrade one?
When Nighthold comes out, the ceiling on items will increase, so we want to make sure legendaries are competitive. New legendaries you obtain will drop at the new ilvl ceiling, but you can upgrade your old ones to hit the new ceiling (
This is separate from the hotfix 15 ilvl buff.
Can we equip more legendaries in 7.2?
Not in 7.2, but maybe later in the expansion.
The cap is in place to make sure super-lucky people don't pull way ahead.
The idea is that as the expansion moves forward, you can swap in legendaries based on situations.
Any updates coming to the Quick Join feature?
Hotfix in the works to disable sound related to toasts popping.
The goal of the feature is expose more information to make it easier to play with friends.
Example: your friends on your friends list and guild chat queue in parallel for the same thing. This feature can help merge the different social circles and encourage people to play with friends.
Is Argus just a raid or a whole new continent?
Argus is not a leveling experience or expansion.
Patch 7.3 is Argus: outdoor zones, instanced contents, raids, other features. Capstone of the story of the Legion expansion.
After the temporary peace, we need to go to the source of the Legion and put a stop to them once and for all.
What has the design team learned from the implementation of hidden appearances in Legion? Are there more difficult puzzles in 7.1.5 and 7.2?
Blizzard has learned that these puzzles are fun and would like to do more of them. Kosumoth stands as the most successful one, was largely driven by in-game clues like the positions of rocks.
Hidden Artifact appearances are more of a mixed bag. There are some memorable ones like Ashbringer and the Sheep staff, and others felt more random. Some were still cool, like Outlaw Rogue stealth dungeon groups for the Thunderfury appearance.
The goal is to minimize frustration and remove the element of "Sombra style ARGs." Some appearances turned into macros to check quest completion or script commands--it felt too obscure.
They'd like to do more in the future, but not necessarily more difficult. Aiming for fun, organic, intuitive, but not something to overdo.
There are a couple of small things still hidden, nothing Kosumoth scale.
Any work done to remove the RNG/gating process in the future, like fishing for Retribution Paladins?
Yep, it is a form of bad luck protection against RNG drops. Nobody should have to run Withered Army for the next year for an appearance.
At BlizzCon, you stated that heroic and mythic dungeons will be upgraded to fit the new raid tier in 7.2? Will this affect new players that need to gear up?
You should run normals, and the item level of gear rewarded from Normals will be bumped up - likely 825.
The idea is to hit max level, run some normal dungeons to gear up. Then you can queue for the new heroics.
With Mythic+ difficulty increasing, will Mythic keystone achievements reset or be seen as seasonal?
There may be some new achievements we add, and updates to reflect that there are new affixes.
Will there be another pet battle tournament like the Celestial Tournament, or pet arena?
Pet battles continue to receive updates, like world trainers were the focus of 7.0.
Pet battle dungeons were discussed at BlizzCon and will be discussed more in the future.
With the content announced for 7.1.5 and 7.2, where does Nighthold fit in?
Nighthold is "in the game" now but locked. Current target is mid to late January; we wanted Emerald Nightmare to have more time to breathe than Highmaul in Warlords.
Tomb of Sargeras will not be open the day 7.2 hits live servers - the story of 7.2 is reaching the Tomb of Sargeras, similar to how the Nightfallen story leads up to the Nighthold.
Blizzard wants to avoid rushing players along; they want more staggered content vs a monolithic patch where everything is updated at the same time.
Example: Hellfire Citadel seemed to come out way too soon in 6.2; it could have waited longer. However, Tanaan Jungle came out at a good time in 6.2. So this content could have been staggered better.
For class-specific mounts, are they all going to have differences in appearance based on spec, or only apply to certain classes?
Certain classes. Driven by very clear thematic connection: eg a Shadow Priest wouldn't use a glowing gold owl.
The Mage mount is a disc inspired by Malygos. Arcane has orbs, Fire and Frost are different.
What happened to the Kirin Tor dailies?
They are adjusted to be slightly-less common.
They were popping too much (twice a week) and they are meant to be quirky offbeat quests, not core quests.
The rates may be bumped up again if it feels they are too uncommon now. Goal is to have them pop up a few times every 3 weeks.
They are fun because they feel "different" - if you have to do puzzles all the time, it can get old.
More improvements to the Auction House coming?
More improvements are needed and Blizzard is not satisfied with the base Auction House experience. The question is when the updates will come.
What about rewards from World Bosses? A small amount of gold isn't encouraging.
There is a high value reward from the associated World Quest (eg gold or Order Resources).
Bonus Rolls feel lacking; Blizzard would like the consolidation prize to be Artifact Power instead.
When will more specs like Arcane, Protection, Restoration be added to Class Trials?
The gunship experience focuses on damage dealers to get returning players familiar with the basics of a spec to go quest.
Healing and Tanking tutorials would be more involved.
One spec is given for the tutorial except for Druids (Feral and Balance) since they are so different.
You can also skip the tutorial by going to the back of the boat: you can then give other specs a try.
The Challenger's Path teleports were helpful, why can't there be a similar reward for Mythic 10?
Warlords Challenge Mode rewards were all about prestige and convenience. If all golds were out of reach, you could feel good about completing one experience and getting a reward.
Any updates to Elemental Shaman? Single target feels weak in pugs.
Single target is getting a buff in 7.1.5.
For class design - there are three 'pay off moments.' Earthshock, Lava Burst (single target nuke + preparation), then
+ Lightning Bolts. Those are all meant to feel like big moments, but they end up feeling watered down. And then regular spells like Lightning Bolt feel very watered down in comparison.
A failure of raid design is not enough diversity in raid profiles and encounter types. No AoE encounter in Emerald Nightmare (eg imps on Mannoroth, or packs of adds on Iskar). Those types of encounters would make Elemental Shaman shine and feel valued. That is a problem on Blizzard's end: there should be encounters to make different strengths and weaknesses shine.
Any updates on Brewmasters? They seem to be in decline.
This is tough - no good satisfying answer. Metrics-wise they are stronger than peers, but community perception is that they are worse.
Brewmasters are very strong right now but they have a different feel from other tanks. Players then feel they are unpredictable and don't want to take a risk.
Some of it can be misleading when looking at healing required. They take slightly more damage, but in a way that is predictable and manageable, which can be handled with things like steady HoTs.
Eg - healers always want to top them off and they can't; but Brewmasters are not squishy and dying. They have the unique ability to survive things other tanks cannot. Example: Brewmasters are better at surviving Phase 3 Spear Ability on Odyn.
The answer is not to buff them more because the people that are familiar with them will be brokenly good.
Blizzard welcomes a larger conversation among the community because perception is important - nobody wants to be rejected for a group even if their spec in theory should be good.
Next Q&A is targeted for early December.
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