The live Q&A with Lead Game Designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas has ended. Check out the VoD or our summary of new/interesting information below.
- The addition of flight in 6.2.x instead of in 6.2 is because of development reasons. There are a bunch of bugs that need to be fixed now that flying will come to Draenor.
- All the reputations required for the Draenor pathfinder quests will be available at the same time. To get them to revered will take you about 3 weeks if you do the dailies in Tanaan every day.
- The solution for flying is seen as a blueprint for future content. So you’ll first only have ground mount access and then after playing the content you’ll earn flying. Of course they will have to see how it initially works out in patch 6.2.x.
- What to do with flying in Draenor was a difficult decision to make for the team. When 6.2 was on the PTR the team felt they had to make a final decision. Both within the community and in the development team there was a lot of discussion for both sides of the problem. “Never” was a big word.
- The reputations in 6.0 are not going to be defended. Originally they weren’t going to be in Draenor at all, but they were added for the Trading Post. The 6.2 reputation design is a lot more of a modern design for reputations.
- The idea behind the apexis dailies has promise but it didn’t pan out right. The idea was that you’d do different things such as killing mobs and destroying items in different areas. You’d be able to do different types of things to get progress for your daily. By removing quests entirely there was a lack of story, and the reward structure was not a success.
- They approached Garrisons making sure they rewarded you well as they were a core part of Draenor. A lot of systems tied into it because of that. Including outdoor systems. Even though there was content out in the world, the Garrison kept you in your Garrison as it rewarded stuff like profession items.
- They’re looking to do some Diminishing Returns on an account wide level for the gold earned via garrison missions. They’re going to do this because of the pressure players feel to maintain alts to earn a lot of gold via their alts for their mains.
- To get players out of the Garrison they’re putting rewards back into the world. For example Felblight needs to be looted instead of being earned via the garrison.
- The Shipyard is different in that you have less ships and the rewards mean more per naval mission. You won’t continually need to check back in your Shipyard to send ships on new missions.
- Garrisons are just tied to Draenor. You won’t bring it over to future expansions. However the core gameplay (a base, followers) might be taken into future expansions. It will not be exactly the same.
- The transition for 10 player heroic guilds to 20man mythic was certainly challenging. But there will always be guild that come and go. They still feel changing to the flexible structure and 20man mythic mode was a good idea. The 20man experience is better due to being able to tune specifically to just 20 players instead of 10 and 25, and then failing to balance them exactly the same.
- Having Mythic mode is justified, it inspires players to progress their character. Mythic design only takes 5% to 10% of the time to create raids.
- Timewalker dungeons are weekend events to make them more condensed events. You’ll be able to focus on quickly gearing alts for example. There’s also the context of where does timewalking fit in? Why would you do other Draenor dungeons if Timewalking gives you better loot? By keeping it limited it allows them to make Timewalker dungeons give higher item level rewards.
- Dungeons became irrelevant pretty quickly. It’s another regret of the developers. There was no reason to keep returning to the dungeons due to a lack of a reward system. Mythic dungeons are a way to salvage the dungeons themselves and keep them relevant. Mythic dungeons give 685 – 700 item level loot.
- They’re going to look for a way for dungeons to scale over time so that they still matter.
- They don’t see Timewalker dungeons as content instead of new dungeons. Timewalker dungeons are a feature that they’ve wanted to do for a while.
- On Demonology warlock nerfs: They have concerns about how Demonology plays mechanically as a spec. At the same time an increasing amount of warlocks felt like they were forced to switch to Demonology. They intend to change Demo mechanically in the future. Demo is still viable but it’s not the best. For now it’s Demo’s turn to be the worst spec.
- Ability pruning did not go too far. In some cases it did not go far enough. That does not mean they did not prune some abilities they shouldn’t have. Moving forward they’re looking to increase the fantasy of being your class. Being a fire mage, being a rogue.
- The game is less dominated by absorbs (healers) than in MoP. The problem is the niche of absorbs needs to be scaled back. Currently it feels like you need a disc priest + another healer. Absorbs also stop the fun of throughput healers, they stop the health bars dropping, which throughput healers want to fill back up.
- Professions will be changed in the future. In 6.2 you’ll get a lot more profession items from the daily cooldown and once again Felblight can only be obtained by going into the world.
- The duration of a (mythic) fight depends on the encounter. An encounter with the same mechanics through the entire fight should take 5 to 6 minutes. When there are phase changes you can expect them to be a bit longer. And then there’s the classic example of end boss fights with multiple phases and transitions, those will be 10+ minutes. Mythic Imperator did take too long.
- Is the game becoming too convenient? That’s a tricky question to answer. They don’t want inconvenience and nuisance to be the things that stop you. There are different risks and rewards. The random group finder helped you find a group a lot quicker and you didn’t have to stand in Stormwind for 90 minutes to find a group. But it did take away social aspects.
- For patch 6.1 there wasn’t a lot of time to get a lot of content in it. It might have been better to name it patch 6.0.5. The patch wasn’t meant to be a major content patch.
- On Tier 18 PvE and PvP art recoloring: Instead of it being a PvE and PvP set it’s a regular set and “elite” set. So that there’s a differentiation between the gear that’s the hardest to obtain and somewhat easier to obtain. Hence Mythic and Elite look the same with recoloring and the other sets look the same with recoloring.
End of Live Q&A
The Raids and Dungeons Live Developer Q&A will be starting soon. We’ll be liveblogging the Q&A in this post!
- Realm first titles are not likely to come back. Realm first achievements moved away from personal achievements and went over to guild achievements.
- Gear progression is a core factor in progression, over time it will allow you to continue to progress if you’re stuck.
- There’s no troll dungeon in the next patch. There are no trolls in Draenor, they are all Azerothian.
- They’re going to stick to needing 2 tanks in general for raiding. Sometimes you’ll need 3 on mythic. If they would increase the number of required tanks then guilds would have to recruit for them right away, just so that they can raid again.
- They do not feel BRF normal/heroic is not overtuned for smaller size raids.
- There is nothing specific to announce for new quests from the inn from your garrison.
- They’ve struggled to define the use of Heroic Dungeons, gearing up past 630 ilvl gear is very easy without even doing dungeons. They realize it’s a valid concern. You can still do challenge modes. The gear the daily CM quest rewards was updated in 6.1 to stay relevant.
- Tuning 3 different difficulties has turned out well for the development team. In Highmaul the progression curve felt good on the different difficulties. Heroic progression focused guilds did not do normal Highmaul for long.
- There are many changes to CMs this season: The reality is that the lack of collision before 6.1 were bugs. Players were not supposed to be able to skip content like they did. They’re still evaluating what to do with the CM ranks and whether or not the collision should be removed again.
- The representation of tanks within raiding has become more stable. In high-end guilds tanks tend to reroll to min-max their composition, but the guilds still vary in their tank class usage.
- In mythic mode there are a couple of encounters that are designed around having 3 tanks. Due to having the possibility with offspecs and gear working for multiple specs it makes it a lot more reasonable to design such encounters.
- They moved away from just recoloring raid gear on different levels so that there was a differentiation between the difficulties and their rewards. It also gives players an incentive to try harder level content.
- LFR gives better loot than heroic dungeons due to multiple factors: The one per week lockout and time commitment are two examples. They also still want to reward players for participating in LFR. By adding the reward more players are also interested in running LFR. Without it, the queue times could be longer.
- They design raid bosses around heroic difficulty. After testing and tuning it they start thinking about how they can increase the difficulty for mythic, and reduce it for normal raiding. Sometimes after designing a fight they realize they designed a mythic fight and then reduce the difficulty for heroic and then for normal difficulty.
- Their goal is diversity, not perfect balance on every encounter. If they would go for perfect balance they would have to remove certain class abilities and make encounters more boring. However they feel that for the overwhelming majority of players it does feel balanced. On average over the entire raid zone the classes and specs are equal. When it feels like it makes it a whole lot harder to do a fight without a certain spec for regular guilds, that’s the point they take another look at the fight or spec.
- The goal of garrison missions and the gear they offer is to always offer useful gear for the type of content that you play. This means that if you’ve killed heroic bosses and you get a few mythic pieces of gear, it’s ok.
- They are very happy with how the LFG tool has been used. They are going to continue to look at improving the system. (More filter options were asked about)
- They are happy with how the encounters have turned out in Blackrock Foundry.
- The kick player system is something they are looking at. A lot of the rules were added when the dungeon LFG system first went in patch 3.x. Since then a lot of changes have happened within the system. Now that loot is personal and there is no reason to kick someone during the fight (to steal loot), they can revise such rules.
- There is no reason not to use personal loot right now, it is as equally rewarding as group loot/master looting. They are looking at improving the way personal loot feels and plays.
- A community created raid would be interesting… but definitely not likely. They take pride in putting blizzard values into the design of their raids.
- Their goal is to reduce the time between the final raid tier and the next expansion. Whatever the number of final raid tiers is, is determined by that goal.
- The point of warforged gear, just like bonus sockets and tertiary stats remains the same. It’s an extra bonus, so even if you’re farming bosses you wouldn’t normally need loot from, you might get extra bonuses from rekilling bosses that otherwise would not provide any more useful loot.
- They might make alternatives to just elevators in dungeons/raids.
- They will work on providing meaningful loot tables in LFR.
- The timewalking feature is something they are working on. They might be able to talk about it more in the not too distant future.
- They don’t think raid cooldowns are too strong. They are not seeing guilds stacking certain classes for cooldowns.
- They are keeping an eye on success rates on different types of groups in BRF. But players have to keep in mind that normal BRF fights are tuned around having normal HM gear.
- Blizzard enjoys the current community driven race for world first. They would like to leave it as is.
- Mythic dungeons are still an interesting idea. They have nothing concrete but they still are looking for a way to make dungeons interesting later in an expansion.
Q&A has ended.
The devs had a live Q&A session on twitch, here’s a summary of the session with Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas and Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut right before the WoD launch.
- Competing factions like Aldor / Scryer could return in the future if they make sense to add to the game.
- It’s expected that some time in the future (not 7.) ability/item level pruning will have to happen again. This is due to the amount of power increase that’s required in progression.
- There will be a cool visual effect to show you have the legendary ring.
- The limit on wearing crafted gear in WoD allows the developers to make crafted gear more powerful.
- The Vale of Eternal Blossoms will not be restored in the future.
- A hide shoulders feature along with hide helmet and hide cloak will likely not happen as it’s a large part of your character’s silhouette.
- Mythic trash is harder than heroic trash. It’s not in the league of heroic to mythic boss, but it is still harder. This means there will be mythic trash loot!
- The “keys” to skip to the end of the raid that was mentioned at blizzcon 2013 is still in in Blackrock Foundry. After the Iron Maidens there’s an orc blacksmith that will forge the key if you’ve cleared on the difficulty your raid instance is 4 times.
- Secondary Professions will likely not be made account wide. But it is something they could consider.
- There will be a second pass on lower level abilities. Later in the expansion they’ll have more of a chance to fix things that might be broken at the lower level.
- Where it makes sense the graphical quality of old armor/weapon sets will be upgraded in the future. The orc/human guard armors are an example of this.
- Active mana regeneration could potentially return in the future. The danger of it is getting the balance right. If it’s designed around the assumption you always use it in the downtime then that would put an additional burden on the healers.
- A “Heroic” LFR will not be added. It’s seen as a way to see the content in a very accessible way. If you’re looking to progress your character more they’re hoping you’ll go into normal mode. The new group finder can help you find a group for this.
- Gladiator stance was something they wanted like to design as a valid dps option. It satisfies the fantasy of being a gladiator with a 1handed weapon and a shield.
- Questing zones will not automatically be cross-realm at the beginning of the expansion.
- Tenaan Jungle can be split into multiple instances for the same realm to make sure it’s still a good experience.
- Simulationcraft is a useful source of feedback but it’s not a completely correct source. They make different assumptions when simulating the dps. It can still expose errors though.
- Armor/shield clipping in Tauren for example are viewed as bugs, so report them if you come across them.
- Changing skin color in the barber shop is a completely reasonable feature to request.
- The heirloom tab is looked at as a hopefully a warlords patch feature.
- Arms warrior changes were based on WotLK design, to make them feel like Arms did back then. (In reference to Whirlwind)
- World bosses will not be available at launch. Two will become available in the week of december 2nd. One week one will spawn, the next the other.
- Warlords will just unlock at midnight.
- Features for expansions are chosen through giant wishlists, brain sessions, lessons from the previous expansion and other ways. Per expansion it’s looked at what they want to put in the world they’re creating.
- Worgen and goblin models will eventually be updated but they have a lower priority.
- Hybrid healing in PvP is something they’re watching. Possible major changes will come in patch 6.1. Also at level 100 it will be a lot better.
- In WoD we can expect to see “story patches” between raid patches. 6.1 will likely be more focussed on systems updates and moving the story forward and 6.2 will be a major raid update.
- Increasing the friends list capacity on battle.net beyond 100 friends is something they want to do, but there are technical limitations to sort out.
- They have cool plans for class quests in the future, but nothing to share yet.
- There will not be more glyph slots in the future. They need to be a hard choice.
- You don’t want to stack versatility on every character because it’s not as good as other stats from an offensive point of view.
- Fel flame was removed because they wanted lower the amount of mobile damage players had.
- The postmaster returning everything has been fixed, he’s not as overzealous with armor scraps.
- The Stacking The Deck buff rewards gold. This buff is given if you enter a queue with a premade group or if you requeue with a group you met through random group finder.
- Transmogging fist weapons to swords and other 1handers is still not possible due to technical problems under the hood of transmogrification.
- Blood DKs feel like they’re not using their weapon enough right now.
- One of the lessons learned from phasing is they need to use phasing less.
- A revamp for druid forms could happen in the future.
- When designing talents/spells for a class they start from the perspective of the fantasy/lore of that class/spec.
- They don’t want all class/specs to be the exact same on single target dps and aoe dps.
- They still want secondary stats to be different in importance for players. But they don’t want a stat to be terrible for a class/spec.
Did you not get a chance to go to Blizzcon but still have a question for the developers? They’re going to do another livestream on wednesday and you’ll be able to submit questions!
This Wednesday, I’ll be joining World of Warcraft Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas and Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut to answer your questions live on Twitch.TV! With Warlords of Draenor’s launch only a couple of days away, we’re sure there’s plenty of questions we weren’t able to answer at BlizzCon, and now is your chance to ask them!
When: Wednesday, November 12th, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Pacific Standard Time (see this handy tool to find when that is in your local time!)
Where: The World of Warcraft channel on Twitch.TV/WoW
There are two ways to submit questions. If you’re using Twitter, simply tweet your question using the hashtag #WarlordsQA. You can also ask it as a reply to this forum thread; however, as we’d like to get to as many questions as possible, we will only consider questions using 40 words or less. Make them count! In order to be considered, your question must be submitted before 12:01 AM PST on Wednesday, November 12th.
See you there!