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WoW Wednesday: Battle for Azeroth Live Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas

World of Warcraft’s Game Director Ion Hazzikostas came back with another live developer Q&A this past week. For those that haven’t watched it and would like to, you can find the link to the video here. For those that just want a quick rundown, you’ve come to the right place. This WoW Wednesday we are going to do a quick recap of what was discussed in the Battle for Azeroth live Q&A and afterward give a little bit of my own feedback on a few topics.

Zandalari Trolls

  • Zandalari Prelates (Paladins) will have their own story arc that could possibly lead to playable Zandalai Paladins. We will have to wait and see.
  • Zandalari Trolls were recently made 10 to 15% larger to match the Darkspear Trolls straight back height.
  • Zandalari Troll’s won’t be unlocked at the release of Battle for Azeroth.

Allied Races / Character Creation

  • Allied Races will come out in pairs for now, though that could change in the future.
  • A few Allied Races that were mentioned include Dark Iron, Mag’har Draenor Orcs, Kul Tiran, and Zandalari.
  • Mag’har means uncorrupted in Orcish not the literal Mag’har faction from Outland. “Just think brown Orcs.”
  • As new Allied Races are added, more character slots will be given so that you don’t have to delete any characters on a server level.
  • Allied Races will continue to get more customization options where they see fit.
  • There are currently no plans to add more customization options for non-Allied races.
  • They would like to update the character creation, but it’s not a Battle for Azeroth core feature.
  • There is no immediate plan right now to give existing races their own Heritage Armor, but it’s an awesome idea that they would like to do.
  • There was mention of maybe Racial Questlines for unlocking existing race Heritage Armor, but Ion said it was “Just off the top of my head.”

Dev Communication

  • Data and screenshots are helpful to depending on what it is you’re trying to get across.
  • Rational Feedback is always better than charged emotional feedback.
  • Specificity is better, rather than saying “When are you going to fix Ret Paladins?”
  • Try to make feedback personal more than looking to speak for a broad group.
  • The platform to use for feedback depends on what kind of feedback it is. (Forums for big lists, Twitter for images)

Classes / Talents

  • They aren’t trying to unprune classes as much as wanting to add unique class abilities.
  • Ion mentioned how the team wants to double down on strengths rather than show off weaknesses.
  • “Envy is actively healthy” it’s great to look at other classes and see things that you wish you had, as long as they’re also looking back at you and thinking the same thing.
  • Adding more abilities every expansion isn’t sustainable.
  • Azerite armor should fill the new abilities gap.
  • The team wants to focus on M+ and Raiding class balance somewhere in the middle. They should both be a test of the strengths and weaknesses of the classes.
  • If it turns out that the majority of players are taking a specific talent universally across all playstyles, then it could shift to baseline or change.
  • Legendary talents that are getting added to classes when paired with the same legendary item the effects will stack.
  • AoE or single target customization didn’t lead to satisfying or interesting gameplay and just felt like you’re burning a tome.

 

Itemization

Battle for Azeroth

  • Ion wants to do better at making the value of primary stats stronger compared to secondary ones in BFA.
  • The team wants item level more often than it was in Legion to clearly tell you if an item is an upgrade.
  • They didn’t like items being 20 to 25 item levels higher and not knowing if it was an upgrade causing players to run sims just to see if it even was an upgrade or not.

Artifact Weapons

  • Artifact abilities becoming talents feels bad now, at least in the short term, but it’s a short-term decision they’re making towards a long-term design goal.
  • When 8.0 launches your artifact weapon won’t actually go away, but the traits on it will be disabled. The weapon itself and the relics are staying, but the traits in your weapon will be burnt out.
  • In BFA we will be going back to traditional weapon drops.

PvP

  • CC is an ongoing area of change and work. If it’s too limited then the game just turns into a DPS race. Too much and you feel like you aren’t able to play the game, it’s frustrating. Long cc chains tend to involve multiple players. Players should depend on their teammates to interrupt and peel to help out.
  • The team wants the Prestige rewards to still be available and obtainable. At the same time, they don’t want to keep adding dozens and dozens of new ones.
  • They want to stick with the cosmetic rewards for PvP.
  • They would like to find a way to bring back the concept of the World Defense Channel in some way.

Personal Loot

  • It’s a reasonable expectation that Personal Loot will be the only option in BFA.
  • Players would use Master Loot to funnel set pieces to specific players to let them complete their sets, but with set pieces leaving in BFA so Personal Loot as a universal system increasingly makes sense.
  • It has a nice way of balancing out the high end of the raid scene in terms of split runs and loot funneling.

Mission Table

  • There will be a mission system similar to what we had in Legion, but slightly smaller in scope.
  • They will be more tied to the war
  • Backing away from using them as a time-gating

Mythic+

  • The team is super excited and super happy on how Mythic+ has turned out in Legion.
  • Going forward is a couple of small changes, moving Tyrannical and Fortified down from level 10 Affixes all the way to level 2 replacing the base dungeon modifier.
  • Want to improve the in-game Mythic+ UI.

Professions

  • The team is changing the way the universal profession skill system works. It was always a bit awkward, as the team wanted people to be able to catch up for the latest expansion.
  • Going to have the baseline version of the trade skill and then there are expansion themed categories. Outland Blacksmithing, Northrend Blacksmithing, Cataclysm Blacksmithing and so forth.
  • They want crafted gear to be relevant, but there is no specific design or plan to announce.

Alts

  • Alts in BFA will be similar to Legion. It just depends on what you’re looking to get out of your alts.
  • Collecting Azerite will work passively in the background, similar to Artifact Knowledge.

Social Features

Battle for Azeroth

  • A new construct that has improved chat functionality, persistent chat, cross server, and can be in multiple communities at once.
  • Communities are a bit “lighter” than a guild.

Personal Thoughts

Honestly, not much in this Battle for Azeroth Live Q&A really stuck out to me besides one thing: personal loot. I think personal loot is a horrible idea and I don’t want to go into much detail about it because this isn’t a ‘Personal Loot article,’ but I hope Blizzard doesn’t stick with this decision. Let me know what you think about their personal loot decision, or about anything else that was said in this Q&A, in the comments below.

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