Gamescom Interview with Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas and Slootbag
During the gamescom Legion stream today, Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas joined Slootbag for additional discussion on Legion. We've highlighted the topics discussed (starting 1:55 in the stream) including the news that in 7.1, addons will not be able to access unit positions in raids, dungeons, and competitive instances.
Watch live video from Slootbag on www.twitch.tv
Here are the highlights (starting at 1:55):
General Dungeon Discussion:
Discussion about improvements between Challenge Modes and Mythic + system. It was very difficult to address Everbloom Leaderboards and weed out times reliant on making the “the jump” since there’s no way to tell how each group cleared the instance, but with Mythic keystones it’s essentially a mini-leaderboard for only a week since affixes change every week. Will be easier to address issues as they come up.
Still some tuning left to do on some classes and their abilities to skip things - e.g. Black Rook Hold trash meter can be met on beta if you skip directly to the first boss.
Differences between dungeon/raid difficulties used to be simply how hard boss abilities would hit, but over time, higher difficulties instead introduce new mechanics. This keeps things interesting as guilds progress through difficulties; there is something new to look forward to.
When a Dungeon World Quest is up, there’s a rare spawn in that dungeon. If you’re not 110 yet, you don’t get the World Quest, but it encourages you to still go into the dungeon and kill the rare. Rewards exploration.
The farther you are zoomed out, the smaller things are on the screen. So to make things feel epic, they get scaled up to look bigger. Realized that when people would actually zoom in, the immediate world around you was badly scaled, like steps coming up to your waist.
From a raid design perspective, there are also gameplay implications. What zoom distance do game designers tune encounters around? Do designers assume max UI? CVar? Ion is personally a raid leader who used the enhanced camera distance since Black Temple.
Increased camera zoom was re-enabled due to motion sickness issues. The enhanced camera zoom, which some players weren’t aware of, is still not baked into the default zoom slider. It won’t be included in the slider because Blizzard believes it’s a suboptimal way for most players to experience the game.
Personal loot rules - if you have an equivalent or higher item level, you can trade it to someone. This applies to items you win, not bonus rolls. A drawback to personal loot in raids was the cooperative nature of guild gameplay; the ability to trade should improve this.
Mythic + Dungeon Loot:
If you have a key, you can get loot any time. There is no lockout, it’s unlimited for social reasons. The limit is tied to the highest keystone you can personally acquire. The best loot comes from the weekly chest in your Class Hall; at the start of the next week, you get a chest with rewards, better loot based on your top Keystone rank from that past week.
Blizzard doesn’t want a new system like this to feel stingy at the start. If something feels exploitable, they would prefer to make a targeted fix instead of coming across as stingy.
Concern that if Mythic + had lockouts, everyone would get it done on Tuesday and there wouldn’t be much incentive later in the group to help players that still need to get it done.
Definite possibility that chests from each of the runs are a bit too rewarding right now (guaranteed item for everyone in the group) compared to raiding. Mythic + should feel like an alternative to raiding, not the very best way to gear up. May be changed before system goes live.
Mythic+ Dungeons are cross-realm.
can be completed cross-realm; the details have to be ironed out so a group of 5 players on 5 realms couldn’t knock out the Realm First across many realms at once.
Mostly design for 3-5 bosses per dungeon, 15-20 min for a 3 boss dungeon, 40 minutes for something like Arcway. 7.1 Karazhan is an outlier.
Blizzard designers value non-bosses as well as the bosses in dungeons. Trash offers pacing in raiding and flavor; but in a dungeon you’re spending a significant percentage of time fighting trash, so a lot of time is spent creating the placement and abilities for trash.
Dungeons originally designed to be climax of a quest zone storyline. That felt bad for solo players who had to find a group to see how the story finally played out. With random matchmaking and LFG, there are now tools for these solo players to find a group and easily finish the storyline.
Recent confusion over set tokens in Legion; there is no real change from Warlords. Personal loot gives you set item directly, Master/Group Loot gives set tokens.
The Dungeon Journal lists core tips for each class; if Blizzard can’t think of something to write for a role, that’s a good indicator that they have to create something better for that role for an encounter. It should be engaging for all roles.
Warforged and Titanforged are changed system.View items as a spectrum, not a fixed level. Progressively lower chance that an item you acquire will have an ilvl at the higher end of that spectrum. This should keep content relevant for longer; you’ll have an incentive to keep running dungeons since there’s a chance you could get a version of the item that’s better than your current version.
It will still be best to do the hardest content available for you; the gear will start at a higher ilvl. But there’s a chance World Quests, for example, can rewards an awesome item.
The way the odds work, someone that does LFR every week could end up with one lucky piece of loot after a year, while a Mythic Raider would loot high-quality items every week.
The loot variation is based on the idea and excitement that “anything can happen.”
Things like Augment Runes and 300 stat food are there for min-maxers who want to squeeze extra potential out of the system. At times in the past, raiders can sell items from raids (e.g. BoEs) to finance consumables, and there’s an economic loot there. Augment Runes fit into this system.
Augment Runes dropping are meant to feel like a consolation prize from not getting loot in LFR. They are not meant to feel mandatory for raiders to run LFR. A guild bank is designed to spend gold on consumables, such as these runes.
Scaling tech applies to dynamic questing as well as dungeons. Players at different levels can participate in a dungeon together with scaling. You shouldn’t have to care about the level of players in your group as you are in a dungeon. This also helps with queue times, players of different levels can be grouped together.
Why is there a big increase in ilvl between Nightmare and Nighthold if they are part of the same tier?
Highmaul and Foundry were viewed internally as the same tier - Foundry was seen as continuation of Highmaul. However, guilds coming in were not feeling rewarded by +10 ilvl loot by Foundry since it was much higher. Felt like you were progressing but not being rewarded. So Foundry ilvl loot was then hotfixed to be better.
Lessons learned moving forward; this is why Nightmare and Nighthold have a bigger ilvl gap.
Legendaries: Some feel more powerful, some are good offensively, some defensively. Any chance for a legendary token?
Discussion about this yesterday; premature at this stage in the system with very few legendaries to add such a feature.
Legendaries make items more interesting and exciting, not formulaic. Legendaries can change your preferred your talent build, which in turn changes rotations, etc. This would be lost if there was a token and you’d then pick the “best” one.
Paying very close attention to tank and healer legendary tuning, because there are fewer of those roles in the raid and don’t want a legendary to give a certain person a big edge/raid spot.
There’s always been an element of loot luck in raiding - e.g. if a raid gets lucky on weapon or +Warforged drops while progressing through a new instance.
Legendaries are tricky to balance - this is why Legendaries can be purchased from Flaskataur on beta, so Blizzard has data to work on improving them.
Where is Wrathion?
He’s around! For people in the alpha, Wrathion was originally in Highmountain, the home of Neltharion, his father. However the method in which he appeared was confusing (a member of the Highmountain Tribe was revealed to be Wrathion in disguise.) This would have caused a lot of lore issues.
He’s not disappeared forever; a lot of his end game is about the Legion coming to Azeroth. We haven’t heard the last of him.
Order Hall Campaigns - will you expand on the campaign throughout Legion?
Definitely have some plans to continue the story. Not likely more champions will be introduced like followers - they’re meant to stay at a handful, and you don’t send them on missions all the time.
Story-wise, Orders will continue to develop.
Any sort of flags to make sure players that haven’t unlocked Arcway and Court of Stars won’t get random keystones for those dungeons?
Players that haven’t unlocked Arcway or Court of Stars won’t get Mythic + Keystones for those dungeons (this was a bug in beta).
How are hotfixes handled? There have been recent controversial stealth changes.
The Exsanguinate nerf is an example of a badly-handled nerf. The idea moving forward is to post class changes/community messaging a few days before they go live. Players shouldn’t have to worry about stealth-nerfs mid-raid.
Addons and boss design: How do design choices go hand in hand with add ons? Sometimes it can reach an extreme like radar on Archimonde.
Tracking boss timers, better visibility into targeting, that stuff is all fine, it helps and is information.
Some of the things like radar, and other things that interact with the world (Kormrok, Kromog with 3d arrows pointing you where to stand), aren’t great. There is potential for more abuse that Blizzard is surprised haven’t happened yet. There is the potential right now for a lot of scripted movement and 3D guides.
Blizzard is breaking this. Not in 7.0.3, but in the next patch 7.1. “Addons will not be able to access unit positions in raids, dungeons, and competitive instances.” This was meant to be implemented for 7.0.3 but didn’t get addressed in time—there was a risk it could break outdoor world addons. Blizzard didn’t want to announce it until it was doable, and the work has been completed internally.
Lots of fear that the expansion goes live, players spend Artifact Power, and then their spec gets nerfed. Is the goal to not touch specs after live? What if a spec needs a change?
Blizzard wants to make conservative hot fixes, not huge nerfs, so your spec still feels good to play. They recognize there’s a big potential for disruption if you feel your Artifact Weapon is a mistake.
Are Legion Treasure Goblins a thing? They used to be all over the place in Alpha/Beta
They are currently removed, they might be back later.
Is new Karazhan similar to old Karazhan?
It’s definitely not just updating old numbers on bosses. There’s definitely some cool stuff. More details soon!
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