Patch 7.1.5 Legion Developer Classes Q&A
Game Director Ion Hazzikostas addressed many 7.1.5 class topics in the latest Q&A, and we've summarized his answers below in this liveblog. This is not a direct transcript; please check the VoD for exact wording and tone.
The next Q&A should be scheduled for January 2017, around the release of Patch 7.1.5.
Watch live video from on www.twitch.tv
Summary of Class Points
Blizzard is aware of RNG issues caused by
in conjunction with
; one potential solution is to cap the amount of
consumed to 4, and have each grant 2 ghouls.
Working on making viable DPS builds for Havoc that do not rely on
as rotational abilities with
, through changes to
and examining other synergies.
Mostly happy with the state of Marksmanship Hunters.
has mechanical issues that will either be fixed for 7.1.5 or buffed to account for the bug.
is also either getting bugfixes or some buffs.
is a controversial talent that should be situational but instead has widespread use. In the short term, other talent row options like
will be buffed, but
may need design changes in the future.
Holy Paladins playstyle is strong single-target; unlikely more AoE or HoTs on the way.
is not in a good place and Blizzard is working on a replacement.
The goal of the
talent row is to have robust alternatives but Blizzard is not there yet. The goal is to have a tipping point in longer fights where other talents are better.
RNG is fine in its current state and signature to Outlaw.
is meant to be an alternate but doesn't feel compelling right now.
Affliction has many changes in 7.1.5 and Blizzard is listening to feedback about
and strengthening other talents in the row.
feels slow to get started and is a large problem that requires iteration.
For Destruction Warlocks, Blizzard misses the granularity of Embers. Working on making Destruction Soul Shards behave like old Embers, where your abilities generate parts of Embers/reskinned Soul Shards.
In the latest PTR build, the
Warrior tier helm
now has haste/mastery.
will be nerfed but also designed in a different direction; your throughput should be unchanged if you have it, but you'll be less-behind if you don't have it.
Expect more tuning for legendaries to tone down the universally useful ones.
The droprate of legendaries will continue to increase, as more are added to the game.
Tanks will have more armor and stamina on their items to make item level upgrades appealing over choosing the best secondary stat.
The secondary stat changes were not messaged properly at first and the main goal was to improve the desirability of higher item level items. In the recent build, the item budget has been increased to compensate for changed ratings.
For more information on these summarized topics, refer to our more detailed answers below.
Re: Class Questions
Usually we try to avoid spec specific questions. When we start talking in detail about i.e. survival hunters, 90% of the audience doesn't listen to that part. In addition, I (Ion) am not actually a class designer. That being said, classes are the hot topic right now so we will be covering it a bit. Apologies "for anything dumb I might say" but i have talked to the class teams.
Secondary Stat Changes in 7.1.5
Q: Is the secondary stat "squish" going to affect some classes more than others?
A: We didn't do great messaging with this. The newest step does increase the item budget despite the squish. You got extra int or strength to compensate for reduction in secondary stats. You will end up with a little bit less than what you have but this was intended to improve desirability of hither ilvl items across the board. 15 ilvl upgrade? You should be able to equip that right away. Lower than that, and you're a min/maxer, then you'll want to sim it. This should only result in a 1-2% loss in your secondary stats. Lots of numbers tuning still yet to happen. Overall we don't want to nerf players. We don't want to reduce your raid groups' dps. We are pretty happy with balance on live right now (
notwithstanding) so we didn't go into the PTR wanting to change that, more wanting to make itemization more intuitive.
Q: Secondary changes and Jewelry changes encourage stat stacking even more?
A: This isn't necessarily intuitive. We flattened out how secondary stats scale over the expansion so you started with more. This made the end of the expansion overblow these, but also lower geared people had a rough time. As the expansion goes on, primary stat gains improve with budget. Obviously jewelry doesn't have primary stat, so "an oversight on our part" is that jewelry didn't scale as well at all. So what mattered more is that it had the right secondary stats for you or not. You'll still want your best stat but a 20 or 30 ilvl increase will be more appealing. Large margins will be more obvious upgrades now. If this doesn't jive with your spreadsheets, please send us the math.
Q: What is being done to ensure tanks want ilvl upgrades since primary stats matter less to them?
A: We understand this is an issue. As a result of the 7.1.5 changes you will get more armor and stamina, which are valuable. We are still working towards this for tanks. Stam is still going up. Items across the board buffed by about 5%.
Mechanical Changes in 7.1.5
Q: What is the reason for the large mechanical changes slated for 7.1.5? Why is it similar to expansion sized change?
A: I'm going to question the premises here for the size of the changes and how many are happening. But, since there WERE a lot of drastic changes coming into Legion. We know we did get some things wrong - and we don't want to leave them until the next expansion. Internally, we think of the patches as ripples. Legion was disruptive and there were ripples that go out. This patch is a big ripple but they will get smaller. There will be patches where we don't make big changes. This is our first crack at it. Want to fix things now than later.
Q: Long term plans for warlocks? None of the specs feel fun to play.
A: We're sorry to hear that. There are a couple issues with each spec that Blizzard wants to fix during the expansion, but unfortunately couldn't fit into the 7.1.5 development cycle.
Affliction is getting lots of changes in 7.1.5 and we're listening to the feedback about the awkwardness of the interactive talent
. We wanted single target fights to feel fun as a multidotting fights. Changes coming to tabbing with this as well. Other talents in that row should be strengthened here as well.
feels slow to get started and a lot of juggling things. A lot of the fun can get lost in the mess here. This is a large problem that requires iteration, not just a numbers fix. We are testing this and looking for feedback. We do want to get patches out, and some things get tabled. For the class team, that means they have to make choices about what gets focused on. The lock issues are something we want to fix during the expansion but we didn't feel like we could fit them into this dev cycle. We get that you want improvements and that you want them now. The reality is there are 36 specs.
Destro: The goal of Legion was to consolidate resources, but we miss the granularity of Embers (eg get partial embers for Incinerate ticks). The answer here will require some redesign and design support for UI. Destruction Soul Shards ideally will behave like Embers where you generate parts of Embers; this is better for the rotation flow. This will basically be Soul Shards reskinned as embers. It COULD work with chunky soul shards but this would be a very different spec; we liked embers and want to go back to that.
Havoc DPS and
Q: Can Havoc has a viable DPS build that doesn't use
as core abilities?
A: Yes, changes to
and other examining synergies will allow you to not use those abilities. But we will be preserving those movementy things which are very Demon Huntery. But when it's killing you, we need to offer another viable build. This is an accomplishable goal for 7.1.5 so you shouldn't feel locked to
. In terms of "viability": something can do a little less dps on paper, but if you EXECUTE a slightly less viable build BETTER than it will yield better results. Talent diversity has been quite interesting, and we find Warcraft Logs to be a great tool for looking at dps or fights by talents. We understand people are hesitant to experiment but you can see high end diversity here. Try things out! The top 20 parses don't tell you much - they probably got lots of procs or "did cheesy things". Look at comparable guilds, look at their rosters and what they are doing.
Balance Druid Legendary
nerf only helps lessen the pain between balance druids but also nerfs us in single target to make up for this nerf?
A: We are going to nerf it still but it will be going in a different direction. The number may still change. Looking at legendaries making a single target work? Yes, we will compensate. Take us to task if we don't do that. If you feel like your spec is only viable if you have a specific item please let us know. That item is probably too good, so we'd nerf the item and buff the class. Evens people out. The net result for
(numbers aren't final!) is that your actual throughput should be unchanged if you have it, buffed if you don't. Same with other really good legendaries.
Warrior T19 Itemization
Q: Why is there no piece for warriors with haste/mastery in T19?
A: We just changed a bunch of stuff so there should be a haste/mastery tier piece for warriors now (ed note:
). We don't look to stack a class's best stat on every item, ever. Also since we added cloaks to tier, you'll have more options for off pieces. (You'll get 4 set still but 6 options to get that 4 from).
Unholy Death Knight and RNG
Q: Unholy DKs rely on RNG and to some degree on the right legendary to do competitive dps. Any improvements to UHDK systems?
are receiving some changes, similar to
. Some RNG is core to the class since Cataclysm, like
, but the variance of
in conjunction with
is something on Blizzard's radar. The reason for variability in the number of Festering Wounds is to create mechanical variation in the rotation and have decision-making, but since
is affected by the number of
. it feels bad when you don't get that many.
One suggestion Blizzard likes is to cap the number of Wounds consumed by
to 4, and have each one summon two ghouls, so you don't feel needed to reach 8.
Q: Any plans on
A: The 6 buff vs 1 buff. I think no we're not going to lower the RNG - it's themed around rolling dice. It's signature to Outlaw. The
talent is lackluster and we want a compelling option in that row that isn't
. We know the min/maxing of it can be fun if you are ok with the low streaks. But if you don't like that game play,
should be there for you but the current design doesn't feel strong enough - maybe like adding more haste.
Ret Paladins and
Q: Why is
a thing? Rets dislike this.
A: Honestly it's a failed design so you guys are right. We wanted to capture some hybrid element but at the same time we were nervous about balance. We ended up in the worst of both worlds. If you give someone else buffs, so is it ok to do the same amount of damage AND buff others? If the answer is no, no one wants that, if the answer is yes, then the buff is overpowered. So we thought let's try to credit the paladin. This ended up in a weird, parasite place where the buffed person is not happy. Paladin is also not happy that some of their damage is dependent on others. We haven't come up with a great replacement design in the 7.1.5 time frame for this but it is something we're working on.
Shadow Priests and
A: Reduced insanity drain in first 18 secs is not helping low time surrender. It does make regular void forms a bit more potent. This makes
for long void forms not as useful. We are looking to tweak reducing the length of optimally played
is a conundrum, it's tough. It's super iconic and flavorful - it's bold and crazy. Makes it very tough to balance. We can probably never come up with a world where a very skilled player would not use
on Ursoc. On a 10 minute fight this may be a very different story. We can still keep buffing
a bit and
has been a challenge. Our goal is robust alternatives but we know we're not there yet. There will be a tipping point in longer fights where other talents are better. Mid range fights it's a decision for you, short fights probably
and that's fine.
Windwalker Monk Bug Fixes
Q: Any word on
changes for WW monks?
A: Yes there are mechanical issues we're working on getting fixed for 7.1.5. If we don't make that fix in time, the numbers will be tuned around those bugs. We're also looking at cooldown interactions on
. Some issues in reducing cooldowns but it wasn't behaving symmetrically so we put a fix in. We are looking into bug fixes or buffing
. The relative weighting in that row needs tuning.
Q: Can you once and for all remove
? It's a burden and mandatory for raiding.
A: Yep it's controversial.
is meant to be a situational talent for when you know you'll be able to stay still but too often it's the right answer in all situations so it's frustrating if you get targeted with any mechanics. It's a mix of tuning and possibly underlying design i.e. should it be a focused cooldown with a shorter duration? Less about tethering yourself to a spot and more about maybe finding a window where you can be stationary and tuning it that way? In the short term, Blizzard will work on tuning the row to make other options competitive like
Q: Is there a possibility for Holy Paladins to have more AOE or Hots?
A: Honestly, no. If you want a HOTs healer - play a resto druid or a mistweaver. Strong single target throughput is the signature of holy paladins. We like healer balance right now - we see comparable numbers and comparable throughput and holy paladins are doing well in all types of content. Team matters - everyone plays to their strengths.
Q: Marksman is seen as the top raiding spec for hunters. Many of us don't like the
mechanic and standing still for
A: We are mostly happy with them yeah.
is meant to be a trade off - Beast Mastery is more mobile than MM, but MM has advantages like spread AoE. We are still tuning but no major concerns.
Artifact Power and Knowledge in 7.1.5
Q: Any plans to stop us from hoarding AP before 7.1.5?
A: You really shouldn't sit at level 35. Regardless of where we land on the final design, the system will function to NOT reward this. This will probably act as transforming the final trait into the new ranks of traits or simply refunding the AP in your 35th trait. You are just denying yourself power in the short term. Do not sit on AP unspent.
Q: Why isn't AK account wide?
are pretty close to this in 7.1.5. If you are 20 on your main, you can buy a 15 and just mail it to your alt. Catch up is great on alts but there should be some gameplay on that other character instead of just doing it all on your main. For accelerated turn ins are for new players (i.e. if you get Legion for the holidays, this will help you catch up). Then you'll have the standard 3/4/5 day research once you're caught up. We will address this in official patch notes.
Account Wide Intentions
Q: Any plans for making more things account wide? Compendiums for reputation for example?
A: We could do more spillover for account bound tokens when you're already exalted. We did make some changes like unlocking world quests and Suramar dungeons to be account wide. Other things we want to keep character specific i.e. Reputation unlocked recipes for a profession that only your alt has.
Load Screen Fixes
Q: When can we expect a fix for the load screen problem?
A: Actively working on it, complex issue with lots of conflicting information. It's not effecting people evenly, so it's hard to pin down. Engine team, battle net and CS are working on this. It's a high priority. There has been attempts to fix it but it doesn't help everyone.
Q: Legendary usability - some require a specific situation to be useful and otherwise feel like they aren't there at all?
A: Mixed feelings about this. I think it's okay that a legendary isn't working at max potential at all times (i.e. ST versus Multitarget fights). Months down the line you may be able to pick the best legendary for the best situation. It may have been a mistake to make universally useful throughput legendaries.
isn't inherently terrible in Warcraft as a whole but what makes it not exciting is "Well that could have been my rogue boots". The fact that there are items int he pool that are ALWAYS a DPS upgrade vs temp upgrades, that was a mistake. We see now that the "lack of the thing that it could have been" is a problem and ti's cause by legendaries that are always useful and that was our mistake. This is part of the ongoing tuning process and we'll probably tune the universally useful ones down.
Q: Why are QOL boosts done by legendaries? Like the
BM Hunter shoulders
A: No different from set bonuses in the past? We see people wish the ability was baked into the class. And often this does happen! Maybe in a future iteration those things will be baked in.
Q: Any plan for a catch up mechanic for first 2 legendaries for alts?
A: The more legendaries are added the more we're going to increase the drop rate. People who pick it up for the holidays will probably get their first few quicker.
REMINDER: We don't hate any classes, we want everyone to be happy! We want you to play demonology (haha). We want people to feel heard and that your concerns are feeling addressed. There's work to be done on improving our communication, we can do a better job there and we will.
Next Q&A should be first couple weeks of January! Probably around 7.1.5 release (which will be after the holidays).
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