Wowhead Interviews Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas on Warlords of Draneor PvE
Last update 8am EST: Added Blizzard clarification on the quality of gear from Garrisons.
3pm EST: Added text summary of the interview.
Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas
sat down with Wowhead on Friday May 2nd
to talk about Warlords of Draenor Raiding, Dungeons, Garrisons and more.
We've added a summary of the key points below:
Siege of Orgrimmar and Throne of Thunder were long raids in a linear format--that format is gone. Raids are more open, with more wings. If you wanted to, you could just kill one specific boss on heroic outside of mythic raiding.
Raids will give you options to skip just to a certain boss everyone needs.
Example of how skipping around will work: If you take an instance like Naxxramas, once you've cleared each wing and proven you know the bosses, you could make a crystal to teleport directly to a certain boss. This works for all difficulties (Normal, Heroic, Mythic).
Loot doesn't overlap in any way between difficulties
--loot on mythic doesn't influence heroic for example. This allows for more player freedom.
There is no requirement to complete Heroic to do Mythic raiding.
Mythic will open a week later than normal/heroic.
Difficulties will be unlocked in a pretty similar fashion to MoP. LFR will be at the end, and raids will not be available in the first week. There are also two raid zones, similar to the start of MoP.
As for item levels of raid gear, there will be slightly smaller gaps because item upgrades aren't planned for Warlords of Draenor. The item system is currently designed so progressing players won't be sharding all drops since they like their older items better.
As the Raiding Blog stated,
LFR loot is getting some changes
--no gear with set bonuses, and less-groundbreaking trinkets. There will be trinkets in LFR and they will be epic, but they won't be transformative like
LFR lets everyone experience raid content and for WoD, they want to focus on how LFR lets you see all of an expansion's story. In Mists, LFR was set up as part of a long-term endgame, where loot was paced accordingly and drawn out. This led to lots of frustration and slow gearing.
Loot in LFR will now feel more rewarding since you can get it faster.
If you're raiding something like Heroic with an organized group, if you gear up slowly at least you have the satisfaction of seeing your friends get loot and your overall raid improve. LFR doesn't have that, so the loot process is sped up.
Since LFR will have improved droprates now, the gear had to be changed so it didn't feel like a mandatory thing for progression raiders to run. Progression raiders tend to run LFR for set bonuses and transformative trinkets, so those sorts of items were removed from LFR loot tables.
Blizzard now has two loot/content tracks in mind.
For solo players, you can run normal mode dungeons to prepare you for Raid Finder. For the group track, you'd do premade groups or proving grounds for Heroic Dungeons, which have loot that prepares you for normal or steps beyond that. Both tracks should not need to intersect.
Heroic dungeon gear will be good enough so you don't feel forced to do LFR when getting ready for Normals.
The daily Challenge Mode dungeon quest will offer a random piece of LFR quality loot.
Garrison followers can fetch loot for you, but this should not feel mandatory for Mythic players.
(Edit: This next part is a clarification from Blizzard.) While there will be Normal quality and eventually Heroic quality items available from this system, a hardcore Mythic raider shouldn't find this gear relevant by the time it's available. There's some initial time involved in first leveling up the Garrison, similar to how crafting epics aren't available immediately due to crafting cooldowns. But for players who aren't raiding Mythic, periodically getting Normal and Heroic quality items from Garrisons provides an alternative way to get some gear that's higher than LFR quality without raiding.
Raid Finder will not be available at the start of Warlords, and epic crafting gear will require a lot of material to make over multiple days like the 5.2 crafted blacksmithing weapons.
Group Finder is designed to help LFR players who want more move into Flex.
There will be a standard queueing UI and you cannot create a group with ilvl requirements beyond your own. Loot in group finder can either be personal or via raid leader.
LFR has a new art style separate from tier gear available in Normal, Heroic, and Mythic.
This is part of a major art change in how Blizzard approaches PvE and PvP gear. In Mists of Pandaria, all PvE gear shared the same model but had different colors. If you saw someone in town, you only knew they raided heroics if you remembered the color tint. That was a shortcoming--so LFR will now have a different look to make more progressed raiders stand out.
Click here to see 3D Models of the LFR Armor.
Art in general will change for PvE and PvP epics
--it will be like Burning Crusade, where PvE and PvP gear shared the same artwork but had different colors. LFR and Honor gear will now share one artwork, but different colors. Conquest gear and higher-level raiding gear share a different style of artwork, but different colors. And Mythic and top-level PvP gear will have some additional awesome bonus art.
have a different role in Warlords of Draenor.
You will not need it to actively supplement cutting-edge progression. Item upgrades are removed and no WoD vendors that sell raid-equivalent gear are planned, like
for MoP. Valor will be used for things like heirlooms instead--it's not totally figured out yet.
More on why item upgrades are removed--they were an interesting experiment and worked best when disabled periodically. If you replaced an item you just upgraded, you felt terrible. If you were getting new items, you always felt behind if you weren't capping Valor.
Since Valor won't be used for raid-equivalent items, there are some concerns about bad RNG. Blizzard may increase droprates a bit,
but they are also working to make the bonus roll system more intelligent
. A common frustration is that you want a specific item from a boss, but you get an item you already have. The bonus roll system will take items you're recently previously gotten from rolls into account.
However, since items can now come in Warforged, socketed, or tertiary stat variations--some people might want to keep getting more of the same item in the hopes of rolling the perfect set of stats. You can still see those items drop from the boss' regular loot tables or personal loot, and you will periodically see these items in bonus rolls as well. You won't see a specific item via a bonus roll only once and never again.
With the great variation in itemization now, there are more items useful to more people, so you shouldn't be in a situation where you're stuck using the same bracers for 5 months.
To get bonus rolls in Warlords, there will be a similar Seals system to MoP's
s but methods of acquiring seals will be different.
You can earn one seal at a time, instead of three in bulk. (You can still get all the seals you need on a
). There will be randomized activities that reward one seal at a time. Your Garrison may give you a variety of quests to chose among that award a seal--clearing a dungeon, killing X orcs in Nagrand, doing something in Ashran, etc. This means that you
to your Garrison to turn in the quest for your Seal, not that you must unlock all ways to get seals through working on your Garrison (
Blizzard hopes to add more dungeons mid-expansion
, they realize that many players miss having this sort of content. They are worried about new dungeons obsoleting old content, so a possible solution is to
add Mythic versions of WoD-launch dungeons
that have loot which is equivalent to the mid-expansion dungeons.
Scenarios--There are tons of single-player scenarios while leveling for epic storytelling moments. At max level, scenarios will primarily be used for garrison invasions.
At BlizzCon, an incentive for doing group content was a buff called "Stacking the Deck" which would give players extra valor. This is currently being revamped as Valor is less useful.
Garrisons are a huge thing in Warlords and there's some concern that it's mandatory. It's not intended to be--
the gear your Followers get will quickly be replaced by higher raiding levels
and there are no plans to tie mandatory raid-type things into it. They are designed to have a lot of depth but are not designed to be time-consuming.
Click here to check out our Warlords of Draenor Garrison Calculator
Garrisons are not meant to feel like dailies in general--if you are tired after work, you shouldn't feel obligated to log on and work on your Garrison. You can bank quests up to a limit, so you could do things once a week rather than every day if you felt like it.
To learn more about raiding changes in Warlords of Draenor, check out Blizzard's
recent raiding blog
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