Liquid Maximum Interview with Dragonflight Associate Game Director Morgan Day
Liquid Guildmaster/Raid Leader
interviewed Dragonflight Associate Game Director Morgan Day on Twitch, discussing the finer points of Dragonflight design.
Early on in development, the team had a conversation about what they wanted to get out of the alpha/beta process, and as a result they made a focused effort to test one thing at a time, and ensure each were in a focused state.
Shadowlands had a major philosophical shift of "what if there were a really cool thing to chase?" Korthia sockets were supposed to be a long-term stretch goal to maximize your character, but they came to realize there's a difference between power options and exclusive power that can't be gotten anywhere else. The latter very quickly become perceived as requirements rather than options.
As a result, they're trying to be more cognizant of what they're asking players to do with their time. The Dragonflight version of the Catalyst is a part of that, no longer requiring flux and generating account-wide charges instead of character specific ones. Another idea they're kicking around is a catch up mechanic to the vault - potentially allowing players to loot multiple items if they miss a week, or making it easier for players with multiple characters to fill out their vault each week.
The Mythic+ and Raid vault slots have parallels, but PvP is odd due to being based on rating, which can be awkward if you come in late to a season. They want to incentivize players to do the highest content they can, rather than a situation where you do one +20 key followed by a bunch of +2 keys.
Season 1 of Dragonflight won't have uncapped valor, but they could tweak the initial week to week numbers.
Once upon a time, Raids were the
way to earn sets, and the Catalyst has reduced that restriction, but they should still be the primary way of earning them. For most groups, the catalyst unlocking should help groups get over the hump of whatever boss they're working on.
They don't feel the Creation Catalyst coming a few weeks into the season is a major disadvantage for non-raiders. They want raiding to be initially advantaged because competitiveness in raiding is very frontloaded, especially in progression races, while Mythic+ and PvP is very backloaded as players push higher levels over the course of the tier - a time by which everyone should have full access to those sets.
Talents will be iterated on a lot at launch and post launch. They want to make frequent changes, and even without borrowed power, they have an opportunity to affect class/spec balance through adjusting talents.
As far as adding more talents in a patch, they're not sure. It's something that's been discussed, but a potential problem is "future us" in the next expansion.
Philosophically, giving up a huge percentage of damage for a utility effect isn't fun and it's why they made separate class and spec talent trees. In the few very specific cases where it happens, it isn't always able to be hotfixed and could require a major tree overhaul to address, but it is something they want to address at least every major patch, if not more frequently.
Talent loadouts need to be limited from a technical perspective and 10 felt like an appropriate number, and the base value was decided on based on the general user who doesn't often play more than one spec in the first place. A power user who engages with several forms of content on several specs probably has the knowhow to use addons and other solutions to help alleviate the limitation.
The previous goal of seasonal affixes was to change routing - forcing players to make new pulls and try different strategies. With each Dragonflight introducing new dungeons, that isn't necessary anymore, so
is being designed to instead allow players to show coordination and mastery - it's not something you
to engage with, since it can just be auto-cleared, but it also gives players room to min-max it.
The team fully recognizes that the patch cadence in Shadowlands left a lot to be desired, and they have a lot of plans to help address that. Dragonflight is also an opportunity to further refine core class concepts and capabilities without barrowed power getting in the way or impacting design.
Putting offensive cooldowns on the GCD in Battle for Azeroth was an attempt to reduce the "macro everything together" solution, but failed in that several cooldowns didn't do anything immediate on their own, resulting in a "nuclear launch sequence" where several abilities had to be used before you could actually do anything.
was created in response to that as an experiment to see if an offensive cooldown could still feel good on the GCD and appears to have been well received because it combines the upfront effect with an important buff.
Classes are designed as a whole package balanced against one another, as opposed to individual buttons being compared against each other. Generally speaking, this is why
allows a Paladin to continue running around, while
sticks Mages in place. They want each class to feel different and have different capabilities, rather than doing the exact same thing.
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