Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas and Wowhead Recap and Post Q&A Show
13/6/2015 em 15:57
Saturday, June 13th is the long awaited Developer Q & A with Ion Hazzikostas. This Q&A was broadcast at
and we live blogged it here on Wowhead! Please see the liveblogged questions below!
It also looks like Patch 6.2 will be called Fury of Hellfire, based on the artwork seen in the background of the interview:
Basically, lots of the flying questions have been answered but here are the follow ups!
Q: Curious about implementation of flying meta - later patch implementation a tech thing?
A: Yes, mainly for development reasons. Draenor is largely flyable right now but there are some bugs that need to be fixed before flying. We put off fixing these but now that we have this new plan we need to have these things works. We don't want to delay patch 6.2, we'll be putting a mini-patch in after.
Q: Now that flying is coming back, how long will the 3 attached rep grinds take and can they be done all at once?
A: Yes, they can be done in parallel - some dailies, some weeklies, and the longest one will be the core faction repuation - 2.5/3 weeks.
Q: If Pathfinder access goes well, will this be the model going forward?
A: The idea of being tied to the ground initially but being able to fly once you explore it thoroughly makes sense - we think this can be applied in a lot of contexts.
Q: Why add flying at the last moment? Personally I like the game more without it. Why the sudden change of heart?
A: This was a hard decision and cynicism about flying "makes me sad". The whole team made the decision, and there were/are people on both sides of the issue. When 6.2 was up on the PTR, we decided we needed to make a decision. The consensus at the time was No Flying. After that, we heard feedback about the word "never" being a very powerful word. Taking something valuable away from players made us reconsider the decision. Lore: We were murky on our communication about flying and we're going to try and do better about that in the future. Ion: It's not that we didn't care, it's that we were talking intently about the issue and it wasn't my or anyone's place to talk on behalf of the group. Saying "we're still talking about it" would have been the wrong thing to say if we'd ultimately decided to leave flying out.
Q: Why are current reps all mob grinds? Can we get a more modern reputation system?
A: Release-time Reputations were mob grinds, I won't defend them. Added late in WOD development, and added buildings to offset. It's unfortunate that this set back the perception of reps back to "furlbogs". Now, in Tanaan, there are Daily quests and turn ins, they aren't a total grind. There are some, obviously, that you CAN get from killing mobs in Tanaan. Some are killing rare mobs (Order of the Awakened).
Q: Apexis dailies feel like they take forever. Any chance to bring back normal dailies?
A: Yes, we swung the wrong way away from "World of Dailycraft" from MOP. We approached it as viewing MOP dailies as structured, so we built WOD dailies as more flexibility and more freedom. Quest doesn't tell you to destroy the canon but doing so progresses the quest. "More of a player choice!" There is something to this idea but by removing quests entirely, we removed story/context/sense of purpose for being in the Apexis daily quest area. The reward structure was also a complete miss on our part. The gear offered by the Apexis vendors was a failure, didn't encourage people getting Apexis crystals. Tanaan has fixed this a bit, their value is more directly apparent. See: Burden of Eternity style purchase.
Q: Draenor questing was a blast, but end game lacks world content. What's your philosophy on this moving ahead.
A: Yes, we are proud of the leveling content. We should have done the dailies differently. One of the potential missteps we made was making sure Garrisons rewarded you accurately, wanted to give you a reason to care about your garrison. So, lots of systems that used to support the outdoor world were now tied to Garrisons i.e. professions, gathering. Yes, outdoor world content is crucial and we have neglected it somewhat.
Q: I feel WOD has been geared to 1 character play, and people are Alt suffering burnout. Is this design?
A: No, burning you out is not design. Alts are way more popular now than they ever have been. We generally do think that's awesome, but it's concerning where people think multiple alts should serve my main character instead of being self-serving. We are looking into this, particularly on the mission front, so they might be looking at diminishing returns in terms of gold returns from Garrisons. This should reduce some pressure about maintaining Alt garrisons.
Q: Have you learned about what didn't work with Garrisons and why no one leaves their Garrison?
A: See last answer. Most of this has to do with rewards. Garrison offers so many rewards. We like that Garrisons introduced a new segment of time play - 5 mins to play? Awesome, log in for your Garrison. It's less good if you have 2 hours to spend in game and can't think of anything to do other than spend a few minutes in your Garrison and log off. We are actively trying to shift rewards back our into the world (gearing, professions, etc.) Felblight, for example, you'll need to get out in the world. Raid missions are popular and totally skewed the risk/reward because it was giving you loot beyond what you were able to do. TLDR: Garrisons over rewarded you.
Q: There has been pretty extensive criticism of the "Point, Click, Wait" system of Garrisons. How does this differ in the Shipyard?
A: We wanted to create a new system, not just add followers. Fewer ships to send for more impactful rewards. We don't reject that type of gameplay fully. There is something about some sense of offline progression - not inherently wrong. Having to check every 30 mins on your followers DOES negatively affect it.
Q: Will future expansions have something like Garrisons?
A: From the outset, we have said Garrisons as you know it in Draenor are rooted/tied to Draenor. You won't be bringing those things back to Azeroth. But the core gameplay of followers/army/base gameplay? We like the system. Is it likely to take the same format as WOD? Probably not.
Q: There has been a truly massive decline in Raiding guilds. Are you still OK with changing the raid paradigm?
A: I don't know if I agree with the premise of a "massive decline" - yes some high profile guilds have disbanded. This will always be the case. Guild are generally brought together by a core and sometimes those circumstances change and that's how guilds break up. World first raiding is an "arms race" that continues. But, casual raids have gotten more popular. We are way happier with 20 man tuning since we can do good balance and mechanics for 20 people. It also settled the 10/25 debate.
Q: Is mythic with its bonuses (mechanics/art/etc) justified when such a small percentage does it?
A: Yes - we like the competition to show "who is the best." Also, it takes up a small percentage of making raids/raid zones. The raid itself, that contributes to all difficulties, makes up 90%ish. Mythic takes up about 5% of the effort/time. So yes, we feel it's justified to have this ultimate challenge.
Q: Why limit Timewalking to certain bonus time periods?
A: The structure of bonus rotating events isn't to force people to do things they aren't interested in. I.e. you won't have to pet battle/pvp. This focuses the purpose of Timewalking, makes it a more condensed activity, that serves as alt gearing/catch up. This also solves the issue of how it fits in with other dungeons. How does this fit in with newly released dungeons that give you lesser gear? Why would you do those dungeons at all? We want people to run the new stuff, but if TW gave worse gear, no one would do it at all. It also reflects the fact that this is a good nostalgia trip or seeing it for the first time but that content doesn't hold up as something you'd want to do 7 days a week. Confining it there gets you the best of both worlds.
Q: Dungeons in WOD went obsolete pretty quickly, is there a way to tackle this going forward?
A: Yes we regret a bit how this launch cycle played out. Yes we love those dungeons but no currency (like badges) in them made it so you doing have to run them in the end. Mythic difficulty will, to some extent, salvage this. Despite their name, Mythic dungeons aren't there for Mythic raiders but they will be good for people with 660/670 gear who love doing dungeons with their friends. We do realize we need to solve this better in the future. Part of getting rid of Valor, we did feel it was a bit strange to run the same dungeon over and over, and it got easier and easier, but kept giving better and better gear. This was when we saw they overstayed their welcome. We'd like to find an approach where the difficulty of the dungeon stays relevant. We think people want to feel what they are doing in dungeons matter.
Q: So no new dungeons, but rehashed old dungeons and an adventure journal? Is this the plan?
A: This isn't a reason not to add these - it doesn't make us NOT add new stuff. We wanted to do this for a while, we wanted to work on that scaling tech. We do like the new Adventure guide to make things more clear in the game about what you should be doing to catch up/play. This was a couple designers and the UI team, vs. other devs making the raid. We prioritized HFC over new dungeons. It wasn't a factor of making timewalking vs. making new dungeons. We have been talking about this for 3-4 years now. Finally had enough pieces in place from other systems that it wouldn't take a whole lot of extra work.
Q: What place do you see Timewalker dungeons having when LFR gear is easier to grab?
A: Timewalker weekend is a good time to quickly gear up an alt. You can chain run these vs. LFR, and you can not PVP vs. Honor gear. "Altapalooza". Also doing TW dungeons give you extra bonus roll. This means people will check out the system, regardless of who you are and what your character is wearing.
Q: Why are you nerfing Demonology warlocks to the ground?
A: "Because we'd rather you not play demonology" - We aren't bad at math, we didn't overshoot in the beginning. We are just concerned about how the spec plays - it's not super intuitive, and hard to juggle debuffs. We saw Aff and Destro mostly drift over to Demonology. We weren't happy that this was the spec people were forced to play. Also a bit of a trap - most complicated but read that it was the best spec. Guides were complicated/long or just plain wrong. Demo is still viable but probably not the best spec. "I apologize if it's your favourite spec." There is an ebb and flow, now it's your turn to be not the best spec, Demo locks.
Q: Do you feel ability pruning went to far?
A: Honestly I don't. Sometimes we think ability pruning didnt go far enough (i.e. UE/UF for Shamans). Not to say we didn't prune abilities we shouldn't have but part of the thinking has to do with the place of rotations and how that should fit into the game as a whole. We're not trying to make rotations engaging on a target dummy - this isn't MMODDR. Most situations you find yourself are way more complicated i.e. adds, interrupting, LOS, etc. High skill cap overall, not just in rotations. Changing we're looking to making is improving the fantasy of playing your class i.e. being a fire mage and being AWESOME. Sometimes this comes down to just animations, not even abilities i.e. Rogues may feel like they lack distinctive abilities/animations. We think we can do better here.
Q: How do you see throughput healers enjoying a game dominated by absorbs?
A: It's better than mists. But the problem is disc priests/niche of absorbs is one we need to scale back going forward. This isn't changing in 6.2 but the reality is, your raid comp almost absolutely requires a disc priest. I think holy priests are in a great place in terms of how versatile their specs are - problem is, if you only have one priest in your raid, that priest should be disc. The holy priest isn't covering anything shaman/monk/druid can cover. Also, disc priests are also making it so other healers can't derive pleasure when absorbs are there. Absorbs are interesting but the spec whose identity is blanket absorbs and 70% of your spells are PWS, this isn't a great place for the spec to be.
Q: While some changes were good, professions were really boring and constrained in WOD. Any changes plans?
A: The Garrison-centric profession system and daily cooldown of professions took away from the image of being a craftsperson vs. a player collecting daily mats. In 6.2 we're increasing the yield from your personal cooldowns, and also putting Felblight into the world - in terms of professoins, they are better when you're out in the world.
Q: What's the ideal Mythic fight length and are some bosses too long?
A: If a fight has the same mechanics from start to finish, unless it's an endurance fight, should be 5-6 mins. Cyclical fights (phase A/B reversing) can be a little longer. Classic end boss, ~4 phase fights are usually 10+ mins. We are pretty happy with how this ended up. Brackenspore, for example, we liked as an endurance fight. Mythic Margok was probably just too long - extra bonus phase after an already long fight was too much. 15 mins is probably more than any fight should be. Maidens was about right but too slow early on. This is an issue with the design and to some extent the strats used.
Q: I'd really like to know why you are making everything so convenient and do you think things are too convenient?
A: We don't want inconvenience to stop you from doing things but we do want to keep convenience in mind i.e. Travel - examples is portals to Cataclysm zones. Made it feel like less of a world. Risk of something like matchmaking group finder is convenient but reduces social interaction. On the flip side, we like the new Group Finder - less of a hassle than looking in trade chat but still convenient. We don't want to prevent people from enjoying the game in the way they like but true, we don't want to remove too many barriers.
Q: Do you feel artistic integrity arguments carry any weight after the Twitter/S.E.L.F.I.E. patch?
A: Yes, we intensely value our work product. Twitter integration isn't something that took away from creation of outdoor content. More like 2 programmers working on integrating Twitter API when logging into the game. This was a convenience for people who already use Twitter. You can entirely ignore this feature, there's no harm coming from it. The SELFIE cam was basically a fun project - one designer and programmer did this as a side project for fun because they thought it was a cool toy. There is artistic integrity in this where there is creativity, and passion. We want people who build this game to feel like they can make little side projects like that. Often these are the products of individual initiatives. We are not seriously saying "you don't get new content, look at this sweet selfie cam". Yes, 6.1 was light on content and would have better been a 6.0.x patch.
Q: Why are T18 and 6.2 PvP sets recolours of eachother?
A: In MOP, player skill was differentiated by colour. This wasn't reasonable to expect people to signify skill by colour. We wanted 1 set of armor for average accomplishment and an uber version of that for extreme accomplishment and a recolour for activity type. This system was in Burning Crusade.
Q: Why are there no agility weapons that drop off Archimonde? No 735 weapons for Agi users?
A: The reality is the vast majority is not many people will even get that. But a more satisfactory answer to your question: We looked at how loot worked in HM & BRF and fights in the later parts of the instance, the loot was just being sharded. Or even, they skipped End boss in Normal and went to beginning bosses in Heroic. This lead to the idea of items getting stronger deeper into the zone. The other thought is, do we need complete itemization for each tier? This might make itemization less interesting. Thinking about this as continuous progression. The agi user in a mythic guild "doesn't have a bis weapon" - when your guild is working on Archimonde, you'll have a 730 weapon and others won't even have that since your weapon came earlier. Sure, after this you're thinking about parsing on farm but those ranks are separated by spec.
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