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Legion gamescom Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas
19/8/2016 em 13:16
Assistant Game Director Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas sat down with
on the official Blizzard gamescom stream to answer questions about Legion and Patch 7.1 content.
Watch live video from FatbossTV on www.twitch.tv
Blizzard has also posted a high-definition version of the Return to Karazhan teaser video:
This is a summary of key points in the Q&A; please watch the VOD linked above for exact wording and tone.
3 major pieces of Patch 7.1
Karazhan coming back as a mega 5-player dungeon, biggest single-player dungeon that has been made. Karazhan is central part of the Legion storyline.
Small raid that is capping the storyline of Stormheim.
Additional chapters in the questline of Suramar and the Nightfallen insurgency against the Nightborne.
More details after Legion launches; stay tuned.
7.1 was announced at gamescom to underscore commitment to patch content.
Patch dungeons haven’t been done in a while; the old dungeon structure didn’t provide a good way for new dungeons to fit into the ecosystem without stepping on old ones. For example, Zul’Aman gave better loot than initial-tier Cataclysm dungeons.
With Mythic+, and Warforged/Titanforged loot systems, new dungeons can be added. They can just have a higher base ilvl reward (while old dungeons continue to have chance to reward very high ilvl loot).
Karazhan is on a weekly lockout (implying it would be Mythic). No details on Mythic+ yet (some debate it could be split into smaller wings in the future).
When pressed for clarification on the weekly lockout, no further info was given.
”Small raid” refers to the number of bosses, not number of players that can zone in.
No details on raid difficulties given.
Tiers are a player construct formed over the years; hard to say if this mini-raid is a “tier” or not.
No “one size fits all” approach fits for patches. Patch 6.1 likely not best approach to take. Patch 6.2.3 is better example of small patch as it had moose mount, valor upgrades, and more Timewalking. It revitalized old content. Patches could have more storyline focus, be systems-based, or more-traditional “6.2 style” patches with raids.
Goal is to
ignore stagnation whenever possible.
Mythic+ releasing with raid release.
Community post coming in a few days on raid release schedule. Very similar to Warlords.
Everything should be closed for first 3 weeks. Then Normal/Heroic Nightmare, Mythic Keystones, and PvP system opens—all the endgame systems.
High-end world-first type raiders with the time may be inclined to do Mythic+ dungeons for the gear advantage. For the average group (e.g. a group of five friends cycling through keystones), this would take 12-15 dungeon runs which is a significant amount of time, more so than regular raid schedules.
Mythic keystones work how they do (no weekly lockout) because otherwise people would be inclined to get them done on Tuesday and finding people later in the week would be difficult. This way, players can log in later in the week and easily find people eager to run another Mythic dungeons.
There is a little bit of tuning left for Mythic+ (Black Rook Hold for example). However, the system has been heavily vetted throughout beta. The groups that are able to clear top Mythic+ dungeons in average gear are some of the best players in the world.
Your weekly reward box is determined by the highest-level mythic dungeon cleared in the previous week (e.g. Mythic Raid loot).
Some tuning to be done on extreme outliers. However, legendaries are a space to try out interesting effects beyond damage throughput. For example, players that just enjoy outdoor world soloing and don’t raid should have legendaries that excite them too.
Every legendary is ilvl 895 and a huge upgrade in the short-term.
The legendary cap exists to limit the power gap between players that have gotten lucky with legendary drops.
More legendaries added throughout Legion.
Conscious decision to have legendary drops be randomized and not something people could target and farm at this point in Legion. At some point in the future, when there are a large amount of legendaries, additional sources and systems can be added to let players aim for certain legendaries.
Very likely before Legion is done to allow players to target a legendary.
Blizzard feels sense of responsibility to not make big nerfs, essentially forcing players to totally swap or respect their artifact, spending a lot of Artifact Power along the way. Would be very negative experience.
Once you’re a few weeks into Knowledge, you can easily catch up on neglected Artifacts (e.g. 80%-90% of the strength of your main artifact fairly easily).
Artifacts will continue to grow throughout Legion; no details on specifics.
Catch-up mechanisms: if you start the process later in the expansion, your Artifact Work Orders will be a few days faster.
Melee vs ranged is a fundamental play style difference for players; likely melee specs switched to Demon Hunters, vs ranged dos switched to Demon Hunters. People tend to prefer standing at a distance or at ranged.
Some quality of life changes to help with visibility like a circle to turn on underneath your feet.
Encounter mechanics - Blizzard has tried to encourage melee recently, acknowledges it’s been rough for melee in the past.
Conventional wisdom is that melee thrive in Mythic+ Dungeons.
Want to avoid situation where melee feel they can’t be brought to encounters. Also don’t want to solve the problem by making the fight boring for melee (e.g. a challenging mechanic doesn’t target them)
Discussion about challenging assumptions of specs that “can’t” be brought to encounters because they’re not 1% better, or have weaker utility than other specs. What top guilds do, who put hundreds of hours of preparation into a race, then it could justify taking the most optimal spec comp. However, there are tons of guilds killing Mythic Archimonde in 2015 using less popular specs. For many people, if you have a great player regardless of spec, you should bring that player. If some specs lag massively behind (e.g. 10%), that’s on Blizzard’s end to fix.
Pruning metaphor with plants; remove old things to shape future growth. Legion class philosophy is to emphasize spec strengths and weaknesses. Legion Pruning was a result of past design decisions to homogenize; those abilities are pulled back to accentuate different strengths. Room to design utility for specs that appear limited to throughput currently.
”Bring the player, not the class” was a reactionary statement to the hyper-regimented raid structure of Burning Crusade which had party-wide buffs and synergy was key. Awesome players that didn’t fit into a party would be forced to sit out since they’d do worse DPS without buffs.
Class balance is imbalanced right now because we’re still in the pre patch and they are balanced around 110. There are several layers of balance: level 110, and then 110 with Artifacts.
Lots of improvements by server team and world design to make launch smoother. Players will be split among 4 zones due to dynamic questing, instead of one starting leveling zone.
Under heavy load, Blizzard can run multiple versions of a zone on the same server. The game should feel actively and lively with tons of people, but not a frustrating amount of people trying to target the same move.
Early Access Demon Hunters ironically hurt server loads; if they started on August 30th, they’d be split off in a separate starting zone vs in Dalaran like everyone else.
One of the biggest server problems for Warlords was that on the Horde side, there was a spyglass that was needed for the Horde Garrison. It worked correctly in Warlords in Europe, but for one player at a time, which caused a bottleneck. It was hotfixed to be interactable for other regions, and the hotfix broke which made the spyglass broken. It then desynced leveling pacing, leading to a massive amount of players hitting Garrisons at the same time, further worsening server problems.
There are launch test runs on the beta to avoid issues like Warlords.
First time ever that the raid structure has not been significantly changed at the start of an expansion. Wasn’t a huge problem to fix like in the past (e.g. switching from 40 > 25 players).
Mythic was decided to be 20-fixed players because scaling tech for cutting edge content is difficult, and the cutting-edge raid community would be min-maxing to sit people per encounter if the optimal size varied with scaling. Blizzard then looked at the current raiding community and decided all classes should be represented, and be able to have self-contained units do different aspects of an encounter, which 10 players felt too small for. 15 players were another option, but cutting down that far seemed like it would hurt larger raids and cut half the roster.
There is Tier LFR in Nighthold, and Tier was not included in Warlords LFR. In Warlords, Blizzard worried that LFR was gaining too much prominence and raiders felt obligated to raid LFR. In retrospect, the reaction was a bit overdone. For Legion, the people actively raiding normal and heroic will likely have a lot of set pieces by the time LFR opens weeks later.
Raid release schedule is coming soon, but it’s not a secret that things are closed for first 3 weeks,
Patch 7.1 raid is after Nightmare but before Nighthold.
Nighthold is seen as an early 2017 raid.
In Warlords, it felt Foundry came out too soon in relation to Highmaul, except for cutting-edge guilds. Then suddenly Highmaul loot didn’t feel relevant.
No details able to be shared on Karazhan!
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