Live Developer Q&A for April 27th

The Live Developer Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas took place at 11am PST. We have liveblogged the highlights below.

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  • Currently no plans to stop the periodic Legion zone assaults.
  • Focus on separate class questing will be lessened in future patches but class identity is still a big theme for the expansion.
  • Requirement for reaching exalted with Armies of Legionfall (Armies of Legionfall) in order to unlock Class Mounts has been removed. All you will need is Breaching the Tomb.
  • Tomb of Sargeras will most likely open in Mid to Late June.
  • More Horde story is on the way!
  • For players with all their main spec legendaries, a new system is being added so that if you get an additional legendary drop while in that spec, it will instead drop a legendary for one of your offspecs (chosen randomly). If you want to target a particular offspec for legendaries you will still need to have your loot spec set to that spec.

Live Summary

Q: What was the reason for making ilvl a big part of the artifact challenges as opposed to scaling?

A: Ilvl mattering is the default – in all content. There are a couple exceptions like Proving Grounds and Timewalking. Ultimately, it lets the challenges be over time accessible over time to a larger audience. Similar to Benediction type challenges. Measuring yourself to see how early you can do it afford a measure of prestige. We know that there will be a large number of people who won’t be able to do it even with Tomb gear. It’s hard.

(See our guides for more information on completing the Challenge Artifact scenarios: Challenging Artifact Weapon Appearances)

Q: How satisfied were you with the roll out of Broken Isles Pathfinder Part 2?

A: Pretty satisfied. This is pretty much what we announced back in mid-2015. We may have wanted to add one or two more light requirements but they would have been things you’d get along the way. Yes Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part Two feels a bit bare-bones without invasions.

Q: Are invasions continuing throughout the expansion?

A: Currently no plans to turn them off. The outdoor world goes on even if the threat of the Legion is done.

Q: Are you thinking of increasing the frequency of invasions?

A: Not right now. Since it sort of shuts down the WQ for that zone, we never wanted them to be active for too long – on for 6 hours, off for 12. Makes it feel noteworthy. We did notice that it didn’t line up that well with the flying achievement realities. The point was to add variety, not replace old stuff.

Q: Will the building uptime be changed at all? I see the uptime going down as people get flying.

A: We actually haven’t seen contribution rates really decline, despite our expectations. If those go way down, we’ll adjust the contributions required to construct the buildings. Tech is there to adjust all this.

Q: What was the original plan to time gate 7.2 and how are you feeling about this?

A: Storytelling is a big part of Legion, but the raid opening is purely gameplay reasons. Blizzard needed an in-game excuse for that scheduling, so a series of chapters/events was created to lead up to the opening of Tomb.

Originally, we wanted to break up weekly steps between something meaty and some “filler” i.e. kill 10 rares. However, people on the 7.2 PTR felt Broken Shore was kind of empty when you were limited in this way. So we sped up the schedule, with content like the Sentinax and class campaigns early on in 7.2. The filler stuff is the remaining parts of Breaching the Tomb, but that will culminate in the class mount. Ultimately the scheduling decisions rests on my (Ion’s) shoulders and content was not planned as well as it should have been.

There is a lot of Legion content which is class/spec specific – 12 class campaigns, 7 artifact campaigns, etc. A lot of resources went into that for this patch – which means players don’t see a lot of the other work if they only play 1 class.

Q: 7.2 described as a big patch but we don’t see a lot of it?

A: Yes, there is a lot of content but most of it is class specific content that you might not see. A lot of, for example, voice lines were recorded for 7.2 – more than for some expansion releases! But yes, only seeing a slice of it makes it seem like there is less to do. We always want to hear what more you want, so give us feedback. We are trying to improve the content cadence and we’d love to hear more about what you’re looking for and what your expectations are with big patches. Sometimes when there’s so much to do, it’s unclear as to what you should be doing first.

Q: Will class focus continue going forward?

A: Not necessarily in the quest content, but it will remain a theme of Legion.

Q: Any plans to do more Tomb of Sargeras raid testing? KJ?

A: Yep – LFR over this weekend, and schedule coming up for the next couple of weeks. This will also be used for class balance testing.

Q: Will the exalted requirement for class mounts be account wide?

A: No, it will not be account wide. But…that requirement has been removed! We did want people to have flying before the mount but now we see with how pacing has worked out that that is not a worry. So no, you do not need exalted for class mounts. Just completing the Legionfall campaign and the finale of that for your class = unlocked class mount.

Q: It’s time to dispel all the rumours – when does Tomb of Sargeras come out?

A: No exact date, but we’ll probably post the full unlock schedule sometime in May. We feel like 5 months is good for a big raid like Nighthold so that is about where it will be. Probably mid-late June.

Q: Do you think you missed the mark with mixed expectations with 7.2 and 7.2.5 with raid?

A: No, I don’t think we missed the mark there. It was what was announced at Blizzcon in November.

Q: How will M+ work with Tomb of Sargeras?

A: Same as when Mythic Nighthold opens. Keystone loot cap goes up to probably 15. Same ilvl cap raises, etc.

Q: Are you aware of the CRZ lag problems?

A: Yes, they are very much on our radar to fix. We do want sharding to work but there have been issues with addons, etc. We want people to move shards as few as possible, etc. There are some “magnets” that pull people to certain servers. Sometimes this leads to overloading. Regardless of what caused it, this lag isn’t acceptable.

Q: Heirloom upgrades to 110?

A: Still planned for 7.2.5! Work isn’t on PTR yet but it will be.

Q: With a good number of more active players having all Main Spec legendaries, how do you plan to do this without having to micromanage loot spec?

A: Plan for 7.2.5 is you can stay in a spec and if you have all the legendaries for a spec, if you get an additional legendary it will randomly drop for another spec. If you want legendaries for a specific spec, you’ll have to be in that loot spec. For example: If you are a Ret paladin and have all the Ret legendaries, if you get another legendary to drop it will randomly be holy or prot.

Q: Can we get a 12 part class Q&A session?

A: We get this question a lot. But we worry about irrelevance to other 11 specs. We are considering more class-based AMAs on Reddit, for example. Still up in the air so we’ll see.

Q: Currently specs feel like different classes – where is the class identify in baseline abilities?

A: Good and valid question. We have gone too far in some places in that direction. Sometimes the difference works out i.e. Shadow and Holy priest.

Q: Is Tomb of Sargeras the last raid of Legion?

A: Nope. We are actively working on another raid – 7.3 is Argus and there will be raids on Argus.

Q: Why are external buffs like Innervate and Greater Blessing of Wisdom still a thing?

A: We learned some things – Symbiosis was too complicated. We are still trying to find – this pendulum thing. It doesn’t feel great that you need x external buff to do great. Some of these are still hybrids though, so some of their class identity is still in offering support like external buffs. We were misguided with Greater Blessing of Might – too fixated with parity on meters. What we really want is someone to look at raid comp and say “awesome we have a druid, that means x” – If anything, we like that classes can help each other – cooperative — yes it complicates life as far as a performance perspective but if your goal is working as a team, there is a lot of merit to those synergies. Gives players a chance to contribute something that’s not raw throughput. They are providing something to their group through their presence. What happened to bring the players not the class? We may have gone too far in pursuit of that. Literally 10 years ago we had the wild buff matrix of Sunwell. It’s been 10 years since then. Now we’re in a world where you might want a slightly less geared warlock vs. your 3rd hunter – a slightly more well rounded group will do better.

Q: Can we redo the mage tower challenges even if we’ve completed them?

A: We’d like to make that happen, yeah! Not in the original design but we’d love to have that be possible.

Q: M+ dungeons added in 7.2 feel much harder than earlier ones – any balance changes planned?

A: We’ve made a lot – we’ve nerfed Cathedral of Eternal Night. We are keeping tabs on completion statistics i.e. times, # of chests. They are generally in a good space right now. That said, new and old dungeons are on even footing so it may be that you just are more familiar with the old dungeons. The new ones may seem harder because you don’t know them as well which lead to slightly lower success rates at first.

Q: Are you happy with the new M+ Affixes?

A: Quite happy overall. Still a bit of a learning curve but they seem over all that they are on par with the original affixes.

Q: Are you happy with the difficulty of Mythic The Nighthold?

A: Overall yes. We’re seeing pretty smooth progression. Elisande Nighthold Raid Strategy Guide and Gul’dan Nighthold Raid Strategy Guide might be in line for some targeted nerfs. Pretty standard and happy with how it’s playing out.

Q: Why didn’t assaults give Armies of Legionfall rep? I don’t want to do them.

A: It’s okay if content doesn’t reward something that interests you. These assaults will not give Armies rep in the future. Legion assaults are a great way to get Nethershards and AP. Also less of an issue now that the class mount doesn’t require exalted.

Q: Any plans for a use for excess Order Hall resources?

A: Not currently but this is something to think about. Seals are the dump for resources. Cautious about this just in case people overspend!

Q: With Tomb of Sargeras on the horizon, and mythic gear being 930-940, will the Distilled Titan Essence upgrade legendaries?

A: Everything shifts up by 30 so new legendaries will drop at 970. There will be a new quest to upgrade legendaries after TOS comes out to upgrade them to 970. It will be a more streamlined quest. You don’t need to save your current Distilled Titan Essence. Also the new quest will take very old legendaries from 910 straight to 970.

Q: Is Black Temple Timewalking tied to Outland Timewalking Dungeon Event?

A: Yes, when it’s Outland Timewalking Dungeon Event you’ll be able to do Black Temple Timewalking. Ideally, every Timewalking event will have a raid associated with it eventually. Let us know which one you like for each expansion!

Q: The Paragon chests are a bit underwhelming, can they drop bloods, etc?

A: Yes, we agree – it will be discussed.

Q: For the Affliction lock artifact challenge, do CC effects work differently?

A: PvP Style diminishing returns work in there – we wanted people to use CC abilities but with some limit. Worked this way since MOP scenarios. DR and durations work together to create an instance rule set i.e. Cripple lasting only 4 secs. We are okay with this situation and how hard the dps check is.

Q: Will Horde get a story update?

A: Yes – we wanted the Varian story to wrap up. We didn’t want the Horde story shoe-horned in. Too predictable. Horde story is coming.

Q: Will we ever be able to use weapon illusions on artifacts?

A: No. This was an artistic direction decision done very early on. There was a decision to give artists control and freedom for artifact weapons in order to free up technical limitations. You can always transmog your artifact.

Next month will have a 7.2.5 Q&A.

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