Battle for Azeroth | BlizzCon 2017 Dev. Interview | Ion Hazzikostas & Alex Afrasiabi

Q: What is the story of "Titanforging" going into Battle for Azeroth?

A: It's continuing. The gist of it is: The system of Warforging/Titanforging, the idea that an item can drop at a higher quality - they’re overall happy with the potential for moments of excitement that that adds. The longer term goals in the sense of progression. Whether you're a raider working on Avatar right now, and that means you've killed the first few bosses in the Tomb of Sargeras - countless times - in the old days you'd kill boss one and maybe not even bother looking at the corpse. Because you knew as a matter of certainty that theres nothing that could possibly drop that would make you stronger, that you'd care about. There is value in having that potential motivation. There is value across the whole raid group in still continuing to get stronger as you're beating your heads against whatever boss you're stuck on. Also, whether you're running some content with a friend that maybe isn't super relevant for you - there is a chance that something relevant could occur. Now that said; there's definitely some spikes in the experience that, we've definitely heard feedback, have rubbed players the wrong way. So we're looking more at tweaking and tuning the numbers for the frequency in which some of those events occur. One thing I can say: The Azorite armor pieces we've currently said - helm, shoulder and chest - are the pieces that are Azorite attuned and activated by the heart of Azeroth. Those will be exempt from Warforging/Titanforging. There is already enough depth and decision space there. We want to be really clear cut when something is an upgrade. If you have a Heroic piece and get a Mythic piece you should wear it. Don't worry about the Warforge or the plus five version of it. So it won't apply to all slots. Until how the relic system works today - with the Heart of Azeroth - those traits are fixed. A Helm is a helm. It's not a randomly generated set of properties. So if you have the perfect helm, that comes off a raid boss, kill the mythic version of that boss, get it and that's your best in slot item.

Q: Are Worgen and Goblin models going to be updated for BfA?
A: It’s not something that is likely to make it into BfA at launch but it’s something they definitely want to do and will get to as soon as they can.

Q: Allied Races - will they all be re voiced as well?
A: They will get full character kits: their own emotes, their own flirts, funnies, exertions, etc. The ones playable on the floor are incomplete - also the ones playable on the BlizzCon floor are very similar to their current counterparts. Nightborne are going to be much more distinct.

Q: What will legendaries do in BfA?
A: Legion Legendaries will not continue in their current form in BfA - there will not be 100 different legendaries from any source. Their current thought is our current legendaries will taper off in their current power as you level towards 120 (if you have them - they should be worth using early on) but the time you reach max level, you will want to replace them with better, newer gear.

Q: Will Silvermoon and the teleport wall be updated or fixed in BfA to make it seamless or allow flying in that zone?
A: It would be nice to have and is on the ‘someday’ wish list but it is not currently slated for the BfA release.

Q: Currently no allied races can be Death Knights. Are there any plans to change this?
A: Because the experience with allied races begins at 20 and hero classes (DK’s and DH’s start out at a much higher level) it does present a hurdle that will need to be overcome. This is still something being considered for some of the allied races (such as Dark Iron Dwarves for example).

Q: What are the plans for the rest of Legion? When should we expect Antorus?
A: It’s coming up - the date is expected to be announced within the next week. They are being considerate of the upcoming holiday season (for both players and Blizzard employees).

Q: What is the BfA equivalent of the mission table and class hall system?
A: It’s still being decided. It’s possible that there will be a form of missions as a continued expression of sending scouts out to gather information to get some stuff for you. It won’t be a central feature like in Warlords but they are happy with a lot of aspects so it may continue forward.

Q: With BfA being very Alliance vs. Horde, does that mean cross-faction parties or raids isn’t being looked at?
A: The faction divide is key to the game. That is what makes Warcraft Warcraft. It is the ultimate division that is not expected to be broken in the future.

Q: In parties, are they faction-specific?
A: Character communities are character-specific cross-server social activities. Because factions matter there, because you might have your cross-server raid group or battleground group, you are joining that on the character that will be participating in that specific party and only like-factioned characters can be in those groups. On the other hand, groups which already exist today and already exist in the client - those are battle tag based so you can have a chat channel with someone playing Horde, someone playing Alliance and someone playing Overwatch for example because it is account-level.

Q: Will we see Wrathion in BfA?
A: Anything is possible. When they are doing character story arcs, they have to devote a lot of time into incorporating them into the story as to not make them just seem like a ‘token’. They don’t want to treat their characters like that. They have talked about plans for Wrathion for various other things, but currently nothing is planned for BfA.

Q: Are Warfronts going to have and PvP elements planned?
A: Not currently planned - it is a large raid scale PvE experience. It might be something that gets incorporated in the long run but it’s not the initial focus. Realistically, they want to control it more than what a PvP situation might bring. They want to bring the feeling of faction warfare and RTS like strategies. If they feel that eventually they can do something cool with it PvP-wise, they will.

Q: What is going to happen with classes’ artifact abilities once the actual artifact is eliminated?
A: For some classes, the artifact ability will be incorporated into the spec, some it will be a talent. For some classes, it will be eliminated altogether. From a design standpoint, they are going to start out by eliminating the artifact ability from all specs and then look at each individually to see how the class looks and feels, then add the ability in where it makes sense.

Q: Are differences between the number of defensive abilities each class brings going to be addressed?
A: Yes: there is likely to be a round of disarmament when it comes to defensive abilities. There is a prevalence of immunities and there is more homogenization than they are comfortable with. There was originally only ice block and divine shield - they were the gold standard. Nowadays, classes can spec into a 1-minute or 90-second cooldown and weirdly the original ones are more impractical. They are looking to revisit these defensives and make changes where it makes sense.

Q: Where are the updated Moonkin forms?
A: They would love to get to that at some point. It would be nice to re-envision them but it’s difficult to balance introducing a new form vs keeping the community happy (those who like the old form).

Q: Are raid-wide class buffs are coming back?
A: It’s a mix of flavor of giving players the feeling that players can feel stronger in a party vs on their own and diversify their group. By giving raid-wide class buffs, this will help motivate groups to not stack just the highest DPS class (for example) and instead perhaps consider bringing another class that brings a raid-wide buff.

Q: With class fantasy being the big push in Legion, what is the scope of class changes in BfA?
A: There are improvements to fidelity, visuals, animations - that is an ongoing effort. They are not expecting to see dozens of specs fundamentally reworked like they did in Legion. Clearly there were a lot of large changes there: a lot of those worked out well, some less so. Some specs might see a more thorough rework - revisiting of what they did in Legion and taking a second crack at it and learning based on feedback. No changes as drastic as Survival Hunters are being planned for BfA at this time.

Q: Does BfA have a “big bad”? Is there an arc that will be played with one major character that may come into it, or is the plan to just open the world up?
A: There is definitely an arc. This is still Warcraft. We will start to see things make themselves known to us. It will be a ‘slow burn’ and escalate as the expansion progresses.

Q: Can you tell us anything about what to expect for the raid content after Uldir?
A: No specific announcements after Uldir - they are happy with the way raid tiers were released with Legion.

Q: Do you have any plans for profession rework? Is the rank system staying?
A: The rank system is likely staying. They are still investigating possible changes to professions to be a bit less quest story-focused; there will still be quests behind the professions but they won’t be a dozen quests for each set of blacksmithing patterns or leatherworking patterns that we had in Legion for example. Instead, they want to go back more to the systems roots of it. A such as possible, they want to give players options to customize their gear and keep crafting relevant.

Q: Is racial balancing going to be addressed? Why don’t more flavorful racials exist but not the power racials?
A: There is value to the power racials. It is something active you can do that is a reminder that you are that specific race. The racials that effect your stats or damage tend to not be such major factors in races and players tend to play races that they feel are coolest. If we ever get to a point where everyone needs to change to a certain race because they feel that is optimal, then that is a problem. They are not seeing that around power racials these days. The exceptions are more utility things such as Arcane Torrent and Rocket Jump - those are being looked at being re-designed. It’s a problem in dungeons; it’s a problem in PvP. It is not super fun or flavorful at the low end and can be detrimental competitively at the high end.

WoW Legion Summit - Developer Interviews

Bay n'Slootbag interview two Developers at the Legion Summit.

Ion Hazzikostas (Asst. Game Director) & J. Allen Brack (Production Director)

Bay's interview with James Waugh at the Legion Summit.

Accompanied by Mitch Dostine of Curse Entertainement.

Episode 103 - BlizzCon 2015 Dev Interview: Luis Barriga

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