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wow Blue Posts: General Legion Updates #8

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The blues have been busy putting out more responses to the community's opinions on different problems on the Alpha. Make sure you are up-to-date on what Blizzard think of the changes, as well as what they plan to do in the future.


Our first post concerns the design notes for the brand new Alpha build. The build was deployed in order to implement a number of further class changes. The design notes generally will summarize what the "major" changes to the class were.

Blizzard Icon Alpha Build Design Notes - 18th February


Today’s alpha build is a smaller update, but still contains a few noteworthy things:
  • Class Status – We’re continuing to iterate on our class abilities and talents, based on testing and feedback. This build has many revisions scattered around the classes, but here are some highlights:
  • Fury Warriors – Significant iterations on the core combat abilities. A few more talent changes are still yet to come.
  • Mages – Significant revisions to their level 30 talents, and a few related baseline utility abilities.
  • Death Knights – Wraith Walk added to aid mobility. Several new/revised talents across all 3 specs.
  • Protection Warriors – Several revisions to talents and core rotation.
  • Demon Hunters – Numerous changes across both specs and talents.
  • Shadow Priests – Voidform is now an active ability.
  • Retribution Paladins – Many talents revised.
  • Marksmanship Hunters – Significant revisions to core combat abilities and talents.
Thanks, and we look forward to your feedback!

Today's build update mainly contains bug fixing and ongoing iteration for the current zones, artifacts, and class specs. So while no new class specs or zones are contained in this build, there's still a lot of value in providing a more recent snapshot of the game for you all to test and give feedback on. Fresh is good!
 
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Our next blue posts look at the feedback provided concerning the new legendary items being introduced in Legion. There have been concerns that such a huge number of legendaries is going to create huge balance issues between players that manage to get them early on. The blues responded on two fronts, with posts detailing a legendary item cap being introduced, as well as a response considering the power of the effects themselves. 
 

Blizzard Icon Legendary Item Cap


At the start of the expansion, only one legendary at a time can be equipped so that while extraordinarily lucky people will have more choices about which to use when, they won't be significantly more powerful than somebody that isn't quite as lucky. As the expansion progresses, the number of legendaries that can be equipped at once will go up, although still limited to a relatively small number of slots. 
 
They can come from anywhere, with more difficult content having a higher likelihood of dropping them (for equivalent time spent).
 
(source)

Blizzard Icon Legendary Effects in Legion


I feel that the issue is that this type of legendary will even be allowed into the game. I haven't spoken to a single person that doesn't think they'll be a nightmare for raiders. Even one of these items can offer a ridiculous power difference for certain spells/classes.
 
As you note, there is a massive amount of tuning yet to be done here. A legendary that makes you unkillable, or that doubles your damage, is not a legendary that will be going live in that form. We're testing a lot of different ideas. Some need numbers adjustments; others may prove impossible to tune or unfun. Alpha is alpha.
 
But if we're in a space where items being powerful and transformative is unacceptable, then that feels like a problem. Marginal passive stat increases, like replacing your bracers that have 93 Haste with bracers that have 105 Haste, are certainly easy to balance and safe. They're also pretty dull. And rewards should be anything but. Currently, completing set bonuses or getting powerful trinkets are some of the more rewarding moments, and those offer powerful effects comparable to many of the planned Legion legendaries. In a way, things like the Archimonde trinkets in Patch 6.2 were a preview of how some of these effects might interact and transform gameplay. We wish more items felt like those, and fewer felt like getting that bracer upgrade.
 
Way back in the early days of WoW, getting a Hand of Edward the Odd out of a strongbox was like winning the lottery, and every enemy you killed had the potential to be that lucky ticket. Over the years, loot delivery mechanics and their impact have become more and more streamlined, often at the expense of excitement. Legendary items offer a bit of that classic feel.
 
That said, in addition to the overall unique-equipped limit, our current thinking is that there will be a suppression aura in effect on Mythic raids for the first X weeks after a given raid zone opens, disabling legendary items' special effects (they will still function normally as high-ilvl regular items). This will serve to limit any perceived unfairness in the progression "race," while also serving as a self-nerfing mechanism that can kick in once that race is done.
 
(source)

In more class-specific news, the blues put out replies on a number of the class feedback forums for the Alpha. Our first reply comes from the Guardian Druid forum where the players have been discussing problems with the current AoE for Druid tanks.
 

Blizzard Icon Guardian Druid Feedback Reply


Hey, just wanted to pop in to let you all know about an upcoming change that didn't quite make it into today's build: Lacerate is going to be replaced with Swipe (Bear). It'll be no cooldown, free, with AoE damage somewhere between Lacerate's direct damage and Moonfire's direct damage (i.e., it'll be your lowest priority ability for single target, but offer on-demand AoE if needed).
 
EDIT: There are several other changes still coming to Guardian-specific talents as well, to add some more interesting gameplay options on rows where there were too many passive choices.
 
We look forward to feedback once you've gotten to test it in the next build!
 
(source)

Our next blue post from the class feedback forums centres around some of the new introductions to the Mistweaver Monk playstyle. Players have discussed at length the potential pitfalls of the various melee-based abilities being introduced for the Mistweavers, but the blues are on hand to explain their thinking behind it!
 

Blizzard Icon Mistweaver Monk Feedback Reply



The goal of Spirit of the Crane and Rising Thunder is to enable a playstyle that incorporates melee attacks while healing, for those who desire it (note that Holy Paladins have some similar ablilities and talents, and much of this discussion applies to them as well). We intend for you to be able to use these abilities naturally in dungeon and raid content, without being unfairly punished for being in melee range. However, the Mistweaver situation in Warlords, where the spec is never targeted by a wide range of abilities (even though, the vast majority of the time, it has no need for such treatment) is not one we're happy with. Our goal is to be more judicious about exactly which encounter abilities, if targeted at Mistweavers or Holy Paladins, would preclude playing the spec as intended.
 
For example, a Chain Lightning or Void Zone targeted at a random player with no warning will wipe or seriously disrupt the group if ever targeted at a person in a melee clump. If you can get targeted by it, there is no option but to avoid being in melee at any time during the encounter. Mistweavers and Holy Paladins should not be targeted by these sorts of abilities.
 
On the other hand, imagine a debuff that requires you to move away from other players for a short time or move to a certain location. In many cases, we exempt melee DPS from such abilities not because it would wipe the raid, but merely because reducing their effectiveness to near-zero for many seconds would be overly frustrating. We are much less concerned about asking Mistweavers or Holy Paladins to respond to these kinds of mechanics, because they can still use most of their abilities and be reasonably effective while briefly out of melee. In these cases they'd simply be handling the same mechanics that other healers were required to handle.
 
In summary, choose these talents on alpha like any others and use them as you'd expect, and feel free to report any situations where doing so causes problems that you have no way to avoid.
 
------------
 
A few other things:
--We are planning to revise Sheilun's Gift, as we agree it is rather bland.
--Essence Font should be reasonably effective on as few as 6 targets. Tuning is still in progress as always, but the current version should slightly exceed unbuffed Vivify in terms of throughput and efficiency at around that amount (and if not, we'll take a look at that). It will only get relatively stronger from there as the number of targets increases. 
 
(source)

 
Our last blue post for the day is going to be coming from the Warlock forums, detailing a clarification on the Demonic Empowerment ability for Demonology.
 

Blizzard Icon Demonic Empowerment for Demonology


A clarification on this (weird-looking) change: The build was made while we were in the middle of changing Demonic Empowerment. It'll actually be no cooldown/charges at all, just always freely usable.
 
(source)

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    • By Stan

      Ion conducted a Q/A yesterday and Lore came to the forums to answer additional questions about Legendary items, revolving around bad luck protection and Relinquished items.
      It deals with bad luck protection for every spec and how the system handles Legendary items that can drop for more than a single spec. The unidentified Legendary items we reported about earlier were just a developer idea with the intent to fix loot specialization and Legendaries. It won't be implemented now as bad luck protection will now function for every spec individually. Legendary items targetting was also confirmed via Relinquished items.
      Lore (Source)
      1) How does the above work in regards to Non-spec-based Legendaries (like Shard of the Exodar for mages, who works for all 3 specs. Does it account for ALL specs, or just the one that it was dropped on?
      If a Legendary can drop for your spec, it counts. An easy way to check this is to open the Adventure Guide ingame (Shift-J by default) and click the "Loot" tab without having a dungeon or raid selected. That'll show you which Legendaries are counted for your spec.
      2) Very similar to the above, how do items like Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus/Sephuz's Secret/Kil'jaeden's Burning Wish etc work under this system? Does it count for the spec it dropped on, or for all specs?
      Same as above.
      3) The PTR has had "Unidentified <Class> Legendary" items in its database for a while, and it's been speculated that these were a 'failsafe' for people accidentally getting a legendary in the 'wrong spec' and blowing their accrued Bad Luck Protection -- are these unidentified items still going live, are they going to be scrapped in light of the spec-based droprate/BLP ? If they are going live, is it intended behavior that people could play offspecs with low number of legendaries, or none, get these items quickly (since the first 2 legendaries drop faster), and then swap to their 'main spec' as a way to get a few more legendaries 'quickly' (in comparison to the norm) ?
      These were part of an experimental concept that we've since decided not to go ahead with, at least for now. The idea wasn't exactly what you're speculating, but our concerns were similar.
      4) How does BLP 'acquisition' work under this new spec-based system? Do I 'build up' BLP for all specs as I play, or only for the one currently set as my Loot Specialization? If it builds for all of them, this has possible unintended consequences, where once I get an item in 1 spec, I know I should swap to the others and get items 'relatively fast' since the BLP is built up a fair bit (assuming it wasn't RNGesus giving you an item very very early on)
      This one I'm actually not certain on the answer, but I'll look into it.
      So basically if you have utility legendaries you are even more screwed than before because you already have that many legendaries for every spec.
      I can see where you're coming from, but I'd make the argument that if you have cross-spec Legendaries and play multiple specs, you're already at an advantage in that they're functional for your other specs. I have the Leggings of The Black Flame and Unison Spaulders on my Mistweaver; neither of them do anything at all when I play Brewmaster.
      I feel like this comes back to a lot of the utility legendaries are still just "bad" some like Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus and Sephuz's Secret are better. But there are other's like Acherus Drapes and Uther's Guard that remain disappointing as ever to receive. I leveled a DK as a fun alt, got Acherus Drapes as its first legendary, i am tempted to just delete the character and try again if I had gotten Prydaz i wouldn't have felt this way as it has far more value. Or i have been considering leveling my warrior and just hoping for better luck. You mentioned this in the QA but please take a close look at all the legendarys (including healer ones). To make sure there aren't so many egregious outliers, i should emphasize this is a much larger problem for healers right now than DPS.
      Yep, this is the important point to remember: if a legendary just sucks, then that's the problem we need to fix. Similarly, if your spec sucks without a particular legendary, then that legendary also needs to be fixed to not be so impactful.

      Regarding Prydaz, specifically: It's maybe not the most exciting legendary right now, but it's certainly strong. The stats make it a solid, reliable throughput upgrade, and in the immortal words of Sebudai: "It's pretty easy to figure out how much DPS you're doing as a corpse on the ground."

      As for Sephuz: it has a weird, but temporary, issue. When you only have one or two legendaries, it sucks that it does nothing on the fights where you can't proc it. No argument there. Eventually, though, you'll have a third legendary, and it opens up for some interesting gameplay, where you swap it on for fights with a lot of dispels, interrupts, or controllable targets, and swap it out for the ones that don't. It's not always useful, but it's really good when it is. That's not a bad thing.

      Those seem to be the two that most commonly come up as "bad," but we'll keep discussing the other options as well. I know there's a few tweaks planned to some that haven't yet hit the PTR.

      Overall, though, I just wanted to drive home the point that if you're upset at how long it might take you to get your next Legendary because the ones you have are bad, we want to fix that by making the ones you have better.
      We.Want.A.Way.To.Target.Spec.Specific.Slot.Specific. BEST IN SLOT.
      A) I think your spacebar is broken.

      B) You'll be able to do exactly that through the Relinquished gear tokens in Patch 7.2.
      Wait, was this a confirmation that we can actually target slots?
      Correct. The current plan is that if you purchase a Relinquished token for, say, shoulders, and it gives you a legendary, it gives you legendary shoulders.

      Massive wall of caveats here just because I don't want to over-promise:
      This is PTR. Anything can change at any moment. Many things already have. We don't have a solid handle yet on how long it will take to earn these things, or what the chance of them becoming a legendary will be. We need to be confident that the Broken Shore content itself is stabilized before we can start figuring out things like how quickly you earn Nethershards or how much these tokens cost. Their primary purpose is still as catch-up gear, similar to what was available on the Timeless Isle or Hellfire Peninsula. We don't consider this a "silver bullet" solve to all legendary-related issues, and aren't trying to make it be one. Still, if you just desperately want that one specific legendary, this might be an option worth considering.
    • By Stan

      Blizzard's trying to fix the issue of Legendary items and loot specialization with unidentified Legendaries. Every time a Legendary item drops, you'll be able to switch between specs and then discover a Legendary appropriate for your specialization.
      Update: Lore confirmed in a blue post that these were part of a concept that they won't go live with at least for now.
      Lore (Source)
      These were part of an experimental concept that we've since decided not to go ahead with, at least for now. The idea wasn't exactly what you're speculating, but our concerns were similar. It's interesting that the items are bound to Battle.net Account, so you might end up mailing them to your alt (must be the same class) on a different realm.
      Unidentified Death Knight Legendary Unidentified Demon Hunter Legendary Unidentified Druid Legendary Unidentified Hunter Legendary Unidentified Mage Legendary Unidentified Monk Legendary Unidentified Paladin Legendary Unidentified Priest Legendary Unidentified Rogue Legendary Unidentified Shaman Legendary Unidentified Warlock Legendary Unidentified Warrior Legendary Don't forget that crafted Legendary items are coming in 7.2 and the latest build added affixes and made them BoE.
      Celumbra, the Night's Dichotomy Rethu's Incessant Courage The Sentinel's Eternal Refuge Vigilance Perch Please note the nature of PTR. Anything may change before Patch 7.2 goes live.
    • By Stan

      Further fixes for Legendary items underway. Relinquished items were introduced in the latest build of 7.2 (#23623). The items are unique per slot and have a chance to contain Legendary items.
      Relinquished Items
      The persisting problem with Legendaries is that you don't get the one you want or need. Not anymore though. Relinquished items discover an item appropriate for your loot specialization and not only that, they have a chance to contain a Legendary item, most likely on a slot-per-slot basis.
      Relinquished Bracers Relinquished Choker Relinquished Cloak Relinquished Gauntlets Relinquished Girdle Relinquished Hood Relinquished Leggings Relinquished Ring Relinquished Spaulders Relinquished Treads Relinquished Trinket Relinquished Tunic Example: Relinquished Hood may contain only Head slot Legendary items, such as Darckli's Dragonfire Diadem or Uncertain Reminder. Such slot restrictions increase the chances of getting the Legendary item you want. The question is what's the probability of getting a Legendary item?
      Unidentified Legendary Items
      Update: Unidentified Legendary items were considered, but they won't go live as bad luck protection for individual specializations will be implemented.
      The previous build (#23578) added items that create Legendaries based on your set loot spec. This may represent an overall fix for loot spec problems. I think unidentified Legendaries will drop by default and we won't need to worry about loot spec.
      Unidentified Death Knight Legendary Unidentified Demon Hunter Legendary Unidentified Druid Legendary Unidentified Hunter Legendary Unidentified Mage Legendary Unidentified Monk Legendary Unidentified Paladin Legendary Unidentified Priest Legendary Unidentified Rogue Legendary Unidentified Shaman Legendary Unidentified Warlock Legendary Unidentified Warrior Legendary Taken from here.
      What do you think about the latest changes?
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    • By Stan

      Game Director Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas was answering player-submitted questions, dealing with a wide-variety of topics such as Legendary items, Artifact Power, 7.2 relics, Mythic raiding and more. Our round-up covers most of the discussed topics.
      Artifacts
      Balance of Power appearances won't be account-wide. Effort requirements will be revisited. Hidden Artifact appearances have bad luck protection since 7.1.5. Artifact appearances aren't cannon, they're only cosmetics, so alt-friendliness isn't important. Artifact Power
      The goal is to offer progressing of your character providing choices during the process. The developers don't want AP to be the only reward you're looking out for.  Repetitive farming of Mythic+ isn't fun, which is why a lot of AP rewards were removed from chests and redistributed elswhere. In addition to that the amount of AP gained from the weekly chest has been increased. Devs want to add diminishing returns to bring players to a point where there's no desire to farm AP any longer. They don't want the final 7.2 trait to feel mandatory. You won't be able to use items that grant AP that you got with Artifact Knowledge 25 or less to avoid grinding before 7.2. New catch-up tomes will be added (similar to those you can buy now). Datamining
      Game files contain a lot of placeholders, abandoned data or developer ideas. Their removal would cost time that is spent elsewhere for designing new things. Mythic Raiding
      The devs think there's a lot of grinding, but some issues should be addressed in 7.2 (chain running Maw was specifically mentioned). Legendary Items
      It wouldn't make sense making legendaries change based on your spec, as they have a fantasy behind them. Further bad luck protection improvements down the road for 7.2. The system will evaluate how many legendary items you acquired for a specific spec. If you don't have any for spec X, you'll have a higher chance to get one, even though you have more for spec Y. Guilds benching players for bad legendaries based on sims aren't making a right choice. Crafted legendary items in 7.2 were introduced to keep professions relevant, not to address issues with Legendary items. They can be sold. Crafted legendaries aren't intended to be best and don't count against bad luck protection. Patch 7.1.5
      Changes to secondary stats were a success, but Unstable Arcanocrystal is an exception. The item won't be used that much when item level increases with Tomb raid in 7.2. PvP Q/A
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