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Summary of Legion Artifacts and Class Order Halls Q&A

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Two days ago, Lead Quest Designer Craig Amai talked about Legion Artifacts and the related Class Order Hall questlines on a live stream. We have made a summary of all of his answers!

It took us some time, but the summary of Thursday's Q&A on Artifacts and Class Order Halls is finally ready. We realise that especially Artifacts are a topic of high interest for the playerbase and Craig Amai answered some really interesting questions on them. Question 5, in particular, where it is explained how the Artifact Knowledge system works, is commonly asked by many players.

Bear in mind that this is just a summary of the Q&A. You should definitely watch the VOD for the fully detailed answers.

Quote

1. Will the class order hall change as new patches arrive? Similar to how the Shipyard was added.
Artifacts and Order Halls will be relevant in the future with additional quest lines and content. The WoW team is interested in delivering strong patches that react to what the game needs over time.


2. Will there be more Artifact appearances in later content patches, at least colour variations?
Most of the community has got a sneak peak already. There is the base Artifact appearance, an upgraded one from the Class Hall campaign, a PvE one, a PvP one and hidden appearances. However, there is an additional appearance which will be added in a future patch, which you can see on calculators.


3. What’s being done to allow Artifact appearances to remain an option after Legion is over?
People will unlock all of their Artifact variants and then, in the next expansion, there will be some way to bring along those appearances. After Legion ends, you won’t be able to earn appearances anymore.


4. Will there be a way to respec your Artifact tree?
There is a respec mechanism for Artifacts; you can get it from one of the NPCs standing near your Artifact Forge, but it is a little expensive. They don’t want players to feel the need to customise their Artifact traits for every single encounter. To respec, you would have to use the same amount of Artifact Power needed to unlock new traits. Eventually you will unlock all of the traits, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it.


5. Can we get a formal explanation how Artifact Knowledge works over time?
When you start the expansion, you get your Artifact weapon; then, all Legion content brings in Artifact Power to unlock new traits. Every trait you purchase costs a little bit more than the last one. During the level-up experience, the cost has a small increase but at max level the cost will increase a lot more.


Artifact Knowledge increases the rate at which you gain Artifact Power. The system of Artifact Knowledge allows the team to reduce the gap between players.


At max level, you bring Order Resources to the researchers at your Order Hall. After a few days, the researchers come back with a tome that lets you unlock a new point of Artifact Knowledge. The cost of that research has fluctuated a lot during the Beta: it currently is on 500 Resources. They want to encourage people to do content for it, but they don’t want it to become a huge burden.


Artifact Knowledge goes up to 25 right now. The team might increase that a little bit during patches, but you won’t be working on it for the entire expansion.


To sum up, Artifact Power is raw currency to unlock new traits. Artifact Knowledge increases the rate at which you get Artifact Power. Artifact Knowledge is tied to your character.


6. How will the Artifact catch-up mechanics work in Legion for alts or alt specs?
It will be easier getting the first traits on your alt spec since you will already have accumulated enough Artifact Knowledge (which in turn leads to faster unlocking of traits). If you want to maintain multiple specs at a high level of progress, that will take twice as much effort – similar to playing a hybrid class and, for example, maintaining gear for both a tank and a dps spec.


Initially, one research work order will take 5 days to complete.  For people who are behind, people who come to the expansion later and, of course, for alts, your research will be sped up as the expansion progresses.

7. Will Artifact Knowledge be additive account-wide, ie, all alts learning it add to the total benefit?
That won’t be the case. It’s for one character and the weapons they own. It is not unlocked cumulatively across an account. They don't want you to feel the need to maintain an alt only to help your main.


8. How long will it take on average to max out an Artifact?
They are expecting it to take a few months to get every trait in your Artifact. It will be based on what type of player you are. Your first Artifact will go slower, the other ones will be faster with increased Artifacte Knowledge and the catch-up system.


It should be clarified that by saying “max out” they mean acquiring all the main traits on the tree. There is an additional trait that opens up after you unlock everything else that lets you put Artifact Power into your weapon, somewhat similar to the Paragon system in Diablo.


9. Why is there a massive balance difference in how you obtain certain hidden Artifact skins?
There are a few parts of the Artifact system that aren't equal between all of the classes. All classes should feel different and have unique experiences. This applies to hidden Artifact appearances as well.


Retribution Paladin and Arcane Mage are fun ones. Some are easier to get – for example, they require Honored with a faction or a high gold cost. Especially for Hunters, since some of them identify as bow Hunters and some as gun Hunters, they wanted to make these appearances more accessible.

10. Given that Artifacts ‘complete’ many specs, what are you doing to make sure levels 1 through 109 are smooth, balanced and rewarding?
The team balanced all of the classes against each other and then did another balance pass with all of the classes and their completed Artifacts. Classes should feel complete and interesting through the leveling experience. All specs should feel really good, even without Artifacts.


11. How will Artifact appearances obtained from completing achievements (raids, dungeons, archaeology) work? Per toon? Account wide?
The majority of the achievements for unlocking colours for Artifacts are  character-specific, there are few that are account-wide. You need to obtain the upgraded model before you can obtain the extra colors.


12 Are Artifacts a way you plan on tuning classes mid expansion?
All Artifact Traits will be tuning points, similar to other class abilities. The tuning process is quite complex. They don’t want to do huge tuning swings.


13. Is there overlap between individual Artifact quest lines? Will it feel repetitive?
For each specialisation, there is an individual questline to unlock the Artiftact. There is some overlap for some specs  (eg Discipline Priest and Arcane Mage or Balance Druid, Unholy Death Knight and Affliction Warlock). Out of all the specs, the majority of them are unique. There are a few specs that either share some content or the setting, but the majority are very unique experiences. Each class has its own unique Order Hall experience, too.


14. How will the lore for each Artifact be explained in-game and how will the newly introduced Artifacts be elevated to the level of status the established Artifacts have?
Artifacts are different from other weapons because of their history. The team wrote out a backstory for each Artifact and they put it in Artifact tomes inside the Class Halls. When you bring back Artifact Knowledge, the researcher will note that an additional part of the backstory has been unlocked for your weapon.


Some Acquisition questlines emphasise on the themes and the story of the weapons. A few acquisition questlines go to the same location, like Tyr’s Tomb. These questlines tie to each other, since you can see the aftermath of the previous spec.


15. Holy Paladins have been using 1H and shields for a long time. Why the change to a big 2H Mace with a book?
A few of the Artifacts hearken back to the original fantasy of the spec. For example, Uther carries a big hammer and Maraad has the gigantic hammer in the TBC cinematic. They wanted to make this weapon feel unique. The mace and shield has been what Holy Paladins have been doing for a long time, but you don’t actually use them in combat.


16. Will Tauren Feral and Guardian models have horns? Can we use the new cat model via glyph or another method?
The fantasy for Guardian Druids is to assume the avatar of Ursoc, similar with Ferals and Ashamane. Both of them didn’t have horns so it doesn’t make sense to make racial variations for horns.


Being able to swap back to the regular druid models is a good idea. It won't be in the shipping game but maybe in a patch.


17. What is going to happen with Artifacts during Legion patches? Will we get more perks to spend Artifact Power on?
The system is meant to last for a few months. They want the system to play out and see what players think of it. There are some intentions for patches but the team doesn't want to commit until they see how it goes. They want to react to what players need.


18. Why are fist weapons [in general and the Artifacts] invisible when sheathed?
This has happened for all of WoW. The Artifact fist weapons are invisible when sheathed because there aren't really points to sheathe them, they are too bulky and clip everything. That being said, fist weapons were chosen for certain specs because they will be very present in combat. There are special sheathing rules that let these weapons be visible during combat (eg an Elemental Shaman cast).


19. Why were most of the Order Hall teleports taken out of the classes that didn’t already have something similar?
These portals were available in early Beta, because they expected players would need to go to their Order Hall very frequently. However, the team changed their perspective on it. Visiting the Order Hall very frequently was way too much. Dalaran is meant to be the critical, central hub of the expansion. The portal network was changed and the Dalaran Hearthstone was added to make Dalaran easy to reach. There are also portals to and from your Order Halls and Dalaran


20. Will additional famous NPCs show up in Order Halls during quests or patches? Especially Warriors are missing famous NPCs.
For the most part, the famous NPCs have been introduced. The team may be bringing in a few in later patches, but they are likely bringing in existing characters and continuing their stories.


The Warrior Order Hall is an interesting case. In early Alpha, the Order Hall had ghosts for many famous Warriors. However, it didn’t feel appropriate for heroes from both factions to be all together in a Vrykul hall. They wanted a stronger neutral fantasy and thus they chose to focus on the Vrykul. Warriors have a new fantasy to take forward and experience. Therefore, they don't expect that more Warrior NPCs will be added into the Order Hall.


21. What is the reason behind limiting the number of Order Hall Champions you can have to 6?
It was important to recognize your champions, for them to be distinct. To start, the team limited the number of champions down to notable people.

In terms of the 6 out of 8 cap, they want you to make some choices as to who you care about and want to invest in.


22. Will there be a transmog NPC in the Order Hall? Can we redo talents in them? Do Class Order Halls generate rested XP?
Things like transmog NPCs, the bank, Auction House are not in the Order Hall. This is intentional so Dalaran feels like the major hub.


There is rested experience in the COH and you can redo your talents there. The way to swap talents is changing in the pre expansion patch. You can use the Tome of the Clear Mind (Tranquil Mind in Legion) to grant the ability to change talents freely for the next minute. When you are in a rested area, you do not need that tome and can change talents freely.


23. What was the reasoning behind allowing Trade Chat to be accessible in Order Halls? Aren’t you worried that players will just sequester themselves inside their Order Halls instead of going out in the world?
Trade Chat in the Order Hall was allowed so that players don't feel that  they are missing out on it. The team is not worried about this.

24. Why was Marksmanship Hunter given a bow and Beastmaster a gun?
Hunters have strong opinions about what weapon type is the main one for each spec. The team tried to use the other Artifact Appearances to give players another weapon type choice.


25. In the case that you make a bigger change to an Artifact trait, will they allow players to respect the Artifact Power for free?
The team doesn't want to be tweaking traits or abilities so strongly that it's a necessity. If they reach that point where they have to do it, then they will have to talk about it, but they prefer not to make those big changes and force respecs on players. To a degree, there's some pressure alleviated by the fact that you will have all the traits at some point.


26. Will Artifact Power progression, similar to item level, be a requirement to access content (eg. random groups)? How important is Artifact Power in premade groups?
There are no intentions of requiring specific levels of Artifact power for progression. There are still item level requirements, and putting relics in your Artifact increases your ilvl.


As far as premade groups are concerned, it’s hard to predict but they are not expecting there to be a wide divide between players. It's also relatively difficult to see what a player's Artifact is at, since it's not possible to inspect another players Artifact progression.

27. Is Acherus going to be utilized better as Death Knight base now or will it still be just runefore and training dummies?
Acherus has the same systems as the other Class Halls (Artifact Forge, champions, mission table, Artifact and Order Hall questlines). There are also some major events happening there. They didn’t want to change Acherus too much, since it was already ingame.


28. Was it a difficult process choosing all the Artifact weapons and/or Class Halls for each class?
In short, yes it was difficult. For the Order Halls, the team looked at what represents the class fantasy in the strongest way possible, what locations they connect with really well and they tried to balance the tension of faction differences by choosing neutral locations.


For the Artifact weapons, class fantasy, what stands out and feels unique, what had a strong history or an attachment to a hero or a location.

 

For the Developer Q&A (July 14), Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel will be answering questions on World Quests in Legion and the Demon Invasion event. If you have any questions, you can already submit them in this forum thread or on Twitter by using the hashtag #LegionQA.

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