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wow Legion Design Retrospective

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Looking back at the development of Legion, the team talks about the design behind the Broken Shore, the Demon Hunter, Artifacts, PvP, Professions and World Quests.

Broken Shore

  • Start of the discussion is the concept art of Azsuna, how there was initially less demon influence.
  • Most of the path crossings between the Alliance and the Horde were at bridges.
  • The original Broken Shore intro was too long and didn't feel like a good storyteller.
  • The team designed some sort of Fel Citadel (stronger version of the Legion) that would kill off some major lore characters.

Demon Hunter

  • The development talks date back to the Burning Crusade.
  • They quickly implemented a playable Demon Hunter to playtest things and after the testing went back to the core philosophy.
  • Given that a lot of players would try out the Demon Hunter, it had to be simple (like all spells fitted on a single action bar).
  • Eye BeamEye Beam ability came from a discussion about the Illidan fight.
    • The first version of the spell didn't feel very heroic. It was a beam from the player to a target dealing damage. Next a hover was added and had the beam follow the cursors.
    • This was bad given the stationary nature of mobs.
    • The team did further updates, but felt like the ability was doing too much, which is why it was split into two (Eye BeamEye Beam+Fel BarrageFel Barrage)
  • MetamorphosisMetamorphosis was first only a flat bonus increase, but felt boring, the team had to add a visual update to make it feel more epic.
  • Stats
    • 2/3 of Legion accounts have created a Demon Hunter, many with puns related to Illidan in their name.

Artifacts

  • Needed to be the game's strongest weapons.
  • They were heavily inspired by already-existing ones, like the Ashbringer or Doomhammer.
  • The first ever Artifact weapon designed was the Ashbringer and it had to be for Retribution Paladins only, which led to the reason of having different Artifacts for different specs.
  • The team played around with the tiers of power before realizing what would work out.
    • The first concept gave players too much of an initial impactful choice to their gameplay.
    • Ashbringer was featured in the Artifact UI, which is where they came to an idea to do traits around its constellation.
  • Legendaries being always the pinnacle of power, Blizzard started to look back at already-existing ones and what made them strong was their passive.
  • By adding that to the weapons, players were disappointed, because it didn't feel any special, so they ended up adding an ability to Artifacts.
  • The Artifact is supposed to grow in power with you throughout the expansion.
  • Artifact Research helps you to stay close in power with your friends.

PvP

  • Hardcore players didn't ever touch PvP. The team thought it was, because they didn't like competitive games. This was false and the reason was gear.
  • So the team decided to remove influence from gear in PvP.
    • Add to that the item level scaling in Battlegrounds, which gave the gear some, but limited meaning.
  • Honor Talents opened the opportunity to design spells specifically for PvP.
  • The team added rewards to make even PvE players interested, see here.
  • A lot of PvP feedback has been been received from the community, which allowed the devs to tune the knobs without harming PvE.

Professions

  • January 2015 was the first time when the team started working on Legion.
  • They wanted to make professions to be more than recipes. They picked up Blacksmithing and Mining and made custom quests and it worked out.
  • Ultimately this would lead to too many quests in your Quest Log (Order Hall Quests, Zone Quests, Suramar / Illidan Storyline etc.)
  • Underlight AnglerUnderlight Angler was initially a joke, but it went live and worked out great.
  • They wanted to bring people together by fishing raids.
  • Additional talks revolve around players exploiting Fishing in Garrisons by forming raids. They could get their hands on some pretty rare items, Blizzard hotfixed that, but what came out of it is they found that to be a cool idea, hence Dalaran Fishing raids came ino existence.
  • The team wants to ensure Professions remain viable throughout the expansion.
  • New Recipes are coming in 7.1.5 (Blacksmithing mentioned and even a possibility of craftable Legendaries).
  • Obliterum cap will be raised to item level 865 in Patch 7.2.

Cooking

Nomi gave you a good reason to visit Dalaran, but the progress system wasn't clear enough

Gathering Nodes

  • Went shared - up to 10 people can hit them.
  • They feel natural.
  • What's bad is Skinners relying on other players to loot corpses before they can start skinning.
    • This is something the team wants to improve in a future patch.

Recipe Ranks

  • Rank 1 were gated through a long quest line (sometimes even too long).
  • Rank 2 were simply on vendors which was also bad.

Obliterum Forge

  • The team is pretty happy with it. A lot of players have been unlocking the Forge as well as buying bracers.
  • The UI is bad and feels overwhelming, it's something to improve in the future.

World Quests

  • The big question was, what was our favorite daily system and how will we improve it?
  • When you look at Mists of Pandaria, you've quested with Shado-pan continuing the story with the dailies.
  • The amount of daily quests back then would make you feel overwhelmed.
    • There were simply too many.
  • Logging in at the beginning you shouldn't feel obliged to do a tons of quests. It felt repetitive to get the same reward for the same quest.
  • Daily Quests were also limited to a specific part of the zone and they wanted to make them available throughout the whole continent.

Levelup Quests

  • The team took quests, changed objectives and found out it felt different.

Rare Spawns

  • Add a fun aspect to leveling.

Max Level Area

  • Every new expansion should have a max level area, think Suramar.

PvEvP Warden Towers

  • 5 FFA Arenas across the Broken Isles were added (they inspired the new Brawls that are coming)
  • Dungeon Daily Quests were good too. Profession Bananzas spice up World Quests.
  • Questions that should come up when designing World Quests are:
    • The Amount of icons on the map.
    • Checking whether travel time feels
    • Or the length of the quest
    • All of these variables can be changed, the only thing that can't be changed is the size of the world.
    • The team wanted variation in both contents and rewards, so that when the same quest is up two days in a row, the rewards are still different.
      • This impacts your choice and contributes to varied gameplay.
  • Combination of these three guarantees you won't have the same experience. 
    • Variety of Quests
    • Rewards
    • Variety of Content

Patch 7.2

  • Marks the return of Scenarios, Rare World Quests (Timeless Isle), Region Wide World Quests and Summonable Bosses.

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I am one to blame as I say that my female Night Elf Demon Hunter was named "Illidamsel".

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On 05/11/2016 at 8:59 PM, Valhalen said:

I am one to blame as I say that my female Night Elf Demon Hunter was named "Illidamsel".

Such a bad name should be Illigal.

2 people like this

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8 hours ago, Oxygen said:

Such a bad name should be Illigal.

I know, right? Illidamnit.

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As Ret, I find it pleasing that Ashbringer was mentioned no fewer than 3 times as THE artifact weapon. 

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Happy for the possible skinning changes! Love the help from the passerby most of the time but hate having to whisper to them to come back and loot because I'm skinning :)

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22 hours ago, Summerain said:

Happy for the possible skinning changes! Love the help from the passerby most of the time but hate having to whisper to them to come back and loot because I'm skinning :)

Then you see them stop walking, check your message and they keep running :(

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On 11/6/2016 at 0:59 AM, Valhalen said:

I am one to blame as I say that my female Night Elf Demon Hunter was named "Illidamsel".

I approve tbh

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On 16.11.2016 at 3:26 PM, ChaosDecides said:

Bloods need to be made BOA.

At least you can spend them on things that can be moved around, no?

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On 11/19/2016 at 7:01 AM, Blainie said:

At least you can spend them on things that can be moved around, no?

To upgrade obliterum on items costs bloods. If I want to create a bunch of obliterum for an alt, the alt still needs all those bloods. It's pointless.

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12 hours ago, ChaosDecides said:

To upgrade obliterum on items costs bloods. If I want to create a bunch of obliterum for an alt, the alt still needs all those bloods. It's pointless.

Ah, I see, fair enough. For those purposes, I guess it would be fair to allow BoA yeah. Or at least change the process so that it allows for movement of items to avoid blood issues.

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