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Battle for Azeroth Live Developer Q&A Roundup: Jan 30

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Here's a summary of yesterday's Battle for Azeroth Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas.

Four additional character slots per realm will be available to everyone in the coming days. Draenor Orcs are planned as a future Allied Races in Battle for Azeroth.

Don't forget that Battle for Azeroth pre-orders are now live!

Allied Races

  • How to unlock Allied Races?
    • Pre-purchase Battle for Azeroth, head to your Embassy in Orgrimmar or Stormwind, talk to Ambassadors for traits and requirements, talk to Anduin or Sylvanas and play through the scenario.
  • Heritage armor is earned leveling an Allied Race from 20-110.
  • Allied Race unlocks and requirements are account wide. If you finished the InsurrectionInsurrection campaign on an Alliance character, you will need a 110 Horde character to unlock the Nightborne.
  • The raw power level of racials was pulled back a bit in the previous expansions and reached its peak in Mists of Pandaria. At this time, the overall power level of racials is congruent and they are not a deciding factor. Arcane TorrentArcane Torrent is dominating right now on live servers and it will be reworked in 8.0. There will be instances, where playing a certain race can be advantageous, but that won't stop Blizzard from adding new interesting racials for future Allied Races.
  • The new Void Elf racial Spatial RiftSpatial Rift is unique, powerful and flavorful, but requires planning. It's not an instant teleport, like BlinkBlink. You have a short window of time to reactivate the ability and teleport to a location.
  • Blizzard wanted to explain the story of Allied Races and how they joined the factions. It makes sense to understand their culture first that's why they are gated behind achievements and reputations.
  • The requirements will be looked into in the future. Currently, it makes sense for the four Allied Races to be gated behind current content.
  • Dark Iron Dwarves and Zandalari Trolls will be available as the expansion unfolds down the line. The story of Battle for Azeroth is about helping both factions and recruiting them. If Allied Races launched as a Legion feature, requirements would likely be the same as today.
  • Draenor Orcs are planned as a new Allied Race.

Class Balance

  • Many utility and CC abilities are returning in Battle for Azeroth. The goal is to encourage a wide diversity of class/spec representation. When there's too much homogenization and multiple people bring in the exact same tools, then there's one who is best. One class happens to be useful at 90% of the time, while other classes have tiny little niche effects and that doesn't going to work out.
  • Spec-identity was overprioritized at the expense of class identity in Legion and there should be more class-wide strengths. All members of the class should bring stuff like CC or Death GripDeath Grip.
  • Artifact traits were just a layer on top of class balance in Legion. Every class has baseline abilities and various modifiers from external sources (set bonuses, Artifact traits, Legendary items, racials). You can customize your character accordingly through Azerite armor.
  • The removal of Artifacts in Battle for Azeroth lead to a few gaps in rotations that need to be fixed, but Artifact traits that feel too essential for a rotation (Fire Mage's Phoenix's FlamesPhoenix's Flames) will be transformed into talents so that you still have the option to pick them.
  • The Artifact was never about giving everybody 20 new passives and a new active or two. It was more about a temporary expansion extension of your character's capabilities through this weapon that was going to be left behind and replaced with something new, different and also exciting.
  • The new Survival Hunter will have a better balance of melee and ranged capabilities. They will still be uniquely the melee Hunter, but they're still going to be the Hunter and that's important.

General

  • The team is actively working on four extra character slots per realm for everyone. This is a global change and not tied to Battle for Azeroth. The character limit per account remains unchanged (50).
  • During leveling, the factions cannot visit the opposite faction's continent, but everything changes at max level. New world quests explaining the story unlock for the Horde in Kul Tiras and vice versa.

Islands

  • Islands will be a very lucrative source of Azerite.
  • With multiple difficulties, they're thinking about Normal, Heroic and Mythic version of the Islands currently as well as a PvP mode for them that rewards honor.
  • Islands will reward better loot based on difficulty.

Items

  • Not all slots are equal in terms of Titanforging. Battle for Azeroth is going back to standard weapon drops and getting a Titanforged weapon could vault you ahead of Tier forward in some ways in terms of performance and that's probably a bit too much. Current thinking is to not let weapons titanforge and let them warforge.
  • Azerite armor slots will not be able to warforge and titanforge at all.
  • Warforging and Titanforging is too common in Legion. It undermines the feeling of continued reward when you've seen enough titanforged pieces clearing through Normal difficulties of the raid that by the time you're progressing on Heroic, you're actually not getting as many upgrades as you'd expect or want, because you have this Titanforged gear. Keeping it as a surprise and a moment of excitement when it happens is valuable, but the second it becomes so common that it's distorting overall gearing patterns and complicating tuning in some ways, that's gone probably a bit too far.

PvP

  • No 3v3 or RBG solo queue is planned for Battle for Azeroth and here's why: In a MOBA, you go through a pick/ban phase, before you join the game; in Overwatch, you can change your composition on the fly. It's not realistic to offer a good matchmaking experience in WoW that also gives you a reasonable composition against fairly matched opponents and reasonable queue times. It would produce a frustrating experience.
  • The team is considering moving the RBG format to 6v6 for Battle for Azeroth. The change should improve assembling and coordinating Rated Battleground groups.
  • The community system will help to form cross-realm groups for RBGs and whatever else.
  • The overall goal is to keep the Prestige system and rewards as they currently stand. The Prestige system will have more ranks in Battle for Azeroth and beyond. The ranks will give you a box or a repeatable reward (currency), similar to the Overwatch structure and your Prestige. Prestige level becomes a measure of how much you've PvPed, how experienced you are overall. There may be titles and other benchmarks along the way, but it's similar to the Overwatch scheme. They don't want to make the system expand and become unapproachable in future.
  • A bunch of Honor talents are not necessarily competitive within their individual rows. If you're just getting into PvP, until you've unlocked all your Honor talents, you are at a significant disadvantage compared to everyone else. They don't want Honor talents to be a mirror of regular talents, which is why we'll be able to choose three talents from a larger pool of talents. There will be a fourth slot for trinket customization. The changes should significantly improve flexibility. Ranks will be unlocked when you reach a certain player level. They're aiming for more freedom of choice and a lower barrier of entry.
  • Seething Shore is coming before Battle for Azeroth.
  • They're finding ways to make item level less important in PvP, while letting players customize their stats/gear. The goal is to minimize power level gaps between players.
  • Sharding still exists despite the new PvP mode. They are looking into shard balance to create faction balance in zones. An exception to the new system are RP servers that will not follow the route of involuntary sharding. If you opt in to PvP on Emerald Dream, you will only see people from that server that have it turned on.
  • In BfA there will not be four server types, just Normal and RP.
  • Default sharding and coalescing is disabled by default on RP realms. The only exception to this rule is an expansion launch, where sharding helps deliver a smooth launch experience. There are no plans to create pristine realms.
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2 hours ago, Stan said:

Warforging and Titanforging is too common in Legion. It undermines the feeling of continued reward when you've seen enough titanforged pieces clearing through Normal difficulties of the raid that by the time you're progressing on Heroic, you're actually not getting as many upgrades as you'd expect or want, because you have this Titanforged gear. Keeping it as a surprise and a moment of excitement when it happens is valuable, but the second it becomes so common that it's distorting overall gearing patterns and complicating tuning in some ways, that's gone probably a bit too far.

Should have never gotten this far out of hand, and the developers knew it the whole time.  My solution would be for Warforged to be only have a third stat or a socket but never increase in item level.  Titanforged would be an increase in item level with a max of 10 item levels or it can roll a socket with +5 item levels but never more.  This keeps the gap close and prevents items from exceeding the next difficulty version so that when you go up a level of difficulty you will still be upgrading even if your gear is titanforged.

2 hours ago, Stan said:

No 3v3 or RBG solo queue is planned for Battle for Azeroth and here's why: In a MOBA, you go through a pick/ban phase, before you join the game; in Overwatch, you can change your composition on the fly. It's not realistic to offer a good matchmaking experience in WoW that also gives you a reasonable composition against fairly matched opponents and reasonable queue times. It would produce a frustrating experience.

This just makes me cringe.  I hate it when developers say "we can't do it", but I get why.  The classes in WoW are not designed the same as a moba and are not as simple.  In most moba's you have a base template that each role is defined by, AP carry, AD carry, Support, Frontline, etc...  Each role has similar stats with minor modifications to accommodate skills and give each character/champion/hero it's own personality.  With WoW classes being designed as they are it's more difficult to put a blanket template on healers, dps, and tanks in pvp without causing an imbalance to most classes.

 

2 hours ago, Stan said:

 Arcane TorrentArcane Torrent is dominating right now on live servers and it will be reworked in 8.0.

This makes me happy.  As alliance when pvping it's hard when most losses are because of this one ability.  And this is the reason a lot of the better pvpers are horde, not to mention I honestly feel horde racials are better over all than alliance racials, however, each has it's own uses.  Mainly I'm curious to see how it's reworked and how other racials are reworked if they are going to be.

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14 hours ago, DeathsDesign said:

Should have never gotten this far out of hand, and the developers knew it the whole time.  My solution would be for Warforged to be only have a third stat or a socket but never increase in item level.  Titanforged would be an increase in item level with a max of 10 item levels or it can roll a socket with +5 item levels but never more.  This keeps the gap close and prevents items from exceeding the next difficulty version so that when you go up a level of difficulty you will still be upgrading even if your gear is titanforged.

I'd just like to see the old socket system return. I really dislike the fact that I can't get rid of certain pieces (namely rings), simply because they roll a socket with a certain stat-heavy budget. 

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On 31/1/2018 at 5:22 PM, Stan said:

The removal of Artifacts in Battle for Azeroth lead to a few gaps in rotations that need to be fixed, but Artifact traits that feel too essential for a rotation (Fire Mage's Phoenix's FlamesPhoenix's Flames) will be transformed into talents so that you still have the option to pick them.

I have to ask: Do they know the definition of the word "essential"?

If it's ESSENTIAL to the rotation, shouldn't it be a baseline ability, not a talent?

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17 minutes ago, Weltenfeind said:

I have to ask: Do they know the definition of the word "essential"?

If it's ESSENTIAL to the rotation, shouldn't it be a baseline ability, not a talent?

It's essential to have this, so we gave you a choice to take it, just in case you need it, but it's essential.

*thinkingemoji*

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On 2/1/2018 at 3:44 AM, Blainie said:

I'd just like to see the old socket system return. I really dislike the fact that I can't get rid of certain pieces (namely rings), simply because they roll a socket with a certain stat-heavy budget. 

This would be nice as well, and I 100% agree about not being able to give up rings/necks because of the socket.

21 hours ago, Blainie said:

It's essential to have this, so we gave you a choice to take it, just in case you need it, but it's essential.

*thinkingemoji*

*mindblown*

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