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Polygon Interview with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas

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Polygon had the opportunity to ask Ion Hazzikostas questions related to Patch 8.2. We learned that both Mechagon and Nazjatar will have flying enabled and Rise of Azshara's story is going to revolve around Magni and the dying Titan.

Ion recently talked to multiple sites about Rise of Azshara. Check out the Buffed.de Interview, and the PC Gamer Interview for details. You can check out the original Polygon Interview here.

Interview Highlights

  • Players in Battle for Azeroth have problem with the connective tissue of the game: character motivations, endgame rewards, max-level content, the Azerite system, and technical issues.
  • Patch 8.2 is World of Warcraft's largest content patch that will shore up the weaknesses of Battle for Azeroth.
  • In Patch 8.2, Heart of Azeroth Heart of Azeroth will have active powers, like shields and buffs.
  • Players don't seem to care about Heart of Azeroth Heart of Azeroth, which wasn't the case with Legion artifacts.
  • The story of Magni and the dying Titan will be in the limelight in Rise of Azshara. The Battle over Azeroth, becomes Battle for Azeroth, quite literally.
  • Mechagon and Nazjatar will offer exciting endgame experiences and flying will be possible in both zones.
    • In a previous interview, Ion said they're completely redoing the world quest system in Rise of Azshara, They have entire teams working on sandbox systems, and you should see something new pop up even after you've played the game for months.
  • Ion admits that Battle for Azeroth's endgame suffers from ability pruning, the loss of Legion legendaries, and the lack of endgame talents.
  • For the rest of the expansion, they're going to focus on Classes from a diversity and tuning perspective. Talents that aren't picked that often will be improved, but changes to talents as a whole will need to wait until next expansion.
  • Ion says Vanilla trees were bad, because the system was not infinitely extensible. 
    • "We went down the road, adding what were then 61 point talents, where everyone had 80 talents to spend, and those trees were unwieldy, difficult to parse, and difficult to make decisions within."
  • Battle for Azeroth's lack of 120 talents was a difficult decision. For example, Death Knights and Rogues do not necessarily need three new abilities, and those could shore up weaknesses in class design and remove counterplay. That being said, he does agree they've gone too far.
  • There won't be a trial where Sylvanas is in chains.
    • "She's not a character who would found find herself in that situation...ever."
  • Player choice is important and will have real consequences and follow-through. They intend to avoid false choices, or the illusion of a branching narrative. Ion hints at a possible Alliance player choice in the near future.
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This is exactly what we as a community want from the dev teams. They admitted they made mistakes, they are listening to our feedback and they are implementing it where they can. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to develop a game as complex as WoW, tune almost 40 specs and playstyles, and create new engaging systems every 2 years.  

I am really enjoying the expansion so far and I am looking forward to the future of the game. 8.2 is going to be great and after the quality of BfDA I cannot wait for the new raid. 

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I hope there's more difference between Sylvannas and Garrosh than her simply "not ending up in chains".    If the only distinguishing factor is we straight up kill her (which frankly should have happened with Garrosh (and Kael!   And others!), or she ends up running to the void lords to be a future boss, then it's pretty much the same story with very little deviation.

At the same time I think they kind of wrote themselves into a corner here so there may not be better options.   It would be -super- lame if she ended up merging with the dying Azeroth Titan, becoming a naked angel of golden energy who defeats the old gods and then hurtles off into the great unknown.

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2 hours ago, Stan said:

Ion says Vanilla trees were bad, because the system was not infinitely extensible. 

  • "We went down the road, adding what were then 61 point talents, where everyone had 80 talents to spend, and those trees were unwieldy, difficult to parse, and difficult to make decisions within."

This right here. Talent Trees in general are hard to be done right, and in WoW they were terrible, often giving that false sense of customization as you HAD to use the most optimal build for Raiding, PvP, etc., which ended with everyone using the same cookie-cutter builds.

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On 4/8/2019 at 11:51 AM, Valhalen said:

This right here. Talent Trees in general are hard to be done right, and in WoW they were terrible, often giving that false sense of customization as you HAD to use the most optimal build for Raiding, PvP, etc., which ended with everyone using the same cookie-cutter builds.

Thats probably because for a mechanically set fight, there almost ALWAYS has to be one that is better than another.  Should it be every fight?  No.  

But like they say some talents just DONT get taken.  

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On 4/8/2019 at 10:45 PM, Stan said:

There won't be a trial where Sylvanas is in chains.

  • "She's not a character who would found find herself in that situation...ever."

 

Mmm...evidently, Cersei Lannister is not such a character...
KABOOM baby~ 😋

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