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Forbes Interview with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas on Rise of Azshara

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Forbes' Heather Newman recently talked to World of Warcraft's Game Director Ion Hazzikostas about how Patch 8.2 is going to fix many game design issues, the new Seasonal affix, and the Essence system.

Click here to read the full interview.

Interview Highlights

Class Changes

  • In Patch 8.2, they're looking at Frost Death Knight resource pacing and how Breath of Sindragosa Breath of Sindragosa works.
  • Players should not expect full Class reworks in a patch, they're keeping them for expansion updates, because fundamental changes to a specialization in content patches are a jarring experience.

Essences

  • The new Essence system and the Heart of Azeroth rework have been seven months in the making.
  • The central socket activates both major and minor Essence powers. Once you complete the Nazjatar intro, you will get a summons from Magni.
  • The small nodes are giving you Stamina.
  • Essences act just like glyphs or talents. You will need to visit the Heart Forge to learn them first, but from that point, you will be able to swap them in and out at no cost in rested areas or elsewhere with Tome of the Clear Mind Tome of the Clear Mind.
  • Conflict and Strife is a fun Essence. It gives you a specific Honor talent for your specialization that will work everywhere, allowing you to pick a different Honor talent for a total of four.
  • Essences offer active abilities, some have a more passive nature; there's something for everyone!

Eternal Palace Raid

  • The underwater boss in the Eternal Palace raid is an eel creature stuck in a cave and throughout the encounter, players will alternate between three platforms.

Gating

  • Elements of the game tied to Season 3 (Operation: Mechagon Dungeon, and the Eternal Palace raid) will not be available immediately when the patch goes live.
  • Pathfinder requirements are tied to outdoor content. You can get the Mechagon reputation requirement for flying before the raid if you are very active, because there will be no gating.

Itemization

  • Benthic gear offers a meaningful progression path for those people who mostly do outdoor questing.
  • Baseline Benthic tokens are BoA, so you can send them over to your alts.

Mechagon

  • Mechagon is a successor to Timeless Isle, designed to be an exploration sandbox with no traditional world quests.
  • Mechagon has "true rares" with long respawn timers. You can get various stuff from them like gear, punch cards for the personalized trinket, and so forth.

Mythic Season 3

  • Seasonal affix for Mythic Season 3 is called Beguiling and there will be three types of handmaidens that will be present in a variety of pulls in different configs from week to week.
    • There's one with shadow power, one that's arcane, and the third's frosty, all have different effects that will change the way you approach pulls.
  • The plan for Season 3 is to begin in a couple of weeks after Rise of Azshara goes live. They want a much smaller gap than they had in Tides of Vengeance.

Nazjatar

  • Nazjatar is an evolution of lessons learned from Tanaan Jungle, Broken Shore, and Argus.
  • There's a new reputation in Nazjatar, an emissary wrapper for world quests, rares, treasures, and a system of followers that's reminiscent of Mists of Pandaria's Townlong Shado-Pan daily quests. The new bodyguard system allows you to choose a follower who grows in power, unlocks new abilities and you'll get cosmetics along the way.
  • There are reputation thresholds to unlock pieces of the Nazjatar main story.

Operation: Mechagon Dungeon

  • Operation: Mechagon Dungeon is going to feel like a 5-player raid. There's going to be a hard mode similar to Karazhan's Nightbane. The most powerful punch cards will come from there along with an Essence.

Tides of Vengeance

  • Tides of Vengeance contained band-aid fixes for BfA's game design, but with Rise of Azshara, the fixes will be more permanent.
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A lot of talk but no date on the release of 8.2; most of the mentioned stuff is interesting and nice but falls short to a player's expectation when there is not a set date for release.  As of now I'm just doing a +10 keystone and logging out unless it's Guild Raid Night on my main.

Playing some Diablo III and some FFXIV on the side till this patch goes live because I'm really bored with WoW atm.

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14 minutes ago, Ragingwolf said:

A lot of talk but no date on the release of 8.2; most of the mentioned stuff is interesting and nice but falls short to a player's expectation when there is not a set date for release.  As of now I'm just doing a +10 keystone and logging out unless it's Guild Raid Night on my main.

Playing some Diablo III and some FFXIV on the side till this patch goes live because I'm really bored with WoW atm.

Release date: when it's done.
But nah - for real, I wouldn't mind if they keep the current patch on PTR a little bit longer. From what I saw and experienced 8.2 is a very promising content patch that would fall short of expectations in the current form. It needs a bit more polishing, especially to the Nazjatar zone and essence system. The originally planned release should have been ~mid June, but I'm OK with a July release if they can make it a better experience.
We know the Classic release is 27th August, so the Eternal Palace raid progression race should be over in the 1st/2nd week of August the latest, so the two version won't cannibalize each other's media coverage.

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49 minutes ago, Badadada said:

Release date: when it's done.
But nah - for real, I wouldn't mind if they keep the current patch on PTR a little bit longer. From what I saw and experienced 8.2 is a very promising content patch that would fall short of expectations in the current form. It needs a bit more polishing, especially to the Nazjatar zone and essence system. The originally planned release should have been ~mid June, but I'm OK with a July release if they can make it a better experience.
We know the Classic release is 27th August, so the Eternal Palace raid progression race should be over in the 1st/2nd week of August the latest, so the two version won't cannibalize each other's media coverage.

The longer they wait for 8.2 the more people wont come back to BFA at all, they'll wait for the next expansion if at all. My guild is already on raid break due to attendance issues, I only log on to do my auctions and a single M+ a week for residum and I'm one of the more active people in the guild at the moment, where as we use to have 20-30 people on every night when BoDZ went live, far more earlier in the expansion and a huge number in Legion. We've already got people telling us 'cya next expansion'.

I really wouldn't bank on classic either, there are a few people I know keen, but a lot more that just don't see the point, and some that will try it but I doubt will stick around. They really are different audiences.

Hell they needed to release 8.2 two weeks ago if they wanted to salvage the playerbase for BFA, waiting another month? Yeah Nah. There is already nothing to do in game and if they leave it as is people will get out of the habit of logging in at all.

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4 hours ago, Stan said:

Players should not expect full Class reworks in a patch, they're keeping them for expansion updates, because fundamental changes to a specialization in content patches are a jarring experience.

So *filtered* sub rogue right?

 

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Aren't there any different photos of Hazzikostas, other than this lifeless face? It's almost on every piece of news about interviews, Q&A etc. (and not just this site).

I agree that new patch should take a bit more time, given the amount of content. Again, those interviews spend a bit too much on stuff  majority of playerbase doesn't care about. These are just "safe topics". Azerite, essences, benthic whatever, it's just boring grind (which will become obsolete in about a year), and only relevant to small percentage of those doing mythic. People are interested in actual content.

Edited by Arcling

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20 hours ago, Ragingwolf said:

A lot of talk but no date on the release of 8.2; most of the mentioned stuff is interesting and nice but falls short to a player's expectation when there is not a set date for release.  As of now I'm just doing a +10 keystone and logging out unless it's Guild Raid Night on my main.

Playing some Diablo III and some FFXIV on the side till this patch goes live because I'm really bored with WoW atm.

Unless you've done everything there's always something

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20 hours ago, Ragingwolf said:

A lot of talk but no date on the release of 8.2; most of the mentioned stuff is interesting and nice but falls short to a player's expectation when there is not a set date for release.  As of now I'm just doing a +10 keystone and logging out unless it's Guild Raid Night on my main.

Playing some Diablo III and some FFXIV on the side till this patch goes live because I'm really bored with WoW atm.

That's why there testing and collecting feedback. not done yet

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9 hours ago, soulsurge said:

Unless you've done everything there's always something

I'm tired of leveling alts.

I'm tired of farming old content for xmog and mounts.

I'm tired of running Island Expeditions and waiting for the Warfronts to be available.

I'm already bored of BoD and CoS raid for Normal and Heroic.

My main for DPS is at 409 while my Tank set is at 413 with my HoA maxed at Lv.50.  and she is ready for 8.2 content.  

So when I say I am bored with the game in it's current state I am bored.  And when I am this way I find enjoyment elsewhere.

 

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22 hours ago, soulsurge said:

That's why there testing and collecting feedback. not done yet

Still you have a schedule set of events with a possibility of a desired release date that you relay to the playerbase.

Eg)  Blizz: Hey guys I know we have had a hectic time with the PTR and doing numerous testing and if all goes well we would like to launch 8.2 around 'x'.  If we feel the need for more testing and pushing back said date then it will more than likely be around 'x'.  

 

 

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