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Legendaries, No War/Titanforging, AOE Explanations, Covenant Abilities and More: The Ion Hazzikoszas Interview

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Game Director Ion Hazzikostas talked to Sloot on his stream earlier today, and they covered a lot of Shadowlands related topics. We'll take a look at the bigger topics and ones that Ion spent some time elaborating on to start.

First off it's the tier set debate and it seems that we may be getting them back, but not at launch. They want to return to the class fantasy sets offered and the artists really want to do it, but it will probably come later in the expansion.

The biggest news of all: no war/titanforging, no corruption type systems, no artifact power to grind, "let loot be loot". This will mean there will be less loot, however, as the above mechanics were introduced to keep content relevant and exciting in the long run. Reducing the amount of loot available will do the same thing, so prepare to potentially wait for that BiS item a while (I'm already having BWL Ashkandi flashbacks). Also on itemization, the problem with corruption that they'll address is that passive abilities should not be the best ones and your performance shouldn't be based on how many times an ability procced.

And it's on to the currently hottest topic, the Covenant class abilities and the difficulty in switching them. Ion emphasized the "significant choice" element here, the RPG nature of WoW and that the abilities are very important to Covenant identity. He also stresses that the balance will be on-point for the abilities and they should be really close, meaning players shouldn't be that pigeonholed into 1 specific Covenant to choose. In the worst case scenario, if the balancing fails or players really hate it, they can always allow swapping Covenants at will later down the line.

The AOE changes aren't intended to kill AOE as a strategy, but to make it not be the only way to play, as it also turned out to be the best strat in Torghast - you'd just round everything up, pop CDs and AOE. The intent is to make a clear distinction between cleave and "pure" AOE and restore those niches that don't exist anymore, where cleaving 4-5 mobs in certain situations/content is clearly superior to the infinite target AOE, while the current type of AOE is useful in other situations.

Legendaries will be crafted, with recipes being account-wide and coming from various sources. You will craft them in Torghast, at the character that made Frostmourne and some other notable legendaries, and is responsible for some set bonuses as well (and some of those bonuses and legendary powers may be returning as well).

And here are some of the shorter answers:

  • The GCD is staying, but they'll look at individual abilities and maybe take some off.
  • Master Loot will not return.
  • M+ and high end PvP will reward the same weekly chest, so you don't have to do both.
  • Ahead of the Curve and Cutting Edge will be introduced for Mythic+ as well.
  • Torghast entries will be limted, as otherwise players would feel obliged to keep spamming it even if there was no loot associated after a few entries, just to practice.
  • Torghast will evolve with the expansion, new content inside with new patches.
  • Emmisaries won't be returning, replaced by Callings for your Covenant, which will work differently.
  • Completing higher keys than +15 won't give you more loot, but will offer a wider choice of loot.
  • No plans for gear swapping in dungeons.
  • The expansion will be much more alt-friendly.
  • Most of the big changes (classes, Covenant abilities etc) have been announced and there won't be any huge revamps/changes of what has already been said.

You can check out the full interview below, with many more details and especially more explanations and reasoning behind the above decisions.


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The GCD is staying, but they'll look at individual abilities and maybe take some off.


Who the hell at Blizzard still thinks this was a good idea?   The higher interval between pressing abilities is low-key one of the worst things about BFA.    Slowed down rotations with much less reactionary ability (my prot paladin "Self Save" heal and movement speed (horse) being on the GCD is bonkers stupid) just makes fights slow, boring and feeling more grindy.    I can't understand the reasoning that it's somehow beneficial

Listening to his explanation of the GCD is just making me angry, saying they want to have people "plan ahead" but even when the interviewer asks about "well what about when you push a Gcd button and bam your life plummets and you want to push the self heal but can't"...it reminded me so much of again my prot paladin's self heal retardely being on the GCD, and his answer was that we should have "planned ahead".     Never mind all the RNG in tanking raid bosses or big mythic+ mobs, and the range of damage we can take between a full hit, blocked hit, bubbled hit, etc.     He claims to know a lot about tanks but it doesn't sound at all like he plays them, at least not currently


Torghast entries will be limted, as otherwise players would feel obliged to keep spamming it even if there was no loot associated after a few entries, just to practice.

Double Bleah.

"Feel obliged to keep spamming even if there was no loot".    But, which system in the last 5-10 odd years is the most successful and beloved by far?   Obviously mythic+, which is entirely spammable and always has a chance at loot.   But hey we like limiting our ability to have fun and try things out, so let's insert walls and grinding for vessels in whatever form they'll take, right?

Edited by Migol
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"We're adding [1] because [A]"

"We decided to remove [1] because "

"We decided to add [2] again because [C] was still true"

"Item level squish."

"Don't worry, this expansion, yes, really really really really really  reallythis time, we'll make it more alt friendly!!! TRUST ME"

"Welcome to the new expansion, we're really excited to bring you something new this time. Yes, really!"



Next expansion:

"We're adding [3] because [D]"

"We decided to remove [2] because [E]"

"We decided to add [1] again because [A] was still true"

"Item level squish."

"Don't worry, this expansion, yes, really really really really really this time, we'll make it more alt friendly!!! TRUST ME"

"Welcome to the new expansion, we're really excited to bring you something new this time. Yes, really!"

"Oh and this time we're really going back to Alliance vs Horde as it was always meant to be"


Rinse and repeat. Feel free to replace [1][2][3] with things like class sets, titanforging (Remember the reason was so you'd always have a reason to raid even after you're decked out? I guess they don't want you to anymore) ability pruning, talent rework (But still the same) or whatever else they rehashed under a different name for the upteenth time. (Artifact Power/Azerite traits which were basically class set abilities but less interesting/convoluted mechanics that fall flat on their face (Corruption/Legion attunements or whatever they were called))


But no, this time, really, we'll make sure it's more alt friendly. *Pretends to not know it's been said for the past 4 (5?) expansions while at the same time making it less and less alt friendly in each alteration*



Ah, that sword piercing Azeroth? pfffff let's just ignore it for now. Not like we sacrificed all of our artifacts on that thing and built a whole expansion worth of lore on it. It's fine. Azerite? Nah it's all solved now. On to the next lore gap!

Edited by Yridaa

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