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Metrics for Expansion Success, the Delay, What Viable Means and More: Ion Hazzikostas Forbes Interview

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Forbes' Heather Newman interviewed Game Director Ion Hazzikostas, delving into the successes, regrets and balance of the imminent Shadowlands expansion. The focus of a lot of the interview is on the delay and the decision making behind that, as well as the effects the pandemic had on them, with parts going into the Covenant balancing issues (with the standard "careful consideration, only change at patches" response given), faction balance and the potential for cross-faction grouping (also with a vague non-answer) and a lot more. Here are a few highlights, but be sure to head over to Forbes and read the whole thing!

Quote

Heather Newman: What metrics do you use personally to determine whether an expansion like Shadowlands is a success?

Ion Hazzikostas: I don't know that there's a single metric. How many regrets do I personally have three weeks after launch? How much would I want a time machine three weeks after launch? What are the things, knowing what we will a few weeks into the expansion, we would go back and fix or do meaningfully differently, if we could?

The shorter that list, the more successful the expansion is, and the better I will overall feel. Different pieces of the team have their own versions of that.

We do our best to synthesize all the information that we have accessible, all the feedback that we're getting from a million avenues, stats on difficulty, on tuning, everything that we possibly can get our hands on.

...

Newman: Can you give me an example, something that was not in the game before that delay happened?

Hazzikostas: A lot of it is purposeful additions: huge chunks of content in the Maw, quests, all of that. That was an area where we put together a strike team to come up with a list of problems and spend a couple of weeks playing thoroughly, and then had a really fun interdisciplinary group just throw themselves into reinventing the moment-to-moment gameplay there.

There are world quests that didn't exist a couple of months ago. There are some treasures, little moments and cosmetic interactions and conversations that you overhear.

It's mostly flavor, right? It’s a lot of things that being a Night Fae in Ardenweald means, that it didn't necessarily mean a couple of months ago, because they weren't necessary to ship the game. But given the time? We're going to do what we can to make that happen.

...

Newman: Define viable.

Hazzikostas: Viable means different things to different people. If you’re literally a world-first racing raider, you're going to take every conceivable edge, and those players will do things that most players, even very competitive players, wouldn't consider reasonable or worth the returns.

Our goal is not to stop Limit or Exorsus or whoever from thinking like they're going to min-max their Covenants for specifically [Castle Nathria raid end boss] Denathrius, or specifically the toughest bosses in Nathria as they see them.

Our goal is to make sure that a guide that's written a couple of months from now about how to tackle those encounters doesn't say, “Hey, you should all go Covenant X.” And we feel confident in the track we're on there.

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Hazzikostas: A lot of it is purposeful additions: huge chunks of content in the Maw, quests, all of that.

Gonna call BS on this one.     They listed the Maw as one of the main reasons for the delay, and because of how "Not fun" it was.    But all they've done is added some stygia purchases and dailies.    That's hardly "huge chunks of content".

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Ion is a shitbag. Honestly, he shouldn't worry about what might come, he should anticipate what's about to happen at launch. This is the 8th expansion and by now they should be well prepared for a huge return of people. The login queues will be a mess, server stability, probably too. Things that kill launch for players are overfarmed areas where you have to wait for 30min for a single mob, constant disconnects and hour long queue timers.

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4 hours ago, Senou said:

This is the 8th expansion and by now they should be well prepared for a huge return of people. The login queues will be a mess, server stability, probably too. Things that kill launch for players are overfarmed areas where you have to wait for 30min for a single mob, constant disconnects and hour long queue timers.

This is the 8th expansion and by now people should know that playing at midnight on launch day is a terrible idea.

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3 hours ago, jinsu2301 said:

This is the 8th expansion and by now people should know that playing at midnight on launch day is a terrible idea.

Still won't stop the mass majority that keep spamming the play button to be the first ones in when the servers go live either.  I expect delays, lag, hotfix updates, angry people, and the all time favorite server crashes.  Hell I was thinking of waiting later through the week to try to play the game.

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4 hours ago, jinsu2301 said:

This is the 8th expansion and by now people should know that playing at midnight on launch day is a terrible idea.

I think their worst one was WoD, when a lot of people were stuck in garrison, unable to proceed with quests. After it launches were pretty laggy during peak hours.

On a side note: so it's confirmed that there are no better pictures of Ion, except for that lifeless husk, being posted here for the 1000th time.

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