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Preach Shadowlands Interview with Ion Hazzikostas on April 27th, 2021 - Liveblog
2021/04/27 at 11:44 AM
Preach is interviewing Game Director Ion Hazzikostas on his Twitch stream on April 27th, 2021 and answering questions about Shadowlands! We'll be liveblogging the interview and summarizing important answers in this post.
Want to know more about Patch 9.1? Check out our all the Class Changes and New Covenant Legendaries roundup.
9.1 Class Changes9.1 New Legendaries
What is happening with the current state of Shadowlands?
This is not the ideal release cadence of the game.
They would love to announce that 9.1 is coming out in a couple weeks, but they're definitely playing catch-up a bit.
They thank everyone for their patience and have more content planned after 9.1. This will not be like WoD, there will be a 9.2.
The story in Korthia is really good. What is the goal of Korthia?
There's a lot more to come for Korthia on the PTR.
They want to get the PTR up as soon as something is ready for testing and they're ready for Korthia.
Korthia is going to have more zone events, daily quests and rares.
They want to give more to outdoor world players.
What's the deal with the special Sylvanas Bow?
They talked about whether or not this should be an artifact, or a Legendary.
They have tech from the Artifact system about being able to give an extra special button.
It's not something they want to do often.
This item will be Hunter only.
Any plans to refund Legendaries in Patch 9.1?
No plans to add it in Patch 9.1, but they're working on it.
Covenant Legendaries will not swap with you if you swap Covenants.
What's the deal with Mega Soul Ash?
Mega Soul Ash (Soul Cinders) will be obtained from Layers 9-12 and used to upgrade your Legendaries past 235.
When you complete Layers 9-12, you'll also get the rewards from the lower layers as before.
What's going on with Conduit Energy?
Conduit energy is imperfect.
They wanted to avoid another system where you swap to Conduits on every boss.
During the PTR, they want to focus on the Soulbinds that feel mandatory to balance the system better.
They want to draw a distinction between viable and optimal.
They want to avoid situations where people are swapping every day, but every week, that's something they want to accommodate.
What's going on with the changes to Torghast?
You'll see a lot of these in the next PTR build.
One of the fundamental problems of Torghast is it was so binary in it was success or failure.
Because it was so punishing, they nerfed the crap out of the content so that everyone can win and a lot was lost there.
There's no more death counter or Tarragrue.
There's some new UI elements, including up to 5 stars (or gems) that tracks your overall progress. It tracks your activity, similar to Guitar Hero, like in Score Streaks and tracks your deaths and you'll always get your Soul Ash at the end.
But in order to upgrade to the next floor, you need to have a certain star rank.
They're adding a meta-Torghast talent tree, which will be similar to the Horrific Vision talent tree.
Torghast Follow Up Questions
No plans to give Torghast gear progression.
There are more Mythic+-like affixes but also perks (called Blessings).
What are the Shards of Domination Gems
The datamined Shards of Dominations is very work in progress.
They are looking at some form of unique bonuses for Sanctum of Domination. Class sets will return after 9.1.
They want to adding bonuses to select pieces of gear and leveling up those pieces exclusively from the raid. Some of the bonuses only work in the raid, but the goal is to make them really good in raid.
The goal for raid gear in Patch 9.1 is to make raiders primarily look for raid gear, and then fill with gear from other activities like PvP.
Tier sets will be coming in Patch 9.2.
What's the goal with Covenants now that the stats are out?
There's ongoing balance. They're happy with the Covenant system overall though.
In Patch 9.1, the Covenants are cooperating but each Covenant has a separate identity and ideals.
What are your thoughts on Borrowed Power?
It's something they talk about a lot, but as they keep adding more abilities, there's some bloat when systems continue to stack.
If you add more levels or more talents, eventually it becomes hard to think of cool new things and there's some bloat and it's unsustainable.
They want to figure out a way to leave the RPG-in WoW where you conquer the threat and keep the things that you've learned.
They need to find a middle ground between borrowed power and systems that you keep.
They're happy with Shadowlands, but there's more information to share after Shadowlands. They want to try to find a way to continue systems forward.
Has the Item Level variance changed in Shadowlands?
No, 1 item level should still be about 1%.
The rate of inflation has probably shrunk slightly as it used to be 15 item levels between tiers, but now we're down to 13 item levels.
Players doing multiple times less damage than Mythic geared players is frankly, an issue of skill.
There's a lot to do in Shadowlands before an alt is "ready". Any plans for alt catch-up?
They're happy with how the Renown catch-up is working.
There are areas to improve still.
If you're already playing a campaign you've already done, it's not very exciting.
The hard part is trying to balance the different styles of play. Some players want alts as for the end-game, while other players want to play their alts because their main has stalled.
Any plans to change the Healer DPS inequality?
This is something that they're actively discussing. Both Holy Paladin and Disc Priest is talked about a lot.
The issue is free healer DPS, when your regular HPS rotation gives you free damage.
Holy Paladin: part of the issue is the "default" playstyle, another part of the issue is Ashen .
What are you thoughts on raid utility and cooldowns?
AMZ is too good.
With AMZ, most of it is probably just magnitude.
One of the things that AMZ had a while ago was a total absorption cap. Something like that is what they're talking about.
They want it to be useful, but not all purpose.
Rogues are lacking in raid utility.
They want to emphasize class utility, and not spec utility.
They want to raise the number of total melee spots in raid encounters up to 7 or 8 melee and are working with the encounter team to do so.
How do you feel the AoE Cap is working out?
There's definitely room for continued evolution.
They still hold to the goal at niches, at 2-target cleave, at 4-target cleave. They're moving in the right direction, but have more work to do.
For Legacy content, this wasn't the intended design.
The general feedback loop in Mythic+ happens with uncapped AoE being so potentially strong if you can do giant pulls, and then since you can't tank it all is just to kite the entire time.
A world where uncapped AoE is still king but only a handful of people get it is not where we want to end up.
Any plans for a Mage Tower?
Nothing quite like the Mage Tower immediately planned, but Blizzard is aware of the love for the feature and is looking for ways to add similar solo content in the future.
Might be for everyone, might be for only one class. There's a lot they can do.
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Covenant specific legendaries is garbage, just scrap and don't waste dev time on them.
Also scrap conduit energy and let us switch conduits like talents.
Covenants should be swappable like talents as well.
AOE cap should be removed.
Alts are completely unplayable in Shadowlands due to missing catchups, especially for things like conduits add legendaries. The amount of grind required to make alt on par with main is absurdly high.
Borrowed Power systems should be removed. Just make proper class design. We don't need all those systems on systems on systems.
Renown should be cross covenant and account wide.
I completely agree with all this. I have 12 lvl 50+ toons just sitting due to this expac. And have only played my main for the last 6 months.
stupid MAX and his big &*!@ing mouth.. single handedly killed DKs. what class will he kill next?
Interviews with Ion are really starting to depress me.
Ion was a breath of fresh air when he came on the scene in WoD and basically straight-up apologized for the dismal state of the game as much as he could realistically be expected to.
These days, you're right: the interviews are him deflecting questions about the latest flaws in game design, lack of content, or whatever insanely useless system they've come up with by saying "we're looking into it" or "we're aware that such and such" and yet the game continues as basically Legion systems overload without any of Legion's redeeming class and story content focuses.
Things you don't like isn't a flaw in the game.
The game is 2x more popular now than it was under Ghostcrawler.
That is objectively untrue. Are you unfamiliar with the "12.1m subs peak" graph? Its everywhere
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