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Legion December Developer Q&A Liveblog

by - 2 years ago

EDIT: 11:00AM PST Stream is complete! Edits are in progress. ūüôā

Welcome to BlizzPro’s coverage of the December 7th Live Developer Q&A, where Community Manager Josh “Lore” Allen and Game Director Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas take community questions and dispense answers that are sure to infuriate r/wow. Follow along (or, if you’re coming in after the show, watch the rebroadcast) at¬†https://www.twitch.tv/warcraft.

Responses are being typed live, but we’ll clean up with a more complete transcript after the initial broadcast is over.

Watcher offered this note regarding class- or spec-specific questions before they got into actual questions:

Watcher says: “So I think people have probably noticed: there’s a million questions suggested on the forums, on Twitter, [and] the community team goes through them and prepares the list of questions for this. Usually, in the past, we try to avoid very spec-specific questions for two main reasons: 1) the second we start talking in detail about, say, Survival Hunter, like 95% of the audience inherently isn’t interested in that question. So we try to cover broader topics that are more likely to apply to a larger percentage of the people who are watching/listening.

Also: I’m not personally a class designer¬†(Editor’s note: Lore chuckles)¬†I am an individual I’m overseeing the breadth of the game’s content and development. And so I can speak with more competence and more direct information to bigger-picture systems issues, things along those lines, then getting into the nitty-gritty of a rotational detail. That said, obviously, classes are the hot topic right now, certainly looking at the 7.1.5 PTR forums and elsewhere. There’s a ton of discussion on that and it wouldn’t really be a credible Q&A if we didn’t really dig into¬†that.

So apologies for anything dumb I might say; I tried to go over forums and talk to the class team as much as possible in advance of this to make sure I had the latest understanding of our details. I know the big picture philosophies, but I don’t always know the details of every single spec. So if I happen to say something like “Hunters still have Deterrence” look guys: it’s Aspect of the Turtle. It’s basically the same ability.¬†(Editor’s note: Lore chuckles more)¬†But no, please forgive me in advance. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Crow’s TL;DR: “We’re going to talk about classes a lot, but I am not an expert on classes. I did my homework as best as I could, but please be gentle.”

  1. Is the secondary stat “squish” not going to hurt specs that rely heavily on Crit (Fire Mage) or Mastery (Arms Warr) etc?

Watcher says: It shouldn’t, ultimately. […] We didn’t do the greatest job of messaging in advance because we didn’t know when these changes were going to go into the game, in terms of which PTR build. They weren’t like traditional spell changes, they were changes to the fundamental way items are¬†built. The first step was to reduce the¬†amount of secondary stat that you get per rating, but then the second step (which came¬†up in the PTR build that went out¬†a few days ago) was actually increasing the budget of all items across the board.

So if you’re someone who has 47% crit, you have a lot of a certain secondary stat, you’re actually probably only going down to something like 45% after this change. And you got a bunch¬†of extra Int or Strength or whatever it was; your overall power shouldn’t be meaningfully affected. And obviously there’s going to be more gear coming down the line so you might end up with a little bit less of what you have.

But overall this change was aimed at shifting the balance of how much of an item’s power comes from the secondary stats, to help make item level a better, more consistent guide for what you should equip. […] So what we’re aiming for coming into 7.1.5, I’m sure there will be occasional exceptions, but for the most part, a 15 iLvl upgrade, like a one tier upgrade, should be something you can just blindly equip and trust that’s the right thing to do. Most 10 iLvl upgrades will¬†be, and then once you get lower than that, or if there’re things like sockets in play, then if you’re a super min/max player you’ll want to run sims or look at Pwn or something like that.

But by and large, item level should be a much more consistent guide, and this should effect everybody largely equally. Since everybody is benefiting from secondary stats across the board, [and] had the same reduction, it doesn’t matter whether you’re focused in one secondary stat or spread evenly¬†between three of them; you just lost 1-2% of your secondary stats.

Lore says: And you made that back up through extra primary stats.

Watcher says: Yes.


Watcher says: And this may come up later: there’s a lot of numbers tuning still yet to happen. We offset the secondary stat rebalancing with item budget increases, but I think there’s two main points here. First, overall we don’t want to nerf players. When 7.1.5 comes out, [your raid group] should have the same or even slightly easier of a time killing a boss that you could kill comfortably the week before. We don’t want to reduce your raid group’s DPS as a whole. Second, in terms of your relative standing, none of these changes are really aimed at that.

I’m sure there’s some who’ll take issue with this, but overall we’re […] happy with balance on live right now in 7.1 in terms of the overall DPS picture (a couple of specific outliers like extreme Surrender to Madness cases notwithstanding). We didn’t go into any of these changes with the goal of nerfing x or buffing y. It was more abotu fixing talent weightings, fixing secondary stat values, and making itemization more intuitive.

Crow’s TL;DR: The secondary stats itemization change makes iLvl a better yardstick for upgrades. Losing 2% in your secondary stats when everyone is losing the same amount results in the status quo staying the same. Don’t panic.



Secondary rebalancing on jewelry changes on PTR encourage stats stacking and getting the right stats even more?

Generally with most items, the higher iLvl you get, the greater proportion of the budget goes into primary stats over secondary stat. With jewelry, that wasn’t the case, since they don’t have primary stats. That’s largely a bug, and that’s part of what’s being fixed.

TLDR: there’s a lot of math but basically the way it works out is good. Generally, getting a higher iLvl item should ALWAYS be an upgrade as opposed to right now, where it might not be the case.


What is beign done to ensure that tanks want iLvl upgrades since primary stats are less valubable to tanks?

We want to make some secondaries more valuable and these changes ought to do SOME of that.

What is the rason for the large mechancial changes that are slated for 7.1.5. as it stands a lto fo calsses are going to f eel drastic changes on the order of what they felt moving from wod to legion?

Watcher: are they THAT drastic? A lot of the reason we’re making these changes now in 7.1.5 is BECAUSE of how drastic the changes were coming into Legion. Some classes got stripped down a LOT, and what we’re doing in 7.1.5 is trying to hone in on the best solution to the problem. Think of the patch cycles as ripples emanating from the big changes at the start of the expansion.

Better to fix the issues now than let them ride for teh rest of the expansion.

Long term plans for warlocks? Numbers aren’t terrible but none of the specs feel fun to play…

(sincere) Sorry to hear that. Affliction has got some numerical and mechanical improvements coming in 7.1.5, and fixing the awkwardness around Soul Effigy. You can only target your OWN SE, which should help. Demonolgy (Demonic Empowerment) there’s a lot of ramp time to get your army out, and then managing demonic empowerment is a lot of juggling that comes at the cost of fun. This and the Destro lock problem are the BIG problems we see and ahve to think through how the rotation flows. That’s something that requires iteration, cycles on the PTR, feedback, and the reality is that part of the point of these .5 patches is that we want to get them out around ~10 weeks after the last major patch, and that creates some choices between what can be prioritized right now vs. later. Some of these fixes just didn’t fit into the cycle for this patch and while they’ll get fixed, it might not be RIGHT MEOW. Warlocks needed to come down to using a universal resource, but Destro lost something about the granularity of embers. It’ll take some UI work, but they want to make soul shards work for Destro how embers used to work.

Can havoc have a viable DPS build that does not use Fel Rush/VR as something soemthing

We want there to be more than one viable build there, and 7.1.5 should help tor esolve some of that. There’s a matter of striking a balance where a build does slightly less damage but you enjoy playing it more. The talents recommended by guides across sites can paint an incomplete picture, so a great tool that helps with that is WarcraftLogs, where the data¬†demonstrates that diverse talent selections can still deliver effective DPS.

The emerald dreamcatcher nerf only helps lessent he pain between abalnce druids but it also removes of the balcne being ejohgfkahganklsdhuaietya

we’re still nerfing it. We want to narrow the gap between how legendaries impact people at the extreme ends of the spectrum. If you feel that your spec is only viable when you have a specific item, that is a Problem. Our solution is to nerf that item and then boost the spec’s numbers such that if you have the item, your throughput is unchanged, and if you DON’T have it, you should go up.

Why is there not a single piece for warrior t19 with haste/mastery? the best 2 stats for fury and arms

There should be AT LEAST ONE item with that combo after our latest pass. Now that T19 is 6-pieces but only 4 for the set bonus, you’ve got some otpions on getting the itemization you want. Generally you should want your 2/4pc bonuses but you’ve got options.

unholy dKs rely heavil on RNG and the right leg to compet DPS current PTR doesn’t seem to help that

This is festering wounds, right? (If Sudden Doom bothers you, that’s been around awhile sooooooo). The unholy artifact active ability that wants 8 wounds is the core of the issue here, but it’s there to create some decisionmaking while you’re doing the fight. We like the suggestion of capping the stacks at four and getting two ghouls at a time so you don’t feel screwed by the RNGs, btu tell us how you feel.

Are there any plans on lowering the RNG of Roll Teh Bones?

I don’t think we’re going to roll the RNG on an ability that’s fundamentally centered on rolling dice. We want slice n dice to be better when you want a reliable choice and also want to stay Outlaw. There’s more to do about making SnD better so that you can feel okay about getting off Roll teh bones. Any environment where they make 1-buff RTB less bad means that 6-buff RTB has to be Less Awesome.

Why is greater blessing of might a thing. This ability has been met withnearly universaral disdain by rets since beta so wtf

It’s a failed design. you guys are right. The thought was to capture a hybrid element of the old school paladin vs shaman design. We ended up in the worst of both worlds with this. Ultimately GBoM doesn’t feel good to whoever’s carrying the buff and it doesnt’ feel good to the ret pally. We want to scrap and replace it with somethign else, but might not hit in 7.1.5.

Those robust to alternatives to StM that said would come after 7.1, nto seeing them in 7.1.5 either. WHEN.

Clearly, reduced insanity drain during the first 18 secs doesn’t help the low-skill StM player. When your regular voidforms are more awesome though, that can help change the relative marginal benefit. it’s very iconic and tasty. On a four minute fight it needs to be awesome, but on a ten minute fight, it’s a different. So we’re not there yet. Our goal is to get to a place where there are talents that are generally better in a long fight, but if StM is the best on short-mid-length fights, then that’s a matter of preference. This is what we want, but we haven’t got that solution yet.

Any word on fixing the many issues with Storm Earth and fire, very frustring when our main DPS CD can be a loss.

There are a number of mechanical issues that are holding it back. We’re workign on getting it fixed for 7.1.5, and if we can’t get it in, we’ll hotfix it around those bugs to imrpove things. we’re going to look at Serenity too.

Can you once and for all remove rune of power. This ability has been around forever and it’s mandatory.

It’s controversial, we get the concern. Some of it is just tuning. It’s MEANT to be a situational talent, but it ends up being the right answer in too many situations. The underlying design might need a look in terms of: should it be shorter with a shorter CD?

Is there a possibility for holy paladins to get more aoe/hot healing? single target feels weak

NOPE. If you want HoTs, play a druid or monk. We don’t want to water down holy paladins kit, everyone’s competitive in terms of throughput. It works in small group situations when you’re the only healer, but in a bigger group, you’ve got a healing team.

MM is seen as top raiding spec for hunters. Aimed shot roots the player and some players don’t like that. Okay?

We’re okay with MM, largely. The idea of Aimed Shot is solid. It’s a tradeoff: BM is more mobile than Marks, but Marks has got solutions for that. There’s tuning to be done to make SV and BM more viable in wider situations, but we’re pretty happy with MM.

Do you have any pls to stop players from hoarding artifact power from AP 35 before 7.2?

We don’t want to reward hoarding. When you further empower your artifact in 7.2, it’s going to turn your final trait into new stuff, so you should always feel okay with spending it.

Why haven;t you make artifact knowledge account-wide?

Teh research compendium does a LOT to do that. We wanted to make it a bit more of an active process. We like catch-up for alts, but if you’re playing an alt, you should be playing on your alt.

Any plans for making more things account wide? Would be nice for Reputation.

We definitely COULD do more spillover where more stuff at max level becomes account-wide. Some things that are rep-gated (Suramar dungeons, for ex) can be made account-wide.

Loading screens are long

We’re actively workign on it. There’s a lot of conflicting information and inconsistency about this. Multi-minute loadscreens are DEF a problem though. No details but it’s a high priority thing.

What is philsophy around legendary usability. Some very situational.

Mixed feelings. Down the line, you might be able to pick the right legendary for the right situaiton. Down the line (future expansions) it MAY¬†have been a mistake to make universally throughput increases on legendaries. It’s a problem where you’re not excited about the thing you got, but instead grumpy that you didn’t get the thing you wanted.

why are you introducing QoL changes for classes and putting them on legendaries?

It’s just like set bonuses. You want to make them appealing BECAUSE they’re exciting and add somethign to the class.

Any plan for a catch up mecahnics for the first two legendaries for alts?

We’re going to increase the drop rates across the board. That should do the trick. People who get the game later should be able to catch up relatively quickly.


PS: Next Q&A coming in January hopefully, spoilers: 7.1.5 is NOT coming before the holidays.



Bringing bad news from the burning western wastes of Arizona since 2013, Crow is also a dad, guild officer, game designer, and sci-fi/fantasy author. Follow him @unlimitedblack for memes, pictures of his kid, and occasional design insights.