Highlights from WoW Developer Q&A ft. WatcherDev

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On Thursday, CM Lore sat down with Game Director Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas for an for ongoing developing content Q&A. With 7.3 on the horizon, there is plenty of questions about what we can expect with the new content. Here is a recap.

Q: Will content in 7.3 follow a time gated model? Can you outline it?
A:  To eliminate the issue that players were having of not knowing what quests to do and where to go, there will plenty to do at first. There will be a total of 5 chapters for Argus. There are 3 sub zones for these questing zones. The outline of the content unlocks is as follows. 

  • Week 1: Chapters 1 & 2 of the Argus quest line in the Krokuun zone. This will also include the World Quests.
  • Week 2: Chapters 3 & 4 of the Argus quest line in the Mac'Aree. This will also include new World Quests, Invasion Points.
  • Week 3: The last chapter of the quest line in the Antoran Wastes zone. This will also include the Netherlight crucible and the Seat of the Triumvirate dungeon.

Q: Is the requirement to unlock World Quests on Argus account wide?
A: There will be several things that will be account wide. The bulk of the World Quests will be account wide, although there will some that are character specific that will need to be unlocked per toon. The Netherlight Crucible, sub zones and the dungeon unlock will also be account wide. 

Q: Any plans to remove the time gating for the 3rd relic slot?
A: Yes, when 7.3 drops all 3 relics slots are available right away on a fresh 110 or alt spec weapon. The Broken Shore requirement for Concordance of the Legionfall and the traits added in the previous patch will be removed as well. 

Q: Are Legion invasions on the Broken Isles going to remain in 7.3?
A: Yes, there is still content, reputation, rewards and achievements to acquire. Ion also stated they do not like to remove content without reason, so they are not sure if they plan on removing in the future beyond 7.3.

Q: Why is there no catch-up system for champion ilvl yet, like buying a token with Order Hall resources?
A: Ion stated simply, "well that's because Patch 7.3 isn't live yet." There will be added missions, equipment and chests that contain tokens on Argus that will increase your champions ilvl to 900 right away versus doing it 5 or 10 ilvl at a time. 

Q: Is the Netherlight Crucible supposed to be fully RNG. If so, why? Artifacts were supposed to be a steady form of progression where'd you eventually get it all, and the RNG goes directly against that. 
A: The artifact traits in your weapon have always been a steady form of progression. However, the relics you slot in your weapon is subject to RNG. You may kill a boss several times and not get that relic. 
Relics point to a specific index and for each spec that can use that relic, that specific index will map to a specific trait. If a relic is a bad trait for one spec and they wanted to change it, that would change the relic for all the other specs that could use it, because of the way the index works. 
In wanting to address that, there was a system that gave relics a random second trait in 7.2, but it was pulled at the last second. This was meant to help classes that were searching for specific relics but it was determined to be too random. This also did not allow for players to have enough control. The Netherlight Crucible is a mix of randomness and control. While it has some randomness, players will be able to select the one they want most. Basically, you will not have to be stuck with your worse trait, because you do not have to pick the worst trait. 

Q: Why is the Netherlight Crucible good, but reforging was bad?
A: There were a few aspects of reforging that were negative. The base answer to this is reforging one item, affected all your other items.  This was also a concern when players compared gear for upgrades. They were comparing the reforged item stats to new upgraded gear vs the stats the gear held, which just didn't feel right. 

Q: How much of the new Artifact Power will work in 7.3 PvP?
A: The first trait from the Netherlight Crucible,  Netherlight Fortification, on each relic will work in PvP. The rest of the traits will not work in any rated PvP scenario. The additional ilvls this gives the weapon will scale down in PvP to a very small percent of that. 

Q: Do you have a definite decision regarding the unlocking of Artifact appearances for transmog? Is it Legion only? Are they class bound or spec bound?
A: No definite decision yet, although it is something that is talked about a lot.  The thought is to let all appearances be unlocked after Legion, with the exception being skill based challenge unlocks. Specifically, the Mage Tower challenges and Mythic+ 15 Keystone appearances. This is similar to how Challenge Mode skins worked. However, there is nothing final to announce. 

Q: Do you plan on more Artifact skins in 7.3 or future patches?
A: No, they are pretty done with that. We are taking the Artifacts we have built and powered up to the home world of the Legion. We have some work to do there. 

Q: Can we get account bound Prestige or at least lower the honor required?
A: This is similar to the skill based unlocks for Artifact appearances. Because PvP on different characters is a different experience, there would be nothing to work towards on your other characters if this was account bound. 

Q: Are you satisfied with the current state of Mythic+ and do you feel like the latest changes had their effect? 
A: Yes, very satisfied. The changes made in 7.2.5 were aimed at aligning the high risk, reward. Since the changes were made, participation is up across the board with players pushing higher mythic keystone. 

Q: M+ is awesome but not having tier drops forces you to raid higher difficulties. Could we get them i.e from chests beyond +15?
A: There is a distinction with getting different rewards from different types of content. They want to keep that. The Mythic+ system is intended to be a parallel loot system. However, they want players to have to organize raids for those specific rewards. The offset to that is, Mythic + have smaller sets of value that can not be acquired in a raid.

Q: In my opinion, the Mythic+ system is Legion's greatest success. Has the team considered expanding the system to include scaled-up dungeons from past expansions?
A: Although this is a popular question, the answer right now is no. The Mythic+ system keeps the Legion dungeons remain relevant throughout the expansion. 

Q: Is there any chance for a Taanan style reusable Augment rune? They are a pain to acquire and are not fun. 
A: Yes there will be one when you are Exalted with the Army of the Light vendor in 7.3. The current ones are intended to be a tradable commodity for higher end players/raiders who like to maximize their stats. 
Side note: The Army of the Light is one of two new factions to gain reputation from on Argus. 

Q: Will Timewalking Raids lockout management be reworked to make it easier to pick back up where you left off in the raid?
A: It should have already been changed for the next time raid Timewalking comes around. 

Q: I love watching the world first race each tier. What do you think is the ideal time for a raid to be first cleared?
A: It should take about a week and a half to 2 weeks. We want it to be a balance difficult but not be over tuned. 
Side note: Method got the World First Mythic Kil'Jaeden kill after a very close WF race and 654 wipes! If you have not watched it yet, make sure you check out the video here.

Q: Hey, I love Legion raiding and I was wondering why are there so many soak mechanic lately? It's hard as a casual mythic raider. 
A: This was basically a lapse in internal communication within the team. Mechanics are added and removed based on feedback given in testing. Due to the lack of communication on a per boss situation, this did lead to several boss fight designers coming up with the same type of mechanic to thwart certain issues such as melee fighting for two minutes at a time with nothing else to do in between cool-downs. 

Q: Will Nethershards be relevant in 7.3?
A: They will be used for catch-up gear and cosmetic items. The Relinquished vendor is packing his stuff and moving to Argus. There you will be able to use the new currency, Argunite, to buy Confiscated Gear which is 910 ilvl. You will also be able to buy targeted relics, such as a blood relic or fire relic. 

Q: Do you feel like PvE utility for DPS is improperly balanced or do some classes do not have as much to offer for the group? 
A: Balance is always on going. Previously the design was intended to make some classes and spec more desirable for what they brought to the comp. However, they are striving for specific roles to provide that role. So if you are on a DPS, you should be a damage dealer. But each class and specs have something that is desired or needed in a given situation. It just depends on the class/spec. 

Q: Spec damage auras have become a major tool for balancing specs this expansion. How do you feel about them?
A: They don't really make a difference in the player facing game aspect. This is more something that data miners are seeing, as well as theory crafters, are noticing. With buffing certain abilities it would often change the rotation. It is easier for them to buff something across the board. by say 3 to 5%.

Q: Any chance of us seeing class and dungeon/raid balance on a more frequent balance? Feels like number tweaks should be more frequent. 
A: There have been some places in dungeons and raids that have taken longer to tune and balance. For classes, it is preferred to do them in larger batches vs one at a time. Overall we are pretty happy with the way this is going. 

Q: Knowing that LFR is meant to be a way to see end-game content, so what's the design behind removing major mechanics entirely? Makes no sense. 
A: We try to keep all the mechanics in LFR but water them down to the point where is missed, we not too impactful. Most of the player base for LFR are players only experiencing this content in raid finder. These players are not doing this in an organized raid so they do not really need to see all the really hard mechanics, as it will not matter to them in the long run. There have been cases where we unintentionally overshot that such as Desolate Host. We want it to be a balance of little difficulty while still having some mechanics be important to follow in LFR. 

Q: How am I supposed to get the 10 Rated Battlegrounds wins as a Prot paladin? Other "unwanted" specs?  Mage Tower appearance?
A: One of the changes we are making is too many of the artifact appearance's is any unlocks that require doing a thing while using another appearance we are changing to just do the thing after earning the base appearance. 

Q: Have you ever considered taking measures to limit split raiding? Few people enjoy doing it but feel compelled to in order to remain competitive. One way to address this would be to make loot boss-specific, much like Artifact Power tokens from raids. 
A: We are not fans of this either. We also know that players are terribly thrilled doing this. However, they also want to make sure that the cure isn't better than the disease. If loot lock out is shared across all difficulties, then a casual raider who does a normal run and then a more serious heroic run with their guild then has nothing to look forward to in one of their runs. They want to make sure they find the right solution.

Q:  When can we expect Worgen and Goblin remodels?
A: We want to do this and have not forgotten about it. They are on the to do list. No time frame as of this moment. 

Since this is intended to be a summary, if you would like to watch the full VOD for this Q&A, please watch below.

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