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Posts with tag Ion-Hazzikostas

World Bosses no longer tap to faction

Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted on Twitter confirming what some players thought was a bug. Several players have noticed that, when an opposing faction group is attacking a world boss, like the Celestials, they are able to hit it and still get loot and credit. Watcher confirmed via Twitter that this was not a bug, and actually a hotfix that went in recently. That hotfix, he also notes, caused the boss health scaling with larger groups to break. This, in turn, has been fixed.

He also later added that this was not just applicable to Timeless Isle bosses, but to all of them. So presumably, that's every boss from Galleon and the Sha of Anger, through Nalak and Oondasta, right to the Celestials, and Ordos.

What this means is just as explained above -- if the opposite faction pulls a boss, you can punch it and still get credit and loot. You'd have to be a little brave or foolhardy to do so alone on a PvP server, unless you're a stealth class, but the opportunity remains. It'll be interesting to see whether this change has an impact on the use of the Raid Finder and oQueue for Celestials groups, or not. Given the convenience of those methods for finding a composed group, I suspect they'll prevail.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Dragon Soul LFR changes possible in 6.0

Transmog addicts may have some good news for patch 6.0. When LFR was introduced with Dragon Soul, the last raid in Cataclysm, players flocked to the content and gathered armor and items that had their own unique color schemes. After Mists of Pandaria was introduced, players leveled to 90 -- and the ability to run Dragon Soul on LFR difficulty disappeared. While players can still farm the raid on Normal and Heroic difficulties, the unique color sets released specifically for LFR were no longer available to those max level characters.

This was in part due to the nature of LFR. The only way to raid LFR level content is to queue for it through the raid finder interface -- you can't simply change the dropdown difficulty on a per-character basis, as you can with Normal and Heroic difficulties. Once you've passed the level threshold for Cataclysm content, the option to raid Dragon Soul LFR simply disappears from the raid finder interface. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem -- but transmogrification addicts everywhere have been looking for a solution to obtaining those older, uniquely colored items, and Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas just tweeted that a solution may be on the way in patch 6.0.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

Is it time for a dungeon blacklist?


An interesting question was posed recently on Twitter to Ion Hazzikostas: is there going to be a dungeon blacklist option, like there is with PvP battlegrounds?

For those unaware -- when you queue up for a random PvP battleground you can pick two battlegrounds that you don't want to do. The system honors those blacklist selections and you won't be placed in those matches. This is very useful for days when you constantly get Arathi Basin (like I do all the time).

The idea of applying this to dungeons is interesting, and one that I think has some merit to it. When running dungeons there's always a few that no one likes to do, or at least that's the perceived opinion. I'm thinking of things like Heroic Deadmines. There were points in there that were a virtually guaranteed wipe in a PuG. And this expansion I'm not a fan of the Stormstout Brewery... it can just be so long at points, with someone always getting stuck behind the doors for the big bad rabbit of carrot death.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Watcher on changes to raid soloing in patch 6.0

If you're like me, you do a lot of older instances for transmog gear, and as such fights like Thorim are exceedingly irksome because they can only be soloed with certain classes or professions (a death knight or hunter using a pet, an engineer with a target dummy, and some good luck on getting through the gauntlet fast) due to mechanics that you can't really outgear. Now Watcher comes with news about not just the annoying Thorim fight, but this tweet about Valithria Dreamwalker as well.

As a warrior who put together my Shadowmourne via running ICC 25 this past year, I hated Dreamwalker, the fight I had no chance of soloing and no way to get around. Making it skippable would at least allow me to kill Arthas for transmog loot and not force me to stop after clearing two wings. It's an excellent change and one I hope they get in.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Watcher on health and healing changes in Warlords of Draenor

If you remember after the last Dev Watercooler, there was a flurry of activity on Twitter as Celestalon and Holinka answered questions. This time Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has taken to social media to answer questions and explain what's up. We're collecting his tweets here, to give folks a chance to see what he's got to say about the big changes coming to health and healing mechanics in Warlords. There's more after the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, News items, Monk, Warlords of Draenor

Gear requirements for leveling dungeons to be removed

It's one of the weird artifacts of content being moved from current to a legacy role - players queue for dungeons in the dungeon finder as they're leveling up, only to find that the dungeons have a gear requirement that they don't meet. With the speed that heirlooms and guild bonuses can bring, it's easy to find yourself level 83 and unable to enter any Cataclysm five mans because you don't meet the gear requirements (something because of those heirlooms) and it can be very annoying. But now, there's good news - Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas recently responded to the idea that those gear requirements could be removed with the stat squish with an affirmative.


This would be a very positive change in my opinion - it was easier for me to just level via quests than it was to try and queue for Cata dungeons when leveling up my tauren. Not that I miss all the dungeons we had back then, but it would have been nice to see a few places.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Flex scaling to 30 "still on the table"

I'm one of those people who hates leaving people on the bench. I hate it when I have to step out myself, hut I hate it even more when someone else sits for me - it just irritates me. So I'm very interested in this tweet from Ion "Watcher" Hazzkostas. When asked if the idea of flexible raiding going up to 30 people, he responded:

This makes me very excited, especially with the change to Mythic raiding (20 man total cap) meaning that some current 25 man groups are going to have to bench players once they make the step into Mythic - I do, however, hope a little downward flexibility is also introduced at some point to allow 10 player raids to progress when that one key player is unavailable.

I'd like to see this change actually get implemented - here's hoping we get it by Warlords of Draenor release.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Things we know about the level 90 character boost

There's a lot of confusion about the upcoming level 90 character boost and how it's going to work. While we won't know the final form of the service until it's been rolled out, it's been active on the PTR for a while now, so we can draw some conclusions based on how it's working there. Of course, the usual caveats apply - none of this is set in stone, it's the PTR, things can change.
  1. You cannot apply the 90 boost to a level 90 (and presumably above) character. So don't worry about that happening.
  2. You can apply the boost to an existing character on your account, or you can create a new level 1 character at the time you apply the boost.
  3. If you boost an existing character who is at or above level 60, you get a Veteran's Bonus that boosts your professions to 600. You won't have to go back to level them, which is nice.
  4. You pick a specialization during the process, which informs the starter gear you get.
  5. You do not have to apply the boost immediately upon purchase. If it is not applied, there's an icon on your selection screen that tells you it's ready to be applied.
  6. Until the boost process is completed, you cannot log in that character. This seems common sense to me, but it's still worth mentioning.
  7. We still don't know how much it's going to cost, but recent statements during last week's press event make it seem likely that it will be at the $60 we saw briefly.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard "planning on simplifying our currency structure" in Warlords

I've talked before about the need to simplify currency going forward, and I'm far from the only one. Now it appears Blizzard agrees - Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas' made that very clear on twitter recently.

Clearly this topic came up during this interview with PC Games N, which emphasized a bit more the idea of the complexity of current currency systems. The bonus roll system currently in play in Mists of Pandaria was mentioned as an alternative to valor. "We think we can take the bonus rolls system and make it a little bit more intelligent, so that it tries to avoid giving you duplicate loots - and allow that to be the way players counteract bad RNG. It removes a little bit of the grind and a little bit of the awkwardness of the current valor system."

While no announcement has been made yet about how Blizzard will streamline its currency, it's good to know they're aware of and focused on the issue.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Ion Hazzikostas explains level 90 boost pricing

WoW Insider posted last week about the level 90 boost that appeared momentarily on live servers during maintenance, and now Eurogamer has had the chance to discuss it with Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas. Ion had this to say:
We realised as soon as we came out with Warlords of Draenor boost to 90, we knew that there was going to be demand for more than 1. It's tremendously awkward to tell someone that you should buy two copies of the expansion just to get a second 90. That's odd. So we knew at that point we were going to have to offer it as a separate service.
When pressed on the price, he responded as follows:
In terms of the pricing, honestly a big part of that is not wanting to devalue the accomplishment of levelling. If our goal here was to sell as many boosts as possible, we could halve the price or more than that - make it $10 or something. And then hardly anyone would ever level a character again.

But levelling is something that takes dozens if not over 100 hours in many cases and people have put serious time and effort into that, and we don't want to diminish that.I am not an economist, I'm not the one setting the dollar value myself, but it's not the profit maximising price. That was not our aim here.
Ion's explanations make sense, but it does not alter the fact that $60 is a huge amount of money, more than almost anyone ever thought the service would cost. Ion's interview with Eurogamer certainly implies although doesn't confirm that the $60 price point is correct, or at least was intentional at the time.

[Thanks for the tip, silvertongue0!]

Filed under: Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Ion Hazzikostas video interview

We already posted one interview with Watcher (Ion Hazzikostas) this weekend, but he also did this video interview with the German language website Buffed.de, and he covers a lot of details not found in the previous interview. So what does Watcher have to say?
  • Level 100 talents are being designed around the idea that one talent can/should be different things to different specs, and this philosophy is being used in redesigning other talent tiers as well. He uses the example of the mage level 75 tier and says they've discussed taking all three of the current talents and making it one talent, which gives you one of the three spells (Nether Tempest, Living Bomb or Frost Bomb) based on spec.
  • The difficulty of Mists of Pandaria heroics was hampered by the decision to not have max level normal mode dungeons, but Warlords will have level 100 normal and heroic dungeons, and LFR in Warlords will not require gear from heroics, just normals. If players want an involved, cooperative challenge, heroic five mans will be more of this.
  • Challenge modes will see one change -- doing the random daily challenge mode quest will automatically give you one epic for completing the quest -- this gear will be as good as or perhaps better than LFR, even before LFR opens, so you can gear up via challenge modes.
  • Highmaul is 'very similar to Firelands' in layout - an open area with several nonlinear bosses that you can clear or skip, and two final bosses that must be completed, while Blackrock Foundry is a three wing dungeon that you can clear in any order you wish.
  • "Gul'dan is not the threat... and he might even be an ally against the Iron Horde."
  • Sha of Anger was the most successful world boss of Mists of Pandaria in terms of the difficulty and experience, and other world bosses didn't quite work out as planned.
There's actually a lot more, so head on over to Buffed.de and check out the video for yourself.

(Thanks to Adam, Julian and Mintie for tips and Susanne Braun for correction)

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Ion Hazzikostas press tour interview with Battlenet.pl

As part of this week's press junkets, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas (who I may or may not have a shrine to in my office) conducted this interview with Polish fansite Battlenet.pl. There's quite a few interesting details to pour over here. Some standouts I noticed:
  • We're going to see world bosses again, including one described as a giant ancestor of the gronn named a Fomor, with powers over earth and stone. I'm surprised it's named Fomor and not Grom, but the name's mythologically sound enough. I find myself wondering if they're big enough to build a town in, like that dude up there.
  • The first raid open (about a week after Warlords launch) is Highmaul, an ogre raid open in Nagrand. Blackrock Foundry will open a few weeks after that, and LFR will be gated as it was in Mists of Pandaria.
  • We're not fighting Garrosh in Warlords. "Garrosh will be around but I don't think... we have really no plans to fight Garrosh again. That's the fight the players have already had and they have won. I don't think there's really much appetite for Garrosh to be a boss you face off again."
  • Ion mentioned the linear aspect of raiding as the biggest down side of raid design in Mists of Pandaria and that they're hoping to make raids less linear in Warlords.
It's a very informative interview, so head over to Battlenet.pl and take a long read for yourself.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Proving Grounds will be required for Heroic Dungeon random queues

Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, the Lead Encounter Designer for World of Warcraft, has already told us that proving grounds will be updated for Warlords of Draenor. In a move that helps explain why, he dropped some late night news yesterday in the form of dungeon progression information.

In short, if you want to join the dungeon finder queue for level 100 heroic dungeons, you will need to get a silver medal in the proving grounds for the role you want to queue for. That means if you want to heal, your DPS silver medal isn't good enough. You'll need to go back and get it for healing as well. This applies only to the random queue. If you're going straight in with friends, no medal is required. Normal dungeons will not require any proving grounds experience at all, and normal dungeon and scenario gear should be enough to let you queue for the raid finder.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Patch 5.4.7: Targeted nerfs to Garrosh on 10-man Heroic

Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has made a characteristically excellent post on the US forums, detailing targeted nerfs to Garrosh on 10-man Heroic difficulty. Watcher's full post is, as ever, after the break, but the main details are as follows.

There were several encounter mechanics where the numbers scaling for 10-man meant that the difficulty was higher than in 25-man. Watcher particularly notes the interaction between Malice clumps and Iron Star triggering. In 25-man, the Malice groups, a total of six players, were never large enough to trigger the Iron Star, when they inevitably overlapped with Bombardment in the fourth Malice. On 10-player heroic, the Malice clump size of three in total would also trigger an Iron Star in the fourth Malice. Now, in 10 Heroic, the Iron Star trigger clump size is four, bringing it in line with 25 Heroic.

Additionally, Garrosh's health is reduced by around 5%, and Minion of Y'Sharrj health is reduced by 10%. DPS checks for 10 Heroic were causing guilds to try to single-heal the fight, and 25 Heroic players are able to kite the adds while 10 Heroic guilds don't have the spare manpower. These changes show the process Watcher has discussed in the past, specific targeted nerfs, and will bring the two sizes in line. Hit the break for his full post.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Warlords of Draenor: Proving grounds will be updated

As we heard today that Mists challenge modes will be ending at the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch, I wondered what the fate of Proving Grounds might be, as they share the scaling methodology of Challenge Modes, as well as rewarding players with titles, although not mounts or the like. So I asked Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas:

To first address Watcher's point on Challenge Modes as analogous to Arena, it makes a lot of sense. The focus and structure of the reward and rank system is similar to that of arena, as Watcher points out in a subsequent tweet. Both arena and Challenge Modes reward high-end play on a specific class, and as a result the rewards, rankings and titles for Gladiator or Gold are similarly not account wide. Certainly, the number of rewards given out are markedly different, but the principles are comparable.

Proving Grounds, conversely, do not work the same. While there are titles available, there is no ranking, and they do not offer similar rewards. While Challenge Modes are designed to be challenging content that is for players at their best, Proving Grounds are for learning. This may well make them easier to update for the new systems, as well as the fact that they focus on one spec at a time.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

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