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Posts with tag ion-Hazzikostas

Warlords of Draenor: Beta raid testing schedule for Monday, July 28

Raid testing for Warlords of Draenor will continue on Monday with two new scheduled encounters, according to a post made by Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas. As with last week's testing, both encounters will be on Heroic difficulty, allowing players to bring a group of anywhere from 10-30 people in order to test the content. To get in the raid, speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade, who is now also located in Dalaran, Shattrath, and both factions Vale Shrines, as well as Stormwind, Orgrimmar, and your garrison.

Oregorger from Heroic Blackrock Foundry will begin at approximately 10:30AM PDT, and the Twin Ogron encounter from Heroic Highmaul will begin at approximately 4pm PDT. Characters that participate in testing will have their effective level scaled to 100 for the purposes of testing, so no need to worry about gear or level. Keep in mind that testing periods are subject to change at any time -- so if you're interested in testing, keep a eye on the official forum thread for any updates.

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Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Beta raid testing rescheduled to Monday

According to Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, the Warlords of Draenor beta raid test that was planned for today, has been rescheduled for Monday.
Raid Testing Schedule - July 25 (CANCELED)
So, sometimes things literally catch fire.

We were hoping we could get the servers up in time for the scheduled raid test, but that's looking unlikely. Servers should be up today, but I'd rather not speculate while everyone is waiting on the off-chance that testing will happen.

I'll post a new schedule for Monday testing, in a short while.


It's really unfortunate that the raid test had to be delayed - I was hoping to get a look at some of the new mechanics, get a feel for how raiding is going to work in Warlords, but I'll admit to understanding the motivation for postponing it. It's not likely that the servers will be as stable as one would hope, and sitting around waiting for them to be up doesn't make for a good, focused group to really test the content.


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

Warlords of Draenor: Raid testing to begin Monday, July 21

Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has announced that the Warlords of Draenor beta will begin raid testing tomorrow with two Heroic encounters -- one from Highmaul, and one from Blackrock Foundry. As a Heroic level encounter, the raid will accommodate anywhere between 10 and 30 players. Players that wish to test the encounter can speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade in either Stormwind, Orgrimmar, or their garrisons, once the encounters are open for testing.

The Butcher from Heroic Highmaul will be available for testing beginning at 1:30pm PDT, and Gruul from Heroic Blackrock Foundry will be available beginning at 4pm PDT. Please note that testing periods are subject to change at any time -- if you're interested in testing, keep an eye on the official thread in case any changes are made to times or dates.

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Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Watcher on Raid Consumables and Enchants in Warlords

One of the things that people concern themselves with when raiding progression is all the little things you can do to eke out just that extra little bit more. However, with the advent of Warlords of Draenor and its sweeping systems changes, stat squishes and ability pruning, there seems to be some confusion about what players will and won't be able to do to get that extra bit. Yes, reforging is gone, but Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas assures us you will still be able to enchant and gem your gear. And also, raid consumables like food and flasks totally are going to be around in Warlords.

What seems to be confusing people is that enchanting and gemming are getting a slim-down. There will be fewer enchant slots and gems on gear, but they're not going to be removed.
It's important to keep in mind that people will still have the ability to tweak and go for incremental performance increases in these ways. Some players may choose to use these on a frequent basis, but for the most part, it's expected that most players will be able to use more gear immediately on getting it with the new system.

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

What is the average?

People make assumptions. We all do it - even when we know they might not be warranted, making an assumption is an easy shorthand, a way to skip a few steps. One of the things we as players often do is assume that our peer group - the people we play with, the people we know who play the game - are in some way representative of the game as a whole. We assume our personal experiences are universal. I bring this up because of this recent tweet from Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas.


What Watcher is pointing out here is that for many of us, our group of peers is the game. We only see the game we play. Any assumptions we make about the game (such as, the difficulty of the raids, the quality of our fellow players) can be hampered by the assumption that what our group experiences is what all groups experience. The tweet that Watcher responded to argued that the Cataclysm launch raids weren't overtuned because his peer group, which he considered 'below average', was clearing them. Watcher's response points out that it can be difficult to define what the average is, much less whether or not you're there.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Raid Guides, Mists of Pandaria

Wowhead interviews Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas

Warlords of Draenor is bringing some big changes to the table -- and Wowhead recently interviewed Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas about many of the changes we'll be seeing in regards to raiding, valor, and more. Item upgrades will be going away entirely, and with them, the valor point system seems to be attracting a shift in purpose, although that shift hasn't quite been decided just yet. However, the incentive mentioned during last year's BlizzCon that rewarded players with extra valor for grouping is undergoing a revamp, as valor currently isn't as useful as it has been in the past.

Also interesting to note are the design changes for gear rewards. For the past several expansions, gear obtained from varying levels of difficulty in raids has always been the same model, simply different colors. In Warlords, this will be changed to be similar to what we saw in Burning Crusade -- PvP and PvE gear will share similar models, and the color shift will denote whether the armor was obtained in PvE, or PvP. Raid gear will go back to having different artwork, depending on the difficulty of the content completed -- so players that have defeated the most difficult content will have the snazzy gear to show for it.

While Garrisons are going to be a huge piece of playable content, Hazzikostas pointed out that the feature is in no way mandatory -- the feature is not meant to feel like dailies in any way, and there won't be any sense of obligation to work on them on a daily basis. For those that have waded their way through the daily system introduced in Mists, that should be a relief to hear. Check out the full interview above for more from Hazzikostas -- and keep an eye on Wowhead for a full transcript of the interview soon.

Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Raid design evolution from Cataclysm to now

Horridon header
Yesterday Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas published a fascinating Dev Watercooler blog that discussed the history and evolution of raid design in World of Warcraft. That article was part one of a three-part series, and looked into the way that raiding developed from WoW's original release through to Wrath of the Lich King. In part two, published today, Watcher discusses the ways raid design has changed, and stayed the same, through Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.

The article focuses primarily on difficulty levels and raiding. Watcher discusses in detail the problems inherent in the "10-man is easier, 25-man is harder" approach, as well as the ways that making 10- and 25-man raiding more equivalent in difficulty led to new problems that hadn't existed before. From there we learn about the origin of both the LFR and Flex raiding options from the perspective of how different raiding difficulties serve different portions of the WoW player population. If you've ever wondered about the thought processes that went into developing the different types of raid systems we see in the game today, this is an excellent article on exactly that.

Check out the full blue post after the break.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard on raid design evolution

Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has written a very extensive blog on the evolution of raid design, the first installment of which went live this morning. In this first part, Watcher covers the history of raiding, from the launch of the game in 2004 all the way through to the end of Icecrown Citadel in 2010.

For many, these were the glory days of raiding and World of Warcraft alike, well, if you believe the forums at least. Watcher talks about the developers' aims to make raiding more accessible, and to improve the gameplay of groups by reducing them in size -- one healer in a group of fifteen healers can't have as big an impact as one healer in a group of five or two. He also discusses the introduction of varying difficulties in raiding, and looks back over all the patches of some of the game's greatest raids.

Hit the break for the full post.

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Filed under: Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

New WoW Source: PvP and Class Changes

WoW Source has made a return, with Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, and Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut. They're talking PvP and Class Design.
  • Diminishing Returns categories have been cut from thirteen to five.
  • Fear's PvP duration has been reduced from eight seconds to five.
  • CC needs reduction, but without it the game would be boring.
  • In WoD every PvP item will have two item levels, e.g. 550 for PvE and 590 for PvP. This will be effective in the world too.
  • We saw an early map and description of Ashran -- looks like a League of Legends style ARAM-esque back-and-forth with other activities around the main central run.
  • There was some more information on Skirmishes, they may drop Conquest gear, and will drop bags containing Honor, Honor gear, or gold.
  • Tanking will not go back to being about Threat
  • Button Bloat has focused on redundant or duplicative abilities
  • Sometimes cutting or simplifying buttons has made class flavor/fantasy better.
  • They do want to give players new things where appropriate, but they need to free up some space to do so.
  • The devs do their best to avoid different spell behaviors in PvP.
  • The devs endeavor to make classes fun to play without affecting their numbers.
  • The devs are listening to feedback and nothing is final.
You can view the video above or on Battle.net.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

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

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