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Posts with tag ion-hazzikostas

Tuesday will be a normal server reset

I've been asked several times if we're going to have a server reset this Tuesday, and I assumed we were, but I didn't actually know. Because people have asked me, I decided to settle this question by the most expedient manner possible - I asked Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas. I'd do this more often, but frankly I think he has better things to do than tell me what color shoes I should buy.

So there you have it - are we going to have a normal server reset this tuesday, and a last two days to farm those old raids, run SoO for Heirlooms, or whatever? All signs point to yes. Enjoy your last two days in Pandaria, guys. Midnight pacific time on Thursday morning, we're all off to Draenor.

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

Warlords of Draenor Live Q&A Wednesday

This Wednesday, at 11 Am Pacific, CM Lore will be hosting questions about Warlords of Draenor on Twitch.TV, with Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas and Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut. This will be a Q&A that allows for class questions, so if you were a little disappointed that they didn't answer class questions at BlizzCon, this is your chance to ask them.

Lore - Warlords Launch Q&A, Live Wednesday Nov 12th!
This Wednesday, I'll be joining World of Warcraft Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas and Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut to answer your questions live on Twitch.TV! With Warlords of Draenor's launch only a couple of days away, we're sure there's plenty of questions we weren't able to answer at BlizzCon, and now is your chance to ask them!

When: Wednesday, November 12th, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Pacific Standard Time (see this handy tool to find when that is in your local time!)
Where: The World of Warcraft channel on Twitch.TV/WoW

There are two ways to submit questions. If you're using Twitter, simply tweet your question using the hashtag #WarlordsQA. You can also ask it as a reply to this forum thread; however, as we'd like to get to as many questions as possible, we will only consider questions using 40 words or less. Make them count! In order to be considered, your question must be submitted before 12:01 AM PST on Wednesday, November 12th.

See you there!


So there you have it. Tweet your questions with the above hashtag (#WarlordsQA) or reply to the forum threat linked above but for your own sake remember that 40 words or less limit - you don't want to ask a question only to have it disallowed for length, after all. You've got until 12 AM PST Wednesday, November 12th to ask your questions, so get to work guys.

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

Blizzard disables 'anti-exploit' experience cap mechanic

For a while now people have been complaining about a new system that caused experience gained by repeatedly killing the same mobs as they respawned to be reduced, saying it was too punitive. Now Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted explaining that the mechanic, intended to combat exploits common to power leveling, has been disabled.

Watcher
This isn't intended to be an "anti-grind" mechanic. It's intended to be an "anti-exploit" mechanic that programmatically addresses power-leveling abuses, with the aim of letting us reward legitimate players more generously. In the past, we've often had little choice but to drastically reduce the experience awarded by certain respawning bosses or enemies that are locked in combat with other NPCs, because otherwise they'd be abused. That always felt bad to the regular player who was just passing through in the course of questing or exploration and got unexpectedly little or no experience for killing something. The goal was to come up with an approach that would be invisible to most players, but discourage sitting there and repeatedly farming the same mob for long stretches of time in order to gain experience. Alternatives like questing, dungeons, or PvP are all supposed to be more lucrative than that - WoW has never been a game in which mass-killing mobs for experience was the most efficient route.

That said, clearly this implementation is far too strict, and is triggering from a wide variety of normal activity. We're going to disable the functionality entirely and look into a much more narrowly targeted approach if and when we reintroduce it. Apologies for the inconvenience and the lack of response on the issue - we were working on understanding exactly where the algorithm was going awry, and now that we've done so, we'll be taking action in the near future.


So if you happen to enjoy grinding and don't mind it being somewhat less rewarding, while not wanting it to be almost completely so, this change should please you. Still, there probably should be a mechanic for combating power leveling abuses involving tagging mobs and then having a whole party or raid backing you up to kill what you tag, and I hope that when they do come up with an idea for it, it's a little less broadly implemented than this was.

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

Ion Hazzikostas: "Without a question" WoW will last another ten years

PC Gamer has an interview up with Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, and it didn't hold back - and neither did he, really. Asked if he thought World of Warcraft could last another ten years, Ion's yes was unequivocal.

I can't tell you exactly what our 20th anniversary celebration event is going to bemaybe new content which hasn't been createdbut I can tell you there's going to be one.

So now that I'm sitting here desperately curious about what that 20th anniversary celebration is going to be, let's look over some other interesting points from the interview.
  • Baking all previous expansion into the Battle Chest is all about removing obstacles to play - they like the depth of having ten years worth of content, but not the feeling that in order to check out the newest content you have to run all the old stuff first.
  • Visual updates being discussed include various forms like moonkin and cosmetic additions to armor, things like quivers for hunters and updated geometry on the armor itself.
  • It's unlikely we'll get another Cataclysm style visual update anytime soon - resources are more likely to be allocated to new content.
So head on over to PC Gamer and read Ion's interview.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas on healing in dungeons

Dungeons can be tricky to balance. Too easy, and everything turns into a 'go go go' zergdown. Too hard, and no one wants to run them. This is of course subject to change as gear and skill and familiarity all increase, of course. But it's a topic that Ion Hazzikostas recently took up on the forums. One of the things people have been concerned about is the change to how healing works, and Ion discussed it and why they made the changes. Basically, it came down to the idea that with mana regen effectively not a factor in Mists, the only way to kill players in raids was with massive spikes of damage that required immediate reaction from healers to survive.
Our goal is not to make healing more difficult. Note that nowhere in the above did I say that a problem with Mists healing is that it was too "easy." We want to slow down the pace a bit, and for the challenge in healing to lie more in making decisions about spell usage and targeting, and less in twitch-reaction and sustaining a DPS-style rotation. This also means that the cost of a mistake is not a dead player, but rather a more injured one, giving you a chance to fix your error.
So what does this have to do with dungeon tuning? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Dungeons are being tested on the beta now (I've recently gotten to run Auchindoun and Shadowmoon Burial Grounds) and when they're tested, your level is adjusted to the bare minimum necessary to run said dungeons. This of course means that players are testing the content at its lowest possible threshold, because it has to function for players in the minimum gear to get into the door. And this leads to issues with healing, because the dungeons aren't final yet. It's an interesting job, beta testing. Often, stuff doesn't work - that's why you test it.

We've reproduced Watcher's post in full after the cut. For the most part, I'm interested to see if Blizzard actually succeeds with their goal of slowing down healing.

Read more →

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

Warlords of Draenor: No more Tier vendors

Vaelastrasz
One of the more irritating and frustrating aspects of winning Tier loot from bosses is having to take the token to a vendor in order to actually get the piece of armor you won. Nowadays it's rare for me to equip a piece as soon as I get it, unless it's a truly huge upgrade, but I still find it annoying to have to take a token to a vendor in order to get the actual piece of gear. In addition, as a druid, there are four versions of everything available for each token, and scrolling through page after page of nearly-identically named armor pieces makes my eyes cross. Minor complaints, really, but nonetheless the following announcement by Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas, aka Watcher, on Twitter really made my day:
This is a fantastic quality of life change for raiders. No more running to vendors and no more waiting to get your new piece of Tier gear. I'd say "no more accidentally buying the wrong piece" with your token too, but in Warlords, your primary stats will auto-change when you shift specs anyway, so that's no big deal. In any case, this new system will be more convenient for players, and I'm certainly thankful for that!

Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: PvP now requires active flagging on PvE realms

Have you ever been quietly minding your own business on the Timeless Isle, or attacking a world raid boss like Ordos, only to find yourself accidentally flagged for PvP due to a misclick or tab target gone horribly wrong? Earlier this year, Bashiok mentioned that one of the goals for PvE realms was to keep players from accidentally flagging themselves -- and in a tweet by Ion Hazzikostas, it's been confirmed that this has now been implemented on the beta.



This means no more accidental flagging for players that are simply trying to DPS or quest out in the open world on PvE realms. And this also applies to healers as well -- healers will simply not be able to heal flagged players unless they choose to actively flag for PvP. Naturally this issue isn't a problem on PvP realms, but for players on PvE realms, the change in Warlords should be a welcome relief. When players make the choice to roll on a PvE realm, that choice is usually a deliberate one that's made to avoid the hassle of unwanted world PvP situations. It's nice to see that steps are finally being taken to keep PvP on PvE realms what it was meant to be -- an optional experience that you can choose to participate in, rather than be tricked into whether you're willing or not.


Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: UBRS available at level 90 before expansion

During the Community Event we got a surprise from Ion Hazzikostas, namely that before we can even go to Draenor, when patch 6.0 drops, we'll get a chance to get up close and personal with the Iron Horde as they invade Upper Blackrock Spire. This dungeon will be available as a level 100 dungeon once the expansion releases, but before that, in patch 6.0 we'll be able to run it as a level 90 dungeon to get loot that will serve us as we get ready to go to Draenor.

In addition he mentioned the world event of the Iron Horde pushing into the Blasted Lands, overwhelming the area around the Dark Portal and putting both the Horde and Alliance on the defensive. It's up to players to take the battle to the Iron Horde, push them back through the portal, and defeat the forces under Warlord Zaela in Upper Blackrock Spire.

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

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.

Read more →

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.

Read more →

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.

Read more →

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.

Read more →

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

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