The rumors and speculation are true, according to the most recent World of Warcraft live Q&A. Ion Hazzikostas revealed that both Mag’har and Kul Tiran Humans are on the list of allied races planned for Battle for Azeroth, in addition to Dark Iron Dwarves and Zandalari Trolls. If you feel like your old non-allied race is being left out in the cold, not to worry; while older races won’t be getting heritage armor per se, the developers do want to do something cool for veterans of the core races.
The discussion also ranged to Artifact weapons, which will still be usable at the beginning of the expansion; you won’t have all of the traits associated with it, but it will still be a good and usable weapon. It will sting to not have access to the old traits, but the design position is that it’s necessary for the longer term in the game. There’s also confirmation that crafting will now be split up by expansion rather than in an ever-ascending number, so you’ll have classic Blacksmithing, Northrend Blacksmithing, Outland Blacksmithing, and so forth. While it’s short on hard details at the moment, it’s enough of a nod to spur speculation as the expansion continues on in testing.
It’s official: World of Warcraft‘s Battle for Azeroth preorders are live on the official store. You’re looking at $49.99 for the base package and $69.99 for the digital deluxe. The expansion has a release date stamp of “on or before September 21, 2018,” elsewhere in the PR referred to as “summer.” As usual, preorders come with multiple goodies accessible now, including the level 110 character booster and some (but not all) of the allied races.
“Players who pre-purchase Battle for Azeroth today can begin their journey to recruit four of the expansion’s new Allied Races, each representing comrades they’ve fought alongside on the Broken Isles and Argus in the game’s most recent expansion, Legion™. Upon winning the respect of an Allied Race by completing quests and earning reputation, players will unlock the ability to create characters of that race and set out on a new adventure across Azeroth.† Alliance players can add the shadow-touched Void elves and valiant Lightforged draenei to their ranks, while members of the Horde will be able to bring the ancient Nightborne and noble Highmountain tauren into their faction’s fold—with additional Allied Races to come in the future.”
The Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas is ongoing; so far the big news, besides the expansion, is that expanded solo queues aren’t likely. You can catch the rest below.
Reddit and Twitter are buzzing today with another round of World of Warcraft datamining – this one from WoWhead, which has dug up new interface elements patched in during today’s maintenance. The important bit is a store UI element called BoostPopupBFA – presumably, the requisite Battle for Azeroth character level booster. And if that’s live today, it can mean only one thing: Expansion preorders will also go live today.
Orrrrrr maybe they’re just being overly prepared for when it does happen.
Reddit is speculating that the preorders may go live today during the Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas, which is set for 3 p.m. EST today on Twitch. Guess we’ll see!
Still wondering when the game will launch? Join in our own speculation, which still puts good money on late autumn.
Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
Right out of the gate in the recent World of Warcraft Q&A, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas said that WoW Classic wasn’t going to be the focal point of discussion, as the team is only “at the beginnings of this process.” However, he did confirm that Blizzard isn’t looking to monkey around with too many changes.
“We know Vanilla means Vanilla,” Hazzikostas said. “We know that it’s about community and that means some inconveniences, that means some of the rough edges. That’s not something we’re looking to move away from. It’s more which version of that experience… is it the 2005 version? The 2006 version?”
The rest of the Q&A session primarily focused on the upcoming Patch 7.3.5 and next year’s Battle for Azeroth expansion. If you’re curious what’s going to be in the next patch, the highlights include a preview of the Seething Shore battleground, zone level scaling, Legion epilogue quest content, and Ulduar Timewalking.
Icy Veins has a great roundup of the main points form the hour-long talk, although you could settle in to watch the whole thing yourself after the break.
If you’ve never played World of Warcraft, you may be unfamiliar with the concept if not the visuals of tier sets. Tiered armor is the ultimate class-specific reward from each given raid level, so the upcoming Antorus raid awards Tier 21 armor for those lucky enough to get the necessary drops. Wearing several pieces of tier armor also awards set bonuses. But it looks like the time has passed on all of that, as a recent interview stated that tier sets are not planned to return at all in Battle for Azeroth.
Designer Ion Hazzikostas explains that tier pieces tend to “lock down” certain gear slots and feel like more of a hindrance than anything, so the team is experimenting with different ways to award gear and appearances. How that will work remains to be seen, but the suggestion of no more tier sets alone is a major departure from how World of Warcraft has always structured its endgame raids. We’ll hopefully learn more about these changes as the expansion gets closer to testing and release.
Back in May, I wrote a whole article about why I was leaving World of Warcraft behind. All of the reasons I had back then? Still valid. Fact is, I’m still proud of that column (to the extent that I’m proud of anything I write; low self-esteem is a hell of a drug). So why am I here talking so much about Battle for Azeroth? How are you supposed to reconcile those conflicting facts? Do I hate this game or not?
The answer to those questions, in reverse order, is this: no; I highly doubt anyone actually wants to reconcile anything about my stated views; and because what we’ve seen so far actually addresses a lot of the problems I wrote about back in May. New information means new evaluation.
Obviously, this is not a blanket statement of “the next expansion will make everything better” because there are far too many question marks left to feel smug or confident about that. But, and this is an important “but,” we’ve got signs that several of the problems from Legion are actually being addressed. And considering that Legion was pretty good already, that brings us to a good spot.
There’s been another live community Q&A session with World of Warcraft director Ion Hazzikostas, and if you’re in the “highly frustrated” crowd of fans, the answers received are not going to mollify you. Flying in Argus? No. Randomness? Yes, that’s all good, there’s always been randomness in RPGs. Can we get world bosses more frequently? No.
On the other hand, if you’re pleased as punch with the current state of the game, you’ll probably be happy about minor quality-of-life bumps like the promise to continue using new Druid forms in future expansions or the plans for more realm connections. So take that as you will and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Meanwhile, there’s a strong hint that an Offline mode is coming to Battle.net, since an “appear offline” option has been added to the app in its most recent beta version. So if you’d like to avoid all notice from others, that’s going to be a good thing.
Let’s be fair, World of Warcraft’s recap of 2017 doesn’t outright say that the game’s next expansion will be revealed at BlizzCon. But if you don’t want to take a trip down memory lane, that’s the big takeaway from the very end of the video, that this year’s convention will discuss where the game can possibly go after facing off against the Burning Legion. So you can expect an expansion reveal.
Of course, if you would like to take a trip down memory lane, that’s what the whole video is all about. So go ahead and take a trip back from the opening of the Nighthold to the most recent patch depositing players on Argus and everything in-between, narrated by Ion Hazzikostas discussing each major milestone and what it meant for the game as a whole. And, obviously, keep your eyes peeled for that reveal next month.
Not to be cowed by the other news and announcements this week, Blizzard stepped up to the microphone to deliver a few doozies. Game Director Ion Hazzikostas sat down for another hour-long Q&A session, this one focused on players’ journeys through World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3.
The good news is that unlocks earned by progressing through the new Argus storyline will be account-wide, which will be a great boon for alts. It’s also going to be a lot easier to catch up on artifact progression, with the game automatically advancing artifact knowledge on a weekly basis.
Outside of the World of Warcraft floor, Blizzard apparently has a lot more cooking in its secret chambers. Studio Co-Founder Allen Adham has been leading up a team working on special projects, including “incubation teams” that are developing new IPs. Of course, this being Blizzard, it’s a long shot whether any of these will see the light of day or a full release, but it’s interesting to know that the studio isn’t settling for its current successful roster.
The flood of information concerning World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3 and Argus continues to wash over the community as testing proceeds, starting with a new Ion Hazzikostas interview that revealed many interesting facts about the MMO’s future direction.
As a decimated “husk” of a world, Argus was better suited to the end of the Legion than its own expansion, Hazzikostas explained. He did note that players won’t just be going around a dead landscape, as invasion points will offer adventurers the opportunity to leap around the galaxy to other planets to help counter Legion incursions (and yes, some of these places already have been datamined).
“It is our most ambitious expansion in a lot of ways,” Hazzikostas said. “We’re taking you to a whole new world and trying to tell a story on a grander scale than we have in the past.”
In a livestream Q&A session, World of Warcraft’s Ion Hazzikostas admitted that the studio probably shouldn’t have slapped the label of “biggest patch ever” on Patch 7.2. The game director said that this was an objective measurement of all of the content that was included, but not every player would experience all of it due to the variety.
Hazzikostas fielded several questions about the gradual unlocking of Patch 7.2’s content, including the still-to-come raid. He said that the unlock schedule for Tomb of Sargeras will come in May, with the raid opening up sometime in mid-to-late June. Another raid is reportedly in the works for Patch 7.3 on Argus.
Other topics discussed were the cross-realm zone lag, why Blizzard isn’t scaling players for the artifact challenge, paragon emissary chest rewards, the Legion assault schedule, and why the studio isn’t awarding Legionfall rep for the assaults (spoiler: It’s a dumb reason). You can watch the full Q&A below!
Hey, it turns out that designing long-term MMORPGs that aren’t pump-and-dump schemes is hard!
That’s the takeaway from a new PC Gamer interview with Blizzard’s Ion Hazzikostas, during which the World of Warcraft game director admits to what the developers of the dozens of MMOs that came before WoW could’ve told Blizz had it, y’know, ever considered asking.
“We are becoming increasingly aware of the cost of any change we make that has ongoing maintenance and the risk of design bloat,” Hazzikostas says. “If we keep adding and adding with every expansion, eventually what we end up with becomes very unwieldy. It’s an issue that we weren’t cognizant enough of early on because we were in uncharted territory, but we are now.” Yeah, he said uncharted territory.