World of Warcraft’s Ion Hazzikostas explains the philosophy behind Azerite now and in the future

    
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lol so randum

It turns out that even if you liked World of Warcraft’s Artifact Weapons and how they were designed, their front-loaded nature was very bad. That’s one of the big takeaways from a recent PC Gamer interview with Ion Hazzikostas, wherein the game director explains that even though players didn’t complain about the front-loaded aspect of the Artifacts, the designers noticed and thus designed the Azerite system to have players continually chasing more progression instead of incremental upgrades later.

That’s worked out real great.

Hazzikostas goes on to stress that the post-8.2 Heart of Azeroth will be designed much more like… Artifacts, complete with a clickable ability and various traits to buy. He also mentions that Artifacts had to be removed from the game so that you could get weapon upgrades again while noting that the developers have been a bit too willing to remove things from the game instead of maintaining complex systems; it may be time, in his own words, to “make permanent additions to the game and accept that, yes, there will be some untidiness down the road but it’ll be worth it because it’s exciting for players.”

Source: PC Gamer
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chriskovo .

Kinda want this guy to leave Blizzard. WOW has gotten worse and worse the more this guy controlled stuff.

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mysecretid

This may read as nastier than I actually intend, but I’m very weary of Ion and other Blizzard people trying to tell me what I should and should not like in Blizzard games — and that if I do dislike something, it’s because I simply don’t understand what makes it “cool”.

If you want my money, at least pretend like you listen occasionally.

That is all.

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Anthony Clark

It’s just like when Steve Jobs had to tell everyone they were just holding their phone wrong.

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kalech

“make permanent additions to the game and accept that, yes, there will be some untidiness down the road but it’ll be worth it because it’s exciting for players.”
Suggesting that the current state of added/removed, mis-matched content is somehow tidy lol.

Players have been saying this for literally years. But, I reckon they won’t be acknowledging that. Also considering this entire expansion has been an attempt at player retention, at the complete cost of player enjoyment, I find his statement about caring about player excitement less than convincing.

I know this is a massively simplified statement that’s easier said than done… But maybe instead of trying to force the player to stick around, make it fun to actually keep playing? I don’t expect them to find the magical formula that results in both great player retention and pure fun, but I feel like they used to at least try to make an effort at balancing the two.

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Sorenthaz

it may be time, in his own words, to “make permanent additions to the game and accept that, yes, there will be some untidiness down the road but it’ll be worth it because it’s exciting for players.”

Woah so you mean expansions will be treated as actually expanding on systems from previous ones instead of just throwing everything out and trying to reinvent the wheel with each expansion?

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Utakata

I won’t hold my breath on that though. :(

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

old and busted,new hotness.gif
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Sorenthaz

Spot on accuracy right there.

Not to say Legion was perfect, but it was definitely better than BfA.

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tiltowait

If they actually cared about what players wanted, there would have been housing in the first expansion.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Utakata

Lol! :)

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thalendor

make permanent additions to the game…because it’s exciting for players.

On the one hand, this is great to hear. On the other, I’ll beleive it when I see it.

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Zaynara

The only way you are going to get both, is if you create a skill tree so vast that you cannot fully flesh it out, give like minor nodes with skill increases, major nodes with powers, and a few end critical nodes, something like a huge PoE style skill tree! that would be fun, but it would need to be vastly more extensive than a 40 something point tree to allow ongoing and escalating progress

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Zaynara

I suppose doing such a thing would move away from ‘balancing’ everyone in relative power, but you can’t really have both a ‘power progress that continues’ and ‘even playing fields’

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David Blair

It would be neat to see a system where each weapon comes with a personal skill tree. I wonder if anyone’s doing something like that.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

I’m not sure Ion Hazzikostas lives in the same dimension as the rest of us or even all of Blizzard, by the time they realise this and beg for us all to come back it will be too late.

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Songs for Children

Vanilla and the first two expansions were awesome for many reasons, but one of those reasons was that Blizzard wasn’t reinventing the damn wheel every single expansion. The new systems that were introduced in that time were add-ons that did not require the overhaul of other systems. Sounds like Ion’s starting to realize that? Maybe. Probably not.

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Nathan Aldana

ah yes, front loading was bad even though people liked it, but making it an endless grind is good even though everyone fucking hates it.

Fuck you, Ion.

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Schmidt.Capela

Theoretically, front-loading means that players are less likely to keep playing down the line when progression slows down.

What he failed to see is that by not front-loading players are less likely to keep playing early on when they hit the point where progression is intentionally slowed down to stretch it out, which is made even less interesting because all the shiny toys have been held back as potential incentives to keep doing the boring grind.

The way to solve this isn’t to tweak the progression balance between early and late progression, but to make the game enjoyable enough to keep playing regardless of progression. Giving players their toys early by front-loading actually helps with this.

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Nathan Aldana

Thats the issue. His design is more about player retention than player enjoyment.