Developer Q & A – December 7: Legion 7.1.5

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Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas and Josh “Lore” Allen sat down on for the newest Developer Q&A.  Today’s Q&A had a more to do with legendaries and class tuning and less to do with most other things.  Let’s get right to it.

  • Is the secondary stat “squish” not going to hurt specs that rely on Crit (Fire Mage) or Mastery (Arms Warr) etc?
    • Ion said that ultimately it shouldn’t affect the classes that rely on them.  An example that was given was that if you are someone that has 47% of a secondary stat, you’re probably only going to see a drop to around 45% after the changes are implemented, but the primary stat will be increased dramatically.  This will help an item that is 15 iLvls higher than the one you have, you’re most likely going to want to equip that item.  Anything less than that big of an upgrade will probably still rely on the secondary stats or possibly a gem slot. Overall, Blizzard did not want to nerf the players, but wanted to balance the itemization.

  • Secondary re-balancing and jewelry changes on PTR encourage stat stacking and getting the item with the right stats even more?
    • The change in Legion was a flattening of the rate of scaling that the secondary stats over the course of a max level period of an expansions.  The secondary stats were set a lot higher as a fresh 100 because certain specs did not perform well at a lower item level.  The higher the item level of other slots would give you a larger share of primary stats than the secondaries. However, with jewelry in Legion, there are no primary stats.  The jewelry scaled a lot less well than the other items.  A 20% increase in item level should have given you a 20% in secondaries and this will be one of the changes coming in 7.1.5.
  • What is being done to ensure tanks want ilevel upgrades since primary stats mean far less to them?
    • Even though primary stats give tanks avoidance, the amount is not substantial enough.  The developers are looking to add more of a significance for the primary stat of that item to provide.  Although, the item level does provide more armor, stamina, and mitigation for tanks.  With the changes in 7.1.5, the rating conversion was changed and the items were buffed across the board at around 5%.
  • What is the reason for the large mechanical changes that are slated for 7.1.5?  As it stands, a lot of classes are going to feel drastic changes on the order of what they feel moving from WoD to Legion.
    • The reason for the changes are because of the major changes that were done coming into Legion.  Some classes are practically new due to resource management, gameplay, and strengths and weaknesses.  Ion admitted that some of these changes did not play out as intended.  If there is an issues, the developers would like to see the changes in patches instead of waiting for an entire xpac to change them.  7.1.5 is the first time they are trying to fix them, although some changes may wait until the new expansions in the future.
  • Long term plans for Warlocks?  Numbers aren’t terrible, but none of the specs feel fun to play.
    • Ion started by apologizing for the lack of fun some people are experiencing with Warlocks. Affliction Warlocks can now only target their own Soul Effigy, to allow more of a game play similar to the Mages Prismatic Crystal and the awkwardness of interacting with it.  Developers are looking to possibly buff more other talents in the Level 100 row for more of a gameplay difference and option.
    • As for Demonology, there is some work that is needed with Demonic Empowerment. Most of the time is spent gaining resources, keeping the multiple pets out, then managing Demonic Empowerment.  It’s more of a juggling act and the fun is lost in the gameplay itself.  The developers are looking into how the rotation flows and a lot of work will be needed to change this.
    • Players are also having issues with the way Destruction Warlocks are playing. The developers wanted to change how the Warlocks all handled resource management.  Ion admitted that something was ultimately lost when the ability to gain partial embers was changed when moving to soul shards.  The developers may look into having the Destruction Warlocks Soul Shards to behave like Embers did in Warlords, such as a possible re-skin of the Shards for Destruction only.  Even Lore admitted that the feel of Destro Warlocks was lost during the transition from WoD to Legion.
  • Can Havoc have a viable DPS build that does not use Fel Rush/VR (Vengeful Retreat) as rotational abilities?
    • In short, Ion says yes. Talent tweaks have been made to Fel Barrage to allow the non-Momentum build.  The developers want to preserve the build, but if you are in a position to not be able to use the momentum build, you shouldn’t have to have a major loss in DPS.
    • Lore mentioned the fact that tuning is needed and to determine at what point is a DPS loss acceptable to be considered a viable build. When determining the best talents and their diversities, Ion suggested using sites and guides but with caution.  Look at fights and sims with comparable encounters and progression to what your character is encountering.
  • The Emerald Dreamcatcher (Balance Druid legendary helmet) nerf only helps lessen the pain between Balance Druids, but it also removes the possibility of Balance Druids being competitive in single target.  What are we gaining single target to make up for this nerf?
    • The item will still be nerfed, but when does a legendary make a spec competitive. The developers are narrowing the gaps with legendaries.  Ion said that if you feel that your spec is only viable because of a legendary item, then there is a problem.  That is the case with the Dreamcatcher, the item needs to be nerfed a bit and the rest of that spec will get a buff across the bored.  This allows those who have that legendary to remain unchanged and the rest of the spec to move up. 
  • Why is there not a single piece from Warrior T19 set with Haste/Mastery? They’re the best two stats for Fury and Arms.
    • Ion stated that set pieces were itemized with certain secondary stats. The stat combinations, however, were not intended to be the best stats across the board.  There were changes made, like a piece with Haste/Mastery being added to a set piece for Warriors.  Set bonuses are still 2 and 4 piece, but now with 6 items in that set, it will be easier to customize which pieces you want to take. 
  • Unholy DK’s rely heavily on RNG and to some degree the right legendary to do competitive DPS.  Current PTR changes do not seem to address these issues.  Are there any plans to improve upon the systems in Unholy?
    • The Festering Wounds variance is on the radar to be fixed. A lot of the randomness is tied to the Apocalypse Unholy Artifact weapon active spell.  There is a reason that there is variability in the charges that you gain.  It prevents the spec from feeling to robotic. There are changes the developers are looking at, especially a change of each stack of Festering Wounds summoning two ghouls each when it comes to Apocalypse.
  • Are there any plans on lowering the RNG of Roll the Bones (Outlaw Rogues).
    • Ion said that the RNG will not be lowered because it’s based around rolling dice. The developers are looking at possibly changing the way Slice and Dice works, maybe adding more haste to it.  Roll the Bones, however, will always be an RNG based talent due to the over-powered ability if you would never get a 1 buff roll.
  • Why is Greater Blessing of Might a thing?  This ability has been met with nearly universal disdain by Rets since its first appearance in alpha.
    • Ion admitted that it was a failed designed. They wanted to catch some of that hybrid element, but still worried about the balance and it did not end well.  The question about the talent was about whether you can do the same amount of damage if the Ret Paladin wasn’t there and would you skip over another class to bring the Pally just because of the buff.  A replacement hasn’t been found in 7.1.5, but the developers are still working on it.
  • Those ‘robust alternatives’ to StM (Surrender to Madness) that you said would come after 7.1: Not seeing them in 7.1.5 either. When?
    • There was a misunderstanding of Lore’s comment on the forums about the first 18 seconds of StM. While the first 18 seconds are not an issue, but the regular insanity drain during regular Void Form makes it stronger.  While StM to madness is still a nice choice, the developers are looking at a better playstyle if needed.  Hazzikostas wondered if StM is better in a 4 minute fight verses Ursoc over a 10 minute fight?  They are looking into changing some of the legacy talents like Mind Spike.
  • Any word on fixing the many issues with Storm, Earth, and Fire?  Very frustrating when our main CD can be a DPS loss.
    • With the numerous issues with Storm, Earth, and Fire, Windwalker Monks have been particularly not happy with the results of the talent choice. Attacking wrong targets, not benefiting from certain buffs, and even reducing the effectiveness of some of the WW spells just to name a few.  Ion wants to see the talent fixed with 7.1.5, but if that is not going to be accomplished, he stated they might try and buff SEandF around the bug.  They are admitting that there are some definite changes that need to be done to that row.
  • Can you, once and for all remove Rune of Power?  This ability has been a huge burden for the past three expansions and it’s still here and it’s still mandatory for raiding.
    • Ion said that it’s meant to be a situational talent for low movement fights. They want to look at the design of the ability to maybe a more focused CD instead of a talent that has to be taken and tethers you to a spot.  The developers are looking to possibly buffing other talents in that same tier.
  • Is there a possibility for Holy Paladins to get more AoE/HoT healing spells?  Single target based healing often feels clumsy especially in raids.
    • Ion promptly stated no.  If you want a play style of AoE or HoT spells, then a Resto Druid or Mistweaver Monk should be more of that play style.  Strong single target healing has always been seen as the Holy Paladins strong suit and the developers don’t want to change that.
  • MM is seen as the top raiding spec for Hunters currently.  Many Hunters are unhappy with the Vulnerable mechanic and with the immobility of the spec due to Aimed Shot.  Are you overall happy with how MM has turned out?
    • Ion said that the trade off with MM Hunters is the increased damage with not moving as much and they are happy with changes.  Sidewinders will apply Vulnerable in 7.1.5 agin as well.  The BM hunter is much more mobile, but MM has more of a spread AoE.
  • Do you have any plans to stop players form hoarding Artifact Power at level 35 till 7.2?
    • Ion said that you do not want to hoard the Artifact Power until 7.2.  There are plans in the mix to not reward this in anyway.  The 20 points that you put into your final trait will be converted into the new traits.  They suggested that maybe you level an off-spec weapon or keep putting them into the fourth major trait for the time being.
  • Why haven’t you made Artifact Knowledge account wide?
    • With the upcoming Compendium’s, you will be able to buy and mail Artifact Knowledge to your alts. Also, the Artifact Knowledge “Accelerated Turn-Ins” will allow a player that just got their first 110 to be able to catch up with the rest of the player base.
  • Any plans for making more things account wide?  I like the way Artifact Reseach Compendium works, and it would be nice to have something like this for Reputation.
    • Ion said that the developers are looking to make more mailable items for alts. They have instituted account-wide World Quests and Suramar dungeons.  What they don’t want to do, is make it very easy for your alts to be able to just gain the Tier 3 recipes for professions only.  They would still like to see gameplay progression instead of just a money maker.
  • In 7.1 we have 3-5+ minute long loading screens (especially in Dalaran).  When can we expect a fix?
    • The developers are actively working on it. Most people are not having an issue to this extent, but the ones that are having issues have different things that may be causing it. They will continue to work with Customer Service to gather data and implement a fix as soon as it becomes available.
  • What is your philosophy around Legendary usability?  Some Legendaries require a specific situation to be useful at all and therefore will often feel like the might not even be there in most situations.
    • Ion said there are mixed feelings on how this is working.  As people attain more legendaries, you will look at the legendaries that you have to try and pick the best ones you have for the situation.  Ion admitted that they may have made a mistake by creating “universal throughput legendaries”.  What they are seeing is the complaints that players are having over the universal and situational legendaries and he wishes they may have done that differently.
  • Why are you guys opting to introduce important Quality of Life boosts to Class Design via Legendaries?
    • Most things in the legendaries are something that players would defenitely love to have them in that class or even spec. However, even thought the spells or abilities are great, the idea of having them on items is something that was intended.  Maybe in future patches or expansions these may become core abilities, but for now it is how it was meant to work.
  • Any plan for a “catch-up” mechanic for the first two legendaries for alts?
    • Simply stated, yes. As the expansion progresses, more legendaries are added to the pool.  With the addition of the new legendaries, this will cause an increase on itself. Plus, the developers would love to see new players “catch up” with the other players as well.

*Covered by Lycan

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I am a World of Warcraft nerd to the core. I am GM of The Riders of Rohan on Argent Dawn - US. I am Host of PWNCAST Podcast. I created this site to bring you news and guides from a player perspective. I also help admin for several Facebook Community Pages for World of Warcraft which includes: PWNCAST, World of Warlocks, WorldofWarcraft Memes. You can find me causing trouble all over Azeroth.

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