On October 11th, Ion Hazzikostas, lead developer behind Battle for Azeroth, and Josh "Lore" Allen, a community manager for the game, answered a variety of player-submitted questions regarding the recent expansion and its upcoming content patch, Tides of Vengeance.
Ultimately, Hazzikostas addressed many of the same topics he has in the past: new Azerite armor traits are on the horizon; reforging is intentionally expensive; yes, developers agree Shamans are in need of tuning; and, "it sucks" that Azerite armor is only available to Mythic+ players through a weekly cache (but Blizzard is still on the hunt for a fair solution). There are a few bits of new information, though -- including the impending release of an account-bound flight book.
The entire Q&A session is a little over an hour long and a lot to scrub through, so we have the bare bones version for you right here, organized by topic.
-- Hazzikostas says there is value in “a bit of friction” between switching specializations and operating optimally in your off-spec, and so no, there are no plans to offer easier, less expensive Azerite reforging or for Azerite pieces to change with players' specs
-- Hoow Azerite reforging costs work: they start off cheaply, then escalate exponentially with each reforge before decaying quickly (within 3-6 days)
-- New Azerite traits are coming in Patch 8.1 and some Azerite traits currently in the game will be completely replaced
-- Blizzard is working to make it possible for Azerite reforging costs to automatically reset following major balance patches or changes to specific Azerite traits
-- “It sucks” that Azerite gear is only available for Mythic+ players through a weekly cache; “the current system is not great” and developers are discussing how to solve the problem without disproprotionately rewarding gear via Mythic+
-- Alt friendliness is a continuing discussion
-- Finishing War Campaign chapters will soon reward significantly more reputation
-- Developers considering inclusion of an account-bound book of flight locations allowing all maximum level characters on an account to automatically access all previously unlocked flight paths
-- Changes are coming soon to put all tank specializations on a more level playing field (including damage tuning and potentially revamped toolkits)
-- Restoration Shamans may receive buffs in an upcoming patch; exceptionally strong healers may be weakened (e.g. Discipline Priest damage output may be addressed)
-- Affliction Warlocks and Unholy Death Knights are receiving changes for PvP, but likely not until Patch 8.1; developers looking to increase survivability of both, and Affliction may be returning to its DOT (damage over time) gameplay roots
-- Some exceptionally vague tooltips may be clarified in an upcoming patch, but Hazzikostas did not re-address whether or not he thinks tooltips in general offer too little information to make intuitive gearing decisions
-- Changes to the premade group finder are still in the works; when looking for Mythic+ groups, players may soon be able to filter results by keystones and more
-- Developers are considering more flavorful, unique rewards based on different game modes (e.g. if you are a raider, then there may be unique gear or items available only through raiding to differentiate you from players who only engage with Mythic+ content and vice-versa)
-- If you play on an RP server and are seeing non-RP players on your realm, then those players are not there because of Warmode-induced realm-sharding; they are there because of group finders or other cross-realm functions
-- With the introduction of a second Warfront in 8.1, players are likely to be “attacking one [Warfront] and defending the other at any given time"
-- No plans to allow players to queue for Warfronts as raid teams because doing so offers a “less fun experience” (but may eventually introduce a new Warfront mode balanced around premade raid teams)
-- Blizzard is aware that the differeing ordering of bosses based on faction in the upcoming raid tier may skew the Mythic World First Race, but their concern is the majority of their playerbase, not the few competing for World First, and so fears of an unfair competition are not a priority
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