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Preach Developer Interview with Ion Hazzikostas – Patch 9.1

Preach Developer Interview with Ion Hazzikostas – Patch 9.1
Preach is sitting down to discuss the details of Patch 9.1 with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas!

  • Patch 9.1 Time Frame
    • Patch 9.1 is the first content developed completely from work at home.
    • There is more content already well in the way for the future and it is coming along well.
  • Korthia
    • There is a lot more for the zone that will be dropped into the PTR in the coming weeks.
    • Korthia will have more daily quests, rares, and events that are tied to the narrative and the progenitors.
    • There will be a reward system similar to mana pearls from Nazjatar without the RNG and bis issues from that patch.
  • Gear
    • Sylvanas’s bow and unique drops are because she is a special boss fight.
    • The initial unique bow ability was too hard to balance, and so it was changed to what it is right now.
  • Legendaries
    • There are some pain points the team is working on for the future.
    • Wearing 2 legendaries may come later in the expansion.
    • There are no plans to add legendary refunds in 9.1 but the team is discussing it.
    • Covenant legendaries do not swap to their alternative Covenant options when switching Covenants.
  • Conduit Energy
    • Conduits are not perfect.
    • The team still stands by not having too many systems that you switch between fights.
    • They are trying to address conduits that feel mandatory.
    • It is almost impossible to accommodate the playstyle of being perfectly optimal in every situation. There is a distinction between optimal and viable.
  • Torghast
    • There will be updates to the Torghast system in the next stage of the PTR update.
    • The short team fixes of nerfing Torghast was to address the frustrations of the Torghast rewards system, but in doing so the content became less engaging.
    • The death counter in Torghast is gone in Patchj 9.1.
    • Torghast will return to being more challenging in 9.1, but you will always get your soul ash upon completion regardless of performance. You will never leave without feeling rewarded.
    • There are new UI elements for Torghast in 9.1. You will have a “hot streak” rating bar that improves your score by playing well.
    • There will be a Torghast “talent tree” similar to Visions from BFA. You will gain tower knowledge to spend on perks and upgrades to improve your runs.
    • The rating system will be on a 1-5 gem system. You need 4 gems to make it to the next floor. This can be done by being quick, or by being slower and efficient. This is not a speed run system.
    • No plans to add gear drops to Torghast. There are plenty of gear reward options in the game already.
    • They are adding more modifiers to the runs and powers. These will be both affixes and “blessings” which give positive benefits.
  • Raid – Shards of Domination
    • The Shards of Domination system is very early and not necessarily going live as is.
    • The team wants to make sure raid gear is special for raiding.
    • The general goal is to make raid gear improve performance while in the raid.
    • The team wants you to primarily be interested in the gear for the content you are doing, but complimenting that with other sources.
    • The team still plans to add tier sets back.
  • Covenants
    • There is still ongoing balance to address Covenants.
    • Overall the team is happy with Covenants as they relate to Shadowlands.
    • The team wants to carry the idea of branching paths and unique choices and experiences between players.
    • They don’t necessarily want it to be in the same way as the Covenant system played out.
  • Borrowed Power
    • Awhile ago the team realized that evergreen adding systems permanently would eventually be unsustainable.
    • They saw in Draenor that there was a gap there with no new systems. This is where the idea to add temporary systems came from.
    • Legion was the most successful of this system largely because it was new to players.
    • However, Legion felt awful at the end when everything was taken away.
    • The team wants to find a middle ground. Ion uses the example of “a mage going to the Shadowlands, learning new things, and coming back better for it.”
    • The team agrees that they want to move away from borrowed power.
    • There has always been some sort of borrowed power in the game (tier sets) that you eventually leave behind, but there has to be a balance.
  • Performance Gaps and Gearing Up
    • Power level from item rating has not changed even since Wrath. 1 item level is basically the equivalent of 1%.
    • If there is such a big gap between players 20 item levels apart, it is more likely a skill issue.
    • The team is happy with the catch-up systems for Renown, but they have mixed feelings on other check boxes to catch up. There are areas that could be improved.
    • There are some players who are playing alts because they are done progressing on their main character. Making catch-up mechanics too easy would do them a significant disservice. There are many players who enjoy the journey.
  • Class Design and Issues
    • Damage is a way for healers to contribute effectively when there is downtime in HPS. Disc priests were designed around this philosophy, but they should not be without weaknesses. Reigning in Spirit Shell is a way to address this. Holy Paladins have the same issue, some of which is caused by Ashen Verdict, but the team also wants to give these classes choices between damage and healing like other healers instead of just passive damage while healing.
    • The team wants every class to have a reason not to be sat. They want to make changes to spells like Anti-Magic Zone which feel too effective. An idea is to add its mitigation cap back.
    • The team is hesitant to go back to “spec-specific utility” and instead like “class utility” so that players don’t feel compelled to play a specific spec.
    • The team wants to design encounters that allow for a few more melee.
    • The team ultimately would like one class or spec in each available spot, but right not it seems like there are certain classes that are way more favorable for a spot than others. They want to create encounters that allow different utility abilities to shine.
    • The team still wants niches where certain classes excel at 4 target cleave, and some favor other forms of AOE. Having uncapped AoE still exist but only on certain classes is not ideal and they want to address it.
  • World Quests
    • World quests seem less important because there is a lack of “artifact power” Anima is total optional to partake in.
    • Making world quests take longer was a design choice to switch time spent doing world quests vs travel time. Previous expansions players spent way more time traveling between quests over doing them.
  • Solo Content
    • There is nothing exactly like the mage tower in the near term, but the team loves it and wants to include something like it in the future.
    • The team has discussed having a goal for solo players to work for in manner similar to other content. They want to design more things like the Warlock green fire.
  • 9.1 is still SOON TM