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Preach Interview with Ion Hazzikostas

Preach Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
Preach interviewed Ion Hazzikostas today! This interview was a good debate. Be sure to check out the full discussion for a lot of valid points about the Covenant system.

  • The reason the team decided for a permanent Covenant choice that can’t be easily changed is because they want to give players a more “identity” choice over just “loadout” choices. This is a core mechanic of RPGs.
  • They want to make the Covenant choice a difficult, but informed, decision.
  • The consequence of the choice is much more drastic for players whose play style emphasizes player power. Ion mentions being open to having a scenario to test out the other covenant abilities be available to players even after committing to a covenant.
  • Ultimately the decision comes down to balance. Ion mentions committing to spec at the beginning of Legion was a more impactful decision than anything in Shadowlands as it determined your legendaries. There was problems with this, but it was way more weightier than the covenant decision.
  • The team wants to make sure the gaps between the abilities are never too large and there are scenarios where each one is useful. They want to give players more to differentiate themselves in content other than pressing their buttons harder than someone else of the same class.
  • Ion agrees that random procs are needed, but should not influence gameplay as much as they do now. They want you to feel like you influenced how well you did in an encounter. This is different from choices made before an encounter, however. The core of RPGs is about choices that make you unique from others of the same class.
  • The team has stripped away a lot of unique choices to differentiate each other from members of the same class, and this is them trying to bring some of that choice back.
  • Ion relates it to choices in previous expansions. A warrior that chose to make all of their choices around being a tank would probably take less damage, but they would be less versatile to the warrior who focused on also being able to fill an off-tank role.
  • Blizzard is giving these systems to players much earlier than azerite so that they can iterate on it now.
  • When a pug leaders asks if you are a certain spec over another, they can make associations about you as a player as that choice is easily changeable. Ion argues that when the choice is not easily changed, pug leaders can’t necessarily judge your performance based on that choice.
  • Ion argues that having different solutions to problems is impactful. Strength and weaknesses should take into account more than just pure output.
  • It is the team’s goal to make sure that your covenant choice isn’t going to have a huge impact on interactions with other players and getting into groups. They want to get as much feedback during the beta as possible so they can iterate on the abilities and fix outliers and situations that could cause problems.
  • The team thinks the player power portion of the covenant choice is a meaningful decision. There is a fallback option to remove these restrictions and allow free change, but this is a last recourse.
  • Ion announced that destructible Conduits are a recipe for frustration. They are trying to think of some middle ground to make the decision of what ones to use semi-permanent and not have it be taxing to swap them out on each encounter. They will not be going live with the destructible conduits as they are now, but don’t have a change to announce yet. It is still being discussed.
  • Every week until beta ends there will be additional beta invites.