Before Release of Patch 9.1.5 For Wow Shadowlands we had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas. In an interview, we talked a bit about the new patch, the distant flirts from Wow, how to recover the community s trust and more after the turbulent last years.
Ion Hazzikostas : With Patch 9.1.5, you implement many quality-of-life changes that mainly use players with many twinks or returnees. But many of us have already shed our glory 80, countless invasive slun mushrooms in Korthia, etc. Can play players in patch 9.1.5 still at a few additional content for the endgame? For example, a few extra class changes, a catch-up for stygic embers or something to make the waiting time up to patch 9.2 a bit more bearable?
Ion Hazzikostas : Patch 9.1.5 holds many changes ready to take with which we are trying to consider the feedback of the players we heard. With the patch, we generally try to eliminate obstacles, the players may feel as a barrier so they can play the game as they want to play.
I think players who have just reached the glory 80 will recognize the immediate advantage that they can change the pact without a consistency or a significant cooldown. That s something that can give one s feeling that you can explore other packages freely to collect their storylines and cosmetics, or simply use a pact for one content and the other pact for other content, as you do not could.
Since the announcement of the patch and the first publication of the PTR, we have searched for ways for hotfixes and changes that we can safely carry out to provide players immediately to offer these benefits of quality of life.
There were some Qol changes before. We have significantly increased PVP currency effects, and things like raids-Nerfs were gradually introduced as soon as the glory hall was full. Recently, we have performed a few more rounds of Nerfs at some mythic bosses that are still outlier in difficulty. And we will continue to keep an eye on that. In the foreground of patch 9.1.5 but as you have said the many quality-of-life changes.
Ion Hazzikostas : At the end of April this year you told Shadowlands no warlord 2.0. Now between April and between then and today a lot has happened. Nevertheless: Is it still true that Shadowlands will get a big patch after 9.2 or not?
Ion Hazzikostas : Over 9.2 we have not spoken yet, but information will give it very soon. With these information, new content comes to light, through which players will better understand the entire story-ARC of Shadowlands,
I think warlords was what the players would rather rightly accuse us, a magic extension because they had only a real patch. At least we have made this circumstance with Shadowlands and have 9.2 more in Petto.
We have no solid formula for the number of patches that incorporate into a specific extension. It is generally tailored to the story we want to tell and the systems match. In between there are a different number of smaller patches.
Warlords of Draenor had only a real content patch and two additional RAID animals. Game Director Ion Hazzikostas promises that Shadowlands will not be a warlord 2.0. Source: Ion Hazzikostas In Warlord, the community has clearly objected to us that we have not reached the desired amount of content for an extension. In retrospect, you will see that Shadowlands have been one of the more stable WOW extensions compared to other addons. As I said, we will have more news in the coming weeks as soon as we talk about 9.2 and beyond.
Ion Hazzikostas : In terms of content you fulfills the community with 9.1.5 very many wishes. But how does it look like to rebuild the community? How does you plan to maintain and renew the community, especially in the European Forums, where are barely common community managers?
Ion Hazzikostas : This is something that falls in the area of responsibility of our community team, I speak regularly with them. And we are working to ensure that our community speech and feedback we receive from the players is really global. And I think we know that we are a company based in the US, but the majority of the Warcraft players in the world are not American players.
And it would be foolish if we only focus on a subgroup or even a language. So this remains a constant task. And I think there are some existing technical barriers, at their overcoming we continue to work on the regions in terms of their ability to post in the forums of others, and so on. But we are aware that it is a global community, and we have PTRS, we have betas when we look for feedback, we look at the world. And we know that we have more to do. But we want to make the players clear that we listen to them no matter where they are.
Ion Hazzikostas : The Blizzcon is also about cultivating the community that loves Blizzard games. Now you have canceled the Blizzcon for the time being, also to rethink the structure of the Main Event and to make contemporary. Are there already concrete ideas for designing a new blizzcon or do you want to inspire you of the events of your competitors?
Ion Hazzikostas : I think that s not something I can best say. The BlizzCon is a, obviously enterprise-wide event, there is a dedicated team dedicated to the planning of events like the Blizzcon.
And I know that they work hard to re-imagine and rethink the future. I believe some of my most beautiful memories as a developer come from the Blizzcon. And they therefore come that I could interact with the fans. And I am looking forward to improving the pandem conditions.
This year the halls of Blizzcon remain empty – at least in the first half of the year, you never know. Source: Blizzard
Once again to have this personal interaction and be able to communicate directly directly and contact 10,000 people from people from around the world who play our games and inspire themselves for our games and celebrate them both with us And as well as can help us to improve it is great. But on planning I m not the right contact as I said.
Ion Hazzikostas : Ah too bad, I had another question about Blizzcon: The BlizzCon is actually used to announce new games and extensions, such as a new extension for World of Warcraft (Buy Now 14.99 €) every fan expected on another blizzconline. So what are your plans for an extension and their announcement?
Ion Hazzikostas : Yes, I can say something, and I think we have often tried to tailor the announcement of extensions to the BlizzCon. Because we have this stage, we all have together, that makes a lot of sense. It s a great treat for those who are personally present or watching online.
Yes, we work on a new extension and we will have a lot of news in the near future. We want to run out 9.2. We want to make sure that people understand the story of Shadowlands, wherever this leads. 9.2 will also help to prepare the stage for what comes next.
From the past we know that we can create our own events and moments to ensure that we report on what comes next with regard to enlargement, and give an announcement to this extent a stage that deserves it.
Ion Hazzikostas : Do you have thought about introducing a new season or mini-RAID during the development of 9.1.5?
Ion Hazzikostas : Not for 9.1.5. We wanted to give the quality-of-life changes to players as soon as possible instead of providing them even further by additional content.
The question of Season Pacings is something that is often addressed in internal discussions. I think one of the big challenges today is that in the face of the parallel development of battles, dungeons and PVP it is relatively simple to increase the itemlevel of the objects, but at the same time you always have to look at the current RAID.
Dungeon Itemlevel and RAID items must also run in parallel here. And I think we will continue to discuss how we can tackle that, because we know that there are people who, for example, are still reading by the Sanctum of Rule Progresses and on longer-term goals, while many people are on Pvp or dungeons have concentrated.
The emerald-green nightmare was mastered quickly, but a mini-RAID has bridged the time to night fortress. Source: Ion Hazzikostas If you are as a mythical-plus player or PVP player about four months, you feel that it s time for something new. How to make both factions happy, so we have no answer at the moment. But that s something we discuss a lot.
As far as mini raids is concerned… if we have a secondary story to tell that fits, make mini raids make sense. But they also represent a challenge when it comes to inserting themselves into the general itemization and difficulty.
I think we ve seen in Legion that examination of bravery as a mini-raid was quite successful because it was followed on the emerald-green nightmare, which was quite lightweight on the whole.
It was a smaller battles, one of the lighter battles, with the guild finished quickly and finding something new. The bosses in the examination of the bravery were in many ways to boss eight, nine and ten of this raid.
In Battle for Azeroth we published the crucible of the storms after the battle of Daza Alor. Unlike Legion, many guilds were not ready for this mini-raid. Actually, you were still busy with Dazar Alor.
Crucible The storms was rather disturbing as a mini-raid than successful. Source: Blizzard
Some guilds hardly fell heavily on how to install the new mini raid in their weekly schedule. In contrast to testing of bravery, the storms did not feel so successful and appropriate. We will continue talking about this type of content in the team and then bring him when he makes the most sense for players.
Ion Hazzikostas : A few weeks ago you have announced a bundle with discounted character transfers. Does the discount actually apply to faction change?
\ – ion Hazzikostas could not give us an accurate answer and did not want to spreading a false information in doubt. From Blizzard, however, we have subsequently received the following answer: Currently The Bundles Will Be Offered For Server Transfers Only, But the Team is Discussing Expanding That option to Faction Transfers in The Future. \ – Fraction Change are not included for the time being.
Ion Hazzikostas : Do not you have the fear that players will take the chance and will be transferred to large servers, which will make small servers even more empty now?
Ion Hazzikostas : If there are even players who want to switch to other servers in other guilds or to their friends, the transfer of many characters but is too expensive, then it is, I think, in the interest of players, if we make this process more favorable and more effective.
As far as servers are concerned with little players, we already have systems such as Realm Connections, etc. Which to help and we look at as much gameplay as possible also available via crossrealm, so that players do not have to worry about what server they are.
Ion Hazzikostas : What are your goals in the nearby and distant future of the community again give a feeling of playing an important role?
Ion Hazzikostas : We know that we have to build trust again with the most part of the community. This is primarily the focus of the team. I think 9.1.5 is a good example of that we finally give the players that they have asked for so long.
What I can tell players who think about to return to WOW or generally think about how the developer team is to be viewed is that the changes of 9.1.5 was not a unique thing. It is not that the community finally has downgrades and we therefore implement all this changes against our will.
It is more of a change in our philosophy. Rather, we have spent the summer about our core principles and values to worry about topics like How should we look at Twinks?, Character Investement VS Catch-Up Mechanisms and what principles of our predecessors, the creators of World of Warcraft We should be rethinking that we have drowned throughout the time. This is one of the reasons why we were hesitant in the past with feedback from players and did not give them what they wanted because we have stated at these ancient principles that were taught us and what our leaders thought at that time what World of Moving Warcraft and who are not negotiable.
Ultimately, we have now arrived in 2021. Meanwhile, Wow is 17 years old and players have changed, communities have changed, things the players from Wow expect are different. And it would not be foolish from us to question everything and develop us.
It is interesting to see how WoW Classic and Classic BC developed because we have drawn some teachings. Whether the way the game developed today has become too far from what players found good at that time and whether we should go back to philosophies of then.
Media energy top Azerite armor have their roots in the Classic talent system. In Classic, in 2005 you had to pay for a further increase in gold price if you often wanted to change talents, which was slowly cheaper with time.
Sense behind it was the multi-cited Meaningful Choice. In the past, this has just worked for players. In 2019 and 2021, these exactly the same features are completely different from players. Nowadays you farm more gold in order to be able to revoke more often, so as to play as you like to play and looks at the high gold amount as Nonsens.
It is clear and clear that players only look at this system today as a hurdle and we as a developer must develop us and change that. 9.1.5 is only the beginning of these changes.
We are very important not to commit these mistakes again – in 9.2 and beyond. Sure, we will probably also make new mistakes, I do not say that we are perfect. But we will have to announce and evolve us.
Ion Hazzikostas : How do you currently see the community and how do you want to return to Azeroth again?
Ion Hazzikostas: The community is all. The community is World of Warcraft. We are the keepers of a world that our players bring to life. Our philosophy is The game belongs to the players and it s our job to take care of the game and you.
And that starts with that we have to get and let us clear that we ate. The challenge of a player s player like World of Warcraft, which is so divers with so many different goals, where one half that wants one and the other half a little different, we have to find the middle ground or make a decision in favor of a page. For some, it can feel like it was not heard because we did not do that what she asked.
Communication is the answer and we already have plans as we can improve and accelerate (how to look at the recently presented player advice note. D. Red.).
Another aspect of a healthy community is, how to deal with each other, how inviting our community is and what you can do against toxic behavior. This is an increasing focus of our efforts. We are working on a strong system, which we will soon introduce as soon as we are sure that it works.
Ion Hazzikostas : Listen to the community when it comes to removing such a thing as more than 70 flirt sayings and jokes from the game, or was that purely a dechipement of the developers?
Ion Hazzikostas : I would say both. Things we change in 9.1.5 are things that the community has complained about the community. Even ten years ago there were discussions in our forums, on Twitter, etc. about the concubines of the Donnerkönig. At that time, players wondered The only women in the Mogu Society are so concubines who have to serve the Donnerkoen, really now? What s going on, that s strange. And when you look back, the team agrees with that that was strange.
Over 70 flirt sayings and offensive jokes are moved with patch 9.1.5 from Wow. But that s just part of the Sexy Purge. Source: Blizzard
At Blizzard, we have begun to set up a system about the employee can submit things that are no longer contemporary in 17 years WOW in 2021 and what they are no longer proud or what they think that certain content does not reflect the team of today. Of course, we also involved the feedback from the community.
When we have announced to look at things that may be offensive today, we have encountered a lot of forum entries and tweets on @WarcraftSdevs, who made us aware of said content in the game.
Then we looked at these things and sophisticated, which is a border case, which may not be completely youth-free or what is no longer appropriate today. We never wanted to change the whole game and overwork 17 years Wow.
In the changes, we have laid the focus on inclusion and do not want someone looking at Azeroth and thinks, that is no world for someone like me.
And we do not want to remove jokes, etc. We want to add more flirts and Alberne jokes in the future! Focus was first to remove content that are no longer attached today. New Voice Lines to Krieiren, will take some time, alone because you have to organize the whole synchronizer spokesman. Our goal is not to reduce the amount of flirts and Jokes, but to expand the repertoire, but in a way that is inclusive. Should torture quests be removed from Wow? Source: Ion Hazzikostas
Ion Hazzikostas : Do you actually adapt to things that could seem to be violent? For example torture quests or slaves?
Ion Hazzikostas : There are some places where the players have been asked in the past to torture someone or apply violence to confess a confession. We have to change that or add other options, and I think we welcome the feedback of our community to things that do not feel adequate, because we are a game for teenagers, we are not a game for small children.
But we are not a game only for adults. So that s the middle ground we try to find. And yes, in a game that is called Warcraft, there will be violence, there will be killing and defeating enemies and all that belongs to it. We do not try to deny or remove from our game. Again, it s more about specific elements that can make the feeling that it is a game for some and not for others.
Ion Hazzikostas : I do not want to drive the topic too much on the top, but how did the whole litigation (in combination with the pandemic) affected the WOW team and the progress of the game?
Ion Hazzikostas : I would lie when I said that it had no effect. Of course, the pandemic has led ourselves that we had to rethink our entire work and cooperation, and many of the same challenges facing all the game developers and all technology companies around the world, and we have a good feeling of our processes, because So we can work together to exchange information and work on the development of great, wild content.
The process has led to a period of considerable self-reflection and internal conversation in a team, and that was certainly the initial focus: Let us stop team-wide meetings, let us listen, let us make sure everyone is heard. And it was a time in which many had the feeling that it was difficult to do their jobs or create a quest. But I would say that after these first few days we were fully operational again.
That was also the time in which everything was created for patch 9.1.5. The update was created mainly in August. And so we continue. We know that we have a big commitment to our players who, as I have already mentioned, know that this is your game that this is your world, and we have to create content, we have to curate the world, we have to curate the world maintain.
And that s nothing we ll ever let or neglect. But of course these talks were continued, and I think we work at all levels within the World of Warcraft teams, as part of larger efforts within Blizzard, within the abban organization as a whole to improve us to listen to our team, To see how we can make it better to see how we can make sure everyone feels that he feels to have a voice, and that we have guidelines that promote inclusive, diversity and security.
Ion Hazzikostas: Do you feel that WOW is perceived differently due to the difficulties in 2020 and 2021?
Ion Hazzikostas : Sure, yes. At a certain level, and I think we know that too. There are challenges, there were setbacks, there is work we need to do to overcome and restore confidence. But in the end, we hope that our work in the world we build up speaks for itself. When it comes to players, I think that efforts on a larger, company-wide level progress to tackle many of more general problems.
In the end, the focus of a quest designer, classic designers, artists and engineers is fun to have fun while the Warcraft Gameplay produces fantastic new worlds to explore. And we have a lot of exciting things that will unfold in the coming weeks. We can not wait to give 9.1.5 in the hands of the players. And shortly thereafter we will be able to share much more with the entire community.
Ion Hazzikostas : Thank you.
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