World of Warcraft - Ion Hazzikostas Live Battle for Azeroth Q&A Recap

On Thursday afternoon, World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas and Community Manager Josh Allen took part in the latest “live Q&A”. This time, questions were focused on the upcoming Battle of Azeroth expansion, clarification on several Blizzcon reveals and more. There wasn’t a lot of new information, but there are some keen takeaways worth noting as well as some things that were given further clarification by Hazzikostas.

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Artifacts & Legendaries

In somewhat sad news, Hazzikostas revealed that artifact appearances will remain tied to both class AND spec. Beast Master Hunters, for instance, will not be able to use the Marksmanship artifact bow appearance even though artifacts themselves are going away. This makes many of the appearances players worked to obtain immediately obsolete. The BM Hunter artifact is a gun with all appearances based on firearms.

In Battle for Azeroth, if a BM Hunter is using a bow (since weapon drops will return), they cannot use the appearances unlocked for Marksmanship. Frost Death Knights will have two-handed swords returned to their arsenal in Battle for Azeroth, but will not be able to use any of the appearances they unlocked since the Artifact is two one-handed swords.

The development team will also be looking at Artifact talents and abilities and looking at which ones to bring forward, which to make baseline and which to add as talents or even to get rid of altogether.

As for legendaries, there will be far fewer in BfA than in Legion. In fact, as of today, the team doesn’t have any specific ideas for legendaries at all but if it makes sense, it is certainly something they will be looking at closely to add.

Class Raid Sets

Earlier this week, an interview came out where Ion Hazzikostas revealed that class sets were not going to continue going forward into Battle for Azeroth. With the Azerite armor system, players will find that it has been designed to add depth and customization options rather than having players locked into tier sets.

Later in the conversation when specifically speaking about raiding, Hazzikostas said, “Of course a Mythic raider is going to be better geared than anyone working in Heroic or Normal or a non-raider.”

What this means, of course, is that the general quality of items dropped in Mythic raiding will be better than in any other version. In addition, there will be four armor pieces that can be customized with Azerite and some of these customization options can only be obtained in Mythic.

However, the downside to what is otherwise a good choice for WoW altogether is that there will only be one appearance per armor type, though there will be more sets and variety across zones. Sets will be “themed” around where they are gathered. If you raid, for instance, in Zandalar, you can pretty much expect to have a heavy Troll influence to the pieces you collect for your class.

“This time, we want to go on thematic origins. In a world of transmog, we want to add art variety to the world -- Alliance sets, Horde sets, more options than before rather than our 22nd or 23rd version of something. And, for the first time, non-class set armors will get full hi-fidelity 3D armor pieces with additional details that normally were only for tier sets." Hazzikostas said.

Allied Races & Standing Upright

To unlock one of the six new Allied Races in Battle for Azeroth (Zandalar Trolls, Highmountain Tauren and Nightborne for Horde; Lightforged Draenei, Dark Iron Dwarves and Void Elves for Alliance), players will have to follow a questline to bring them to one faction or the other. In addition, at least one character in that faction will need to have Exalted status with that race. Hazzikostas gave an example for the Nightborne and how that process will be streamlined.

“All a player will need to do is play through Suramar story and carry it one step forward to have them join the Horde. Rep barriers are being removed to progress through the campaign.”

In essence, quests won’t be locked behind reputation levels to move the story along.

Once unlocked, players can start a new character of that race at level 20 and unlike folks who simply race change or boost to max level, those who take a character from 20 to 110 will be gifted Heritage Armor that is a cosmetic transmog item that is characterized by its unique look based on the lore of the race itself. Think of all those beautiful Suramar armors for Nightborne as an example.

A question was asked about what classes would be available for Allied Races and whether or not all classes would have options. This was in specific regard to Death Knights and Demon Hunters. However, Hazzikostas said that, due to lore in particular, these Heroic Classes don’t really fit with the current Allied Races.

“We think about what races are cool and make sense story-wise and about those to add in the future. From there, we look at what classes make sense for them. Over time, we’ll provide options. Death Knight & Demon Hunter are special cases with special stories, timelines and so forth.”

Lastly, male Orcs will have an option to choose an upright posture. However, other hunched males (Darkspear Trolls, Worgen, Forsaken) will not, though characters unlocking Zandalari Trolls can opt to use that instead since males are standing upright.

Other interesting info

  • World PvP - “We want to revitalize world PvP by creating a space where players looking for World PvP will run into one another. Right now, it doesn’t happen all that much for some. We want to create global world PvP in ways we couldn’t before because people can opt into it at will. We can improve the feel of the combat so it’s not 1-shotting or 2-shotting.”
  • RP-PvP Realms - “The default behavior for RP servers in Battle for Azeroth will be that PvP flagging people would see other flagged players on that same server. We don’t want to split up RP communities.”
  • Raiding Capitals in BFA - “It’s not a PvP expansion exactly. We don’t have a specific plan, but there’s something cool about the idea about a Horde army might show up in Stormwind and it would be fun to see how it plays out.”
  • Class Changes in BFA - “There will be a lot more to share going forward but in broad terms there will be fewer class changes than in Legion. Not all experiments were successful (i.e. Demonology Warlocks). Survival Hunter execution needs work but we’re committed to the melee Hunter.”
  • Hati for BM Hunters - “It’s not going to be carried forward. He’s tied to Titanstrike. But there’s something cool about multiple pets for BM.”
  • Warlock Animations by Legion’s End? - “It will probably be Battle for Azeroth before we see the Warlock animations.”
  • Character per account limit increase in BFA - It’s not a big concern at this point. 50 is a very high number and more than what most people play.”

With the Battle for Azeroth expansion likely arriving late next year, there’s still a lot that we don’t know yet. Hopefully, Blizzard will continue these live Q&A to provide a hungry audience with more information at a pace to keep the momentum going.

Was there anything in particular that struck you about the Q&A? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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