WoW’s game director is on Reddit addressing concerns about Battle for Azeroth’s biggest problems

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Yesterday I wrote about how Battle for Azeroth, while otherwise great and fun, has some major problems with its transmission system. The wows reddit community has been very vocal on these issues over the past few weeks, and today Game Director Ion Hazzikostas is heading to the Warcraft subreddit to address those concerns.

You can check out the thread for yourself, but we’ll round up Hazzikostas’ answers to the most pressing questions as he posts them and share them here to make it a little easier to read, sorted by topic.

Azerite armor

If you haven’t read my full review on why players hate Azerite Armor, here’s the basics. This chain accumulates experience points from all types of activities. It’s a cool system by nature, but players face three main problems:

  • Azerite armor traits are often boring or not that powerful.
  • The effort to unlock traits disproportionately affects the reward.
  • Gear that should be upgraded is often not because your Heart of Azeroth isn’t high enough to unlock traits for more powerful gear, or because the traits just sucks compared to what you already have.

This is a rough summary of the issues that Redditor set out to ‘Drysart’ in the hope that Hazzikostas could provide some insight into how Blizzard rates the system and player reception.

We agree that it is a problem for someone to get a 30 ilvl upgrade Under normal circumstances and feeling like it’s not worth equipping yourself. I know this sounds like a cop-out, but some of the issues you outlined just boil down to tuning. “

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You can read the full answer here, but Hazzikostas goes on to say that while players may not be able to unlock all of their Azerite traits right away, the system is designed to unlock the most powerful traits first. He also points out that while Azerite armor with different levels of power might have the same properties, those found in stronger pieces will scale up and be stronger.

Hazzikostas then explains that there are problems with the system. However, the optimization work is already underway and will increase in the near future as we now have most of the data we need to make these adjustments. “

Island expeditions are not worthwhile

Redditor ‘jakl277’ asked about Island Expeditions and why they don’t reward each other and feel too similar every time you play them.

More importantly, however, he stated that island expeditions were “an entirely new kind of content” and implied that it came with a number of new design challenges. To combat the familiarity associated with running, Blizzard plans to add new events to “increase the variety of experiences players have while jumping on expeditions.”

Similarly, the arrangement of the islands is being studied to create more diversity. Like Azerite Armor, Blizzard tries to refine and expand the feature over time, hopefully making up for how routine they feel.

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In response to jakl227’s argument that islands feel too quick and competitive, Hazzikostas said that was the nature of the experience and that it was “not for everyone”. Going forward, Blizzard wants to take the underlying technology like advanced AI and procedural generation and apply it to other types of activities that might be suitable for less competitive gamers.

Some class specializations suck

Sarcastryx makes a really good point by asking Hazzikostas about the status of certain class specializations. Though I briefly mentioned it in the first review, the Battle for Azeroth class design felt more insane than usual – especially for certain classes like shamans.

Hazzikostas responded that WoW class design focuses on making sure that each of its 36 specializations (think of each as its own class) brings something to the table that other specializations don’t necessarily have.

Speaking of shamans, Hazzikostas said that the healing restoration specification has already received some improvements and they expect it to continue to improve over time. Elemental and Enhancement Shamans, however, could “define their niches more clearly” but will have to wait for an upcoming patch as it is outside of the range they can easily fix.

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