During the GamesCom 2017 press day (Tue, Aug 22), Blizzplanet members Danny Perschonok (Naka) and Arthur Lorenz (Handclaw) had the opportunity to interview game director Ion Hazzikostas about some of the features in Patch 7.3.
NOTE: The video now has English Subtitles (CC). Lower the volume to 25% to avoid the loud background noise and music. The video was edited to boost the three voices nearest to the microphone so they can be heard at 25% volume. GamesCom is the noisiest convention in the world.
I am Danny with Blizzplanet. We also have Arthur here, and Ion Hazzikostas, and we are going to talk about Patch 7.3.
Why don’t you tell me what are you most excited about in 7.3? What can players look forward to and what is your favorite thing that you are looking forward to that?
Ion: 7.3 is an epic patch. It is pretty ambitious. We are not just doing the standard new zone. It is literally going to be a new planet in this case. Three different regions to explore, really story-driven, art is the backbone of the entire patch, and that is probably what I am most excited about having in players’ hands.
This is from start to finish a questline that is this epic story telling. There is no fluff here, there is no light quest, this is all major characters. It is Illidan, it is Velen, it is Turalyon, it is Alleria, it is all that supporting cast fighting for the survival of Azeroth, learning secrets about the origin of the Legion, the players getting insight into the history of the eredar that came from the draenei, and also some mind-blowing cinematics along the way.
So that is the backbone that in many ways set this patch apart from almost anything that I can think of in terms of the amount of core storytelling happenings in that outdoor quest experience.
In terms of Cinematics, we haven’t seen anything yet. Obviously, I know you don’t like to do that in the PTR, but are we going to get a 7.3 intro cinematic as well as in questing and raids?
Ion: There are some cinematics for sure. In general, we would like the cinematics be discovered organically as people are playing the game. We know that once they are in live servers, they will get revealed and they will be put up in fansites.
We want as many people as possible the chance to encounter them organically in the game for the first time, rather than having them streamed online and spoiled.
We noticed that there is a new draenei model. The Lightforged draenei. There is a lot of customization on their models for the existing draenei. Are we going to see any of that in the future for our draenei characters, or is that just pretty much only for NPC models?
Ion: For now just the NPC models. I can’t say what the future holds, but yeah, we were just trying to build out a very different ecology of draenei. These are the Army of the Light (Lightforged), and they have been in the direct service of the Naaru, fighting the Legion, fighting these battles across worlds, so we wanted to make them very visually distinct; and as we were throwing out a full cast of NPC characters, we wanted a lot more customization to help distinguish them from each other.
Now, in terms of player customization, we know that is something that there is always demand for; and for sure, that is the sort of thing that we would want to revisit in the future, and just open up customization options wherever possible.
We tweeted something about it, and it blew up. So people are very definitely excited and interested in it.
What kind of daily content can we expect, and what is going to be the daily type of grind we will be going to do in 7.3?
Ion: There world quests are of course omni-present in Legion. There are two new factions, the emissaries, we are also adding an emissary for Legionfall in the Broken Shore. We aren’t going to spend much time there, but in case an emissary pops up there is a reason to go back and revisit that zone, trying to kinda keep things balanced whichever zone you go.
The standard: treasures, rare elites, a lot of our end-game systems, we have an all-new currency: Veiled Argunite, that is kinda like the successor of Nethershards in some ways, our good friend the Ethereal trader (with the relinquished items) has made his way to Argus in search of these, with all-new items the players have forgotten to loot from corpses, and in exchange of Argunite you can get your vest.
We also have BOE tokens that will drop from things in the zone (Timeless Isle-style), kinda like the Baleful items from Tanaan — again to help alt characters catch up, or if you want to mail them to a leveling character; even though you have a big boost waiting for you as soon as they reach level 110.
Another big twist are going to be the invasion points system. These invasion points are basically massively-multiplayer public scenarios — kinda similar to the 7.0 invasions before the Legion expansion kicked off.
Players will go through invasion portals that are essentially rifts leading to other worlds where the Legion is also trying to scour life from the galaxy, and as soon as you go through on you will find yourself in a public scenario with a bunch of other people there. As you defeat Legion lieutenants, deal with environmental hazards, eventually you work your way up to defeating the invasion commander; and then there is a Greater Invasion Point that has raid world boss-level stuff with comparable rewards as part of your general outdoor gameplay loot.
So for the outdoor gameplay-focused player, there is a ton of things to do in Argus on a regular basis.
Are there going to be more Invasion Points scenarios, or are those going to be expanded upon in another patch or is that all we get for now?
Ion: There are at least six different settings for these, as well as randomization in terms of the types of creatures you will be facing, with some environmental hazards that will be present. You will see some repeats, but there is a fair bit of gameplay variety there; and in general, there is a quest to do 5 each week. So that is kinda the expected amount. If you want to keep doing more, there is some diminishing returns past that point. That is up to you, but 5 a week is rewarded weekly quest.
So we have 910 catch up gear. Is Mythic+ going to also increase?
Ion: This is very similar to what we did with 7.2. The baseline level of items dropped from Heroic and Mythic dungeons will increase, which means that in turn Mythic+ drops will also increase. The new cap for Mythic+, however, will go back to being Mythic +10. So in +10 we will give you the best stuff. Slightly better than what +15 gives you now, but not massively better; but that all means is that all of that content remains relevant. The rewards from Heroic and Mythic (as well as the difficulty) are going up in parallel.
So imagine. We have this new dungeon “The Seat of the Triumvirate” coming out. We are sorta bumping everything up to be in that new level; and then once the raid Antorus, the Burning Throne opens up later this year, Mythic+ ceiling will go up to +15 again. The item level cap will go up and Legendaries can go all the way up to 1000, etc.
What is the highest item level that we are seeing in this expansion?
Ion: 1000. That will be the very end. The iLevel cap doesn’t begin until Antorus opens, Legendaries should be 1000 at that point. The highest Titan-forged item could go– a lucky Mythic+ item drop would be 985, and that’s that.
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