Of course, the developers at BlizzConline 2021 didn't just reel off their pre-written texts on the panels, but also took questions from the press and players in interviews. We were able to talk to Game Director Ion Hazzikostas and Art Director Ely Cannon, along with a few other representatives, about everything that is coming with Patch 9.1, Chains of Domination. They talked about the upcoming shifter, the influence of the dungeon master in the maw, and of course the features and systems of WoW Shadowlands in general and what changes we can look forward to. Since it was a relatively long interview and group interviews always include a lot of already clarified questions, we have simply summarized the most important findings for you.Source: Blizzard Source: Blizzard
Here's all the important information from the interview with Ion Hazzikostas and Ely Cannon:
Anduin and the Dungeon Master
- The visual similarity between Anduin in the trailer and Arthas is completely intentional. It's meant to illustrate the situation they're both in, or rather were in - dominated by the Jailer, or the crown of dominance that was associated with the Jailer.
- Either way, the dungeon master's control will leave a mark on Anduin, regardless of his subsequent fate. He won't just eventually go back to being the young, flawless king who only ever fights for justice. The jailer has penetrated too deeply into his mind for that.
- The Dungeon Master is currently more powerful than ever. With our attack on him and the Maw, we can take away some of that power, but he will still remain powerful and dangerous.
- The new area of Korthia is in the Maw, but the Dungeon Master's Eye has no power there and is not active. This is because Korthia has only recently been drawn into the Maw and is not the actual realm of the Dungeon Master. In the other areas of the Maw, the Eye will remain active, but players will learn the ability to reset or blind the Eye so they can farm Stygia or complete other activities undisturbed. How exactly this works remains unclear for now, however. This is more of a catch-up mechanic, though, as the new story takes place primarily in Korthia.
- The new Korthia area is also where we'll learn more about the First Ones. It's also drastically different from the rest of the Maw, as it was only recently moved there while the rest of the Maw has been withering away for ages.
- Tarragrue will disappear from Torghast. It doesn't matter if you've already defeated him in the new Sanctum of Domination raid or not. Players should not feel compelled to visit the raid in order to have special advantages in other areas.
- With patch 9.1, more and more players and NPCs are flocking to the Maw to take on the Dungeon Master. As a result, Ve'nari won't be able to keep her existence a secret much longer, and we'll learn more about her background and connections to the midway cartels.
Raid, Dungeons and Balancing
- For some time, the developers try in the balancing of classes and other features prefer to distribute more frequent, but smaller buffs and nerfs. This is to keep the changes smaller. It should not happen that you log in and your class, which was the strongest yesterday, is suddenly extremely weak. This leads to a lot of frustration from players - especially in times of pact choice and Legendarys.
- That's why the developers have also shifted to making percentage adjustments to all of a class's abilities at once during an ongoing patch, rather than adjusting individual talents or abilities. This way, there is less risk of players feeling forced to suddenly use different talents, pacts, or Legendarys in the middle of a patch.
- On the whole, the developers are very happy with the Mythic-Plus Dungeon Principle, even if they know there's always room for improvement. One of those improvements is keeping a closer eye on the dungeons and adjusting mobs or bosses that turn out to be too hard or too easy, if necessary.
- The developers like the fact that the season affix is based on the final boss of the current raid. This will also be the case in Shadowlands' second season, coming with patch 9.1. However, the developers wouldn't give us any specific information on how this affix will work. They are currently testing several ideas internally for suitable affixes. However, this one will be based on End Boss Sylvanas in any case.
- Internally, they're discussing whether or not to implement a system similar to the Hall of Fame for raiders or Rank 1 titles for PvP players to give the absolute top players a little more prestige and maybe a cosmetic reward or two. That the actual rewards stop at around level 15, on the other hand, they think is good. Because these should be achievable by all classes and playstyles.
- In the upcoming raid, Sanctum of Domination, we will definitely see some familiar faces again who have been in the clutches of the Dungeon Master since their death on Azeroth. However, the developers did not reveal which ones in detail. (Editor's note: They did smirk at each other when asked specifically about Arthas Menethil, though.)
- The showdown against Sylvanas will be an absolutely epic battle, and thus nothing less than it deserves to be. The developers know very well that the expectations for this fight are gigantic. In addition, the environment in which we face the Banshee will play a major role in the fight and will be very different from anything we have seen so far in WoW (buy now 14,99 € ).
- You will be able to further upgrade your Legendarys in patch 9.1. However, you'll probably need a different resource for upgrades above 235, so no one will start saving up tons of Soul Ash now.
- The developers are also considering adding a catch-up mechanic for Soul Ash to help new players and twinks get their first Legendarys faster.
- Pact armor sets are one of the best rewards available to solo-only players in recent years. On the other hand, they devalue a lot of other content where such players have otherwise earned their gear. This is because the item level is higher than anything you can actually get outside of organized group play. In the future, however, the developers would prefer to have a system where solo players can get equipment from various sources without reaching the upper limit after a short time.
- PvP and PvE gear should not be strictly separated. However, it is the goal of the developers that the equipment you earn via PvP should be the best equipment in that area. The same is true in PvE. Items from the raid should be the best gear for raiders, and items from Mythic-Plus should be the best gear in the dungeons. The other armors should not be bad - just a little bit weaker than the ones from the respective content.
- There are many ways to achieve this. For example, the developers are currently working on adding some cool and special effects to the gear from the upcoming raid, which will make it better within the raid and make raiders less reliant on other gear sources. However, the developers didn't want to reveal details on that just yet.
- They also take a look at the armor system in Warlords of Draenor, when PvP armor was weaker outside of PvP than in combat with other players. This meant that PvP gear was the strongest gear within PvP, but just not in dungeons and raids. There are no definite plans to bring this back or try to adapt it again.
WoW Patch 9.1: Cinematic Trailer for Chains of Domination - King's Grail World of Warcraft from€14.99
- The developers are very happy with the basic systems of Shadowlands. As a result, they have no plans to add new systems, preferring to expand and improve upon the existing features.
- The developers have collected a lot of feedback on the Soul of Power and are discussing it internally. They think such abilities are good in principle, but they also know that it can feel bad if you have to cast them on other players, lowering your own damage in order to max out your party. Currently, though, there are no plans to change that.
- There will be new missions and rewards for the adventuring system in patch 9.1. These will be themed after the new content in Chains of Domination. However, there are no plans to fundamentally change or overhaul the system.
- The Shadowlands world was designed with the ulterior motive that players will eventually be able to fly in it. However, the individual areas are scattered throughout the vastness of the Shadowlands, and are not as close together as they appear on the map. As a result, it won't be possible to fly from one area to the next.
- The cosmetic rewards you can buy for Anima won't necessarily all be available in the first few months. They'll be available throughout the expansion. That said, the developers are gradually increasing the amount of Anima and their sources as the expansion progresses. This should provide even twinks or stragglers with enough anima.
- The move away from the grind in the endgame was intentional and was well received by most players. After all, it was a direct response to player feedback. Of course, this will eventually lead to the point where you can't increase your character's strength any further and have to wait for the ID reset. But the developers would rather focus on making the content exciting and fun enough that you enjoy doing it even without major item level upgrades, rather than reintroducing a system where you can grind endlessly and it feels like a chore to keep up.
- Of course, with the new patch 9.1 comes a ton of new cosmetic rewards. Most of them via the individual pacts.
- Class sets will definitely still make their comeback in Shadowlands. Not yet in patch 9.1, but soon after.
- The higher level times of the crafter that didn't make the jump from beta to live play, we may see them again in patch 9.1. After all, with all the new rewards and increased item level, the professions aren't supposed to fall behind. But whether that actually happens with the Crafting paints or some other way is still being discussed internally.
- Pet battles on mobile devices is an often expressed desire that the developers also often think about and discuss. However, it is quite technically challenging to implement that properly. So it won't happen in the short term, but they hope to get it done eventually.
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