World Of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas Discusses Alts And Responding To Player Base Feedback For Shadowlands

World Of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas Discusses Alts And Responding To Player Base Feedback For Shadowlands
Credit: Traxium via YouTube

Blizzard’s World of Warcraft historically has been a game that rewarded players for focusing on one character – a main – and getting them as strong as possible. Doing this is a great way to push endgame content, excel at PvP, or just generally experience what the game has to offer.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only have one character, and the game has also historically made it so that alternative characters – alts – are a valid way to spend your gaming time. Blizzard has added in things like Heirloom Gear to help those that have reached the endgame have an easier time reaching it again on an alt.

But as expansions went by, that seemed to slip away, and the recent expansion, Battle for Azeroth, was so unbelievably difficult to create an alt in that most just didn’t bother. The main issue came from the question of Essences and Azerite, which were an intense and time-gated grind through now-obsolete content that was required to reach endgame content.

Blizzard did a great job of responding to fan feedback on these issues though, thankfully. In Battle for Azeroth‘s 8.2 patch, the team added in account-wide Essences, which allowed players to purchase essences they had already unlocked on their main for their alt, allowing them to skip the majority of the grind.

Moving into Shadowlands, Hazzikostas discussed the ways that the team intends to keep the “alt-friendly” gameplay moving. The game director expects this eighth expansion to be better on all fronts for alts, with mounts coming sooner and endgame content being easier to access.

One of the ways they’re doing this seems to be the removal of an AP system. In Legion, players collected resources to empower their Artifact weapons, which became an unbelievably annoying grind on more than one character. The same was true for the Azerite grind in Battle for Azeroth. Not only is this annoying for alts, it becomes immediately obsolete in future playthroughs, making it so that enemies are dropping now-gray items that would be giving Artifact or Azerite power, a key mechanic now completely useless.

In Shadowlands, it seems the team intends to eschew any sort of AP system, letting players go through the game without having to focus on the grind. This should make it so that alts are able to have an easier time moving through and reaching endgame content, as they won’t have a time-gated resource grind to spend weeks of their playtime on.