Overall, Legion has been an immensely well received World of Warcraft expansion. Especially coming off the heels of Warlords of Draenor, one of the most maligned games in Blizzard’s history, Legion busted out the heavy hitters from a story perspective and added unique, engaging elements to the game like artifact weapons and class order halls.
If there is one valid critique of Legion, though, it’s the game’s over-reliance on randomness (or "RNG"). Legion borrowed a lot from another Blizzard game, Diablo III, to give players the feeling that anything can drop at any time. Pieces of gear can "Warforge," meaning they increase in item level by 5 or 10 levels. If you’re very lucky, though, that piece can "Titanforge," increasing by over 15 ilvls, up to an incredible 60 levels higher than the item’s base. The concept of Warforging and Titanforging was actually introduced in Mists of Pandaria, but was relied upon heavily in Legion to provide an "anything can happen" feel.
On the one hand, it can be exhilarating — if you only raid LFR and the RNG gods smile upon you with a 960 piece of loot, for instance, you’re going to feel like a million bucks. The flip side, of course, is that there’s always a better piece of gear out there somewhere, provided you’re lucky enough to get it. And contrary to the intent of the system, Titanforging is actually pretty common, making progressing in higher raid difficulties feel less rewarding.
In the recent Battle for Azeroth developer Q&A, World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas noted that while the current system is not going away in Battle for Azeroth, it will be toned down and pulled back a little bit. For one, the new Azerite armor slots, the expansion-long progression system that will replace artifact weapons, will not have the ability to Warforge or Titanforge at all. "Those items are complex enough already," Ion said. He also added that since we’ll be going back to normal weapon drops in lieu of artifacts, given that weapon slots are weighted much more heavily than others in terms of character power, the current plan is not to allow them to Titanforge.
Outside of those special cases, Ion said that Titanforging will be a far less common occurrence in Battle for Azeroth. "Titanforging in particular is probably just a bit too common in Legion," he said. "I think it actually undermines a lot of the feeling of continued reward … by the time you’re progressing on Heroic, you’re actually not getting as many upgrades as you’d expect or want because you have all this Titanforged gear."
"Keeping it as a surprise is valuable, but the second it becomes so common that it’s distorting overall gearing patterns and also complicating tuning in some ways, that’s gone a bit too far."
So while it’s not going away, Blizzard is trying to find that balance between being stoked you just found an insanely high item level piece and it being so common that lucky Normal raiders end up with gear that rivals Mythic drops. "It’s not going away, but we are pulling back from it and hopefully trying to find middle ground that keeps the elements that excite us while eliminating some of the downsides that players have very rightly pointed out."
Watch Hozzikostas answer that question as well as a lot more in the Battle for Azeroth Q&A session on Twitch.
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