Monday, August 24, 2009

Decrypting The Con

If you're like me and overwhelmed by the amount of information that came out of BlizzCon this weekend, then perhaps this post is for you too. I'm going to attempt to gather the major talking points that I've heard, and decompress it for you in a nice, bulleted list. I will try to keep my own thoughts to one liners, but will more than likely fail. I will also try to give credit where credit is due, but will probably fail at that as well, so please don't think too poorly of me. There was just a plain blizzton of information. We're talking lots of blue crap all over the windshield. Like someone walked into a hotel room in California and nuked the smurf village. Or maybe had a lot of blueberry pie. Mmmm, pie.

Keep in mind that many of these are merely *planned* changes. That means some may never again see the light of day. Some may be abandoned. Some may get altered. All in all, we're not likely to see all that we think we are. The ray of sunshine here is that we can really get a feel for where the developers want the game to head. The means may change, but they're going to try to go the same direction to the same end. If you really really want the minutia, MMOChampion does a wonderful job of breaking it down. I'm just going to try and hit the general high points.

So, without further ado, I give to you:

The Promise of Tomorrowland (in Warcraft)
  • Streamlined Stats - Blizz wants to eliminate the overabundance of stats we have now. Back to basics is going to be a recurring theme. Look to only have to choose between a few stats, and these will be your main ones (think, getting rid of all that green crap and sticking with the base stats).
  • Warlock Soul Shard changes - This has become somewhat of a priority. They've apparently been sandbagging us... giving us only small changes now while having a huge change in store. Look for the class to become more Death Knighty... that is, to have shards stop being something that is collected, and become more of a reusable resource to manage. I think the operative word they used here was "blowing cooldowns". Could be fun, could suck horribly.
  • More on the soul shard thing - They'd probably end up working in conjunction with other spells as sort of a "special attack". I hope we get some new, cool animations with this
  • Guild leveling - Somehow, someway, guilds are going to be able to be levelled. They'll get experience points through a variety of means. Still very vague, but look for the nature of guilds to change. I think their goal is to really enhance the team play experience of guilds, to reward guilds for sticking together instead of individuals jumping around and "getting theirs". This could be a very welcome change.
  • Icecrown is coming, will probably have ~12 bosses.
  • Onyxia is still on for a revamp.
  • There is an expansion, Cataclysm is its name... where have you been?
  • No new classes, two new races Ally Worgen and Hordy Goblins. Have their own starting areas and special stuff.
  • Old Azeroth will get a revamp, woot for flying mounts.
  • Battlegrounds will get some changes, perhaps a rating system - I think the point here is to create more synergy between arena and BG PvP'ing. I'm sure this implementation will be tweaked a lot.
  • Blizz wants to reward individual character progression as well as guild progression too... thus, there is this whole Path of the Titans thingy. It looks to be a mechanism for unlocking different skills and options as you progress. Could be interesting.
  • There'll be a couple legendary items coming our way, one for DKs in Icecrown, one for casters in the expansion... hopefully.
  • Phasing will be used more in the expansion.
  • The level cap will be 85 in the expansion.
  • Talent trees will not be expanded but will probably be reworked for the x-pac.
  • There will be one new secondary (the professions for everyone) profession (archaeology), and most professions will see some changes for the x-pac.
  • You'll get the usual host of things in the x-pac: new BG, new dungeons and raids, new bosses (some revamped old bosses), new pieces of lore and lore changes.
I think that about covers it. There are tons of little things that I didn't mention, but I think a lot of it is definitely subject to change. The big points to take away from all the proposed changes are that:
  1. Blizz is adopting a "back to the basics" sort of approach. In fact, I suspect that line is displayed prominently on a whiteboard somewhere. Some people may say this is "dumbing it down", but lets be honest... we were a bit stat crazy. WoW is not EvE. We're all gonna use Pawn or something like that anyways.
  2. They want to encourage and enable better team play. They seem to be trying to shift the paradigm away from the pervasive selfish attitudes by rewarding sticking it out with a team/guild.
  3. They have not abandoned the "something for everyone" appeal of the game as nearly all parts of the game are receiving attention. There is new, revamped old, PvP, PvE, levelling, exploration, lore, gear, you name it. The game will continue to be well rounded.
I think, if Blizz stays true to the goals, we could see some very nice and welcome changes. The game could have a lot of appeal on a lot of different levels. It's also going to stay healthy for a while still, Blizz is certainly not abandoning it (not with the sweeping changes in mind). You're gonna have QQ, you're going to have folks leave in frustration, but overall, the game should be better off as long as they stay true to the direction they've so prominently announced. At least that's my take on it.

6 comments:

  1. I'm totally jealous of your ability to do what I've been trying to do all weekend - break it down into a bulleted list. My TLDRness prevents me from doing so.

    Also, just might want to add one thing to your bullet about archaeology - its a new secondary profession, not like how inscription and JCing were new primary professions.

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  2. Done. And thank you, it was hard. =)

    This will probably be all I'll say about it though, as I really just wanted to get the "major direction feel" out of blizzcon since I'm sure tons of stuff will change and I don't want to get my hopes up. It's a lot easier to compress when you're looking to "read between the lines" instead of focusing on the lines.

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  3. Thank you for this, I dont follow all the stuff everyone else does and dont read all the articles put out by blizzard. this helps me understand what is going to be coming. thank you.

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  4. I'm stoked to check out the Worgen, especially their starting zone. With all the guild nonsense that's been going on, it's just one more reason to go back to the Alliance lol.

    The guild leveling system sounds like a really cool idea to keep people interested in wanting to do things as a group instead of doing things on their own.

    The Path of the Titans sounded interesting as well but I didn't really TOO much in to it.

    I'm still on the fence on the whole Soul Shard revamp but we'll see. Like you said, it might be gold or it might be poop covered in gold paint. We'll see.

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  5. @Abi - Hey, you're always welcome to come hang out with us on the ally side :-). We're trying to get a raid team together anyways and are looking to recruit a few people.

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