Blizzcon Recap Day 1

Image from the official World of Warcraft account

(Blizzcon spoilers ahead my friends!)
Day one of Blizzcon is coming to a close and boy, has it been a wild ride of emotions! So many amazing things announced, so many unexpected twists, I wish I could have been at the convention itself! However, I have to give a shout out to BlizzardWatch and the Warcraft Twitter community for reporting so diligently on what goes on in Irvine.

Like I suspected, I wasn’t able to watch the opening ceremony live due to school (no matter how hype I am, I suppose grades are important), but I managed to watch the new Warcraft expansion trailer on the way to an after school activity. And man oh man, did I have so many emotions! It’s a darn shame that none of my IRL friends play the game, I had no one to nerd out with for a few hours, ha ha!

I’ll try to avoid a full blown analysis of the cinematic now (since there’s so much to cover!) but there were a few moments that I just have to touch on. First is something rather small, but it really stuck with me. Right in the beginning of the video, as Sylvannas is ascending the steps to the top of the wall, something hits the stone structure she’s in and all the rubble clatters in such a realistic and urgent way, I was immediately hooked! Like I said, I know that’s a super strange thing to pick up on but I feel like that moment really showcased just how incredible the WoW cinematic team is that, they managed to capture something so seemingly mundane so perfectly.

Secondly, Saurfang!! I’m an Alliance girl through and through, but even I was freaking out when it looked like the venerable orc was about to go down for good. I won’t lie, when he popped up later and was ok, I let out a veritable sigh of relief.

I have a dozen or so screen grabs of this boy, don’t judge

Speaking of being an Alliance girl, can we just take a moment to appreciate Anduin Wrynn? Take a moment and soak that all in. Usually I’m the last person to notice or comment on this sort of thing, but dang, Anduin is looking fine. But, more importantly, it looks like our not-quite-so-little king has graduated from priest school. Anduin Wrynn is a paladin, baby! This one actually got me to cheer out loud when I first saw it.

He is so sweet!

I’m very curious, however, to see what led Anduin down this path. Up until this point, he’s been a large proponent of peace and I wonder what forced him from this. Did warhawk Genn Graymane push the young king into it? Or did Anduin choose this course of action by himself?

Ok, one more before we move on

As soon as I got home, I sat down to watch the full opening ceremony and catch up on all the panels. There’s so much information floating around so I’m sure I’ve probably missed a few things (and I’m positive other things have been garbled in translation) but I won’t deny, my excitement did tone down a bit to more realistic levels. None of the features that were showcased were anything that I absolutely adored, although I thought all of them were excellent quality of life changes. And I’m very curious to see where this whole “Island Invasion” thing will go.

Actually, scratch that earlier statement, there’s definitely one feature that I was totally stoked for – Allied Races! (Side note: my wish from the other day came true!) I’m so down for Lightforged Draenei, I’m seriously considering raceswapping my main, and I’ve never changed her appearance in all my years of playing her. This might also be the thing that finally gets me to play Horde; I’ve wanted to play as a Nightborne ever since Suramar, so I might have to swap sides, at least for a bit, in order to do so.

I spoke too soon again, there’s another feature that I’m really down for (I’m going over a crash course version of what was announced today as I write) and that is level scaling. This is such a huge quality of life change, I cannot stress enough how awesome I find this change. There are entire zones that I have not stepped foot in post Cata because of the way that quest XP used to work (also, I’m a bit lazy and getting Loremaster was way down on my priorities list). But, now, if I can actually level my characters at the same time that I explore the zones I missed, that’s a win-win! I’ll be curious to see if the faction control of continents will apply to all levels or just 120 (my guess right now would be 120 only, as that would otherwise require a good deal of re-jiggering), but on the whole, I’m very excited about this change. No more dungeon leveling if I can avoid it!

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows however. I made the mistake of reading some of the commentary about all the new content and a rather vocal amount of it was surprisingly… negative. My perception of past expansion announcements might be skewed, but I don’t remember any other announcements being met with as much negativity. Being entirely frank, seeing all of those complaints really put a dent in my enthusiasm.

I want to be clear here, I don’t mean to dictate how people should feel about all this news. I’m definitely not telling people that they can’t have opinions. But on a purely personal level, I was bummed out. Approaching all of this news with excitement and then seeing largely criticism in response, it definitely took the wind out of my sails.

Since I’ve already touched on it, let’s go ahead and tackle the next expansion in general. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. A return to the theme of faction warfare. With no more (visible) global threats that need to be neutralized by the combined might of the Horde and Alliance, we are left to our own device. Which, in the world of warcraft, definitely involves battles.

Personally, I am cautiously optimistic about the next expansion! It’s no Legion, with it’s features upon features that seemed to be catered specifically towards appeasing the fanbase, but I think there will be a lot of good stuff inside. From a historical standpoint, the only other expansion we’ve had that has put the primary focus on faction conflict thus far has been Mists of Pandaria, which was one of my favorite expansions to date. But, just like Pandaria, I think we’re going to find that there’s more going on than just battle. I’m still holding onto my Old Gods idea, and that partways through the expansion, we’re going to see a shift in focus. Regardless of whether that happens or not, I’m geniunely looking forward to Battle for Azeroth (what will our short acronym be? Battle? BfA? Azeroth??). Am I as hyped as I’ve been for previous expansions? Maybe not. But do I trust that Blizzard can put out a highly enjoyable product? Absolutely!

Overall, I’m thoroughly enjoying all the Blizzcon excitement! I can’t wait for tomorrow, where I can actually hear about a lot of this happening live.

Oh, and let me leave you with this kick-ass image of a Jaina who is not Crazy, just Angry (both predictions came true!)

6 thoughts on “Blizzcon Recap Day 1

  1. Thank you for the post 🙂 Do not let all the negativity get to you; I think some of it is caused by the fact that we are not “quite there yet”, as in where the expansion takes off. We do not know what leads to the burning of Teldrassil or the attack on Undercity. Once we know more, I imagine the hype will overtake and so will the positivity. Right now its sort of “capsuled” if that makes sense, I think 🙂

    Gorgeous screens! Gosh that cinematic…

    • That’s very true; we haven’t even finished out this expansion yet so we don’t know where the Legion story will lead us. Come to think of it, it’s kind of funny that I’m already so hyped for the next expansion when we haven’t even gotten to the last raid of this one.
      And yessss, that cinematic was so beautiful! Although, I have to say, I’m calling bogus on Blizzard insisting that Anduin is still a priest (per the WoW Q and A). He’s wearing plate, wielding a sword, and using what I thought looked very similar to Consecrate, those are all classic hallmarks. We already have a “hero class” that combines both warrior and priest, it’s called a paladin! 😛

  2. Just wish to remark here, as one who has a bit of negative feelings about this new expac: you would think that over the many, many years that we as characters have learned to work with the opposite faction, even eventually welcoming them into our class halls, that we would move past this silly faction idiocy. There is no more room left to grow if we are stuck in a dystopian cycle of Faction rivalry! Band together to defeat the world-ending-threat! Faction rivalry! Rinse, repeat!

    It’s silly, it’s outdated, it’s inconvenient (Doylist sense: I want to play with my cross-faction friends, especially my B-tag friends who already cross the faction communication divide), and it’s pointless.

    I did like seeing Anduin all grown up, and I am soooo sad that Blizz is keeping Sylvanas evil- I wish she could be redeemed, though I know they will never let that happen.

    • Prefacing this by saying: This is entirely my opinion, which you can take or leave as you wish!

      Personally, I have no troubles believing that the Horde and Alliance, when no longer facing a catastrophic threat which requires the combined efforts of both forces, would go straight back to fighting each other. The animosity between the two factions is something deep and bitter and angry and, most importantly, recent. Wounds like those between the Horde and Alliance would take generations of concentrated effort to overcome; there just hasn’t been enough time for the collective majority of both factions to forgive one another. Absolutely, our individual players might have no problems with the opposite side, but on a factional level, I feel that’s unrealistic. The crimes both sides committed against each other aren’t just memories or stories passed down, they’re events that people have lived through and seen with their own eyes. That kind of stuff is incredibly hard to forget.

      This being said though, I would be absolutely behind giving the players more autonomy in choosing who they work with. Have the Battle for Azeroth be the backdrop of the expansion, and then individual players can choose whether they join the war efforts or instead opt to adventure as free agents. And I’m totally with you on the cross-faction grouping!

      I can absolutely understand not liking the war narrative. I’ll only touch on this briefly since it can quickly become a quagmire, but with the real world being as tumultuous as it is, finding anger and fighting in game when all you want to do is escape can be draining. I totally get this. But speaking from story perspective, I just don’t see how both sides could have already resolved their differences.

      P.S. Fistbump on the Anduin love!

  3. “but I don’t remember any other announcements being met with as much negativity.”

    MoP got a lot od flack and negativity IIRC: mainly ’cause of the Pandaren themselves.

    I think WoD had some negative reactions as well.

    • It was long enough ago that I suspect my memory of Mists reception was skewed, to be entirely honest. But hey, if people were equally as lukewarm about Pandaria, which went on to become my favorite expansion thus far, I’d say this bodes pretty well for Battle for Azeroth!
      As for Warlords, I do remember people being excited for the return to BC style stuff, but there was definitely worry and confusion about the time travel nature, that’s for sure. Although, unless I’m misremembering, I don’t recall the reaction being as… definitively negative from some voices as it has been this time around.

      This all being said though, I fully realize that this is the very first we’ve heard of the new expansion, so there’s bound to be some knee-jerk reactions. I’ve probably made a few myself! I’m definitely going to give it a lot more time to simmer before I fully decide where I stand with the new expac.

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