Blizzcon Recap Day 2

(Blizzcon spoilers ahead my friends!)
Well, it turns out, the day I thought would be full of live coverage of Blizzcon ended up being surprisingly devoid of anything WoW. Standardized testing in the morning and then an 8 hour Star Wars marathon with friends meant that I never got a chance to sit down and read about all the Blizzcon news until this morning. Hence, no blog post yesterday (I’ve officially used one of my eight free passes).

However, the news from yesterday absolutely merits a whole bunch of discussion, so I’m going to go ahead and do my Blizzcon Day 2 wrap up now!

Of all the information to come out yesterday, some of the most exciting and most polarizing definitely came from the Warcraft Q & A panel. First off, I think we need to address the elephant in the room.

Anduin is not a paladin??

Whaaaat?? Look, I don’t buy this! He’s running around in plate armor, carrying a sword, and casting spells that look suspiciously like Consecrate, how on Azeroth is this boy not a paladin now?? Per the Blizzardwatch live blog of the event, Afrasiabi seemed to insist that King Anduin was a hero class and could do things that players could not. But, correct me if I’m wrong, the hybrid between priests and warriors are paladins. Swinging swords and the Light is kind of our thing! Also, I was really, really looking forward to Holy Pally Anduin; Blizzard, you’re breaking my heart! I’m hoping that this decision gets overturned before the expac drops, Pants wants more lore paladin buddies!

No, you’re the one exploiting every opportunity to post more screenshots of Anduin

Second most important thing that came out of the Q & A was the hint at more body customization in the WoW character creation screen! The example given was straighter backs for orcs, but personally, I’m really hoping they put in more body types for female characters in particular. Curves can be wonderful, but I’ve always wanted more muscular options for all of my melee characters. It just feels wrong to be prancing around in plate with double Ds. If Blizzard is truly going to give more options on body times, I’m also hoping that they’ll introduce more hairstyles as well. And more variety in skin tone. And face structure. And pretty much everything. More customization, woohoo!

The clarification that Jaina was “complicated” and damaged rather than bad news bears brought me a lot of relief as well. Rather than throw her under the bus as another generic bad guy, it sounds like they’re making a concerted effort to tell a story with her, one that includes shades of grey. While I might main a solidly Lawfully Good paladin, I find that the most interesting stories are those that aren’t clear cut good or bad. With Jaina, Blizzard has the potential to tell a wonderfully nuanced story and I’m really hoping they take that path. Also, mages are my second favorite class, so definitely hit me up with that mage lore!

The announcement of a stat squish in Battle for Azeroth wasn’t unexpected in the slightest, but I won’t lie, I’m a little sad. There’s something so thrilling about doing millions of heals per second. It’s hard to see the squished numbers as nearly as impressive when you were just creating numbers so much higher. This is not to say that Blizzard shouldn’t do the stat squish; for the health of the game, I firmly believe that intermittent stat squishes are important to keep the numbers from becoming insane. But a little part of me will miss critting for three million with one Holy Shock.

Along the same lines, comes the item level squish as well. This one I’m actually a lot less concerned about. I’m curious to see how this will pan out for older expansion gear, but seeing as how we’ll be getting 1000 ilvled pieces of gear in Antorus, smaller numbers there would not be remiss. And if anything, with the smaller amounts of stats on gear (due to the stat squish), reducing the item level as well would make a lot of sense.

Image courtesy of Blizzard Watch

One of the other big features of the upcoming expansion is the Heart of Azeroth. While a lot of the details are a touch fuzzy, it sounds like the Heart will be Battle for Azeroth’s Artifacts. Players will explore the world and defeat bosses to get Artifact Power Azerite in order to power up the Heart and gain access to new traits. Unlike the spec specific approach in Legion thought, the Heart will be a spec and class neutral necklace (I think?) and will impact the helm, shoulders, and chest slot.

I am definitely going to need to give this one a lot of time and a sizable amount of in-game testing before I come to my conclusion. One of my biggest complaints with the early implementation of the Artifact System was the way that it severely penalized players who couldn’t log in every day. With how central artifacts were to your character’s power level, falling behind had a noticeable impact on gameplay. Credit where credit is due though; the developers did a fantastic job improving the system over the course of the expansion. However, this type of power increase system has still left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m all for more customization in terms of traits and talents, but this method has not been my favorite way of doing so. Gearing up becomes so much more complicated. But, like I said earlier, it’s still way too early to pass definitive judgement.

I’m positive I’m forgetting so many tidbits of information but in order to maintain some semblance of pithiness, I’ll go ahead and wrap up here. Blizzcon 2017 was pretty dang awesome! It maybe wasn’t the most hype-filled convention ever, but all of the features that Blizzard brought to the table are the kind of deep dive fixes that desperately needed to happen. While some of the big changes might not look as flashy, I firmly believe that much of what has been announced will improve the quality of the game immensely. I eagerly await where the game goes next!

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