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!

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!)

A Whole New Guild

WoWScrnShot_020515_204251I’ve been having a ball in WoW recently.  No, I haven’t been raiding. Or PvPing.  Or even on  my main characters that much.  No, I’ve been in the WoWInsider Blizzard Watch guild ‘of The Queue’.

I rolled a draenei mage named Fussypants (surprise surprise) shortly after hearing about the guild.  I had created a character more just to have one in there, pop in occasionally, and stay connected to the Queuevians.  What I didn’t expect was for me to log onto that character everyday.

When I joined there were about 20-30 members; not huge but considering the guild was a day old, not too shabby either.  But over the next couple days, the guild grew explosively.  I think right now we are at about 270 some members.  And very few of those are alts.   So with about 200 active members, you can just imagine what chat is like.  Yup, solid wall of green.  Often times there are two if not three different conversations going on at once.  People are chatting, joking, and laughing at all hours a day!  For someone who has never been in a huge guild before, this is a pretty cool thing!

At first I was logging on just to level, read the chat, and occasionally contribute.  I sent out a lot of green linen shirts as a joke, but other than that I didn’t do too much with the guild. I was content to be a lurker.  But everything changed when I proposed an idea.
Of The Queue Guild SSAs a goodbye to WoWInsider, I set up and organized a guild screenshot to submit to Around Azeroth (and yes, it got chosen!)  All the members of the guild met up at the steps of Stormwind Keep in their best guild tabard and outfits, and we took bunch of screenshots.  It was a ton of fun and a huge success!

Shortly after this, I was offered, and accepted, a promotion to officer.

Now I’ve been spending most of my time sitting by the Stormwind fountain, chatting in /g, whispering various people, and setting up guild events.  I never knew how much fun it was to be a contributing factor in a huge guild.  People want to do things together and are always full of ideas!  I’m really enjoying just talking with so many people at one time.  I rarely ever level now; I just stand in one spot!

I won’t say that I was burning out on WoW, but I was definitely less motivated to log in.  I was slowly leveling up my toons, but not really for any reason, more just to have them all at 100.  Even PvP, my newly discovered hobby couldn’t keep me occupied for long.  I guess what I needed was a huge change up.  And the Blizzard Watch guild was just that.

So this is what I’ve been doing with most of my WoW time.  Socializing.  Heh, never thought I’d say that! I’m happy that this guild is working out thus far as its a really fun place to hang out!  I love my main’s guild too; its great to be in two different guild both full of great people!

Come join us! ‘Of The Queue’ is always recruiting any readers, lurkers, or commenters from WoWInsider Blizzard Watch! We are located alliance side on Nesingwary/Vek’nilash/Nazgrel US realms.  If you need an invite just make your way to the Stormwind fountain and, odds are, you will find me or some other member there!  Oh and yeah, we have a pretty spiffy forum page too!