The End to Traditional Raid Sets?

Ahh, gotta love some of these earlier ones!

Yesterday, GameInformer released a summary of their Blizzcon interview with game director Ion Hazzikostas. While the article is rather scant on specific detail (I would imagine the full transcript of that interview will become available later), the main piece of news coming from the interview is that the traditional system of Raid Tier Sets is going away in Battle for Azeroth. The article then speculated that the new Azerite system might take it’s place, allowing players far more flexibility in both abilities modified and pieces of gear equipped.

The information about this thus far is really, really lacking (the article was only about three paragraphs afterall), but I have to say, I’m definitely intrigued to see how this change would pan out. Juggling tier and better loot has always been the bane of my existence, a situation that has only gotten worse in Legion. It’s a little soulcrushing to get brand new loot that would be good if it weren’t in a tier or legendary slot. I’m glad to see that Blizzard is awknowleding this problem and working to solve it. However, I think this plan, for what we know right now, has potential goods, bads, and just plain unknowns.

The Good

Gear Flexibility!

Like I mentioned before, removing the requirement to wear certain pieces of gear to maintain a four set bonus gives the players a lot more choice in what they equip. Especially now in the world of Metzenforging (as my guild lovingly calls it), massive upgrades often have to be shelved because they do not proc in one of the ‘Free Spaces’ that is our Bingo board of gear.

For myself personally, I’ve had the same Normal Warforged Tier shoulders on since I got them one of the first nights of Tomb of Sargeras, despite having several sets of shoulders that are significantly better stat wise, in order to maintain my four set. That’s incredibly frustrating. The RNG nature of gearing can already be very irksome, so that added disappointment of not being able to use upgrades is just insult to injury. If I get an ilvl 945 chest piece with enough critical strike to fill an ocean, I want to be able to use it, darn it!

Faster Gearing Up Process! (potentially)

As it currently stands right now, raiders are locked behind a time gate in regards to tier. There are a set number of bosses that drop tier, and those bosses drop a set number of tier tokens (depending on your group size) each week. Those tokens can then either proc Protector, Vanquisher, or Conqueror, locking that item to specific classes. Perhaps one week you get lucky, and the boss drops one of each type of armor. But perhaps you get unlucky, and every token is a Vanquisher helm. And we haven’t even touched on group composition yet; suppose your raid has a ton of people on the Protector token and very little on the Conqueror token. Your paladin tank will get their four piece almost right away, but your hunters and warriors are straight out of luck with so many people rolling on, comparatively, so few pieces.

For many classes, because of the necessity of the four piece bonus, certain tier pieces are their Best in Slots. Players will keep from rolling on other, non-tier pieces in tier slots because they are holding out for that tier drop. But because so many classes overlap on the same token, your Best in Slot chest comes from the same token that five other people do, even if folks are different armor classes or spec priorities. That’s a lot of artificially created competition in an arena that, I’d argue, already has plenty. Chasing after those tier bonuses adds weeks to the gearing up process.

However, if I’m interpreting the article correctly, it sounds as if Tier Tokens might be done away with entirely (since there would no longer be any slots for raid sets). If that is the case, then raiders will no longer have to wait for weeks to get those bonuses. Gearing up would increase exponentially, since an entire extra layer of RNG would be removed. Absolutely, there would still be the RNG-laden hunt for BiSs, but players would be competing with a much narrower pool of competition. The number of potential upgrades would jump from just a few non-tier slot to practically every single one. Even as someone on the often underrepresented Conqueror token, I would have to say that this is a very, very positive change.

The Bad

The Future of Class Raid Appearance Sets Unclear

The article was particularly vague on this topic (and I could have completely misconstrued it), but from what it sounds like, with the move away from tier set bonuses, Blizzard was also going to be moving away from tier set appearances. Potentially. According to Hazzikostas, “the gear will be more heavily themed from the place it comes […] there’s more customization we want to express through the new Azerite system”, which could mean any number of things. Will there still be class appearance sets, but upgrading a specific slot will augment the look and make it cooler? Will they move away from class-inspired sets to a couple of more general raid appearances? And how will transmog for all of this work?

You guys can read the original quote for yourself in the article, but the impression I’m getting is definitely a lot of column B. And I have to say, I’m a bit sad about that. While some sets are definitely more appealing than others, I’ve always loved the look of one unified look for each class per raid tier. There’s an excitement in the initial reveal. And the class fantasy is pretty great (especially for paladin that headcanon’s a very traditional paladin persona). This is absolutely not the worst thing in the world, but if class appearances sets truly are pulled, I will be saddened.

The Unknown

Honestly, for everything that I’ve talked about thus far, the singular unifying idea right now is that there’s just so little information. Without the full transcript of the interview, we can’t get a solid glimpse at what Hazzikostas was describing. It might turn out that all of the ideas I proposed are moot point in just a couple months (although, it’s always fun to speculate now!). Here are some of my biggest questions regarding the switch that I just couldn’t comment on without more information.

⦁ Will the Azerite system act as a replacement with more options?
⦁ Will every piece of Azerite gear in the same slot have the same ‘talents’, or will it vary by piece?
⦁ If the latter, how many different talent options would there be?
⦁ Will talents be changeable?
⦁ Speaking of the Azerite system, how exactly does that thing work?
⦁ Are you planning on adding set bonuses to specific pieces of gear (i.e. a matching ring and cloak would unlock a small bonus)?
⦁ Any retroactive changes to older tier?
⦁ …And a whole lot more.

I’m hoping more information about this will be available soon since this is potentially one of the bigger shake-ups for the raiding scene that Blizzard has implemented. And hey, if I no longer have to scare people off my tier token, I’m down for that!

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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!)

Under the Wire Expansion Prediction

I very much enjoyed the memes that came out of this “leak” an expansion or two ago

As you probably already know if you follow me on Twitter and as you could likely infer from a lack of posts regarding it, Yotaan and I did not make the trip out to Blizzcon this year. Due to a number of factors, it just wasn’t in the cards. However, I still eagerly await all the news from the convention. I have a network of informants on the ground, instructed to bring me all information as it comes (read: I’m going to be nerding out in Discord with all of my guildies who were able to attend). I also may or may not sneak out of class to watch the opening ceremony. Most likely not. But I’ll definitely be checking my phone often.

The piece of news I’m most looking forward to? New expansion stuff, of course! I’ve heard little bits of rumors and supposed leaks floating about, but I suspect Blizzard has something even more wild than any of us could imagine planned.

That being said, I also know there is no greater honor than guessing new expansion details before they’re released. So, why not throw my hat into the ring in these last few hours before we know for certain?

PANTS EXPANSION PREDICTIONS!

My Best Guess: Old Gods on top of Old Gods with more Old Gods inside
I’m positive I’m not the only one thinking this, given the number of hints within Legion questing, but I’m thinking our next expansion is going to deal with the Old Gods. While I haven’t actually read about Antorus at all yet, it’s feeling a lot like we’ll be either defeating the Legion for good this expansion or severely reducing their ability to be a threat. That leaves the next logical and very large danger to be the Old Gods.

The boss Il’gynoth from the Emerald Nightmare is the biggest tip off. Many of the increasingly cryptic quotes uttered by that mound of flesh haven’t panned out to much yet, which makes me suspect that more is coming. Key on my mind is the quote “Your coming was foretold in the rings. The long circle is nearly complete.” That hints to something a lot bigger than just one raid instance. Tying that in with some of the Magni quests and we start seeing an Azeroth that is about to be overcome by corruption.

If it turns out that we go into Azeroth herself, I would be so down for that! Puns aside! I’ve always found caves to be one of the coolest things ever, and would absolutely love a super atmospheric underground expansion. There’s so much stuff buried underneath Azeroth’s surface that I don’t think Blizzard would have to stretch very far. And with the improvements to multi-floored maps, I think the player base might be more accepting. Who knows, maybe World of Warcraft: The Dark Below could be similar to Legion in that we only spend a portion of the expansion in one area before leaving to explore another.

Stuff I want to see, but I suspect I may not

Race Alternatives
Ever since the Lightforged and the Nightborne were introduced this expansion, I’ve spent all of my time wishing that I could make my characters look as wicked cool as those sub-factions. I know players have been asking for this for a long time, and the developers themselves have been cagey at best in their answers, but I’d absolutely love to have race alternatives. Give me those Wildhammer dwarves and Highmountain tauren!

However, I’m not convinced that this will happen. That’s a lot of model rigging, with comparatively low content pay-off. I’d be much less surprised if we got a new race (although, I have no clue what that could be as of right now). Not to say that I don’t want it, but I definitely wouldn’t be shocked if it didn’t happen.

A Jaina who is Not Crazy, Just Angry
I am legitimately worried about this one. I’ve always loved Jaina Proudmoore’s character for a lot of the same reasons why I like Anduin; she is brave, she is (was) an idealist, and she is underprepared but willing to give it her all. Jaina’s got spunk, and especially now that she’s all riled up, she’s no longer quite so passive. I’d absolutely love to see an active Jaina who decisively changes the course of events because she is just so gosh darn angry at the way the world is going. Not blinded by her rage, but focused.

Unfortunately, I’m not so hopeful on this one. Blizzard isn’t so great at writing nuanced female characters – let’s be fair here, they’re not the best at writing nuanced characters at all in the World of Warcraft. However, the writing has been improving a great deal in this most recent expansion (I think the treatment of Xe’ra can attest to that) so I do have hope that, should Blizzard choose not to go all Evil-Jaina, they could write a really compelling character.

 

I could probably just keep writing and writing about new expansion stuff, but I’ll go ahead and wrap it up here. If it turns out that I’ve called any of this, someone owes me a soda! And internet notoriety!

Tomorrow can’t get here fast enough!

BlizzCon!!

The Hype Center!

The Hype Center!

Months and months and months ago, Yotaan and I wrote about our adventure at the WoD live cinematic premiere. At the time, we thought that would be the closest we were going to get to the Blizzcon experience.  Boy, were we wrong.

Fast forward to now and Yotaan and I are excitedly enjoying our very first Blizzcon!! So far, we’ve gone to the Con Before The Storm party as well as experiencing our first day of Blizzcon glory! Since so many sites cover the news aspect much better than Yotaan and I ever could, we’re going to instead focus on the personal impact of the con rather than the deets.  Here are some of our trip highlights!

Fussypants: Oh my goodness, I don’t even know where to begin!  Beginning, maybe? Yotaan and I attended the CbtS party on Thursday night which, while being initially intimidating to actually go up and meet all the people behind the names, was a perfect beginning to the con!  I was able to meet a number of awesome artist and community folks, people that I have chatted with or looked up to for a long time over the web.  I’m probably going to forget some but in no particular order; Bawk, Avaltor, Ratsel (thank you again for the pin and advice!), Malkarii, Faebelina, Skornflakes, Quel’Fabulous, Katch, Serephita, Battlepanda, and Lyeric.

Speaking of Serephita, thank you so much for letting me set up a little sign with business cards out in the vending area! That was also a really exciting opportunity; over 100 people grabbed a card with my name on it!

After staying up far too late, Yotaan and I came back the next day ready for con action! We’ve spent a surprising amount of time watching the arena championship; something about the energy of the crowd all cheering at once made even this die hard PvEr interested in some player vs player.  And hey, the go to PvP healer appeared to be holy paladins, which was totally awesome for me to watch!

blizzcon-slide

Wonderful picture, boat day?

The Legion: What’s Next panel was also an amazing experience.  It’s one thing to read about the announcements on Blizzard Watch but it’s quite another to live through the hype as it happens.  The energy on that stage was palpable! And man, am I psyched about those “micro-holidays”! And, the class flying mounts! And ARGUS! Gosh, even though it wasn’t an expansion announcement, I am super super excited to play WoW!

blizzcon-cosplayCosplay! The cosplay at the convention has been insanely awesome! Lots and lots of Overwatch (sooo many lady McCrees!) and a good amount of Warcraft as well! Some of the most impressive costumes I have seen was an absolutely perfect Deckard Cain, lady Varian Wrynn, an enormous Reinhardt, Chromie, one of the Feral druid artifact skins, and a stunning re-imagination of the Warlock Tier 2.  I think the most amazing part though, is the fact that these people are just wandering around throughout the enter con.  Turn around and suddenly, there’s yet another Dv.A sitting at the panel behind you.

My badge!

Ok well Yotaan wants me to wrap this up (we’re writing on my laptop) so I’ll just finish with, if you happen to see the two of us at the convention on Saturday, totally come up and say hi! I would love to meet some of the readers of the blog face to face and I mean, I’ve also got some pretty spiffy business cards left over!  Meet and greet the Pants!

Yotaan: By far my favorite time during this trip was during the Con before the Storm.  I accompanied Pants, of course, as we wandered the party.  I loved her excitement and enthusiasm as she met other artists that she admired.  They were all friendly and wonderful.  It is fantastic to see such a supportive atmosphere around artists and their art.  Frankly, our trip could of ended right there, and I would have been happy.

However, Blizzcon is pretty awesome and I saw some great stuff!  While there is a great community around WoW, its rare to run into other folks in the everyday world that know, much less play, WoW.  And then if you are lucky, you get to go to Blizzcon, where SO MANY people play WoW.  What a thrilling opportunity to share this great game with like minded individuals, this experience alone is a highlight.
But there is one more highlight.  One more small, but incredibly  important detail that I learned today…

I get to ride an air elemental as a mount.   A zephyr!  Yotaan will ride a flying, whirling, lightning filled TORNADO!!!

Oh yeah, say hi to us and all, but I’ll be distracted by thoughts flying by twister.

Blizzcon Part 2 – Yotaan Strikes Back

Legion Stuff
Earlier this week you read Fussypant’s take on Blizzcon’s info dump about Legion, and now it’s Yotaan’s turn to opine!
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Transmog Changes
Fussypants was really, really excited about this one.  It clearly is a great improvement over the current system.  Yotaan only mogs his helm and weapon, so for me, this is a minor excitement.   The interesting bit will be that it is shared across the entire account.  All the random items that I’ve kept for posterity will be in the new system.  Considering that Fussypants and I have played for years, I bet there are a ton of potential mogs.  How is it going to handle hundreds of different helms, weapons, chests, pants, gloves, bracers, and off-hands?  Frankly, it’ll probably be too overwhelming for me to use…
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Crafting Changes
Ahh, now this is interesting.  Crafting in Warlords, particularly leather working has been by far the most lackluster experience.  I had a lot more fun on all the other previous expacs crafting than in the current one.   It will great for Yotaan to make gear that is worthwhile and relevant and that he can actually use!  The UI changes are great too but I think the entire UI needs to be updated to modern gaming standards.
 .Elemental Fist Wep
Artifacts
Nooooooo!  Blizz got it wrong!  In my eight years of playing an elemental shaman, Yotaan (formerly Yotin) had never, ever, EVER, equipped a fist weapon.  A quick search of Wowhead reveals a grand total of 20 fist weapons with intellect, half of them from Warlords.  That 20 total in the entire game.  So, naturally, the Artifact weapon for elemental shaman is The Fist of Ra-Den, a pointy hand/claw thing.  Huh?   Now we knew the enhancement folks got Doomhammer, so that choice was out, but couldn’t the devs find something else?  Plus I think a shield and a fist weapon looks dorky….
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I hear that there are mixed reviews of some of the other Artifacts, such as shadow priest’s dagger, Xal’athath, Blade of the Black Empire, so maybe I shouldn’t complain.  Overall, I am excited about the Artifact system and “leveling” the weapon.  I am curious how it will affect PvP (more on that later) and what happens beyond this expansion.
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Highmountain
Questing Changes
This is a great improvement.  The game will no longer choose where you level, you get to pick the zone and level away.  If the quality of the story in Legion matches Warlords, then this will be the best leveling experience yet.  I think it will be more friendly for alts as well, as you can go back to your favorite bits as you level up the next time at any time.  The one point that has not been clarified is when you have 2 different level characters in one zone leveling together.  Obviously, Fussypants and Yotaan level together and, in the past we needed to be close in level for it to work.  Can we be significantly different now, say 101 and 107, and still level in the same zone on the same quest?  That would be cool.
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The Cinematic
Fussypants said it all.  And, most interestingly, the cinematic was more arresting than the movie trailer.
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Who is Torby?

Who’s Torby?

PvP Changes???
Where was the PvP discussion?  Was there any?  We do know that there not a new battleground and no world PvP zone in Legion.  Previously to Blizz, there was some discussion of having separate talents for PvP.  The announcement trailer did mention the new honor system.  There will be Honor Ranks that can reward prestige items.  Gear is less impactful in PvP.  There are a few other minor details that I found searching Wowhead but not much more.  Hopefully more info comes out during the Beta because these are major changes without much accompanying detail.
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Once again, Blizz is planning on changing a lot for the upcoming expac.  Like Fussypants, I cannot wait and I hope for an early, not late, 2016 release!

Blizzcon, and Transmog, and Trailers, Oh My!

LegionIt’s information overload! I was expecting information for sures (I mean, that’s what Blizzcon is for) but I wasn’t expecting this much! Taking the 5 changes I thought were the biggest, here’s my take of the news from Anaheim! Now with convenient hyperlinks so you know what I am discussing.

 

Transmog UITransmog Changes
We are going to talk about this first because this is the most important change to come from Blizzcon.

…Alright, maybe not quite number one.  But its high up there.

I am so super stoked by this announcement, I actually squealed when I heard about it.  Transmog has become a very large part of the game for some players (and the reason to keep playing for others)  and I am glad that Blizzard has decided to revamp the whole system.  Learning the appearances will free up thousands of bag spaces over all my toons.  Having transmog sets linked to spec has been something I’ve been asking for for years.  And the ability to save sets in game is honestly amazing! I can’t wait for Legion to drop, if only for this!
Profession UICrafting Changes
And all the crafters of the realm doth sayeth ‘Finally!’

All kidding aside, I am excited by the changes that Blizzard has announced (and I know there will be more).  It sounds like they are really pushing to make crafting relevant and interesting again and are not tying it to one specific aspect of the game (cough cough garrisons).  The new UI they demo-ed was sorely needed and the “disenchanting” of other professions goods solves the problem of what to do with old profession stuff.  This change was badly needed and greatly appreciated!

I don't even play my disc priest that much, but I may start to if only for this awesome looking staff!

I don’t even play my disc priest that much, but I may start to if only for this awesome looking staff!

Artifacts
I…. I have mixed feelings about this.  One on hand, I love the idea of having a weapon that you keep with you and get to augment and I really love the idea of a talent tree for the weapons.  But on the other hand, I worry that it might become a required and grindy activity after a while.  Also, I’m not a huge fan of being locked into one particular weapon type all expansion.  Especially considering a certain plate wearing healer I play is going to have to lug a lame book around with her all expansion.

I think if artifacts are going to work and stay relevant all expansion, Blizzard will need to make them upgradable through numerous channels so there is a choice on where to grind.  In addition, I vote that we should be able to transmog them into other types of weapons that our class can use.  While I love the staff that brewmasters get, I love duel wielding kegs as well.
Leveling LegionQuesting Changes
I’m tentatively optimistic about this change as well.  If everything really and truly scales then this will allow an amazing amount of leveling freedom. One possible downside I could see is that if we have to unlock the Pillar of Creation on each toon then doing every zone on 3+ alts could get grindy and redundant. If Blizzard plays it smart, they will allow for alternate ways to get that Pillar than questing so that while you need to go into every zone, you don’t have to do the same things every time.  I’m excited to play through this change as well!

The Trailer
Fussypants: The very first thing I thought of when the trailer first started up was ‘oh no, this is like the beginning of the Lich King trailer with the My Son business, has something happened to Varian or Anduin??’ which then turned in to ‘foreshadowing, foreshadowing, FORESHADOWING’ as the dialogue went on.  However as soon as the trailer really got going and the action started I began tuning out Varian’s dialogue.  I believe this is the first time we’ve gotten a CGI cinema with Varian and Sylvannas and I’ll be honest, I was drinking up the beautiful rendering of them.  Blizzard has once again delivered with a visual masterpiece.

At the part where Varian plunged into the water, I will admit I was genuinely worried we were about to lose him right there.  All that I could think of was how lame it was that a simple ship sinking took him out for good when he’s been through so much more, and how awesome the Fury Warrior artifacts were going to be. (In hind sight, I probably should have been more concerned about the fate of my supreme leader but I was more considering rolling a warrior to get his swords).

I will say, this trailer did not give me quite the chills that previous ones have, but it was still incredibly well done! Fantabulous fuel for the hype train!

I already cannot wait for Legion.  With all the quality of life changes, revamps, and new content promised, Legion is shaping up to be one heck of an expansion! All aboard the hype train!

Look for Yotaan’s responses in the next coming days…