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.

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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…

Legion Hopes

Blizzcon

With the impending Blizzcon, Yotaan and Fussypants talk about what they hope will be revealed on that big stage.

 

Yotaan: Blizzcon is next week. NEXT WEEK!!! Someday I would love to take Fussypants out of school and travel there to experience the full glory. Obviously, we are excited about any Wow news but the other games are awesome too. But, it’s hard to get tickets and Anaheim is far, far away. So, let’s speculate on possible Legion news.

In the first announcement, a trickle of news about Artifacts came out. More details would be awesome and in particular Yotaan doesn’t care about the weapon. It could be a mace, a dagger, or any 1-handed shaman weapon. The Artifact could be any of those. Assuming that the Artifact for elemental shamans are a weapon, the important bit needs to be the shield! I am hoping for great a variety of shield drops since there will not be any weapon drops. Betcha you didn’t expect that!

Most agree that one of the best parts of Warlords was the leveling. Both the Alliance and the Horde had great stories and different paths to take. I am hoping Legion is the same because leveling can be so fun. Intricate stories are wonderful to unravel. Having read the novels and many of the short stories, watching the lore unfold during questing has been a particular fave of mine. Supposedly the devs have been working on Legion for many months – let’s hope the questing is a big part of that work.

Fussypants and I have never played any of the WoW betas. I still don’t plan to play Legion’s, either, but I am hoping for beta news. If the beta is coming out soon(tm) then it means the release is soon too! Given the fact that we have gotten only one patch of significance in Warlords and there is not any plans for major patches for this expansion, I suspect there could be a major introductory patch for Legion. The moose mount is a hint of this. Let’s have a major intro-patch, a la Lich King! If the beta is soon, then the intro-patch is soon too. Moar content please!

 

 

Fussypants: Someone needs to bring a pair of pants with the words Fussypants written on them in sharpie to Blizzcon. And send me pictures of those pants at the con. Pretty please?

But anyways, on to what I hope to hear about! Obviously, I need to know about the Holy Paladin artifact. I won’t go so far as to say I’ll quit Holy Paladin-ing if the artifact isn’t a shield… but it’s on the table (tongue planted firmly in cheek). Honestly though, the suspense of finding that out is killing me! But really I want to see all of the artifacts.

I am also very curious which features from the expansion reveal will stay, which will change, which will be gone, and which new ones will appear. I expect there to be more info on demon hunters but I’m curious to see what new there will be. For example the promised updates to the transmog system needs to be revealed. My bank and void storage space is begging for that to be revealed. And more info on the class halls would be very welcome (especially from a particularly rowdy faction of rogues…). I’m curious as to what purpose class halls will have and how the artifacts will tie into gameplay. Hopefully Blizzcon will info dump on all of this!

Like Yotaan mentioned, I would also like a timeline the beta release. Not because I necessarily want to get in, but a timeline would mean that the expansion is a measurable amount of months away. I want that content as soon as possible!

With Warlords, we had the animated Lords of War videos and I would love to see those continued with Legion. They were both beautiful and chockfull of tantalizing lore and I hope that we get another batch of them. Or maybe even two! Those videos were great also because they didn’t require you purchase them (like the novels) since they are freely available on the internet. Keep ‘em coming!

On a non-Warcraft note, I do hope there is more info on Overwatch. I sadly haven’t gotten into the beta yet (*checks battlenet page again*) but I would love to hear more info about the characters, the design process and the path that Blizzard wants to take with the game. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I wish there was a story campaign in the game. Maybe Blizzard will announce one at the con, we just don’t know yet! A girl can dream!

Overall, I’m just excited for all the info that will be coming these next couple of days. Go go hype train!

 

So what about you guys? What do you want to see at Blizzcon?

Wrapping up Warlords?

world-of-warcraft-warlords-of-draenor-logo-1920x1080A recent interview between Mammytwink and Zecharia and Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton has revealed a lot of key details about future content in WoD.  Namely Hellfire Citadel is most likely the last raid in Warlords and 6.2 the last content patch.  While Blizzard gave themselves plenty of breathing room to add more content if it is needed, the fact remains that we are at the end stage of this expansion.
Before I dive into a lengthy explanation of my opinion on the matter, I think it might be wise to review what this expansion has been thus far.

November 8, 2013 – Warlord of Draenor, the 5th expansion of the Warcraft MMO, is announced at Blizzcon
Some lucky Blizzcon go-ers are able to play an early version of the game.  WoD is described as beautiful to look at, but not very far along development wise

June 27, 2014 – Warlords of Draenor begins closed beta testing
A large chunk of time passes and WoD finally opens for beta testing.

November 13, 2014 – Warlords of Draenor Officially Launches
The Dark Portal opens and players pour into the timey-wimey alternate universe world of Draenor.  First impressions are fantastic: questing is the best in game and the world looks beautiful.  However, a lack of endgame content, weak profession design, and dependence on the garrison burns some players out rather quickly.  The expansion costs $10 more than previous expansions.

February 24, 2015 – Patch 6.1 drops, the first major patch of Warlords
Despite being a major patch, 6.1 is rather light on content.  Twitter integration, the last of the new models, heirloom tab, and garrison changes are all added.  General consensus is that this is a minor patch at best, and the leftover cleaning up from launch at worst.
Shortly after, Blackrock Foundry opens up and the first raid tier is finished.

June 23, 2015 – Patch 6.2 drops, the second (and final?) major patch of Warlords
6.2 is the first patch with actual content added to the game.  The patch brings Tanaan Jungle, the Shipyard, Hellfire Citadel, Mythic Dungeons, and assorted Bonus events such as Timewalking.  Much of the content feels like final patch content and Tanaan bears many similarities to Timeless Isle.
The New Dark PortalWhen you look at the overview of WoD, it seems truncated somehow.  Almost as if we are missing a patch in between 6.1 and 6.2. On top of this, the endgame content and story has been rather weak.  When you compare with Mists, the expansion just before, Warlords seems rather… lame.

I think Blizzard’s attempt at pushing out content at a faster rate has seriously crippled the Warlords expansion.  There was huge potential for an epic remix of Burning Crusade but what we got was not quite that.  The WoD we got was a half finished ‘almost expansion’.

Warlords hasn’t been all terrible though.  I strongly believe that the leveling of this expansion is the best in game.  The storytelling in the 90 to 100 experience is truly amazing. Cinematics, treasures scattered about, and all the little details help to build a complete and fantastic experience.  And, the leveling experience is very repeatable.  I truly hope that Blizzard recognizes WoD’s leveling experience for it’s strengths and uses the same design next expansion.

The endgame unfortunately has been less successful.  This has been covered time and time again, so I don’t need to go into much detail.  The general idea was that there was little to do or nothing compelling, and after particularly strong leveling content this really showed.

6.2 being the last patch is slightly disappointing to me.  Not because the patch itself is light on content (on the contrary, this patch could easily last myself personally a year) but because of the track record of the expansion.  If we end Warlords like this, the expansion will feel unfinished and half done. No other expansion has felt this way.  Even Cataclysm, for all it’s faults, felt like a whole expansion.  Warlords as it is feels like it is missing parts.

So I sincerely hope that Warlords is not over with 6.2. Maybe we will still go to Faralon? Maybe we can deal with the fungus that threatens to swallow Draenor?  Maybe we can learn more about the titan influence on the planet? There are so many loose ends that Blizzard can pick from to tie up.  Warlords needs at least one more patch to ‘complete it’.

Because as it stands, Warlords has had exactly one patch with actual game content.  Mists, the expansion right before had four.  Four patches where new content, new dailies, new zones were added.  In order to hold up to a precedent like that, WoD needs at least one more totally awesome batch of content.  I suppose Blizzard could just cut their losses now and wrap up Warlords quickly but that will stain their reputation.  And while Warlords was an ‘almost’, it shouldn’t be a stain.

The Big Reveal

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Two days ago, the new World of Warcraft expansion was revealed officially at BlizzCon.  It is called, “The Warlords of Draenor”.

Fussypants:  I love it! I love it, love it, love it!  My favorite part of WoW lore is the draenei and orc history.  I think it’s spectacular that the players can now partake in one of the pivitol parts of WoW lore.  The BlizzCon video was impressive, and the new models and areas were beautiful.

My only drawback is the time travel aspect.  I don’t like that we go back in time to Draenor and effectively retconn much of the lore.  However, I can’t think of any other way that Blizzard could have done it.  The expansion looks promising!

Yotaan: So, far, I’m excited for this new expansion.  My favorite part of playing is exploring and it looks like there will be a lot of that.  I also really enjoy the lore and I think the new way the story will play out (via the Map) is promising.

The new expansion is promising some new features such as:

  • One character to level 90 instantly
  • A garrison customizable by the player
  • New character models
  • Level cap raised to 100

Fussypants: Of all the newest features, I’m most excited by the new character models.  The ones that have been revealed are quite nice looking, and I can’t wait for the female counterparts to be revealed (as I only play female characters).   The level cap increase was expected, but still nice that it is 10 levels instead of 5.  

The two new features that I’m not so sure about are the garrison and the one character level boost.  For the garrison, it sounds like a lot of micromanaging and work that I won’t necessarily want to do.  And for the level 90 boost, I don’t know who I could use it on.  I’m slightly worried that I would use it on a character, and then find out that I didn’t like that class.  Both features may turn into one of those things I never use.

Yotaan: I think the level 90 boost is very interesting.  Potentially, I can have a max level character on both Alliance and Horde, and I will get the story from both sides. 

I am not so sure about the garrison part, I hope it is fun and does not involve a lot of managing.  That being said, I am using my farm all the time, so I bet I will like the garrison.  I do wish there was a new race or class, this is the first expansion without one of those.

Overall, we are both stoked about the new expansion.  There are many promising new features and quality of life upgrades to come.

Picture Source: BlizzPlanet.com