Actual Blizzcon News Recap

After the last, admittedly pretty touchy-feely blog post, I figured it was time for something a bit more concrete and analytical regarding all of the news at Blizzcon.  So here it is, Fussypants’s Very Serious Take on all the gaming news announcements!

World of Warcraft

Pants is getting herself wings!!!

Ok, jokes aside, I am tentatively optimistic about the upcoming World of Warcraft changes.  On the whole, I feel like Blizzard is finally recognizing the major gripes with the current system, gripes that have cause both my and other guilds I know of to step away from the game for hiatuses.  The big test will be if these changes actually find their way into the next iterations of the game or not.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands truly does have a nice ring to it!  I will not lie, I enjoyed the cinematic as I always do, but it wasn’t my absolute favorite.  I think part of it was I found it too plot-advancing. For me personally, the best WoW cinematic are the ones that aren’t entirely on the nose.  They might advance the story a bit, but the bigger emphasis should be on portraying themes from the coming expansion.  

Wrath, Mists, and Legion all three stand out as particularly good examples of this.  From each, you got a sense of the tone of the coming expansion, whether it be centered on snow and zombies, exploration and the unlikely, or conflict and demons, respectively.  Yes, there was absolutely lore significance to most of the events portrayed, but they were either events players also participated in or events that were more symbolic than causal. 

While I loved the art style, as always, I didn’t feel like the Shadowlands cinematic did that for me as much.  I was watching a lore movie rather than a thematic introduction. Clearly, the events depicted within need to be communicated to the player base, but I’m not sure a cinematic was the way to do it.

Quibbles about the cinematic aside, I am very excited for the expansion itself.  When Blizzard announced that there would be no more AP, I just about wept tears of joy.  Finally! They’re listening! The game won’t be a giant grind-fest inaccessible to folks with busier lives!  I have seen so many guilds and players burn out in Battle for Azeroth directly because of the endless slog of world quests and islands and artifact power so I am so glad they recognize this fact and, rather than working to tweak the system, are completely overhauling that aspect of it.  We so desperately needed it.

The Covenant system also looks particularly interesting.  I am very excited to see them really lean into cosmetic incentives (such as the aforementioned WINGS), especially as a reward for those grindier portions of the game.  Personally, I’m super heavily biased towards towards the Kyrian, just given my paladin and her backstory, but I definitely am interested to see them all! My one concern is I hope the power-perks they give don’t just turn into a min-maxing headache for raiding, but it’s definitely too far out to pass any judgement on that particular issue. 

Torghast, the endless tower of DOOM also seems rather interesting as a concept.  I definitely will want to play this out for myself before passing judgement. As a main-spec healer, I’m likely only going to be going in with groups, which will definitely impact how often I find myself going in and experiencing the tower but if Shadowlands does truly succeed in enticing back players, many of my friends who have gone on hiatus might again be available to push levels in it.  We shall see!

Last but not least, Blizzard also announced that they would be drastically increasing the customization options available.  I have just two things to say about this.

  1. YES
  2. It’s about time!

My pipe dream would be that they add in more curly hair options for draenei so my character model can better reflect my out of game concept of my main, but I will honestly be happy with any and all customization increases.  I’m particularly excited for the changes to humans – those were so long overdue and I know how important they are for some people who haven’t been represented until now. I’m also looking forward to the addition of tattoos, hopefully we can get some scars in the mix as well!

Overwatch

While I know this is a predominantly a World of Warcraft-centered blog, I do play Overwatch and boy, do I have thoughts on the news in this arena.

Genji has pants!!!

Also, Overwatch 2 or something.

But in all seriousness, I am so super stoked!  I have wanted story-mode Overwatch ever since the game’s inception, both because I think the world is deeply fascinating and because I’m so terrible at PvP.  The proposed PvE mode gives me the chance to be bad and not be bringing down a team – at least, as much as before – as well as dive into the lore far more than before.  Additionally, the new character models are pretty awesome (shout out to my boy Lucio)!

All in all, the Blizzcon announcements were exciting and positive-leaning in my mind!  There’s something so electric about sitting in the rooms as things are being announced, so I’m doubly happy that I was able to attend a Blizzcon where so many games I cared about had so many major changes.  I know I’ve got a pretty long while to wait before any of the things I discussed above make it into their respective games, but I am more than willing to wait and allow the game developers to fine-tune everything to be as close to perfect as possible.  And just please, keep true to the “No AP” promise!

Blizzcon is My Kind of Home

The walk up to the convention center!

As I sat on the plane flying away from California, I was struck by just how absolutely wonderful my last couple days were.  Blizzcon 2019 was, frankly put, perfect.  Now, that’s not to say that the experience was without its bumps.  I think I got about half as much asleep as I usually do (and I’m not usually the best about sleeping!) and I had my wallet stolen on the second day.  But even with all of that, I have no regrets.

I think J. Allen Brack said it best in the opening ceremony when he said that Blizzcon is about people.  Totally, there are the announcements and the championships and the game demo stations. Absolutely, there are the considerations about Blizzard’s recent corporate actions.  But at the end of the day, the community itself is the true draw.

This year, as opposed to the last time I attended, I spent the majority of the time with my friends rather than family.  My guild rented a house together not far from the convention center, and we were able to walk back and forth very easily. Not all of our members got tickets to the con so we always had folks at the house watching the coverage on a virtual stream.  The end result was we had a veritable fortress of nerdom where folks were constantly hanging out.

Speaking of guildies, I, at first, was so incredibly nervous about meeting my guildies in person.  Sure, I’ve played games – both World of Warcraft and others – with them for a good long time now, enough that we have a plethora of in-jokes and shared experience.  However, there is certainly a difference between knowing a person virtually and knowing a person in the flesh. I was anxious that there would be residual awkwardness or, worse, that I would be unbearably annoying to everyone in person.  There’s something to be said about the fact that internet friends can be muted temporarily if you just need a brain break.

Unsurprisingly to everyone except for me, my fear were completely unfounded.  Even though I’d never met any of my guildies in person before, we instantly clicked together like a family. We joked about Sleepy being a giant, Weare T-posing, and Dame and Jules being memelords and it just felt so natural.  Heck, my guildies even brought me a grilled cheese sandwich when they came to pick me up (which was both a sweet gesture after a very long flight and a devious inside joke).  What was even better, I got a chance to get a lot closer to guildies I didn’t know as well prior to the convention (shout out to Mason and Niz!). Everyone was so incredibly funny and open and, most importantly, dedicated to each other.

Outside of my current guildies, I also got to connect with a number of old guildies and other community friends!  The Con Before The Storm party in particular was a perfect venue for me to speak to some of my artist friends (and totally gush in person about their artwork).  Shout out to Quel in particular, everyone should go read their webcomic! I also met up with some Perky Pugs folks for the first time which was incredibly awesome! So many names that previously had just existed on my Twitter feed or in my Discord servers were transformed into faces. I would go through them all if I could but there were almost too many to list off!

Inside the Darkmoon Faire area

As much as having my wallet stolen on the last day did suck, there were also silver-linings to it.  For one, I lost it at the end of the second day, so I wasn’t stressing about it until the very end of my trip.  However, the thing that truly humbled me was the outpouring of support I got from my guildies and friends. Immediately, I had multiple people offering to help in any way they could, whether that be checking in with Lost And Found, running back to the panel we had just come from, or offering financial support to help me get back home (since I had no money for food in the airport).  Shout out in particular to Weare, Mason, Shaedriana, Pug, and Dame, you folks are all absolute heroes. I cannot accurately put into words how much that meant to me, and I hope I can one day be there for you in the same way.

Blizzcon was so incredibly special. I had been expecting the convention to be fun (why else would I spend all that money?) but what I hadn’t been anticipating was just how… I suppose mending is the best way to describe the experience. Even though it was an action-packed couple of days, I feel invigorated and recharged.

The moment that truly captured it all for me was a simple one for me.  I was standing in line for the Overwatch demo with a guildie and everyone in the line had their heads cranked up to see the Overwatch World Cup match being played on the screen above us.  This part of the convention floor had fallen silent, all breaths held to see if the United States would be able to eke out the win from the prior champions South Korea. With a decisive combo, the American team took out the South Korean supports and then their key damage player.  The rest of the defense crumbled and a roar washed over the crowd. The words “United States Victory” flashed across the screen amid the cheers.

When this happened, I took a step back.  Surveyed the crowd. Experienced the moment as an observer rather than a participant.  What I saw made me break into the widest smile.

I loved that moment.  The nerdiness. The triumphant victory.  The uncomplicated happiness. Video games aren’t always that happy and that unifying but in that moment, everything was just right.  Even those supporting Team South Korea joined in that moment of cheering, for we all recognized that the game had been well-fought on each side.  And here I was, at the center of a bustling, excited, passionate convention dedicated to the community I call home. 

It was wonderful.

I truly didn’t mean to get this mushy-gushy in this post but I felt I had to write it.  Recent events, both in my life and in the greater video game community at large, have shaken a bit of my optimism and enjoyment in the gaming communities I am a part of but, at Blizzcon, I was reminded of why I fell in love in the first place.  Yes, we’re not perfect and I would never claim otherwise. But we’re still a home, and we always can, and do, strive to be better.  

Blizzcon brought me back to my gaming home.

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?