Last Monday I put up a post which I called “Announcements and Need vs. Greed” that outlined what I thought Blizzard would announce (need) and what I wanted them to announce (greed). That was actually a good time to write, on my part, because I managed to post before any of the pre-BlizzCon leaks.
Now it is a week later, BlizzCon is in the past, and it is time to match up what I wrote versus what happened. This time around I will go in reverse order from last time.
- Whoo hoo, Overwatch!!1!
Plenty of that!
- More cinematics
We got that as well.
- More beta slots
I did not see any mention of this however.
- Vague gesture at a possible launch date
We got “Spring” so I think that counts.
- Even more cinematics
Do the character intro reels count?
- How this totally isn’t Heroes of the Storm crossed with Team Fortress 2
Okay, maybe I was being sarcastic. Still, with more heroes, and female heroes, I guess they were at least on track for that.
- Some sort of benefit for WoW subscribers
Does something from the pre-order count?
So lots of Overwatch hype, and a business model. You’re going to have to buy a box, virtual or otherwise. My daughter was especially hyped up about the Overwatch news, right up until she found out it was going to be available on Mac OS. It will run on Window, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but not her iMac. She was very grumpy about that.
- New card pack that will make the old ones feel obsolete and bring in some more money
Well, duh… in conjunction with something else at least…
- Another new battle mode
League of Explorers and all that. That seems new-ish… I mean, there is a map right there on the playing board, right? Maybe I should have paid more attention.
- The ability to play within WoW, with benefits for WoW subscribers.
Not so much. I want to play on that little board in my garrison. I might even resubscribe for that.
People who like Hearthstone seem genuinely excited about being able to buy more stuff. People like me, who played just long enough to get the hearthsteed… well, as long as it is making Blizz some money.
Heroes of the Storm
- Reasons for people to spend money
More heroes, more skins. That counts, right?
- Non-dull play mode
That was actually a trick statement, as I find the game itself dull. Still, Arena mode will be a thing. Wooo.
Even as a non-fan of HotS, I was at least amused that they took that long time WoW forum joke about two people each playing one head of two headed ogre and made it a thing. Long live Cho’gall I guess. I will be interested in how it spreads. People at BlizzCon and with a Virtual Ticket will get the hero unlocked, but for everybody else you have to win two matches partnered up with somebody who has Cho’gall… playing as Cho’gall… to unlock it on your account. I expect comedy, rage, and RMT to ensue.
- Wooo, Legacy of the Void!
Well, we got that.
- Secret, surprise feature, like the ability to play the original StarCraft in SC2.
While there was a leak later in the week about Blizz hiring to convert StarCraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III into something playable on current operating systems, that wasn’t talked about at BlizzCon and is somewhere out in the future.
Meanwhile, StarCraft 2 will be getting DLC next year. So at least there will be new things to do after Legacy of the Void. And StarCraft 2 was pretty good as a spectator sport at BlizzCon. I certainly prefer it to any MOBA.
Here is where the disappointment train pulls into the station.
- A new Diablo III expansion
- A vague timeline for beta
- Something else special for people who complete season objectives
- Diablo IV announced – I actually think this is the way to go
- Diablo and/or Diablo II being ported to the Diablo III engine
- Diablo or Diablo II coming to tablets
For anybody moaning about WoW not getting enough time during the keynote, let’s talk about how much time Diablo III got. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
This was not the year for the Diablo franchise. There was one panel where it was announced that Diablo III would be getting a patch that would give players a new zone and a few other goodies. That was it for Diablo fans. Certainly nothing else to spend money on. Blizz has been happy to announce how many boxes they have sold, but no new boxes are on the horizon yet.
So clearly BlizzCon 2016 will have the Diablo IV announcement, right?
World of Warcraft
- The cinematic
We got it. It was okay.
- Chris Metzen on stage having an orgasm about the lore in Legion
There was some discussion as to whether or not Metzen had a “loregasm” or if it was just “loreplay,” but he was up there on stage doing what he does best. Somebody on Twitter was complaining that he wasn’t dispensing details. That isn’t what you put Metzen on stage to do. He is the emotional call to action, not the numbers and specs man.
- Hard dates for beta
Not so much.
- Something vague about a ship date that will narrow it down to a three month window
I think “summer” pretty much fits the bill there, though remember when summer ends on US calendars.
- A decent “hook” for Legion beyond “ten more levels and a class from Diablo III“
There were lots of details in various panels that got people excited. Now we just have to wait until it ships in about a year.
- A ship date
Didn’t expect it. We’ll get that in May/June I bet.
- Ravenholdt as the rogue Order Hall
- Some reason to resubscribe today
I can pre-order Legion and have another level 100 character today… which would make six for me. And that character would even get a level 3 garrison so I could expand my grind even further.
- Some tie-in with the Warcraft movie
Not that I saw. Did I miss something?
So lots of stuff about Legion. I think people who complained about WoW not getting enough time at the keynote are forgetting that it isn’t 2009 any more. There was a stretch there when WoW was pretty much the only game Blizzard had and BlizzCon was, essentially, WoWCon with a StarCraft tournament in the back room for the oddballs.
Now though, Blizzard has six balls in the air… well, five balls in the air and Diablo on the ground and rolling towards a dusty corner. And they need some attention. Would you buy the game that they didn’t mention in the keynote?
Anyway, Legion is the classic WoW expansion. A new continent, 10 more levels, a new class, and an attempt to steer the ship in a new direction based on what they learned with the last expansion. Specs will be differentiated, and you’ll be able to play all the specs on a character… so I guess having two level cap druids isn’t necessary any more… while skill trees will be more varied and will have more “meaningful” choices.
There is some further emphasis on exploration, though there will be no flying at launch, so people who can’t explore below 10,000 feet will be raging. Hone your sense of entitlement and let the flight wars begin anew!
Then there is the whole scaling zones and dungeons thing. You can go in any direction you want to level up, five zones will scale at need as will the five leveling dungeons. Then there are five more level cap dungeons. Cheers for getting everybody off the same pipe through the content, but I expect issues with the scaling and likely won’t be disappointed.
And then, after completely trivializing crafting in WoD, there will is an attempt to bring it back from the dead in Legion.
All of which is as maybe. Things sometimes prove too complicated or prove unworkable in beta.
Still, despite my cynicism, it does sound like it might be time to plot a return to Azeroth. My daughter seems keen, and doubly so after I explained the hunter specs to her. Also, she has been trying out EVE Online for the last week and is so confused that she wants to just run quests and kill mobs.
We’re not running out to resubscribe today… and nobody in our house is pre-ordering Legion any time soon if I have any say… but after months away… I’ve been out since June and my daughter since March… Christmas break might be a good time to get cozy in front of a monitor and start wrapping up tasks in Draenor. Coming in late has served us well in the past. I think I enjoyed Pandaria as much as I did, in part, because we came in after the last big content patch. So while others were wailing about the content drought, we were still figuring out farms and getting into pet battles.
Others looking at BlizzCon and WoW in particular: