Category Archives: Blizzard

WoW Classic Character Clone Unlocks will now be $15

I guess people were furious or rioting or something, because it isn’t often that you get to see Blizzard change course in front of a live studio audience.  They aren’t SOE/Daybreak after all. (Though there is the Holly Longdale connection, so maybe a link?  The Norrath team was prone to making changes based on community feedback.)

Through the Dark Portal

Earlier this week I was on about how the price of a character clone unlock as part of the WoW Classic / Burning Crusade Classic seemed kind of pricey at $35.  It felt, to me at least, like an item that would have price elasticity, meaning a lower price might actually sell enough more that it would end up in greater profit overall for Blizz.

Blizzard seems to have taken to that idea, or responded to customer complaints, or something, because earlier today they announced a reduction in the price in the forums:

Salutations, WoW Classic players! We’d like to inform you about a course correction we’re making.

When you log in to WoW Classic after the patch next week, each of your Classic characters will choose between staying in Classic Era (version 1.13) and progressing to Burning Crusade Classic (version 2.5). For those who want to play a character in both versions, we’re offering a service to purchase a character clone in the other version of the game.

This service – providing a player with a second copy of a character in a different game – is new for us. Our original concept of the value of this service was largely based on how we price other optional items and services. We want players who choose Classic Era realms to feel as though their choice comes with the possibility that they’ll be able to build relationships and guilds with other players they can count on.

However, over the last week or so, we’ve gotten a very large amount of feedback from the community, and we’ve decided to lower the price. A lower price will likely still accomplish our goals with the new service, while allowing many more players to explore the option of playing characters on both Classic Era and Burning Crusade Classic realms.

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to lower the price of a cloned character in WoW Classic to $15.00 USD ($20.00 CAD, $20.00 AUD, $24.00 NZD). You’ll see the lower price in-game when the service becomes available next week.

As always, we deeply appreciate the passion and thoughtfulness of the WoW community. We play WoW alongside you, and we can’t wait to join you next week on Classic Era realms, in the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch, and as we step through the Dark Portal with you in June.

Thank you very much,

– The World of Warcraft Development Team

A course correction indeed!

That still doesn’t mean I will use the service.  I plan to move forward into The Burning Crusade and there are only so many hours in the day.  But it is now far much more likely that I could, as the price isn’t quite the barrier it once was.  I thought the $10-20 range was a better plan, and they landed right in the middle of that range.

Burning Crusade Launch Load Test Round One

As I mentioned in the previous post, Blizzard was planning a server launch load test for Burning Crusade Classic to go along with the flood of beta invites they sent out.  The idea was to roll up a fresh server and get everybody to log in and try to get through the dark portal.

When the hour hit, 11:00 Pacific / 14:00 Eastern / 19:00 UTC, I logged in and picked the new server, it being the only one available, copied over my level 60 hunter again, and logged in.  I was back in Ironforge, where he sits in live WoW Classic, so had to fly on down to the Blasted Lands and the Dark Portal.

Landing there, I rode with a pack of others towards the portal.  The server was setup as a PvP server, so I was determined to ride on through the inevitable crowd at the portal looking to gank.  But when I hit the portal it was apparently out of order, so I ended up in the scrum forming around it.

Traffic control at the gate

Everything was very laggy at that point too.  It was a good ten count to get anything to respond.  And it was only when I was in the thick of that when I realized I had not set my spec, so I opened that up to try and pick… but like everything else, it was 20 clicks behind on anything you wanted to do.  Even dying was slow.  I saw I had zero health for about a minute before I actually got the notification asking if I wanted to release… and it took even longer for me to actually fall over and the screen to go to the dead gray.

Eventually I was back at the graveyard and running to the portal again with the other victims of the fight.

Corpse run time

I got back into my body and tried to rush the portal, but it wasn’t letting anybody pass, so it was just that run through to hit the wall routine.  Comedy gold, except for the fact that I died again.

Corpse pile at the portal

Then, as I was running back they put out a server message saying they were going to disconnect everybody so we could load up the system with a mass login hit.

The dread mass-loing

So offline things went.  I logged back in, got in a short queue… maybe 85 deep when I landed, which amounted to less than a minute of waiting, which made it the most responsive aspect of the test… and then was foundering about trying to get back to my corpse and healed up.  I spotted a bunch of alliance players trying to gather around the edge of the portal, out of line of sight and joined them.

Another line? This reminds me of the WoW Classic launch

However the Horde was wise to this and there were a few players off to the side of the portal on the hill picking people off, myself included.  Again, it was a long wait to die, fall over, and actually be dead.

Then we got another message indicating that the test was over.

All done here

Further announcements went up about the beta servers being up again and the test was pretty much over.  The whole thing ran about 30 minutes.

I must admit that I didn’t go through the dark portal on the day it went live back in 2007.  The instance group, which only kicked off in September of 2006, was around level 40 and still doing Razorfen Downs.  So while I was able to log into WoW on launch day with only a modest queue, I have no feel for how things at the portal were.  Certainly being on a PvP server made the test more chaotic, but the whole thing made me wonder if Blizz is up to a launch like this again.

The battle of the portal

I’ll give tomorrow’s test another try to see how they’re doing, but the laggy behavior in the regular beta and the way things played out at the portal is not inspiring me with a lot of day one confidence.  But at least I will be on a PvE-RP server.  We’ll probably all queue up for the portal for real when the time comes, just like we did before.

The Price of a WoW Classic Clone

With the coming of Burning Crusade Classic we get to make a choice.  Anybody logging into WoW Classic after the expansion pre-patch hits on May 18th will have to decide between keeping their character in vanilla WoW or advancing it to the world of The Burning Crusade expansion.

Through the Dark Portal

While I plan to move forward, I am sure that others will want to hold back and stay in vanilla.  As with EverQuest, there is a faction who just wants to live in the early game forever.

Moving forward… or staying behind… is free, at least for specific definitions of the word.  I bought a copy of The Burning Crusade back in 2007 and I pay a subscription fee in order to play the game, but I am not being asked to pay anything additional in order to advance through the dark portal.

Likewise, staying behind in vanilla WoW incurs no additional cost.

But for people who want to do both, that is another story.

As we were told back at BlizzConline, when the expansion pre-patch hits and the choice of paths needs to be made, there will be two copies of your character, one in vanilla and one in Burning Crusade, and you get to choose which one you want to play.  However, like some sort of Star Trek teleporter malfunction, the clone that remains behind sits in suspended animation, waiting for you, waiting for all of us.

The choice is coming

If you want to release that clone and have that second Riker or whoever running around free in the timeline you did not initially choose, it is going to cost you $35.

This has made some people angry.  PC Gamer says players are furious about the price.  Massively OP says players have begun to “riot,” though can’t be bothered to do more than link to an Icy Veins thread.  Seriously, it seems a pretty considerable breach of the five Ws of journalism to not even mention the price that is responsible for these alleged riots.  An extremely lazy piece of work there.

Extreme hyperbole aside, $35 does seem a bit steep.  It is certainly enough to prove a barrier to me, though having to play characters on a third version of WoW, after retail and Outland, was already a pretty big barrier for me.  Like I have time for that.

However, when a character transfer on a live or classic server is $25, activating and already created clone… Holly said that when the split happened there would be two versions of your character… doesn’t seem like something that justifies a $35 price tag.

But that is always the problem with these sorts of services.  In the end, the actual operation to get you want you want is generally a trivial exercise.  Back in the early EverQuest days, when SOE was charging $50 for a server transfer, the price was there to be a deterrent as much anything else, because the process wasn’t automated and a dev had to go in and move your character manually.  It was still only a database operation, but somebody had to devote time to actually getting it done and the bandwidth for transfer operations was limited.

Once SOE automated the process, the price went down.  It is still not valued relative to the cost of doing the operation because there has to be a support mechanism around the whole thing.  People make mistakes.  They pick the wrong character, they pick the wrong server, they change their minds, they could have sworn they had this or that piece of gear when they hit the button.  It can be a tech support nightmare, and all the more so when people are paying the monthly subscription fee that often makes them feel the company owes them. (A subscription fee that hasn’t gone up in fifteen years by the way.)

I’ve been in guilds where people have abused the support line, calling up to undelete characters or items or whatever.  And support has generally been very accommodating to those requests.  The company would like you to stay subscribed.

So at some level the price of these services is also to fund support and limit their use.  They seem likely to be price elastic, so if you change the price from $25 to $5, use would go up, and if you raised the price use would go down.  So, it is possible that $25 for a character transfer represents an analysis of the cost to support and the number of people likely to use it.  Or somebody just thought that sounded like a good number or seemed to be the market price based on what a competitor was charging.

None of which explains why Blizz thinks $35 is the right price for activating a clone.  It seems like the support cost would be lower and that usage might be higher if the price was in the $10-20 range.  I don’t see a downside to greater usage, as the clone has already been made, so the “work” has been done.  But I am also not exactly bent out of shape at the cost.  It makes my staying behind with a main character much less likely, but the likelihood was pretty low already.

If enough people are worked up about this perhaps Blizz will tinker with the price and make it more reasonable.  I suspect, however, that the stay behind crowd was already planning to do just that and are not all that interested in going through the dark portal to Outland, while those like me looking to progress are happy enough to leave vanilla WoW behind.  I enjoyed the stay, but it is time to go.  Those left in between… those who want to do both… well, we’ll see if they make up a big enough crowd I guess.

Addendum: The price has been reduced to $15 since I wrote this.

Blizzard Confirms June 1st for Burning Crusade Classic, May 18th for Pre-Expansion Patch

Of course I’m away from home for the first time in months when the news hits.

Blizzard let slip the June first date for Burning Crusade Classic by accident on Tuesday, but covered it back up again rapidly.

But earlier today they finally let the cat out of the bag, officially confirming both the date for the expansion launch and the rumored May 18th date for the pre-expansion patch.

The Announcement at Last

They even provided the now standard global launch time map.

The World Wide Launch Plan

Come the pre-patch on May 18th we will all have a choice to make, whether or not to go forward into the era of the dark portal or to stay behind and continue on in the classic era.

Choose your path forward

Blizzard has a post up about how to make the choice you want… as well as how to have it both ways should you desire and be willing to part with some real world cash… but it boils down to this set of bullets.

  • On patch day, you’ll be able to open the Battle.net desktop app and choose which game you want to play—Burning Crusade Classic or WoW Classic.
  • Your existing characters will show on both game types under your old realm name/s.
  • Once you’ve chosen a game to play, you’ll select a character to play and confirm your choice.
  • If you decide you’d like to play your character in both game types, you’ll be able to use an optional paid service to gain access to the cloned character in both game types.
  • Then all you need to do is log in as you normally would and play.

So you have until the 18th to consider your path. For me, the dark portal beckons, and Outland will be the next destination.

June 1 Date Leaks as possible Burning Crusade Classic Launch Date

Somebody at Blizzard made an error earlier when, for a brief period of time, the Battle.net launcher indicated that June 1st might very well be the target date for the launch of Burning Crusade Classic.

Image from MMO Champion

Blizzard focused news sites such as MMO Champion , Icy Veins, and WoW Head immediately began reporting on the slip as multiple people posted images of the short lived promo on the web.

The assumption is that this is the launch date for the expansion, which would line up about right with the rumored pre-patch date of May 18th.  But, given the word of issues with the raid testing in the beta, it might be the pre-patch date.

Either way, it is an indication, along with Blizzards highlight in the WoW Classic character select page, which I noted last week, that Burning Crusade Classic may be on us pretty soon.

I had better get to work on leveling up my paladin if I want him to be ready to go when the expansion hits.

April Fools at Blizzard 2021 is a Very Quiet Affair

It is once again the first of April, that day of fools, beloved by few, hated by some, and ignored by most. Its arrival means it is time for yet another peek over at Blizzard to see what they are up to.

So I got online and checked their various web sites and whatever they have up for news in the launcher, and there wasn’t much there to spot.

In fact, the only thing I saw was in the World of Warcraft forums.

Over on the Azeroth front there is the usual joke patch notes are up in the forums, an April Fools staple, featuring a proposed new raid, class changes, new professions, and more, all wrapped up in some pop culture references.

The most consistent Blizzard April Fools feature

Otherwise there was nothing else I could spot.  Blizzard has followed their usual plan of avoiding posting any news lest it be construed as an April Fools prank.  Even the start of the next Diablo III season is set for tomorrow.  I can’t even find the old April Fools archive page on their site now, though they did reorganize the whole thing, so it might still be in there somewhere.

Of course, it is early in the day still, so I’ll check back to see if anything else gets posted.  And, if I have missed anything, you can drop a note in the comments.

Addendum:

Not from Blizzard, but related, Carbot has a video announcing their Diablo II skin pack, a mock follow on to the real StarCraft Cartooned skin pack from two years back.

If that isn’t enough, you can still revel in some April Fools humor from Blizzard, with elaborate new features or whole new games, you will have to go back to previous years.

Past April Fools

Meanwhile, over in the world of EVE Online, they have an April Fools post up that rather twists the knife for a long requested feature; a gate from low sec to the Stain region.  Bittersweet that one is.

The March to Burning Crusade Classic Begins

Blizzard announced this week that the anticipated beta for Burning Crusade Classic has begun.

Beta is now a thing

Of course, it was anticipated… there was a whole panel about it at BlizzCon Online… but while there is information out there, an actual timeline towards launch is just speculation and rumors at this point.  I don’t think we’re on track for that May 3rd/4th rumor from the beginning of the year, but early-to-mid summer still seems like a very viable window for launch.

Meanwhile, I haven’t said much about WoW or WoW Classic around here for a while.

Our group finished up Blackrock Depths back around mid-February and, since then, we have been wrapped up with Valheim, with WoW mostly falling by the wayside as we explored the viking afterlife.

I don’t think that means we’re done with WoW Classic.  But, after a year and a half of slowly working our way through the original content, I think a bit of a break to do something else might have been in order.  Valheim won’t go on forever… or at least not at the level of play time some of us have been putting into it.  We’re about ready for Moder, the fourth boss, and then it will be out into the plains to explore and gear ourselves up for the final challenge.

I suspect that we will wrap that up and still have a bit of time to do a couple more instance runs and get all our mains, and maybe an alt or two, up to level 60 before the Burning Crusade Classic pre-launch events kick-in.

When it does arrive, I think we’re all on board to move forward with the expansion.  I have enjoyed our time in WoW Classic, but I don’t think I need to leave any characters behind just to bum around in the old world.  The old world still exists after the portal to Outland opens, it is just the character classes that get a revamp.  And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

For us Burning Crusade Classic will mean a whole series of dungeons to run.  Both it and Wrath of the Lich King were something of a high point for single group content, which is our focus.  The raiding doesn’t mean much to me and the overland quest content doesn’t bring back a ton of fond memories.  Blizz decided to be more forthcoming with quests… so many critical quests in vanilla were on an easily missed NPC or required a drop to activate… by going all-in on the quest hub idea.

But a lot of the quests, especially in the first couple of zones, are just “kill x, collect x, or click on x” that are repeated over and over, simply substituting a new value for x with every iteration.  If it wasn’t for that early bombing run quest… which was so fresh and new at the time, though they have re-used it since multiple times per expansion… and some of the quirky Blizz quests later on, I might despair of the whole thing.  But I can get through Hellfire Peninsula and Zangarmarsh one more time.  I’ll be interested to see how much I remember.

As for the beta, I opted in… I was on their site opting in for the Diablo II remaster and it was just another click… but I am content to hang on until they get to the load tests and such.

Anyway, we have some time before the coming of Burning Crusade Classic.  But with beta going live, the reality of it is getting closer.

Diablo II Resurrected and the Rest of BlizzConline 2021

BlizzConline has come and gone.  It was certainly more subdued than any BlizzCon though, when you don’t have a packed auditorium cheering, you cannot expect the same energy.

BlizzCon Online over yesterday

Yesterday I went through what I considered the “important bit” for me, the status of WoW Classic and the coming of The Burning Crusade.  But that was obviously not all that Blizzard had to talk about.  So here, in my order of importance, are other bits from BlizzConline.

Diablo II Resurrected

This was the other item I was keen to hear about, and I was not disappointed.  Blizzard officially announced their remaster of Diablo II.  Having just replayed the original last year… and no longer really having the option since my big new monitor simply won’t work with it… I am excited to see this.  I am pretty much a guaranteed sale here.

The return of the classic

What they showed… remastered 3D graphics as well as the option for the 2D experience… up on screen side by side with the original looked very good, both true to the original and updated to current standards.  They also have some improvements… a larger stash, a more comprehensible character and skill sheet… that looks good.  The details are up on the site for the product, including the graphical comparisons.

Plus they are going to launch it on PC, XBox, PlayStation, and Switch.  Seems like they are going all in on this.  They are even hyping up cross-play for different platforms, so you can access your character on any of the above hardware.  I am only interested in it on the PC really, where it will be $40. (Or $60 with Diablo III and all its addons thrown in.)

As with Burning Crusade Classic, the deep dive panel (video here) was less technically focused… again, no slides or charts or numbers… and more about the drive to deliver both an authentic Diablo II experience and bring the game in line with modern expectations.  The level of detail discussed was impressive.  I suspect we’ll hear again from David Brevik about how Blizzard can’t do this, that, or the other thing, as occurs whenever talk of a Diablo II remaster comes up, but Blizz seems set to prove him wrong.

And it is expected to launch in 2021, though it wouldn’t surprise me if they did a repeat of the original for an end of the year release.  That fact that the list December on the page where you can pre-order it… because of course you can pre-order it… seems a likely sign.  We shall see.

I am excited about this, though I know Blizz has dropped the ball on the remaster thing before, back with Warcraft III.  I hope they learned the right lessons from that.  But if they are going out on consoles, this will have a lot of resources behind it.

Shadowlands Updates

It isn’t so much that I dislike the Shadowlands expansion… it seems interesting and fun in its own way, and I jumped on board at launch… it is more than when I stack rank what I want to play on a given evening it tends to fall into third or fourth place… fourth now that Valheim is on the scene.  Unfortunately, that means I am so far behind on covenant stuff (they barely know me at this point) and have missed so much that I am probably out until the second summer of Shadowlands when they smooth out the curve to let the slackers catch up.

Anyway, they announced the first big content drop, the 9.1 Chains of Domination update.  Kaylriene has a write up that covers it and the presentations in more depth than I could manage, so that probably ought to be your destination if this is relevant to your interests.

Blizzard Arcade Collection

Blizzard, on a retro rampage with their 30th anniversary, has brought back their original console titles, The Lost Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing, and Blackthorne, in the Blizzard Arcade Collection.

Back in the lineup

I have never played any of these titles.  I know just enough about them to get the occasional reference to them in WoW… the Vikings, for example, are in Uldaman.  But the games have been brought up to date and will be available on XBox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC.  I might actually give this a try on my Switch Lite.

Diablo Immortal

We have been hearing about this since BlizzCon 2018 when Blizzard failed to manage expectations after putting the Diablo franchise in the position of honor in the schedule, leading everybody and their dog to expect a Diablo IV announcement.  They told us directly to not get our hopes up, but it was right there on the schedule.  And then after the keynote the schedule was updated to say Diablo Immortal.

Phone Diablo

Still, the word out there is that it is a pretty solid title, sitting in the story line between Diablo II and Diablo III.  I would probably give it a try on my iPad if it isn’t to dear in price… absolutely if it is free, though we know how that can go.  Of course, that is part of the problem;  we still don’t know many solid details about the game and the Blizzard site about it doesn’t have much to add.  I feel like I know way more about Diablo II Resurrected after two days than I do about Diablo Immortal after more than two years.

Hearthstone Classic

I’m not going to play this.  I played just enough Hearthstone to get the Hearthsteed mount in WoW, and then a bit more on my iPad, but it isn’t a game that holds me.  I am just amused that they’ve thrown so many expansions and changes into the game that they’re ready to drag out a classic version… though I guess it has been six years.  Time flies.

Diablo IV and Overwatch 2

We heard about the rogue class in Diablo IV and about the myriad PvE missions in Overwatch 2, but both titles are still more than a year out, so I just cannot get myself at all worked up.  There are too many things to interest me between now and whenever to divert my attention.  Also, the announcements were not all that earth shattering.  I’m not saying there isn’t something Blizz could say about either that would kindle a deep interest, they’re just not there yet.

BlizzConline Overall

Not bad.

I mean, it is hard to argue with some of the solid announcements they had.  There was enough WoW focused stuff to keep me engaged along with enough other stuff that it didn’t feel like the “WoWCon” BlizzCons of a decade back.

I was also happy it was free and readily available via multiple services and that the videos from the panels were uploaded and ready on YouTube almost immediately.

Still, it didn’t quite have the full BlizzCon feel.  As I said previously, it felt different not being in front of a live studio audience.  I may love the written word, but writing “the audience roared” and hearing a BlizzCon audience roar of its own accord in reaction to something announced on stage at the Anaheim Convention Center.

I didn’t mind the chatty nature of the panels.  I like to hear the devs talk and they have done some nice videos in the past like that.  I especially remember the series with some of the original devs talking about making WoW as part of the WoW Classic launch build up.  But I am not sure that eight minutes of that in a 30 minute panel that is labeled as a “deep dive” is quite on the mark.

I felt that there was a lot less hard information presented and that the details that were given us often were not accompanied by the bullet point slide pages to which we have grown accustomed from past BlizzCon panels.  It isn’t real unless it is in PowerPoint, right?

I also wouldn’t be surprised to find that the panels and presentations were all pre-recorded and just queued up to play.  With no live audience and nobody holding up today’s paper in frame ransom note style how could we tell?

In fact, in writing that, I will swap to saying that I would actually be surprised to find that most, if not all, of the panels were NOT pre-recorded and queued up to play.  I mean, why wouldn’t you go that route?  Though, if you did, you’d think we’d get more slides.

So, it was good for what it was.  Life in the pandemic dictates what we can do.  I think they could have done better with info, but maybe the things I wanted had not been nailed down yet.  I don’t think it had quite the impact that a live BlizzCon would have, but we still got some very big announcements.

BlizzConline and Burning Crusade Classic

We had the first day of BlizzConline yesterday.  There were some interesting announcements.  But what I was really there for was WoW Classic and The Burning Crusade expansion.  Holly Longdale got up there on the main stage… alone, no audience in the pandemic… during the opening ceremony and told us a bit about the coming of The Burning Crusade.  It wasn’t much more than a confirmation that it was coming, but it was at least that.  (Though, we knew it was coming due to that leak, but it is always good to hear somebody say it officially.)

Then, the first panel up was about that very topic.

How deep will they dive?

This was not what would have passed for a “deep dive” at past BlizzCon events.

The panel consisted of:

  • Holly Longdale – Lead Producer for WoW Classic
  • Patrick Dawson – Production Director for WoW
  • Brian Birmingham – Lead Software Engineer for WoW Classic

The panel started with the three of them talking about their impressions of TBC back in the day for a bit, then moved on to some tales of getting the old code working within the current WoW framework, all of which was fine and interesting, but wasn’t delivering a lot of details that many fans… myself especially… were looking for.  There were no slides with bullet points or diagrams or any of the items one might have come to expect from such a presentation.

Towards the back half of the talk… it was only a 30 minute panel, so it wasn’t a long wait.. they finally started spilling out some details.

The first solid nugget in my notes was about Blood Elves and the Draenei.  They will be released into the game with the TBC pre-patch to allow players to have a chance to get leveled up some before everybody jumps through the dark portal.

Then details for characters and servers came up.

The current servers will become progression servers, a term many of us from EverQuest will remember, as SOE started doing that back in 2006 with The Sleeper and The Combine servers.  (see timeline) All of the current WoW Classic servers will move forward to TBC.

If you don’t want to go there, you will have an option.  On launch day you will make the choice for all of your characters, to stay and progress forward into TBC or to move to one of the new WoW Classic servers that will launch the same day that will remain forever vanilla.

If, at a later date, you regret your choice of committing to forever vanilla, there will be a paid service option that will let you copy a character from one of those servers to a TBC server.  You will then, at that moment, have two identical characters in each realm.  They will diverge as soon as you go through the portal and get your first gear drop, but you can be in both worlds.

Meanwhile, if you don’t want to play through all of that WoW Classic crap because TBC was your favorite part of WoW, Blizzard will have an option for you as well.  They will be offering a level 58 character boost… no Blood Elves or Draenei, sorry… so that you can jump straight to the dark portal and get going.  Oh, and you can only have one character boost per account.  If you want to raise an army of level 58s, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way.

No pricing was announced for either the copy or the level 58 character boost.

In fact, few hard details were shared.  There were certainly no dates.  Beta will start “soon,” for whatever value you care to assign to that variable.  The rumor about a May launch seems even more laughably wrong than it did when I first heard it give how little concrete we got from this.  The tone of the discussion indicated to me that they have more work to do and want to allow time to find and fix issues before it goes live.

If you are keen to see the panel, Blizzard posted it to their YouTube channel almost immediately after it was done, so here it is.

I do want to say how weird/wonderful it was to see Holly Longdale, so long the voice of EverQuest and something of a champion for the “classic” retro experience being not just a valid desire for fans, but a lucrative direction for companies to pursue.  There is clearly a synergy… and I use that word here unironically, which is so very rare for me… between her experience and where Blizzard now wants to go with their retro WoW experience.

Anyway, that was the WoW Classic part of BlizzConline.  Tomorrow, the rest of it.

Related:

 

BlizzConline Spoiled

I was going to write a night before/morning of prediction post about BlizzConline, which kicks off at 2pm Pacific Time, 22:00 UTC, today.  There were some likely bits of news we were going to hear as well as some speculation as to what other items Blizz might announce.

BlizzCon Online Today and Tomorrow

And then somebody at Blizzard accidentally let the WoW press kit out of the bag and the gaming news sites raced to publish every detail a day before the event.  That kind of takes the edge off of guessing whether or not we’ll get The Burning Crusade in classic form or what the next step for Shadowlands will be. (Here is the WoW Head version, if you’re dying to see it.)

Yes, there always seem to be leaks of some sort when it comes to BlizzCon.  The company even attempts to signal things to the fans now and then.  But when you straight up get the press release a day and a half in advance… well, the anticipation is somewhat drained.

I am still going to watch the presentations.  As I have said before, you can glean a surprising amount of information from somebody speaking about a topic that might go unmentioned in a groomed and vetted press release.  Naturally, there will be a post-con write up of my impressions.

And there are still questions about other Blizzard franchises.  What will be the news of Diablo IV?  When will Diablo Immortal finally ship?  Will they confirm a Diablo II remaster?  Does Blizzard have anything else new and/or exciting to announce?

The event schedule looks fairly anodyne, but we have seen in the past that Blizz can update the schedule based on announcements during the keynote.  Remember in 2018 when all the Diablo panels became Diablo Immortal panels?  Okay, forget that one, that was a bad example.

Who knows.  Maybe the WoW press release was just a plant, a diversion, and J. Allen Brack will go up on stage and tell us we don’t really want The Burning Crusade and we’ll be retweeting variations of that Willy Wonka “You Get Nothing!” meme all next week.