So, after my return back home, I’ve been watching Blizzcon in retrospective with my virtual ticket.
Some quick highlights about panels before we set out to talking about WoW news.
I enjoyed listening to Mike Morhaime’s speech. Talking about community and attitude was something we really lack in the modern world. The amount of asshole behavior and hate speech is overwhelming nowadays, to the extent that I’m not really looking forward to dungeon experience in the new expansion. We need reminders like this to feel ourselves a family, rather than other players as means to measure our virtual dicks with, both in playing skills and/or your-mom talk.
I’ve enjoyed the new cinematics for Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm. I’m playing neither of these games, but they were awesome – as always. And with every piece of Overwatch lore I’m longing for a full-scale pixar-type movie, because I really want to see this world’s story and their cinematics are already of a movie quality. Hope they do.
I’ve watched several extra panels, and they were not too exciting. There was a fun master class from ‘Carbot Animations’ – I’m a fan of his YouTube channel, and seeing him creating this magic live was very fun. If you’re not acquainted with him, go watch immediately! It’s better to see for yourself.
I’ve watched two sound panels. It was amazing to see the sound engineers create the ambience of a nerubian dungeon in WotLK right on spot. I’m not a noob in sound programs, and I actually used most of his perks myself – it was interesting to see the origins of sounds and how they were being edited.
But with the voice panel… I mean, what the fuck was that?! There were ‘power women of Azeroth’ voice actresses… and we haven’t heard anything from them. The panel was hosted by a casting director, and she was awful. I was totally convinced that she was drunk as hell. She just didn’t shut up, and she didn’t give the actresses any chance to speak. She interrupted them, gave comments – and oh my, would it be something clever? No. It was comments like “Yeah!” and “Go girl!”. What she lacked was a pint of beer and a bar counter to make a complete impression. Whichever part of the video I click – I hear her talking some bullshit. No sense, no information, no nothing. So, the panel sucked.
Now, for WoW.
Expectations and Reality
The expansion guesses? Let’s roll through my list of predictions as of the previous week.
- Sea-bound theme – Yes.
- Azshara, naga & N’Zoth being the ultimate enemy – Yes, Azshara was announced as a later raid boss. They haven’t announced the ultimate expansion enemy, but it’s very possible that it may be N’Zoth.
- Zul Again and pirates as raids in the middle of expansion – Yes. A Zandalar/Titan tomb raid as the first one.
- Kul Tiras and some goblin/troll island as the most likely A/H sea base of operations – Yes. Kul Tiras and Zandalar as faction bases, and we return to Kezan as a dungeon. What I didn’t expect was that continents will be separate for factions.
- Your own admiral ship as the new garrison. It’s gonna move from island to island by Vindicar’s technology of moving between Argus shards, and it’s gonna be upgraded during the expansion instead of artifacts. – Yes and no. There will be some sort of a map to jump between the islands for the endgame scenarios. The thing to upgrade is gonna be a necklace.
- Old grudges rekindled: A/H clashes, with Jaina/Genn vs Sylvanas leadership – Yes! And it’s actually in the name of the expansion.
- A special point will be awarded to Blizz if there will be an emphasis on dwarf/gnome/goblin technologies and overall steampunk/dieselpunk attitude to building your fleet – Not confirmed yet, but probably not. We rely on the new factions’ navy. Yet, if we’re going to reach Azshara… we may need submarines and submarine turtles.
So, 95% of my guesses were true :) As long as every speculation is basically a player’s wish, you could assume I’m happy as fuck. I’m so eager to see and explore Kul Tiras and Zandalar, as these territories were heard of much, but never seen before.
Kul Tiras – there will be three zones, more or less in one vein. A classic, fantasy human setting is one-love to me. The variety includes a rich, vibrant sea port city (yes, please), a lush valley zone (give us some open space!) and a haunted zone – did they finally bring witches in WoW?! Whoo-hoo! And a zone preview also involved some gallows quest scene!
Zandalar – is a type of southern terrains, and although I’m not a fan, it looks very diverse and the thing to explore. Obviously a Zandalar capital which brings Stranglethorn troll villages in mind and majestic aztec temples. Then there’s gonna be a swamp… not a cool one, but there were some bone monsters. And a deadly desert, which will remind me of Tatooine, along with a friendly hooded cuddlies vulpera.
I’ll be exploring both with pleasure, and I’ll be happy running world quests there.
Then there’s gonna be islands, islands and islands. They will bring amazing variety, adding to the continents, and they look like very nice places to be at. There’s actually no limits in them. They shown us a tropical beach and a Victorian city yet, but there could be anything: bare reefs, Northrend icy isles, old Goblin refinery platforms – anything.
As a person who started his acquaintance with Warcraft universe from RTS in 90s, namely Warcraft II, I’m eager to see how it will work live. It’s an experimental feature for Blizzard, so I’m not sure how this will work. there will be mistakes and drawbacks, some unpredictable bugs will pop up. But all in all it looks a very promising activity to do.
A necklace, which will alter your abilities on other worn items. I didn’t understand a shit after watching all the Blizzcon videos, I hope it will work somehow easier than artifacts. What I definitely want from the new system is two things
First, less grind. Empowering must come naturally.
Second, no special runs to some empowering crucibles or whatever. At this step of Legion it feels too lazy to return to your order hall to activate your next earned level. So however this works, I hope that I put on a new helmet, I open it and choose the empowering abilities right at the place – easy as that.
They go away. Hooray!! The players’ obsession with this orange random shit was somewhat scary in Legion. To hell with them.
…and six new slots. More leveling for me :) At least for transmogs. But I like leveling, so why not. I also like that there’s some plot involved in opening them.
Tauren and Zandalar, Dark Irons and Lightforged Draenei – are nice. All seem like an awesome playing option for me. Elves… I’ve got overfed with them in Legion, so no excitement.
Yes, yes and yes. Again: I like leveling, and it’s amazing that you will finally be able to finish the storylines and not overgrow them by 5-10 levels.
Changes in PvP/PvE Realms
I don’t care as long as I can do questing without being ganked.
Plot & Cinematic
The cinematic obviously gave me goosebumps. Every character present got his highlight. Sylvanas finally remembered that she’s a banshee queen, not a freaking elf ranger, and she deserved a grim satisfying nod from me :) Anduin is still dual, he’s still between his priest nature and his father’s expectations, with Shalamayne sword as a constant reminder. It would be awesome to see the character in development.
A very special flip off to Blizzard is for the absense of both Gnomes and Goblins in the cinematic.
The real highlight – and you never guess it would have been – were the troll shaman in action, it was the sort of thing that makes you create an alt. Guess who’s gonna be my Zandalari toon? And my second favorite and inspiring moment was the Alliance footmen proudly rising with their spears and shields… What can I say? FOR THE ALLIANCE!!
The battle between factions is what everyone was asking for, and this is what we get. I’m grim happy, I’m ready to go and die for my blue/golden colors. Lordaeron is ours!
My Horde toons are not that bloodthirsty. I’m playing three goblin girls, and they are happy to explore the new lands more than rip the other factions’ throats. And my Tauren druid will devote herself to mending the wounds of her allies rather than rushing into action in cat or bear form.
It’s strange, but I met the destruction of Teldrassil… with a shrug. It’s been a cosy place, and I liked both being there, questing and leveling, hanging around in the city… but no hard feelings. Yet the siege of Undercity is what I’m gonna do with eager. I want to join the fight – on Alliance side, obviously.
Cherry on the top of the plot – Jaina’s back, and with Proudmoore family!
Bring the expansion on!
It’s amazing how I couldn’t care less about the upcoming Antorus raid… Just bring us these demon loot bags to while away the time until the true things will happen next year :)