Just wanted to do a quick shorthand of the big announcements from Blizzcon for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention. Included will be all of the major details related to each announcement, just in a much shorter version for those who just want the ‘cliff notes’ version, so to speak! Enjoy!
World of Warcraft:
Blizzard announced a new expansion entitled ‘Mists of Pandaria’ for World of Warcraft, and also talked a bit more about the 4.3 patch coming in a few weeks.
Mists of Pandaria is going to introduce a lot of new systems as well as a few new options. So let’s do a quick list
- New race – Pandaren; able to be on either Horde or Alliance and will have the same models on both factions
- New class – Monk; has no auto-attack, capable of being healer, tank, or dps. They’re trying to make the heal spec use a sort of ‘melee healer’ attitude.
- Level cap going up to 90, with new skills for each class ‘as they feel is necessary’
- New continents – Pandaria for level 85-90 containing 5 subzones – Will not be able to fly there until max level . A start zone for the Pandarens exists upon a giant floating turtle as well – unnamed as far as I was able to find.
- New “Pet Battle System” for companion pets where you can level companion pets and fight in turn based battles against other companion pets, as well as ‘wild’ companion pets
- Removal of ‘ranged weapon’ slot. Hunter bow/xbow/gun will become 2-hand weapons, rogue/warrior will be able to throw their weapon, wands becoming a main hand option for casters.
- Warlocks will use a different sub-resource for each spec to help differentiate. Druids will now have 4 specs – cat, bear, moonkin, tree.
- Completely redesigned talent system – no longer will we have talent trees in the way we know currently.
- PvE ‘Scenarios’ being introduced – Less structured group PvE events to allow for more dynamic content for PvE. Taking place of ‘Group Quests’ in PvE.
- ‘Challenge Mode’ being added to dungeons. Players will use pre-defined gear sets to complete timed runs of dungeons with aesthetic bonus rewards as well as bragging rights – leaderboard will be present as well.
- Outdoor raid bosses will be making a return.
- No more visiting trainer – spells auto-learn.
Starcraft 2 – Heart of the Swarm
- Campaign will be slightly shorter than the WoL campaign – around 20 missions.
- Heart of the Swarm campaign focuses on the concept of zerg evolution including a genetic split concept to allow you to pick one of two options for how to drastically alter your unit as Kerrigan seeks to reclaim the Swarm.
- The ‘Battle.Net Marketplace’ has been renamed the ‘Arcade’ and the UI has been cleaned up a lot, making it a lot easier to find maps. The ability to sell maps for money will come later, but not quite quite at HotS release.
- The ‘Fun or Not’ system will be used to fill maps that are being hosted that may be too new or not quite popular enough to hit the top 10 to help out those hidden gems.
- New multiplayer units for each race adding all sorts of new mechanics such as duplicating units, pulling enemy units, etc.
- Complete revamp of the scenario editor making it more effective and more simplified – including a new xml editor, a new cinematic editor, a set of art tools that export to 3d studio max.
- Custom maps in the ‘Arcade’ can have ladders incorporated to ensure people are playing against similar skill level.
- Plans are in place to add reconnect options to BNet games in case of disconnects – both ladder and customs.
- Blizzard DotA has a new cinematic – which is really cool.
- Stats have been simplified into Health, Damage, Mastery.
- With new stat system, items have also been concentrated. Items can be upgraded as well to become a better version of the same item – recipes are gone.
- Still fought using heroes from all Blizzard franchises, currently have at least 16 heroes in their internal builds.
- Hero roles defined to ‘Tank’, ‘DPS’, ‘Support’, and ‘Siege’. All roles are very thoroughly defined – meaning dps are very squishy, support are very weak on their own, etc. Cross-roles seem to be not the intent.
- Concept of ‘last-hit’ removed to ensure people are actually fighting in their lane, not just waiting until mobs are weak. Kill/Assist refined into ‘Takedown’ meaning that if you participate in a kill, you get credit for it.
- Towers have been made more squishy to encourage early aggression.
- Jungling gives control of mercs, replacing existing units with more powerful ones during lane spawns, also allows you to summon yetis to support towers. Bosses join you to push lane when you kill them.
- Multiple maps differing lane count, spawn locations, creep locations, etc.
- Focus is on teamplay, not individualism – rewarding unselfish play, removing concept of kill-stealing and last-hitting, etc.
Diablo 3 – Note: Most of what was shown here was already known, although a few points were new
- Showed us ‘The Black Soulstone’ Cinematic, showing the demonic invasion by Azmodan from the ruins of Mount Arreatt.
- Discussion of the Angiris Council giving insight into the Angels and what role they could potentially play.
- Information about the big bads of the game mentioning Belial and Azmodan as well as roles they play.
- Discussion of achievements which will include general gameplay, extreme accomplishment, and absurdity.
- Banner customization and options were highlighted.
- Convenience features were shown including banner allowing you to teleport to friends, and the Stone of Recall, the Cauldron of Jordan, and the Nephalem Cube.
- Lifecycle of items in Diablo 3 was showcased, including crafting.
- Enhancement and crafting system was shown, with the mystic being able to enhance items, jeweler to combine gems and add sockets, and the blacksmith to craft items including sets.
- Artisans are account-based.
- PVP will be a team deathmatch, and item/skills cannot be changed during matches. Other methods of pvp are likely to come after release.
- Free listings for Real Money auction house will refresh weekly.
- New Auction house features were showcased including thorough advanced search features.
- Difficulty ‘gag reel’ was shown to make the challenge in higher difficulties apparent.
Written by: Sean