As the title obviously infers, this past weekend was BLIZZCON!
This year I had a couple awesome friends chip in to get the stream for me for my birthday present, can’t wait to get my in-game mini-Deathwing pet.
Compared to last year’s event, the con wasn’t *quite* as exciting. In 2009 they officially announced Cataclysm, the monk class in Diablo 3, and unveiled progress on StarCraft 2.
This year… they revealed the fifth and final class in Diablo 3, the demon hunter. And that was about it. We all know that Cataclysm is hitting the servers on December 7th, StarCraft 2 is up and running, but other than that, there wasn’t anything terribly new and exciting.
Even if it was lacking in major headliners, it was still a blast to watch the stream.
Opening ceremonies with Mike Morhaime included a double rainbow reference, a jab at Justin Bieber, and the spiffy factoid that the Lich King has been slain some 489,000 times.
Morhaime is an awkward public speaker, made all the more apparent when followed by the highly charismatic Chris Metzen. Metzen did a little word association and reminisced with the crowd about the word “geek” and our identity as geeks.
After that we were able to jump around between 4 different stages on the stream this year. The main stage, the development stage and then 2 other stages that were generally devoted to some sort of PvP.
The best introduction of the weekend came from Greg Street, aka Ghostcrawler, “I like walking on the beach… drinking gin, and nerfing paladins.”
There was a marriage proposal during the costume contest (she said yes) and a kid blew his knee out during the dance contest.
So here’s the highlights from BlizzCon 2010:
- New class, Demon Hunter announced.
- Diablo 3 will support PvP in battle arenas, singly and teams.
- Game play will be balanced around PvE, NOT PvP.
- With skills and runes to augment them, each class has 96,886,969,344 builds.
- Trait system added to give impressive passive boosts and allow additional customization.
- Armor dyes will be introduced.
- Talisman – dedicated storage for charms; charms will now focus on core attributes.
- I’m expecting a guest post from Tir in the next few days about the Diablo news. Since he’s actually played Diablo and I have not, it should be much more in depth.
- Sam Raimi is still tied in for this and looking forward to it. A story has very recently been nailed down, now they are waiting for the green light to squeeze into Sam’s schedule.
- Heroic Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep. We knew they were coming, but they will have new stories.
- Dungeon-related quests for all dungeons will be moved inside the dungeon.
- May old dungeons are being revamped. Some, such as Uldaman and Mara, are being broken into wings. Others, such as Sunken Temple and Wailing Caverns, are having content cut out and bosses moved around.
- Looting system will be more stringent to keep players from rolling on bad gear choices.
- Graveyards are closer, should be within 30 seconds of a dungeon entrance.
- Stacking buffs will have the option to display as a meter.
- More raids will be ready for ship.
- Coolest encounters yet.
- Raid design including planning for content for everyone presented in bite-sized chunks. Raids are more fun when they can be completed in a single evening.
- Flexibility. The new raid lockout system saves boss kills to your character instead of your character being saved to an ID.
- Possible change to drop mechanics for pieces of Valinyr and Shadowmourne. Currently, they only drop in 25s, but the new raid philosophy is that you should be able to run 10s or 25s.
- Many raids and dungeons will include teleporters to move around quickly.
Planned for 4.1.0
- Firelands Raid, home of Raganaros on the elemental plane of fire, 7 bosses.
- Abyssal Maw dungeon, plane of water, continuation of the Throne of the Tides dungeon, approximately 4 bosses, new animations and combat for underwater.
- Enhanced dungeon maps. All dungeons will ship for Cata with 2D maps, for 4.1.0 they are adding boss information (loot, lore, abilities), and 3D portraits of the bosses.
- Most of the Q&A that Metzen was present for seemed like a big game of “Try to stump Metzen.” He may have retconned a thing or two.
- Developers may have just been playing around when they agreed to introduce a legendary staff for casters. But damn it would be nice if they did. The way many of the panel members annswered questions with mage-type examples, it seems like the entire team plays a mage.
- A question was posed about the transition time-wise and story-wise about leveling in the new sundered Azeroth and then getting sent through the portal to Outlands… back in time? The panel agreed that it was going to transition “poorly” at this time but it is being looked at.
- Metzen very excitedly pointed out that the dragon aspect family is missing a guardian of earth and that Thrall may be a suitable replacement. There was also some talk about NOT using the Guardians of Tirisfal as a story hook at this time, which is where previous theories had pegged Thrall’s direction. Kalecgos will be rising to lead the blue flight.
- Ner’zhul is no more.
- We are unlikely to see much of Bolvar any time soon, they’re more or less done chasing the undead theme for a while.
- Thrall and Jaina are not going to be an item.
- Recently, Blizzard has added a new layer of account protection. They are monitoring play patterns and will lock down an account that seems to be behaving outside the norms, sending an email to confirm ownership.
- Deathwing has a wingspan of about 1200 feet and is longer, nose to tail, than a football field. There are crazy, ambitious plans for this encounter but they are still working on it.
- Ghostcrawler says we can’t have a moose because we can’t handle the moose.
- We will be getting new class-specific quests, probably around level 20 and 50.
- No, achievement points will not be turned into a currency.
- Inscription will eventually get to have fortune cookies.
- The dance studio is still being worked on. They are waiting until they have a significant amount of content available before it is released.
- It has not been decided how many tiers of content we will see between now and Deathwing, most likely 2 or 3.
- There is a plan to make hunter’s scopes more fun.
- There is a possibility of adding female druid forms.
- Emerald Dream – not a question of if, but when.
- Will we ever see full racial balancing? “Probably not.”
- The alchemy mount (elixir that transforms you into a dragon and allows you to carry a passenger) will be difficult to obtain.
- New guild mounts will be account bound.
- Maybe, just maybe we will finally get a closet or tabard rack for season gear and tabards.
- They are going to “take more seriously” alternate methods of obtaining older patterns in content that is not currently run.
- The Alliance’s answering battle cry to “FOR THE HORDE!” is, “Have mercy!” Per the devs. I shit you not.
Next generation MMO:
- Per Rob Pardo, the next MMO is already playable internally.
- Huge staffing push underway.
Most of the screen shots and what was transcribed by Blizzard can be seen over at MMOChamp.
Did anyone else watch or get to attend in person?