Blizzcon Aftermath: Battle for Azeroth Preview Opinion

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.

New Zones

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!

KUL-TIRAS

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.

Zuldazar

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.

Warfronts

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.

WoW_Battle_for_Azeroth_Warfronts

New Artifact 

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.

Heart-of-Azeroth

Legendaries

They go away. Hooray!! The players’ obsession with this orange random shit was somewhat scary in Legion. To hell with them.

Allied Races

…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.

Battle_for_Azeroth_Allied_Races_Alliance

Leveling Scaling

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.

World-of-Warcraft-Battle-for-Azeroth-Cinematic-Troll-Shaman

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!

Summary

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 :)

I’m hyped.

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Blizzcon 2015: Trailers

inquisitr-legion-2

I happened to watch most of the panels at Blizzcon, and as soon as there’s a ton of Class news coming these days, I must not keep my Blizzcon post longer. While I don’t have much time now, I will better split one big Blizzcon post into several themes.

So, the first highlight for me was:

TRAILERS

I was awaiting for them most of all things at Blizzcon. I cannot say I was dissappointed.

Warcraft Movie trailer was… ok. I saw few higlights in a teaser few days before, I saw some pictures, so I didn’t feel like I was hyped up to eleven. Still it was nice.

What’s new: they are going to insert a love story between Garona and Lothar obviously. They are going to kill Durotan in the movie, because Thrall was sent away Moses-style. Durotan will betray the Horde and try to negotiate with Humans.

Although it contradicts lore, I’m not very much against this. It will work for the movie, and it could have been in the official lore as well.

Fairly noticed: Alliance armor looks too shiny and polished, more like a cosplay.  Of course Warcraft is not Lord of the Rings which was greyish and greenish, Warcraft is all about bright colors, but still. We shall see if it works in the movie.

WoW: Legion trailer was awesome! It is a cool introduction to what are we going to do next. The threat was previously revealed, and now we’re coming for it. I liked how they showed us Varian – his first appearance in a cinematic was very natural.

– Who’s that cute woman in his medallion?
– It’s his son Anduin, you stupid.
(c) Trailer discussion

Yes, as we have seen in Pandaria’s campaign, Anduin is already around 17-18 years old, he has a man’s face and stature, and Varian has a 12-year old boy’s portrait. It’s a bit weird, but, lorewise, it maybe the portrait of a boy who yet could have become a fighter (like his father wanted), not healer, priest and peacekeeper like he is now.

Sylvanas was the coolest thing about the trailer. Everything she did was priceless, from first to last second.

Still, the trailer lacked some new stuff, maybe?

In BC and Lich, they showed us Arthas and Illidan – the long-awaited dudes. In Cataclysm, we saw Deathwing and how he destroyed BARRENS, Loch Modan, and other dear places. Pandaria presented us how a bare-handed plush toy can beat a pair of seasoned warriors – and a stunning look at the monastery with training monks. Draenor – here are 3 legendary dudes in a clash with each other (Guldan, Grommash and Mannoroth), Garrosh – hello, dude – and Epic Threat of a building Dark Portal.

There was nothing new in Legion trailer. We knew that both sides are heading to the invasion point (and we know how invasion point looks like from the previous video), we knew they will take aircraft and fleet there (Pandaria gave us two invasion-force examples throughout campaign – Jade Forest arrival and Krasarang), and we saw Varian kill the same old demons which we have slain in packs throughout expansions.

The trailer approved the big role of Varian and Sylvanas in Legion lore, showed them in action, but ended with a sort of daily-mob skirmish… It wasn’t played through to epic climax – show us the Legion, the Alliance/Horde armies, or make a fast camera fly through beyond the demon ranks and show us the masterminds, at least Guldan. That would have made a deal.

A Piece of Guildchat About Legion

While I’m collecting my thoughts to write a big post about Legion and Blizzcon in general, I want to share a piece of guildchat. We were discussing Legion’s upgrades, and it was hilarious. So, your Monday morning’s piece of good mood starts here:

– …and they also said: you will feel Fishing like an adventure, you won’t stare at another screen while fishing.

– Oh my! Will they finally allow fishing nets and dynamite?

– I hope so… What we really need dynamite for is Archaeology.

– Yeah, call it Goblin Archaeology or whatever, but you need to blast a bomb once at the excavation site and then just go and collect the artifact pieces.

– Even better, you login with your morning coffee, you have only 10 minutes in the whole day to play the game, so you just launch a bomb and then fly your 10 minutes in the world, collecting piles of resources, archaeology pieces, half-dead pets ready for free catch and boss loot.

– Yeah, and if you couldn’t play Legion at all, then on the last day of Legion expansion you launch a bomb and get all the Legion achievements in one day. Because “our focus is to make every person feel up-to-date, even if he has few time to play”.

– Wait. And what about people who play throughout expansion?

– Why, but they grind, of course. Immersement!

Blizzcon 2015

I’m ashamed but I must have courage to admit that I behaved exactly like whining forum guys. You know, the ones who are posting AWFUL THREATS that if Blizzard nerfs their favourite spell, they leave WoW and never come back. Of course they never leave.

So, Blizzcon. My frustration with Blizzcon 2014 – you could read it here – was so big that I vowed to never ever buy a virtual ticket again. It lasted for a year and I still have some battle rage when I remember my feelings. Today I did buy a ticket though :)

The reason is not the nice content they offer (trailers, ahem) – interviews and other videos will be in the net within an hour after broadcast. And not the pet or any other gifts. It’s the feeling of hype I’m buying, the feeling of community who are there at Anaheim or having a small holiday at their homes in front of their screens.

I’ll be there then tomorrow. Sitting for Legion, the movie, Overwatch and Starcraft: LotV panels. Hyped :)