Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Blizzcon predictions revisited

I've found it incredibly difficult to jump back into blogging after the slew of info we got from Blizzcon. Aside from really not knowing where to start (at this point I'm just covering my eyes, pointing in one direction, and going there), I think finally this morning my body and mind have recovered enough from the stress of not eating right, not sleeping enough, and perhaps not hydrating myself with the proper type of liquid.

Anyway, prior to the con I was speculating about what we might see and I allowed those speculations to crystallize into predictions. Going to take a moment to review those.

We'll be getting a new expansion - yes
Well duh, Ross. But what an expansion it will be! I secretly went into Blizzcon saying to myself oh god please don't make it about time travel and I left Blizzcon saying f*&% yeah time travel! I don't know. They presented it in such a way that my brain doesn't have a problem comprehending, nor accepting it. Garrosh goes to the pre-demon-blood-drinking Horde and tries to convince them to head back through the portal that connects with our timeline. He's going back into history to summon an army to bring them back into the present.

Level-scaling will become a thing. - no
I didn't think there was any risk in this one not coming true given the hype generated when the feature went live briefly after 5.4 dropped. While in the video significant elements of that technology seemed to be working properly, Blizzard explicitly said it's not ready to even show right now. I'm a bit surprised, given that Warlords seems to encourage playing with friends more than any other expansion, but there's also still quite a bit of time before 6.0.1.

Reforging (and possibly hit/expertise) will be removed from the game. - yes
Besides getting a new expansion, this prediction was the one I was the most confident about. Throughout Mists of Pandaria I've noticed comments from Blizzard folk that seemed to indicate that reforging wasn't accomplishing what they wanted. It's turned into a necessary, annoying step for players each time they receive a new piece of gear. Furthermore, this step is very much driven by the existence of hit and expertise. I think this is a really smart move on Blizzard's part. One awesome consequence of this is that stats can be spec-based; that's why we'll be fine with only one armor set come Warlords, with just the stats on the armor changing depending on what spec we're in.

We'll be introduced to a new race. - no
I felt the pandaren model of a neutral race worked really well for Mists and thought they'd continue to go in that direction. With no new announced race at Blizzcon, we're probably not getting one. I thought this might be the expansion to introduce ogres. Oh well. Next time!

Gathering skills will become secondary professions. - no
I thought five expansions in we'd see Blizzard make this change to allow players to have greater flexibility when it comes to the goods their profession choices actually produce. Not so, and it will still be possible to have a gathering toon who's main professions are mining and herbalism. So you still have reason to play your druid. At the same time, we know garrisons will give players at least limited access to mining, though this maybe be on a scale similar to the farm.

We won't get much new information on the Warcraft movie. - yes
Duncan Jones seems like a pretty cool dude. While we learned a little bit about a couple of characters who will be involved (look it up, not spoiling here), beyond that there wasn't too much new happening. To me, the session seemed like it was created to put those invested---us---at ease. It's clear that the key folks involved in this movie love Warcraft just much as I do, as you do. I walked out of that session thinking damn; they're gonna nail it.

The Closing Ceremony will feature a full-on orchestra playing music from the Blizzard franchises. - no 
This was more my own personal secret wish than it was a prediction. But with Blizzard being moot on the closing entertainment almost right up to the con, I thought the announcement delay was simply to build suspense. In the end we got Blink 182 and my opinion on that doesn't even matter so we'll just leave that there. However, my highlight was the Sound Panel on Saturday morning and seeing Critical Hit perform. They should've closed the con, and I said as much to Jason Hayes when we stumbled across him in front of the convention center. By the way, Jason Hayes was probably the nicest, most genuine Blizzard employee we met out there, and we talked to a lot of nice Blizzard people.

We'll get to be blown away by new character models. - yes
I suppose that's like, my opinion, man, but I was pretty damn well impressed with what I saw, both during the panels and when I got the chance to test Warlords on the floor. The improvements are bold and noticeable, but subtle enough that it didn't pull you out of the game. Of the customization options I had at my disposal, I was able to create an orc whose look I would've been fine with swapping in for my main's look. Your character will still be there -- it's just going to look a hell of a lot better.

We'll see transmog options in WoW similar to what's been previewed for the Diablo 3 expansion. - no
We didn't actually see anything like this, but several times it was alluded to that they mean to have this system in WoW, it's just a matter of working it into the game. With WoW being the harbinger of transmogrification, I don't think Blizzard can afford to not offer the same level of flexibility options as Reaper of Souls will have.

And that's that. Predictions are light and fun when it comes to making them about video games, aren't they? Next, we'll have to speculate on release date. I'm going to go with my birthday: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014. We'll know soon.™


  1. "hit and expertise. I think this is a really smart move on Blizzard's part." Certainly an interesting one, if it goes live. I think you're the first one I've seen call it a "smart move." Can't disagree given the expense of constant reforging, in addition to the repair costs the people keep complaining about.

    " I thought this might be the expansion to introduce ogres..." Some of use were hoping for Ethereals. ;)

    "We'll get to be blown away by new character models..." Blown away? Maybe not quite that. :) Still, with all those other MMOs being so far ahead with their models it's nice to see Bliz updating them.

    Kudos for revisiting your predictions. :)

    1. Hit/Exp/Reforge change is definitely going live---it's intertwined too much with the other stat changes, item squish, and not to mention the gem and enchant changes coming our way. I think it's smart mainly because it takes out that margin for error---new players don't need to bother learning the concept, and raid leaders have one less thing to fret about when it comes to making sure their people are in top shape. Not to mention it might free up Blizzard to do some more interesting things with tertiary stats, and perhaps even boss mechanics.

      Ethereals would've been amazing. Way better than ogres. Plus they'd fit better as a neutral race, which is what I was hoping for. :P

      "Blown away" was definitely hyperbole, but the models do look damn good while still maintaining their stylistic "place" in Warcraft art.

      Thanks for your comment!