Another year, another Blizzcon. This time around Blizzcon tickets sold out in less than 2 seconds, which meant a lot of us had no option but to watch the event via the online service at RayV.com – which suits me just fine! So I’ve watched pretty much all the panels now and the random filler-interviews etc. There’s lots more for me to watch as well which I will get back to watching once I’ve finished writing this post – Starcraft 2 tournament? Awesomesauce! But I wanted to stop for a bit and write down some comments regarding some things the developers have said during the panels and especially the Q&A sessions.
The Demon Hunter
Since Starcraft II was released earlier this year and Cataclysm being released in about a month there wasn’t really any big announcements left this year. That is, except for one. The unveiling of the last class for Diablo III; Demon Hunter.
There was no doubt for me before this unveiling that I would get Diablo III and there was no doubt that I would love the game from beginning to end. This unveiling makes me believe I might just cream all over the game once I get it though. Demon Hunter?! Fucking A!
The Demon Hunter is a standard ranged class, very much like the hunter class we know in WoW. She uses bows, crossbows, traps and other gadgets to aid her success. She’s weaker in melee range and relies on settings up beforehand to really get the cards in her favor. One noteable difference from the WoW version of the hunter is that this class has no pets, which seems like it could generate very interesting gameplay in my opinion. She also has another ace up her sleeve; shadow magic. But most importantly, she can dual-wield crossbows. Let me say that again, she can dual-wield crossbows! Do you need anything else? Wtb Diablo III release now! Get the full scoop on the Demon Hunter on diablofans.com.
Dungeons and Raids
Ok, enough talk about Diablo III. Let’s get to the important stuff: World of Warcraft.
Since Cataclysm is just one month away, most of the stuff that is gonna happen soon has already been revealed and we know all about it. So there was some talk about patch 4.1 instead and some things that just sorta fell between the cracks during previous announcements.
For Cataclysm all the old world (lvl1-60) dungeons have been revamped so that they’re closer to the current standard of dungeons.
- There are new quests and bosses in a lot of the older dungeons, all the quests are located just inside the dungeon at the entrance. No more long unshareable quest chains for dungeons.
- When they totally redid Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep for heroic mode, they implemented these changes for the normal mode as well.
- Sunken Temple has been made smaller and less confusing, this was done by removing the lower parts of the dungeon.
- Wailing Caverns is no longer an endless maze which causes groups to break down in tears and disband. It’s now smaller and easy to navigate.
- Uldum is split up into instances, or as they liked to call it: “two wings”, think Utgarde Pinnacle/Utgarde Keep.
- Mauradon has been split up as well and should be less confusing to navigate.
- To avoid long and confusing ghost-runs they’ve placed graveyards right next to the instance entrances. This will be particularly helpful for Mauradon for example, where there were like 4 entrances (or more?) and no one knew which one to go to or where it was.
- They’ve placed teleporters in longer dungeons such as Blackrock Depths to make wipes less annoying.
They hinted at a possibility of seeing a Caverns of Time dungeon sometime during the expansion, but didn’t give any real details. They showed us a bit of the raids we’ll be seeing at the launch of Cataclysm, which we already knew about, but it was nice to get it confirmed that we’re actually getting all three at launch and not just one like in the last expansion. The three raids are: Blackwing Descent, The Bastion of Twilight & The Throne of the Four Winds. The videos we saw made them all look very polished and pretty much ready to be used right now.
Raids in Cataclysm won’t have 12+ bosses, the intent is to have 7 or less bosses per raid so that it will be possible to clear an entire raid in one night rather than having to reschedule and come back later in the week. They liked to call this splitting up raids into “bite-sized chunks”. If you look on the raids above you’ll see that they have 5, 6 and 2 bosses respectively.
One really cool thing coming in the first content patch for Cataclysm will be Enhanced maps. This is basically another occasion where Blizzard looks at a popular addon, rethinks the idea a bit and implements it themselves (rendering the addon useless), which I love. The new enhanced maps will give you more information about bosses. They’ll list loot, some basic information about the bosses abilities and give you some lore about the boss.
Oh, and yes, this will be applied to all raids and all dungeons in the entire game.
A white-haired lady during one of the Q&A’s asked for a closet feature for us to store various kinds of gear for dressing up for different RP occasions or whatever reason we might have. The blues said that they were actually trying to implement that for Cataclysm already but didn’t have enough time to finish it. Hopefully we can expect it in a later content patch. Another question that came up was about a tabard-closet and they pretty much said the same thing here, it’s in the works but not ready yet.
A member of the audience suggested that Blizzard should go back and change the way you obtain Shadowmourne and Val’anyr so you could actually get the shards and complete the quests in 10-man as well as 25-man since this would be the new policy in Cataclysm. The blues seemed to like the idea and said they were gonna discuss it the following monday in the office.
Ok here’s something worrying news. A woman asked about the Insane in the Membrane achievement and how it’s currently broken on beta because some of the factions are actually missing in the game and as such there’s no way to gain the reputation needed. For example Dire Maul is totally redesigned so that kinda removes the opportunity to gain Steamwheedle Cartel and Shen’dralar reputation. Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street laughed about it and said:
“The biggest problem are the changes to the Bloodsail Buccaneers, that kinda put a bullet in that feat of strength for now. It’s fun to do painful things in WoW. If there’s a huge outcry for it we’ll try to put something equally brute in the game”
So apparently the problems aren’t just with Steamwheedle Cartel and Shen’dralar, there’s a problem with Bloodsail Buccaneers as well. Maybe this feat of strength won’t be achievable in Cataclysm after all. I imagine there will be some more questions about this on the forums in the coming days and maybe we’ll get some further confirmation. But for now, it’s probably safest to go all-out and get this feat of strength ASAP.
Hunters, what about hunters?!
Yeah, so there wasn’t really anything super-exciting regarding class changes this year – we got enough last year to last us a while didn’t we? 🙂 I’ll go through what was mentioned though.
First off, they decided upon making the first legendary item in Cataclysm a caster staff (I imagine dps-only, but they didn’t specify) and as such we won’t be seeing a legendary crossbow or anything similar anytime soon. 😦
Someone asked about how the melee classes have all these cool procc enchants while we’re stuck with boring +stats enchants. The blues confirmed that which we learned a few days ago that the melee enchants won’t be useable for hunters but that they are aware of the problem here and are looking into making the scope enchants more interesting. To me it sounded like we’d be stuck with something boring for a while but might be able to expect some cooler epic enchants in a later content patch (like perhaps patch 4.1).
As expected, the minimum range issue came up once again. Mostly they just sorta laughed and said that every class has strengths and weaknesses, learn to live with them. However, they did mention the problem of how the hitboxes of bosses are very random at the moment and how there’s no way to detect where they begin or end other than stepping into them and loosing dps. They said they are looking into fixing that, let’s hope it’ll be sometime soon, cause it sure is annoying.
The last hunter specific question wasn’t actually about hunters, but rather one of our pets; the Mastiff. A member of the audience said that he had trouble imagining defeating Deathwing with a small, cuddly dog like the Mastiff and was hoping it could be made more ferocious. The blues suggested that they could give it rabies perhaps… Let’s hope not! 😮
Well, that’s all for now. It’s been great fun watching the Blizzcon 2010 coverage so far and I still have a lot of stuff to get through. I’m especially looking forward to the Starcraft 2 tournament matches, there really are some amazing players out there! The only thing that I’m disappointed with is that I managed to miss the live broadcast of Hunting Party Podcast! Hopefully the actual podcast will be out soon, hurry up you guys! 🙂