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Blizzcon 2011 Baby Yeah!

Some of you may be interested in whats going on at Blizzcon this year. Fear not, I shall be here to fill you in on events as they unfold from the Anaheim Convention Center. I have my virtual ticket in my virtual hand and am ready and waiting for the opening ceremony at 7pm tonight.

End of day 2.

1:15am – Well that’s the end of all the panels. The Closing Ceremony will start in about 45 minutes. The artist formally known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftan will be opening (with some new songs) followed by the Foo Fighters.

I really hope that you enjoyed the live blogging as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it (it’s my first time doing this). If you think it’s not good enough then please feel free to donate to send me to California for BlizzCon 2012 where I will no doubt do much better ;)

00:15am – World of Warcraft Lore & Story Q&A

Any plans for a world pvp zone like wintergrasp in MoP?
It’s something they are looking into incorporating somehow, not sure how yet.

What motivation will the Pandaren have for fighting each other when they choose opposing factions?
during the early stages you will be learning about the horde and alliance and you will choose to represent. The pandaren don’t fight out of anger.

Question for Chris Metzen, any plans to write a novel because I love your writing style? <3
Maybe one day, I do enjoy writing but it’s terrifying.

Jaina Proudmore – her moment will come.

If Pandaren are all about peace then why can’t they be druids and why can they be warlocks?
re: Druids – Cenarian weren’t around there to teach them the ways.
Pandaren are capably of hate, it’s not impossible, they are away of the consequences of their actions. Note Chris Metzen wasn’t sure that they could be warlocks and didn’t seem very ok with the idea either.

Future troll storylines will be coming, more in 5.0

The Pandaren are not a joke, Chris says that they would never build an expansion based on an April Fool’s joke. There is so much story behind this race.

Any plans to make the Alliance a bit more badass since it’s been very Horde/Thrall focused in cataclysm?
There will be a quest…at some point…where we will make Varian great. With the conflict coming between the Alliance and the Horde, the Alliance need a king who has got his shit together, and he will have his shit together. We admit we owe the alliance big time, and we have some plans for Varian’s son.

No racial leaders for the Pandaren, however there will be a representative for them for Horde and Alliance.

11:30pm – Time for a break before the World of Warcraft Lore & Story Q&A

10:30pm – World of Warcraft General Q&A

Do you plan on implementing a spectator mode for battlegrounds or raids?
We’d love to do it…one day!

Do we want Illidan Stormrage back? Hell Yeh!

Enchancement Shaman are pretty sub-optimal at the moment, do you plan on doing anything about that?
General in PVE they are doing fine, casters do overshadow melee at the moment but upcoming changes should make it better.

Guild name change, when is it happening?
New guild services will be released very soon…in less than 2 week ;)

With a new healing class will you design your raids to require more healers?
No plans to change the design, it will just be more options and variety for the raid setup.

With pets and achievements becoming account-bound will we see mounts become account bound?
Someday yes, not in 5.0, but someday yes.

Can you bring back the requirement for needing an authenticator every time we log in?

Tweet by Fax Van Allen: Why does suck? Can you fix it? A: Your class is fine, you’re just not good at playing it.

Will BoA items every be really BoA, i.e. across servers?
Maybe one day, it’s a technical difficulty. The mail system is a terrible way to transfer gear. The new pet system which will have all your pets available to all your characters would be nice if we could use it for mounts, heirlooms etc.

Any plans to give arcane mages a dot?
In 5.0 all mages will have living bomb!

With wands becoming a main hand weapon, will enchanters be able to make good (epic) wands instead of the crappy greens?

With Transmog, what are the plans for items no longer available in the game?
We will try to offer similar alternatives, different textures.

I see a potential major buff at level 90 which means you’ll nerf us. Paladins are so very nearly balanced, please don’t touch us.
That was very moving, thank you.

In MoP will there be ay craftable mounts, or can we have combat while mounted?
No on mount combat, but for craftable mounts…maybe jewelcrafting ;)

Can you fix Heroic leap?
We keep working on it.

Any plans to represent GLBT in stories/lore?
It’s certainly an open possibility if the story is compelling enough.

Thank you for the hunter pet taming challenges, having said that why can’t I take my exotic pets into raids as survival?
BM DPS is high enough that it is viable to raid in, you shouldn’t need to switch to SV or MM to raid. We hope to bring to pets the ability to make any pet tenacity/ferocity etc.

Player Housing please?
Someday, we talk about it all the time, we have a general idea but it’s very resource consuming.

How will we visually distinguish between Alliance and Horde Pandaren beyond level 10?
It will mainly be through UI, the red name text, we don’t want to change the way the characters look.

Any plans to update character models?
It’s trick,y we want to and we are working on it but you’re talking about messing with characters people have had for up to 5 years. Some might not be happy logging in one day to find their character looks different.

10:10pm – Malteaser box is open, want one?

Next up is the World of Warcraft General Open Q&A at 10:30pm. a quick 30 min break to stretch my legs, i’ve been stuck on a beanbag all day. Simply standing up will be a challenge.

9:00pm – World of Warcraft Class/Items/Professions Q&A
I will do my best to keep things word for word but I may have to improvise.
I would seem that an extra character slot is still something they are talking about. I’m personally not satisfied with this answer, there are currently 10 classes and 10 slots. Realistically some people will have 1 of each class and with the introduction of the Monk it may force people to either delete a current character or move to another server. One idea they had was to keeping the maximum number of characters (currently 50) but allowing you to have as many as you want on any server. Either way I hope what they plan is implemented before/or with the release of MoP.

Why can’t we mount when using the Noggenfogger Elixir even after 5 years?
They simply don’t have the animations for them and it looks stupid when they do, so they decided to just not do it.

Are there any plans to make healer spec (holy/resto) more viable for soloing PVE content?
Dual spec is really the answer for this. Something they could talk about. It can be hard to balance for PVP.

Any plans to add to Druid AOE Healing? Wild Mushrooms for healing might be a nice idea.

Will Arcane Mages get anything to get away from being 2 button wonders?
They don’t like the way arcane barrage currently works so they are looking to make changes to that, perhaps not in 4.3 but in 5.0

New Shadow Priest glyph to make it so you can see your gear a bit better by changing the alpha. w00t!

Any plans for DK tier gear, all classes go from tier 1, but DK start much later?
Naw. Personally you don’t deserve it :P

Plans to bring wackier and stronger things to engineering :D

No plans for give Hunters the ability to equip any melee weapons in expansion, though perhaps they will make exceptions for legendaries. We might look a bit boring on our character screen holding nothing so they may give us our bow/quiver/ammo pouch visible on our body somewhere.

How will monk healing work?
in healer stance, mana will be used. Ideas about proximity healing with the monk rather thank target healing. The panel spoke about statues which you place around the raid and when you DPS the boss the statues emit heals to nearby allies.

No currently melee cloth class, question was about why monks are more leather than cloth, they feel like they should be clothies.
It would mean creating new armor types, which can increase redundant drops in dungeons. leather fits just fine and it’s already there.

How do you plan to make up for loss of stats by taking the melee weapon away from hunters?
Other classes will lose ranged slots so hunters won’t be the only class losing potential stats. Your ranged weapon will now be two handed and therefore will have greater stats. It will be balanced out. Don’t worry :)

Monk’s lack of auto attack feels natural, any plans to do this with any other classes?
It was a controversial move, it’s not a final decision. Too risky to do to other classes.

8:30pm – I just happened to switch over the Diablo III Q&A and stumbled across a great question regarding people who have purchased the WoW Annual Pass who then get the free Diablo III, what if that person wants to buy the Collectors Edition? Apparently that extra cost will be credited to your account, I assume as gameplay time.

7:15pm – World of Warcraft Art Panel
Starting off with chit chat about how the design process for the raid tier sets., and how cool it is to see people at the costume contest wearing the tier sets they create.
They are talking about the research into Asian styles for inspiration in the creation of the Pandarian characters and zones, and the process of turning the pencil and paper sketches into the stuff we see in game.
They are showing the animation for the Pandaren and Monk. No /dance yet…
The new Pandaria zones are simply gorgeous, you really just have to see it to understand. I’m sure MMO-Champion will have a gallery up soon!

7:00pm – For the first time I’ll be moving over to the discussion stage for the World of Warcraft Art Panel. On another note Blizzard have put up the Official Mists of Pandaria website and you can check it out here. They also have the trailer there too. Awesome sauce.

6:00pm There won’t be any new information during the Live Raid, but awesome fun! Quite likely I’ll have more to say during the Q&A Panels. Forgot to mention the Art Panel too which is right after the Live Raid , again very visual so no much I can talk about but if anything interesting comes up I’ll certainly let you know within minutes or it happening.

Live Raid starting. Vodka (US first kill of Heroic Ragnaros, and also alliance scum) vs Blood Legion (US first kill of Heroic Nefarian, and awesome Horde!)
Raid is a special Firelands raid without the trash. The devs are on stage to tweak the raids. This is a speed run. Go Horde!! WOO!
I haven’t raided Firelands on any of my character so I’m loving these fights!
Alliance nearly wiped, but didn’t :-(
Both teams are on the 2nd last boss. Nail biting stuff to watch, perhaps not to read lol.
Blood Legion have pulled Ragnaros first, there will a surprise in store for whoever doesn’t down Ragnaros first.
WTF Ragnaros has legs?!
Vodka has lost about 12 players, well done to Vodka for the first live raid wipe!
Congrats to Blood Legion – FOR THE HORDE!
Hogger is wiping Vodka…Epic!

5:50pm – Day 2 of Blizzcon and we’re going to start off with the World of Warcraft Live Raid. After that my plan is to watch the Classes/Items/Professions Q&A, the Open Q&A and then the Lore & Story Q&A. My toblerone is nearly finished, but fear not…I have a box of malteasers!


02:00am Contests. I can’t really commentate on the contests as they pretty visual so I’ll log off here for the night, but rest assured I’ll be watching till 5am! I hope you enjoyed reading the updates as much as I did posting them! I’ll be back at 6pm on Saturday night right through to 5:30am Sunday morning.

00:45am – Diablo III Gameplay & Auction House
I have only recently become interested in Diablo III, I have never played any previous Diablo either but I wanted to give this panel a shot this year. Normally this is my nap time before the costume contests. I’ll give this one my best shot.
New gameplay elements: Stone of recall returns you to town, player banners teleport you to that player when clicked. The cauldron of Jordan allows you to sell items from where ever you are. The cube of Nephalem allows you to craft items.
There appears to be someone called The Mystic (who levels up to give more powerful enhancements) who can enhance your items, the enhancements are random.
The jeweler who, as one would expect, can help you add sockets to items, combine gems, remove gems and the jeweler levels up too.
The blacksmith can craft items, even legendary and unique set items.

PVP features – Team Deathmatch (10 minute games, no skill/item swapping during games). 4vs4. You will use your PVE character.

Auction House – lots of UI screenshots. Trade using gold or real money. Items, gold and components can be sold. Participation is free.
New features: Smart search, will take a character and searches for suitable things for your character. Advanced searching is…well more advanced. Stackable items will be supported this time.

4 difficulty levels: Normal, Nightmare, Hell and Inferno.

11:30pm – World of Warcraft Dungeons & Raids Panel
Challenge modes will be with normalised gear which means it’s more about skill than the gear you have. The gear rewards as I mentioned earlier wont have stats but makes them good for the upcoming transmog feature coming in patch 4.3.
The raid finder will launch in 4.3 but only for Dragon Soul and will be for 25 player modes rather than 10 player.
3 raids for the new continent, one of which is Mogu’Shan Palace (6 bosses).
Q&A has started, I’ll post any decent questions!
Can we queue for older (BC & Wrath) raids? No, at least not yet, see how it works but queue times might be insanely long.
Looks like there will be no level 90 normal dungeons.
Prestige items from raids will remain in normal and heroic mode, these items will not be available through the dungeon finder as it will be slightly below normal level.

10:15pm – World of Warcraft Class Talent System
Going over the talents for each class. I don’t know enough about each class to comment on the effect it will cause so I can only talk about what I know. Tom S mentioned that the main WoW site will have talent calculators for every class which you can check out for yourself.
Basically when you hit level 10 you will pick what spec you want to be and then you get to pick 1 of 3 abilities, and then every 15 levels you again get to pick 1 of 3 abilities. Each tier has a theme, like crowd control or healing ability etc. When you level up you will automatically learn any new spells available to you, no more running back to your trainer.

8:30pm – World of Warcraft Preview Panel
No flying until max level. Preview map of the new continent Pandaria, which has 5 zones. Jade Forrest is the starting zone for high level characters. Magically hidden since The Sundering.
New pandaren character will start out on the back of a turtle! Full map was shown, looks awesome and is currently playable for those at Blizzcon, lucky bastards.
They have shown a short video of the starting area for new pandaren, everything looks so peaceful and beautiful, will likely kill my graphics card. The Jade Forest is where the Horde and Alliance will meet when they arrive on Pandaria.
Pandaren can be Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Shaman or Warrior.
Monk (leather armor) – Brewmaster=Tank, Mistweaver=Healer, Windwalker=MeleeDPS. Confirmed as not a hero class, you will start at level 1. All races can be monks apart from Goblins and Worgen.
Resources are Chi (energy) which can generate light and dark force, new resource bar will show this. It appears you build up your force like combo points and use them for finishers. Monks will not have any auto-attack.

The new talent system. There will be no talent points, and only 1 tree per class. Learning a new talent every 15 levels, choose 1 talent out of a choice of 3. Talents will be easier to change the way glyphs are. New UI design to match. Whole panel on this in about an hour.

Introduction of Senarios, new PVE gameplay, PVE Battlegrounds. You will be able to queue for them like the dungeon finder, however there are no role requirement so queues should be pretty quick! You can earn valor points.

Challenge Mode Dungeons, example is complete in X minutes, players will earn medals (gold, silver and bronze). Gear levels will be normalised. Rewards will be “sweet looking gear with no stats” and valor points, bragging rights and leaderboard placement.

The Pet Battle System – Collect, level and fight with your companion pets (not your hunter pets!) and will work with most pets. Pets will be customizable, names, stats etc! New types of wild pets you can find out in the world. There will be a pet journal which will help you manage your pets, your battles and most pets will become tradeable, even after leveling your pets. Pet journal shows pets have stats and special abilities, your pets level, the location you can find the pet (if you don’t already have), and even some lore about the pet too.
You battle your pets against others and they gain XP which level them up and get more abilities. Turn based combat :-)
This is honestly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

There will be 9 new dungeons, 6 across Pandaria, heroic updates of classic favourites (Scholomance, Scarlet Monastery). 3 new raids. World raid bosses will return, watch where you wander! More of this at the Raids & Dungeons panel at 11:30pm.
New battlegrounds and arenas.
Account wide achievements.

HUNTER MINIMUM RANGE IS GONE! Hunter melee weapon is GONE! Ranged slot for all other characters are gone, Relics are gone. Thrown weapons gone. Wands will become a main hand weapon.
Druids will have 4 specs (Feral cat, Guardian Bear).

8.20pm – I have opened my white chocolate Toblerone.

Short break between panels, I have already signed up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass which will get me Diablo III for FREE when released, also Tyrael’s Charger mount available when patch 4.3 hits and guaranteed beta key for Mists of Pandaria expansion pack.

A concern I have with adding a new race is that we have 10 character slots and 10 playable races already, will they increase our character slots, or will be need to sacrifice?

7:45pm – We are about to be shown the video for the next World of Warcraft Expansion. War is the new villain, the Horde and Alliance will be finally at war with each other without the distraction of Illidan, Arthas or Deathwing.
We will fight on new land, land which has been undiscovered by us for thousands of years.
World of Warcraft : Mists of Pandaria
New Race : Panderan
New Class: Monk
New continent : Panderia
Level cap to 90
New talent system
Pet battle system

7:25pm – The great Chris Metzen is here carrying the Doomhammer, spoiling everything by wearing an Alliance hoodie.
Chris confirmed we will be finding out what the next World of Warcraft expansion will be but hinted that we will be as one.
Diablo III cinematic, the Black Soulstone is shown.
Starcraft II Heart of the Swarm video is shown.

7:15pm – we are shown the box for Diablo III Collectors Edition Box, includes in games items for Diablo III, SC2 and WoW, various art things and a SoulStone USB stick with a holder shaped like Diablo’s skull. Diablo III will be available for FREE for World of Warcraft Subscribers of the new Annual Pass (available now), along with access to the next WoW expansion beta and an exclusive in-game mount.

7:00pm – Opening Ceremony, Mike Morhaime (CEO) arrives on stage, blabbing about stats, 26000 attendees at the Anaheim Convention Centre, blizz is 20 years old this year. $2.7 million donated to the Make a Wish and Japan Tsunami relief. The artist formally known as Lvl 80 Elite Tauren Chieftans will be kicking off the closing ceremony tomorrow night followed by the Foo Fighters.

6:30pm The official live stream has started. Pre ceremony build up. It seems we’ll be joined by Geoff and Kat for between panel chat too.

Best costume? This Minecraft entry was great
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