Aye, I am monitoring Blizzcon. Of course! No virtual ticket or stream for me, crazy US times aren’t really compatible with me getting up for work in the morning over here in Britain-land.
I thought the Raids and Dungeons panel would be the key attraction for me, but actually it turns out I’m far more interested in what Metzen and the other lore-types have to say. Yeah, I’m not supposed to be paying attention to Cataclysm lore for fear of spoilers, but the Lore panel’s not been too bad in that respect. Some personal highlights so far… under the cut, in case you’re carefully avoiding Cataclysm lore even more than I am
Raids and Dungeons!
- New instance maps! 2D maps for every dungeon in the game! Later on in 4.1 (or so) we’ll be getting enhanced maps with information about each boss – loot, a 3D image, background lore, abilities… This is an excellent idea! I liked the little interactive web-map they produced for Ulduar telling you a little about each boss, so this should be great.
- Closer graveyards: Thank Elune, no more horrific runs half way across a continent, and no more trying to guide that last DPSer in who got lost on a corpse run back to BRD. Speaking of which…
- Apparently it’s very hard to cut BRD down into smaller bits. Considering my worst ever experience in a Warcraft dungeon was in BRD, I’d kind of appreciate it if they obliterated and rebuilt the whole thing to modern standards. They haven’t done that, but they have added teleporters which is something at least.
- Lots of old world dungeons will be changed to make more sense. There is some speak also of additional old world Heroics in the same vein as Heroic Deadmines.
- As for new content, they say that new 4.1 5-man The Abyssal Maw will be “not at all like Oculus”. I liked Oculus! What is everyone’s problem with the place?! Even the developers are treating it like their own personal Daikatana or something…
- Ooh, lots!
- Metzen and Co. aren’t happy with the way you level through the new story, then go back in time for Outland, forward a bit to Northrend and then back to the present for 80-85. It doesn’t make any sense. He also mentioned that they’re seriously considering doing Cata style revamps for Outland and Northrend. More Outland?! Oh, yes!
- They’re planning for a max-level Hyjal which is all healed at the end of the questline. I really, really like this idea. Everywhere I go, I spend some time trying to put everything right, the quest giver tells me “Well done, you’ve sorted out this problem”, but nothing actually changes. If I spend a load of time helping to heal Hyjal… and the zone is actually materially changed as a result of the story progressing, that is most certainly something. We’re seeing some interesting applications of phasing technology here.
- Relieved to hear that there are no plans to turn Alexstrasza evil and make her a raid boss or some such nonsense. Apparently the “Aspect of Life can’t be punked down”…
- Lots of interesting Dragony stuff, actually. More exploration of the Netherwing Dragonflight’s relationship with Deathwing, a new Blue aspect and… Thrall filling in for the Aspect of Earth?! Well…
- They seem to think they overdid the Arthas appearances during Wrath. Honestly, it was a bit of the Kane syndrome. Every time Command and Conquer’s Kane died and then came back with no explanation, his credibility was strained a little.
“I’m back, now I shall utterly destroy you and all you stand for! Ahahahaha!”
“Well… You didn’t manage it last time. Or the time before that. Or the time before that. In fact we’ve killed you and wiped out your armies quite a few times now”
“Uh… You amuse me and I choose to spare your life. But next time… you may not be so lucky!”
“Right. I’ll take my chances with that, thanks”.
Same situation with Arthas. He threatened us with death many many times, but he seems more the type to simply crush us and bind our souls with a single thought. Apparently, Deathwing will not be so kind. “When you see him in Cataclysm, he’ll kill you 99% of the time”. Lucky adventurers have basically immortal souls then, eh?
- Interesting discussion about Garrosh. It seems like he’s simply part of Thrall’s storyline. Will we be facing him at some point?
It’s not as interesting as last year – no massive sweeping changes to the game system announced along with the biggest expansion yet, for example – but there’s plenty of interesting stuff coming out of Anaheim still. I look forward to seeing what else appears and surprises me!