Aftermath of Blizzcon 2011

Blizzcon 2011 is over and it’s another year where I regret only being able to watch it online and not having the money to go there myself to experience the sights and sounds.. though preferably not the smell.

The announcement of playable Pandaren themselves weren’t really an exciting prospect for me, but seeing their animations during the amazing art panel warmed me right over. I still find the culture centered around brews pretty boring, after all, we just had Brewfest and have a race dedicated to drinking – nothing new, but I can’t wait to do some Tai Chi on my Pandaren.

I also like the idea of the Monk class, specifically the healing designed around the enemy rather than the GUI seems something that will make healing more interactive rather than staring at bars. Having no autoattack seems strange but I can’t wait to try it out since I tend to be a bit of a key masher anyway. And as for tanking, I have been a warrior since Vanilla and have played three out of the four tanking classes at max level during Wrath and Cataclysm, and I enjoy the responsibility of the role. So despite the fact I don’t like levelling much I may end up biting the bullet and take a Pandaren Monk from 1-90 at some point in the next year or two. The fact that I will have access to all three roles and therefore have low queue times and don’t have to quest at all makes this a definite possibility.

As for the lack of a ‘big bad’ and other complaints about Pandaria, bear in mind that we lost Abyssal Maw because it didn’t fit in with the Cataclysm storyline about Deathwing, so sometimes having an antagonist like that limits what developers can bring out. Pandaria is a ‘filler’ expansion, there’s no doubt about that. It’s a stopover on the way to Argus, Emerald Dream, Vashjir and Sargeras himself. But that’s not to say that it is worthless, at the very least it’ll provide a nice Nagrand-style of lush grasslands to explore for a while. And while I don’t really get the hate on Pandaren, I do find this interview on how Samwise got the idea for Pandaren pretty funny.

Other stuff from Blizzcon that’s cool: Pokemon and everything to do with it, helps that I really like collecting pets. More in-depth specializations and talents as that means I will get Silence without needing to sacrifice DPS talent points to take utility. Similarly related, I do like the Shadow Orbs being less RNG and more like a Holy Power secondary resource. PVE Scenarios seem interesting but I’m slightly worried that by diversing the player pool among various ways to earn valor it might lead to longer queue times overall. Challenge mode dungeons will be great – it’s something to do after completing achievements. Speaking of achievements, I hope account-wide achievements will solve problems related to heirlooms not being cross server, among many other things.

Not quite sure about questing giving benefits to running dungeons though. Don’t most people queue for dungeons while questing, instead of afterwards? I hope the lack of a set-in-stone PVP zone means they plan to update Wintergrasp and Tol Barad in some fashion, though that would be a wild possibility. I’m also skeptical about their lack of announcements over new player models. In the end there was a blue post about the fact that they’re working on it, which is all fine and dandy, but they could’ve shown some concept art. Personally I don’t really want Kalecgos type models – even they’re starting to get stale. If they have avoided implementing this for so long, I hope by the time they do add it in, they’re something that competes with Pandarens. An all round new skeleton if possible, not just scaled up textures and a bit more polygons.

Finally, the WoW Annual Pass. It is a desperate way for Blizzard to hang onto subscriber numbers in a year where several big budget MMOs are coming out, and probably won’t be as popular as I initially thought it was because not everyone likes Diablo, and not everyone likes World of Warcraft to subscribe to it for one year. I tend to take breaks from the game a lot, most recently a few months into Cataclysm til just over a month ago. With that said, I may end up taking up the offer because I don’t really intend to buy Diablo 3 Collector’s Edition, and I -really- want to play in the MoP beta to try out the Monk as soon as possible. It’s a decision I’ll surely regret in the long run but for the time being I’m considering taking it.

And that’s that. Another end to Blizzcon, one of the best in years. Next year with Diablo 3 released and the WoW and SC2 expansions imminent, they may end up announcing their MMO, Titan. With four IPs, those two days will be looking a lot more crowded.