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Almost as quickly as it began, Blizzcon is over. For those of us at distance now starts the task of stitching together what exactly we were told in the last two days. The problem, such as it is is, revolves around so many people having access to designers, each one of those asking their own questions… and that not everybody has seen every interview. So, working out what matters can become problematic. I tend to work on the theory that whatever it is that’s making people most excited/annoyed on social media is a good place to start on any given day, and that means the highlights from yesterday are quite clearly defined:

  • More bag slots coming if you own an Authenticator
  • More character slots
  • Changes to the Old World are coming for L110’s

Everything else, including the MiA Professions, are TBA.

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Having successfully called the subrace thing, I’m now a bit torn on whether I really want all these extra alts. When you think about it, this is an absolutely brilliant way to get people to take part in alt levelling to begin with. My problem with this twist on player aesthetics comes from not really finding anybody that attractive as a proposition. I don’t like the Dark Iron eye colour either, on further inspection, so am not entirely sure I’ve been sold on this as a feature. In fact, having yet to be genuinely enthused by any feature on offer, I’m becoming increasingly confident I’ll see my husband back playing before too long.

The AP grind destroyed his love of the game, and now I can be reasonably assured he wasn’t alone.

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It was mentioned by Unkie Mike during the Blizzcon Opening Ceremony that over 40 million people are currently playing Blizzard games right now. When you consider that over 30 million of those are Overwatch players, I wonder what percentage of that final figure includes Warcraft. I can guarantee you of that huge number looking forward to Blizzardworld, only a small percentage divide their time between that Universe and Azeroth. All the proposed changes to Warcraft are screaming ‘FFS make this easier and not harder’ and, in a certain light, one could argue with AI use we’re moving towards a situation where having human friends to play with is no longer a requirement.

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The Battle for Azeroth is promising epic stories, but when the Dev team make a joke about Vol’jin in the same breath, it becomes impossible to ignore the fact that plot for them takes secondary status to features in this Expansion. That’s cool, I can cope with emotional detachment, as long as the features are as great as I’m told they’ll be. Listening to people angry that this fight is happening is pretty much the effect that is required: as long as you feel something about the narrative, you’re invested. Red v Blue is a blunt instrument that has worked well for decades, and with Classic now a real flavour on the table? Time to remind everybody of what made that era great, and it wasn’t the basic character models.

I wonder, will people really go back to that world as willingly as ActiBlizz believes.

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What Blizzcon did so very well this year was provide something for everyone. Sadly, what I won’t do is appease those who are only happy when complaining, feeling aggrieved or desperate for attention. Inevitably, every year, there is the post-Convention fallout where people realise that their notion of Community only holds up under the most basic of scrutiny. This year, the antidote to this will be the Throne of Antorus at the end of the month and possible changes to levelling alts in anticipation of the Subclass changes.

The upcoming Expansion, if it wants to be a success, won’t try and be everything to everybody as Legion was. It will simply provide the basis for playing, and individuals will again find their own means to define this. In that regard, keeping everybody happy shouldn’t be a problem at all.

3 thoughts on “Failure To Launch

  1. And yet, even after the lack of my favourite races’ presence in the cinematic, I am genuinely excited about the prospect of playing the new expansion. And the reason for that can be basically summarised in two words: “New” and “Change”. That’s what drives me the most, and that’s why I unsubbed againa few weeks ago after 2-3 months on Broken Isles and Argus, not even having seen all that I wanted to see, to dive into a plethora of other games like Avernum, Age of Wonders, Botanicula, Darkest Dungeon, Hollow Knight and more. In the end, I guess, I’ll never be able to closely relate to those who have spent their whole life in Azeroth. I do appreciate the rewards of focused investment, yet on the other hand, the longer you are in one place, the more specific your tastes are, the harder you are too please and rarer is the sense of wonder. At least that’s my subjective perspective.

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  2. A small consolation on the profession front? From an interview posted by MMO-C today, with senior game designer Steve Burke:

    Q: Are you continuing with professions in Battle for Azeroth similar to how they were in Legion?
    A: Can’t say for sure, but team definitely wants there to be content for professions, but maybe not quite as many quests.

    Q: Any changes to professions other than the typical new recipes and 100 skill points?
    A: Definitely all that but also trying to tie some of the professions into the Heart of Azeroth system. No specifics yet.

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