Blizzcon 2016 World of Warcraft Whats Next Panel Recap
As the largest and most iconic franchises under Blizzard’s ownership, World of Warcraft was eager to show off the upcoming content for World of Warcraft:Legion.
Due to Chris Metzen retiring earlier this year, Ion Hazzikostas took the stage, thanking attendees for coming, despite the fact that any hopes for a new expansion this soon would be crushed. “It’s important to focus on whats coming next- for legion, and for Azeroth”.
The first topic was PATCH PHILOSOPHY:
- Steady stream of content – stopping the droughts that usually accompany the time between patches by properly pacing events
- A living world – keep the world evolving, so that even if it’s not a major event, something should be changing, to keep things dynamic
- Varied patch structure – big patches (6.2) Smaller patches (6.2.3) and now medium sized patches, to provide a good counterbalance and fill the space. Karazhan is an excellent representation of these medium patches, with a decent amount of content, without being a raid.
Moving on, Patch 7.1.5
Legion’s first small patch, featuring updating systems, making rewards sweeter for those willing to risk things for them, and “evergreen content”, which isn’t necessarily a big event, but will maintain relevance for the games future. Ion stressed the importance of getting the content into the player’s hands, to prevent them from having to wait for everything in a planned patch to be done before it can be delivered. This “when each piece is ready” mentality was a change of pace for the development team, but important for the life of WoW.
The first of 7.1.5’s new features is Mists of Pandaria time-walking , adding the roster of dungeons from the Mists of Pandaria expansion into the old content dungeon finder.
For solo content lovers, 7.1.5 also heralds the Return of the Brawler’s Guild, a solo arena where players are against the clock to fight a unique mini boss, showing their talents. Dozens of new bosses have been announced, including Rumbles – chaotic raid battles, where everyone in the arena is called in at the same time, for the mayhem only the guild can provide. These new bosses will bring a new currency alongside them : Brawler’s Gold. This currency will help the guild as a whole, capitalizing on the social aspect, letting players build temporary constructs such as re-spawn points, and betting areas. Of course there will be solo rewards, including shirts, and even more valuable : a basilisk mount (the first of it’s kind)!
In more relaxed news, Micro-Holidays will bring much more laid back, optional content to the World of Warcraft, offering small, one day only events, such as hippogryff migration day, where plays can watch hundreds of baby hippogryffs migrate to warmer climates, with the off chance of one taking a quick perch upon their head. Ahn’Qiraj Remembrance Day will celebrate the first time the Ahn’Qiraj raid was unlocked, back in 2006, via the hard work of the players. The Alliance and Horde will repeat the resource gathering event for the day, with the winning faction displaying their flags over the raid’s walls for the rest of the year! These micro events will not give any pets or permanent rewards, as this would detract from their relaxed nature.
For PvP content, the Blade’s Edge Arena Update will give a face-lift to this classic arena, featuring an art update, minor environmental changes (although nothing that will effect the flow of combat) and a fresh coat of paint on an old favorite. Interestingly, Blizzard has added a new “play by play commentator” npc, who will comment on the state of the match.
In more solid game-play news, Class Updates will keep class balance fresh, as the constant shift of player standing continues. Increasing the talent diversity will keep abilities in check, as they consider the portion of players using what standards. “If 98% of players are using this talent, should we just make it a baseline ability, and make a new, more interesting talent?” was a question posed by Ion , as he continued to state about the challenge of balancing secondary stats upon gear rewards. A return of class utility was also a major step, as they admitted taking traps away from hunters was a poor decision on their part.
Despite this bevy of features for just 7.1.5, coming to the PTR after Blizzcon, there was still a large amount still to be announced.
In Patch 7.2 , The Tomb of Sargeras, the heroes of Azeroth will make the final push to shatter the burning legion’s hold on the tomb of Sargeras, fighting the last bastion of the demons upon the world. As the heroes make their assault, the new faction : the armies of Legionfall will rise, as the player pushes their way towards the tomb. New world quests will be unlocked, giving an intergral part of patch a place in the new area.
As the player returns, they will construct a base in a foothold upon the broken shore, creating new buildings and fortifying them from assault, participating in world content to strategise the battle as it unfolds.
Legion assaults will kick off throughout the broken isles, as the demons attempt to gain any last patches of land. Inspired by the pre-expansion events, the zone will fill with demonic invasion points, requiring the server to fight them off before they can continue any other events.
Flying will make its triumphant return in patch 7.2, bringing fantastic new class based mounts, each one a symbol of it’s class’ fantasy. From heavenly birds for the priest class, to giant ravens for rogues. This unlock will be accountwide, making alternate character play much, much easier.
And of course, the Tomb of Sargeras Raid itself, as the heroes will find their way inside, to seal the legion’s gateway to Azeroth. This 9 boss raid will involve descending into the depths of the area, defeating the Naga and demon forces within. The Dark cathedral area will function as an entrance hall, showing the corruption of the area. There will even be areas the legion has only begun to enter, an ancient reliquary of unknown power.
7.2 will not only bring a raid for group content, as Cathedral of Eternal Night will bring a 4 boss dungeon, as players scale the tomb itself, to use one of the pillars of creation to open the path for the raid. Using beautiful hanging gardens, and corrupted highborne architecture, this raid will show the once beatiful sights the tomb once seen before it’s fall.
For PvP : PvP Brawls will make their grand debut, utilizing a system such as Overwatch’s, or Hearthstone. These weekly events will add variations to regular battlegrounds, and allow for experimentation upon time-tested favorites. These brawls can include
- Southshore Vs Tarren mill
- Instant-cap warsong
- Packed house -Blade’s edge arena, a 15v15 battle
- Winter Arathi basin, featuring restricted eyesight and altered terrain
- zero gravity eye of the storm
Artifact Updates were an important part of the announcement, given how tightly woven artifact weapons are to the core of the Legion expansion. 7.2 will offer new abilities, traits, and total of 15 new points spendable to upgrade it. New artifact knowledge levels will be unlocked to coincide with this, enabling newer characters to speed up to the current standard.New artifact relics will be released, capable of raising the power of multiple traits, as opposed to the current single trait relics.
Artifact quests will progress as well, showcasing the past of the weapon, and unlocking a new appearance for each weapon. These quests will challenge the player’s knowledge of their class, creating a powerful obstacle for the hero to overcome, and earn their appearance.
Dungeon Updates will tweak the balance of dungeons, adjusting the baseline of difficulty for heroic and mythic dungeons, as well as raise their item rewards. This new change will allow the mythic + keystone challenges to stay relevant as newer content is unleashed.
The recently opened Karazhan dungeon will also be split into 2 seperate queueable wings, for mythic and heroic difficulties.
New Mythic+ keystone modifiers will also be let into the ecosystem, such as exploding monsters, and increased difficulty.
whilst 7.2 does not have a solid release date, it will make its way to the PTR shortly after 7.1.5 leaves.
Perhaps the most exciting revelation was what is to come after 7.2. When the Legion is beaten, and the demons gate has been sealed, there is only one place to go. When the end of the immortal burning legion is nigh, there is only one place to go.
The Demon planet of Argus.
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