In case you hadn't already heard, there won't be a BlizzCon 2012. While I personally have never gone, many of the staffers here have and are sad pandas that they won't get to this year, as I gather are a lot of you as well. Our friend Bashiok answered a forum thread on the news with the reasoning behind it.
Bashiok - No Blizzcon
Yeah it's a bit disappointing because we all really do enjoy being able to 'open the doors' so to speak. But, it is an enormous effort by all employees, including our game designers and artists, not to mention customer support and quality assurance, PR, our business departments, and *hot breath on fingernails & shirt rub* Community & eSports to make a BlizzCon happen. In a year when we're working to release multiple titles (knock on wood) it makes sense to focus our efforts. Also with multiple game releases we just wonder if we'd be at a point with any of them where we'd have anything really big or new or cool to talk about.
We didn't have a BlizzCon in 2006 either, and at that time we were really strong on the idea that BlizzCon isn't really supposed to be and doesn't have to be an annual event. Of course then we have it for five straight years in a row... which obviously built some expectation.
Personally I always enjoy seeing the excitement, the rushing crowds, hearing the clicking of mice on the demo stations, and waiting in agony as the seconds countdown to an announcement and then the waves of emotion from the crowd that follow it. But thinking about our year and what we're trying to get done already without a BlizzCon, and having to think pretty hard about what we'd have to announce or demo, it just makes sense to me not to have one.
Here's to the Battle.net World Championship, it's going to be awesome, and to a bigger and better BlizzCon in 2013.
So there you have it. With multiple titles aimed for release this year, not only would it be a lot of work to also run a convention, but then the convention wouldn't have much to show, since all the titles would have been released beforehand. While this is sad news, it does definitely make me think we're going to be running around Pandaria (and freeing Sanctuary, and dealing with the Zerg) well before the middle of this year. The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!
Blizzard has announced that the 2012 Battle.net World Championshop will be taking place in Asia at the end of the year. In the past, these Battle.net World Championship events were part of the BlizzCon celebrations, with the StarCraft Gaming League having its first ever final matchup on U.S. shores in 2011.
No BlizzCon in 2012.
In light of our jam-packed schedule, we've decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.
Continuing the discussion from a month ago, we look again at the three specializations for warriors in Mists of Pandaria. We can do this because Blizzard itself has released the talent calculator for the expansion, and it has loads of information for us to go over. The calculator lists class abilities and specialization only abilities in addition to talents, which means we now have more details to examine in terms of what's coming.
One thing I noted immediately was that yes, arms is going to be the only tree with Colossus Smash. It will be an ability gained at level 81, and the redesigned CS also applies the current Blood Frenzy debuff rather than its being applied via bleeds. Since this is what we expected would happen with arms in Mists back when we talked about it in October, I think it's OK if we pat ourselves on the back here, fellow warriors. We saw this coming.
Since we have three specs to talk about, let's get started. There's a lot of ground to cover in Pandaria's new talent scheme.
OK, so I was playing some Diablo III beta last night. Since this is a site that covers World of Warcraft, I'll just say that the little snippet I managed to play through before passing out was such that I could describe it in superlatives. But one of the things I noticed when playing was that the barbarian class plays absolutely perfectly to me. There are attacks that gain you the resource (fury) that you then spend on larger, more punishing attacks. You can spam those fury-gathering attacks; there's nothing limiting you from making them. You could hammer the keyboard all night if you wanted to. And it felt good.
This is when I realized that I hate the global cooldown. I guess it's double kudos to Blizzard that it got me to accept the global cooldown for seven years and then got me to despise it with another of its own games. Looking over the list of class abilities not affected by it, I find myself starting to wonder if it even serves a purpose anymore. Or is it just a holdover from the game's original design?
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.
So the past few weeks have actually been pretty exciting for death knights. We saw a lot of new info come out of BlizzCon, including getting a couple long-standing questions answered with new updates to the patch 4.3 PTR. Today, we'll cover the basics of what we discussed with the devs at BlizzCon and see what fruit those discussions have borne on the PTR itself.
One of the first questions asked at the Class Q&A on BlizzCon 2011 day two was more of a laundry list of blood death knight grievances, such as our issues with spike damage and with avoidance working against mastery. While we have gotten a good bit of dev love on the forums on these beefs, it was actually pretty nice to see it answered candidly on stage, if only to see a dev give an on-the-spot, straight-up answer.
Visitors to BlizzCon 2011 got an exclusive lil' Thrall figure courtesy of Mega Bloks, and if you didn't make it to the con, then you might not ever get this particular mini-World-Shaman -- that is, of course, unless you get one from WoW Insider! We happen to have five Thrall figures to give away to lucky readers. For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on this post by Friday, Nov. 11 at 11:59 p.m. PST.
There are a few rules, of course! You can only enter once, and make sure you have a valid email address attached to your profile, since that's how we'll get hold of you if you win. Only legal residents of the 50 United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) can enter, and you have to be 18 years of age or older. See the complete official rules for details.
Honest, guys, I tried my best. I was there at BlizzCon 2011. I got up and in line at the Q&A panels, determined to ask the Blizzard development team questions about the game's economy.
Ultimately, I was foiled by a bunch of dudes who wasted our time offering shout-outs to their guild (and by my own poor planning of not getting in line two hours before the panel started). But I digress. The fact of the matter is that there's a lot of stuff wrong with the World of Warcraft economy and Auction House. Issues that need to be addressed in the next expansion to promote a fair and level playing field, something WoW has lacked ... well, something the game has lacked for years.
It was that time when Fogs of Black and White Bears was announced, or something like that. There was also this meetup where a bunch of people got together and drank and hung out while talking about WoW at the Anabella. That was cool.
What is also cool (in the way of cold, hard retail steel shelves)? The BlizzCon 2011 Store! And now, you'll get an opportunity to order from it again starting at 10 a.m. PST on Friday, Nov. 11, ending at 10 a.m. PST on Friday, Nov. 18.
To order from the BlizzCon Store, you must have purchased a DirecTV ticket, been subscribed to the live stream, or be the purchasing Battle.net account for actual BlizzCon tickets. The full blue post below details the sales.
Miss out on picking up that special piece of commemorative BlizzCon loot? Beginning Friday, November 11 (rescheduled from the originally announced date of November 4), we're making select items from the BlizzCon 2011 store available once more to those who joined us for the show in person or via the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket.
Beginning November 11 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time through November 18 at 10 a.m. PT, BlizzCon 2011 ticket holders*, Virtual Ticket buyers, and DIRECTV viewers who ordered the BlizzCon 2011 Pay Per View event will be able to purchase select BlizzCon 2011 store merchandise online (while supplies last). To participate, simply log in to the online Blizzard Store using the Battle.net account associated with your BlizzCon ticket or Virtual Ticket during the sale times listed above. DIRECTV viewers can use the Battle.net account on which you redeemed your BlizzCon Virtual Ticket code.
*Please note: For those who attended BlizzCon in person, only the Battle.net account associated with the ticket purchased will have access to BlizzCon 2011 merchandise during this online sale. You can view this information in the ticket buyer's Order History.
Blizzard played up the Cataclysm expansion as a groundbreaking expansion that would change everything, but the truth is that the Shattering was nothing compared to what is happening to class talent trees in the new Mists of Pandaria expansion. Those giant talent trees we visited every two levels are gone, replaced with six separate choices spread across the course of 90 levels.
To be fair, there are a lot of terrific ideas in what Blizzard is planning to do with our talent trees. Removed are the choices that everyone should make. And yes, Blizzard did say that in Cataclysm, but this time, the designers mean it. What shadow priest doesn't take Vampiric Touch? What balance druid doesn't invest that crucial talent point to take Moonkin Form?
But ultimately, if the goal here is to make things easier on the players, to make this a choice that players don't need to extensively research, Blizzard totally missed the mark.
We are about to live in interesting times, my friends. Last week's BlizzCon effectively promised us most, if not all, of the candy I wanted. With the full awareness that this is all subject to change, take a look at the mock-up for abilities (not talents, core abilities) that all fury warriors will get as they level from 1 to 90 in the revamped Mists of Pandaria scheme. With the announcement that Slam will be an arms-only ability, I personally suspect that Wild Strike is the replacement for Bloodsurge's Slam proc. More importantly, you'll note a few things.
One I really want to highlight at the start are the no-brainer talents that aren't talents anymore, like Flurry, Raging Blow, Bloodsurge and both Titan's Grip and Single-Minded Fury. You'll also note that you don't have to choose between TG and SMF. You get both at level 38. I used the fury abilities screenshot because that's the one I managed to get. If Blizzard did an arms or protection one, I didn't see it. But all three talent specializations are worth discussing, because we're heading into a future where your talent choices are no longer constrained by spec.
My personal opinion on the Cataclysm expansion varied greatly as the expansion unfolded. At different points in the expansion, I was very negative, slightly negative, then outright positive about it as an experience. A recent thread on the forums discussing the overall view of Cataclysm as a failed expansion drew Nethaera's commentary, and frankly I think what she has to say is worth discussing. I agree with a lot of it, disagree with some, but think it's valuable to look at where the design intent in the examination of the expansion is going.
You are mistaking the developers looking at the game with a critical eye with the claim that it was a "failure". We've seen a wide spectrum of opinions over Cataclysm and we're not afraid to look at what worked and didn't work (as we do with each expansion and game as a whole) and try to find better ways of doing things. I heard differing opinions overall during BlizzCon, but not once did I get the impression that any of those opinions boiled down to "Cataclysm sucks" as a whole. They had key elements that they disliked or thought could be improved on, but throwing the whole thing out the window as a "failure" is and should be considered a bit extreme don't you think?
As always, we want to keep learning and growing from each iteration of the game and that means that we're going to do that by continuing to look for your constructive feedback as well.
Fans of Defense of the Ancients, the immensely popular Warcraft III mod that spawned an entirely new genre of gaming, are already conditioned to love Blizzard DOTA. I got to play it this week at BlizzCon 2011 and had a great time getting into the very familiar world. However, many Blizzard fans are not DOTA enthusiasts or even privy to the genre itself. WoW players may not really understand what this Blizzard offering is about or even why they should be interested. Warcraft fan-favorite characters Thrall and Arthas are making appearance in Blizzard DOTA, which means gamers who have ever wanted to pit these monolithic figures against other Blizzard staple characters will get the chance. Here's what you need to know about Blizzard DOTA and why you just might like playing as one of your favorite WoW personalities.
Defense of the Ancients was originally a Warcraft III mod that became so incredibly popular that it spawned the genre know known as MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) or ARTS (action real-time strategy), depending on who you ask. The game consists of three paths that connect two bases with destructible buildings and towers along the path routes. Waves of minions or creeps, NPC characters that spawn endlessly from both bases, meet in the middle of these lanes to do battle. You control a powerful hero who levels up, gains skills and abilities, and can purchase items from a shop. Your goal is to fight these minions and enemy players, destroy the enemy towers and buildings, and win the game.
Cataclysm was a great expansion to play a shadow priest in, but if what we learned at BlizzCon 2011 is any clue, playing a shadow priest in Mists of Pandaria is going to be a whole lot better.
I know those are big words, but when we start delving into the new-for-MoP talent trees, I feel these new talents will back those words up. We're getting a new playmate for our Shadowfiend, a whole new talent tree with spectacular new abilities, and a new, RNG-free mechanism for Shadow Orbs and Mind Blast. And, oh yeah: Pandaren can be shadow priests.
This year marked my very first BlizzCon, so naturally I camped nearly every WoW class and talent panel I could manage. With bated breath and a semi-charged smartphone, I sat ready to transcribe my thoughts on any and all retribution tidbits that flowed forth like honey from the developers' proverbial beehive. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how much faith you have in the ret community to produce cogent questions), there weren't many big revelations related to our spec at any of the Q&As. There remains, however, one relevant topic that we can discuss, and that is the revamped talent system coming with Mists of Pandaria.
Here at WoW Insider, we're somewhat known for our crock pot, tin foil hat theories. Anne Stickney and Matt Rossi are definitely the best-known for this, as both of them possess levels of lore knowledge that can only be bested by Red Shirt Guy. Personally, I'm not a lore buff. My tin foil hat theories have relatively little to do with wondering if Elune is secretly a Naaru but instead with class balance, generally within the DPS role. With last week's announcement of the monk class in Mists of Pandaria, I've kicked my brain into overtime to figure out just how this class -- and specifically, the windwalker spec -- might come out.
What do we know about monks?
We know that monks will be agility-based melee DPSers (and tank and healer, but I'm focusing on DPS today). We know that they'll be able to use staves, polearms, fist weapons, and one-handed maces, axes, and swords, which means they'll need to be balanced with both two-handed weapons and dual wielding in mind (that is, unless Blizzard restricts dual wielding to DPS and two-handers to tanking, which is a possibility).