Part I can be found here
Welcome to my continuation of last week’s Blizzcon.
Mists of Pandaria Panel – Continued
… Also announced during this panel was “Talents 2.0″. This is basically Blizzard going through yet another talent tree revamp. Only this time it’s a complete overhaul and not just a “refresh”. I will cover this in detail later on when I get to the “Talent Tree Panel”, but for now all I will say is that it sounds very promising!
This is something that caught my eye. Basically they are PvE “battlegrounds” where a small group of players (sometimes as little as 3), can enter into these and complete a serious of objectives. They are meant to be short, sharp affairs but the major benefit to this PvE scenario system is .. THERE ARE NO ROLES TO FILL. In theory this means that queue’s will be instant as you wont need to wait for a tank or a healer before you can enter. As soon as three people are available, you are in. They are also considering making these replace the current group quest system. I have mixed feelings about this, whilst it would be nice to have an instant 3-5 players available to do a quest, seeing these quests disappear from the outside world would be a bit of a shame too. My general opinion of the proposed PvE scenario system is that this will be a very good inclusion into the game, and as Blizzard intends, a different thing to do when you are bored.
Challenge Mode Dungeons
Whilst I don’t think that this will be my cup of tea, I can see this being very popular. What are “challenge mode dungeons”?. For those who have been around in WoW for a bit, think “Strat 45″. Basically you will enter a dungeon and have to complete it in a specific timeframe and depending on when you complete it you will be given either a bronze, silver or gold star. You will always receive valor points and stat-less gear designed for the upcoming Transmogrification and hopefully for you lovely role-players out there. The challenge dungeon mode will also have leader boards so you can jump back in and try to do better next time and climb up the leaderboard. Now for those who did see this at Blizzcon or who hasn’t read a summary you will be thinking “I will just wait and then when I out gear the dungeon I will go in, get gold and get the number one position”. This wont be possible, as your gear will scale down to the dungeon if you over gear it. It’s a good idea in my opinion as it will test players skills/responses and general knowledge about the dungeon instead of what ilevel gear they are wearing.
Pet Battle System
The inclusion of Pokemon into the game … alright, alright, old joke is old, but still that is basically what this is. Using your companion pets you can battle against other people’s companion pets and level them up. You will be able to rename your pet and give them stats. You will also be able to use the pet battle system to acquire “wild pets”. These will be found out and about in Azeroth and you can engage with them and if you win then you get to add the pet to your journal. Pets will also be account wide which is an excellent change.
One of the things that I find quite interesting about the pet battle system is that it is going to be turn-based. This is a step in a different direction to what normally happens in WoW but never the less it is certainly an interesting idea. Whilst this doesn’t appeal to me, I can certainly see how many will spend hours doing this in between their calendar scheduled events.
You will also be able to “gear” up your companion pet. I haven’t seen what you’d be able to gear up with but i have a hunch there will be special accessories for them, i.e. rings, necklace, things like that. Blizzard are considering allowing pet gear to gemmable, but personally I don’t see the point of this and they should just keep the gear “pure”. The final thing about the pet system is that the trainers will be spread all over the world, I have a feeling this is part of the “bring the players out of their Stormwind/Orgrimmar bubbles”.
For dungeons Mists of Pandaria will come with 9 new dungeons with 2 old school dungeon heroics. These will be Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery. Whilst I’m not too bothered about Scholomance, i must admit I did punch the air with the thought of Scarlet Monastery returning. This however turned into dread as Scarlet Monastery is probably my favourite dungeon (or series of dungeons), in the game and I just hope that they don’t make a mess of it like they did with two of my other favourite places. Deadmines and Zul’Gurub.
There will be 3 raids, of which I will cover later. Again my main fear is that they will try to “con” the user base like they did in Cataclysm. 3 NEW RAIDS! … ah but with the same number of bosses as you got in every other launch of WoW. I hope that Blizzard don’t go down that route for this expansion.
As for questing it sounds like they are making a concerted effort to correct what went wrong with Cataclysm. There is going to be a greater focus towards end game content this time around. In Cataclysm when you got to 85 your options were extremely limited, and as the patches that were released after turned out to be just half patches the level 85 game got stale pretty fast. They are hoping to correct this by making more quests available at max level. When you are doing these max level quests, if i understand it correctly then you will be able to choose what you get for completing them, whether it’s gold or valor points.I think this is a good change as it will allow players to build up what they want to build up in a way that they want to do it. I know there will be people complaining about this, but variety is good.
It’s been a long stated fact from Blizzard that they would like to be able to churn out battleground at a faster rate and with Mists of Pandaria they are hoping to release three new battlegrounds.
Stanglethorn Diamond Mine – This will be a “payload” style battleground and the best way I can think of it is the Payload maps in Team Fortress 2. If they are anything like that then I will enjoy playing them. What you have to do is escort .. well a payload (obscene i know!), to a destination whilst the opposite side tries and stops you.
Valley of Power - Blizzard is calling this a “Murderball” battleground. The best way I can describe it is that if you have ever played Rift and participated in “The Black Garden” warfront then you will know exactly what this battleground is all about. You pick up an item (I believe in this case it’ll be a relic), and as you hold it your team accumulates points. The closer you are to the center of the battleground, the more points you receive. There is just one catch. You take damage from holding this relic and overtime the damage increases more and more. The winner is the first team to reach a certain point tally. I hope that this is one that Blizzard can definitely get in as it’s a hell of a lot of fun in Rift,
Aszhara Crater – This is apparently going to be a “DOTA” map although nothing else was said about it. This lends me to believe that it’s not as far in production as the other two battlegrounds. I sure hope it makes it way in though as Aszhara Crater is something that’s been “around” since vanilla and I know a certain other half of mine who really wants to see it included.
When it comes to achievements, Blizzard are hoping that they can make achievements account bound. This will be a great inclusion in my opinion, if simply to stop the 14 year olds in trade chat going “lolz u don’t av the achieve on that char, i dun wanna take u”, or something a lot less comprehensible.
With the exception of the usual “we want to clean up the spell books, improve rotations etc” spiel that we always hear, Blizzard dropped some very interesting changes on all the classes.
Firstly they announced that Resilience will become a base stat. The idea of this is that when you jump into a battleground as a fresh level 90, you wont be eaten up and spat out just as viciously as you would’ve done in the past. I think this is a very good change and something that can only help people when they reach max level.
Next came the massive set of humdinger changes…
Hunters will longer have to worry about a minimum range, BUT, they will no longer be allowed to carry anything but ranged weapons. This will come as a relief to every single class in the game as we all know that hunters try to steal everything.
Relics are gone completely. I’m not surprised by this as it’s always been a poorly thought out idea in my opinion and at the time was only introduced to given Shamans/Druids/Paladins/Death Knights something to have in the “offhand slot”.
And then we come to what to me is the biggest change in all this (slightly biased but it is the biggest to me). Casters will no longer have a ranged slot. Wands will become main hand weapons, like swords, maces and daggers. This is a very interesting change and as a mage I must admit it’s a change I’m quite looking forward to. Wands have always been nothing more than a stat stick, the same way that melee weapons were stat sticks for hunters, so to bring these into focus as a main hand weapon is a great move in my humble opinion.
The other change which I will mention before I conclude this part is that all spells/abilities will be automatically learnt, you will no longer have to go back to a class trainer to learn them. I have mixed feelings about this, whilst going to the trainer meant that people had to be more aware of what they had, I must admit there have been times where I’ve been the other side of the world and have waiting 4-5-6 levels before I went back and learnt new stuff. For this one I think the pro’s outweigh the little con I had…
Part III coming up within the next few days …