The stuff from BlizzCon is mostly good news imho. The new expansion isn’t what I was expecting and the time travel but not time travel thing is something odd but we have a wibbly wobbly timey wimey time line already as a new char starts in a post-Cataclysm times but at levvel 60 moves back in time to Outlands until 68-70, then forwards to Northrend (but still pre-Cataclysmic) before until level 80 before returning back to post-Catatclysmic timeline until 90 as we quest through Cataclysm and Mist of Pandaria zones.
Of my predictions only the very obvious were correct. They were:
- I’ll start with the 99.9% certainty, a new expansion;
- We will not get a new playable race or a new class;
- We will get new character models for all existing races except Goblins, Worgen and Pandaren;
- We will level to 100;
- We will get a 7th tier of talents;
- Normal mode raids will adopt the flex technology allowing raid sizes to vary between a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 25;
The expansion “highlights” are that Garrosh escapes and goes back in time to Draenor to and try to prevent Gul’dan drinking the blood of Mannorth and thereby preventing the Orcish demise and allowing him to build the Iron Horde, which will try to invade Azeroth.
This is a bit of a disappointment as it seems to be another Horde centric expansion and all focused around Orcs. But it is really too early in the whole process to really make a judgement so I’l give it the benefit of the doubt. As a lore freak though the whole expansion does sound like it could hit the right spots.
We have also been given a “Garrison”. This is player housing and shows what the farm was the trial for. Garrisons contain buildings that “can have multiple tiers, specializations, offline progression, and more!” I am really hoping this is account bound so my alt army can share the base that Evlyxx will build. Th efarm has not been done on my alts and their garrison would definitely never get off the ground. I like this idea but only one per faction per realm please. We are getting seven dungeons, 4 for leveling and 3 heroic only. This is awful. Had they all been for leveling and then heroic it would be much better but as one of the heroic only ones is Upper Blackrock Spire that wouldn’t work anyway. Mists saw 4 initial leveling dungeons with 2 added mid way through and that made that much better so seeing this number reduced when we’re getting 10 levels simply doesn’t cut it for me.
Moving on to end game, we have two Raids with 16 bosses plus World Bosses. This is awesome news and follows the trend started in Cataclysm and proved great in Mists. I just hope that we get a two raid teir later in the expansion this time around.
The raids come in four difficulties Raid Finder, Normal (currently known as Flex), Heroic (currently known as Normal) and Mythic (currently known as Heroic). Sounds great and makes sense renaming them. Raid Finder stays much as it is now, with the exception that if people drop from the group mid way through the boss will scale down to adapt to the new number in the group. Normal (WoD) and Heroic (WoD) difficulties will also be flexible with 10-25 players and cross realm enabled. Their loot will be the traditional style and bosses will drop 1 item per 5 players and if that produces 2.6 items a boss will drop 2 items and then have a 60% chance of dropping the third item.
These changes are brilliant and will help smaller raid guilds hugely. As a raid leader and officer in a guild that raids this makes me happy as I won’t have to make decisions to leave anyone of our 15 person raid squad out of our progression focused team out of the raid team.
Mythic difficulty will be a 20 man raid group. This is NOT flex enabled and will work exactly as heroic raids do now. That is they have a defined raid id and players will not be able to join a second raid even if they have only killed the first boss of the raid.
The Mythic raid difficulty changes really are a kick in the teeth for me and our main raid team. We raid 6 hours a week and don’t demand high attendance because we realise that people have family and work to do as well as play games. Considering this our progress is awesome and if we were to raid as much as most other guilds on our server would be pushing for the number 2 spot. But we currently run 10 man because we don’t have the resources to manage a 20 man raid guild. Our server is also really tough to recruit on (maybe Connected Realms will change this) because we have too many guilds and too few skilled raiders on the server to go round.
Most of the expansion this change would have not had any impact on our team but we’re currently 2 bosses away from heroics (Mythic come WoD) and that is liable to happen in the next month. Under the current system we’ll be moving on to heroics soon. If we were in Warlords of Draenor we would have finished and be left with the option of farming the instance waiting for the next raid, bringing in alts to restore some form of challenge or simply declaring the game as beaten and stop raiding.
Moving up to a 20 man raid team would for us mean we need 15 more skilled raiders, it would mean we need to implement a fully fledged loot distribution system which means someone to manage it. The beauty of 10 man raiding is that loot can be /rolled because there isn’t much competition for items and unlucky streaks don’t really affect things when there are only 2 people rolling. But doubling up can cause an unlucky player to go a long time without winning anything. The new loot system also won’t help that as items now will be open to all who can wear the armour class which means /rolls for mail, leather and plate will be between mêlée and casters now, although the drp rate of a usable item will increase too but that can just help introduce unlucky streaks.
My biggest fear is that if we don’t make the change and try to have a 20 man raid team I will lose most of my team and be left with the option of not raiding at the level I am now.
Something needs to be done and Rob Pardo’s answers to questions similar to my concerns didn’t give me the impression that Blizzard were liable to change this decision. Time will tell and at least we have time to make decisions, I just want Shadowsong to become a Connected Realm real soon so I can have the option of recruiting people now in preparation for the future. One thing is for certain, me and the officers in Exhumed are going to have to make some tough decisions in the next few months.
Anyway moaning over and lets look at something more positive! The new models look absolutely awesome and the fact that they have made them look so good while keeping the look and feel of the races is a testament to the graphics team. I just can’t wait to see the remaining models, particularly the human models.
We don’t yet know when or how the new character models will be released yet. It could be that Blizz have all of the completed race at launch, or they could add them every patch. Personally I hope they are added at launch but if only half the races are fully complete by then I’d rather see them launched then and get the ramaining races added later rather than delay them all.
It has also been confirmed that there will be no free re-customization for characters after new character models. This is something that I really can support as the models are so true to the originals it does seem pointless. But I’m sure if there is uproar at the new look I can see this decision being reversed. The bigger disappointment in this statement is that I don’t believe that there will be any more character customisation than we already have which is a real shame as compared with games released in the past 5 years the Warcraft character models are so generic.