Saturday, October 11, 2008

WoW Blizzcon News - Day 1

Some of you may have been there, some may have been keeping up with the news by friends(like I was), some maybe even got the DirectTV broadcast(which from what I hear cut out a lot), and yet some of you may not know anything about the goings on of Blizzcon.

For all you noobs out there Blizzcon is the annual Blizzard Convention held in California(because they are too cheap to do it on the east coast). Usually at this even there is much hype of the brand new games or expansions that Blizzard is coming out with. Normally there is some major announcement that they wait until this day to tell people. Oh and of course there is always lots and lots of lines to get your swag or to play that new hyped expansion or game. And you get to watch people as they walk around dressed up as their favorite World of Warcraft or Diablo or Indiana Jones(oh wait he wasn't created by Blizzard?) characters.

Unlike past year this year's announcements were pretty bleh. I am happy that I didn't care to want to go to Blizzcon this year(not much of a convention guy to tell you the truth, maybe if it were say in New England). The ultra major news they released at their opening ceremonies was that the Wizard class would be playable for Diablo 3. /yawn I personally have never gotten into Diablo myself but even people who did play it thought that wasn't a good enough announcement.

For us WoW fans though we did get some announcements in the form of the Class Panel discussion held later in the day with Tom "Kalgan" Chilton and Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street("There is a rumour on the forums that I'm a hot chick. You know it's true!"). I'm not going to talk about specific class changes, if you want info on that then visit WoW Insider's live-blog or the shortened version at MMO Champion.

I just want to hone in on the things that will effect us for raiding. The largest announcement for us in this session was the announcement of the ability to dual spec. Now not all details were given out at this so don't get too too excited just yet but the announcement is well received by us anyways.

What is Dual Spec? Well from the discussion today it's the ability to hold two separate specs and interchange them when needed. This will let people change their spec at whim without physically going back to the trainer. There was no mention as to how this will be implemented or if it will cost more gold. This will not be able to be used in the middle of arena matches though so no "OMG it's a Ret pally, spec ferlol!" moments, sorry. Dual specs will not mean just one set of gear although it will still mean certain classes will be able to do it without carrying more gear(IE - shadow priest to holy priest).

So how does this help us? Well the obvious. The "I need 3 tanks to kill all this trash to BigBossDude but he is a one tank fight", the "o crap, master healman has dc'd but we are on fast trash timers here", the "man you suck as resto, go boomkin and be useful" moments come to mind. Now you can have everyone come prepared for two specs and never have to cancel a raid because you are missing something but have a plethora of another. This is great news for the single player as well as the raid leaders!

Oh but there is more, the panel also has brung to light the reason why they are making all these class spec changes. "Bring the player, not the class" is their new motto. They don't want to make ability's so overpowered that you need to cancel the raid and they don't want it so that only one class has it. One example to this is that feral druids and warriors now have a viable aoe tanking ability. They want to make skill and gear worth more than buffs("Jimmy can't come ->No Wind Fury -> Cancel the raid")or potions(Potion lockouts, drum lockouts, etc). Buffs will not stack anymore but aura's and most buffs are raid wide. There will be multiple ways to get the same benefit which means you will have more room to bring who you want, rather than who you need. They want us to bring good players, not have to suffer with sitting out the good ones while the ones that need to learn are inside.. learning.

Lastly(I know you have already reached the TL;DR phase), they are making the game have less emphasis on threat. They rather have fights have emphasis on moving around and healing, not halting all dps cause the tank has not enough aggro. No more staring at aggro and waiting 5 minutes while your Pally builds up enough threat for you to cast 3 frostbolts and wait again. Now you wait a few seconds and unleash hell!

Some of this stuff is coming out with the new patch, some we will have to wait for a while, but all of it spells some great changes for us to look forward to. Raiding with these new changes is going to be exciting and it will really lend opportunity to some interesting fights for them to come up with rather than the same old stuff with a new model(not that it wont happen anyways).

Thanks for sticking with me through this long one. If tomorrow brings more pertinent info from Blizzcon I will try to keep updated. Until then, back to your regular scheduled blog.

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