Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blizzcon 2011 Predictions...

It is that time of year again!  Blizzcon 2011 is in less than a week and all Blizzard fans are eagerly anticipating any new information about their favorite Blizzard games.  Every year for the last few years I have made my personal predictions about what topics will be covered, but never really shared them with anyone.  Sometimes I was right, and other times I was wrong.  This is all meant to be fun and speculative.  I thought this post would be a fun opportunity to share what I expect to see at Blizzcon 2011 and how close I might be to it.

I will be watching much of Blizzcon through the Virtual ticket this year.  I will be splitting my time watching between the Diablo 3 coverage and WoW coverage.  Thankfully the streaming is saved and can be viewed during downtime after the panels are over. 

Anyways, here are my predictions for what news we will be at this year's Blizzcon, including some "wild card" predictions of new content.

Diablo 3:  Most of Diablo 3's features are already known by the Diablo community, so I do not believe that we will see any earth-shattering revelations at Blizzcon.  That being said, I think that we will be privy to a host of new art, lore, and game play aspects that we have not seen; not even from the Beta videos that have been release by various people.  For those of you who are not in the Beta, the game play only involves the first part of Act I and up to level 14, I believe.  That leaves an enormous amount of game play not even seen by the Beta testers.
     1.  More information on the followers and what abilities they have during game play.
     2.  Examination of the Crafting done by Artisans.  (incomplete on official D3 site)
     3.  Skill trees and explanation of the resources for each class.
     4.  New monsters and bosses not currently available in Act I on the Beta.  (story or art display)
     5.  Information on Deckard Cain's Bestiary book to be published and a new novel to be released next year for Diablo 3 to add to the lore.

 World of Warcraft:  Like a lot of people, I believe this will be a huge news cycle for WoW during this Blizzcon.  Everyone is anticipating the release of information regarding the next expansion.  I tend to agree with some of the "tin foil hat" ideas from WoW Insider and various podcasts that think the WoW expansion will involve some sort of undiscovered series of islands that have been forgotten from game play, but not Warcraft lore.  I think we will see news of Kul Tiras; of islands hidden from the Maelstrom storms, such as lost civilizations (yeah maybe Pandaren, or not); of the undiscovered home of the Goblins, Undermine; and of a hidden staging ground for the reemergence of Sargeras (or at least his avatar).  Much can be left up to the imagination of WoW fans, but I think many more questions will come after the announcement next week.
     1.  Whatever the next expansion is, I believe that it will be very heavy on the end game content.  Cataclysm was a reboot on the early game, but its biggest criticism is the lack of sustainable end game content.
     2.  More information on the Dark Moon Faire, such as hints to its lore, some of the carnival game features, like Pit Fighting, Shooting Gallery, and other carnival games.
     3.  The Dark Moon Faire will also introduce the return of items taken out of the game for use in Transmogrification and will lead to future features of new art assets (uncommon gear without useful stats) to use for Mogging.
     4.  Introduction of new BoA items for item slots not already in use.  Also, they will discuss a new implementation of the BoA gear, much like the items from the Blizzard store that are available to any toon on any realm on a single account.  BoA will be unlocked in game with gold, Justice Points or DMF tickets and the "unlocking" makes it auto available for any toon created after you unlock it on any realm.
     5.  Next expansion will be levels 85-90 leveling only.  Pacing will be adjusted for the new content so that there is not such an outpacing of the new zones with each level gained.
     6.  Next expansion will include more exploration and end game content.  Some new type of game play mechanic at end game that will engage the max level toons.  Possible the return of a redone "Path of the Titans" or some unknown end game content.
     7.  Maybe some sort of new pvp battleground or 3 new ones.  New type of games specifically designed around the 10v10 rated battlegrounds.  Maybe some sort of item capture and control for resource points.  If there is an island theme, maybe a boarding and ship capture pvp battle ground, as in a "pirate style" naval battle.  Another possibility is that there is some sort of sporting event, much like SWTOR's "Huttball," only WoW style (whatever that might be).
     8.  LFR will enable them to release the content they want for the "casuals" and the "hardcore" raiders.  LFR will be great for those looking to get end game content and see the story and raids designed by the raid development team.  Normal and Heroic will continue to be available for higher levels of difficulty.  This is to broaden the end game content for "casual" players, while satisfying the more "hardcore" elements of the player base.
     9.  The raiding end game content will involve Lady VashjirSargeras, including the return of the Burning Legion.  We might have an earlier raid patch including retaking of Undermine from non-goblin forces, or even Island nation empire, like MOAR TROLLS!!!!
     10.  New profession?  Trying to think of what they might do to spice up the profession market, the introduction of a new profession might be good.  Not sure what the resource would be or what they might want to do.  Before the recent announcement of 4.3 changes to WoW, I would have ruled out adding a new resource, like herbs, skins, or ores.  Now I believe that they could add a new gathering resource, especially with the addition of new lands.
     11.  Changes coming for the talent trees again.  Not a major overhaul, like we saw in Cataclysm, but something along the lines of eliminating damage modifiers, but increasing more proc-based or situational talents to give us more choices within our specs.  Remember, the current version was thrown into the Cataclysm beta rather late and now that they have had more time to evaluate it, they may have found some better ways to achieve their design goals.
     12.  Possibly see the 4.3 Dragon Soul cinematic along with a preview of the Deathwing encounters.
     13.  Discussing new ventures in publishing, possible new manga series, and Cristie Golden to discuss her new book on Jaina Proudmoore (leading into the expansion's release). 
     14.  Maybe the interesting non news will be a lack of a "hero" class and no new playable races.  Blizzard knows they lost a lot of subscribers due to lack of end game content.  I think that will be their focus, not having to chase around re-balancing of classes around a new hero class.

WoW Wild Card bonuses (for fun):
     1.  Introduction of 2 or 3 man dungeons that are short encounters and can be done without tanks, dps, or healer specific roles.  They will drop lower level items than 5 mans on the same tier.
     2.  Discussion of a 3-4 movie deal for the Warcraft series.  One for the start of the orc invasion, 2 about the varying stories of the Horde and Alliance, with a final movie coinciding with the final WoW expansion release.

Well, there you have it.  My crazy predictions for things to watch during this year's Blizzcon.

What do you think we will see during Blizzcon?

Time to go to bed....night all.

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