BlizzCon and a Pandemic

Like the boogeyman, the pandemic continues to loom over everything. Last year’s con was cancelled and this year’s was quite a bit more subdued. I have to compare to Nintendo Direct, where they are brief and focused on getting as much information out as possible. BlizzCon tried to give that con vibe, but without the people there as a backdrop, it looked more like a weird Twitch stream. Large speeches to empty rooms don’t pack the same punch as a LoreCast or one of any of Warframe’s video updates. So mechanically, this was a weird one.

Also, next to nothing on Kotick’s push for mobile games. Smart, since this is not the right audience for it.

Top it off that these devs are working in a pandemic too, making any progress an achievement in itself. D2 is being remade (we knew this). D4 has a rogue (the game looks more like PoE every time I see it), nothing on Overwatch of note, HotS was absent, Hearthstone appears to be a balance sweep, and WoW, well.

Any X.1 patch will naturally bring about large balance changes, few system changes, and some flavour on content. This is when the product should just work. Of the expected items:

  • Flying: pretty much as expected, within a single zone. Will still need a FP and funnel through Oribo (of which, only 1 per zone actually links).
  • Anima: seems the volume of it is intended. I’m inferring from the ‘there are no plans for extra customization’ that what we had in 9.0 is pretty much all that we’ll ever see in terms of things that cost anima.
  • Covenants: they are merging for a forward base of attack in the Maw. While expected, the timing is much faster. Curious if the covenant restrictions will remain, or a new joint faction will be created.
  • The Maw: Anyone will be able to mount, and there’s a new subzone coming into play. I dislike the Maw in almost every possible way, but am thankful that only 1 character needs to gain rep here to unlock the account-level boosts. Kinda defeats the purpose for Twisting Corridors though.
  • Torghast: new wings… which I’m curious as to what purpose that brings. More floors and anima powers too. The only reason for Torghast today is Soul Ash, which few people actually need now. I didn’t see any news for new pets/cosmetics.
  • New raid: This one is in Torghast, which automatically makes me think about anima / RNG in a raid. Curious.
  • Mega-dungeon: This does sound quite interesting, similar to Return to Kara / Mechagon. Wonder what will be in it to have it compare to the M+ dungeons.
  • Story: Right. Anduin being possessed was expected. The Archon getting stabbed (and surviving) was cathartic. Sylvanas having doubts, not so much. We’re all expecting a redemption arc here, but if there was ever a character in WoW that didn’t deserve one it’s her. We also know there are 4 keys within the 4 leaders to free the Jailer (and it looks like he has 3 now). So I guess this puts a giant target on the Winter Queen.

Of the unexpected/surprises… I think it has more to do with the fact that this seemed like 9.2 content and not 9.1. Means that the fight against the Jailer should be in 9.2, and that there’s a new setup for an even bigger baddie in 9.3? Dunno…

It’s certainly more content than I was expecting given the real world around us. Players will be able to reach Renown 40 on March 5th, and we know there’s a 9.05 coming too. Speculating, 9.1 won’t be around until May.

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