Right, banwave of 200k (thanks @Ravenswordx ), so maybe 5.8 million subscribers.— Talarian (@Talarianjs) August 4, 2015
It's pretty easy to be cynical about the WoW reveal. With WoD still firmly in the collective consciousness, everything we see about the future will be through the lens of current content. I'm cautiously optimistic about the expansion outlook now that I've heard more, but my days of blind fanboyism are behind me, but that doesn't mean there aren't pieces of it that make me excited. So let's break this down shall we?
First, however, a caveat:
Remember, these are plans, not promises. The final expansion may not include everything seen here. Can't handle that? Don't preorder.— Talarian (@Talarianjs) August 6, 2015
Things That Are Potentially Awesome
- Moving Our Story Forward
Now we'll have Vrykul backstory, the Emerald Dream/Nightmare and Xavious, Azshara, the Val'kyr and Sylvanas, Tauren, Alleria and Turalyon, Fel Elves (Felves?), the Burning Legion itself and their former prison world, and more. While our story was on hold in Draenor, this expansion they're throwing in the kitchen sink, it seems. I'm totally on board with multiple storylines in parallel, so it'll be interesting to see how these disparate pieces fit together (hint: Titans and Pillars of Creation). Also, Anduin's growing up!
Bonus, the only orc is Gul'dan. I can live with that.
- Pre-expansion Event
- Class Orders
Also, Thrall, I'm lead Shaman. You're fired.— Talarian (@Talarianjs) August 6, 2015
The other part of Class Orders is the evolution of the Garrison system. Fewer followers, we're not raising an army. Ostensibly more customization for these followers. But these followers won't do things instead of you, rather they'll give you bonuses in a specific zone if you send them to that zone, or perhaps they go on a scouting mission which reveals a quest for you to go perform. This seems like a good evolution of Garrisons in that it would actively encourage you to go into the world. It becomes almost a quest dispenser, really.
They'll earn "artifact power" as you perform activities: questing, dungeons, PvP, raiding, etc. And you spend that power on basically a "talent" tree for each weapon. Ostensibly the artifact will power your character, though we don't know if you have to be wielding it to get the benefit, but it'll be an interesting question for dual-spec folks.
Of course, folks worried about every Ret paladin wielding Ashbringer need not fear too much, because we'll be given the capability to pick alternate models/color variants for our Artifact Weapons. With 5 models from what I can see and multiple colours on each model, per spec, we're looking at more models than we might get in an expansion altogether.
As an example, in Warlords Enhancement Shaman had a total of 11 models: 2 in Highmaul, 2 in BRF, 4 in HFC, 3 in PvP. But those 11 models are also shared with 2 Rogue specs and Windwalker Monks, meaning really that's only 3 models per spec, not 5. So I don't think we really have less choice here if they can actually pull off this many variants.
Of course, can't leave out the druids. They'll get to modify their forms since they can't actually see their weapons, and that's pretty spiffy. Also, confirmed hi-res cat form. I wonder if boomkin will finally get an update?
Overall, this feels a lot more fleshed out than Path of the Titans was during the Wrath announcement, so perhaps we'll actually get this one. Seems like this will be our progression, rather than picking up new class abilities and/or more talents. Nice way to give us new progression options, though it'll be interesting to see how this system moves forward...if it does.
They showed off art/screens for 3 of 9 total 5-player dungeons, which is about par for the course over the past few expansions, though hopefully they release more during the expansion.
We don't have many more details from a systems perspective.
Highmaul then BRF worked pretty well overall, so Blizzard is going to do that again. A 7 boss raid, then a 10 boss raid.
Sounds like Blizzard is happy with how LFR, Flex Normal/Heroic, and 20-Man Mythic are working out. I call this a successful prediction on my end.
- Improved Transmog System
- New PvP Honor System
So now the devs can balance PvE and PvP separately since they have separate talent trees, and folks have something they can choose to either sit at level 50, or if they want to grind for all the cosmetics they're free to do so. Also, gear as a whole should have much less impact on PvP as a whole, which is nice.
Things That Are Off or Strange
- Jaina's no where to be found
- Emerald Nightmare
- Survival Hunters get an Artifact Spear
- Demon Hunters
I'm happy to see they're only doing 2 specs, to ensure concentrated awesomeness, but I'm not quite sure how they'll really fit into group content.
Things That Are Unsaid
Of course, Blizzard only had an hour and a half to talk about all of this, so there's a lot left unsaid, not to mention all of this information brings up a lot of questions unto itself.
What about professions? How do they plan on making 5-player content relevant longer? Is Dalaran our capital city again (which would be a clever way to save on asset creation time)? Are there other systems changes? What are the "improved social features" touted on the expansion feature list?
This expansion is very much by the book, though with some kitchen sink tossed in. If you were hoping WoW would reinvent itself completely somehow, you're probably not going to be happy with Legion. But if you want more of classic WoW, Legion looks like it might just deliver. If they can manage to ship another leveling experience as awesome as Draenor, and nail the landing of post-110 content? That'd be a solid win in my mind.
Oh, and before I finish, they mentioned Beta before the end of this year, which means my beta by Blizzcon prediction is quite possibly correct as well. So I'll throw down another prediction since I'm apparently on prediction fire this expansion: I predict a pre-expansion date of Thursday, March 31st, 2016, and an actual release date of April 28th, 2016.
If they do Beta by Blizzcon, then that gives almost 4.5 months on the PTR, then the traditional 1 month of the x.0 patch with old content (plus the pre-expansion event). The full expac would be a bit late for the first quarter, but the pre-expansion patch would give 2016 Q1 a subscriber bump just before the end, as they generally do.
It would also mean 8.5 months of 6.2 before new content, which isn't actually that bad. Not great, 6 months would be better, but if they could hit these dates, they'd be doing pretty well for themselves. #WorldOfWarcraft, #Expansion, #Predictions