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Blizzcon Recap

By Joe Iuliani on August 26, 2009 | General Articles | Comments

Blizzcon Recap

Well, the fourth Blizzcon has come and gone. Thousands of rabid fans descended upon Anaheim, California to show their support for Blizzard and to get a glimpse of what the future has in store. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to purchase a Blizzcon 2009 ticket; I missed the forty second window of purchasing opportunity. I unfortunately did not have a first born to offer for tickets, and nobody was looking to loan me theirs. In an effort to make sure the other few million Blizzard fans had an opportunity to experience Blizzcon, it was made available both online and DirecTV. For the mere price of $40.00 folks could watch announcement in real time. Sure, you missed out the Blizzard store, and redefining personal space, but you did get to walk away with your own Grunty the Murloc Marine as a WoW in game pet. For those who may feel overwhelmed by the Blizzcon coverage, here’s a quick recap of the event.

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Opening Ceremony

This is where all the major news was unleashed upon the fan base ( unless you count how that other site released all sorts of information the weekend prior to Blizzcon). The three major ground shaking announcements were:

  • Cataclysm, the third expansion for World of Warcraft was all the rage. The world of Azeroth will be affected by an old “foe”. The landscape will be forever change by his escape from the middle of the world. Tsunamis, floods, volcanoes, cats and dogs living together. WoW will be getting a major facelift this round through. For the faithful out there, it will be a nice change. After five years, looking at the original major cities has grown a tad boring. Oh did I mention two new races, and five more levels? I honestly think the Cataclysm information outshined all the other news from Blizzcon.
  • Diablo III’s fourth class was unveiled; the monk. Don’t think this your traditional monk class. Sure, he’s holy, and he’s a martial artist, but he’s got that Diablo eastern European feel to him. Check out that beard, they don’t grow those at Shaolin. There is some great footage at the Diablo III website; fans at Blizzcon had a chance to experience the monk first hand.
  • Battle.net’s major upgrades. There wasn’t a lot of Diablo III chatter at Blizzcon, which leads me to believe we’ll be seeing Cataclysm a whole lot sooner than Diablo III
  • Ozzy Osbourne plays Blizzcon. (I know I said three, but I think Ozzy deserves special attention). I think it’s a testament to Blizzard that they are able to get an icon of Ozzy’s caliber to play at a gaming convention. For those of us raised on Ozzy, this is truly mind bending. For those that only know him from his TV show, it may be less impressive.

Cataclysm Highlights

New Races

  • Goblins: New Horde Race complete with The Lost Isles, the new level 1-15 starter zone.
  • Worgen: New Alliance Race starts in Gineas, the new Alliance 1-15 zone.

New Secondary Profession: Archaeology

There will be a lot to explore throughout the new landscape of Azeroth. With the new skill players will unearth, well whatever it is archaeologists unearth. Archaeology will be the base system of the new Path of the Titans system. (For more on Path of the Titans, check out the Cataclysm site, there’s a lot too it) This promises more customization. I only hope I’ll be able to look different from other players, not just have new skills.

Fly Everywhere:

It’s about time, after being teased with the gift of flight in the Burning Crusade. Players will now be able to take a flight over the rest of the game world. Take that Barrens.

Mastery

There was a lot mentioned over Mastery, but I just don’t grasp it at the moment. It’s a little too theoretical for me. Apparently it’s a way to make the talent trees more beneficial. I’ll save my opinion of this until it’s made a little clearer, or they at least tell me what my druid can do.

More Dungeon and Raid Content than Ever Before

In addition to new dungeon content, players will revisit some of the old WoW Classics. for example Shadowfang Keep, an instance many folks have bothered to step into for quite some time, will be overhauled for this new expansion.

Guilds

Guild Advancement

Being part of guild actually means more than raiding now. Guilds will be able to obtain some pretty useful skills, such as mass resurrection and mass summoning. Now raiders won’t have to wait so long between wipes.

Guild Professions

These professions will help more raid intensive guilds cut some of their operating costs. Reduced rate items, and some guild specific items will be included. Keep an eye for the heirloom items that guilds will own. So if somebody up and leaves the guild in the wee hours of the morning, at least their work product will be maintained by the guild.

Looking for Guild

A new and improved way for guilds to recruit members. Maybe you like to raid early or you’re an after midnight kind of player. The filters incorporated here will do their best to make sure players and guilds find the right match.

Guild Achievements

I think there is another game out there that will be displeased by this.

Battle.net Update

Many folks have been concerned of what the Battle.net will cost them. Battle.net will be free to all those who purchase and register the full version of StarCraft II. Since StarCraft II is slated to be released in three parts, what determines “full” isn’t quite clear. Additionally, I didn’t notice any mention of what it will cost those that don’t purchase StarCraft II.

A key feature of the new Battle.net is RealID. RealID is a totally optional component of Battle.net. By selecting an ID for yourself, you will be able to stay in touch with all your Blizzard cohorts across platforms. In short it will be the Instant Messaging of Blizzard.

In time all accounts will be forced to become part of Blizzard’s hive mind. So enjoy any free play you have now. I understand their goal of a more perfect and cohesive gaming community, I just hope it meets their and more importantly our expectations.

For those that are interested here’s a list of the Developer Panels from Blizzcon 2009, according to Blizzard, www.blizzcon.com will be updated on a regular basis. Try and get a look at some of the replays and see the folks who make these games happen:

  • World of Warcraft Dungeons & Raids – Delve deeper into the philosophies behind the design of the game's most epic player-versus-environment (PvE) encounters.
  • World of Warcraft Game Systems – Learn more about the mechanics that make World of Warcraft tick.
  • World of Warcraft Classes, Items, and Professions – Check out what's in store for World of Warcraft classes, professions, and items in the future.
  • StarCraft II Battle.net Discussion – At the StarCraft II Battle.net developer panel on Friday afternoon, we gave players a first look at some of the cool new community and communication features that will be coming with the relaunched Battle.net online-gaming service, along with info on how it'll all be integrated with StarCraft II. Check out new details about Battle.net's state-of-the-art matchmaking system, achievement system, social networking features, and more in our new Battle.net FAQ
  • World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Panel – Learn more devastating details about World of Warcraft's third expansion, Cataclysm.
  • Diablo III Heroes & Monsters – Take a closer look at the latest Diablo III class, the monk, as well as other characters and creatures from the game.

For those of you who may have grown bored with World of Warcraft. BlizzCon 2009 has certainly pumped new life and interest into the game. This franchise shows no signs of slowing down, and they truly are improving the game on all levels. For the most accurate information on what happened at Blizzcon, jump on over to their sites. There is a lot more to be gone over in depth, so go on take a look.