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BlizzCon 2011 Coverage (content)

Raylan13 October 21, 2011 User blog:Raylan13
MistsofPandariaLogo
The Mists of Pandaria

Opening ceremony

Interview with Chris Metzen

  • Pandaren:
    • Were originally slated to be the new Alliance race for The Burning Crusade. Idea was scrapped, as it was felt the draenei were a better fit.
    • Pandaren fight primarily for hearth and home, family, and neighbors. This is different from the Alliance/Horde, as they will fight over even the smallest slights and infractions.
    • Available to both the Alliance and Horde. No word yet on whether cross-faction communication will be possible. The decision to join with either faction will be made after the initial starting experience.
  • Monk:
  • No plans as of yet to update old race models.

Preview panel

  • The Wandering Isle concept art.
  • The Wandering Isle illustrated concept art.
  • Map of the Wandering Isle.
  • Edge of the Wandering Isle.
  • Temple of Five Dawns
  • Possibly the Kei-Han Brewery

With Tom Chilton, Cory Stockton, and Greg Street

Preview panel continued (creatures)

  • Jinyu
  • Hozu
  • Verming
  • Mantid
  • Mogu
  • Sha
  • Jinyu: very fish-like appearance and considered to be the "wise men" of Pandaria. By thrusting their staves into the ground the land talks to them.
  • Hozu: monkey-like in appearance. This are mischievous creatures that play pranks on the Pandaren. They are expected to make appearances in dungeons as well.
  • Verming: described as kobold-like, and have a very rabbit-esque look. These are vermin that threaten the farmlands of the Pandaren, destroying their crops. They are designed to be weak, so players can face "droves" of them.
  • Mantid: insect-like, the Mantid are a sentient race. Unlike the Silithid, they are not constrained to a hive-mind. They have unique architecture and can use weapons, and also have a language of their own. For a long time they have been separated from the rest of the continent by a massive wall, but something has driven them insane, and now they are seeking to break through.
  • Mogu: the original race of Pandaria before they were overthrown by the Pandaren 12,000 years ago. They are ogre/orc like in appearance. Now they want their lands back. They will be featured heavily in dungeons and raids.
  • Sha: described as the "manifestation of negative energy". These shadowy creatures are given more fuel by the Alliance/Horde conflict that spills into Pandaria.

Preview panel continued (The Jade Forest)

  • Map of the Jade Forest.
  • Concept art.
  • Concept art.
  • Considered the entry point into Pandaria
  • Levels 85-86
  • Alliance will crash on the southern shores, while Horde will crash on the northern shores; quests will eventually find them meeting at the center of the zone
  • Consist primarily of lush rainforests, dotted with stone spires. Atop these spires are Pandaren buildings.
  • The Alliance/Horde conflict only fuels the negative energy the Sha feed off of. The Sha will feature in the new dungeon, the Temple of the Jade Serpent, and players will be tasked with cleansing the place of them. The Temple is designed for levels 85-86, entry level for the zone.

Preview panel continued (Valley of the Four Winds)

  • Valley of the Four Winds map.
  • The coast.
  • More of the coast, with buildings atop the tall islands.
  • Beginning of the farmlands.
  • Farmlands.
  • The second zone of Pandaria.
  • It is split into two areas: the northern section is home to vast Pandaren farmlands, while the southern end is comprised of a lush, coastal jungle.
  • This is where players will encounter the Mantid for the first time. They will be making their way through the wall to attack a nearby Pandaren village.
  • The new dungeon here will be Stormstout Brewery

Preview panel continued (Pandaren and Monk)

  • Pandaren concept art
  • Pandaren in game
  • A Pandaren Monk
  • A Monk meditating
  • The Monk resource bar
  • Pandaria starting zone weapons.
  • Pandaren:
    • Classes: Monk, IconSmall Hunter Hunter, IconSmall Mage Mage, IconSmall Priest Priest, IconSmall Rogue Rogue, IconSmall Shaman Shaman, IconSmall Warrior Warrior
    • Racials:
      • Epicurean: Increase the stat benefits from food by 100%
      • Gourmand: IconSmall Cooking [Cooking] skill increased by 15
      • Inner Peace: Rested experience bonus lasts twice as long
      • Bouncy: Take 50% less falling damage
      • Quaking Palm: You touch a secret pressure point on an enemy target, putting it to sleep for 3 seconds
  • Monk
    • Trees: Brewmaster (tank), Mistweaver (Healer), Windwalker (Melee DPS)
      • Attempt to make Mistweavers stand up in melee
      • Slightly different healing style
    • Not a hero class
    • Martial-arts based
    • Races: IconSmall Draenei MaleIconSmall Draenei Female Draenei, IconSmall Dwarf MaleIconSmall Dwarf Female Dwarf, IconSmall Gnome MaleIconSmall Gnome Female Gnome, IconSmall Human MaleIconSmall Human Female Human, IconSmall NightElf MaleIconSmall NightElf Female Night elf, IconSmall Blood Elf MaleIconSmall Blood Elf Female Blood elf, IconSmall Orc MaleIconSmall Orc Female Orc, IconSmall Tauren MaleIconSmall Tauren Female Tauren, IconSmall Troll MaleIconSmall Troll Female Troll, IconSmall Undead MaleIconSmall Undead Female Forsaken, and of course Pandaren
    • Weapons: Primarily hands and feet, but will use staves, fist weapons, one-handed axes, maces, and swords for finishers; no word yet on two-handed weapons.
    • Armor: Leather armor, with stats heavy on Agility (for DPS and tank) and Intellect (for healing)
    • Resource: Chi; energy-like in that it degrades over time
      • Jab and Roll abilities will refill this meter
      • Split between "light" and "dark" force, used for finishers
    • No Auto-attack
    • Experimenting with resource bar being in the middle bottom of the screen

Preview panel continued (Talent revamp)

By and large, Blizzard saw that getting a spec ability at level 10 was a good thing, as players good really play as that spec from early on. They also noticed a few flaws in their tree design over the years, including but not limited to not enough choices, cutomaization, and hybridization. To that end, they have reworked the talent tree system and included the following changes (more coming later!):

  • Get additional spec abilities after level 10 at periodic intervals
  • There are no talent points or ranks
  • Only one talent tree per class (still three specs, however)
  • Talents are earned every 15 levels:
    • each time players reach that point, they are offered three different talents
    • they may only choose one talent out of the three
    • however, they can change talents later on, hopefully as easily as glyphs
  • Goal: no mandatory talents

Preview panel continued (Scenarios, Challenge Mode Dungeons, Pet Battle System)

PvE Scenarios

These are designed as short instances for only a few players, with no role requirements. They are meant to take a short amount of time, and the number of players can vary. Because there are no role requirements, such as Tank, Healer, DPS, it is expected that que times will be very short. Players might also be able to earn Valor points by completing these.

They seem to function similarly to quests. The example given was for the Defense of Goldshire, where participants are tasked with killing a certain number of kobolds before progressing further and saving some children. The final phase would consist of fighting a boss mob, in this case Goldtooth.

Another example given is for a PvE battleground. In this case, the Battle of Grizzly Gulch, participants won't be fighting against other players of the opposite faction, but certain elements of traditional battlegrounds remain. They would fight NPCs of the opposite faction, wrest control of resources from the other side, and finally face off against a boss mob.

Challenge Modes

Challenges leaderboard BlizzCon2011
Example leaderboard

This will be another way that players can earn Valor points, but they will also be able to earn medals and cool-looking cosmetic gear. Players bored with current dungeons can challenge themselves and their group by attempting to complete dungeons in a certain amount of time.

Unique to this experience, participants will have their gear normalized for the dungeon. In this way, there will be no powering through simply because of higher-quality gear, and comparing accomplishments can be done fairly. The new user interface is designed to show medals earned, requirements for the medals, rewards, personal best times, and a leaderboard.

Pet Battle System

PetJournal
Pet Journal interface.
PetTeamUI
Pet Team interface.

This new proposed feature is intended for players that want to do more with their non-combat pets other than collecting them. It is a feature designed to be available to everyone, regardless of level, and hopefully will work with most existing pets. The best way to envision this is to familiarize yourself with Pokemon.

The key features revolve around the acquiring of pets, leveling them, battling with them, and customizing them.

Acquiring pets

Most existing pets will be able to function within this system. A new type of pet will also be added to the game: a wild pet. These animals can be found across the world. To obtain one, a player must send one of their existing pets to do battle. There are some changes that come with this and the new system -

  • A Pet Journal will replace the existing pet page in the user interface.
  • Pets are expected to be account-wide.
  • Pets will be able to be traded.
  • Wild pets may have unique spawns, such as seasonal, weather, or time of day.
Leveling pets

Players will level pets by sending them into combat against other pets. Battles won will earn experience, and once enough experience has been earned, pets will gain additional levels and additional abilities. The number of abilities a pet can learn seems to be set at six, with only three available for any given fight.

  • Battles can be PvE (against wild pets, or against Masters) or PvP (against another player's pet).
  • Battles will be turn-based.
  • You will fight with a team of three pets.
  • There is expected to be a queing system.
Customizing

Players are expected to be able to name their pets. In addition, they can customize them with unique abilities and possibly items.

  • Players may learn Master abilities by visiting NPC Masters and defeating them using their pet teams.

Preview panel (Dungeons & Raids/Questing/Battlegrounds & Arenas)

Dungeons & Raids

  • Stormstout Brewery
  • Stormstout Brewery
  • Shado-pan Monastery
  • Shado-pan Monastery
  • Temple of the Jade Serpent
  • Temple of the Jade Serpent

There are scheduled to be nine new dungeons for this expansion, including six within Pandaria itself. In addition, two old dungeons will be receiving an heroic facelift: Scholomance and the Scarlet Monastery. The three new raids will feature the Mogu and Mantid races, and the Raid Finder will be expanded to include all raids.

Stormstout Brewery (Dungeon)

One of the dungeons within Pandaria, players are tasked with assisting Chen Stormstout in reclaiming his family heritage.

Shado-pan Monastery (Dungeon)

An outdoor dungeon.

Temple of the Jade Serpent (Dungeon)

This dungeon is located within the Jade Forest of Pandaria and is meant to combine the elements of both an indoor and outdoor dungeon.

Questing

  • More max level content
  • Want to include more things like the Molten Front, but with varied and multiple quest hubs
  • Want to include incentives for those doing dungeons and raids to participate in daily quests, such as a debuff useful in dungeons and raids
  • Want quests to be less linear
  • Want to improve on factions, including more ways to obtain items

Battlegrounds & Arenas

  • Stranglethorn Diamond Mine map
  • Stranglethorn Diamond Mine concept art
  • Valley of Power grounds
  • Valley of Power map
  • Valley of Power point zone
  • Tol'vir Proving Grounds overhead
  • Tol'vir Proving Grounds concept art

Three possible new battlegrounds were listed, as well as a new arena. Of the proposed battlegrounds, only Azshara Crater was skipped in the summary.

Stranglethorn Diamond Mine (Battleground)
  • Located below Northern Stranglethorn
  • It would be a "payload" style game:
    • players would have to escort a mine cart to a depot
    • there are multiple tracks, and tracks can be switched
    • first side to a certain amount of resources wins
Valley of Power (Battleground)
  • located in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, Pandaria
  • Gameplay centers around acquiring and then holding an artifact of great power, with some caveats:
    • holding the object earns points
    • the number of points earned depends upon where you stand within the grounds
    • the artifact does damage to the player holding it, increasing over time
Tol'vir Proving Grounds, Uldum (Arena)

Preview panel continued (Achievements/Classes)

Achievements

Two major points:

  • Allowing achievements to be shared among all characters on the same battle.net account.
  • Create new achievements that require multiple characters to complete (like leveling all professions to maximum)

Class change highlights

Basic overview
  • Resilience is now added to the base stats
  • No classes, with the exception of hunters, will have a dedicated ranged slot
  • Relics are being removed
  • Rogues and warriors will now throw their main hand weapon if they need to do a ranged attack
  • Wands will be changed to main hand
  • Spell book clean up
  • Rotations improved
  • Will now automatically learn new spells, so no need to go to trainers; trainers will still exist for respeccing purposes
IconSmall Hunter Hunter
  • Hunter minimum range is gone (dead zone)
  • As such, Hunters will no longer use melee weapons; Ranged only
IconSmall Warlock Warlock
  • Each spec will now have its own unique resource system:
    • Affliction will retain soul shards
    • Demonology will get Demonic Fury - this resource will build up, then allow the warlock to metamorphosize; new demon form abilities will be added
    • Destruction will get Infernal Embers - essentially this allows the warlock to "heat up" until they reach a certain point, then they can unleash massive damage with their spells
IconSmall Shaman Shaman
  • Buff totems will be removed; buffs will be applied as other classes apply them (ie [Arcane Intellect])
  • All totems will now be solely for utility, so new totems will be added:
IconSmall Druid Druid
  • Now will be the first class to have four specs. Feral has been split into Feral (cat DPS) and Guardian (bear Tank); druids still learn both forms, however
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