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It was a seriously action-packed Blizzcon opening session this morning, and the behind-the-scenes coverage between panels has been juicy as well.
Tons of information about Heroes of the Storm (the Blizzard MOBA), Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft. I'll keep adding to the below w/more details and clarification as the day goes on.
World of Warcraft
Key World of Warcraft reveals:
- Warlords of Draenor announced as next World of Warcraft expansion. (official announcement blog post now up)
- New character models; gnomes among ones currently previewed
- New world to explore (Draenor)
- An instant boost to level 90 (no slogging the way up to level 100??) for 1 character of your choice w/purchase of this expansion
- Centered around Garrosh, who will go back in time...(we KNEW he wouldn't stand trial) to Old Draenor and bring his Iron Horde through a new dark portal.
- Saurfang will likely be new Orc racial leader (Thrall has family business to attend to).
- Bringing flex raiding mechanics to more raid difficulty levels, to deal with raid size issues: LFR 10-25 people, Normal mode flex 10-25, Heroic mode flex 10-25. Mythic difficulty will require a set group of 20 players.
- Can craft directly from your bank, and many crafting materials will be able to stack to 100.
- Adding sortable bags functionality (like setting a bag for consumables only); items new to bag highlighted, so no more "where the @&^%@&% is that item I just looted?" and no more quest items in your bags!!
- Adding more inventory collections (like we have now for pets and mounts): account wide heirlooms, toys and possibly tabards (YES please!)
- Tons of PvP changes including bringing back old AV w/its quests, a new battleground score showing your amount of effort/participation, and Trial of the Gladiator which will give players ability to choose from set of PvP gear (i.e. focus on skill not grinding out gear).
Players have long been asking for player housing. In this expansion, they go one better -- Not player housing exactly, but...you get a whole TOWN to customize (ssimilar to player farms in Halfhill?) From the press release:
To establish a foothold on Draenor once they’ve arrived, the displaced champions of the Horde and Alliance will be able to construct their own Garrison, an expandable, customizable stronghold that will serve as each player’s personal base of operations throughout the course of the expansion. As the Garrison grows, players will be able to recruit NPC allies and followers to take up residence, gathering resources and embarking on missions on the player’s orders.
Chilton calls this "The World of Warcraft version of housing." Can invite your friends to come see it. You'll be able to see it as you fly over it in the world. More details:
- Will be able to showcase "monuments" and trophies you receive for your achievements.
- Provides limmited access to professions you don't have on your character.
- Your vanity pets might be able to run around in your Garrison.
- Can customize bldgs in your Garrison, and what zone they are in. Will be able to see it from the world, invite friends to visit.
- If you are in a group, everyone will visit the group leader's Garrison.
- Garrisons currently character-bound but realize they need a solution for alts too.
- Dance Studios included in the Garrisons building list (true fact or just an Easter Egg for fans with sharp eyes watching the panel?)
- Garrison buildings improve significantly as you upgrade them (3 tiers of levels per building).
- Each Garrison building provides unique benefits to your character. For example, The kitchen in the Inn has a cooking NPC, plus ability to meet a new follower each day (tank, DPS and healing followers).
- Followers can be sent out to do quests on your behlaf (sounds similar to the SWTOR Crew and their crew skills missions).
- "Think of this as the farm x 1,000" and "Garrisons are the World of Warcraft version of housing...integrated directly into the world." -- Tom Chilton
- New official blog post with even more info on the Garrisons, and an official blog post w/an overview of adventuring to 100
Heroes of the Storm
Lots of excitement around Heroes of the Storm:
- The Heroes of the Storm BETA is now available for opt-in.
- The new website at http://www.heroesofthestorm.com/en-us has new content above/beyond the cute teaser that was at http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/games/heroes/
TONS of Hearthstone news:
- The gold Elite Tauren Chieftain card (photo above) announced as the special Hearthstone in-game item for Blizzcon attendees/streamers.
- Hearthstone is moving into open BETA next month or early January.
- Hearthstone tablet version will not be the only mobile version of the game -- working on iPhone and Android versions too.
Stay tuned for more livestream details here, and on twitter.
What are you most excited about so far?