Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pre-BlizzCon Post

WARNING: In this post I will talk about things leaked about the next expansion. If you want to avoid spoilers and such I suggest you do not read this post.

With BlizzCon being just two days away I am already feeling the lull in activity. WoW news sites like and MMO-Champion seemed to have slowed down a little. A couple of my guildies are going to BlizzCon and severeral others have had work trips that are keeping them a way form the game (could the Blizz employees? coincidence?). Basically my WoW life has slowed down this week. So, with that I am going to talk about some of the leaks and rumors that have been floating around.

Reliability of the Leaks: (Link to all of the leaks. Spoiler Alert)

There has been a lot of controversy over the reliability of the leaks. For this post to work I have to assume that they are true for the most part, and to be honest I do believe most of what MMO Champion and posted on this subject.

Both sites survive based upon their ability to provide wow related news. If they put out bogus information it hurts their credibility. If you lose credibility people stop reading and your profitability goes down. These guys do not want to lose their jobs. Therefore they are going to think twice about posting such high profile information as this.

On top of that it is quite possible that blizzard purposely leaked some of this information. It creates buzz before Blizzard's biggest event of the year. It gives the players time to come up with good questions regarding the changes before the panel discussions and allows some of the hot heads to cool down before the event.

Being sceptical if fine in my opinion. I have no problem with people waiting for an official announcement. That said, in game information supports some of the conclusions made, and there is no evidence that makes the leaks obviously wrong. So, I am assuming they are correct for now.

New Races:

The safest assumption to me seems to be the addition of two new races. Blizzard has been hinting indirectly that two new races will be added. With the addition of the new Halloween masks in the PTR patches those two races seem to be Goblin's and Worgen.

I am not big on WoW lore but these two choices seem to make sense giving some of the things Blizzard has said and assuming that the Cataclysm is indeed the next expansion. Blizzard has said in the past that they would use a race already established in WoW, and didn't like how Draenei came out of left field. On top of that Blizzard hinted that the Graymane Wall would be coming down in the next expansion. Since the kingdom behind the Graymane Wall was a part of the Alliance in the past and they had a Worgen problem. It makes sense that Worgen would be the new Alliance race. I don't have a problem with this one.

I do have a little bit of an issue with Goblins being a playable race. From what I understand it is a solid choice from a lore perspective. They were highly affected by the first Cataclysm and would probably be affected by the second as well. My issue is with all of the neutral goblin cities scattered around. What happens to these cities in the expansion? A lot of the original ones are likely to change in some way or be eliminated, but my guess is the ones that survive will remain neutral. Its not unusual to interact with races from the opposite faction if they are apart of another group like the Centurian Circle, but it just feels strange to me.

I'm sure Gavlon at Greedy Goblin would be happy for this addition. It would be especially nice if one of their racials was to decrease the AH commission that Blizz takes on AH sales.

New Race/Class Combinations:

This seems to be what is stirring up the most controversy. First off all, I think there is some very solid information to suggest that this is coming. MMO Champion may not have all the combinations correct, but I expect that there will be some changes. The new quest in Thunder Bluff point to Taurens being more balanced and focusing on the Sun. This hints at Taurens picking up "light" based classes like Paladins and Priests. Then there is the Highborne Archmage seeking an audience with Tyrande. This is a good indication that Night Elvs will pick up Mages.

Again, I am not a big lore person, but has a great post exploring all of the new possibilities from a lore perspective. I recommend that anyone interested in this topic check it out.

I like this change if it comes to be. The original 8 races have had the same race/class combinations for almost 5 years now, and I don't like how I am force to play a particular race if I want to play a specific class. I didn't really want to be a Night Elf but I wanted to be a druid so the choice was made. When I rolled my Shaman I didn't want to be a Draenei because I already had one, but the choice was already made. I know plenty of people on the horde side that hate Blood Elves, but they were forced to roll one because they wanted to be a Pally. Having Troll Druids will be a little strange, but it makes sense to me from a game play perspective and the post I linked above makes a good lore arguement as well.

Classic Azeroth Revamp:

Lets be honest. Classic Azeroth is dead.

The game is almost 5 years old and the game has changed a lot during that time. With the addition of flying mounts, phasing, and general design philosophy changes, Classic Azeroth feels very old and uninviting.

On top of that, most of the players are at the max level with their main toons. As I've leveled my Mage and Shaman its impossible to not notice how dead each of the zones are. If I do a /who in a particular zone I'm lucky to find 10 people. This means there is little competition while leveling, but it also makes leveling a very isolating process. Since this is an MMO, isolation is not a strength.

Therefore, I think revamping how we level is a good move. One of the key issues with Azeroth is that the zones have a wide level range and you have to fly all over the place to get to a level approriate area. I don't think any one likes having to got to STV then Desolace then STV then Tanaris the STV again. The way that Outland and Northrend were designed with fairly clear leveling paths has been very nice. I don't think it will happen, but I really liked the idea of Leveling servers. I would love to do Deadmines and Scarlet Monastery while leveling, but I don't get a chance to anymore because it takes forever to find a group. A leveling server could fix this but I don't think it will happen because it sounds difficult to do technically.

What I really like about a Classic Azeroth Revamp is them taking a look at some of the dead zones around the map. There is a lot of space around Azeroth that is't being used, alot of doors that go no where, and they have all been there since the release of the game. I really hope that they do take a look at place like Uldum, Grim Batol, Hyjal, and all of the other empty zones on the map. I also think it will be great to look at all these zones with the help of phasing. It will also be great to finally be able to fly in Azeroth. I don't take my 80s to Azeroth often, but running ona mount just sucks.

What I don't like about a possible Azeroth Revamp is bring back the old instance but adjusting them for a higher level. I understand why some players want this. I loved running Deadmines, and it might be fun to do it a gain at max level, but the novelty will wear off quick.

Lets use Naxx as an example. In vanilla WoW, Naxx was often sited as one of the best instances that Blizzard had created. The world's top guilds sung its praises, the only problem was very few players saw it. So, Blizzard brings it back in WotLK. I think this was an intellegent move.

The problem is that when they brought it back it was already 2.5 years old. Blizzard got better at designing instances, Players got better at fighting bosses, but from what I'm told Naxx stayed pretty much the same. They had to change some things with the fights because they were only possible in a 40man environment, but the basic fight mechanics were the same.

Now when I compare Naxx to the TBC and the other WotLK dungons I've done it is clearly behind the times. Compare any Naxx fight to the raid bosses in Ulduar or almost any encounter in TBC and you will clearly see that the Naxx fights are simpler. Honestly, compare any fight in Naxx to Shade of Aran, Netherspite, or Prince Malchezaar, and tell me which is more complex and harder when done at the approriate level and with the appropriate gear.

In my opinion, those Kara fights were much tougher then anything we saw in Naxx. So, my worry is that if they just bring up some of the old raids and 5mans up to the current level but using the exact same fight mechanics then they will just be gimmicky instances that aren't a change the way they should be. If they completely rework the fights and make them more complex then I may change my opinion, but if Naxx is any indication then I have a lot to worry about.

My Predictions:

These aren't all that bold but given the information above here are some of the other things that I think will happen.

  • Worgens will be able to be Druids. It just makes sense from multiple perspectives. First off, if trolls can be Druids but not Worgen then Horde would have a choice but Allaince would not. Second, the most defining feature of Druids is that they are shapeshifters. Worgen are based off of Werewolves and are shapeshifters themselves according to MMO champion. Third, much of Druid magic and lore is based around the moon. I am reaching a little bit here werewolf lore is heavily based around the moon. So it is reasonable to think that Worgen might have a special connection to the moon and be able to pick up Druidic powers.

  • We will get new Moonkin Models in the new expansion. Since Blizzard has aready redone the cat and bear models it would make sense that the other forms are not far behind. Blizzard already has to create new models for the trolls and possibly worgen since the current models are heavily based upon Night Elf and Tauren design. It's possible that they won't have the time to get it done but I suspect since they already have to do the new races from scratch that they will just go ahead and do all of the forms.
  • There will be no new Hero Class. Part of me wonders if Blizzard regrets creating Death Knights. The seem to have been a real pain to balance and I wonder if they caused more issues then they were worth. On top of that where does Blizzard go now? They are a lot mroe creative then I am, but it can't be easy coming up with a new class that is unique from the existing classes but still balanced and viable. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if the Death Knight is the only Hero Class we ever see.
  • There will be no new professions. A new profession was introduced with each of the past expansions but I don't think we will see one with the next expansion. Again, what would it be. I don't know what type of gear a new profession could craft or what type of modifires it could create. That said, if they do create a new profession, I hope Leather working is the primary supplyer for it. There are not enough uses for leather.


Mobus said...

Here's what I don't understand. Some Halloween masks were put in to the game. All of a sudden people think they're going to be the new races. I don't understand the connection between the two. Someone please explain this to me.

Secondly, in the WoW Fiction, some of the books have a sneak peek at the new expansion. A while ago before anyone heard of WotLK, it explained the DKs in fair detail, and many of their spells, and they worked almost exactly like they did when WotLK went live (not, of course, how they worked a couple patches later). That being said, some of the new WoW Fiction has given a preview to the new expansion. I don't remember there being a name given to it, but I do remember that the planned hero class was a Ritualist, and that it seems very much to be a beefed up Shaman (very much how the DK was a beefed up Paladin). It didn't have totems, but it had auras and weapon enhancements, and also had a healing spec. I don't remember all the details but I do remember it being very accurate with the DK. Now, you say that there probably isn't going to be a new hero class, so maybe they scrapped the idea after how no one liked DKs (except, of course, the people playing them). I don't know.

As for the validity of, they seemed to be correct about the release of 3.2 (granted it wasn't posted until the day right before), but even so, unless someone can explain this connection to me, I cannot accept that Goblins and Worgen will be the next races just by some Halloween masks. Though I would LOVE to see what's behind Greymane Wall :)

Hotball said...

I'm torn by the worgen. I'd like to play a worgen druid because druid is my favorite class. On the other hand, the advantage of being a worgen is, well, being the worgen! If I have to spend most of my time in a druid form, why bother being a worgen?

So I guess I'll play a worgen but unfortunately not a druid. Besides, I already have two druids. >.<

Graylo said...


In the past the Halloween Masks have been reserved exclusively for playable races. So when two new masks pop up just before BlizzCon, its not a big leap to think that those two races will be playable in the next expansion.

That said, a couple of weeks after the Goblin and Worgen masks appeared, Masks for 4 other races also appeared (Murlocs, Vrykul, Naga, and Ogres). Most people seem to think these are just a deversion because they lack some quality and it doesn't make sense to release 2 and then 4 more.

Sean Sullivan said...

I would like the addition of Worgen and Goblins as playable races, if for no other reason than to just add new races. The DK starting zone is excellent, and if that can be reproduced for two new races in lvl 1-20 content, we'd probably see a resurgence in interest in classic WoW content. Admittedly, the real issue is always the middle content (20-50), so maybe they'll all start at higher levels like DKs do.

It would be neat I think if Goblins were allowed for both the Horde and Alliance (perhaps with different skin tones or something). It may fit much more neatly with our understanding of Goblins currently and their neutrality. But that might make PvP a little messy if you can't easily distinguish friend from foe, especially under all that armor.

As for a new profession, I'd like to see something like woodworking. You could do a lot with that:
* Craft Staves/Bows/Shields(?)
* Create furniture for homes/guild halls, using leather and dyes to change color/style (if those come out in the expansion)
* Craft wooden vehicles ala Flintstones
* Create musical instruments(?)
Just ideas really.

The Azeroth revamp will be needed if indeed they're going to have the new end-game content on the original continents. But I worry about increased ganking and camping in PvP realms it level 80+ quests and content so close to starting zones that are a few minutes away at most on a flying mount.

As for druids, the lore is pretty inflexible in allowing may other races in. Worgen makes sense with their natural lunar leanings and wouldn't wreck the lore much. I did think it was a interesting ommission to say "we have 2 new races" but then not say what classes those races would have. For many, the race isn't very interesting (or a choice, as you've pointed out). Faction and class are bigger choices. Hopefully BlizzCon will clue us in to what the classes for any new races will be.

Dillion said...

Blizzard is making WoW a soap opera if they have Thrall hand over the Horde to Garrosh.

I'm happy that they will finally open up Grim Batol. Deathwing, your time has come!

Requisition said...

I am very sure that all current goblin citires will remain the same(as far as faction is concerned, can't say how the cataclysm will affect them).

I am saddened by the lack of a hero class. Not only am I one of people that arne't very pleased with some of the new combinations, but I definitly don't feel that fills the role of a new class. How long have people been begging for a heroic healer?

I would also enjoy seeing a new profession, but I won't be too sad to see that missed. I agree with the woodworking route.

Yay new moonkin forms!

Phil said...

I joined as WotLK was comming out. I was in the BC area for one day b4 I left for NR. What is the point of old content, simply to say that you have done it, to get the achevment? Lame. I understand that enabling a 80 mode would be lame if all they did was add armor and hit to bosses but to change the way that all instances run would be a monumentous challange for Blizz staff. I hope they do make old content worth it, in any way.
Putting a group together for old content is easy btw, you just ask, 'hey did you get the achevement for______' and 99 percent of the time some one didn't do it and will help you, the down side is there are prob an 80.

As far as the new Moonkin forms I would like to see an ability for multiple casting forms such as huminoid or a creation of a hybrid moonkin/bear/tree... How cool would it be to be a dps cat with tree limbs if you had a few points in resto or a bear with moonkin antlers so you could cast a few spells and tank, there are sooooo many creative things they can do, but only some things they will do. Just wait and find out.

Gargen of US-Vek'nilash

Graylo said...


I've heard woodworking mentioned before, and had forgotten about it until you mentioned it.

It has some potential but it would need a lot more then what you've mentioned and what I can think about. I look at Woodworking in the same way I look at Jewelcrafting. Jewelcrafting filled a hole by making rings and necks craftable, but its real value comes from cutting gems and items with sockets. Woodworking would fill the niche of Staves, Bows, and possibly arrows, but what would make it interesting for the majority of players?

I don't think guild housing is viable and I doubt blizzard is working on it. Vehicles are nice but not everyone cares especially when you already have the hog and flying machines from Engineering and what benifit would Instruments provide? Blizzard already got rid of drums.

It would need a way to make it an interesting profession for the masses and I don't know what that is.


I kind of like the change with Thrall. He has always been to level headed to be a faction leader. Having two hot heads leading the factions makes PvP much more believable.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we will get the ability to have 3 professions.