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Blizzcon 2013 Wrapup

Blizzcon has passed, and everyone is now abuzz with all of this weekend's announcements! It was an exciting couple days, and if you didn't manage to keep track of all of it online you're in luck -- we're recapping everything below. MMO-Champion even has a handy guide on their front page with tabs for all of the different World of Warcraft class changes, so don't hesitate to head on over there to take a look at where your favorite roles are headed.

Now, to the point:

Warlords of Draenor

New Character Models

  • The old Dwarf male has 1,160 polygons and was mirrored on both sides. The new model is 7,821 polygons and has higher texture resolutions. The face doesn't have to be symmetrical anymore.
  • They went 956 to 5,408 polygons on the Gnomes. 130 to 196 bones. Texture resolution was 2 to 5x higher depending on the area of the body.
  • Dwarf Female, Tauren Male, and Female Troll models are all being worked on right now.
  • All of the original races, Draenei, and Blood Elves will be getting new models for Warlords.
  • Worgen and Goblin won't be getting new models right away. The team will take a look at those models after all of the other ones are done.
  • Facial hair is animated using bones.
  • Capes are now animated using bones to flow more naturally.
  • Gnome female pigtails are now animated.

Enchanted Fey Dragon Mount

  • The Enchanted Fey Dragon will be a store mount. It will be sold alone or in a combo pack with another pet for the Make a Wish Foundation.
Warlords Release Date
  • Another MoP patch would delay WoD, so Patch 5.5 isn't going to happen. The entire team is working on WoD right now, so any more MoP content would slow down development.
  • Q: "Typically after you announce something it is another year, but we are at Patch 5.4 now. What content do you have planned for between now and then?" A: "Any content we do now will delay the expansion by the same amount of time it took us to make that content. We are completely focused on making the next expansion and will try to deliver that as soon as we can, hopefully on a shorter cycle than players are imagining, but you never know, we will have to see."
  • Q: "Typically that would be in the Winter of next year. Does that mean it is a goal to bring it in to Summer or Spring?" A: "Well certainly the goal is before that, but we'll see, it is very hard for us to predict."
Dungeons and Raids
  • The new Flex loot model will work similar to how Master Loot does today, but the number of drops will scale based on the number of people eligible for loot in the group. The personal loot system won't be removed, you will just have to opt in to it.
  • The number of drops will scale well with the number of players, as each additional player gives you a higher chance to get another drop, up to where it is guaranteed. This ensures that are no odd breakpoints that will restrict raid sizes.
  • Mythic raid lockout is boss based, static id, nothing is changing from the current Heroic lockout system.
  • The game has a Raid Browser that no one uses, so in WoD it will be expanded to support killing world bosses, doing achievements, finishing Shadowmourne, or any other activity. This will support cross realm groups and encourage people to do PuGs rather than completely random matchmaking.
Quests and Leveling
  • You can technically buy as many level 90s as you want if you buy another copy of the game, get the level 90, and then transfer the character to your main account each time. The team has talked about putting a level 90 purchase option in the store, but it hasn't been decided yet.
  • There will be a legendary questline again in WoD. The questline will be a little bit more custom to your class to help with the lack of class quests. Class quests are very resource intensive, so at most we might see one or two in WoD. (Maybe Shaman)
  • Leveling in WoD will be a fun and fast paced romp through the zones. The team is backing off the idea that leveling should be a long grind.
New Character Models
  • The team hasn't decided how new character models will be released yet. It could have all of the completed race at launch, or they could be added every patch.
  • There will be no free re-customization for characters after new character models. (See this blue post for more information, a final determination hasn't yet been made.)
Level 100 Talents
  • A working list can be found here, courtesy of MMO-Champion
Misc
  • There aren't any plans for another WoW Annual Pass. It was a good idea at the time because getting Diablo 3 free made it a good deal, but it isn't a good for the the D3 expansion.
  • Recruit a Friend will be back next week.
  • The tertiary stats may be limited to a certain slot, like speed only on boots. It will be rare enough that by the time you can farm them progression races will be over. They shouldn't have a big impact on progression races.
  • Racial balance will be tuned again in WoD, trying to narrow the gap. Goblin and Worgen have better balanced racials than many other races right now.

Warcraft Movie

  • Duncan Jones has played the Warcraft games, World of Warcraft, and even Lost Vikings. He originally played Ultima Online.
  • Jones liked the script, but it was very Alliance centric. He thought it would be better to make it about both sides and the original Warcraft.
  • There is concept art for Draenor, Dalaran, Ironforge, Stormwind
  • The story is Orcs vs Humans. Lothar and Durotan.
  • The style of this war movie will be similar to Gladiator, gritty.
  • The first movie has to be done right, then they can think about doing more.
  • The majority of the movie takes place in the Eastern Kingdoms.
  • The lore of this time doesn't have many female characters, but the producers are pushing for including some female characters.
  • We will see a preview sometime next year, maybe at Blizzcon.
  • The Lord of the Rings movies inspired Jones to want to do this movie. He wants to match or beat them at making an awesome movie.
  • The movie will be PG13, but the PG13 rating is shifting. You can get away with a lot more now and still be PG13.

Hearthstone

Hearthpwn has a full weekend's worth of coverage, so be sure to head over there for the full scoop.

Open Beta to Begin in December

  • We still don't have an official release date, but open beta is being considered the soft-release due to the free-to-play nature of the game.
  • Blizzard did say they will be handing out more beta opt-in waves after BlizzCon, so there's still a chance you'll get access to the beta before December. Good luck!
Coming to Mobile Platforms
  • Definitely to iPhone, Android, and Windows 8 Touch sometime in the second half of 2014
  • Rob Pardo also announced during the opening ceremony that our favourite desktop game would be releasing on the iPhone after the iPad.
Mystery Minion: Elite Tauren Chieftain
  • If you purchased a physical or virtual ticket for BlizzCon 2013, you will be given a special in-game golden card! 
  • Also craftable for 1,600 Arcane Dust
  • Video of it in action, and be sure to check out Hearthpwn's channel for tons of Blizzcon coverage
 
Cards
  • Mind Control’s cost is changing to 10, up from 8. Mind Control can be frustrating to play against, and is dominating play at the lower ranks. This should allow opponents playing versus a Priest to have a couple more rounds to make use of their high cost minions before they have a sudden change of mind.
  • Starving Buzzard’s Health is changing to 1, down from 2.  Hunters were very strong against Druid, Mage, and Rogue in Copper through Platinum leagues, and this change should help those match-ups.
  • Unleash the Hounds can blow you out in a single turn, without any minions on the table.  We’re going to take a look at this card to see if there are some changes we’d like to make for the next patch.  We haven’t decided on a direction yet.
Ranked Play Changes
  • Each month, all players restart at Rank 25: “Angry Chicken”
  • Players will be matched against players of similar rank.
  • Win a game, acquire a star!  
  • Acquire enough stars and you’ll rank up!
  • Each rank has its own icon and medal.
  • Win streaks may give additional stars.
  • At higher ranks, you'll lose a star if you lose a game.
  • Beyond Rank 1 is a special rank: Legend.
  • Once you hit the Legend rank, it cannot be lost until the season ends.
  • Legend rank will have a big number in the middle of the icon – this tells you your exact rank in your region!
  • This won’t be ready at the launch of our new ranked system, but eventually, if you participate in ranked play during a season, there’s a reward awaiting you: Special card backs!
  • Card backs are acquired through participating in a ranked play season.
  • Each month holds a new card back for your collection!
  • Epic Golden Heroes: After you’ve played 500 Ranked games with a specific class, you unlock the animated golden hero for that class. Whenever you play that class, it’ll automatically be the golden version of the class rather than the regular one. Each Golden hero has its own special animations, just like the other Golden cards!
Additional Features Soon
  • Reconnecting to a game in progress
  • Even more spell effects and animations!
Further Down the Road
  • Expansions: Hearthstone will have expansion sets, each featuring packs full of exciting new cards!
  • Single-Player Adventures: To supplement expansions, we plan to release Adventures! These will come with a smaller set of cards that can be unlocked and will provide new strategies to explore.
Innkeeper's Invitational

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

Diablo Fans has everything you need to know about DIII's coming expansion, with main talking points outlined in the articles below:

​Diablo III BlizzCon Open Q&A

  • Fans had the chance to ask the developers a few questions regarding the game, the expansion and the franchise in general

Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader, complete with a gallery

  • A huge pile of information and footage was given on the Crusader
  • The vanilla classes' new abilitites have been revealed
  • Loot examples were given, among which a good amount of Legendary items with some of the new affixes

Prepare for Ultimate Evil on PlayStation 4

  • Reaper of Souls has been announced for PlayStation 4!
  • A Sizzle Reel video was posted, which shows the game running at 1080p, 60fps

Reaper of Souls First Look: Adventure Mode

  • This official blog post was released just after the first major panel at BlizzCon
  • The new difficulties were showcased
  • Bounties were talked in detail
  • Nephalem Rifts were talked in detail, including a video showing some Rifts gameplay
 

BlizzCon Lore and Story Q&A

  • For all the lore fans out there the Q&A might answer quite a lot of questions
  • Much talk was had about angels, demons, nephalem, major lore characters and much more

Reaper of Souls BlizzCon Preview + Gallery

  • The first Diablo III panel at BlizzCon presented some of new features coming with the Reaper of Souls expansion
  • Adventure Mode, Bounties and Nephalem Rifts were showcased with a good amount of detail and gameplay footage
  • New monsters were introduced, with some really awesome abilities - check out the Realm Walker and the Boggits
  • The level design portion of the panel talked a lot about Pandemonium and random generation of levels

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Official FAQ; RoS PlayStation 4 Information and Screenshots

  • Just before BlizzCon the official Reaper of Souls FAQ was posted
  • The official Reaper of Souls Feature trailer and Crusader Gameplay footage were released alongside it
  • Information was also posted about Reaper of Souls on PS4, plus some of its unique features and screenshots
Reaper of Souls Curse Interview
James managed to get a hold of Travis Day and Jason Ragier and asked a few interesting questions. Here are some of the topics discussed:
  • Incentivising team play in the expansion
  • The reason Legendaries will be soulbound
  • A detailed look at Adventure mode
  • The Nephalem Rift-specific buffs
  • What's happening with the Hellfire Ring in Reaper of Souls
  • How the social systems in the game will change

Heroes of the Storm

Don't miss out on the Heroes of the Storm Wiki on Gamepedia: A growing, comprehensive reference written and maintained by the players.

Highlights

  • Heroes from all Blizzard franchises will battle it out in varied battlegrounds
  • Games last around 20 minutes
  • Heroes will have different skins, from new colors to entirely different models
  • Instead of Heroes leveling the entire team gains levels. Same goes for gold collecting
  • There are mounts in the game, unique for each character
  • Heroic Abilities are gained at level 10 and you have a choice of 2 to make your character more interesting
 

Recaps and Links

 Blizzcon 2013 - Day 2 Panels

  • World of Warcraft Q&A
  • Warcraft Movie Presentation
  • World of Warcraft Raids, Gameplay, Questing, and More
    • The Blackrock Foundry will be the second raid available at release. It is the center of the Iron Horde and has 10 bosses in three wings, with a non linear layout
    • Flex becomes Normal, Normal becomes Heroic, and Heroic becomes 20 player fixed size Mythic. All levels of difficulty except for Mythic will be cross realm on release.
    • Each raid difficulty has its own lockout. They will be loot based lockouts, allowing you to kill the same boss multiple times per week and only get loot once a week.
    • There will be more optional content and less quest hubs that have to be unlocked by another chain first, along with more dynamic events and treasures found in the world.
    • There will be few or no daily quests at level 100! It will be a mix of the story in 5.1 and Timeless Isle in 5.4.
    • Hit, Expertise, Dodge, Parry, Reforging, all gone!
    • The primary stats on armor will now change based on your spec. Plate drops and it will have whatever stats your class needs, no more Intellect plate! No more PvP Priest Healing set and PvP Priest DPS set, just a Priest set.
    • Tertiary stats are bonus stats that can appear on gear that don't count towards the item level budget. Lifesteal, avoidance, sturdiness, movement speed, cleave, and more.
  • Warlords of Draenor Developer Q&A
  • The Evolving Sound of Warcraft
    • Jason Hayes is back at Blizzard.
    • New character models will come with new character attack sounds, new footstep sounds, and new working sounds.
    • Hunters will be getting updated weapon sounds in WoD.

 Blizzcon 2013 - Day 1 Panels

  • Opening Ceremony
    • Warlords of Draenor will bring us Garrisons, new character models, Level 100, World PvP zone, and a free level 90 character.
  • World of Warcraft: What's Next
    • Garrosh escapes and goes to Draenor to build the Iron Horde, which will try to invade Azeroth.
    • Draenor is somewhat similar to Outland, but all built from scratch. The Ogre empire there is in decline.
    • Garrisons are your personal base, buildings have multiple tiers, specializations, offline progression, and more!
    • Seven dungeons, Two Raids with 16 bosses, World Bosses, Normal, Heroic, Mythic raid difficulties.
    • World PvP zone uses cross realm zone tech to create a faction balanced zone that always has PvP going on.
    • Trial of the Gladiator (Arenas) will take place at more defined times during the week and give you the gear so that everyone is on equal footing as far as gear goes.
  • Warlords of Draenor FAQ
  • World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues
    • Garrosh is creating the Iron Horde, but he only sets things in motion, he isn't the main bad guy.
    • This isn't a time travel expansion, time travel is just a tool to explain the ongoing story. It isn't being used to massively change the current timeline. The past is fine!
  • Art of World of Warcraft

 Blizzcon 2013 - WoW Panels (Official Blue Posts)

 Warlords of Draenor Videos

 Heroes of the Storm

 Diablo 3

 Hearthstone

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