Monday, October 17, 2011

A Blizzcon Predictor

Just a few days til Blizzcon!  I just went to look up all I wrote about last year's Blizzcon and as I suspected, I never really said that much. I think I generally tried to stay positive and while there have been a few times this year that I have toyed with addressing last year's Blizzcon again, I'm pleased to see that I have refrained from doing so. Just a model of self-restraint I am.

So, I'm going to stay positive now. Watch this!

Here's what I think we can expect from Blizzcon this year:

The Foo Fighters are Going to Rock
I just had to get that one out of the way first. Because it's just absolutely true.

This Blizzcon should be a Hella Lot Better Than Last Year's Blizzcon
Basically, there was no news at last year's Blizzcon and there has got to be some news this year, so it's going to be better just by default in that respect. Almost every panel had panelists who looked strung out and nobody had done anything to prepare besides bring a chair so they could listen to an endless stream of lousy Q&A. It was right on the eve of the release of Cataclysm, so I can't entirely blame them or anything, but it still made for crappy panels.

To recap the whole "Mists of Panderia" expectations that bubbled up this summer and then went oddly quiet.  Back in June (I think), Blizzard filed trademark papers on the name "Mists of Panderia" in the same manner that they filed papers on "Cataclysm" two years earlier. Back in the day, that was the earliest widely-known hint as to what was coming in this latest expansion, so the fans pounced on "Mists of Panderia" name with relative certainty.

Since that time, various blue-post and media comments from Blizzard people have both suggested confirmation and suggested denial of the validity of the Panderia predictions, which, I'm sure, is exactly how Blizzard would like it.  They have kept their secret about the next expansion pretty well this time out. But you can expect them to show us their cards at Blizzcon in five days time.

I stand by earlier prediction this year that the primary antagonist of the new expansion will be Azshara. She's getting her foreshadowed in patch 4.3 with the End Times dungeons, The naga threat in the oceans has not been neutralized or even seriously hindered during this expansion. We might fight her in Panderia, but I think she's the one who is coming, regardless.

Will it be The Mists of Panderia? Hard to say, but I think not. If I were playing Blizzard's game, the same day that I filed a fake "Mists of Panderia" TM in Anaheim, I would have had somebody file the real expansion name papers in Omaha Nebraska, where nobody was looking.  And then Mists of Panderia would be my new iPhone app or something like that.

Ultimately, this is World of Warcraft, not World of Little Girlcraft, and I just really don't want to see anthropomorphic fuzzies walking around Azeroth.

Diablo III
I'd like to think there will be a release date announced. They were aiming for this year but officially said, "Nuh-uh, it's not going to happen this year," about a day and a half after they launched Diablo beta.  Blizzard hates setting release dates but I think they've drawn D3 out well beyond anything reasonable.

Starcraft II
"Heart of the Swarm" was originally predicted for 2012 but I know so little about how they develop RTS that I couldn't really say anything about it.  I'm sure there will be some interesting news and reports, but I wouldn't expect to see very much to work with.

Other Significant WoW Stuff?
So much of what we could hope for with WoW is wrapped up in the expansion expectations.  I expect to see some pictures of Deathwing cruising the stratosphere with a 25 man raid on his back

I don't expect to see any hero classes. Death Knights have turned out to be fairly successful, but they have been a pain in the butt to bring into the World and I don't think Blizzard has enough of a clear niche in which to put a new class. Or the overarching desire to do the work it would entail.

I think they could also take a break from any new races as well. If we do get to Panderia, I would expect something disgusting like red pandas joining the Horde and black and white pandas joining the Alliance. But I hope not. I really really hope not.  There has been a lot speculation about how there are other existing races that could join the factions. But, again, I mostly just don't see the point of it. I'm sure there is a large part of the fan base that thinks a new expansion has to have nice new shiny bits like a race or class, but I wouldn't be opposed to jetting all that and seeing just more effort on the actual content.

Big UI Changes? They have really worked over the UI a lot this expansion already, though I'm absolutely sure they'll have something else in mind too. I have no idea what though.

My hopes for WoW that I don't really expect to see:
Do something to make the cities matter again.
It's horribly, horribly ironic: In all the previous expansions when we were exploring the world with neutral cities as hubs, Blizzard made so much effort to give us reasons to return to the Old World. And yet, now that we go questing in the Old World again during Cataclysm, every city but Orgrimmar and Stormwind are emptier than a church on Friday night.  It's kinda sad and I'd like Blizzard to make the effort to make all the cities somewhat worth the effort to drop in on, now and again. Darnassus is really a nice place to visit

Operation: Alliance Assault
I have come at this before, but it's still a fondest wish: The Alliance has basically been written out of the story in terms of fighting the Horde. That needs to end. I'd love to see an attack to retake Lordaeron. Wouldn't that be fun? Retaking Lordaeron City, liberating Gilneas and pushing the Forsaken back to someplace like Stratholme?  There are few things that Blizzard can do right now that would be fresh and exciting. Re-writing the political map of Azeroth would be one of them though.

Commit to stop tinkering with the classes incessantly.
It'll never happen, but it's still a hope

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