BlizzCon 2015 LIVE: World of Warcraft: Legion – Game Systems

LegionLogo_lessglow

21:58: Wardrobes are going to automatically add every item you’ve got in your bank, void storage and inventory, as well as options from quests you’ve already completed (even if you haven’t picked that reward). You can save looks per spec, and hide shoulders. Three new transmog options are also included with weapon enchants, shirts and tabards! There was way too much cheering for my liking for the option to be able to hide shoulders, I have to admit…

21:55: Transmog 2.0 is coming! They want to help clean up bank and inventory, expand customisation options by having a Wardrobe collection. They’ll automatically be added when you collect it, so you can get rid of the item afterwards if you wish. They’re account wide too! The UI looks very similar to the Diablo system – not that I’m complaining as I’ve asked for precisely this. Unfortunately for me, there’s a collection system at the top and I simply gotta catch em all.

21:54: All Legion items will have a chance to drop with an increased item level. Duplicate personal loot can now be traded as well, which is a fantastic change!

21:52: Rare world drops are returning, but their power is going to be relevant throughout the expansion. They’ll also have unique effects similar to what they were like back in vanilla, such as blocked attacks generate rage, damaging abilities have a chance to instantly kill enemies at low health, etc. These rare world drops are now legendaries with the interesting equip effects.

21:51: Bacon is included next expansion! That’s a seller right there!

21:48: Inscription is changing so that major glyphs are being removed from the game, thanks to the artifact traits. Minor glyphs are now applied directly to spells and are no longer capped to 3. Vantus Runes are weeklong buffs that scribes can create that will allow you to do extra damage against a particular raid boss. You can only have one active at a time.

21:47: Goggles will now have new effects, such as shooting a bullet, or guaranteed gem slots, or class-specific buffs.

21:45: Recipes will now have ranks in terms of how efficient an item is (spoilers of new profession UI, favourites tab as well as a list of all learned and unlearned recipes!) – such as shorter creation times or reduced mat costs. Obliterum is an ash that will increase the power of items, an Obliterum forge in Dalaran can destroy crafted items you don’t want into Obliterum and use it to empower a crafted piece you’re wearing.

21:41: Professions are getting an overhaul of tons of new content. They want you to go out into the world and find recipes. As a tailor, you can go to Dalaran, and get a quest to find out what kind of cloth is in the Lost Isles. Thread ends up not working with this new cloth, so you have to go to Aszuna to talk with an elf and he’ll teach you new recipes. Then there’s quests and stories to help bring more immersion into the game through quests. Gathering nodes are now shared in the world too, bots rejoice!

21:40: Major talent revision: fewer theme rows of pure CC or pure mobility, etc. They’re aiming for more choices that matter, more spec-specific talents as well as… What, HUNDREDS of new talents? Holy crap, talent trees going back to old systems?

21:37: Demonology is getting more immersive by giving them more minions to summon, but are removing metamorphosis. Guardian Druids aren’t focusing on dodging as much any more, but are more focused on being massive hulks of flesh that enemies have to get through. Shadow Priests are about tapping into the powers of the Void, of the powers of the Old Gods. New resource for Shadow Priests is purely Insanity – no more Shadow Orbs or Mana. They’ll start to get more tentacles growing out of them. They have “ultimate but fleeting power”. Sounds kinda like Arcane Mages.

21:34: Arcane Mages get a new mastery: Savant. It gives them more mana and gives them more power over when they can do their bursts and high damage abilities. Other more distinct changes are things such as Survival turning into a melee Hunter. Discipline Priests are changing to have a core mechanic with Atonement, dealing damage to do healing. Subtlety Rogues are getting an improved version of Shadow Dance – it’s passive and any time you do your finishers you have a chance to re-enter stealth. Teleporting around the room is another trait that Sub will be getting.

21:31: Zierhut enters the stage with other class changes! Blizzard are wanting to enhance a strong class fantasy. Death Knight runes are being condensed into one type of rune – but still 6 of them. Fury Warriors have set charges and are tracking a bunch of buffs all the time. Anything that’s a stacking buff is also being removed, and Arcane Charges are now a resource instead of a buff.

21:29: Vengeance is still in heavy development, but the goals for them is a demon inquisitor, they use protective spells and they inflict pain. They have their own metamorphosis that is a strong defensive cooldown, but they can’t talk about much else for the spec. That’s a shame 😦

21:28: Spectral Sight is on a 10sec cooldown that allows you to see stealth, invis and allows you to see through walls with a Widowmaker-style silhouette on walls!

21:26: They’re also masters of fel magic, with Chaos Nova, Eye Beam and Consume Magic. With these abilities the inner demon comes out, but Metamorphosis is also a 10min cooldown that makes you have 100% leech and improves your blade attacks for 30secs!

21:23: Fury is the resource for Havoc DHs. It’s generated by abilities and used by powerful attacks (looks like rage initially). Demon’s Bite generates fury, and Chaos Strike uses it (but is refunded if it crits). Some abilities don’t interact with Fury at all, such as Throw Glaive. Mobility abilities for DHs include Double Jump, Glide (reduces falling speed when you jump again in the air), as well as Vengeful Retreat (Disengage) as well as a charge ability. They’re going to be very mobile DPSers.

21:22: Additional customisable options are available for DHs, such as horns and tattoos and blindfolds.

21:20: Next up is more information on Demon Hunters! They are a dark hero, they’ve sacrificed their souls to fight a threat most people don’t know even exist. They take the weapons of their enemy and use it against them: fel magic, warglaives, etc.

21:18: Class quests will be present in Class Halls too. Armor stands will be there to show off sets you’ve gotten from previous raids. Hunters get access to eagles that gives them more flight options. Druids get portals to natural locations within Lost Isles. Warriors can spar with others for bragging rights. Every class will get their own version of a Death Gate, such as Hunters using the eagles from before to take them to their Class Hall.

21:17: You will find an altar in your Class Hall – Shaman get a rock on the edge of a cliff near the Maelstrom – where you can improve your artifact. Class champions will be present in the Class Halls too, where NPCs we already know and love will be there instead of the nameless followers we had in WoD.

21:15: Druids kind of already had a Class Hall with Moonglade. It welcomes a large variety of Druids already, but it lacks a home for Feral/Guardian Druids, and could show more influences of the Emerald Dream within the zone. Therefore, Druids are getting the Dreamgrove in Val’sharah – a sanctum that only Druids can go to.

21:12: Class/Order Halls: the goals for them were to have a location that strongly represents the class – Fray Island was a good place for Warriors back in the day, but at the end of the day it’s a desert island that doesn’t seem epic enough for Warriors to feel at home; that they’re a group that can welcome in the greatest variety of members of that class; and for a cause that is dedicated to stopping the Legion, there will be some that we’ll recognise and others that will be made specifically for Legion.

21:10: Video of the different artifacts and their skins we’ll get. Some do look pretty awesome but there’s no real link as to who they belong to – don’t forget to check out http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/game/artifacts/ to see what your spec is getting!

21:08: Upgrading your artifact is another questline in outdoor content as well as dungeon content at 110. You’ll unlock the first new model at this stage too. Different colours and skins are available too, possibly linked to achievements or they have stories linked to the skins such as killing someone who previously owned the artifact in that way.

21:07: Relics will be acquired in different ways, that will increase the item level of your artifact, or give free bonuses for your artifacts. You can focus on different aspects of play, such as burst, sustained damage or survivability.

21:06: Toward the end of the trees, you get powerful abilities like an ability to cause your enemies to explode in fel flame when you kill them. Eventually you will be able to unlock every trait in the artifact – months into the expansion.

21:04: Artifact Power can come from quest bosses, rare spawns, rare drops, dungeon bosses, raid bosses, winning battleground and arena victories. Earn enough of this and you can unlock traits, active or passive – increasing the crit chance of Unstable Affliction or increase the damage of Seed of Corruption. Sounds very much like the oldschool talent trees!

21:01: Artifacts and Class Halls are the first things to be talked about tonight! Focusing on the Deadwind Harvester artifact for Affliction Warlocks, you go with the Black Harvest to a Legion world. Karazhan features in the questing experience, going into the catacombs. It’s a soul-based weapon, so enemies you kill increase its power, and sometimes souls escape the weapon that you can kill again for another soul.

21:00: There’s a lot to talk about in this next hour as we get more information on classes (including Demon Hunters), artifacts, itemization, professions and other evolving gameplay elements. From interviews over the past 24hrs as well as teasers from the Legion website itself, we know what the artifacts will look like: from Demonology’s floating skull to the Scythe of Elune for Balance Druids, but it’ll be interesting to see a little more about this new dynamic levelling experience and to see what Blizzard have planned for professions this time around.

Over on the panel stage, there’s a panel on the Art and Craft of Cosplay, which is a nice new thing to have as it’s non-Blizzard employees taking the stage to celebrate one of BlizzCon’s oldest fanmade traditions.

BlizzCon 2015 LIVE: Heroes of the Storm – State of the Game

Heroes of the Storm

20:26: Restrictions on Hero League to have minimum level for the hero you want to play? Browder agrees with this sentiment, but doesn’t want to increase barriers to entry to HL at the moment.

Melee assassins vs ranged assassins – doing anything to increase strength of melee? Nothing planned yet.

Tyrael’s Trait? No plans yet, they like how his death still makes everyone spread as that’s what Warriors are meant to do.

20:19: Question time! Totally didn’t miss the first questions due to technical issues, I know the second question had to do with player perception on changes and getting the community on board with trying things they hadn’t tried before.

Unranked Draft or 3s/4s in HL: Browder gets the same thing where he only gets a group or 3 or 4. Intention is to either reintroduce 3/4 to ranked if the new MMR system works, otherwise they may introduce unranked draft mode.

Supporting of eSports, what are they doing for low numbers on Twitch? Working on it. More info at the finals

Any thought on putting in the dragon aspects? Humanoid forms with heroics to change them into dragons? An idea that they will take back to the office (aka I guess not).

20:18: Talent gating is now cut! No more levelling to 4 to find out how a hero actually plays, so that should be awesome. Also, free hero rotation is increasing to 10 heroes! No idea on the restriction for levels, but having a larger pool should be good for that new player pool.

20:17: Also to come in 2016 is bans in ranked mode, for those of us that want to feel more like we’re in tournament and can strategise a lot more! Will be interesting to see how that will go ahead in Hero League to decide on who SHOULD get banned, but it’s certainly a desired feature. Grandmaster’s league is also coming later on.

20:15: Death recaps are coming! You can see the last 10 damage sources (including heals!) so you can finally find out why you died other than the killing blow. This is a fantastic change in my opinion!

20:14: Ranked play was a mix of StarCraft and Hearthstone ladder, but they felt it is too harsh and there’s not enough transparency as to whether you’ll increase or go down in rank. There’s nothing to be announced as they want to fix MMR first, and there’s a similar story for Season 1 release.

20:12: In 2016, they’re aiming to increase mirror matchups of weird comps, such as 3 specialists against 3 specialists or whatever. Should bring more interesting and fun games this way. MMR will change depending on how YOU played in that game, not whether you won or lost. It looks like you could stand to gain more MMR if you lose than someone on the other team who played badly.

20:10: They intend to roll this out in the next couple weeks – no promises though! Definitely before the end of the year. Looks pretty interesting, even if I don’t fully understand it myself and need a moment or two to think about it, but it looks like it’s better than the old system!

20:08: The new system relies less on this swapping, and builds games to be good. It creates a queue of people so that they are made sure to be matched well as others are finishing and leaving their games. Time waited doesn’t affect match quality however, and so far the simulations look pretty good internally, according to Blizzard.

20:04: Rebuilding MM from the ground up. Originally it was based on the StarCraft MM, but this isn’t working out well within HotS. In the next few weeks however they’re looking to revamp it. In the old system, it built games quickly but matched 10 people with 10 others, and then swapped people around depending on what they system thought would be the best matchup. At high levels however, this became more challenging as matching people up with each other constantly ended up with no results. At 6 (now 10) minutes of queue, the system just puts you straight into a game.

20:02: They don’t however like this 80/20 split of people having good games, while 20% of people aren’t. New users have an inflated MMR when they first come into the game, but weren’t matched by how many games they had played. Newbies however only had a 38% win rate, so they changed this so that new players would be more likely to be matched with new players, and that percentage raised to 48%.

20:00: Matchmaking is a word on so many player’s lips right now, everyone’s talking about it! 80% of their games are even in matchmaking apparently (so stop having those mindgames of you going up against rank 1-5’s when you haven’t completed your placement matches!). 65% of games are close on levels however, but the changes explained earlier should increase this percentage.

19:59: For Tychus, they want to increase his winrate and make him more of a unique assassin. They want to make him an anti-warrior, to go against the double or triple warrior comps, or to go against Cho’gall. Giant Killer could be moved earlier, but they’re not sure where to go just yet.

19:57: They also want to improve Nova’s talent diversity and change how she feels in casual vs ranked and tournament play. One of the talents they want to do is to increase snipe’s damage every time you hit it, but if you miss one then your stacks will go. This is a great thing for skilled players to really master, while not making her seriously OP in casual play.

19:55: Gazlowe isn’t seen in tournament play at all, so they’re looking to change him. They want to enhance his role of being a good pick for zone control for maps like Sky Temple. They’re looking at a talent that will make his turrets use laser at the same time as him. Other talents include exploding with scrap in late game.

19:54: These changes are currently on the test maps, but they will be going live with the Cho’gall patch!

19:53: This change had a bad side effect of making the early game not matter as much, so they’re also looking to increase the death timers for the early game. I believe there was a blog about this a few weeks ago that it evens out again at level 10-12 so that it’s purely for the early game itself.

19:51: Benefits of scaling changes were that you can now fight while behind a lot easier – it’s not about trying to pick off overextending and overzealous heroes that think they’re invincible with a 2 level lead. It’s also sharpened roles a lot more, and winning games felt more meaningful instead of demolishing the enemies if you got an early game lead.

19:48: 65% of games are actually pretty close, but Blizzard wants more, so they’re looking to change not Cho’gall to balance him, but perhaps they need to balance the game overall: They’re looking to decrease the power of level bonuses to health so that power creep isn’t as big as it is on live.

19:45: Games with Cho’gall tend to snowball, either for or against him. Once he gets a couple levels lead on the other team, he has so much health that it becomes so difficult to kill him. Cho’gall would then begin to win 2v1 situations easily. On the flipside, when they’re a couple levels behind, it became easy to kill him and you’d effectively lose two heroes from play.

19:44: Cho’gall is a tough hero to balance, as he’s one hero controlled by two players. Cho controls movement and has his own set of abilities that a Warrior would have, whereas Gall is the powerhouse for spells that you’d see on a mage assassin. Cho’gall has 50% more health than any other hero to balance two heroes in one.

19:42: Divine Shield’s cooldown increased from 70 to 90 seconds, and his ghost trait is reduced from 10 to 8 seconds. This is just to change him in competitive play and hopefully doesn’t nerf him too hard in standard play.

19:41: Uther is bang on 50% and has an extremely stable winrate with other filters attached. Tournament games however, he was 100% pick/banned in NA and Korea, and in EU he slipped through one draft untouched at 97% pick/ban.

19:39: Kerrigan was at 47.3% winrate without a particularly diverse talent build (that also didn’t have high winrates either), so they changed 8 talents, cut 4 of them and created 3 new ones. Since the change, she’s got much more diversity in pick rates, so this was a successful change overall.

19:38: Their goal is to listen and react to feedback on twitter, the official forums and reddit. Those are the best avenues to provide feedback to them.

19:36: Talents is also another balance option on their radar: Gazlowe might be have 43% pick rate on Extra TNT, but it’s not the highest winrate talent for him, so they’re happy with talent picks being biased in that case. I guess it becomes a problem if a talent has high pick and winrate for a hero.

19:35: Their goal for winrates is between 45-55%, outliers are TLV, Butcher, Li Li, Leoric all over 55%, whereas heroes like Abathur and Stitches are down at 44%. This is actually not too bad in my opinion, though there are other factors that need to be considered, such as how new you are to the hero/game, QM vs Ranked, etc.

19:34: I like Cooper, he allows me to write while he slowly speaks! 4 new Battlegrounds have been added in the past year too.

19:32: It’s hard to believe that the game has only been live since June 2nd, it was even still in alpha at the start of the year! There’s been 11 new heroes in the past year too, with 3 more coming soon!

19:31: Li Li and Murky are classed as the most overpowered heroes within the Nexus, according to Blizzard statistics. Li Li matches with Hotslogs, but Murky is a surprising sight – it’s usually TLV with the little panda as highest winrates (if not seen in tournament play at all).

19:30: The second of three panels, we’re taking a look in this next hour of how the game’s evolved and where it’s going next, including upcoming changes for Heroes, Battleground, and talents. Although not mentioned in the brief, we’ll hopefully get a look at what’s happening with MMR and how Blizzard seeks to fix it. Maybe announcement of season 1 and Grandmaster’s League too? It’s a lot to fit into an hour, let’s see where it takes us.

On the main stage we’ll miss out on the World of Overwatch, which is the lore panel of Blizzard’s new IP. I can imagine it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and I know I’m more invested into Heroes now anyway, but I’ll be sure to check it out at a later time.

BlizzCon 2015 LIVE: Overwatch: What’s New

Overwatch

01:40: Something about different versions of heroes, including genderbending? They don’t want to genderbend their heroes at the moment.

When will the 3 new heroes be available on beta? Next week! Maybe

Splitscreen co-op on consoles? No plans to support, killer idea though!

Can you change the UI at all? FoV slider was implemented, you an hit alt+Z to get rid of the UI altogether. There’s desire for changing the reticle, but it’s low priority.

Balancing characters – are you going to be making a league for console and/or PC versions? Blizzard look at all three platforms and treat them as equals, so if there will be a league it will be for all three systems, but no official plans yet.

01:34: Design Process for new heroes? Both design and art pitch ideas to each other to see if they worked or not

Any heroes that you wanted but didn’t work out well Blizzard always works on an iterative process, in the past year Bastion has had 5 different ultimate abilities!

Mod-friendliness? Studio philosophy has usually been mod friendly: addons in WoW, DotA spawning from Warcraft III being primary examples. No plans for Overwatch for now, but definitely something they’d like to do if they can make their engine available for public use.

Diversification for more than 21 heroes, how to avoid homogenisation? This feels like a repeat answer here – they’re happy with the 21 heroes! But for the 9 they’ve added over the past year they have a palette of ideas that they hope can work and constantly iterate on to see if it does work, but the plan is only 21 heroes.

01:28: Question time!

Mac version of the game? Blizzard have supported Macs in the past, but for Overwatch it’s too challenging to get it working on that platform

Different modes within the game? Non-switching of characters, etc? Testing different modes all the time, such as capture the flag, but it’s challenging with the hero pool they have. Tracer using blink with the flag, for example.

Controller for PC? It already works, but none specific for Overwatch were planned.

Mei’s ability placement is confusing Bring feedback on how it feels once you play her – but you can rebind your keys to make it easier for you, but per hero binds are coming!

Pricing plan post 21 heroes? At the moment, only 21 heroes is the plan regardless – not sure if they want to add more heroes.

01:26: D.Va and Genji are designed as counters to Widowmaker, but Blizzard would always love to hear feedback on not just the new heroes, but new battlegrounds and existing heroes and systems in the game!

01:19: The original design of Genji was in fact for him to be both Genji and Hanzo in one, a cyborg that has a sword and a bow, but eventually they split that along with the two brothers story. His abilities include his heroic Dragonblade, which is a massive damage boost to himself, he can throw shuriken knives from his arms, either three at a time or once. Swift Strike is his second ability that allows him to charge forward and quickly strike with his secondary weapon – including targets in the air! Finally, Deflect allows him to redirect ranged attacks at a target, as he shoots a rocket back at Pharah in the video preview. He’s a mobile character with double jumps and wall climbing abilities too.

01:16: Genji, the robot ninja is the final hero to be previewed. He is Hanzo’s younger brother, and was a troublemaker. When Hanzo rises to be the leader of the Shimada clan, the clan elders tell Hanzo that he has to do something about his brother, and when he confronts his brother, he deals a fatal strike to Genji. Left for dead, he then gets picked up by Overwatch and gets fixed up into the cyborg we see him as today.

01:14: It seems that the boosters that are similar to Reinhardt’s charge includes flight and movement around too!

01:10: An interesting concept for her is that the mech can die, but she will jump out and have to wait for the mech to rebuild while she shoots with a light gun (the rebuilding of the mech is her second ultimate while she’s out of the mech). While inside the mech however, she has fusion guns, boosters similar to Reinhardt’s charge, a Defense Matrix that works like a shield against projectiles – good counter to Pharah’s or Reaper’s ult! Self Destruct is her ultimate, where she jumps out of the mech and sets it to explode for massive damage.

01:05: D.Va is an ex pro-gamer that pilots a pink robot to defend her home. Because cutesy people have to also be badasses that we all want to be, right? A mech hero is something that the development team really wanted to do, and began by having the mech work with her, but then decided that she would be piloting it herself. Eventually she got bigger and better guns, before someone decided that she ought to fly. After a couple more iterations we got what we see as her now.

01:02: While she is squishy, she does have the ability to ice block herself, making her a collidable object – so she could be used to jump in the way of fire and ice block the damage off! She can also cast a Blizzard as her ultimate to freeze and deal a fair chunk of damage to anyone caught within it.

00:56: Mei is a new hero that is a scientist for Overwatch that was doing research in Antarctica. The eco-watch point got separated from Overwatch and she used the resources she had to huddle up and wait for help to come. The concept behind her is an ice warrior that focuses on freezing her enemies and create walls and control the enemy team. She’s an interesting concept of having a non-warrior that’s hasn’t been battle-hardened – she’s a scientist, and her mechanics reflect that. She doesn’t do much damage and isn’t tanky at all, but her strength will be in her control, and ability to create new pathways with her ice wall.

00:52: Hollywood is the newest map to be introduced, where you go to Goldshire Studios at a chokepoint and go to a backlot with plenty of sets that looks like somewhere McCree will be at home. There is also a sound studio with an aliens and spaceship theme (is this even futuristic at this stage or just fantasy?). It’s a good light-hearted map in comparison to some like the Gibraltar map, for sure.

00:49: With release to consoles, this game will reach a much larger crowd. It was the goal from initial concept, as opposed to Diablo which was thought about at a later date. There was a slip-up that hinted at the console release with the option of it in the beta with aim assist. Console players and PC players will be separate, even PS4 will only play against PS4 players.

00:47: Beta Overview so far, there have been 82,000 matches in total as of last Tuesday. Additional stats include average match length being 7m34s. Really nice, quick games in there! The most played hero is our rocket launcher wielding Egyptian Pharah, while Symmetra has the highest winrate, thanks to her shields more than her teleporter.

00:45: The game that’s on many people’s lips right now is Overwatch, as the past week on Twitch seems to have proven with its opening of the beta. No invite for me yet, but I’m still interested in finding out What’s New on the main stage tonight. We’ll be discussing the newest heroes, maps and gameplay features over this next hour to round out the live updates for today. On the panel stage is the panel I’m least enthusiastic about as it’s competitive multiplayer for StarCraft II, but I imagine I’ll be discussing it later on! This will be the last panel I’m covering tonight, let’s hope it’s a good one!