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BlizzCon Keynote — New WoW Expansion, Diablo 3 Details 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the here-it-is dept.
BlizzCon kicked off this morning with a keynote address that brought some major announcements for some of their games. First, World of Warcraft's third expansion, Cataclysm, was officially revealed. It differs from the previous expansions in that they will not be creating an entirely new continent for players to explore. Instead, the two huge continents from the original game will be going through a literal cataclysm, causing some zones to be destroyed, new ones to become available, and existing ones to be entirely revamped. Big news came for Diablo III as well, with the announcement of the Monk class and a trailer showing how it plays. More details for both games as well as StarCraft II will undoubtedly become available over the next few days, but read on for more about what we already know. If you have any questions, don't forget to post them here.
Cataclysm will also be different due to the fact that the new level cap is 85 — a five-level increase, as opposed to the ten-level increases from previous expansions. That's not to say there is less content, but the idea is that each individual level will be more meaningful. There will be two new playable races for this expansion: Goblins for the Horde and Worgen for the Alliance. The disaster apparently strikes the Goblins hard, forcing from their lands and into conflict with an "unknown enemy," which the Horde helps them with. Meanwhile, the Greymane Wall has broken open, revealing the kingdom of Gilneas, the residents of which were turned into the werewolf-like Worgen, but were able to keep their human minds.

The revamped Azeroth will include updated dungeons — heroic versions of Shadowfang Keep and the Deadmines — as well as entirely new dungeons for leveling and endgame. It's not yet clear whether the old version of the damaged zones will still be around in some form, but look for an explanation in the next few days. Players will be able to use their flying mounts in the new Azeroth. The dragon Deathwing is making a return, and will serve as a major villain. In addition to the damaged zones, some will change in other ways — Desolace, which is currently a barren wasteland, will find new life from the water of the tidal waves, turning the land green. The more damaged zones will feature lots of lava and broken terrain. There will be new Battlegrounds, new Race/Class combinations (we saw a Troll Druid, Tauren Paladin, and Gnome Priest), a new profession called Archaeology, a guild leveling system, tons of new monsters and quests, as well as a new "character progression" system called "Path of the Titans."

From the Diablo III Monk trailer, you can see that the class seems to have an area-of-effect swing of his weapon, a way to reflect spells, and an attack that sprints between a bunch of enemies, hitting each of them. The monk also seems to be able to make enemies explode quite easily. And messily.
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BlizzCon Keynote — New WoW Expansion, Diablo 3 Details

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  • New 3D engine? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Krneki (1192201) on Friday August 21, 2009 @02:52PM (#29150143)
    I love WoW and always will (even if I don't play it now for 6 months), but the 3D engine is getting old. It doesn't matter if you have a new PC, it will still lag when too much players are in the same zone. I'd go back, but I need some new mind blowing sound and 3D experience, after all this is why we like PC games, always delivering top technology.

    Good luck WoW.
  • Changes to old zones (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vohar (1344259) on Friday August 21, 2009 @02:56PM (#29150171)

    I read elsewhere that the changes to old zones are likely to be done with their 'phasing' method used in some zones of the current expansion. It kind of splits the zone into parallel versions, and what a player sees (and what other players they see)will be different depending on what quests they've done. What they've done with it so far did a great job of giving the illusion that players were making a difference in their world.

    It makes sense that they would do this with the old-world areas rather than just replace them; low-level characters still need places to hunt and quest.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2009 @03:00PM (#29150213)
    It means Blizzard doesn't care about WoW anymore and it's chugging along on fumes.

    WoW is pretty much dead as a game now, and really has been since WotlK imo, no idea why I played through Ulduar...

    Can't wait for SC2/D3 though!
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Friday August 21, 2009 @03:10PM (#29150313) Homepage Journal

    What is means is that Blizzard recognizes that people don't like to wait to do end game content. While I expect the time requirement between levels to be higher I fully expect that they merely compressed eight to ten levels into five. It also is probably a method to bring back WOW from the rampant gear inflation it is suffering. Both expansions seriously ramped gear up to major importance over the previous. It is nearly monty hall in effect.

    The level of 85 also makes it possible to increment levels between expansions. They can slowly add a level or two requiring play to reach newer raids and gear. Right now the problem is that all top end gear is level 80. This means each new raid just expands on level 80 gear making the game solely revolving around gear. The problem is that "why hate gear X at level 80 when gear Y is there as well?" It invalidates similarly level gear and the content that provides it. Will they do this? Who knows, but they have headroom to act should they choose.

    Plus redoing the old world allows the overcome one major problem people had with it, no flying.

  • Re:Yes, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NecroPuppy (222648) on Friday August 21, 2009 @03:29PM (#29150557) Homepage

    No, I don't think that I have.

    I've played an engineer in WoW since the first day I created my toon.

    Engineering items fall into a few categories. (Note: I haven't played in a few months, so it is entirely possible that some of these -might- have been addressed... but I rather doubt it.)

    Vanity: The Hog, and similar items. To be honest, I wouldn't trade my Hog for any other land mount out there, but it doesn't offer anything that other land mounts don't. Admittedly, I liked it better when I could fall from any distance on without anything happening... But hey.

    Single user items: Aka, the teleporters. I used them all the time when I was in the appropriate areas / level range, but they don't make the profession, in and of itself, worthwhile.

    Explosives: Largely bloody worthless.

    Scopes: Useful, but so flooded on the market that you don't really have to worry about making one yourself; just hit up the AH.

    Item "enchants": Never used. Seriously, there's no point to them, everyone would rather have a real enchant to their items rather than something with a short use, long cooldown, and questionable utility (especially in raid). Boots? Enchant. Cloak? Enchant. Belt? Put the belt buckle on there and socket a gem. Etc.

    Helms: Most engineers would greatly prefer if they could make them for non-engineers. It would actually be a moneymaker.

    The problems with engineering could be solved in a few ways:

    1) Recycling: Let engineers turn gray/white items into metal scrap which functions similar to ore, but you can't get gems from it.
    2) Let them make items for non-engineers: Engineering is the only profession where the majority of the actual items (not parts) can't be used by non-engineers.
    3) Give engineers a bonus on mechanical mounts. Bonus speed / damage. It wouldn't even have to be much of a bonus. Say, skill/75 as a percentage.
    4) Give engineers something that actually makes them useful on a raid... other than repair bots. Yes, I recognize that there are certain things that are useful with single bosses (the Shadow Reflector for Twin Emps was one), but I'm looking for something with the more constant utility that enchantment or alchemy (flasks) provides.
    5) Lower the failure rate. Engineering doesn't work like that; it's actually genuinely reliable.

  • Re:Troll Druids?! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EXTomar (78739) on Friday August 21, 2009 @03:42PM (#29150697)

    In this particular case, Druids probably do need to be opened up to more races but there are some strange combinations that are even worse "piss-poor retcon". This makes me wonder if this is "necessary" why bother having factions at all? Is it crazier to have Tauren Paladin and Human Hunters or just have Human Paladins grouping with Tauren Hunters?

  • by ddt (14627) <ddt@davetaylor.name> on Friday August 21, 2009 @03:47PM (#29150743) Homepage

    Compare this Diablo 3 Monk Trailer that just came out in 2009:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFGXKV_45HQ [youtube.com]

    With this Warcraft 3 trailer that was released back in 1999:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOdTeT1xUQQ [youtube.com]

    Pretty wild. A 10 year difference, and the WC3 trailer still looks better to me.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@NospAm.anasazisystems.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @03:53PM (#29150793)

    Some of the nice effects:

    - Good gear: Your T8-grade gear, which many seem to have access to now, will make great leveling gear. I'd be surprised if you couldn't do l85 dungeons in a lot of them. (except as a tank, I imagine)

    - Alternate rewards: While leveling, they can give rewards in terms of things other than gear and XP. They could give Marks of Whatever to let you BUY good gear (rather than receiving 15 different pieces of crap that you sell to a vendor), or give you plain money, or consumables, etc. (That reminds me ... make flasks for leveling. ;)) They could give you things/points/etc that would help you on this mysterious alternate leveling system, which I suspect will reflect role (healer, tank, melee dps, ranged dps) rather than class.

    Talent trees, and the role of individual talents, seem to be changing, so I expect it won't be as simple as taking your current talents and adding 5 points to them. (In some cases, that makes for effects like "5% more damage", but other times it's something powerful like being able to get two powerful cooldowns or talented abilities which were previously separated by a lack of points.

  • what it all means.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by otopico (32364) on Friday August 21, 2009 @04:00PM (#29150849)

    Another $45 to play new content for a game you already bought and pay $15 a month to play.

    Hey Blizz, how about not charging for this one, say, maybe as a thank you to the suckers like me that have played for years and already bought the two previous expansions?

  • Re:What to do... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by imunfair (877689) on Friday August 21, 2009 @04:17PM (#29150965) Homepage

    I loved BC, but quit recently because 2/3rds of WotLK endgame content has been partially or totally rehashed art and combat mechanics from BC or before. Why should I pay a company money months on end if they can't actually manage to produce new endgame multiplayer content.

    Examples:
    Naxxramas (exact rehash)
    Colosseum daily quest patch before instance (yay grind content!)
    Colosseum (uninspired instance using old models)

    That leaves us with 5 man content, a couple 1 boss instances and 1 full raid (Ulduar) in 10 months (since November 13, 2008). They just did a gear reset with the last patch, so now everyone gets to grind old content for a few weeks to pick up enough badges to buy a full new set of gear. Basically they've also just told you that once you manage to get the bosses down in Icecrown you can quit until the next expansion. No reason to grind it over and over when your gear will just be replaced at the next level cap.

    I haven't played Guild Wars, but I'll admit that Guild Wars 2 looks tempting. After dealing with Blizzard I'd appreciate a game that could offer a lot of new content in a timely fashion.

  • by Annwvyn (1611587) on Friday August 21, 2009 @04:34PM (#29151119)
    No kidding... even the original D2 cut scenes are comparable to (if not better than) the new D3 Monk Trailer. I'm not impressed... With some of the cinematics that they are putting out for WoW (like the WotLK trailer a year ago, which was purty) I had expected more. And looking at the web site... it just looks like they aren't putting a lot of effort into the game (or publicity)--at least not nearly as much as SC2 and WoW. Losing their touch... "...too little butter spread over too much bread." -B.B.
  • Re:What to do... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Friday August 21, 2009 @04:53PM (#29151257)

    It was TOO easy to progress to endgame, and everyone and their mother could epic themselves with little to no effort.

    I'm sorry, but this reminds me of all the bitching and moaning that went on when they started letting people buy epic PvP gear with battleground honor....all the 1337 arena dudes were angry that their mighty e-peen wasn't guaranteed to be at least twice the size of everybody else's any more. For a couple of months it seemed like every time I set foot in a battleground, there was some wanker going on and on about "welfare epics" and how lame those of us were that were wearing them.

    It also reminds me of the whinging about "ZOMG THEY BROKE TWINKING" recently, when all they've done is make twinks play other twinks. I guess it's no longer fun when you might have to win based on your skill and ability to work as a team instead of having the auto-win guarantee of twice the health, armor, and dps of your opponents.

    For the raiding folks, I don't understand why this matters to you at all...so what if that other guild made up of stay-at-home-moms can gear up with little to no effort? Does that somehow diminish the fun you have playing the game?

  • by ddt (14627) <ddt@davetaylor.name> on Friday August 21, 2009 @05:25PM (#29151553) Homepage

    Not just talking about the graphics. The writing, voice-over, camera direction, and art direction on the 1999 cinematic is better, too.

  • Re:What to do... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by juuri (7678) on Friday August 21, 2009 @05:39PM (#29151657) Homepage

    But they did make it too easy. WoW was never a really hard game for 95% of the content after the first level of "nerfs". Some of the original content was quite hard in 5 man groups (This is before MC). I tried WoW recently with the free 10 days to see how it was... every class has strong components of the others, so generic. It's so mind numbing easy that I was surprised after nearly a year off that the learning curve to get back in was basically 15 minutes on any of my 70s. Don't get me wrong I am all for casual content but not at the expense of all of the content.

    The OP was right about one thing, there exists *nothing* like the original 45 minute baron run, especially for those who weren't in high tier raid gear. Towards the end of my BC time, even without raiding anything other than the one 10 man, my characters, even my tank were running *very* fast paced heroics of all the 5 man content. We're talking running around from group to group, 3 manning lots of the content. Was it hard? No, gear inflation made it just too easy. There was no real sense of accomplishment anymore.

  • by dAzED1 (33635) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:07PM (#29151917) Homepage Journal

    In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, players will be able to play as two new races -- goblins and worgen -- as they explore newly revealed parts of Azeroth and re-experience familiar zones across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, areas rewrought by the cataclysm and filled with new opportunities for adventure.

    Well, so - what do we know about those two races? Goblins are already all over, and thus have places they can be already. Booty Bay, K3, blah etc. What's important about these places is that they are neither alliance nor horde; in fact, alliance and horde players can use auction houses in goblin areas to buy from each other.

    Worgen are killed equally by both horde and alliance. There are a few town-esque areas already established for them.

    So...is blizzard going to keep the theme those two already have, and have 2 new player races that aren't associated with a faction? Seems like it be hard to do the group thing at that point...

  • Re:Two-Thirds My Ass (Score:3, Interesting)

    by imunfair (877689) on Friday August 21, 2009 @06:27PM (#29152061) Homepage
    I'd break down the WoW players into a few catagories based on what they enjoy:

    1. Exploration
    2. Challenge (raiders)
    3. Grinding (collectors/professions/achievements)
    4. Rewards (loot/gold)


    I find the challenge aspect of games fun, as well as the exploration. Aside from Ulduar the exploration aspect after you hit 80 is done, so you're left with 2,3,4.

    Ulduar itself is a hollow shell of what it used to be. My guild wasn't hardcore raiding, but we managed to get the first bosses down before any nerfs happened. Now XT is a joke compared to what he used to be - hard mode is slightly easier than normal mode used to be. Colosseum is a joke difficulty wise, so #2 is out the window.

    #3 will always be around, and loot used to be based off raiding, but now they've made it based off grinding instead. So if your reasoning follows mine the question comes down to - do you enjoy grinding for items that will be obsolete in the next patch or expansion at the latest? Is doing that really more fun than all the other possible games out there?


    Now as far as the 2/3rds number:

    EoE(Maly)/OS/VoA are good for maybe 30 minutes of playtime each max per week if you actually know what you're doing. (Not sure why you mentioned Nexus since it's a 5 man) Even counting those though you're looking at 19 Naxx bosses + 5 Col bosses Vs. 14 Ulduar + 4 Other. So 57% rehashed endgame content.

    I'm not even sure if it's fair to give them credit for Naxx in the 8 months count since it was released with wrath, as was a lot of the other content. If I don't count it that means they've only released a major raid every 4 months - which is really slow, especially for one of the raids being a 5 boss room basically. I don't think an average of a new boss per week is too much to ask - of course that's assuming they would actually make the boss hard enough so you could spend a night or two of attempts on him.



    TLDR:
    WoW has turned into a "hurry up and wait" of getting your gear in a couple weeks and then paying blizzard to not play for a couple months until they give you a new tier.
  • by Supurcell (834022) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @05:20AM (#29154521)
    I don't see why you would want that. Other than making a theoretical, super character with all the talents maxed, there wouldn't be any point. It won't do you any good for preparing for the expansion either, because Blizzard will surely add new, and revamp old talents before it releases.

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