True confession time: The original version of this post was just the lyrics to Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road” with a poor phonetic transcription of the song’s guitar riffs. But apparently this post should actually talk about BlizzCon 2017, just because that’s what we’re actually here for. And it’s true! We are totally here for our annual liveblog of the convention’s opening ceremonies and all the associated revelations.
See: Diablo III
Check out all of our coverage of this year’s BlizzCon, before, during, and after! We’ll be liveblogging five of the larger World of Warcraft-related panels: On Friday, we’ll be liveblogging the opening ceremony at 2 p.m. EDT, the “what’s next” WoW panel at 3:30 p.m. EDT, and the WoW gameplay panel at 7 p.m. EDT. On Saturday, we’ll be liveblogging the WoW art panel at 3:45 p.m. EDT and the WoW live Q&A at 7 p.m. EDT. Check back here as each post goes live!
“That’s where we are today,” GGG writes this week. “It’s easy to list items for trade, easy to search for items, and is often quite frustrating to complete a trade. This remaining frustration is the only thing standing in the way of trades being basically instant. While we understand that this sounds like a positive thing, we are very concerned regarding what will happen if that does eventuate. We have to prioritise the long-term health of Path of Exile.”
Consequently, the studio has now created its own version of the trade sites already run by players, though of course GGG’s is safer. It isn’t a full-fledged auction hall, however.
Tomorrowday, BlizzCon will be upon us, and this year we’re expecting a full reveal of the new expansion for World of Warcraft, still the most lucrative MMORPG in the world. It’s always a fun angle for our team to cover WoW, since to us, it’s just another MMO among hundreds, albeit an outsized one. Indeed, we have writers who strongly dislike everything about it and consider it directly or indirectly responsible many of the genre’s woes. Even so, there’s no denying that whatever WoW does next is a big deal for the MMO genre, even if you’re not a fan.
For this edition of Massively Overthinking – a bit of a special one for the site, as today marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Massively-that-was – I’ve asked the staff to outline their hopes and fears for BlizzCon, for WoW and the studio’s other games, and especially what they want to see in the expansion itself!
Just as a reminder, Diablo III fans, you’re not getting any announcements at BlizzCon this year. You are, however, getting the game’s next season starting on November 9th. And at the risk of sounding a bit flippant, well, you probably know what this means. New class sets? Yes. New seasonal conquests? Naturally. New opportunities on the season journey? Of course. Cosmetic rewards? Most decidedly.
This season’s cosmetics allow you to take on a decidedly angelic look with a new set of angelic wings, celestial portraits, and new pieces of the game’s seasonal cosmetic set. In short, it’s a new season, and if you enjoy collecting as much as possible from previous seasons you’re going to probably have a fun time with this one. If not… well, you’re likely already a bit bored. Regardless, you can start earning rewards (or consciously abstaining from same) on November 9th.
While Diablo III is getting a bit long in the tooth, there’s still plenty of space for the game to have its balance tweaked. The latest patch is all about adjusting the balance of class skills and class sets, nudging the performance on several sliders to make the weaker class options feel a bit more useful. Barbarians in particular have seen numbers boosted on several legendary items to make the effects on those items feel more pronounced in play.
Visual effects have also been toned down on abilities and passives that tended to hit large numbers of enemies, and some abilities have been redesigned to avoid strange gameplay quirks (like forcing Necromancers to refresh Skeletal Mages while already full). There are also the usual bug fixes and improvements, making for a patch that doesn’t add any new content but should make the process of hacking through familiar content slightly more pleasant.
How many of you buy the BlizzCon virtual ticket as much for the in-game swag as for the actual streams? Even if not, you’re still getting the loot, and Blizz has just dished out just what it is.
- In World of Warcraft, you’re getting mounts, one for each faction. Hey, these are actually sweet. Better than the traditional minipet!
- Diablo III fans will be whipping out the Murkomancer minipet.
- In Overwatch? It’s a special Winston skin.
- StarCraft II players are getting three cute SCV, probe, and drone skins.
- Heroes of the Storm fans are also getting a mount.
- And for Hearthstone, who even knows. You’re just being teased with a “mystery goodie.” “The Innkeeper’s not quite ready to show his hand quite yet,” quips Blizz.
So those are the in-game items you’ll score for your $40, which also gets you access to all the live video. The WoW, StarCraft II, and Overwatch items are already live, while the other games have yet to debut theirs. Will you be watching the festivities along with us?
The latest season of Diablo III is about to come to an end, so you should either push to earn the last few reward available to you or accept that you got what you got and there’s no sense losing your mind over it. Whichever you choose, you should be aware of what’s going to happen to your seasonal heroes after the season end, and if you’ve never taken part in one of the seasonal challenges before it’ll be new to you.
On the other hand, if you’re familiar with this dance it’s most relevant to know that the end is coming on October 20th, while Season 12 starts up on November 9th. So you still have a little more time to push further, if you’re so inclined. Check out the video below for an overview of how things will go if you’re new to the seasonal rollover and all it represents.
Again, we caution our readers, as we did yesterday, that there is not any official announcement of an announcement regarding the next World of Warcraft expansion, except that you can expect one next month. But boy, there is a lot of World of Warcraft stuff on this year’s BlizzCon schedule. It’s up now, and while you’ll have to page through to November 3rd to see the actual schedule, you can see several WoW-themed panels that are also helpfully vague enough to not officially say there’s an expansion while also pretty strongly hinting at it.
Of course, those of you more concerned with Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, or Hearthstone still have some panels to look forward to. Those of you more concerned with StarCraft II or Diablo III should just feel sad. Check out the full schedule if you want to get an idea of what’s coming; it’s a little too early to formally announce that we’ll be doing our usual liveblogs, but that does seem likely.
Remember last week’s announcement that there would be no news for Diablo III or any other part of the Diablo franchise at this year’s BlizzCon? It remains to be seen when that will change, but something is definitely shifting with Blizzard’s latest hiring position. The developer is searching for a new Production Director for the Diablo franchise as a whole, helping to bring the games into the ambiguous future.
The ideal candidate listed will have experience with online gams, as well, which raises all sorts of questions. Is it something for a new expansion? A new title? An overhaul of Diablo III into a new service? It’s all impossible to say, but it should at least help mollify fans who see the franchise as being largely abandoned. And hey, if you’ve got the production experience and you’re a fan, this could be good for you on multiple levels.
Blizzard really cares about the Diablo III fanbase and the overall Diablo franchise. So what if it gets less attention than other franchises? So what if it’s gotten an alarming lack of updates since its solitary expansion? So what if the game was once referred to in a press release as “that other game we run sometimes, Devin or Derrick, some D thing?” So what if the game is going to have no announcements whatsoever at this year’s BlizzCon?
Wait, that last one is actually kind of really bad. Like, this is a problem.
Yes, Blizzard has confirmed on the forums that there will be no announcements for the franchise this year. D3 itself will have a presence, but there are no announcements coming out, so you had best put that out of your mind right now. There’s also the promise that more is coming out in the future, but when all is said and done… well, it’s hard to get one’s hopes up.
What is going on with Battle.net these days — if it is still being called that this week, that is? (It is.) It turns out that Blizzard’s game platform is growing legs and strutting out into the world.
The studio released a new Battle.net mobile app that ties into players’ accounts. While it won’t let you actually play any of the titles (for obvious reasons), you can use the app to access your friends list and bug them while they’re in-game. Blizzard also promoted the fact that you can “see what your friends are playing,” which smacks of stalker-talk, am I right?
“The Blizzard Battle.net Mobile App lets you stay connected with your friends wherever you are. Chat with friends, see what game they’re playing, and add new ones — right from your mobile device,” the studio said.
Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.
That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.
Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.