Here’s a fun thought exercise for you all: explain the differences between Fire Mages and Destruction Warlocks in World of Warcraft. But before you do so, let’s make things a little more interesting by saying that you cannot use abilities, rotations, or resources to differentiate between the two of them. In other words, you can’t differentiate them based upon what they do; you can only differentiate them based upon what they are.
In this case, it’s not very difficult. Fire Mages are masters of fire magic through careful study and practice. They’ve mastered the art of flame almost as a thought exercise, specializing in the most destructive form of arcane application but still primarily devoted to learning. Destruction Warlocks, meanwhile, have forged pacts with demons to borrow the intrinsic powers of the nether realms. It’s possible – even probable – that those pacts will eventually have an additional cost, but for the time being the Warlock may use demonic powers for personal gain.
This is the importance of class fantasies and why they’re important to the game moving forward. And it also demonstrates the problem with them, and it hints at why these fantasies have suddenly become more important with Legion.
Good news, World of Warcraft tanks – you’ll be taking more damage in Legion! And that really could be the good news, depending upon how you look at a lengthy diatribe about the philosophy of tanking and healing in the next expansion. The designers note that there was a consistent issue in most content of tanks being almost completely self-sufficient in dungeons, with healers only needing to occasionally heal the tank and any damage needing to reach absurd levels to actually threaten the tank. This also meant that anything breaking away from the tank would usually kill a healer or DPS in one or two shots due to damage scaling.
The result is something of a paradigm overhaul, with tanks taking more damage and active mitigation being toned down while enemy damage is also toned down on a whole. So tanks will be taking more damage, but the end result will likely be an environment where healers have reason to heal more, tanks aren’t purely ironclad damage sponges, and everything undergoes a subtle paradigm shift until the next expansion shifts it again.
Good news to those of you testing World of Warcraft‘s next expansion – the alpha for Legion will be coming back online today! No word on exactly when, but it’s a known fact:
You may remember that it was not so long ago that fans and testers were told that the return would mean a new build with new issues, benefits, downsides, and so forth. No word yet on what’s in the new build, but then, we only just found out that it’s coming back up today. Keep your eyes peeled for more information once those test servers are back online and running.
The good news for eager VR fans is that EVE: Valkyrie‘s first alpha test will start up on January 18th for use with the Oculus Rift DK2 headset. This comes hot on the heels of the Oculus Rift price announcement, which is means that the headset (and EVE: Valkyrie) will run you a hefty $599 to pre-order. Which is great news for people who have that much money to drop on a specialized monitor that works with a small selection of games, but it’s not exactly the mainstream revolution.
Other beta news? Aw, sure, why not? It’s been a busy week.
Plus, you know, we’ve got that whole list down below. If there’s something we’ve missed despite our best efforts, let us know down in the comments!
There’s still no word on exactly when the test servers for World of Warcraft: Legion will come back online following the winter break, but we can at least be certain that when they do come back it’ll be with bells on. A tweet from a Blizzard employee confirmed it yesterday:
What exactly the new content will entail is unclear, but there are lots of possibilities; the original test servers were capped at level 104, featured only one spec for the majority of classes, and didn’t feature Shaman at all. With no ETA, don’t bet on finding out this week; next week doesn’t seem tremendously likely either, but who can say?
Last night, Blizzard posted a dev blog to explain just how World of Warcraft Legion plans to drive a wrecking ball into the game’s existing PvP paradigm.
For starters, honor and conquest currencies are being replaced with honor points akin to experience points and awards on the new honor track, all the way up to 50, at which point you can “prestige” — that is, start over at level 1 and increase your prestige level and rack up some cosmetics. Awards include honor talents that work only in PvP.
Gear, on the other hand, will no longer matter, aside from a “small modifier based on your average item level” because you know they just couldn’t let that go.
“As soon as you zone into a PvP instance, the stats on your gear will be nullified, and you’ll be given a pre-determined set of stats that’s uniquely configured for your specialization. Furthermore, any set bonuses, enchants, Legendary bonuses, or trinket effects will be deactivated.”
This also means PvP gear is going away as a thing to grind for. So basically it’s close to what Guild Wars 2 does, and it’s what Blizzard has been hinting at off and on since it first introduced arenas back in Burning Crusade.
One of my favorite bits from The Office is when Michael is having his budget explained to him. You don’t need to know the context; the funniest bit is right on YouTube, as it’s explained to him that there are elements of his budget that are devoted not to bills or to luxuries but to things that no one would ever need under any circumstances. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous.
That’s how I feel about the World of Warcraft process on Legion testing so far. It’s not that the decisions being made are bad, although they are, it’s that they are absurd. They do not make any sense. It’s like trying to read about the Time Cube, where every time it starts to sort of make sense you realize that no, that actually makes less sense.
I can’t even really say they’re altogether bad decisions, just… weird ones. Ones that don’t make a heck of a lot of sense. Let’s just sort of… walk though them, analyze them, and try to make sense out of it. Even though I know it’s ultimately a fruitless exercise.
One of the major new features of next year’s World of Warcraft: Legion is the class hall system. As the name suggests, class halls offer thematic spaces tailored to specific professions. Players of either faction (but of an identical class) can congregate in these halls to pick up special missions and recruit followers.
But you know all of that already, right? What are words when you have the option of seeing them in action — which is why we’re going to scoot out of the way and let you check out these 10 class hall preview videos from Legion’s alpha by YouTuber Song Zee. Enjoy!
What is the number one threat to Azeroth? Bears. That’s why Druids can turn into bears, after all. The new World of Warcraft expansion brings in further customization for Druid forms, and you can see these new customizations in a short gallery highlighting the many different flavors of bear available.
While the gallery doesn’t include the other most frequently used form for Druids (kitties!), it does give the tanks in the group an idea of what can be done with the new customization. Also, there are stone bears in the mix. So that’s pretty cool.
Last week was a pretty fun ride, I have to say. Leaving aside everything else we had to chew on after a weekend’s worth of BlizzCon, the World of Warcraft team really went to town with the class previews. I didn’t discuss them last week mostly because we had other things to talk about, but I did greatly enjoy reading them, and after a week or so to mull over all of the changes I think we’ve got enough space to consider all of the changes being made.
Overall, I’m thoroughly happy about what’s being done with all of the classes. There are a couple of losses and a few classes not receiving perhaps as much attention as they deserve, but on a whole the class changes are positive and improve the game for the better. There’s also a lot we don’t know, unfortunately, and the changes aren’t actually the same as opening the beta that we kind of need to already have running at this point, but the first impressions are positive.
Like the last expansion, World of Warcraft‘s upcoming Legion expansion will let players skip the tedious process of leveling up through old content and just focus on the new content if they’d like. So what does it look like when you use the boost? Probably not like what is demonstrated in the new Level 100 Or Bust video. There are fewer monkeys and explosions, for one thing.
If you’ve already pre-purchased the expansion, the should already have access to the level 100 boost (and additional boosts can be purchased from the in-game store, if you want). If you want a cute little gag video to accompany your level-boosting experience, jump on down and take a gander.
Whether your opinions on World of Warcraft are positive or negative, you can’t deny that reaching 11 years of operation is quite the accomplishment. The game is celebrating the achievement with presents for the players, as usual with an 11% buff to experience from quests and enemies for all players, along with a variety of toys like an inflatable version of Thunderfury and a picture-perfect Edwin Van Cleef costume. It’s worth noting that all of these toys have limited charges rather than being endlessly usable; don’t run them out.
A recent interview with executive producer J. Allen Brack also reveals some of the plans of the studio as the game moves past its anniversary. Brack states that the team is focused on doing things for the game without focusing on subscriber numbers and not reporting on them is important to avoid the community fixating upon that as a statement of health. He also states that the level 100 boost token in Legion will only be consumed when the boost experience is complete once the expansion launches, allowing players to try various classes before settling on one for the boost.
Ready to timewalk back to the days of World of Warcraft‘s third expansion? Or are you just looking forward to being able to use Valor points to upgrade your pants a few times? Both desires will be answered tomorrow by the game’s patch 6.2.3, which adds new Timewalking modes for several Cataclysm dungeons, brings Valor back as a strict upgrade currency, starts a new PvP season, and enables cross-realm raiding for Hellfire Citadel at Mythic difficulty. And there are balance changes along the way.
The developers haven’t been teasing about the patch’s launch quite as much, however, because they’ve been busy teasing about the possibility of adding Gnome Hunters to the game. A screenshot of the character creation screen was tweeted by creative director Alex Afrasiabi, which means… he definitely tweeted that. Whether or not it’s just teasing or it’s a real vision of what’s to come will become clear once we get closer to the release of Legion.