BlizzCon 2016: World of Warcraft Q&A panel

    
0
Oh no it's today.

And now, we come to the final liveblog we’ll be doing forĀ BlizzCon 2016, the part of the event when several World of Warcraft fans demonstrate that they know more about the game than some of the designers. It’s the Q&A panel, full of important information sandwiched between blank stares and a few laughed-off inquiries.

Hey, we’ve done this dance before. We know how it goes.

For one last time, jump on down below for our live coverage of the event as it streams. We will not be liveblogging “Weird” Al Yankovic’s concert, although I’m certain it will be spectacular. I’ve seen him live. He’s great.

J Allen Brack, Ion Hazzikostas, Matt Goss, Alex Afrasiabi, Chris Robinson on stage for the Q&A hosted by Panser.

Blizz does want crafted gear to be more competitive with raiding and dungeon drops and relevant in endgame. They’re working on that.

Regarding addressing low pop realms and faction imbalances, Blizz is working on something it’s calling megarealms, an extension of connected realms.

Are Gnomes getting Paladin, Shamans, and Druids? Unlikely. That doesn’t fit the current Gnome lore.

PvE balancing is harder than PvP balancing; the PvP team is always trying to keep up with the meta, but the honor talents are a big help.

Med’an is not considered canon; don’t expect him to teleport into the game from the comics.

In regard to the question on pooling artifact power for other specs and weapons, Hazzikostas says they’re working on other, more aggressive catch-up mechanics instead, like buying tomes and no waiting to level weapons. Switching to your “new main primary spec” is meant to take a little more effort, but dabbling is doable.

The Stranglethorn fishing derby is coming back, but when it does, the achievements will likely be regional rather than realm-based for technical reasons. The team is aiming for 7.1.5, but no promises.

We will be seeing Wrathion again.

Blizzard hears your anguish over how hard keeping up with alts has become. The team wants to remove chores for alts. It’s looking at reputation gating and artifact knowledge changes in 7.2 and beyond. Suramar dungeons and world quests, for example, are now account-wide. Blizz wants to strike a balance between giving you ways to move forward to goals and be able pass things.

The team is always looking for reasons to update older content, and that includes Tauren kodos eventually.

Given that Blood Elf paladins get their power from the sunwell, how does that work across dimensions/distances? Holy magic is woven through everywhere; while the sunwell is a specific place, the power reaches forever, Blizz says.

Regarding the WoW token, the team does have tweaks planned. When the system was designed, it was designed to be useful across all services; in order to make sure it worked, it was 30 days of time early, but they want to expand it again and create an option to redeem tokens for game time and Battlenet balance.

Any love for the old/vanilla armor? Blizz says it does from time to time go back and try to reintroduce older stuff; there’s not going to be a time where it changes existing art so much as using it for inspiration. They are conscious that changing old stuff can violate the old feel rather than be across-the-board improvements. In 7.2, the raid armor is inspired by T6 sets.

How about an update to the classic backpack? They thought it was impossible, but it isn’t. It’s not easy, but it’s doable, and it is something it’s being looked at.

Players want to have more gathering and profession skills; Blizz says it’s happy the way crafting diversifies characters right now. But it could happen.

Blizz reiterates that the artifact weapons are a feature confined to Legion, but that’s OK because it frees them to do crazy stuff with it. “We don’t want your 133rd Ashbringer trait, for instance. We don’t want to replace it with a high-level green.” The goal is to make them perma tmog items for people who get them during Legion.

In response to a question about legendary loot options for main specs and RNG with legendaries, Blizz says it’s too complicated to set a second loot target. In the long run, expect so many more legendaries that you can barely keep track of all of them.

Joke question about the WoW cookbook and Nomi. :P

How far in advance does Blizz plan character arcs? It depends on the character. Garrosh, Blizz says, was planned very far in advance. They knew Garrosh had a destiny, but they wanted him to be more heroic originally. It also depends on who gets a passion for a character and for a plan. There are plans and there is diversity.

Cosmetic class accessories were not scapped for artifacts, just paused. Blizz may explore that more next.

Red shirt guy wanted to know what’s up with the Naga alligience. The short answer is wait and see. The long answer is that the Naga are complicated and there are lots of allegiences among them just as among humans.

No more content like Withered Army Training. Big cheers. It was meant to be a slow buildup but ended up being the tank walking in and soloing everything. They do like solo scenarios though.

Big cheers for the addon designer who asks about secrets not yet discovered in the game. There are a couple, Blizz says, but nothing huge. If you ask it again in a couple of months, the answer might be different. That search makes the world feel more engaging and keeps the community moving.

Another question on alt-friendliness. People really want love for alts, yo.

Ysera might have some role to play in the future. Spoilers there, but never assume a character is gone for good.

They love the idea of guild halls, but it’s one of many ideas they have. The two main obstacles to guild housing are that if no one visits it, what does it matter, and if everyone visits it, why would you leave? The other side is that the fun of the guild house is in decorating the place, but who in the guild gets that fun? (We note here that dozens of MMOs have already solved these problems. Blizzard is stalling.) Supporting multiple social group is also something they’re working on actively.

There’s more going on with the story of the Darkspear leader than we know yet; in time, we’ll learn more. Spoilers.

Melee animations got a big buff; will ranged attacks get any cooler animations? Yes, but ETA.

Pet battle dungeons might be a thing! They have interesting things coming for pet battles.

In beta, Blizz had more mechanisms for where and when you could change your talents; it wanted talents to feel like an actual choice, so it wasn’t “I’m all talents at all times whenever I want.” The team wants you to have some things that aren’t always ideal choices. They don’t want people cheesing their talents, basically. There are situational talents, and you don’t want to just spec into situational talents with macros and make every single talent available constantly.

No need for a third tier above titanforged items, but if they find a need for it, they’ll consider it.

Will we be able to play with our friends in the other faction without losing progression or faction identity? Pretty much no. Faction identity is really central to the game; Blizz says it has to be careful to keep those identities controlled, and it’s important that those lines don’t blur too much. They’re not happy about players not playing together, but they see it as fundamental as part of Warcraft lore. (We guess you imagined all those times in past expansions where the sides worked together, screwed around in cities together, etc.)

Sup with Khadgar? They might play with his lore more eventually.

Submarines? They have no plans for it, but it would be epic for engineers and gnomes to craft stuff like this for underwater zones.

If undead can be priests, why can’t they be paladins? The way the holy light works between priests and paladins is different; priests use light for preservation, but paladins also use it offensively. They promise to talk about it.

Will hunters ever be able to tame unicorns? “There are no unicorns. You mean the horses with the horns? Yeah, maybe.” But no concrete plans.

Can we expand world quests to play with low-level friends in the world? They like the idea, saying there’s no reason why this stuff couldn’t happen and is in plans for the future. Holidays particularly shouldn’t be limited to levels.

Will they open up mythic cross-realm raids? It’s one of the few remaining bastions of server identity, Blizz says. It seems pretty much like “no.”

Follow all of Massively OP’s coverage of BlizzCon 2016, Blizzard’s annual fan convention highlighting World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and beyond!