BlizzCon 2018: World of Warcraft Q&A liveblog

    
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Oh, look, more of this.

Here’s the problem with World of Warcraft Q&A sessions every time we have BlizzCon, which is now just one bad idea away from happening twice per year regardless of how little there is to announce: The questions are not pre-screened, which means that many of them will be responded to without actually getting answered. Not that some of them are going to be answerable anyhow, since “are you going to fix Azerite Armor” is a legitimate question but also one that requires a lot of additional information to be answered.

But sometimes there’s still some cool information, and we always can get some fun material in the liveblog. Which, don’t you know it, is happening just below. You can also follow along with relevant pieces of information just below, so if you just want a summary and don’t want to catch up in the comments. You’ll get all of the meat and none of the banter.

Follow all of Massively OP’s coverage of BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard’s annual fan convention highlighting World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and beyond!

Q: We’ve seen more choices and player agency in the expansion; how important is it that moments of player agency happen throughout the expansion and have repurcussions?

A: More of an experiment; want to see how it plays out.

AHHHH CHRIS METZEN SHOWED UP IN THE AUDIENCE TO ASK QUESTIONS. Standing O from the stage.

Q: When is the Horde getting its true warchief back? (This one’s from Metzen.)

A: “I’m gonna guess… there may very well be a job posting looking for a new warchief.”

Q: The auction house fee has hurt a lot of casual players; will it be removed?

A: A fundamental rewrite of the auction house is needed and incoming to help deal with some of the kludges.

Q: Will the items in WoW Classic unlock transmogs on the live game?

A: Blizzard is adamant that there’s not going to be crossover either way. They want people to play WoW Classic for its own sake, not to just unlock stuff. So it’s not happening.

Q: Class relics, are those coming back?

A: We’ve tried to infuse that into a few systems, but it’s just too darn hard to put a book on a character’s hip, this is hard. (Basically, no, this feature is never coming.)

Q: Character progression, especially with leveling, is not satisfying. Wouldn’t a level squish be a good thing?

A: It’s a great question; we are not satisfied with what leveling has turned into. A level squish would be a big ordeal, but we agree something needs to change. It’s not tenable to add more levels at the top.

(Eliot is freaking out in the comments. “THEN WHY DID YOU DO IT. TWICE. YOU DID THIS TWICE, ION HAZZIKOSTAS. YOU HAD AMPLE CHANCES TO NOT DO THIS.”)

Q: Addressing toxicity in public chat channels?

A: Blizz says it’s actively working on this, AI auto-flagging, “players can do more” type stiff. Sort of a non-answer that direct folks to the next panel.

Q: Why is there so much RNG in the game? (Huge cheering.) Do you have plans to move away from that, where the time we spend is productive? (More huge cheering.)

A: We’ve always tried to navigate these waters; our concern with having things on a vendor is that you could mark the date on the calendar. (This is being claimed as a downside.)

Q: Can you put a smart looting system on mythic caches?

A: Basically doubling down again on that really terrible non-answer. Riding hard on the Mythic+ vendors but not actually addressing the fact that said vendors are Mythic+ only and only offer another random drop.

Q: Future of Azerite gear; how does the team see it evolving and improving?

A: There isn’t enough choice right now; there will be more traits. Three times as many traits. Continuing to add new traits and replacing some lackluster ones.

Q: Removing more things from GCD?

A: A: We noticed that a lot of specs had almost everything off the GCD; it was getting overmuch. They pulled a lot off of it and they’re satisfied with the offensive CDs now. Movement abilities coming back off. Lots of cheers on this one.

Q: Color wheel/dyes? (We get this question every year.)

A: “THE CLOWN ERA OF WORLD OF WARCRAFT” is our new favorite phrase. But we’re getting the same non-answer we get every year, too; the one thing that could work is not by adding tinting on everything, but possibly a limited set of options. (Purely hypothetical.)

Q: Taking a lot of niche abilities away; would you be willing to diversify specs back to MoP levels?

A: Look at niche abilities separately from rotational ones, but Hazzikostas claims that’s just “shoring up weaknesses.” (YOU DID EXACTLY THAT IN THIS EXPANSION. WHY ARE YOU SAYING THESE THINGS.)

Q: With CRZ/phasing off the table in Classic, how will you handle server population?

A: The demo for classic involves sharding, which is leveraged for the demo. They might use that in limited ways, but that’s something they’re looking to in the future. The first few weeks can handle launch-day load problems, but in the long run it won’t be a thing.

Q: Any development on Gallywix moving forward?

A: “When they let me make the pleasure palace truly a pleasure palace, we will truly see Gallywix.” They’ll “look into it.”

Q: Can we ever expect more freedom for transmogging into different armor classes?

A: No. (That said, cosmetic armors are a bit more diverse.) Also allowing transmogs over fist weapons with other one-handers in 8.1, which is actually good.

Q: How are you going to differentiate between Sylvanas and Garrosh at this point?

A: The story’s not done. (Mark off your bingo card.) Then basically says “Sylvanas would think Garrosh was an amateur.” So… yeah.

Q: Why are PvP talents not active in island expeditions?

A: Because you’re not fighting other players. ABilities should not vary wildly depending on where you are.

Q: Will you still get PvP talents when fighting AI bots as revealed yesterday?

A: Yes.

Q: Will there be a revamped Mythic keystone leaderboard?

A: Yes. The core functionality works, but it’s meant to be add more directly on the armory and such.

Q: Low-performance specs get a long-standing reputation; can you do anything to help specs like Shadow Priest and every Shaman spec?

A: Yes; to some extent community perception matters more than the spec balance. Sometimes we need to “overbuff” something to get the community to notice. “The community doesn’t always do itself credit.” They know they need to take action. (But they’re not announcing any.)

Q: Any plans to bring back tier sets back?

A: Within BfA, we’re trying something different. It’s not necessarily what will be done forever.

Q: Are we staying on 1.12 forever in Classic?

A: Right now we’re focused on getting it out. From there, we’ll do what makes sense.

And that’s a wrap!

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Sorenthaz

Ugh, I really don’t think adding more Azerite traits onto Azerite Gear will fix the problem. If anything it just makes it worse and will once again present the question of “what’s the point if we’re losing this next expansion?”

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Danny Smith

Man compared the stuff Yoshi and his team does for FFXIV in their live lettters the paid attendance q&a by Blizzard is kind just a middling “eeehhh, yeah we dont know but kind of maybe sometime in future” or “we dont know how to do X, yes we are in charge of the most played mmo on the planet”. What a difference a few years makes.

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Christmas Dog

A lot of “yikes” responses from me reading through this. What a thoroughly disappointing set of answers.

Being able to mark a date I will receive an upgrade is NOT a bad thing. It allows me to look forward to an upgrade, be able to work towards something. The current system of “maybe someday I will possibly get an upgrade before it becomes irrelevant… But only maybe” isn’t fun; I vastly preferred the days of badges and meaningful gear from rep that I could predict and actually work for. It let me see I was actually doing something, that I wasn’t just wasting my time doing dungeons. I always knew I would get SOMETHING of value out of my time.

No loosening of transmog restrictions is another downer. I’ve been enjoying the hell out of ESO once I finally dropped BfA, and one of the major things I enjoy about it is that there are no restrictions on appearance. If I want my spell caster to wear plate, I can do that. If I want my tank to wear a robe, fine! All acceptable, along with a really great dye system and a wealth of other cosmetic options.

Just a lot of awful answers all around. Probably the first time a Blizzcon Q&A made me *less* excited for future content. This was Blizzards huge chance to turn around the negative expectations of BfA, only to double down on it. Big sigh from me.

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Paragon Lost

My poor goblin shaman, he suffers.

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Bruno Brito

No goblin shall suffer in my hand.

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Utakata

“Q: When is the Horde getting its true warchief back? (This one’s from Metzen.)

A: ‘I’m gonna guess… there may very well be a job posting looking for a new warchief.’”

…up until this point, it was to my understanding Blizz where saying Ms. Sylvanas is staying around for awhile. And there was no plans for a regime change anytime soon.

And no, Mr. Metzen…she is much a true Warchief as anyone else was. Unless you are having issues that she lacks a sausage or something. Just saying. >.<

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rosieposie

Blizzard writing for its female character leads usually has them following down one of the three routes: 1) become evil, 2) become insane, 3) get killed off. It’s not a flattering look for someone who claims to be so high on the diversity shtick and believes that females can do just as adequate job as males.

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Soy

Sausage makes alot of things better.

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Danny Smith

Daddy metzen needs his women broken or damaged to satisfy his corruption fetish.

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Sorenthaz

It’s more like Thrall embodies the original WoW Horde. One that Sylvanas has obviously damaged per Saurfang wishing to get ‘his Horde’ back.

It’s clear that Sylvanas was going to be a controversial figure and being the instigator of war in a way that is much more ‘scorched earth; burn it all’ than most other Horde races/leaders would like.

To me this seemed to pretty much have echoes of Mists of Pandaria the whole time and my bet/hope is that by the end of the expansion Sylvanas is gone and cross-faction play opens up.

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Bruno Brito

Not gonna deny they messed up big time with Garrosh and Sylvanas, but truly, Thrall was the embodiment of what the new Horde was.

Well, if they end up killing her, i’ll just say that they brought this fuck up of a story on themselves.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Thanks much, guys.

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Bruno Brito

Q: Class relics, are those coming back?

A: We’ve tried to infuse that into a few systems, but it’s just too darn hard to put a book on a character’s hip, this is hard. (Basically, no, this feature is never coming.)

Aaaaannnnd, just like that, you lost my attention. My respect was lost already.

Q: Can we ever expect more freedom for transmogging into different armor classes?

A: No. (That said, cosmetic armors are a bit more diverse.) Also allowing transmogs over fist weapons with other one-handers in 8.1, which is actually good.

I lied, i actually went over to check more of this.

You know, i can give a pass on a shitload of things in games, but when a MMO is telling me i have no freedom to actually give my goddamn character a life of it’s own, i go into complete bloodlust.

Both WoW and GW2 have this issue. The games have no housing, and their cosmetic system is P A T H E T I C. I can give GW2 a pass, since there are several things that are at least customizable, but hell, when CRYPTIC makes a MMO that allows you to customize Mouthpieces, Eyepieces and others, you kinda ask yourself why a TRIPLE A MMO DOESN’T ALLOW YOU TO HAVE A GODDAMN CAPE.

Better yet, when the cape doesn’t leave your shouders, but floats pathetically on your back because the game will never let you have the same coolness as the Lich King’s cape.

Sigh. Again. Warhammer had some freedom in this. Where the hell did we went wrong. WoW don’t even have dyes.