Updates! Improvements! Theoretically making people less upset about still being knee-deep in Battle for Azeroth! The World of Warcraft update panel at BlizzCon day two is one of the things we knew was happening even before the opening ceremonies dropped Shadowlands. Now it’s time to catch up with the update panel, so let’s jump in for all of the usual fun. As with our other liveblogs, the live portion is in the comments below, while we’ll be updating the main post periodically along the way with images and summaries. If you’ve got a golden ticket, you can watch along with us too.
Here we go! Digging right into the four covenants, which we wrote about extensively last night.
Covenant sanctums – it’s pretty much class halls.
You also get covenant abilities, some of them customizable.
Then there are new class abilities, somewhat akin to artifact active abilities.
Now we’re on to soulbinding that sounds like picking a hero character to ally to, who grants special abilities.
Yay cloaks and mounts and armor.
Yes, you can change covenants, but it’ll take a while and effort.
Leveling flow up next. The devs think leveling takes too long, that levels don’t feel meaningful and every level isn’t rewarding, and the timeline chronology is confusing. In BFA the devs rescaled the gameworld to reduce outleveling zones before the story was over, leading to the 1-120 level scaling. Devs are also concerned about how long it takes for new players to catch up to the endgame, they don’t want people to make 120 short levels that feel silly. It’s apparently been a problem the most with Pandaria.
So here’s the fix, along with the new starter zone to intro the game to new players.
So the new level spread will be squished to 60 at the cap, with something at every level, with 60-70% faster leveling from 1 to 50. And you can take any of the expansions and set your story to it to level to the whole expansion story from 1 to 50.
New characters will also be scaled to match and level from 50 to 60 in Shadowlands.
Exile’s Reach will be the new newbie zone that shows off the game’s best mobs and biomes, ending with a small dungeon that scales to the party, then you push on to the capitals, and then new players are pushed into Battle for Azeroth specifically so they’re brought up to speed.
Yes, existing players can still start in Exile’s Reach, but they have more options afterward, as Chromie allows you to choose your expansion to level up through. You are not FORCED to do this – you can ignore all this and wander all over the world and quest as you like if you want. Allied races start at level 10 and go right to Chromie time.
On to class philosophy. Blizzard seems to finally be recognizing it may have pruned too much, but there won’t be Legion-style extensive class changes. At the core of it is “returning to class from spec” – making Priest matter more than your Priest’s spec.
Big cheers for auras and totems and curses and poisons!
There’s a renewed focus on class range, less division of types of powers, and iconic class abilities – this means fixing up some talent abilities we miss.
Kubit’s back to talk about Torghast and recap the Maw zone. I can’t wait to hear us all trying to say “Maw Walker” 10 times fast. Storytime! Yes you can play with people in other covenants. You’ll be dealing with the Eyes of the Jailer mechanic, heading into the tower itself, and YES, it scales to your group size, though it (and you) get more badass as you go. This is super similar to such dungeons in games like Aion and GW2, MMO players will note, except that you can bring any number of folks up to 5 and any classes. The floors are built to encourage exploration, not timed; you’ll always be climbing, and the story you’re going through will keep changing, sort of like a roguelike.
Maw rats, lol.
And that’s a wrap! See you at the Q&A panel.