BlizzConline 2021: WoW Classic and Chains of Domination panel recaps

    
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Oh look,

Ain’t no rest for the Blizzard fans today, as BlizzConline 2021 rolls on with relentless intensity. World of Warcraft has more to share beyond the opening keynote, and now we’re getting to hear about it with two back-to-back panels, starting with the What’s Next panel and followed shortly thereafter with the Deep Dive. Since they’re adjacent in their timing, we’re combining both into a single liveblog just to aid with overall consolidation. It’s just more sensible.

While we have a pretty good idea of exactly what we’ll hear about in these panels due to the gigantic and egregious leak of press kit information yesterday, you can follow along down in the comments as we keep track, while the main post is updated with important information and screenshots as we go. Hopefully there’s something more than what was just in the press kits that has already been leaked, naturally. What could that be? Let’s find out together.

BlizzConline 2021
WoW Classic What’s Next panel
Waiting on the start now. While we wait, the trailers from the keynote:

The whole introduction here is the team is still talking about their early WoW experiences, but eventually they get around to why you came, diving into the changes tat are being changed, and it’ll sound familiar since it’s the same discussion the industry had with Classic: old data, modern code. There’s discussion about how modern improvements like the cloud avoid instance lag or problems – that there were warts back in the day is something that could be fixed now.

For example, spell batching – people wanted it back, but now players are finding it frustrating, so the team is removing it with Burning Crusade Classic. Same with bosses; people want more challenging bosses, not carbon copies of things we did at launch.

Other bits of note:

  • Both factions will have Seal of Blood and Seal of Vengeance on Paladin (Seal of the Martyr).
  • Devs are considering arena team limits as well as possible personal ratings.
  • Blood elf and draenei will also unlock early so you can level up before the dark portal opens.
  • First phase is Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair, and Magtheridon’s Lair. Serpentshrine Cavern/Tempest Keep is next phase, then Black Temple/Hyjal for phase 3. Zul’aman comes next, and Sunwell in phase 5.
  • Classic live server will become progression servers – unlock any new progression content.
  • As for boosts now: People can purchase a level 58 boost. One per account, no blood elves or draenei, no professions, no high-level mount.
  • They’re launching Classic-era realms at the same time, and if you choose to move to classic era, those servers stay in that era forever.
    There will also be a paid service to make a character copy – you can create one Classic-era character and move a copy to Burning Crusade.
  • Looking at 2021, starting the TBC beta soon.
WoW Retail deep dive panel

Hazzikostas says there won’t be much system chat – “When we look at our systems, we aren’t seeing anything that needs to be overhauled” – Oh, World of Warcraft. Anyhow. Here’s the good stuff for 9.1:

  • All four covenants will be coming back together to take the fight to the Jailer, with new areas and new rewards. We’ll see the return to the Maw, “stopping the eye of the Jailer in its tracks.” There’s a new area called Korthia, a new section of the Maw that was long lost. New group called the First Ones. New maw hand mount and maw-themed skeletal horse.
  • Expect a new raid: Sanctum of Domination, a 10-boss raid. Kel’thuzad will be in there, as well. You’ll face the Tarragrue, Sylvanas, the actual Eye of the Jailer itself, some of the “worst of the worst” in terms of souls.
  • And you’ll be unlocking new floors of Torgahst, with new foes, traps, and powers.
  • Broker megadungeon is coming, just like Mechagon and Karazhan (8 bosses, Mythic only). Expect pets and mounts as unique rewards from the dungeon.
  • There will also be more conduit and soulbind expansion within your covenant.
  • Patch 9.1 brings flying. No rep grind – complete covenant story chapters and it’ll unlock. You can also unlock a specialized mount based on your specific covenant.
  • There’s another set of cosmetic armor, specifically cosmetic.
  • Patch 9.1 also brings item season 2 with it, of course.
  • And… that’s it! No previews of anything we hadn’t already heard about.
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Rick Mills

I loved the “Voices” panel – probably the high point of yesterday.

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Bruno Brito

By the way, i want to say this:

That Anduin cinematic was one of the WORST cinematics i’ve seen Blizzard ever put out. When the writing gets cheesy and bad ( and boy, does it ever ), Blizzard at least is able to convey that bad-ness with relatively good characterization: Saurfang yelling to Sylvanas “You just keep failing” is enough for me to forget that he was talking about killing hope or some soppy crap like that. While Sylvanas is in a terrible spot as a character right now, her characterization was good, with witty oneliners like “Muzzle your dog, your majesty.”

But this? This is only nostalgia riding. Anduin is not Arthas. He won’t ever be Arthas. And Blizzard doesnt seem to realize that Anduin is literally the best character they have right now. They’ll destroy him.

This was just objectively bad. No witty remarks, no good characterization, this entire xpac will milk the shit out of Warcraft 3 and Wrath. Dear god, i feel awful.

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Danny Smith

“anduin is not arthas” clearly you haven’t paid attention to the soap opera twist bullshit they have been setting up for years. If he isn’t arthas secret love child i will be shocked.

GWvoWpnfbGB6aFbV3GQ5BxUhALtR2XL_B_tD5sWmyQc.jpg
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Bruno Brito

twist

My point exactly.

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Sorenthaz

I’m really hoping that they have some fresh start servers for TBC, particularly PvP ones but also PvE/RP would be nice too.

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Loopy

I was looking forward to fresh server announcements, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be on the roadmap. I would think that the vanilla community is probably most interested in that as they’re already not interested in going into TBC. My concern is that the classic era servers (if they remain as-is) will turn into a bloated mess with no progression available and no resets in sight.

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Utakata

Note to Mr. Bruno: I don’t think he became the LK 3.0 willingly though…

…note to myself: It looks like his rescue may be put on hold for this patch! >.<

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Bruno Brito

I’m sure none of WoW’s characters became what they became willingly. They must resent Blizzard deeply.

No one will ever make me believe that Sylvanas would look to the writing and say “this is good.”

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Loopy

It still doesn’t make the writing good though. We seem to rotate from “old gods did it” to “lich king did it” to “legion did it” to “jailer did it”. The root of storytelling in WoW is that there is constantly some sort of deus ex machina corruption. It’s just lazy in my opinion, and Anduin (who is probably the most consistent character) to be corrupted is a twist for twist’s sake.

100% Sylvannas redemption arc is coming up, where she saves Anduin and kills the jailer.

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Danny Smith

Eh. 9.1 is enough to make me cancel my sub again. I feel about Shadowlands the same way i did Warlords of Dreanor. Story is terrible, art is bland, the music utterly forgettable and the world feels like a single player game. This doesn’t look like i’m getting any engaging shakeups and if its pay rent for a game you aren’t enjoying or tab out i have nothing to lose playing other stuff right now in hopes it improves.

BC Classic is going to be interesting to watch from afar. The “bros..home…” crowd that played Classic for like a month before never touching it again are going to make hellfire a nightmare on pvp servers. I have fond memories of my time back in the day exploring zangarmarsh and nagrand but i also remember just how tedious a lot of it was without the “hey remember this from warcraft 3!?” feelings exploring the two continents of vanilla. Absolutely no interest in redoing that again.

Kind of a big shrug from me. This is the state of the modern WoW team really. They are putting out more of the same. Its just not terribly interesting.

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SmiteDoctor

Looking forward to Burning Crusade, I think they patched Vanilla to make it easier to level if I remember correctly; I might actually make some headway this time.

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Bruno Brito

They did. Some of the 2.3 changes were the change of several leveling weapons to blue weapons and better itemization ( Crescent of Forlorn Spirits is a good example ), and also the decreasing of XP needed to level and a boost in XP from mid-level quests.

Jokerchyld
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Jokerchyld

Wasn’t the whole uproar of Classic the exact opposite of this? Leveling is too easy on Retail we need Classic. Classic takes to long to level we need it easier.

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Slaasher

Well, you might see changes to the whole vanilla idea. Remember Classic was started in response to those players who were fed up with quick levelling and the “easing” of gameplay that the expansions created.
Of course, IMO Holly Longdale will screw it up like she did EQ2 so none of what we say here will matter.

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Bruno Brito

Every Blizzcon is the same story: Ion says anything and i ask myself how the hell does a company like Blizzard ends up with that hallmark of incompetence.

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Loopy

No fresh classic servers :( That’s unfortunate. But oh well, at least i get to keep my vanilla character so that’s a bonus.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“There will also be a paid service to make a character copy – you can create one Classic-era character and move a copy to Burning Crusade.”

Burn in hell.