Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blizzcon '08

Here I am, sitting in a hotel in Chiba, Tokyo, waiting to go to the Tokyo Game Show 2008; while across the other side of the world, Blizzcon is taking place. The opportunity presented to me is amazing; the TGS is going to be freaking awesome.

But this blog is about my biggest timesink: World of Warcraft. And what better time to talk about WoW than now, when Blizzcon is happening.

If you've been keeping track of everything that has been going on -- Diablo and Starcraft aside -- then you probably don't want to re-read what you already know. If you don't know what is going on, head over to MMO-Champion and read the last couple of days' posts. There is a lot of information to take in; and a lot of screenshots to gaze at.

The game is going to take on a whole lot more meaning and will be very refreshing for those that want to stick around for the expansion -- which I assume will be most players. Despite all the QQing about players' main classes and about how OP all the other classes are, things do seem to be progressing -- and be receiving their polish -- quite nicely.

Some features and changes worth noting:
Dual-spec system
To be introduced in a post-release patch, the dual-spec system will allow players to respec at anytime but during an arena match (and, I assume, in the middle of a battleground). This brings a whole new dynamic to the game; especially for hybrid classes, whose roles could change at the press of a button.

The biggest issue I see with this is not one of abuse but rather one of setup. Unless you can also save button configuration, respeccing on the fly will be a wee bit of a nightmare -- in terms of key skill configuration and placement. But I'm sure that the functionality and flexibility will outweigh the encumbrance of skill inaccessibility and re-placement (shuffling).

Raid-wide buffs
Now that classes' buffs will affect the whole raid, juggling classes and finding class "balance" will be much easier. Blizzard have also made it so that you don't HAVE to take any particular class or spec in order to have a successful raid. This is great news, as you can have many more options open to you in terms of who attends a raid and who is sidelined.

They want it to be a matter of bringing a skilled player; not bringing a specific class.

This cool addition to the game is going to be a great timesink feature for obsessive players like myself. I know that there are some achievements -- especially particular Feats of Strength -- that I will never reach. But I -- and I'm sure many other players -- will get a lot more fulfilment out of the game in trying to accomplish these tangible goals.

It's not just a matter of getting the points or gaining a unique title; it is the knowledge that you have achieved something that the game has to offer. This will mean repeating old content to a degree, but I am fine with that. Some of it is content that has not been visited for a long time!

I look forward to running Molten Core again after all these years; just as I look forward to clearing Mt Hyjal and Black Temple for the first time. ;)

Keep an eye out for more announcements at Blizzcon and anything else that heralds the release of the expansion.

We're now in the final weeks before WotLK becomes a reality. Anticipation blooms abundantly.

The Tokyo Game Show awaits! Yosha!

Gaiwyn of Proudmoore

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