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by Published on 2014-11-09 10:50 AM

Blizzcon 2014 Recap
No big WoW news this year, but lots of interesting news for other games!

Official Websites

Opening Ceremony
  • Overwatch confirmed as new IP, playable at Blizzcon and "sooner than you think". Team shooter set in the future on earth. 12 Heroes now, many more coming in the future.
  • New Hearthstone expansion - Goblins and Gnomes
  • Heroes of the Storm closed beta begins January 13, 2015
  • SC2: Legacy of the Void was announced, along with Archon mode, Allied Commanders mode, automated tournaments, and more.
  • The spacegoat pet will be sold starting in December to support the Red Cross's Ebola relief efforts.

World of Warcraft
  • Warcraft Movie Presentation
    • People actually at Blizzcon saw a short teaser trailer, but the video won't be released online.
    • The movie will follow heroes on both factions, "50% Alliance, 50% Horde".
    • The visual effects are very realistic. Motion capture was used, the team worked with ILM to make it feel as much like live action as possible.
    • Effects are Avatar and Lord of the Rings at the same time.
    • Very detailed sets were built, such as part of Stormwind's main street.
    • A partial list of the cast was released.
  • World of Warcraft - Items, Class Changes, and More
    • A recap of Warlords changes.
  • Warlords of Draenor Cinematic Intro Panel
    • Blizzard has a new group called The Forge that will be focused on telling stories in the Blizzard universe.
    • In one cinematic idea, Chromie could have a vision of what is happening in Draenor as a flashback.
    • The team uses live video references to create the cinematic shots.
    • The silhouette of the Warlords was mostly done by using existing assets, as the models of the Warlords models weren't done.
    • Sin City was the original art style reference for Lords of War.
  • World of Warcraft Q + A Panel - (Notes have been cleaned up from the live recap)
    • Farahlon may or may not make it into a content patch. The team isn't sure yet, which is why it was removed from the map. At one point they considered using it as a separate area for boosted players, but Tanaan Jungle for everyone felt like the better choice.
    • The team can make one click milling and prospecting if it is something players want.
    • Social content like AQ gates opening is great, but it crashed the servers. One person being a hero and representing the server is something cool that can be done.
    • New armor designs and silhouettes is something the team is talking about. They are drawing it up and coming with ideas. No solid release date yet.
  • World of Warcraft: Looking for Group Documentary
    • If you are interested in WoW, you should watch this. A recap won't do it justice.

Overwatch
  • Overwatch Unveiled
    • Chris Metzen is only doing one voice in this game.
    • The game will be accessible and have options other than putting a crosshair over someone.
    • You should die less frequently than in current modern military shooters.
    • Initially only on PC.
    • No pricing model yet.
  • Overwatch Press Kit
    Overwatch - Origins
    • Overwatch uses a new engine with new technology.
    • Warcraft started out very simple and then added in new characters, story, and art over time. Overwatch is starting from the same place, a simple beginning and lots of potential for the future in terms of story and characters.
    • The team wanted Tracer to be the centerpiece hero, as everyone on the team loved her.
    • No real answer to if there will be collectable hats.
    • The game has some similarities to TF2, but it is still a very different game. TF2 has a limited number of roles with some more customization through weapon choices. Overwatch also has some more mobility, with some heroes that can fly or use grapple hooks. Overwatch is more about hero abilities than it is about putting a crosshair over the other heroes.

Hearthstone

Heroes of the Storm
  • Heroes of the Storm Overview
    • Draft mode is coming, with no duplicate heroes and no bans.
    • Ranked play is coming with two leagues: Hero league (any size group queue) and Team league (fixed size teams only). There are seasons, points, and a separate skill rank.
    • Leavers - If you leave games too often, you will only be matched with other people that leave games too often. You can undo this by not leaving games.
  • Sound of the Nexus
    • Back in Warcraft III, the average lines a unit spoke was just 20. For Heroes, its 300!
    • Chain Lightning was created with fireworks, and a tape measure.
  • Heroes of the Storm Deep Dive
    • There should be a core, awesome mechanic for each battleground. Changes the flow of gameplay.
    • Sky Temple takes place in a brand new universe, never before seen in another Blizzard game.
    • Tomb of the Spider Queen takes place in the save universe as sky temple. Is an interior battleground, the first one! It's spooky.
  • Heroes Developer Interview
    • Lost Vikings are the first Insane Difficulty hero.
    • Bounties, part of the kill streak system, are still on the list of things to do.
    • No current plans for any story mode stuff like Starcraft campaigns.
    • The Heroes development team is Team 1, the same team which creates Starcraft II. They're currently working on Legacy of the Void and Heroes at the same time.
    • Both games have dedicated content designers, and artists, but share some systems people. People move around a bunch, but there's normally 100 people working on Heroes.

Diablo III
  • Diablo III - What's Next
    • Adventure Mode changes, New Goblins, Ancient Items, New Zone, New Monsters, and more!
  • Evolving Reaper of Souls
    • A retrospective view on the evolution of Diablo III at release to what it is now.
    • A first look at new and changed Legendary and Set items from future patches.
    • The Legendary Workshop where a Legendary item was designed live on stage.
    • A short segment of community questions.


BlizzCon Costume Contest Winner
If you were watching the amazing costumes on the stream last night, you may have noticed that the winner never appeared during the contest. GeekyRed shared a picture of the complete costume that won.



Overwatch Cosplay
Even though Overwatch was a secret, Blizzard had some costumes ready ahead of time and took a fun 360 degree picture with them.



Coming Soon: Adopt a Pet for Charity
A new pet to support Ebola relief efforts is coming next month.



Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Introducing the next World of Warcraft companion up soon for adoption in the Battle.net Shop: Argi! This impossibly cute little creature will jump into your heart and nibble at your Blue Woolen Socks. She’s ready to help guide you through the savage lands of Draenor, climbing, swimming, and running wherever you go. Argi will be ready for a home this December, right in time for Winter Veil—just don’t get too upset if she chomps through the wrapping paper.

For every Argi pet purchased between December 3 and December 31, 100% of the adoption fee ($10 in the U.S.; pricing varies by region) will be donated in support of the American Red Cross to assist in Ebola relief efforts, helping enable the Red Cross to provide assistance to those in need.

The American Red Cross name and emblem are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, opinion, or political position. For more information about the American Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org
by Published on 2014-11-09 01:04 AM

World of Warcraft: Looking for Group Documentary
If you are interested in WoW, you should watch this. A recap won't do it justice.


Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
This decade-spanning archive explores the history of WoW with the people who create it, collects stories from players around the world, and takes you into corners of Blizzard and the WoW community you’ve never seen before.
by Published on 2014-11-08 11:28 PM

World of Warcraft Q + A Panel
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
  • No third spec is planned, but if a lot of players want it they can consider it. Part of the reason they don't want to do it is the identity of a player right now is partially tied to which specs you have. "Are you Holy/Shadow or Holy/Disc?". Having the inconvenience of switching specs being in the action bar setup isn't the goal, it should cost gold or time, not annoy you as a player. In the past with the old talent system, you felt like you needed two different spec options for the same spec, just to do PvP and PvE. The Mists of Pandaria talent system added a little bit more flexibility there.
  • No secondary glyph for fire cat form is planned. It is a very over the top visual, so they don't want everyone running around as a fire cat forever. It was nice to have while the content was current, but after the content was no longer relevant it is something for people that really want that look. Farming the Burning Seeds to get the form is inconvenient by design.
  • The line between fun and interesting mechanics and class identity isn't something easy to quantify and is very subjective. The team looks at how important a mechanic is to the overall fantasy and feel of the class and decides what it is adding to the game.
  • The team looks at which talents that aren't picked very often and tries to improve or replace them so that they are more balanced, interesting, and exciting. Sometimes a talent is just so out of control that it needs to be nerfed, but they try to avoid nerfing when possible.
  • Only some classes having a class mount is just how the game has worked so far. It is important to preserve the identity of specific classes. If the team comes up with an amazing idea for a class mount, they will add it.
  • Doing /roar in a Druid form makes the racial roar noise instead of an animal roar noise. Making this an animal roar is a good idea.
  • Portal roulette is not fun for non-mages, so it is not coming back.

Lore
  • The Old Gods do pose a great threat to Azeroth, but Sargeras is also scary. The scariest threat is the one you are currently facing.
  • The team didn't design the world with a specific time to cross it in mind, they just made it big. It should take a decent amount of time to cross it.
  • Azeroth is located in a globular cluster. (The player that asked this noted that the star density in Storm Peaks at night is very high)
  • Thrall is the only Orc with eyebrows because he was raised by humans and the team tried to make him feel more human when designing his model.
  • There was a Worgen story in Shadowmoon, but the team decided to focus on the Draenei instead, as the Worgen felt out of place there.
  • The Zandalari homeland is a story they could tell some day. You can never have too many troll raids.
  • Trade Prince Gallywix will come back at various points and might be used to tell some new stories.
  • The Kirin Tor's ability to influence the Alliance and say which types of magic are allow and which aren't has waned over time.
  • Khadgar is stepping up in the world, but it remains to be seen if he is the new guardian.
  • Dragons and the Aspects are important parts of the lore that will be used in the future.
  • With alternative timelines there can be other people that will be resurrected or killed by dying in another timeline.

Art
  • Better collision detection would be nice. Some objects have collision turned on that shouldn't, which is why you sometimes get stuck on things in the world.
  • The character recustomization service still exists because the team doesn't want you to change your character's gender and race at will. Gender and race are also bigger parts of your character's identity than facial features.
  • Beards disappear with certain helmets, which can be a bug.
  • New armor designs and silhouettes is something the team is talking about. They are drawing it up and coming with ideas. No solid release date yet.
  • Armor used by NPCs that are the same races as players and not on any player accessible items can be added as rewards in the future where it makes sense.
  • With the new models, some spells got changed to the omni cast animation from a targeted cast, so that is something the team can go back and reevaluate to make sure they are working.
  • The male night elf eyebrows missing from one of the faces might be a bug that is fixed in the near future.

Misc Q&A
  • Toybox items that still require reputation might be oversights or technical limitations, the team will take a look at them.
  • Guild garrisons is something the team will continue to discuss for the future if it is something players are interested in. Guild garrisons would require significant changes to the system. Joining a friends group to go into their garrison is the current solution for visiting a friend's garrison.
  • More guild achievements will be added when the team comes up with good achievements. They don't want to add more achievements just for the sake of having new achievements.
  • Battle pets have been received well by the community and they will continue to add more content rather than adding more levels or abilities. The gameplay works, so more depth will come from new content rather than expanding the existing systems.
  • It is fun for players to have their moment to shine and be able to use the legendary weapon that they worked so hard to get in arenas, being overpowered for a while. It also depends on how long the season lasts and if the class is already doing well in arenas. There have been times in the past when allowing legendary weapons in PvP has been a problem and gone on for too long. Next time there is a legendary weapon they may make a legendary PvP weapon earned through doing arenas that only works in arenas.
  • Internal simulations are done by bots running in the real client to gather real data. Sometimes players come up with a different way to play or there are bugs in the testing, so adjustments are made.
  • There is an obsession with a Patchwerk DPS balance as a benchmark, even though there aren't any fights like that anymore. Balancing DPS on a Patchwerk fight would actually not be balanced in most fights. That being said, balance isn't perfect, the team can make mistakes, so keep the feedback coming.
  • Transmog sets that don't match because some pieces are missing are just an artifact of how the art was used in the past, that is something that can be looked at.
  • The team can make crafting and cooking bacon happen. They have the technology.
  • There are no plans to make parts of legendary items such as Eye of Sulfuras bind on account. You can go and solo bosses on characters that can use the item.
  • Social content like AQ gates opening is great, but it crashed the servers. One person being a hero and representing the server is something cool that can be done.
  • Farahlon may or may not make it into a content patch. The team isn't sure yet, which is why it was removed from the map. At one point they considered using it as a separate area for boosted players, but Tanaan Jungle for everyone felt like the better choice.
  • Mounts are account wide and still have class or profession restrictions because being able to use those mounts are perks of being that class or profession.
  • The team can make one click milling and prospecting if it is something players want.
  • Garrisons having a small chance to give you a few items of mythic raid gear doesn't make them required. You need to have cleared some heroic content to have the chance for mythic loot. This requirement of clearing some content and having a chance at one difficulty higher loot makes the system relevant for everyone. It isn't going to drastically change world first or realm first races, just give players a fun chance to get some extra gear.
  • Roleplaying fuels itself and the team helps by providing environments and opportunities conducive to roleplay. The Group Finder could let you find people who want to participate.
  • Garrisons are part of the leveling process for Warlords and are fun. They have two daily quests you can choose between every day, but that is more free form style gameplay like Timeless Isle, as well as some story like Patch 5.1. Each area has a story chapter that develops over several weeks.
  • It would be nice to have addons and settings stored in the cloud, so that wherever you log in you would have your UI.
  • The summon random favorite mount button could be split into flying and ground mounts in the future.
  • The transmog system revamp to free up even more space is still planned.
by Published on 2014-11-08 10:13 PM

Warlords of Draenor Cinematic Intro Panel
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Panel
  • Blizzard has a new group called The Forge that will be focused on telling stories in the Blizzard universe.
  • In one cinematic idea, Chromie could have a vision of what is happening in Draenor as a flashback.
  • Another idea was the siege of Shattrath.
  • The idea selected was drinking the blood of Mannoroth, which caused everything to change.
  • The team then creates a temporary drawn rough version of the cinematic with temporary sound effects.
  • The Warlords cinematic was much darker than the Mists of Pandaria cinematic, so they pushed the realism more. They tried to capture all of the subtle things about Orcs, making their mouth move properly with the sound.
  • The Iron Star was used by Garrosh to impress everyone. He brought the concept with him after breaking out of jail.
  • Dave Kosak dressed up to pitch the Burdens of Shaohao story, and the team decided it would be something nice to animate. It was originally just going to be panning down a scroll while telling a story, but it got more intricate and cinematic like as the development process continued.
  • Lords of War originally was going to concentrate on the story of Yrel and Durotan, but things changed.
  • The Patch 5.4 cinematic was sketched out by using screenshots from the game.
  • Garrosh originally was using a normal Orc model, then got a new model that was a little bit better, and then got another model using some new tech used for the Pandaren. The new Garrosh model was done at the same time as the new Orc models. Garrosh has a lot more facial animation in the 5.4 cinematic than ever before. Going forward they will have to match the game system level of detail in facial expressions.
  • Mannoroth in the cinematic was a nice chance to upgrade the old model. During work on his model they were careful not to lose the essence of Mannoroth. He is the closest to the Warcraft III model, he doesn't have lips or eyelids.
  • The team uses live video references to create the cinematic shots.
  • They were looking for a shot at the end that would be perfect and reflect changing history, and found it with the scene of Grommash at the end.
  • The cinematic is broken down into little drawings that help define what colors will appear in each shot to keep things looking good and not overdoing the color.
  • The Warlords announcement trailer was done before most of the new models or zones were ready, so the team made the most of what they had ready.
  • The silhouette of the Warlords was mostly done by using existing assets, as the models of the Warlords models weren't done.
  • Most of the Warlord stories were going to be done with comics, but some got changed to the Lords of War series.
  • Lords of War started with little drawings and words to go with each panel. These got turned into layouts, which is then passed to the artists to be turned into the final art.
  • Sin City was the original art style reference for Lords of War.
  • The art was extremely violent at one point, so they pulled it back a little bit.
  • Chris Metzen said it would look better with color instead of black and white.
  • The cinematics team felt like they were getting close to done, but decided the blood scooping shot didn't look right. They went to the store and bought many different liquids to try and find a live reference that worked.
  • Every expansion had more and more in-game cinematics, and Warlords is no exception.
  • Khadgar was a shirtless human male until the model was finally done.
  • The cinematics team has to wait on assets to be done before they can finish the cinematics.
  • The cinematics were finished just in time to get them on the Warlords disc, completed in the last 3 weeks.
  • Lords of War wraps drawings around simple geometry and then adds a little bit of motion or camera angle changes. They have to keep the amount of movement reasonable so that people don't expect fully animated movies, so mostly of the environment can be animated, but characters had to have limited animation. It has to look like a storyboard and not an animation.

Q&A
  • Yrel will appear throughout Warlords.
  • All of the other teams at Blizzard were excited by Lords of War, so we might see motion stories for other games in the future.
  • The team worked closely to make sure Varian in Lords of War looked similar to how he does in WoW and that the WoW team was happy with his look.
  • Selling rough art from when the team is coming up with ideas is an interesting idea.
  • The Warlords in-game cinematics are using more CGI and tools the public has access to, so there aren't many things they can release to help the machinima community.
  • Most of the shots in Lord of War are one painting with many layers.
  • The team starts with a long cinematic with 50 shots, cut it down to what would make them cry (30 shots) and then puts some back that they really missed to bring them back up to 40 shots. They want to have enough quality footage and not make cinematics too long or too short.

by Published on 2014-11-08 07:30 PM

Overwatch - Origins
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Panel
  • Chris Metzen is the lead creative director on Overwatch.
  • Bill Petras is the Art Director of Overwatch. He was the Art Director for World of Warcraft in the past.
  • Jeff Chamberlain is the VFX supervisor on Overwatch. He worked on the Heart of the Swarm, Wrath of the Lich King, Mists of Pandaria, Diablo III: RoS, and other Blizzard cinematics.
  • The art in the game is high quality but still has the Blizzard style.
  • The art should be vibrant, edgy, with silhouettes, as well as feeling handcrafted and detailed. Readability of the art is important.
  • Overwatch uses a new engine with new technology.
  • There was a partnership from day 1 between the cinematic team and the game artists.
  • Torbjörn was the first character that they modeled.
  • Pharah came from the idea of having a hero with a jetpack and rocket launcher. The original nickname was Rocket Dude. Exploring the story and personality of the character helped to refine the concept to what we see today. The team then worked on finding the right voice actor for the character.
  • Creating these heroes was a very team based process.
  • Warcraft started out very simple and then added in new characters, story, and art over time. Overwatch is starting from the same place, a simple beginning and lots of potential for the future in terms of story and characters.
  • The team wanted Tracer to be the centerpiece hero, as everyone on the team loved her.
  • The cinematic and in game art team both worked on Tracer at the same time, working together to refine her art.
  • The new engine and development process allowed both teams to work together to have Tracer's model in the cinematic and game be very similar.
  • Winston was a challenging model to work on, as he has a lot of movements and a rage mode that changes his movements. The model may not be complete yet.
  • Winston was also challenging to work on for the cinematics team, as there is a lot of clipping with his armor and how he moves, so the team just hid parts of the armor that aren't facing the camera to avoid clipping.
  • Widowmaker was the one of the easier characters to model.
  • The Overwatch poster is a important part of uniting the team during the development process. They started earlier in the development process, trying different layouts and less heroes, but the final product felt like it worked right the comic book style of the game. There is enough space to add more and more heroes to the poster as they are added to the game.
  • There are a few heroes on the poster that aren't part of the 12 that are playable at Blizzcon.
  • The child in the cinematic made Chris Metzen's inner six year old do cartwheels. He hopes everyone loves the game, but almost doesn't care because of how exciting it is to work on.
  • Blizzard is used to working on huge epic stories in other games, so this is a new direction for them and it is exciting. A bright, fun, heroic world that reaches for everyone's inner six year old!
  • Jeff Chamberlain claimed the project as soon as he heard the pitch.
  • The original cinematic just had the 12 boards in the image below and the story today is very similar.
  • After seeing the story pitch, Metzen said "If we don't make this story, I don't want to work here". Everyone was excited for Overwatch.
  • The team was working late one night and needed a full match to test some features. They ended up playing for hours after they started, which made them realize how much fun it was. The team was making the game because they enjoyed it, not because anyone assigned them the project.

Q&A
  • There will be plenty of diversity of hero types. They are aware people want to feel represented in game.
  • There might be Overwatch characters in Heroes of the Storm in the future.
  • The team has been working on Overwatch for roughly a year and a half, starting on the idea after the Titan team was reallocated to other games. Normally you have to spend some time pitching a game to developers, but most were in very quickly for Overwatch.
  • No real answer to if there will be collectable hats.
  • Skins sound like a good idea, but nothing to announce.
  • The actual gameplay doesn't have a big bad villain so that players can have heroes fight heroes rather than having specific villains that restrict gameplay. The deep and rich story will take place outside of the game. The story shouldn't hinder or restrict the gameplay in any way.
  • There aren't any immediate plans to add an adventure mode to the game to play each hero and explore their story, but it is something they are interested in doing.
  • The game has some similarities to TF2, but it is still a very different game. TF2 has a limited number of roles with some more customization through weapon choices. Overwatch also has some more mobility, with some heroes that can fly or use grapple hooks. Overwatch is more about hero abilities than it is about putting a crosshair over the other heroes.

by Published on 2014-11-08 08:10 AM

Blizzcon 2014 - Day 1 Recap
No real WoW news today, but lots of interesting news for others games. The Live Raid tomorrow starts at 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST, followed by another Overwatch panel. WoW also has a Cinematic panel, Q&A panel, and Documentary later in the afternoon, followed by Metallica to close out the show.

Official Websites

Opening Ceremony
  • Overwatch confirmed as new IP, playable at Blizzcon and "sooner than you think. Team shooter set in the future on earth. 12 Heroes now, many more coming in the future.
  • New Hearthstone expansion - Goblins and Gnomes
  • Heroes of the Storm closed beta begins January 13, 2015
  • The spacegoat pet will be sold starting in December to support the Red Cross's Ebola relief efforts.

World of Warcraft
  • Warcraft Movie Presentation
    • People actually at Blizzcon saw a short teaser trailer, but the video won't be released online.
    • The movie will follow heroes on both factions, "50% Alliance, 50% Horde".
    • The visual effects are very realistic. Motion capture was used, the team worked with ILM to make it feel as much like live action as possible.
    • Effects are Avatar and Lord of the Rings at the same time.
    • Very detailed sets were built, such as part of Stormwind's main street.
    • A partial list of the cast was released.
  • World of Warcraft - Items, Class Changes, and More
    • A recap of Warlords changes.

Overwatch
  • Overwatch Unveiled
    • Chris Metzen is only doing one voice in this game.
    • The game will be accessible and have options other than putting a crosshair over someone.
    • You should die less frequently than in current modern military shooters.
    • Initially only on PC.
    • No pricing model yet.
  • Overwatch Press Kit

Hearthstone

Heroes of the Storm
  • Heroes of the Storm Overview
    • Draft mode is coming, with no duplicate heroes and no bans.
    • Ranked play is coming with two leagues: Hero league (any size group queue) and Team league (fixed size teams only). There are seasons, points, and a separate skill rank.
    • Leavers - If you leave games too often, you will only be matched with other people that leave games too often. You can undo this by not leaving games.

Diablo III


BlizzCon Online Sale—New Loot Available!
There were some Overwatch items earlier, but all of them have disappeared except for this statue.
Originally Posted by Blizzard
New loot is available in this year’s BlizzCon online merchandise sale for BlizzCon attendees and Virtual Ticket holders! We’ve just restocked the Blizzard Gear Store with over two dozen new items—to snag this BlizzCon-premiere plunder, simply head to the Blizzard Gear Store (gear.blizzard.com), log in, and click the BlizzCon Sale banner to start shopping.



We also still have plenty of other items in stock, too. Check out our Facebook gallery to get a closer look at some of the other products available.

How to Buy

Make sure to log in to the Gear Store using the Battle.net account you used to purchase your Virtual Ticket. If you’re attending BlizzCon in person, use the account on which you redeemed the BlizzCon Digital Bonuses code from your badge confirmation email. (If a friend bought your ticket for you, ask them for your code, then redeem it here.)

Supplies are limited, and keep in mind that orders are shipped from the United States, so international shipping rates may apply.

Blizzcon Day 1 Pictures
There are a few shots of movie props along with normal Blizzcon things.




ORIGIN PC Giveaway
Curse and ORIGIN PC are giving away a nice little gaming system!


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