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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!

by Published on 2014-11-08 12:43 AM

World of Warcraft - Items, Class Changes, and More
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
  • The goal of the class changes was to keep classes fun, stop the PvP CC madness, make numbers easier to understand and slow down the pace of healing a little bit.
  • Removing abilities will make the game more fun.
  • Fantasy, visuals, cool effects, powerful, interactive, and abilities with a clear purpose are fun.
  • Redundant abilities are not fun (Frostfire bolt / Frostbolt for Fire and Arcane)
  • Abilities with inconsistent fantasy are not fun.
  • Situational abilities are not fun (Nourish)
  • Abilities that have been balanced to mediocrity are not fun (Mortal Strike)
  • Abilities with no feedback are not fun (Blood Strike - No real animation, visual, or fantasy)
  • Abilities that are unreliable are not fun (Feral druid positional requirements)
  • Complicated abilities are not fun (Symbiosis)
  • Returning players had more and more trouble figuring out how their class worked as more abilities were added. You shouldn't have to go to another website just to figure out how to play your character.
  • The old talent system was scrapped to help combat this problem, but it didn't solve it.

Healing
  • Players didn't enjoy healing because of health bar whiplash, players were always almost constantly dying, healing consisted of spamming heals constantly.
  • Smart heals were too smart, the game was playing itself for you, you didn't have to do any targeting. You ended up with a healing rotation and not paying attention to who was injured.
  • Mana was scaling poorly, lower item level characters had not enough mana, higher item level characters had excessive amounts of mana.
  • In Warlords, players have double the effective health, giving you longer to think and target your heals.
  • In Warlords, smart heals aren't as smart. They just heal anyone who is injured rather than the most injured.
  • In Warlords, healers will have enough mana even at lower item levels.
  • In Warlords, Spirit is now on less slots, so you can't trivialize mana anymore.
  • Healing will be more tactical and allow players to make decisions while healing in Warlords.
  • Players will have sufficient mana but not excessive mana in Warlords.

Items
  • Once a tier token dropped, you had to go to a vendor, find the right item, figure out what gems and reforges you need, upgrade the item, and then you were finally ready to use it. Once you were ready to use it, you may have to change gems and reforges on your other items as well.
  • Kill a boss, loot an item, equip the item.
  • Tier tokens will convert to an item just like the Timeless Isle tokens, this removes one of the steps.
  • Hit and expertise are removed from the game, meaning you don't need to reforge and regem all the things with every new item you got.
  • Item upgrades are also gone, removing another step.
  • Enchants and sockets are on fewer slots now, helping remove another thing to do.
  • Caps and breakpoints are gone, making stat customization easier.
  • In Mists of Pandaria, loot can drop that no one in the raid can use, which didn't feel good. Set bonuses and stats that switch on your main armor slots help with this problem. Spirit not being on most slots also helps.
  • Dodge and Parry are now bonus armor.
  • There are now more sources of loot, especially during questing and leveling in Draenor.
  • Versatility, Multistrike, Tertiary stats, gem sockets, and randomly upgraded quest items also help to add variety.

Q&A
  • Gladiator's Resolve was a small enough change that it didn't need another spec.
  • In case you missed it, the legendary item in Warlords is a ring.
  • Legendary weapons can be added when they fit the story / current state of the game.
  • Discipline priests couldn't be nerfed earlier because so many guilds relied on them. Making guilds unable to defeat an encounter they could defeat yesterday is not fun. Doing so would have required retuning many of the Siege of Orgrimmar fights.
  • Seeing the bonus on tier tokens before they are used is something the developers are looking at. The wrong person getting the bonus won't have a large impact on the raid (but it will to the person getting the loot).
  • There is still significant complexity, challenge, and depth in the game even after the Warlords changes. Specs are assessable as possible, but there is still depth in the class gameplay and encounters.
  • Tanks are better at soloing and the game isn't really balanced around it.
  • Everyone will be able to solo old content at some point, some classes may just take more gear or time than others.
  • Druid travel forms being separate buttons is something that will be added with glyphs.
  • Shadow priests getting new / updated visuals is something that might be addressed in the future.
  • Mana gems didn't add anything interesting to the gameplay, so it was removed.
  • Destro DPS is fine at level 100.
  • Raid cooldowns aren't as important anymore, so there should be significant diversity in classes brought to raids.
  • Rogues needing to be behind the boss is part of overall awareness needed to play the class and how the encounters are balanced.
  • Professions making things that no one would ever use didn't make sense, so going forward you can craft actually useful things while leveling. The dust from DEing things should still be sufficient. The amount of dust required to make things is tuned around the amount of dust available.
  • Adding more filtering and options to the dungeon finder would just increase queue times, especially for DPS. The Group Finder should help players that want to make groups for non standard runs.
  • The combo point UI could be improved, but a solution hasn't been found yet. The team will look at what solutions players come up with for displaying combo points.


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