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by Published on 2019-11-02 08:33 PM

BlizzCon 2019 - Designers at Work: World of Warcraft World Creation
Come see how your favorite areas of Azeroth are created. Join a team of World of Warcraft world builders and level designers for a live demonstration of how a zone is created, from concept to completion.

General
  • Team works with all the departments to bring things together and make the world!
  • Blue Sky time, what will this zone be like?
  • Final stage, polish - Demonstrate the story and details, complete the picture.
  • Want to see something every 12-15 seconds that tells a story, unrelated to the one you are currently playing.
  • In Kul Tiras, Gary build a mine cart out of a barrel, dinner plates, smoke, and other parts.
  • Sound and music are important. Can tell if a zone is hot or cold, safe or dangerous, all from the music.
  • WoWEdit, select chunks you are going to work on, select them, they are yours to work on and no one else can use them.
  • There is a tools team, plus individual level designers can create their own brushes, much like Photoshop.
  • Time of Day is huge, team usually starts with noon in a zone and then figures out the other times.
  • Weather is a different skybox. Whole new light that comes in at a certain speed.
  • The team can change the sky for individual players now, but previously they couldn't.
  • When the team was working on WoW, they had an accelerated day and night, about 4 hours. Another game had a realtime day and night, Alan was a fan of that, so that's what they went with.
  • Build an entire scene yourself, it'll help you decide what part of the process you enjoy.
  • When designing a PvP environment, it is a little more confined, smaller, more of a planned out space. Don't want to cause collision issues. Have to be careful with small props, don't want Goblins hiding in the bushes.
  • The team wants to see a story in a Level Design portfolio. Concentrate on duplicating nature!
  • The team gets emails about new props. Designers may browse through a giant list or ask the room if they know of a good prop.
  • Internal art site let's Blizzard artists post what they are working on.

Zone Design
  • First thing, pull up a 2D, top down, map of the zone to get a general idea of where the player will start, some other locations.
  • Next is a trace map of the 3D world the designer has started to build. More detail, roads.
  • Later stage, map is overlaid on top of 3D world. Helps quest design to figure out the flow in the zone and where things will go.
  • Grey map stage has big blocky mountains, make large changes really fast. Get down on the player level and see how the space feels.
  • Draw roads and hubs as a rough sketch placeholder on the world.
  • Next designer: Start with concept art, need sub-zones.
  • Sometimes there is no concept art for the sub-zones, so the designer will jump into the editor and start working on a concept.
  • Some designers use assets from other zones as placeholders to sketch out how an area will look to get buy in from everyone.
  • Avoid players getting burnt out on a zone looking the same across the entire area, add variance.
  • Use brushes to raise/lower terrain, flatten out spaces, smooth out spaces to make it easier for players to navigate.
  • Further on in zone design, level designer is working with quest design.
  • Had a section that is covered in spider webs, so the people living in that space could be sneaky, maybe spymasters, creeping around in the shadows. Pitched to quest design and they loved it.
  • Replace purple line for roads with proper texture from environment art team.
  • Indicate that a certain way is a path, but not a safe path. Used a different texture, less clear that it is a path. Leads to end area for that PoI.
  • WMO team gives the designers awesome building props. Mostly work on dungeons.
  • Having textures and assets makes it easier for the team to sell their vision.
  • Talk to other departments, come up with asset list needed to complete the sub-zone.
  • Environment art demo. Create a space where assets can be placed so people can see them in context.
  • Art team uses the story and list to create assets.
  • Try to figure out how the assets work together, place them together and see.
  • Even though it is Shadowlands, players will see things that are wrong and stand out. Trying to duplicate nature.
  • Nothing is procedurally done, everything is touched at least once by hand.
  • Asset list includes textures, orange moss, purple bushes.
  • Limited to 4 terrain textures per square on the grid. Self imposed performance limitation.
  • Textures are applied by hand, pressure sensitive tablet.
  • At the polish phase, you get down on the player's level, turn on game mode to have all the lighting, see what it looks like.
  • Polish the road, add markers, lighting, pavement, help guide you to where you need to go.
  • Some of the textures have additional depth, vert color. Designer can paint color on top of textures to add more variation and emphasis.
  • Have to make sure there are no holes for players to fall into.
  • Need to ensure the secondary path is clear. Need a second set of eyes, as if you build it you already know a lot about it.
  • Another artist built some mountains separately, they can be copied and pasted around the area to have awesome mountain silhouettes and let the designer focus on the areas the player can go through.

Raid Design
  • Next designer: Designing a raid!
  • Raids are much more linear, so the team has much more control of what a player will see.
  • Started with art from Chronicles book for the raid.
  • Use block pieces and scale models to figure out the correct scale.
  • In an open world you have to be able to walk to everywhere, but in raids players can't get to many areas, so you can cheat a little bit.
  • Run through raid space with encounter designers.
  • 50 yd radius disk to ensure there is enough space for encounters.
  • Feedback - It became repetitive to only be on platforms, so pulled out some terrain to replace some of the platforms.
  • Ramp tool to help level designers quickly add ramps.
  • Terrain changes from red to green when it is too steep to run up.
  • Use textures to give players an idea of where to run. Visual language.
  • Try to put rock where you don't want players to go so that they know there is nothing that way.
  • Got feedback that there was enough tentacles, so removed some and added more crazy architecture and volcanoes.
  • In the Polish phase, new assets are all in, lots of different level designers have looked at the space.
  • Have to use art in many ways to avoid having to constantly requesting new art.
  • Doing lighting, effects, atmospheric effects.
  • Point lights are adjusted in this phase, color, position, intensity, size, falloff, animate, and more.
  • At the base of the Old God mouth, rocks from Arathi Basin, Underrot, painted color, and you have some extra Old God parts!
  • New lava art and lava falls!
  • Don't have to worry about finishing the backsides of things in raids, no one can get there to see them.
  • Work with other artist to ensure the skybox blends in with the terrain.


by Published on 2019-11-02 07:32 PM

Blizzard's Official World of Warcraft: Deep Dive Panel Recap
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In the What’s Next panel, game director Ion Hazzikostas gave an overview of Shadowlands, World of Warcraft’s eighth expansion. In the Deep Dive panel, senior game designer Paul Kubit, lead combat designer Brian Holinka, and lead designer Kevin Martens take you deeper into the various systems and changes that will come with the expansion.

The Covenants of the Shadowlands


In Shadowlands, players will be able to quest through four new zones ruled by ancient and powerful Covenants. Upon reaching the max level of 60, players will be able to join one of these Covenants as they continue to explore the World of Warcraft universe’s afterlife and the many mysteries and adventures that it holds.

  • Kyrians: The denizens of Bastion, these are angelic beings embrace humility and service to their order.
  • Necrolords: Comprised of liches, warlords, and spies, the Necrolord Covenant calls Maldraxxus home. They make up the army that defends the Shadowlands.
  • Night Fae: Guardians of nature, the Night Fae inhabit Ardenweald and shepherd beings through the cycle of life and death. It was through their aid that the demigod Cenarius was able to make his return to Azeroth during the events of the Cataclsym.
  • Venthyr: Making their home in Revendreth, the vampiric Venthyr are the punishers of the unworthy, seeking to rehabilitate the sinful souls sent to them by the Arbiter.

When making your choice of a Covenant, there are many aspects to consider, including the Covenant Sanctum where you’ll be spending a lot of your time. Your choice will determine whether you spend your time in the resplendent halls of the Sanctum in Bastion; in the shadow of a monument to an undead lord at the Sanctum in Maldraxxus; in the Night Fae Sanctum in a twilight-enshrouded glade in Ardenweald; or in the Venthyr Sanctum, a gothic castle in Revendreth.

Covenant Abilities
You’ll also want to consider the abilities the Covenant will provide you. The first of these abilities is available to all Covenant members regardless of class, race, or specialization. This ability helps you explore the world in interesting ways and solve problems without the need to engage in combat.

Here are some current examples for each of the Covenants:


The Kyrian ability helps you move significantly faster for a short time while also reducing the aggro radius around you. If used wisely, you may be able to flit across short expanses.

Soulshape, the Night Fae ability, increases your speed and causes creatures to ignore you for a 10-second period. It can also be used indefinitely in rest areas, in case relaxing in your Covenant Sanctum as a spirit fox appeals to you. As you progress through the Covenant Campaign, you’ll also have the opportunity to customize your form to something like a glimmer fly or runestag.

With the Necrolord ability, Transcend the Flesh, you’ll separate from your body, but your body will be vulnerable. If your body dies, you die. With this ability, you’ll be able to sneak past enemies and pull your body to you to avoid a confrontation.

The Venthyr ability Door of Shadows allows you to teleport to chosen destination, essentially stepping through shadow between one point and another.

The second ability you will get from your Covenant is a powerful combat ability specific to your class. This ability is meant to aid you in solving problems through might.

Here are some current examples of mage abilities:


The Kyrian ability, Radiant Spark, does damage over time and increases the damage of your next four spells, helping you set you up powerful combinations to take down your enemies.

The Necrolord ability Contagion Bolt does instant damage, and for a short time empowers your single-target spells to splash Shadow damage on enemies around your target.

The Night Fae ability deals damage to your enemies and grants you a haste buff of increasing power the longer you channel it.

The Venthyr ability Mirrors of Torment debuffs an enemy, rooting and damaging them whenever they cast spells or use an ability for a short time.

What are Soulbinds?
In the Shadowlands, two souls can take part in a ritual to bind themselves together. This is often done between romantic partners, friends, or allies-in-arms to make them stronger. When you reach max level and join a Covenant, you’ll be able to bind your soul one of several such powerful beings. These Soulbinds make it possible to learn new abilities from your ally, some of which may not normally be available to your class.

Here is just an example of a couple of Venthyr Soulbinds:

Theotar, the Mad Duke
Arrogance—You have 5% increased critical strike chance against targets whose current health percentage is lower than yours.

Nadjia, The Mistblade
Deflecting Flourish—Your Parry is increased by 6%. If you are normally unable, Nadjia will teach you how to parry.

As you progress with your new Soulbind, you’ll learn more about their story and unlock new tiers of power. You’ll also be able to customize your Soulbind ability tree with Conduits gained during your adventures through the Shadowlands. Similar to changing talents, you’ll be able to switch between Soulbinds, allowing you to select the ones that would most benefit you at any time during your adventures.

The Benefits of Membership
As a member of a specific Covenant, you’ll get access to themed armor and weapons, backpack-style items to wear in place of your regular cloak, and an upgradeable mount. You’ll also gain other benefits specific to each Covenant that will help you on your adventures, such as being the ability to construct your own customized abomination as a member of the Necrolords.

At max level, you’ll also be able to embark on a unique campaign for the Covenant you’ve chosen to align with.

After considering all of the benefits of each Covenant, you’ll want to choose carefully. While you can change yours if you decide it’s not the right fit, doing so will take some work.

Covenant Armor Sets


Kyrian Back Attachments


The Future of Leveling
After 15 years, World of Warcraft players have thousands of hours of story to potentially experience— and with so many possibilities and options to explore as you level up a character, the narrative thread between expansions can be hard to follow, potentially leading to jarring discontinuities, like seeing different warchiefs when they visit Orgrimmar depending on what expansion story they’re playing.

It also takes a long time to level, which hinders new players who want to join up with their friends in the latest content. Level banding helped with this, but we have our sights set on a larger overhaul of the leveling system. Our goals are to make our expansion stories feel better to play through, while also increasing the speed at which players can start experiencing the latest content with their friends. We want to make every level you gain feel meaningful and rewarding, whether that means gaining a new spell or ability, getting a new rank of one you already have, earning a new mount, or getting access to some other benefit.

Leveling Updates
To create a more streamlined leveling experience in Shadowlands, players will level from 1–60, with 60 being the new cap. By adjusting the leveling experience to this new range, we can create a better pace of leveling and help ensure that each level feels truly meaningful. You’ll unlock something new for your character each time you fill your experience bar. This will also make the leveling experience significantly faster.

Players will also be able to choose the experience they want for levels 10–50 by leveling through the expansion of their choice.

When these changes go into effect, existing characters will have their levels adjusted—but not their power. This means a level 120 character will be adjusted to level 50, but will still be just as powerful as they are now. They’ll remain able to use the same equipment and items, and they’ll be able to take part in all the same content they’ve been doing. Other characters not at max level will adjust to the new equivalent levels. Once Shadowlands goes live, players will be able to level from 50–60 in Shadowlands.

Exile’s Reach
After character creation, brand-new players will get to play through a starting experience on a newly discovered uncharted island called Exile’s Reach, where a failed expedition has prompted your faction leaders to send out some new recruits to the island to find out what happened.

In Exile’s Reach, players will encounter some of Azeroth’s most well-known enemies in an adventure that introduces them to the world with a unique storyline. An ogre necromancer is working to resurrect a dragon and has captured the previous expedition, intending to use them as a sacrifice. In true WoW fashion, players will end their adventure with an epic two boss mini-dungeon designed to. This dungeon can be played through with any class and does not require a full party.

It’s important to note that every brand-new (to WoW) character will begin here no matter what class, race, or faction they belong to.

Getting With The New Flow
Players completely new to World of Warcraft will create a character, play through Exile’s Reach, go to their faction capital city, then progress through the latest expansion—in this case, Battle for Azeroth. This allows new players to catch up to the story the majority of players have just experienced before joining them in the Shadowlands, giving them a better foundation and an access to a shared experience with the game.

For existing players and those playing alts, the flow is a bit different. They’ll start their journey to level 10 in their race’s existing starting zone, or can choose to go to Exile's Reach, and progress to their faction’s capital cities. Here, Chromie recognizes that you’ve been here before and will give the choice of which expansion (including the original world) you want to play through from level 10–50. From level 50, players will progress into the Shadowlands up to level 60.

Bringing Back Class
Classes have seen a lot of change during WoW’s 15 years of development, and so have our philosophies on class design. As the game has grown, so too has the number of spells, abilities, and talents, at points becoming a bit unwieldy. To address this in the past, we made changes to talents with Mists of Pandaria, and even removed some buttons in Warlords of Draenor. With the introduction of Artifact weapons in Legion, we devised a system in which every specialization had its own unique story arc and weapon, in essence creating what felt more like 36 distinct classes. While this was a cool moment in the Legion’s story, it also resulted in class identity giving way to a focus on specializations.

In Shadowlands, we want to put the focus back more on what classes are all about. While specializations are still a part of these classes, we want to put class first. With the change in leveling, we see an opportunity to reevaluate the abilities players gain as they level and when. We can also look at all of the rewards they can gain at each level and truly make each level feel meaningful and more powerful.

This change in our approach is also reflected in what Covenants have to offer. As we discussed earlier, when you join a Covenant, you gain a class power that’s usable across all specializations—making it more about what they have to offer the priest player or the shaman player versus the Shadow priest or Elemental shaman.

We also want to make sure we’re making changes that aren’t disruptive to players who have found their comfort level with their class, and want to make sure that we’re focusing on the opportunities for big wins for classes.

Defining Class
When looking at the changes we want to make to classes, we thought about what we considered to be class-defining mechanics—things like auras for paladins, totems for shaman, poisons for rogues, or curses for warlocks. These mechanics belong to the class as a whole, but specializations can be even better at specific parts of them, such as a rogue who specializes in Assassination excelling at poison use.

We also plan to bring many abilities that have been locked away in specializations back to their core classes, including iconic baseline abilities like Hunter’s Mark and Demonic Circle. When you start at level one with a class, instead of starting in a specific specialization or role, you’ll start with a range of class abilities, which will help you make an informed decision when the time comes to choose a specialization. By doing this, we’ll open up new spots in the talent tree that we’ll need to provide new options.

We also want to make sure classes feel like they have abilities that align with their weapon choices, such as a warrior becoming an Arms warrior and becoming more proficient in a two-handed weapon, or a shaman becoming an Enhancement shaman and being able to dual-wield. This would open up the opportunity for these characters to have abilities like Shield Block or Primal Strike as a part of their identity.

Bringing Back Class Abilities
Over the years we’ve pruned back abilities for one reason or another, sometimes as a way to reduce the sheer number of abilities players had. For many players, taking these away also changed the feel of the class in a way they didn’t enjoy. We want to bring many of these abilities back and still find ways to make them useful or cool to have where we can, such as with Eyes of the Beast, Kill Shot, Ritual of Doom, and more.

In the end, we want to make sure we’re providing players with the tools to take on new and interesting content like what we have ahead in Shadowlands.

The Maw and Torghast, Tower of the Damned
The Maw is as a dangerous endgame outdoor zone—a place ruled by torment and terror. Home to the mysterious Jailer, the Maw serves as a prison to the most vile and irredeemable souls in the World of Warcraft universe. With the machine of death broken, every soul has been feeding into the Maw instead.

As a champion of Azeroth, you have a unique power that allows you to escape this place. To the denizens of the Shadowlands, you are knowns the Maw Walker, and your unique ability to come and go from the Maw makes you highly valuable to your Covenant. You’re able to undertake missions to free others who have been captured in the Maw and eventually take the fight to the Jailer.

As you adventure through the Maw, you’ll sometimes draw the Eye of the Jailer to you. Your actions within the Maw can gain his attention and change the nature of your experience within the zone. The Jailer will send new punishments your way such as shade hounds who will begin to notice you from farther away and the aggro range for them will be increased. Later on, he may send specific kill squads after you. The key to surviving the Maw is to choose your battles carefully and be wary of the time you spend within the Maw.

The Tower


Within the Maw looms an immense structure known as the Tower of the Damned. Inside, players will discover a new kind of experience to take on and explore.

Torghast, Tower of the Damned is an instanced dungeon scalable from 1 to 5 players, with difficulty that adjusts to the size of your party. As you ascend the tower, both you and your enemies will grow in power. You’ll also encounter new challenges with increasing complexity to overcome.

The tower will change each time you enter it, providing variability in your experiences and encouraging you to explore. Where you may have turned right during one foray into the tower, you may find you that you can only go left the next time. Not only do the floorplans change within the tower, but so too do the monsters you face, the traps, the bonuses, and the rewards for overcoming each new challenge.

As you climb, you’ll need to be wary of the fast rate at which your enemies become more difficult on each new floor. The Jailer will send more and more deadly creatures to thwart you and your party. Each floor will also become more complex. To overcome these challenges, you’ll need to search out and collect Anima.

The tower is not a timed experience, so exploration of each level could make the difference between success or failure, as that’s how you’ll discover the powers that can help you as you ascend. Anima in the Maw presents itself as a form of potential energy that you’ll come across, which offers you a choice of how you want it to benefit you. As an example, you might be given the choice between something like Obleron Endurance, which increases your maximum health by 10%, or Obleron Talisman which increases your mastery by 5%. You could stack lots of damage this way, but you may find that you’re still dying to the challenges of the tower if you don’t also choose to bolster your survivability too.

As another example, you could find an ability like Corruption Antenna, which gives your attacks a chance to curse your target, dealing 35,440 Shadow damage to your target over 8 seconds. Later, you might find Shadowed Iris, which makes it so when you deal Shadow damage, it has a chance to blind the target, reducing their chance to hit by 75% for 12 seconds. These abilities could work well together, creating a synergy that makes your attacks more effective.

Within the tower you’ll also find epic powers to use, such as the Golden Idol, which grants the ability to see which enemies are carrying Anima. This provides you and your party with the ability to determine which enemies will be most beneficial to kill, helping you determine if your party should take them on or leave them be and move on.

The abilities your party acquires through Anima can lead to a wide variety of interesting experiences as you play through the tower. You’ll want to try to coordinate between your allies to maximize your effectiveness as a party—but beware becoming overconfident. Powers that may work well on one floor may not benefit you on another. As an example, you could take Bloating Fodder, which will cause Mawrats within the tower to explode on death, dealing 10,631 Plague damage to all other nearby enemies. With enough stacks of this ability on these annoying creatures, you could do a massive amount of damage to anything nearby. This is useful when you’re on a floor with plenty of Mawrats to put to your use, but not as useful if you progress to a floor without any crawling around.

The tower is always changing from run to run—but it is also changing over time. As you press further into the Maw, the Jailer may change his tactics against you.

Within the first couple of weeks of the Shadowlands expansion, the Jailer will unleash a horde of monstrosities into the Maw and the tower itself in an event called The Beasts of Prodigum, changing the experience. During this event you may gain some new powers that can help you counter these beasts, such as the Chain of Command, which calls forth Horgul, a powerful Shade Hound that can stun individual enemies and draw their attention. You might also come across a Shade Essence-Lure that calls forth Valloc, a powerful Soul Eater that can inflict area damage and silence enemies.

Runes and Legendaries
Great rewards await those you push themselves to their limits to climb the tower. As you progress through Torghast, you’ll gather runes along the way that you can take to a runeforge, where the Runesage will help you forge legendary items. You’ll also be able to learn a bit more about origins of iconic legendary items such Frostmourne or the Helm of Domination. You’ll also have more control over how you craft your legendaries, meaning you’ll be able to determine what slot they go in, what benefits they give you, and maybe even what secondary stats they have.

Shadowlands is filled with new features, and we’ve only touched on many of them. We look forward to sharing more with you as development continues on this new expansion.
by Published on 2019-11-02 06:08 PM

Blizzcon 2019 - World of Warcraft: Deep Dive
Members of World of Warcraft development team discuss the latest content coming to Azeroth.

Covenants
  • Quest through 4 zones, learn about the covenants, make a choice at Level 60.
    • Kyrians: The denizens of Bastion, these are angelic beings embrace humility and service to their order.
    • Necrolords: Comprised of liches, warlords, and spies, the Necrolord Covenant calls Maldraxxus home. They make up the army that defends the Shadowlands.
    • Night Fae: Guardians of nature, the Night Fae inhabit Ardenweald and shepherd beings through the cycle of life and death. It was through their aid that the demigod Cenarius was able to make his return to Azeroth during the events of the Cataclsym.
    • Venthyr: Making their home in Revendreth, the vampiric Venthyr are the punishers of the unworthy, seeking to rehabilitate the sinful souls sent to them by the Arbiter.
  • Covenant Sanctum - Similar to your Order Hall, you'll spend a lot of time here.
  • Covenant Ability - Everyone learns one ability, not a direct combat ability.
    • Soul Shape (Night Fae) - Turns you into a Spirit Fox, giving 30% movement speed and causing enemies to ignore you. Lasts 10 seconds, or until cancelled while in a rest area, 1.5 min CD. Customization with different creatures.
    • Unburden (Kyrian) - 1 min CD, 1 sec cast. Dissolve into pure anima, increasing your movement speed to 300%, slowing your falling speed, and propelling you forward for 4 seconds. Greatly reduces the radius at which enemies will detect you.
    • Transcend the Flesh (Necrolord) - Instant, 3 min CD. Separate your soul from your body for 20 seconds. Your soul is invisible and untargetable, though your body remains vulnerable. This effect will end early if you move further than 60 yards from your body. When Transcend the Flesh ends or is cancelled, your body rejoins your soul.
    • Door of Shadows (Venthyr) - 40 yd range, 2 sec cast, 2 min CD. Wend through the shadows, appearing at the targeted location.
  • Covenant Class Ability - Solve problem by fighting it.
    • Radiant Spark (Kyrian) - 2,000 mana, 40 yd range, 1.3 sec cast, 30 sec CD. Conjure a radiant spark that causes 4,854 Arcane damage instantly, and an additional 1,892 damage over 8 seconds. Your next 4 direct damage abilities that hit targets affected by Radiant Spark deal 25% increased damage, up to 100% damage.
    • Shifting Power (Night Fae) - 15 yd range, 45 sec CD, channeled. Draw from the ground beneath you for 3 seconds, dealing 5,500 Nature damage to nearby enemies over the duration. Every second spent channeling increases your Haste by 5% for 15 seconds.
    • Contagion Bolt (Necrolord) - 40 yd range, 2 sec cast, 1.5 min CD. Deal 5,000 Shadow damage to the target enemy. For the next 8 seconds, your single target spells cast on the affected enemy cause the disease to splash to nearby enemies dealing 3,000 Shadow damage.
    • Mirrors of Torment (Venthyr) - 40 yd range, 2 sec cast, 2 min CD. Conjure 3 mirrors that rotate around the targeted enemy for 6 seconds. Whenever they cast an ability or spell they take 7,000 Shadow damage and are rooted for 1.5 seconds.
  • Soulbinds - When you reach max level and join a Covenant, you’ll be able to bind your soul one of several such powerful beings. Gain powers.
    • Theotar, the Mad Duke grants Arrogance - You have 5% increased critical strike chance against targets whose current health percentage is lower than yours.
    • Nadjia, The Mistblade grants Deflecting Flourish - Your Parry is increased by 6%. If you are normally unable, Nadjia will teach you how to parry.
  • Unlock new powers, filling out Soulbind ability tree with Conduits gained during your adventures through the Shadowlands.
  • See slides for some examples.
  • Choose Soulbind that best suits you, switch Soulbinds when strategy demands, uncover your soulbind's backstory.
  • Easy to switch soulbinds, similar to talents, pop a tome.
  • These are not bodyguards, they won't follow you all the time.
  • Covenants will grant backpack style cloaks, weapons and armor, upgradeable mount, world benefits, covenant campaign.
  • Build an abomination that will follow you around as a bodyguard in that zone.
  • You can change your Covenant, but it'll take some time to build up trust with your new allies.

Leveling
  • Leveling currently takes too long
  • Not every level is rewarding
  • Confusing timelines and stories when you level
  • Leveling the first time is special, but when you are leveling an alt it isn't as exciting, you want to go and play with your friends.
  • There are 120 levels right now, so you gain levels very quickly and they don't feel special.
  • Who is the Warchief? The Warchief shuffle is a thing.
  • Most players that choose Pandaria to level in get through Jade Forest and half of the next zone, not doing justice to the story there.
  • Goals: Streamline leveling, choose the story you want, make every level rewarding, and modernize the intro to Azeroth.
  • Adding a new starting zone and keeping all of the existing ones.
  • New level range is 1-60 and every level should unlock something.
  • 60-70% faster to level 1-50 in Shadowlands.
  • Pick any expansion to level 10-50
  • New starting zone, Exile's Reach
  • Level 120 becomes 50, some simple formula to match levels between 1 and 50.
  • Character power won't change, you'll still be able to solo old content as you do now.
  • Death Knight and Demon Hunter zones will be scaled 1-10
  • New players can only start in Exile's Reach. Faction learned of uncharted island, sent expedition there, hasn't returned. You are going to find out what is going on there.
  • Zone has big mountains, vistas, waterfalls, dark forest, harpies, quilboar, ogres.
  • Ogre has captured your forces, going to sacrifice them to bring a dragon back from the dead.
  • Island ends in a mini dungeon, scales to match the party you have. Will introduce people to the concept of dungeons.
  • Killing the ogre captures the attention of your faction leader, move on to capital city.
  • Brand new players have to level up 10-50 in Battle for Azeroth. Most recent expansion
  • Existing players can choose Exile's Reach or the old starting zones.
  • Chrome reaches out to existing players to help them choose one of the existing expansions.
  • You can still wander around all of the expansions if you want, you don't have to stick to one.
  • Allied Races start at 10, can pick the expansion they want.

Classes
  • Holinka went to work on another project, but he's back now!
  • Around Mists people started complaining that their action bars were getting full.
  • In Warlords the team removed some abilities that they thought would be okay to remove.
  • In Legion, the Artifact system was great, every spec had a theme. Lots what a class meant and what a spec meant.
  • In Shadowlands, we have Covenants that will give you cool class abilities.
  • Team is listening to feedback from the past few expansions and is going to try and fix it.
  • "Fix it" tells the team you aren't happy, still useful, not as useful as specific feedback.
  • The team has to gauge how disruptive they want to be. When you head into Shadowlands they don't want you to have to re-learn how to ride a bike. Disruption should be worth it to the players.
  • Is this more fun for the player, or we just doing this to fix something that bothers us as designers?
  • Not as big class changes as Legion, mostly going to add things.
  • Returning to Class from Spec.
  • If you change specs right now, it's almost like you change classes with how much some specs change.
  • Classes are made up of elements from each spec, then the spec doubles down on it.
  • All Paladins can use the light, execute their enemies with divine judgement.
  • Class defining mechanics - Spells that have a unique hook and help to deliver class fantasy.
  • Paladin Auras told you that a Paladin is with you.
  • Shamans still have totems, but persistent totems are coming back. Healing Stream!
  • Poisons are coming back, class wide, to Rogues.
  • Curses are coming back to Warlocks. Curses used to be an important choice, one Curse only.
  • Mages will get Frostbolt, Fire Blast, Arcane Explosion! Mages are master of elements.
  • All Priests can tap into the light to heal their friends and harness the Shadow to destroy their enemies. Holy Priest can cast Shadow Word: Death. Shadow Priest can use Flash Heal.
  • Shaman starts with Mace and Shield. Primal Strike.
  • Warrior can Shield Block.
  • Iconic Class Abilities - Raise Dead, Frost Shock, Consecration, Ursol's Vortex, Shiv, Death Coil.
  • Talents and Honor Talents - Demonic Circle, Summon Gargoyle, Hunter's Mark, Hammer of Wrath, Cyclone, Anti-magic Zone
  • Long Lost Friends - Shattering Throw, Kill Shot, Ritual of Doom, Challenging Shout, Eyes of the Beast


Torghast and the Maw
  • The Maw is a zone, access point to Torghast, home of the Jailer, prison for the vilest souls.
  • The Maw is also an unjust prison for millions of others. Fourth War and Teldrassil casualties go here.
  • You are a Maw Walker, can enter and leave at will. No one has ever been able to do that before, which is why Covenants are so interested in you.
  • Rules by torment and terror. Not a friendly place. Much more deadly creatures, environments, and mechanics.
  • Releasing spirit - The Jailer has noticed you. Ire of the Jailer.
  • Any action you take in the Maw increases the Ire of the Jailer.
  • More adds will start coming to get you, then kill squads, and more and more deadly.
  • Be surgical, careful, get in, get out, don't die too often.
  • Torghast - Center of the Maw. Home of the Jailer and his dangerous forces and prisoners.
  • Does not obey the normal constraints of reality.
  • Dungeon scales, 1-5 players. Roles don't matter.
  • Both you and enemies get stronger as you climb the tower. Earn powers are you progress.
  • First few floors are a standard dungeon crawl. Higher up there are traps, puzzles, locked doors, dangerous minions.
  • Layout and enemies change. Floors are built to encourage exploration.
  • Torghast is not a timed mode. Always be exploring before you go up to the next floor.
  • Anima in the Maw allows you to choose between powers, choose between Obleron Endurance, which increases your maximum health by 10%, or Obleron Talisman which increases your mastery by 5%.
  • You could find Corruption Antenna, which gives your attacks a chance to curse your target, dealing 35,440 Shadow damage to your target over 8 seconds. Later, you might find Shadowed Iris, which makes it so when you deal Shadow damage, it has a chance to blind the target, reducing their chance to hit by 75% for 12 seconds. These abilities could work well together, creating a synergy that makes your attacks more effective.
  • Golden Idol - Epic Power. Grants the ability to see which enemies are carrying Anima Cells.
  • Ardent Endurance - Increase duration of Soulshape by 50%.
  • Bloating Fodder - You cause Mawrats to explode on death, dealing 10k Plague damage to nearby enemies.
  • Heavyhoof Sandals - While in Soulshape, you instantly kill Mawrats that you pass through.
  • After a few weeks of expansion, The Beasts of Prodigum event where Jailer floods Maw with different creature type. Changes powers that you can pick from as well:
    • Chain of Command - Summon Shade Hound that stuns individual enemies and draws attention.
    • Shade Essence-Lure- Summons Valloc, a powerful Soul Eater that can inflict area damage and silence enemies.
  • Collect runes, take to runeforge, Runesage helps you forge legendary items, learn about Frostmourne and Helm of Domination.
  • Choose legendary slot, secondary stat, powers. Lots of determination by players.


by Published on 2019-11-02 04:13 PM


BlizzCon 2019 - Day 2 Schedule
Note: all times are converted to the timezone your computer is currently in.



by Published on 2019-11-02 03:00 PM

BlizzCon 2019 - Diablo Immortal Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Across Blizzard, there is so much Diablo in the works that there will be a way for everyone to explore Sanctuary. For those of you eagerly awaiting an update on Diablo Immortal, the team has been hard at work on the game: honing our plan and vision, solidifying our goals, tightening mechanics and game systems, and laying the groundwork for what a Blizzard mobile MMO ARPG needs to flourish. Let’s review the basics before we look at what the future holds for this new adventure.

What is Diablo Immortal?
Diablo Immortal is a mobile MMO ARPG currently planned for iPhone and Android devices. We want it to include all the things you know and love about Diablo: multitudes of monsters to slay, troves of loot to collect and customize, and powerful classes to play with friends or on your own.

What makes Diablo Immortal different?
In addition to the new platform, the shift to mobile MMO ARPG embraces online multiplayer. While we still want players to be able to enjoy the game solo, Diablo Immortal will thrive with multiplayer features including persistent shared zones, 4-player instanced dungeons, full Guild support and social systems, and so much more.

Where does Diablo Immortal fit into the overall story?
Diablo Immortal takes place between the events of Diablo II and Diablo III. As Sanctuary recovers from the aftermath of Baal’s invasion and the destruction of Mount Arreat, powerful malevolent forces seek the remains of the Worldstone for their diabolical desires.


Your character will be a unique, original hero who allies themselves with the remnants of the Horadrim, aiming to prevent the enemies of Sanctuary from reclaiming and controlling the Worldstone. Stand together with other mortal champions and defend your home from the corrupting evil of the Burning Hells!

What classes will be playable in Diablo Immortal?
Currently, we have six classes planned for players to select in Diablo Immortal: Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, and Wizard.

What’s New for Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2019?
Last year’s demo revealed the Barbarian, Monk, and Wizard, playable in a streamlined dungeon experience. This year, attendees will also be able to take the Demon Hunter for a spin (or Strafe) through a slice of open-world gameplay through the town of Wortham and the outdoor zone of Ashwold Cemetary.


We’ve added a new base game mechanic: Ultimate Abilities. All classes gain charge for their chosen Ultimate by using basic attacks. Once this charge has been built up, players can choose to augment their basic attack for a short time in a face-meltingly powerful display of strength, guile, or raw magical potential.

We’re also sharing a first look at our equipment system, including the first batch of skill-altering Legendary items. Turn your Scorch’s burning fireball into an icy Frozen Orb, change up how Exploding Palm targets foes and dishes out damage, or transform deadly arrows into grenades when using Strafe.

There’s no better way to check it out than watching the action, so be sure to watch our latest gameplay trailer:


You might spot a few other things we’re showing off that aren’t available in the demo, and even more we’ll be ready to share next year!

Questions?
We might not have an answer to all your questions, but we tackled a few of the more common ones below. If we don’t have an answer for you now, it’s very likely your topic is still in active development. We’ll have additional information to share as it becomes available.

Q: When will I be able to play Diablo Immortal?
A:
We don’t have a release date to announce at this time. It takes significant time to meet the Blizzard quality level we’re aiming for, and we have a lot of ambitious goals for Diablo Immortal. Keep a close eye on Diablo channels for upcoming news and Pre-Register for testing opportunities here.

Q: Will there be microtransactions in Diablo Immortal? How will Diablo Immortal be priced?
A:
We’re focused on building a great Diablo game first. That said, we know the business model is top of mind for lots of people out there and we’re taking the time to get it right. It’s too early to share details, but we want to make a Diablo game players love and to support it for years to come. We plan to achieve that by creating an ecosystem that accounts for and welcomes every type of player—from our most die-hard Diablo veterans to those who’ll be exploring Sanctuary for the first time.

Q: What will support for Diablo Immortal look like after launch?
A:
Diablo Immortal is planned from the ground up for ongoing content and events. After launch, expect continued support and regular content updates including balance changes, new zones, dungeons, bosses, loot, additional stories, and even new classes!

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