Wow. Well, the announcements this year were a bit more shocking then last, weren’t thay? (Of course, Blizzard did a much better job of controlling leaks this year.) Let me take a look at how my predictions from yesterday fared, then I’ll go over my thoughts (briefly) about today’s news.
There will be pandas, but they will not be playable: Well, I almost totally whiffed on this one. I couldn’t see a fair way they could give Pandaren to one side or the other (they couldn’t either, so chose both). Call it a quarter-point for being right on pandas.
No new classes: I figured the balance changes for adding a new class would be too much work (apparently not). No points here.
Talents significantly overhauled; trees eliminated, three talent families to spend points in, limitations on leveling players, specializations kept: Overall, I mostly nailed the changes here. They were a bit more radical then I thought; I figured you’d still be choosing talents within a spec, not a common talent choice for all specs. Three quarters of a point.
LOTRO-style skirmish system, merc that you can customize/equip: Well, I got the “new thing you can customize” right, though the actual thing was wrong. I never would have guessed WoW pokemon, but this is a genius move by Blizzard. I also was sort of right about skirmishes. Half-point, with a bonus point next year if I’m right about it being cut before launch. :)
Dance studio announced, not as impressive as expected: Maybe still an incomplete, but I figured they would have featured it at Blizzcon if they were at least planning on it, so, no. No points.
Total: 1.5/5. Go me!
Anyway, on to the other news I found interesting, in no particular order:
No flying until max level: Big ups here. You don’t really experience the content if you can just skip it with flying mounts. It’s probably worth further discussion, but I’d argue that unrestricted flying has been a net negative for the game.
Monks: Probably the most predicted idea for a new class. Love the idea, especially the idea of no auto-attacks. I’d love to see them take the leap to removing auto-attacks for all classes. As it stands now, autoattack is just a persistent DoT that requires melee range to function.
New talent system: Love the idea, but there will still be “cookie-cutter” builds, they’ll just be a lot easier to type out. :) I have a further discussion coming on the talent system in this week’s Shifting column on WoWI.
Challenge mode dungeons: Very cool idea, though I wish they’d implement solo Challenges. I also am STRONGLY against the idea of challenge mode dungeons being accessible through the Dungeon Finder. Why? Imagine you start an 5v5 arena team. You find some other people who want to play, work hard, get beat up a bit, and eventually rise to a rating roughly equal to your level of skill. Now imagine a different person who clicks a queue button and gets put on an arena team filled with a bunch of other good players, and he is instantly rated the same. You get the picture, I hope. Thankfully, there’s no gear rewards, and you have to specifically queue for Challenge mode, which should help prevent, um, “motive mismatches.”
Pet battles: Meh. It’s WoW Pokemon. If you like Pokemon, great. If you don’t, don’t. Hopefully, there’s no in-game reward to make me feel like I have to do it.
Four specs for druids: No more bearcat. I’m quite sad, though I expected it (I expected it for Cata, actually). Those level 90 talents look very interesting, though…
Pandas: My first reaction? Nerdrage. “THEY REALLY DID PANDAS OMG THIS GAME JUST JUMPED THE SHARK!” Now that I’ve thought about it a little more, though, my thoughts have changed a little bit. I started playing WoW in earnest almost three years ago. I was a geographical bachelor (long story), and looking for a community. I became a hardcore player. I would have HATED Pandas then.
Now? A little over a year ago, my wife and I had a large fight over where my priorities lay. I walked away from the game that day, and came back, much later, as a *cough* “casual.” Today, I have a three-year old son, who I haven’t seen in several months…and according to my wife, he’s crazy about pandas. One part of my brain scoffs, “a perk called ‘Bouncy?’ That’s so lame!” The other part, though, is envisioning him laughing over the rolls and spinning kicks.
Go Team Panda! (Except when you roll on feral gear.)
Day 2 thoughts tomorrow.