The Blizzcon Weekend Wrap Up

There was nothing on the schedule for Blizzcon that gave you that hyped up experience you wanted. They didn’t have any real panels listed. It was hard to get into the spirit of things this year, especially when the digital ticket loot was lacking this year. There was the excitement of potentially seeing some interesting protests, and of course the Overwatch World Cup. When the schedule was finally announced after the opening ceremony, there was still so much secrecy around the closing act(s). Then when it was announced, the digital ticket holders got frozen out of the only decent closing act playing. That was a slap in the face to digital ticket holders, who were able to enjoy much bigger acts in the past with our ticket. Aside from that complaint, let’s see what there was to talk about.

The biggest event was what happened with Overwatch for me. The announcement of Overwatch 2, with PVE was really exciting for me. I’m a huge fan of the lore and story of Overwatch. The PVE modes were some of the coolest things in Overwatch. To have a game primarily centered around these story modes? I’m pretty excited about that. It seems so early in production though to really know exactly how cool this will be. Hopefully next year there will be a beta to get into. On the competitive side of Overwatch, the World Cup was a really exciting event this year. I like that Team Korea had competition this year. I especially like that they didn’t take home the title again this year. Even more exciting than the fact that Team USA took home the gold was how exciting these matches were. Team China deserved their spot and they were insane. Just not as insane as Team USA.

Then, there was the World of Warcraft announcement: a new expansion called “Shadowlands”. I wasn’t too hyped about it, until watching the cinematic. Blizzard knows how to do a good cinematic and this was no exception. Watching it was exciting, but would the xpac live up to the hype? Judging by the Deep Dive panel, I think so. Going back to certain things that players missed, such as being a shadow priest but able to actually heal yourself with something more than the disappointing shadowmend. The storyline seems like it could be really amazing. Then again, so did “Battle for Azeroth” and we know how that ended up. I like the idea of Covenants and the new zones look stunning. I can’t wait to learn more about it at next Blizzcon. Or getting into the beta. Either way works for me.

The other exciting thing was the new Diablo announcement. Diablo 4 looks pretty awesome, but I was really disappointed with Diablo before and I don’t want to get burned again. Sure, it’s fun to play on the Switch when you’re bored, but it’s not something I actively go for when I want to game. I like the changes, the visuals are beautiful, and the new customization features could be awesome. It will be interesting to see how this game turns out.

There were some really great things out of Blizzcon this year, but I feel as a digital ticket holder the whole thing was disappointing. I hope that next year they bring it back up to the awesome level it was last year.

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Was WoW Classic the Home We Were Promised?

Prior to this weekend at Blizzcon, we knew that there would be a playable demo that digital ticket holders would receive. When the demo was first unlocked, there was a time limit to play. Now there isn’t. I played about 2 hours of the demo, a little on each side. I’ll continue to play to enjoy the demo while I still have it. But the question that we all were wondering was “Could we really go home again?”

The first toon I created was a Human priest, the OG Leighanneore. I did have a couple toons that I created before settling on her. One was an Undead rogue, but that got boring quickly. I went to the Alliance side to those cool looking elves, trying out the druid. Again, I wasn’t quite feeling it. I was starting to think that maybe this game wasn’t for me when I first got the game. I was ready to give up. I decided to try a Human priest. I wasn’t quite sure what made me go that route, but my gut told me to. Since that time, over a decade ago, I have remained loyal to my Human priest though the Void Elf makes it really hard to stick to. But if nothing else, I’m loyal.

Naturally when trying out the demo, my first character was a Human priest. After creating (recreating?) Leighanneore, who looks much different back then (maybe it’s all the war and saving the world that has made her younger and prettier), I was boosted to level 15 and dropped down into Westfall. I groaned. I really hated Westfall. Those gnolls and murlocs have a way of never stopping their chase after you and aggroing entire camps of them even if you’re not even close. At first, I took the same approach that I did leveling her as holy. I slowly grabbed one mob at a time and slowly holy’ed them to death. Until I remembered that I had Mind Blast at that level, which made things go a lot quicker. I would dot something to pull it only to remember that back then, dots didn’t matter. My mobs would get stolen left and right and no one would group with me to help. They didn’t care. It was just like Vanilla.

Then there were the people who you could instantly tell never played Vanilla in its true form. They were mass pulling entire camps as hunters, only to die because this is Vanilla not BFA. It was all fun and games until the hunter would feign death and the innocent bystander killing gnolls in my own little corner would die because of their stupidity. They didn’t learn; they continued to do it. Those guys are never going to last when Classic does come out. It’s going to be great.

I did die a lot. It felt like home. There was something comforting in the frustration that I had to actually read quests now. Mostly because back in those days, we didn’t have the quests pop up on the map to tell us where to go. We just had to read to figure it out and when we couldn’t, there was this really awesome site called “thottbot” where we would stalk to figure it out. Or, the classic dungeon guides and books. Yes, we had to read back then. It was awesome.

Then I realized that it was exactly what I had hoped it would be. In the live game, I can mindlessly grind without any real effort being put into the game. You can see that from how quickly I level my characters up. People didn’t have 20 alts in Vanilla. You barely had time for the 1 that you had. You couldn’t hit 20 levels in a day. You couldn’t just spam dungeons in the LFG. You actually had to go to an LFG channel in chat to look for groups. You actually had to zone into a dungeon, which sometimes meant killing elites to get into them. You couldn’t just pull every mob in the area, even with a group especially at lower levels. It was hard. You had to farm and farm to get money, not just have 1000 drop from completing world quests. It was exactly what I wanted.

I was scared that they were going to give us something half-assed; something that would appease the people who only heard of Vanilla in stories. I desperately wanted them to give us that experience that made fans fall in love with the game. Where you formed friendships and bonds with people from all over. Where you need to work together for goals. Being an introvert, I like being able to do my own thing on my own terms with people I just like hanging out with. Back then, I was forced out of my comfort zone to complete “end-game content”. It was great for me because I had to communicate with others to complete goals. I created friends in the later part of Vanilla/early BC, some of which I still talk to all of the time.

They didn’t. They stayed true to the spirit of Vanilla with WoW: Classic and as a long-time fan of the series, I’m so excited. I could play the demo all day and not get bored. I like being frustrated every time a mob kills me out of nowhere. I like that I can’t just keep dotting everything until they die. I’d like to thank the team for being so passionate about doing this for fans. I’d like to thank them for reminding some of us veterans of the game why we love it. Even when we hate it.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll probably be streaming a little bit more of the demo while it’s still around. Right now the first stream is archived on Twitch but it will be uploaded to YouTube by tomorrow.