Stan

BlizzCon 2017 Predictions

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Will we see zone scaling and subraces in the next expansion? Check out our BlizzCon predictions for World of Warcraft!

The Black Empire & Kul Tiras

Our friends at MMO-Champion datamined Kul Tiras quest armor back in July. In late August, Blizzard tried to cover it up by removing the armor from the game (together with some irrelevant Throne of Thunder assets). The armor texture revealed more than it should have. Tentacles and a map of an area that does not exist yet. Legion's end draws closer and it was the ideal time for Blizzard to create a preface for the next expansion in Patch 7.3.2. In later 7.3.2 PTR builds, the phased version of Silithus called "The Wound" has been decrypted. In the screenshot below, you can see "cubes" (encrypted models) that correspond to Sargeras' sword plunged into Azeroth.

XyaiFVG.jpg

A build before that, new sound files emerged explaining what exactly caused the Wound. A shout out to Chaud from MMO-Champion, who also noticed a shirt description that has later been removed. World of Warcraft key art for this year's BlizzCon is none other than Jaina Proudmoore. So what's coming in terms of lore to World of Warcraft next expansion? A new story for Jaina, Kul Tiras and of course the good Old Gods! For more details keep an eye out on the official Patch 8.0 speculation thread!

Zone Scaling

One of the most interesting features Blizzard could announce in the next expansion is zone scaling. In Legion, you can level up anywhere on the Broken Isles and the mobs, quests, rewards scale to your current level. The technology is definitely there and it would be cool too see zone scaling implemented across the game. Why? Well, doing a complete overhaul of the old world is time-consuming in terms of resources and not really worth the effort, especially now when Blizzard's producing content at a faster pace than ever. In Cataclysm, a lot of zones were updated, but after so many expansions, it's hard to keep them relevant. Leveling in old areas is a problem. By the time you reach an area, two Group Finder queues will pop up and after having finished said dungeons, you can move to a new zone, before you even enter the one you were flying to. With zone scaling enabled, your current level would have no direct impact on your leveling experience and you'd have the freedom of choice. Do you hate Outland? No problem! You can go level up your character elsewhere!

We can now queue up for most of the World Events in World of Warcraft at low levels and that's another hint as to why I think zone scaling is coming soon.

Stat Squish

Power level jumps between tiers have been really high throughout Legion and I think it was mentioned last year that a stat squish after Legion is inevitable.

Subraces

As previously datamined, subraces are most likely coming to World of Warcraft. Currently, we only know of the Nightborne & Lightforged Draenei and the Highmountain Tauren & Void Elves. Adding various tattoos, skin tones and other features to existing races provides a new layer of character customization and identity. The most interesting question is: "Are we going to see subraces implemented for all races?" From the top of my head, I can think of several variations of subraces for existing races, but I cannot really think of any suitable subraces for the Pandaren or Worgen. On the other hand, the Draenei could have the following subraces: Broken, Eredar, Lightforged.

Handclaw found three assets related to Void Elves in the game files (Off-hand, 1H Sword, Shield).

offhand.png1hsword.pngvoidelfshield.png

(Images were taken using WoW Model Viewer)

Other than that, we can only speculate about the appearance of Void Elves, based on Alleria's in-game Void model.

alleriavoid.png

(Image was taken using WoW Model Viewer)

Highmountain Tauren have multiple variations in the game right now. I'm listing only four screenshots in this article, but you can find the full gallery here.

vRgyzXL.pngbCaR0rb.pngESxa911.png9ksqGtO.png

(Images were taken using WoW Model Viewer)

What cool features would you like to see in the next expansion? Let us know in the comments!

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35 minutes ago, Dejo93 said:

What are your thoughts on the Tides of Vengeance image?

I heard that it's fake and author of that logo just make it for prank and example that you can't trust everything on internet. Guess it was about that one. So many fakes ones around atm.

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Revamping the (pretty much) entirety of Azeroth in Cataclysm was one of the most ambitious projects the WoW team ever had and their estimation of work was still too low. They talked about how they rated the zones from green to red in terms of overhaul/time/effort required to update them, and they admitted and were surprised how much more work the zones actually required once they started working on it.

 

I don't think zone scaling for all zones will be added in this expansion pack because of the sheer work required for this, and that's it is rather a multi-expansion kind of project. Unless Blizzard have decided to change up how you level up entirely, I wouldn't be too surprised about it because of the amount of criticism some people tend to give of "omg now the other class is FOTM and I gotta level THAT!". Although I honestly feel the blame falls on those players for always wanting to play FOTM, I still get the vibe somehow that Blizzard is agreeing with them.

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13 hours ago, Yridaa said:

I don't think zone scaling for all zones will be added in this expansion pack because of the sheer work required for this, and that's it is rather a multi-expansion kind of project.

Definitely agree with this. I can't see them justifying that much work and money spent for one expansion.

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The old Zone needs a redone. The leveling is so fast now that the story is almost gone.  New players are just flying pass to higher level fast.  Perhaps redo some of the wow foundation storyline to accommodate the fast leveling. 

 

One update I would love to see coming from Blizzard. How about $4.99 subscription. The $180 a year is getting old. The company already earn $1.7billion quarterly. It’s time to lower the cost.  

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48 minutes ago, Dudu said:

The old Zone needs a redone.

 

48 minutes ago, Dudu said:

It’s time to lower the cost.  

This just doesn't make sense. You're asking Blizzard to do an insane amount of work to redo the foundation that 4-5 expansions have formed in the world, but then lower the money they're bringing in. So more work for less money. No business in their right mind will ever do that.

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Oh goody, void elves. Because we didn't have enough people named some variation of drzzzzzzzzzzzzzt before.

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1 hour ago, Blainie said:

 

This just doesn't make sense. You're asking Blizzard to do an insane amount of work to redo the foundation that 4-5 expansions have formed in the world, but then lower the money they're bringing in. So more work for less money. No business in their right mind will ever do that.

You're actually describing the state of American labor. 

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17 minutes ago, MrEdren said:

Oh goody, void elves.

I just wanna make my Rogue look edgy AF.

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4 minutes ago, Plergoth said:

All I want is Jaina to appear in a cinematic and say "Never talk to me or my water elemental ever again". 

While flipping her hair in a sassy way?

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Having every zone scale to your current level would probably cause me to quit the game entirely. Leveling certainly needs to be addressed in some way. But, I go back to old zones to farm stuff to take a break from the 'work' of a current zone. I also think that having the zones scale to your current level pretty much breaks the 'story' arc even more. 'I conquered Durotar and became good enough to specialize a lifetime ago...why is it hard now 20 years later?'

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Just now, Tupi said:

Having every zone scale to your current level would probably cause me to quit the game entirely. Leveling certainly needs to be addressed in some way. But, I go back to old zones to farm stuff to take a break from the 'work' of a current zone. I also think that having the zones scale to your current level pretty much breaks the 'story' arc even more. 'I conquered Durotar and became good enough to specialize a lifetime ago...why is it hard now 20 years later?'

You could always have the option to toggle back, but I wonder if they'd put in all that work just to have people not even use it.

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7 hours ago, Tupi said:

Having every zone scale to your current level would probably cause me to quit the game entirely. Leveling certainly needs to be addressed in some way. But, I go back to old zones to farm stuff to take a break from the 'work' of a current zone. I also think that having the zones scale to your current level pretty much breaks the 'story' arc even more. 'I conquered Durotar and became good enough to specialize a lifetime ago...why is it hard now 20 years later?'

There could be new threats against a zone like Durotar and something about to go down in Orgrimmar from either Alliance/Kul Tiras or another opposing faction/race like Naga or whatever.

 I like the idea of going back to defend your homeland.. Not, oh I completed the trials many years ago so there is no possible way a harsh land like Durotar could ever need my heroism again. 

The world doesnt feel that threatened by the Burning Legion currently apart from The Broken Isles. Legion Invasions pre-Legion were cool but that was such a short time and before the expansion even released. 

Edited by ZugZugForTheHorde

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58 minutes ago, ZugZugForTheHorde said:

There could be new threats against a zone like Durotar and something about to go down in Orgrimmar from either Alliance/Kul Tiras or another opposing faction/race like Naga or whatever.

 I like the idea of going back to defend your homeland.. Not, oh I completed the trials many years ago so there is no possible way a harsh land like Durotar could ever need my heroism again. 

The world doesnt feel that threatened by the Burning Legion currently apart from The Broken Isles. Legion Invasions pre-Legion were cool but that was such a short time and before the expansion even released. 

Blizzard have always been pretty unhappy about sending us back to old content - they like us to experience new stuff and new zones, hence the emphasis on the Legion's presence on Broken Shore etc.

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I disagree that implementing zone leveling would be a too costly or too much work. From what we seen with the pre-expansion invasion events, I bet it's nothing more than applying a specific 'filter' to the quests. We already see this with the holiday events (my level 25 hunter and my 110 hunter both got level appropriate rewards from killing the Headless Horseman). As the OP stated, leveling a new alt up via existing content is often under paced to full heirloom gear. I was fighting level 12-13 mobs on my level 5 priest because the gear is both OP and so quick to level. It took finding a +10 mob (skull for level) before I died. PLUS it could open up the leveling experience. When everything is level appropriate, all the level 15-60 dungeons could be part of my leveling queue. No more have 45 minute DPS queue time because only one healer in your same level. 

I've posted about this back on April Fools, and personally love the idea of 'changing the leveling lore'. So many of those quests no longer make sense due to the expansions that happen after; why force us to stick to it. This could also create some epic quest arcs. Imagine a story line that simply follows Garrosh from beginning to end. You start with his discovery in BC, followed by military career blossoming in Wrath, with his corruption in Mists, then Thrall killing him off in Draenor. All done with a week as you progress through the 60-70 levels. Maybe even roll-in a 'timewalking' edition of all the raids that involve him (Siege most notably). 

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1 hour ago, Elkagorasa said:

I've posted about this back on April Fools, and personally love the idea of 'changing the leveling lore'. So many of those quests no longer make sense due to the expansions that happen after; why force us to stick to it. This could also create some epic quest arcs. Imagine a story line that simply follows Garrosh from beginning to end. You start with his discovery in BC, followed by military career blossoming in Wrath, with his corruption in Mists, then Thrall killing him off in Draenor. All done with a week as you progress through the 60-70 levels. Maybe even roll-in a 'timewalking' edition of all the raids that involve him (Siege most notably). 

Is this just placing a filter though? It's a very different thing to just scale areas than to actively rework them. And in your example of killing level 12-13 mobs on your level 5, scaling would make it even more boring for you. They'd need to rework every mobs HP levels to be a challenge once more, since you wouldn't be able to fight those level 12-13s, they'd be level 5 just like you in the filter version.

I really think it's a lot more work than people give it credit, especially given just how much of it would need to be reworked. Also, keep in mind that they'd likely need to scale it based on gear too, otherwise things will either be way too hard for people without heirlooms or way too easy for people with, thereby defeating the point of it all.

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I think the zone scaling could work, if not across all content then you could split it by xpac so that the "vanilla" zones scaled from 1 to 60, outland scales 60 - 70, northrend 70 to 80 etc. Then when you are levelling in those areas you don't have to move as fast.

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6 hours ago, brainbug said:

I think the zone scaling could work, if not across all content then you could split it by xpac so that the "vanilla" zones scaled from 1 to 60, outland scales 60 - 70, northrend 70 to 80 etc. Then when you are levelling in those areas you don't have to move as fast.

Doing this would maybe let them release them at different times at least, meaning they can spread out the workload of it.

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17 hours ago, ZugZugForTheHorde said:

There could be new threats against a zone like Durotar and something about to go down in Orgrimmar from either Alliance/Kul Tiras or another opposing faction/race like Naga or whatever.

 I like the idea of going back to defend your homeland.. Not, oh I completed the trials many years ago so there is no possible way a harsh land like Durotar could ever need my heroism again. 

The world doesnt feel that threatened by the Burning Legion currently apart from The Broken Isles. Legion Invasions pre-Legion were cool but that was such a short time and before the expansion even released. 

I wasn't talking about new threats that create a different phased event in an old zone. I could be wrong, but what I thought I read was that the old zones may scale to your current level regardless of any event so that if you didn't want to level a toon in Outland you could go somewhere else to level.

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On 10/30/2017 at 7:45 AM, Blainie said:

You could always have the option to toggle back, but I wonder if they'd put in all that work just to have people not even use it.

A toggle option could work...but, wouldn't that mean a much bigger hardware footprint server wise?

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15 hours ago, Blainie said:

Is this just placing a filter though? It's a very different thing to just scale areas than to actively rework them. And in your example of killing level 12-13 mobs on your level 5, scaling would make it even more boring for you. They'd need to rework every mobs HP levels to be a challenge once more, since you wouldn't be able to fight those level 12-13s, they'd be level 5 just like you in the filter version.

I really think it's a lot more work than people give it credit, especially given just how much of it would need to be reworked. Also, keep in mind that they'd likely need to scale it based on gear too, otherwise things will either be way too hard for people without heirlooms or way too easy for people with, thereby defeating the point of it all.

I have to agree with @Elkagorasa. I don't think it's that complicated or a "multi-expansion" effort. You scale down all numbers, bump NPC health / damage per level across the board and that's it. Mobs are easy to kill nowadays even without heirlooms. Quest rewards would work like in Legion. Different ilvl thresholds / xp rewards at different levels.

Expansion restrictions would apply. It wouldn't make much sense to level in Icecrown at level 1, but having the opportunity to level up anywhere in Northrend at 68 would be cool.

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1 hour ago, Stan said:

I have to agree with @Elkagorasa. I don't think it's that complicated or a "multi-expansion" effort. You scale down all numbers, bump NPC health / damage per level across the board and that's it. Mobs are easy to kill nowadays even without heirlooms. Quest rewards would work like in Legion. Different ilvl thresholds / xp rewards at different levels.

But from so many people I see the idea that they want a harder, more challenging experience while leveling - to achieve that, surely you need to find some sort of middle ground with how you change numbers? If you tune too high to make it challenging for people with heirlooms, then you make it way too difficult for a normal player without them. If you tune it too low, players with heirlooms (a large majority of people) will find everything too easy again. 

Gear scaling would take a lot more work and testing, I assume, rather than simply buffing the damage and health.

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      Mythic Keystone Dungeon Season 2 Begins
      The new Mythic Keystone Dungeon season opens opportunities for new rewards and a new challenge with the new seasonal affix: Reaping. High-level Keystones will now summon Bwonsamdi, the Loa of Death, to wreak some spectral havoc upon players’ dungeon run. As heroes kill enemies, the vanquished spirits will continue to linger in the mortal realm. At certain points throughout the dungeon, Bwonsamdi will resurrect these twisted souls, who will swarm the unfortunate adventurers in a final act of vengeance. (Blog coming soon.)
      Azerite Armor Updates
      With the release of Season 2, we’re introducing new epic Azerite pieces from PvP Season 2, the Battle of Dazar’alor raid, World Quest Emissaries, and from the Mythic Keystone vendor Thaumaturge Vashreen in Zuldazar and Boralus. These new items will have a fifth ring with additional new trait options. Learn more.
      Content Difficulty and Rewards Changes
      With a new season upon us and the Dazar’alor raid dungeon opening, we wanted to share some additional information on the changes coming to a variety of dungeon and outdoor world encounters including increases to both difficulty and rewards.
      New Maximum Item Level: With great challenges come great rewards and the maximum possible item level will go up to 425. Battle for Darkshore Warfront: Battle for Darkshore rewards will also increase to 400 from both the outdoor boss and from Warfront quest that can be completed once per cycle. The difficulty of the Warfront will increase however, and the item level required to queue will increase to 335. These changes will go into effect after the current Warfront cycle has ended. Until that time, players will still receive Season 1 rewards. World Quest Emissary Rewards: World Quest Emissary weapon and armor rewards will also now scale up to 385 based on the player’s own item level. Rewards from the original Battle for Azeroth Launch World bosses will remain at item level 355 to stay on par with Uldir. Dungeon Rewards and Difficulty: The difficulty of Heroic and Mythic dungeons will also be increase as follows:  Normal–340, Heroic–355, and Mythic– 370(baseline) Mythic Keystone Dungeons and PvP: During the first week of Season 2 Mythic Keystone Dungeon rewards will be capped at Mythic 6 quality (item level 385). PvP Season 2 end-of-match rewards will be capped at 385. Seals of Wartorn Fate: Seals of Wartorn Fate are not being reset and this same currency can be used for Battle of Dazar’alor and Season 2 bonus rolls; the cap on how many can be held at once remains at 5. For additional insights on these changes, read the developer forum post.
    • By Stan
      Arena World Championship (AWC) and the Mythic Dungeon Invitational (MDI) will return in 2019 with a few twists. MDI will be split into two regions and for the first time, players will be able to crowdfund both events and increase the prize pools by purchasing in-game toys in spring.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Today we are very excited to share details for the 2019 Arena World Championship (AWC) and rebranded Mythic Dungeon International (still MDI!), including increases to both programs’ prize pools, which will come from a portion of the sales of two new toys. Let’s get right into it.
      Arena Returns for 2019
      We are pleased to bring back the Arena World Championship in similar form as last year—just with a few fun twists. Here’s a visual representation of the system in 2019:

      North America and Europe: The NA and EU regions will have two Arena seasons each, with six cups per season. Each cup will see teams battle for their share of a USD $10,000 prize pool. This represents an increase over last year’s competition, with more cups and more chances for players to win. Like last year, each cup will award points. For each finals event, the top four point-earners per season from both NA and EU will compete for a USD $100,000 prize pool. The first cup begins on Feb. 8; signups start today and will close Monday, Jan. 28, at 10 a.m. PDT/6 p.m. CET.
      Asia-Pacific, China, and Latin America: These regions also will run cups based on the Arena World Championship ruleset. Signups for Korea, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, Australia/New Zealand, China, and Latin America will kick off later in the year. Keep an eye on regional channels for more information.
      Arena World Championship Finals: At the end of the year, we will celebrate the global scope of Arena with the AWC Finals. Invitations will be extended to:
      1st place from NA and EU Season 1 1st and 2nd place from NA and EU Summer Finals Top point-earner from NA and top point-earner from EU Winners of the China, APAC, and Latin America finals. Introducing the Mythic Dungeon International
      An invitational no more, we are pleased to announce the Mythic Dungeon International for 2019—a seasonal competition that will showcase the world’s best dungeon-running teams. We decided to update the name of the program in order to better reflect its increased scope and global reach. The Upgrades
      MDI will be split into two regions: MDI East (China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Australia/New Zealand) and MDI West (North America, Latin America, and Europe). Here is how the year will flow:

      The Proving Grounds are a qualification period open to any player with a Blizzard Battle.net account in good standing. Think you’ve got what it takes to be Mythic Dungeon International champions? Grab a team of five players and prove it! All you and your team need to do is complete five level 14 Mythic Keystone Dungeons in time between February 26 and March 12. (Note: Keystone level is subject to change, and will be determined sometime after the start of Season 2, on Jan. 22.) If successful, you and your team will be granted access to the Tournament Realm, where you will be able to create max-level characters, equip them with the items you feel are most optimal, and build out talents as you please. You and your team will have access to the Tournament Realm for the duration of the season.
      Each season, those who have gained access to the Tournament Realm via the Proving Grounds will be able to participate in Time Trials—a limited number of attempts at the week’s dungeons during a designated time period, of which your team’s best results will be submitted automatically. Each week will alternate between East and West, beginning with the Time Trial in ending in the week’s Cup, a double-elimination bracket featuring the top eight teams for that week’s region. All teams on the Tournament Realm will be able to run in their region’s Time Trials every alternating week, which means more opportunities to participate in Cups.
      Each Cup for MDI East and MDI West will be broadcast live on Twitch each weekend across six weeks. There is a USD $12,000 prize pool per Cup, as well as MDI points. Points will be awarded each week according to results, which will be used to determine who will be invited to each end-of-season LAN final. The end-of-season LAN events will be cross-regional, meaning the best teams of MDI East and MDI West will meet to race for their share of USD $100,000. The Proving Grounds for MDI Season 1 for both East and West will begin the week of February 26, when keystone affixes roll over. Closer to the event we will share more information about how to participate, qualification specifics, and more. NEW TOYS FOR ME? I PROMISE I WON’T BREAK THEM THIS TIME!
      As both Arena and MDI grow, we want to give fans a chance to further support the programs—and have some fun along the way! Soon we will introduce two new in-game toys to our shop (details to follow). A portion of the sale of these toys will contribute to the prize pools for both WoW esports programs.
      These toys will go on sale in the spring. As the proceeds will contribute to the year’s final LAN event prize pools for AWC and MDI, those prize pools will be announced later this year.
      We can’t wait to get things started. Be sure to follow World of Warcraft on Twitter and Twitch to stay up to date on all the latest WoW esports news, and bookmark WorldOfWarcraft.com/esports so you don’t miss a thing!