The first day of BlizzCon 2018 is in the bag, and well, opinions are a bit mixed, it seems. Thought I’d go over some of the announced content and talk about how I’m feeling about it all.
Let’s start with Starcraft….or rather the lack thereof. We got a new co-op commander, and that’s it. I know people like to talk about Diablo being the abandoned franchise, but holy cow has Starcraft been left in the dust, or what? Blizzard has a truly great Sci-fi/space-fantasy universe here, and it’s a shame they’ve decided to do nothing more with it.
EDIT: I just looked it up and apparently it’s classified as “military science fiction“, at least on Wikipedia.
Where was I? Oh right. I do get it, pretty much every major character had their story wrapped up at the end of Legacy of the Void, but surely there’s other stories we can come up with in this universe? I just hate to see such a great franchise meeting a slow end like this. (I mean, maybe it’s not slow, I have no idea how popular the co-op commander mode is)
Next up is Hearthstone…which I don’t play, so I’m going to skip.
What? Okay yes, they have a new expac out and it’s Zandalar themed. Cool, I guess? It’s still a CCG which is a gametype that I don’t particularly care for. None of them ever teach you how to properly deckbuild, so you have to hope you have a card in some pre-built deck somewhere. Maybe Hearthstone is better about it, but CCGs have always seemed very pay-to-win to me, so I’ve never gotten much into it. I tried it when it first came out and I couldn’t beat anything outside of the tutorial mode.
Okay, enough griping about CCGs, let’s move to Heroes of the Storm
I don’t play against other people in Heroes, so I’ll skip all the matchmaking-y stuff since it doesn’t mean much to me. The big things are the new hero, Orphea, and the changes to hero roles. The big thing I’ve noticed is that the “Specialist” role is going away, with all of it’s heroes being fit elsewhere, mostly to the new “support” role or to “ranged assassin”. Quickmatches will also force a tank/healer/range assassin comp and fill the remaining spots with whatever. Sure, this seems fine, I guess, I just hope they can keep up a variety of hero design and not end up with repetitive heroes that all seem the same. Case in point is Sylvanas, She’s one of my favorite heroes to play because of her trait that can lock down buildings, and now she’s getting a rework where that will be an activated ability? DO NOT WANT. Ah well, I’m hardly the game’s target audience, so I guess my opinion matters least.
As far as Orphea, I like that Heroes is getting it’s own lore characters with hopefully progressing stories, but let’s not make the same mistake you’re making with Overwatch and just set up endless backstories with no character progression, please? I haven’t paid much attention to the whole Raven Lord vs Queen of Thorns story, but it sounds like it’s going somewhere, so let’s keep that up!
Moving on to Diablo. Boy, when they put out that little mini-announcement about not getting our hopes up, I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I guess now I see the reason. We got no Diablo 3 expansion, no Diablo 4, nothing about a Diablo 2 remaster, instead we get a….mobile game? Really? I’m….less than enthused about this. I already don’t mobile game a lot because frankly I don’t like playing on a system where a touchscreen is the only form of input and screen real estate is already something of a premium. A Diablo game is going to require constant input, which means your thumbs will likely never NOT be on the screen, and you’ll be constantly obscuring SOMETHING (and this is the key problem that makes this different than their phone version of Hearthstone, you don’t necessarily need your fingers over the screen all the time, so it’s a different experience). I would much rather play this on a mobile system with controllers attached, like the Switch, or even better a PC, but it seems they’re only bringing this to smartphones initially.
Maybe, depending on the price point, I’ll give this a shot, but I rarely game on my phone anyway. Hopefully they’ll do more with the Diablo franchise, because as announcements go, this one didn’t really excite me.
Okay, let’s move on to Overwatch. Here we got a new cinematic featuring McCree and a bunch of new characters, one of whom would be our new hero, Ashe. As usual I loved this cinematic. I’ll listen to Matt Mercer voicing things any day, but to hear the voice of Commander Shepard herself, Jennifer Hale voicing the new lady was just icing on the cake! Ashe looks like she’ll be a fun hero, one who rewards people who can nail amazing shots every time. Sadly, Overwatch is a little too fast paced for me to be much good with her, more than likely, but I’m looking forward to trying her out all the same. I think my one gripe here is probably the same I have for every Overwatch cinematic: It does a great job of setting up a character’s backstory, but that’s all we get. I love this narrative and universe Blizzard is building, but they will not move the story forward at all and seem adamant about not having any kind of single-player PvE campaign. I don’t get why. If all you want is an esports shooter title, I doubt competitive players care about a character’s story so why go to all this trouble to make cinematics, comics, everything to build up this world, and never actually tell a story in it? It’s incredibly frustrating.
Finally let’s go with World of Warcraft. As expected, we got a bit on patch 8.1 (including a release date!), and more on coming stuff in 8.1.5 and 8.2. Let’s do a very brief recap on what’s in each of those.
8.1 – Battle for Dazar’alor and Crucible of Storms raids, a Darkshore Warfront, Incursions, more story with Tyrande, Vol’jin, and Saurfang, dwarf and blood elf heritage armor. There’s more, but we know most of it already. Also here’s the Anduin and Saurfang trailer because YEP
8.1.5 – Kul Tiran and Zandalari allied races, revamps to AB and WSG, some profession quests, new holidays, WoD timewalking, and a new Brawlers Guild.
8.2 – NAJ’ZATAR zone with the raid holding Queen Azshara, a new Mechagnome themed zone with a megadungeon, more story for the characters we’ve set up so far, Gnome and Tauren heritage armor, Heroic Warfronts, and FLYING (but I bet it’s disabled in Najzatar and Mechagon >_<)
All in all, a whole bunch of neat. I’m definitely excited to see where the story goes (and I’m backing Saurfang FOREVER), but I also can’t wait to see what different mechanics the Darkshore warfront has, how good and fun the Incursions are for leveling alts, and check out what kind of weird and crazy environments we get in Najzatar! BFA’s start might not have been great, but hopefully it can finish a lot stronger!
Oh, and I suppose I should talk about the other two projects in the Warcraft Universe. Warcraft 3: Reforged and WoW Classic. I have zero interest in the latter, but the former looks spectacular and if the price point is good, I’ll definitely replay WC3 with awesome new graphics. Classic just does nothing for me. I don’t get why it would for anyone. I played classic back when it WAS WoW, and it was way more tedious and less fun than WoW is today. You may have issues with WoW’s direction in BFA, but Classic is guaranteed to be far less fun once that nostalgia wears off.
Okay, that’s my quick thoughts on Blizzcon Day 1! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you for a Day 2 recap!