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1

Diablo for Switch All But Confirmed

Just over a week ago we were speculating that this might be a thing...

Seems to me this all but confirms that Diablo is coming to Switch.

As I've said before, this presents a very nice addition to the Switch portfolio. This is an action, hack and slash, RPG which is really an underrepresented genre on consoles.

I find myself weirdly tempted by the idea. Diablo on the go. That's appealing to me.

8

My Absurd Blizzcon Wishlist

It’s that time of year again! It’s Blizzcon eve, and I’m going to make a few wishes upon a star and hope they come true.

Here’s what I really hope we see this weekend from Blizzard.

Warcraft 4

I really want to see this become a reality. Technically, I think they’ll do an HD remastered version of Warcraft 3 and Frozen Throne before we ever see a new Warcraft game, but that’s a mistake in my opinion.

A new RTS game would be a huge hit for Blizzard, and surely a success. Blizzard could use the Starcraft engine and no one would even care. I will never stop wishing for Warcraft 4 to be announced at Blizzcon.

A New MMO

Probably the most absurd of all my wishes is that of a new MMO (which we wouldn’t see until 2025). Diablo, Starcraft, Overwatch, or new IP. I don’t care. I’d like something new in the MMO space. I think Blizzard may even be the only company capable of figuring out how to launch a F2P MMO and succeed without the game being complete garbage. I’m not saying I want it to be F2P — quite the opposite — but I think they could experiment and succeed.

Overwatch PvE

I think it would be awesome if Blizzard took the Overwatch PvE gameplay to a new level and created a PvE campaign or some sort of PvE mode of sorts. I’d settle for a horde mode that stays all year long with lots of maps and features that really build up the PvE gameplay.

Action-Adventure Game

I’d like to see an action adventure game in the same vein as something made by Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. I think the Diablo property could possibly lend itself to something like this, or even the Warcraft property. Something single-player with a story.

Warcraft Adventure Game

Okay, so maybe not Lord of the Clans, but I’d love a Warcraft adventure game. Something point and click all about story. A retro throwback with humor, easter eggs, and lots of Blizzard class.

Not More of the Same

I’d be perfectly fine if we didn’t see a WoW expansion, Overwatch Hero/expansion/map, Hearthstone expansion(s), Diablo 3 season announcement, Heroes of the Storm hero, or Starcraft DLC announcement. Anything but more of the same would be a wish come true. I’m not saying it’s bad — no, it’s all quite good. I just want something new and mind-blowing to come out of Blizzcon this year.

Okay, those are my wishlist items! They’re absurd, and I’d be in complete shock if any of them were to ever come true. What are your Blizzcon hopes and dreams?

3

Blizzard’s Polish Makes Other Games Hard to Play

Today I actually managed to get some gaming in! I played Overwatch for the first time in many, many months. The first thing I noticed was how ridiculous smooth and gorgeous the animations were.

I chose to play Junkrat. Lobbing those grenades reminds me of Demoman from TF2 — one of my favorites. The attention to detail is miraculous. Even when you jump, Junkrat’s grenade launcher’s little lid that goes over the barrel flaps with the physics. I seriously would jump just to watch it happen.

I don’t have much more to say for this short entry other than to marvel at the polish and wish that other games would carry that same level of awe-inspiring finish. The gamingverse would be a much different place if they did.

Even Battlefront 2, which felt infinitely better than a game like CoD WW2, pales by comparison.

Anyway, just musing on the observation.

Blizzard Battle Royale Game

I want Blizzard to make a battle royale game. Why? Because it would be cool to see their take on the emerging genre. Blizzard typically sits back and watches a genre develop, then waltzes in and scores a huge success.

They could go with something a little more realistic in the graphics department, or approach it from the same stylized angle they do everything in and I don’t think it would really matter. Overwatch might really have the best design style, but I’d like something ever-so-slightly less cartoony.

None of their existing IPs would make much sense, so I wouldn’t want a Starcraft or Warcraft BR, or even an Overwatch. I’d want something completely vanilla and unique.

Blizzard might even be able to pull off a F2P business model where no one else would really succeed akin to Hearthstone.

Thinking about it gets my imagination and wishing glands going. How about you? Do you wish Blizzard which branch out a little more into genres like Battle Royale?

7

StarCraft Remastered

Blizzard announced something interesting thing week: StarCraft Remastered.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/5ypU9j4w3_w” width=”730″][/su_youtube]

Here’s what we know so far:

  • They’ve been working on it for about a year
  • Gameplay will be 4k UHD, cinematics 1080p
  • There will be multiplayer (and it’ll be crossplay between HD and non HD versions)
  • SC and BW originals are going to be free
  • No pricing is announced yet

I’m curious about price. Being Blizzard, I don’t doubt they will try to charge $39 for this. Personally, I won’t pay more than $19.99 and that’s pushing it. I’d rather pay $9.99 and would happily do so. Since the multiplayer is compatible between both versions, and SC/BW are both going free, it’s curious to charge much at all for the HD version.

I have long been expecting and requesting Blizzard to travel down this road of remastered games. They have a library just begging to be redone. I want to see the original Warcraft, Warcraft 2, Diablo, and Diablo 2 redone. I’d even love to see Warcraft 3 remastered. I’ll put on my speculation cap once again and look for any opportunity I can to predict Warcraft 4… I bet they’ll remaster one game every 6 months to a year and have the Warcraft series culminate to the announcement of WC4.

Thoughts on remastered games? I’m a fan, obviously. But the price has the be right. I loved Diablo 2, but I can’t imagine paying more than $20 for the experience again. And there’s also the desire to play these games with quality-of-life improvements. Remake vs. remaster is an entirely different conversation, but one I think all of us will have with ourselves after we purchase our first remaster and wonder, perhaps, how we were ever able to stand playing these games.

10

WoW’s Legion Expansion Will Be a Long One

Blizzard lost all trust with their players back when they said they wanted to release expansions every year, then said they wanted to do more content (then didn’t and went a year with no new content), then said they wanted to do expansions faster again. Well now it seems they’ve yet again flip flopped, but they’re at least admitting anything they say will sound hollow.

At this point, I don’t think that yearly expansions would be the best thing for our players – Ion Hazzikostas, WoW Asst. Game Director

Ion also went on to say that they plan on focusing on more patch content and building on current stories to keep players entertained. In other words, we’re going to have Legion for a long, long time. Hopefully they can keep the content flowing in order to keep players interested.

How do you guys feel about longer expansions vs. more expansions in general (not just WoW)? I think I like the idea of more patches and rich content in a longer expansion cycles as long as the expansions are truly major “expansions” to the game itself and how it’s played over just adding more content. Expansions should never be patches. That’s something Blizzard has nailed pretty well. Every expansion feels like the game is being overhauled or taken to the ‘next level’.

As long as I — the player — never feel bored without something to do, I’m fine waiting a reasonably longer amount of time for a big overhaul. I prefer that over feeling like I don’t have time to do everything I want, or feeling like everything I’m doing is just going to be wiped out from mudflation or a change of direction. For example, if I played WoD when it launched and was really beefing up my Garrison just to find out that in a few months that expansions would be meaningless, I probably wouldn’t care about my Garrison.

P.S. Content =\= Achievements or Pets

5

Redefining WoW’s Endgame

WoW World Quests

Yesterday I mentioned how WoW’s zones will scale in the Legion expansion. Utilizing such a feature, Blizzard plans to do away with Daily Quest Hubs and replace them with ‘events’ that will rotate in and out. These events seem to operate similarly — from what little information I have — to those “public quests” (wrong analogy but they are open to everyone to open their map and go to) used in other games, with the exception being many seem to be geared toward solo players.

The “World Quests” are designed to offer more of a guide or structure to endgame play sessions rather than act compulsively on players as a “you must do these quests in this order every day” type of mentality. As someone who has never liked dailies, and currently stuck doing them in Tanaan on my Monk, I am definitely looking forward to a system that presents me with opportunities rather than forcing me to feel compelled to “do my dailies.”

“World Quests will show you quests, rare elite spawns, rare spawns, pet battles, outdoor PvP activities, world bosses, special dungeon activities, profession activities, and more. Want to know what there is to do in Azeroth today? Just open your map!” – Muffinus, WoW Designer

As I alluded to in the beginning, I think this will work nicely with the zone scaling. Players will have reasons to go everyone in The Broken Isles rather than all congregating in one final zone. We’ll be able to choose what types of activities we want to do each day when we log in. Some of these quests will be daily, weekly, or even hourly events.

There will still be rep grinds. There will still be a legitimate argument to be made about semantics. In a way, these are still “dailies.” You’re still logging in each day and doing activities, otherwise you’ll miss out on potential progression. Blizzard is simply expanding the scope of the definition to include more play styles and a slightly more forgiving presentation.

Despite the semantics, this is a step in the right direction. I like choices. I like logging in and being able to think, “What would I like to do today?” Any step away from “go to this hub, take these 10 blue exclamation points, and come back tomorrow” sounds good to me.

6

WoW Entices Players to Return with Free 90, WoD, and Game Time

Looks like Blizzard is ramping up the WoW marketing in time for their investor call on May 5. I don’t know if any of this is necessarily new, but it’s new to me so thought I’d share.

Free WoD and 90

 

Graev received the above email this evening. I don’t know if it’s legit. I told Graev not to click on it but instead go to his account settings. He said he’ll let me know if it’s legit or not. I’m assuming it’s real? Pretty sweet deal for someone like Graev who hasn’t played in forever. He was actually intrigued by the offer. The corgi pet coming in Legion may also have something to do with that.

I did note the expiration date on the offer, though… curious.

I sorta wish they’d give me a 90 boost. I want to level another character, but I have no interest in slogging my way through the 75-90 grind again. Goes back to the journey meaning absolutely jack in WoW. The game really doesn’t begin until 90 right now, and if you don’t like building up your Garrison then it doesn’t begin until you’ve been 100 for a few months.

So if you haven’t played WoW in awhile, check your inbox. You might get for free what I had to buy last August.

25

Blizzard Responds to Nostalrius Drama

The talk of the town today has been Blizzard’s response to Nostalrius. Let’s take a look at what they have to say, and then I’ll address a few key points.

[su_expand more_text=”Expand the rest of Blizzard’s Response” height=”300″ less_text=”Read less…” text_color=”#2a2a2a” link_color=”#011948″ more_icon=”icon: file-text-o” less_icon=”icon: eject”]We wanted to let you know that we’ve been closely following the Nostalrius discussion and we appreciate your constructive thoughts and suggestions.

Our silence on this subject definitely doesn’t reflect our level of engagement and passion around this topic. We hear you. Many of us across Blizzard and the WoW Dev team have been passionate players ever since classic WoW. In fact, I personally work at Blizzard because of my love for classic WoW.

We have been discussing classic servers for years – it’s a topic every BlizzCon – and especially over the past few weeks. From active internal team discussions to after-hours meetings with leadership, this subject has been highly debated. Some of our current thoughts:

Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.

We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.

So what can we do to capture that nostalgia of when WoW first launched? Over the years we have talked about a “pristine realm”. In essence that would turn off all leveling acceleration including character transfers, heirloom gear, character boosts, Recruit-A-Friend bonuses, WoW Token, and access to cross realm zones, as well as group finder. We aren’t sure whether this version of a clean slate is something that would appeal to the community and it’s still an open topic of discussion.

One other note – we’ve recently been in contact with some of the folks who operated Nostalrius. They obviously care deeply about the game, and we look forward to more conversations with them in the coming weeks.

You, the Blizzard community, are the most dedicated, passionate players out there. We thank you for your constructive thoughts and suggestions. We are listening.

J. Allen Brack[/su_expand]

Obviously there’s PR speak going on here. The “we hear you” and “we too feel this way” and “even I’m here because I love classic” or “we’ve looked into it and its hard” stuff is a tad sycophantic. But that’s all there because of what follows.

Blizzard has to protect their IP, otherwise they lose their rights. That’s the part everyone with even a whisper of a clue knew because that’s how intellectual property law works. I don’t think that comes as a shock to anyone, nor is any of that why people are talking about about this release. The real reason….

Pristine Realms

Here’s where people are going a bit nuts and not only reading waaaay too far into this, but also missing the mark entirely. First — no, this does not mean Blizzard is missing the point. They know you want vanilla. It’s at least a public acknowledgement that there has been thought to a solution.

I believe people underestimate what a big deal it is to support a classic server. Blizzard employs an army of customer service representatives just to handle a game that has a consistent experience. Imagine if the customer support had to be (1) trained and (2) taking the time to manage multiple version. You think they’re slow now?

Looking at the only major example of classic servers out there right now, we see that even EverQuest hasn’t been able to recreate a true “classic” experience. Their “progression” servers or “time-locked” servers all have modern conveniences built into them. They have major updates they simple can’t remove.

People don’t REALLY want Vanilla

At least I don’t. I don’t miss that version of WoW. I think modern WoW is way better. When it comes to a themepark, I prefer the convenience. If I’m looking for an experience that takes commitment and dedication then I want more than questing and gear treadmills from that investment. I’ve done the ‘first to kill all the raid bosses’ thing on 3 different WoW servers. I’ve done the competitive play. That’s not fun for me. What’s fun is the journey, and that’s why I dabble in EverQuest classic servers, but WoW lacks that journey. WoW has -never- been about the journey.

Blizzard knows most people would agree. Most people want modern WoW and its conveniences. When I say most, I mean enough that it doesn’t make financial sense for them to do classic. If classic meant way more money, then as a public company seeking to make profit they’d do it. They’re not in the business of testing something publicly just to see if it works. They’re crunching data, and I bet you the data shows it’s not worth their time. If they wanted to have a classic experience, it would have already been done.

 

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