Back To Wrath….Back To Reality?

After spending a lengthy amount of time on the private server “Monster,” I found myself in a relatively short honeymoon phase. Their Legion server was ok, but I made the switch to BfA and was excited at the opportunity for the content. Unfortunately reality set in and it was clear neither server was in good enough shape to call home for myself. I was just too excited early on to notice. As a result, I ended up in a mass hiatus once again. Recently, though, I found the strings to come back being pulled at my heart once more. It was heavily influenced, no doubt, by my acquiring the WoW Board Game in all it’s glory. Seriously, it’s vanilla to a tee. Or a vee, I suppose. But it gave me thought on what I wanted to do if I returned to Azeroth. I gave a lot of thought to vanilla because there’s so much stuff I missed out on, for better or worse. In the end, as the title would suggest, I went down a different path.

Indeed, back to the days of Northrend. Patch 3.3.5 to be specific. One of my happiest times in playing the game and the content was as rich as it would ever be. The server I ended up choosing seems to be a perfect fit. Everything works the way it’s supposed to (though I haven’t rolled a Death Knight yet, so that’s one of the few things I can’t speak to). No glitches, missing quests, npc’s, or anything to that end. In fact, there’s some bonus treats. They have a mall. As in, a developer created location that doesn’t look like anywhere else in the game. You have access to all the expected goodies such as Tier gear and legendaries if you’re lazy. But also you can transmog. By paying their vote/real money currency, you can get transmog tokens. One token lets you transmog one slot. Certain mounts can also be bought in this location. Ones that weren’t in the game yet. So again, it’s a purely cosmetic service. You’re also able to buy said currency with in-game gold, so even if you don’t give the server any money you are not missing out.

There are two things in particular the server does for starting out. For one, you’ve got Goblins and Worgen who spawn in existing start zones. The goblins join the orcs and trolls starting out, while the Worgen are in the Night Elf start zone. The other thing, which even modern WoW should do at this point, is the moment you hit level 10 you get the Riding skill and a version of your racial mount.  With most of the flight points players are accustomed to being nowhere in sight, having the riding mount at level 10 is a nice boon. It doesn’t make a huge difference, just that nice little assist as it were.

So, yes, there are some minor modifications to what we knew as Wrath of the Lich King. But that’s all they are. The game itself functions as one would expect it to. It’s 2009 all over again as far as I’m concerned. And that’s not a bad thing. Granted, it isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. There are some things that definitely changed for the better, but there are others I miss. And I will go into those at another time. For now, I’m playing the game on my time, my terms, and where I want to be in the WoW timeline.

Squish Or Boost?


I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to the anticipated level squish the game is headed towards. What will the new cap be? How will the already grouped zones be re-leveled, in some cases again already. 60 is the most likely level. So I could see all of the existing content cut in half, save for the BfA & next expansion content.  But here’s the question: will a level squish result in an XP squish?

If the levels drop but the amount of XP in a relative sense does not change, then what’s the point other than to make gear numbers smaller? If the amount of experience needed to level does decrease, what’s the best way to do it? Well, rather than do that, let me propose an alternative.

On my private server, there is an XP boost and it can be set as high as 12x. 12 times the experience to level. Think about that for a moment and consider your heirlooms and such still stack on top of that. When all is said and done you could be looking at close to 20 times the norm. No doubt you’re either thinking what a great idea that is for alts, or that it’s so fast you would burn through any content without really encountering any of it. Both are quite true, but also cater to different people.

There are a good portion of players who are casual these days. Even more than ever as many of the hardcore folk are all over Classic. But whether they are or are not does not change the benefits of the experience boost. Players who just want to hit that end game can burn past the content they don’t care about, so that they may get there. And let’s face it, each expansion’s content has more than served its purpose at this point. Nothing is being lost.

Now, if you would rather experience the content at level, then notice that I said it could be set “as high as.” That’s right, you can adjust it to a level you want it to be, if at all. If you want to drudge your way through certain zones the way they are meant to be played, nothing is stopping you. Want to bounce around low level, but then speed up the stretch from 25-40? Turn the experience reward as high as you’d like to make it happen. There is literally no downfall to this approach for you as a player.

Some might be concerned or believe it might dilute the quality of player at end game because they haven’t played their class enough to know what they’re doing. Well, you could still say that about players in the game’s current state. The key to said leveling experience is that it would need to be capped at the entry point to the game’s previous expansion. So if it was brought into action tomorrow, the experience boost would cease to work at level 100. Or if we’re being realistic and it came as some “amazing feature” in the new expansion, then level 110. You could do as much or as little as you wanted to until you hit the Battle For Azeroth content. Then you have 20 (current) levels to hone your abilities and given the way WoW does their talents and skills these days, that’s probably 15 levels more than you realistically need.

This system would likely maintain players more than the current means does. Off and on I know plenty of people who get burned out, or want to level an alt but not go through the rigmarole and tedious time to do so (even if the current system is still faster than any of its predecessors). New players see level 120 and find that daunting. Yes, Blizzard offers one free character boost to the cap of the previous expansion, but ten levels for a game isn’t necessarily the best approach either.

I doubt we will ever see such a system come into play. Even with the much mentioned level squish that is coming, I still don’t see the first 80% of the game going any quicker. It’s unfortunate, because I think with each expansion World of Warcraft is probably pulling in a less than 30% new player base. The experience boost helps both sides of that. You make it a bit more appealing for new players to consider signing up, possibly to level with a friend. And, you recognize the other side is a massive player base that tends to drop their subscription within six to twelve months of the new hotness coming out because they’re already done.

I don’t own a video game company. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of one. I only go by what I see and experience. Blizzard is still making money off of Warcraft nearly hand over fist. It has been their bread and butter for well over a decade. They’ve become the masters of taking something someone does and applying it even better in their own game. It would go a long way if they did something like this.


That “Age of Darkness” Leak


Image result for void cloud warcraft

If you were under a rock this past week you likely missed the “news” regarding the next World of Warcraft expansion.  It’s being rumoured the next patch is titled “Age of Darkness.” The rumour spewed out from within the internet so of course we’re going to look at it as possible, but it’s the internet: someone might have been bored and thought they would be clever.

One of the key points is that N’zoth sets things in motion, aiming to go so far as to kill off the bronze dragonflight and turn Nozdormu into Murozond. This is all done as a means of freeing C’thun. As far as story time in WoW goes, this wouldn’t be entirely out of line with where things are going at the moment. However, it also rings of time travel in some capacity. We’ve been there and done that and most would prefer to not do it again. Stopping N’zoth from executing a time travel plan, that I could get behind if done right.

The rumoured level squish. It’s not so much a rumour at this point, as Blizzard has made it clear it’s coming. They’ve given no indication when or how it will look. I wondered this as well, and could not come to any clear conclusion. This leak, however, provides one. All of vanilla WoW would be levels 1-20, Burning Crusade, Wrath and Cataclysm would take us from 20-30, 30-40 would be Mists of Pandaria and Warlords, while Legion and Battle For Azeroth would be 40-50. Then the new expansion would take us from 50-60.  That seems reasonable, to be honest. I feel with 1-20, though, you’re going to have massive parts of the world people just will not go to for leveling. Winterspring (a personal favourite) is a prime example. Why go all the way up there when you can do the same thing in Mulgore?

Further to this rumour discussion is two new allied races and a new class. Now, the Mechagnomes make sense for the Alliance as is what this story would have you believe. But Gilgoblin for the Horde? Ehhhh….I don’t see. I’ve been wrong plenty before but that one doesn’t make sense. As for the new class? Tinkerer apparently. I feel like you’re just going to be a walking Engineer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I have a problem with it. I just feel like having both is redundant, even if the class is rumoured to only be available to the mentioned allied races, as well as Gnomes, Draenei, Forsaken, and Goblins.

And, to try and maintain some level of credibility, the mysterious leak suggests we’re looking at a release date of late 2020. That’s not exactly rocket science. There is at least one more patch for WoW’s current expansion and that’s going to ride us into the new year. If that’s the case, a late summer or early fall release for the next expansion makes complete sense.

Now as for me, I’m torn on the whole thing. I mean, much of what is suggested in this rumour list is completely feasible. It also wouldn’t be the first time that a rumour turned out to be true. I still remember the laughter when it was suggested we would be getting pandas. But again, this is the internet. We need to take anything we read with a grain of salt and then some.  I think some of these things, and more in the leak, will come to pass. That’s why rumours like this are believable sometimes, because there is just enough content in them that is expected anyway. The good news is I expect this to be addressed directly with a formal 9.0 announcement at BlizzCon. In the meantime, the interweb will continue to buzz about over this information.

If you want to see the full leak for yourself for the things I mentioned and the large amount of stuff I didn’t touch on, you can do so here.

Ranking The Expansions

Before I get started, I recognize that the current expansion isn’t over. There is more content to come, but at this point I think it’s fair to say we can at least gauge Battle For Azeroth against all that came before it. I don’t foresee something earth shattering in what will likely be the final patch of this expansion. So where does BFA rank? Let’s take a look, shall we?

7. Warlords of Draenor
WoW’s fifth expansion had all the potential in the world. We were going back in time in an alternate timeline. It was a great “What If?” opportunity. Unfortunately, it fell somewhat flat. We got a few little “what if” moments, none bigger than in the cinematic. We also had the chance to see what Outland looked like long ago and were able to learn about some of those past stories. But other than that, Warlords really didn’t contribute anything to the game. Yes, Cymre was now in the game, but that couldn’t save it.  There wasn’t enough content over the course of the expansion, we had to wait for Tanaan (and it was also underwhelming), slog through Garrison quests in each zone, and the sweetest moment of all…Garrosh’s death, was taken out of our hands just so Thrall could do it. That scenario sums up the expansion pretty well.

6. Legion
I might get some backlash for ranking this one so low, it just depends on your perspective. Unlike Warlords, though, Legion isn’t that bad so much as the other expansions are just that much better. I quite enjoyed Legion. The class halls were an interesting idea in concept. But they were another Garrison, and the awesome legendary weapons we got only lasted one expansion. It made me wonder: why bother? Illidan’s redemption was the main purpose of this expansion in terms of lore. That and to catch the evil Gul’dan who escaped Warlords. I didn’t mind Illidan’s story and the way the Demon Hunter lore was woven in worked for me. And, it was a decent new class.  No complaints about the instances or raids. Also, unlike WoD, Legion saw two major deaths in Varian and Vol’jin. The latter is still contributing to in-game content as we try to figure out who told him to make Sylvanas warchief.  As for Varian, he was “betrayed” by the banshee queen and died to save the rest. So the two sides were friendly for as long as the cinematic. Ok…

5. Battle for Azeroth
I’m admittedly torn on the current expansion, despite feeling this is its place on the list.  I’ve been happy with the content thus far, though I’ve not gotten a chance to instance much. That’s been the fault of my schedule. Setting aside my thoughts on Sylvanas herself, the overall narratives of BfA have been well executed. Jaina conquering her guilt, Vol’jin hunting about in the spirit worlds, Saurfang’s plight (easily one of the best stories Blizzard has told in a long time) and the in-game options that creates. We got Allied Races, which I think was a good way to introduce new player races without it feeling like the way the other new races had been brought into the game for the players. I also like how nearly all zones were adjusted to the Guild Wars 2 model, where zones leveled up as you did. The first time I rolled through Duskwood I had completely forgotten that nugget. The reason I don’t rank it higher is because it feels like it’s going to be looked back on as a stepping stone to what comes next (which I expect to be announced at BlizzCon).

4. Mists of Pandaria
I suspect many will rank this one higher but hopefully when I get to the next one on the list you’ll know why I listed them the way I did. First off, the Pandaria cinematic is one of the best Blizzard has given us. On top of that, we got a new class in the Monk and more interestingly a new race that could be Horde or Alliance. How sweet was that? We got our content at a reasonable pace, all building to bat crazy Garrosh but also having some things to satiate the players on the way including the Thunder Isle, Island of Giants, Timeless Isle (wow, Pandaria was like Azeroth’s Hawaii with all those islands). The lore of the Sha was well done. I loved that it became our fault. The instances were almost all well done, with the Mogu’shan ones and Stormstout Brewery among my favourites.  I just wish I had the chance to run Siege of Orgrimmar.

3. Cataclysm
That trailer still gives me chills.  Cataclysm was the expansion that impacted WoW the most. Two new races, new class and race combos (some of which were overdue…Troll Druid and Tauren Priest anyone?) new zones, and an overhaul of most other zones cosmetically and in execution. At this point in time we weren’t sick of Thrall being the focal point of a lot of quests and the Mary Sue Mage (Khadgar) wasn’t around yet either. And let’s not forget old world flight! Cataclysm brought a lot to Azeroth, more than most expansions and that’s why it’s ranked higher than the others. It’s not like it wasn’t without it’s faults. They were there. Heck, even the zone overhaul I just mentioned backfired. If you went to an area and decided to have your hand held during the on-rails questing, the end of the chain was grey for you because you had already out-leveled it much earlier in the zone.  Vashj’ir was a brilliant idea for an underwater zone…it did not play out as brilliantly, particularly combat. Not to mention how disjointed leveling through the new zones was. You were literally continent (and ocean) hopping. But, I feel as though the expansion had enough positives that outweighed the numerous shortcomings.

2. Burning Crusade
The one that started it all. BC expanded on WoW for the first time, bringing a new world with it in Outland. We got Blood Elves and Draenei, which also gave the Horde and Alliance access to Paladins and Shaman respectively. Dailies became a thing, and you had plenty of choices from the Netherwing to the Isle of Quel’Danas. I personally hated Hellfire Penninsula because of all the stupid boars, but it was an introduction into how the quest hubs would flow (and they did). Off the top of my head I can’t think of a single instance that bothered me. I didn’t go out to The Eye much, but I’ve spent plenty of time in the rest. We got a fantastic array of raids, from Magtheridon’s Lair to Karazhan and Zul’Aman, and finally Sunwell Plateau. I have fantastic memories of all of it. Zangarmarsh remains one of my favourite zones in the entire game.

1. Wrath of the Lich King
It’s clichéd to many to say it, but this was the pinnacle of World of Warcraft. Not because of how far the game has fallen since, but because it’s a testament to just how good this expansion was. We got our first class since launch in the Death Knight (which was not surprisingly ridiculously OP). We got a new continent on Azeroth itself for the first time, and everything in Northrend fit. The lore that tied it all together was fantastic, and unlike every expansion since, Arthas mocked us at every turn. He showed up constantly to taunt us, in what was the perfect build to what would eventually be our final clash with him. And all the dungeons and raids that lead to him were enjoyable, with Ulduar easily being my favourite despite it’s difficulty. Classes were relatively balanced and that meant for solid PvP. Personally, I loved Wintergrasp, though I know many didn’t. Inscription was a game changer of a profession for a little while with a wide array of glyphs (which in hindsight wasn’t the best addition to combat). Did it have flaws? Of course, nothing is perfect. But from the pre-Wrath event until the addition of Ruby Sanctum, things just clicked and never stopped being enjoyable.

So..agree? Disagree? Do you think I’m right in where Battle for Azeroth sits? And where will the next expansion fit into the echelon?

You Want To Bring War? Then Bring World War!

We know the line is being drawn once more between the Horde and Alliance. After a couple of expansions of working together (brought on by bat-crazy Garrosh), it’s going to go out the window all over again. But that’s the heart of Azeroth (no, not the necklace) over two decades. Two sides that just can’t exist together for one reason or many others. The Battle For Azeroth focuses on one specific area. The stretch of sea between Zandalar and Kul’Tiras. We start on our own island and once reaching the level cap we will be able to start venturing on the other side. Not to mention the 3-player expeditions to islands between them. Then there are Warfronts as well. But as far as we know, that’s it.

The Battle For Azeroth shouldn’t happen over just a tenth of the (known) world. It should be all encompassing in more than just (likely) scenarios for high level characters. The effects should be felt everywhere. This actually ties in with something I have felt for a long time, in that the events and quests that take place throughout Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms need to evolve and change. I had this idea that every month or so, one of the region’s could get tweaked.  Maybe the Gnolls are no longer encroaching on Redridge. Or the Trolls of Zul’Aman come further out into the Ghostlands. Those kind of things. Perhaps a quest-giver is gone or has moved somewhere else and has new ambitions.

Regardless of how it played out, it feels necessary. It would make the game feel more alive and we haven’t had any real change since Cataclysm seven years ago. Much of the change that came then was well done in principal, but the execution left a lot to be desired. Still, the world was changed. So why can’t it change again? We don’t need land masses drastically altered like things were when Deathwing arrived. But something would be nice, and this is the perfect time to do it in a story sense.

So much comes from war and conflict and when you’re talking about a battle for a planet then it should involve the whole planet. Accidental casualties, espionage, gathering supplies, constructing machines of war. All of these things could be spread out throughout places across the land. Not every place, mind you. After all, what’s Loch Modan going to contribute in the grand scheme of things? But a few zones (aside from what looks like Undercity and Teldrassil) would be nice all the same. I want to feel like it really is global conflict rather than just a few islands in a fresh expansion.

Breaking Down The BFA Trailers

After watching the cinematic trailer a few more times, not just in awe, I started to instead pay attention to the details. Here are the things I’ve noticed as a result, as well as some general thoughts:

  • 0:07 is Lordaeron. Apparently not everyone noticed.
  • 0:30 Sylvanas concludes a nice assessment. The Horde and Alliance have worked together but every time the unity is broken.
  • 0:40 Yup. The Alliance is at the front door and not politely knocking. What lead to this?
  • 0:43 Anduin has Shalamayne. But it seems to have an aura more akin to the Light.
  • 0:47 As expected, Genn is the military leader and Anduin’s right hand.
  • 0:50 That helm would look badass and frightening on anyone other than Anduin.
  • 1:05 Most of the dwarven gunners are clearly Engineers. Note the goggles.
  • 1:17 The Tauren almost looks to be dragging a green Garrosh. Obviously it’s not.
  • 1:27 The orc struck with the arrows almost seems to be a nod to the Burning Crusade trailer when the orc in that is revived by a Blood Elf priest.
  • 1:43 Sylvanas’ realization that they’re losing the fight, and subsequent decision is a defining moment. She also really looks human in this moment.
  • 1:47 Just in case there was any doubt how strong she is.
  • 1:56 For the first time in WoW we see Sylvanas use her banshee form, and damn was it awesome.
  • 2:07 That “For The Horde” cry rallied me to their side, let alone her army.  That might be the single greatest moment in any of the cinematics.
  • 2:17 Impressive Troll Shaman. Interesting that he’s wearing a mask. Sure looks a lot like a former Warchief…
  • 2:20 Love the Tauren using his horns to attack. Still surprised we don’t have that as an ability in game.
  • 2:30 A few Draenei on the front lines now means the only two races we haven’t seen are Gnomes and Blood Elves.
  • 2:34 Anduin is getting better as a fighter, but he’s not there yet.
  • 2:55 Seems he even has some of dad’s temper.
  • 3:00 No, that’s not the same Troll. The shaman didn’t have a shield.
  • 3:16 Sylvanas had her rallying moment, now Anduin has his. He recognizes he isn’t his father, but is inspired by the aura of the sword. He knows in his heart…
  • 3:22 He can wield the light and then some. Mists of Pandaria did a great job starting that story. I really do see him as a Paladin by the end of this next expansion. Succeeding where Arthas failed?
  • 3:24 Sylvanas almost had a look that was mildly impressed.
  • 3:43 Okay so maybe Anduin is a God among insects…
  • 3:54 Anduin comes off a bit more like dad. The rallying cry was good, but still not as impressive as Sylvanas’.
  • 3:57 Yep, Sylvanas is definitely amused.

All in all it’s fair to say this trailer sets the stage clearly for what the expansion is going to be about. The only thing missing is the sea and islands but they’re merely going to be a backdrop for the theatre of war the two factions will emark on once again. Now let’s look at the feature trailer:

  • 0:03 Under the tranquility of a Moonwell Jaina references her father. Once upon a time the two were on opposite sides of peace and treatment of others (specifically the orcs).
  • 0:18 Teldrassil is on fire. Not just a little bit either.  What in the Maelstrom lead to that happening? Odds are this is what leads the Alliance to Lordaeron.
  • 0:25 “We’ve made kindling from our suffering.” Similar to the assessment of Sylvanas in the cinematic but much more blunt and painful.
  • 0:31 “Waiting for a single spark.” Well, the burning tree does a pretty good job of that. Clearly that story will be the main catalyst for the expansion’s activities.
  • 0:38 The Alliance gets Kul Tiras. The port looks gorgeous. It feels so much more alive than Stormwind for example.
  • 0:43 Our first “new beast” sighting. Looks like some sort of foliage demon. Head also reminds me of the Power Generator Hood.
  • 0:46 That pile of gold…you know he’s a Dungeon Boss for certain.
  • 0:48 Holy crap! Quillboar!
  • 0:52 What are those? Trolls?
  • 0:55 Quest boss or Dungeon boss? Either way, she reminds me of the witch with Snow White’s apple. Just torturing a player instead.
  • 0:57 “I. AM. GROOT.” Don’t laugh, even my 7 year old thought it.
  • 1:03 This was our first confirmation of separate leveling zones.
  • 1:15 I feel like people are going to be screaming for a Brontomount.
  • 1:24 Snake people. Makes sense. We’re running low on options for humanoid animals. Personally, fear the idea of Skunkfolk.
  • 1:26 Oooh, Old God style tendrils. Including some with an eyeball. I like it.
  • 1:29 I said it during the last two expansions…thank heavens Blizzard did away with the five level expansions.
  • 1:31 I have always loved the aesthetics of the Troll Dungeons.
  • 1:34 The mantid and qiraji were cross-bred by the trolls?
  • 1:37 This reminds me a lot of Howling Fjorde and Grizzly Hills. Nothing wrong with that.
  • 1:38 More pirates. Same dungeon as before maybe? It would be great if it recaptured the feel of classic Deadmines. Well, aside from not actually being in a mine.
  • 1:41 These are the 3-player island scenarios that were talked about. I’m really intrigued by the potential of them.
  • 1:46 Wrath players remember the Wyrms. Making them undead terrifies me.
  • 1:49 Warfronts. Apparently Warcraft 3 in nature. Not my cup of tea but folks will be happy.
  • 1:56 It’s Jaina! Oh damn. She looks like all she’s done since she left Dalaran is hit the bottle.
  • 2:00 There’s the Allied Races. First the Alliance (Dark Iron Dwarves, Lightborn Draenei, and Void Elves) and then the Horde (Highmountain Tauren, Zandalari Trolls, and Nighborne)
  • 2:08 Final emphasis on the theme of the expansion.
  • 2:15 And we end with the reveal of the expansion’s name.

I always enjoy the reveal trailers. They tend to preview a great deal and then once we’re in the content it’s fun to remember those details when we first saw them. Of course, we also see things that don’t always make the final cut. It will be interesting to see all of these things when the time comes.

The two trailers together did a fantastic job of setting the stage for Battle For Azeroth. I still wonder most about the connection between Teldrassil and Undercity. I mean, there’s an obvious explanation for it, but I would rather see it confirmed and played out rather than cast suspicions. Plus doing so still wouldn’t get to the heart of what she does to trigger it.

The Battle Rages

So that just happened. Well, a couple of hours ago now but I wanted to wait until the “What’s Next” panel concluded before I posted any thoughts. Let’s start with the trailer. I loved Anduin’s helm. If you didn’t know it was him, it would come across very cold. Too bad he’s the opposite. And then there’s his opposite on the battlefield. She can turn into a banshee again? I get goosebumps every time I watch the trailer and that moment comes up.

That we got a cinematic trailer the same day Battle For Azeroth was announced was a great surprise by Blizzard. I think this one does a great job of setting up the expansion (so much for my “we don’t need factions anymore”). One has to wonder how she obtained the ability to transform and also what brought the Alliance to the doorstep of Lordaeron. Hopefully enough will be explained at some point before we head off to Zandalar and Kul’Tiras.

Given the theme of the expansion, I really enjoy the idea that the Horde and Alliance will go 110-120 in completely different regions. It puts a proper emphasis on the factions being strongly divided once more. Both zones look interesting enough from the previews we got but there wasn’t a whole lot of substance to that. I’m sure more will trickle out from the players who get to playtest it this weekend. Same goes for the two dungeons that were made available. Though I am very interested in the Kezan dungeon when the time comes. Who knows what the goblins have done this time?

There were many things touched on in the brief one hour but I’m not going to talk about all of them. I will mention a few other things that I found noteworthy:

  • Going the Guild Wars 2 route with all zones of Azeroth. This seems long overdue to be able to have scaled questing anywhere on the planet. Glad they are finally not only bringing it forward but pairing up expansions as well (such as Outland and Northrend being scaled 60-80). I only hope that with it we can have a somewhat expedited xp boost. It still takes too long to level a character, even with heirlooms. New players get the instant boost, so they don’t have to do it if they don’t want to. But existing players are probably going to roll more alts. Why?
  • Allied Races. We are getting half a dozen subraces, with three to each side. Horde receive the Highmountain, Nightborne, and Zandalari. On the Alliance side it’s the Dark Iron Dwaves, Light Forged Draenei, and Void Elves. These races each need to be recruited but once you do, you basically unlock them as an alt that starts at level 20.
  • No Legendary Artifacts. Those are going to fall by the wayside and we’ll go back to standard weapons once more. Instead, we’ll have “The Heart of Azeroth” which is an amulet powered by Azerite (the very essence of Azeroth herself, seeping into the world). The more you get, the more you can do and it is used by three armor slots (helm is certain, my guess is chest and legs as well).
  • Realms are going to be streamlined so that there are no longer PvP or PvE realms. Instead, you will have the option on any server to simply toggle PvP on or off. In doing it across all realms, this gives the developers a chance to do things like Bounty Hunter quests or assassinations.
  • World of Warcraft Classic. You wonder where a guy is going when he talks about his two favourite ice creams being Cookies & Cream (yes) and Chocolate (meh)…until he mentions some people prefer Vanilla. It sounds like things are still in early stages, but the plan is in place to have throwback servers. Who knows how many, but they are definitely on the way at some point.

There was more if you didn’t get to see the segment (or find it on YouTube yet), but I want to wait and see what comes from the panel later today as well as the Q & A before commenting further.