WoW Insider is doing a lot of coverage today here at BlizzCon in Anaheim, C.A. We've already live-blogged the opening ceremony, the U.I. panel and discussion, and up next will be the live blog of the class panel at 4:30 EDT / 1:30 PDT.
Right now we're live-blogging the class panel in the main hall. This panel will feature discussion of where the classes are headed, why things are done the way they are, and perhaps even announcements about multispecs and new features.
The full live-blog happening after the break!
EDIT: Pics added throughout!
4:31PM Panel done! Ghostcrawler has really made a great impression on the crowd here. One of the best class panel discussions I've ever seen. More from WoW Insider throughout the day. Check back for pics soon!
4:30PM Q: "Did I hear you right? We can switch specs in raids?" A: "Yes."
4:30PM Q: "You're doing a lot to homogenize the tanks. It seems like you could just switch out the class, keep the buttons, and you won't even notice. Will you make the classes unique instead of just being a tank?" GC: "I think that's a really valid question...want to move away from 'druids don't have shield wall so we're not going to let them tank'... want to give them just enough abilities so they can do their job and yet all be able to work together."
4:28PM Q: "Concern about ret pallies doing burst damage." Applause. "However with that said I've raided as a ret paladin. Are you guys going to tone down burst damage in PvP for ret paladins and keep good damage in raids? We've been waiting for a long time to become raid viable and don't want to lose that." GC: "Lots of bugs in beta that made [ret paladins] do more DPS... we don't think [current damage] is way off, honestly." GC: "Don't nerf me bro!" (Tons of laughter). Chilton: "We've tried to take it away from the uncontrollable proc damage...we want them to feel strong...we want to put a kill in the hands of a player [,not luck]."
4:25PM 2 more questions. Another Q&A tomorrow though.
4:25PM Q: "I like resto druids, but I don't want to mimick them. Can I kill someone in moonkin form without running like a little girl?" A: Chilton: "It's built into the animation. Talk to your union about that." Laughter. GC: "There damage is pretty good. Gonna have to keep an eye on their survivability."
4:24PM Q: "Because of the WF 3 sec Cd, Shms have been pigon hold to use slow weapons. Any chance to make flametounge more viable and remove the cooldown?" Applause. Good question. A: "Yes... more mechanics in place to encourage use of flametounge. Will eventually remove CD of WF." Wow.
4:23PM Q: "Do you see anything such as a mana shield that doesn't have a limit until you run out of mana?" A: We want classes to be different. GC: "We want the mage to seem like they can 'get out of jail'." Chilton: "There's a slippery slope to go down if you give mages too much ability to avoid damage."
4:21PM Q: "Are feral druids going to be different from rogues?" Chilton: "Feral druids have been a B-spec in arenas and PvP. I don't know if it's a raw damage output problem. [Might be] something with loosing mana. We don't have a clear idea of how it's going to play out. Unfortunately we haven't seen a lot of feral druids in the beta arenas." Someone in the crowed then yelled out "Bullshit." Draw your own conclusions here.
4:19PM Additional answer from GC: "We've went out of our way with a lot of the 51 point talents to make them more situtational... at some point we're going to have 28 buttons to work into our attacks."
4:19PM Additional answer from Chilton: They want more simplified spec and playing. Abilities make your class feel a little bit different.
4:18PM Q: "51 point fire. How 'bout that? Slightly dissapoitned. 51 point arcane. That too. It fundamentally doesn't add anything new. It's just one more button to hit." Chilton: "Mechanics of the spell have the potential to be fun... but any ability in the game that does a lot of damage suddenly becomes fun. We [don't want that]."
4:17PM Q: "At the moment mages are currently a food table and teleport at the end. Now that cooks can do food, takes out one of the things that mages can do solo. Mirror image doesn't really increase DPS. How are you going to make Mages a viable spec to play?" Chilton (joke): "They'll be able to bring a respec table." GC: "Fire and frost are good. We're seeing 4500 numbers in naxx. We think that's good." Chilton: "We made changes to improve their mana situation."
4:15PM Q: "How are you going to balance poisons when all end-game bosses are immune." A: Some bosses are going to still be, others won't be.
4:14PM Q: "GC can you respond to the druid thread on the Beta forums? Can you talk a little more about feral mana? There's no more int on our gear, what do you plan to do about that?" A: "We don't want you to worry about int. It's still on our list. It's definitely stuff that we're looking at."
4:12PM Q: "Any plans to do more work with infernals and doomguards?" A: "A big part is waiting for those guys to break free randomly..." So pretty much the answer is no.
4:11PM Q: "Affliction is nice. In T6 it's not great. Going to make Aff. a viable DPS spec?" A: "We want to see affliction back in the raids."
4:11PM Chilton: "We still want you to have different sets of gear. We want to make improvements to the UI to help out with that."
4:10PM Ghostcrawler is done. Q&A now. WOW. He really worked the room.
4:10PM "If you like to tank on the weekends and PvP on the weekdays this is exactly the kind of thing that will be able to do that."
4:09PM Not meant to be used in an arena.
4:09PM Respec in the middle of the raid!
4:09PM "Dual specs are coming - more flexibility." Everyone cheers. Including me.
4:09PM "You might have noticed that tank threat is higher then it used to be. We want to make fights about healing and moving around. We don't want it to be about a threat game anymore."
4:08PM Four MT classes overlap their niches more. "We want you to be able to have two MT classes and then just go do what you want to do."
4:08PM More shared gear allows things like spell power to function appropriately.
4:07PM Lots of people happy with Gear and Skill being primary factors. "Just bring a good person."
4:06PM Three major points next. Downplay consumables, Gear and Skill > Buffs and Pots, Just bring good players.
4:06PM GC: "We've all been in the situation where we're full on Rogues and can't take this great player but we've got this Shaman here who needs to learn to play." They don't want that anymore.
4:05PM GC: "Bring the player, not the class." Lots of applause.
4:05PM "We don't want any buff to be so powerful that you have to cancel the raid and we don't want only one guy to bring it."
4:04PM "Jimmy can't come -> No Wind Furry -> Cancel the raid" They want to remove that.
4:04PM Blizzard thought buff and debuff system was too "complex, inconsistent, [and had] stacking problems."
4:03PM 30 specs, but 25 slots. More viable specs and death knights, but no room.
4:03PM Group flexibility now.
4:03PM "Ret just needed to do legitimate DPS without running out of mana. Ret was doing fine in a group with all the buffs, but they never were invited into the group [in the first place]."
4:02PM Ret tree now... lots of boos and cheers. Crowd is in to this discussion.
4:02PM *Stupid Mage sword. Will correct that typo later.
4:02PM GC: "Prot gear should be worked on. [They] should put down the stupid tank sword."
4:01PM GC: "Paladins get their own slide because they're a special snow flake." Fight Club reference earns major laughter from the crowd.
4:01PM Paladins now.
4:01PM GC: "Every warlock secretly wants to be Illidan."
4:00PM Affliction tree too complicated, they're working on it still.
4:00PM They don't want just spamming shadow bolt anymore.
4:00PM GC: "Warlocks have a lot of pets... they wern't usign them. Had a lot of 'Don't ever pull that pet out again or we'll kick you,' [in groups]."
3:59PM Warlocks now.
3:59PM GC: "Rend is pretty good again." Laughter. "You guys haven't tried the new one."
3:58PM They want to bring more fun things to all the spec trees - across the bored, not just in Warriors.
3:58PM GC: "Warrior had been the MT for a long time in the game. Trying to give more options now... With removing crushing blows we thought they might become less popular... so we did an overhaul of the Prot tree."
3:57PM Warrior next. Lots of cheers.
3:57PM GC: "No one using poisons. Bring daggers back into the game as soemthing people really want to use again."
3:57PM GC: "Sap situationally really good..."
3:56PM Rogues next.
3:56PM GC: "Legitimate CC for Shaman in hex."
3:55PM Shamans next. Images goes up on the screen. Crowd reacts.
3:55PM GC: "We changed the talents enough so that if you want to be the MT for a guild, you can go down the feral tree and be the MT for your guild." Applause.
3:54PM GC: "Druids out of combat res." Applause.
3:54PM GC: "Resto Druids keep the Rogue alive...not that you'd always want to."
3:54PM GC: "Resto Druids are awesome" in response to boos. Now laughter. He's working the crowd *very* well.
3:53PM Resto druid talk now.
3:53PM GC: "We wanted to give Druids real CC, letting them use roots in doors."
3:53PM Next up Druids, lots of reaction - boos and laughter - to that.
3:52PM GC: They want to achieve an "elemental tree" with the Mages. Mage should be able to do both fire and frost damage.
3:52PM GC is now talking about the Mage class.
3:51PM GC: "We were doing a naxx run the other day and everyone was dying. We asked who was healing, and the Priests were like 'We're not, we're mind searing'." Laughter.
3:50PM GC: "People forget there are two other trees: holy and disc." Applause. Blizzard is paying attention to those trees.
3:50PM GC: "Shadow Priest should move away from being the mana battery." Boos. Then laughter.
3:49PM GC: "Freezing shot is a way to remote deploy a trap quickly and allows you to get along with a pull."
3:48PM They want to / have cleaned up the shot rotation a bit with hunters. Make things easier and less reliant on mods.
3:47PM Hunter pet system overhauled because it was "clumsy for new players." Laughter.
3:47PM "Death Knight Talent Trees: Style not role" Talent choices more about play style and not role. They want to bring this philosophy to other classes.
3:46PM GC: Runes and Death Knights should not be played like a metronome - no pushing buttons in order 1 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 3. Should be more interactive.
3:45PM First idea with runes was that you'd be able to customize all the runes (ie: six frost runes), GC thinks "it sucked." So they changed it to what it is today (multiple runes).
3:44PM Good pictures of UI iterations. Images coming soonish.
3:42PM Death Knight Design Goals - Runes, Tanking & DPS, "Presences" to generate threat, Amazing start zone, share itemization. Nothing new. But Ghostcrwler is covering it - so it's cool.
3:41PM Huge round of applause for Ghostcrawler.
3:41PM Greg: "There is a rumor on the forums that I'm a hot chick. You now know it's true!"
3:40PM Greg is the lead game system designer - he's Ghostcrawler!
3:40PM Panel is Tom Chilton and Greg Street.
3:40PM Panel starting!
3:35PM Panel not starting yet... Looks like it's running a little late.
3;28PM Dan O'Halloran will be here taking pictures for this. We'll get any new images and things up ASAP.
3:20PM Waiting for this thing to get started. Lots of people. Crowd is happy. I'm saying silent prayers that dual specs come out today.