I'm not just projecting my own viewpoint here, though I am avowedly casual. Duh. Because of all of those lines we said would be there, I was able to chat with those around me and find out the reasons people both played WoW and attended BlizzCon. Many were there because of Diablo III (can't wait!!) and StarCraft II, of course. And many had been studiously avoiding all spoilers and therefore were happily surprised about the Cataclysm announcement. And so many of them kept in touch with family and friends across the globe by playing in Azeroth together. One quote from someone in front of me in line: "I spend more time with my husband in-game than out." I must say, WoWing together really is a cheap, but fun way to "date". But I digress... Let's get to what BlizzCon had for those of us with limited playtime:
- A whole new world: Azeroth will be ripped apart and reimagined. Sweet! It will be like getting WoW II, but being able to keep the same characters, friends, etc. This is an everybody wins scenario, in my opinion. There will be so much fresh content, it will take a lot of time to get tired of it.
- New races: I want to play a Goblin now! Everyone is going to be making Goblin and/or Worgen alts. It's like the whole WoW world will go casual for a bit! Of course, there will still be a race to 85, but I think we're going to find a lot of "hardcore" players enjoying the low-level content with us.
- Battle.net goes social: This will happen long before the expansion and no later than the first quarter of next year. We will be able to chat cross-realm, cross-faction and cross-game. This is really huge for soloers who enjoy doing their own thing while chatting with friends. It's also great for faction or PvE/PvP realm outcasts. Now we can "hang" with all of our Blizzard-game playing friends, regardless of where they are virtually located. I also predict there will be a smartphone app for chatting in-game via Battle.net.
- New secondary profession: Archaeology. Because it's secondary, we all can add it to our crafting fun. I just hope it comes with its own inventory system, because my bank/bags are full already.
- New character customization: Path of the Titans will allow you to customize your character's abilities further. Blizzard promises it will not be "grindy" and that everyone will be able to complete their path -- not just raiders.
- New class/race combinations: As if altoholics like me didn't already have issues, now there are more race/class options incoming. Though, I think I'll be too busy playing Goblins to really indulge in those too much.
- The Monk!: What? Like none of you are going to take a WoW break as soon as Diablo III comes out? Please.
- Cross-server 5-mans: This is coming in patch 3.3. You'll be able to use LFG across realms, which should eliminate those pesky "additional instances" errors and reduce the time everyone spends getting PuGs together.
Of course, there are many more things we found out from BlizzCon and yes, as usual, all of the above goodies benefit almost every player. But these are the things that stuck out to me as the ones that affect us limited-playtime-people most. Now I need to finish my next column, which should have been up ages ago about the changes that came with patch 3.2... if I can stop planning my Goblins and squeeing over
Chris Metzen, that is.