BlizzCon 2015: Day 2 – Playing the new games!

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I got to play a LOT of new stuff today and got some good first impressions!

I fought through some con-crud in the morning and early afternoon so I missed a few panels, but I was able to spend a good 6 hours on site and enjoying the convention!

Hands-on gaming – Today I was able to complete my attempt at playing all the games, even though initially I thought I wouldn’t!

Diablo – I found the D3 demo!  It was tucked back in the corner so there were only maybe 20 PCs at the Slaughtered Calf Inn but it was really awesome to play at Paragon 800 and see the first little bit of the Island!

HearthStone – I played a pre-made deck against a 10 turn obstacle course and on each turn the game would throw up another “problem” whether in the form of a boulder that would destroy all minions to a certain side at the end of your turn, or very large minions that are hard to beat up on!  I don’t know if this is a rogue only class mission, but some of the cards at their disposal help by delaying attacks by a turn or two and since there are only ten turns that is important!  Luckily I beat the encounter with a turn to spare, even after making a pretty bad mistake on the turn prior!!  Since I bought but haven’t finished Blackrock, and haven’t been playing HS at all lately (read: no Argent cards), I don’t know if I’ll be dropping any money on this right now.  Maybe down the line since I still kind of want to get Naxx too, but Blizzard has a lot more things coming out that I’d rather focus my money on!

Heroes of the Storm – The arena was pretty odd at first, but eventually you got the hang of a small map that was pretty much a replica of a portion of the Sky Temple map, and how the ebb and flow of your game had to go!  We lost the first game, won the second, and then had an all Tychus third game which we barely lost by a few points!!  Also, we all start (and stayed) at level 10 so it is just the single Heroic ability pick, and nothing after that so I wonder how you “level up Arena”?

Tower of Doom battleground – This time I took Greymane to try him out, and by the end of the match I had started to get him figured out and it was pretty fun to transform from human to Worgen and back!  The first game I played yesterday it felt like there was a lot going on in that map, but on the second time around today I had some experience but also I had heard the talk from the developers about their thoughts on building it and the way to approach the objectives so it felt a bit easier. Between playing new heroes and the new map, it didn’t feel “right” at first but now I don’t have those same trepidations yet I wonder it those might polarize the community a bit.

Overwatch – On my first game I needed to fill roles so picked up D.Va the tank and we had a very quick loss in 2 mins, but then switched to defense and had to pick support so grabbed Lúcio and it is a very odd gameplay.  Maybe it’s my lack of familiarity with that type of game as I haven’t played a First Person Shooter since BattleField 3 a few years ago but I just wasn’t comfortable with playing the game and while I will probably buy this, I would really like to play this more in some wave of Beta so I can learn the playstyle and evaluate it honestly for my level of enjoyment in possibly a single player mode.  We will have a story and single player campaign right?  I haven’t heard that yet, but my gut tells me we’ll get that!  It was interesting how you seemingly level each hero up which is a lot like SC2 multiplayer where you level up each race the more you play it.  It is also a LOT like BF3 where even the colors of objectives and the way maps seem to be textured also reminds me of that other game!

In my second match of course I got a different map, which was the brand new Hollywood map, so I didn’t have any knowledge of the layout and how the objectives played out, and as per usual I wanted to play on something new so picked the Junkrat “hero” because of how it reminded me of a cross between Valla from Diablo and Gazlowe from Heroes of the Storm.  We didn’t do all that well attacking, but we were able to successfully defend and prevent the other team from winning with my 5 player streak coming during the last 12-15 seconds to go with 4 players taken out!

StarCraft 2 – I was going to play this again because there was still no line, but I decided that I wanted to try for new content from the other games!

World of Warcraft – I was really tempted to play this again, which is a good sign that it has my attention, but I am pretty sure that I’ll buy the box and resubscribe to WoW because the new class was fun and the new area reminds me of the Burning Crusade expansion which I loved so I passed it up!

Pin trading – At the end of the convention I swung by the booth because I had a lot of the color pins as duplicates, and last night found out I was only 4 golden pins away from completing my set!  That’s a far cry from last year where I only had 2 golden pins (with a duplicate that I traded away Thursday morning), but everybody there had all the regular pins and I didn’t have any duplicate golden pins so I will either have to complete my set online or maybe just wait until next year.

Diablo 3 – I like the thought of the Slaughtered Calf Inn taking the place of the D3 panels, but next year I’d like to see them publish a schedule of the talks in the app so we could plan out a bit and not need to remember to look at Twitter for when some developer is going to talk!

HearthStone – No panels about this for me today!

Heroes of the Storm – The panel I went to was about the design of the new Tower of Doom battleground!  They started off with battleground philosophy which is that a map needs to have clean design, conflicts, and finality.  For gameplay there needs to be complete objectives so that players can get rewards and for layout there needs to be a decision on how the map works and what mechanics are in play.  Sky Temple is huge with everything spread out so there aren’t as many potentials for conflict but Tomb of the Spider Queen is smallest and objectives go into the lanes to encourage team fights!  Mercenaries help push the conflicts and finality!  Towers of Doom is a territory control battleground that has unique mechanisms due to the different type of map without a core/lanes, they added Headless Horseman for flavor and help define the map, collection alters which are a lot like Sky Temple need to be fought over so really the map is a hybrid control battleground.

Overwatch – Missed the first panel of the day I was planning on attending which was “The World of Overwatch” BUT ticket holders can view the Virtual Ticket feed in the app so I’m going to try and watch this and several other panels I missed and maybe do an extended post about it next weekend!

StarCraft 2 – There was a celebration of StarCraft in the arena that included inflatable Psi blades under the attendee’s seat so that was a really cool treat!

World of Warcraft – I attended parts of the Q&A panel, and here were some of the highlights:

Will there be bigger bags?  Yep, in some way at some point.

Keystones came from HS Tavern Brawl, not anything that came from D3.  Not sure I believe the devs on this one as D3 was the first thing I thought of, but the randomness of the quests behind the keystones DOES sound like a Tavern Brawl.

Legion will answer questions about if this Burning Legion is the same as the previous, and if Archimonde is still alive.

New character slot with Legion!

New scenarios with Legion?  Yes, between single and 40 players!  Now I just need to know what a scenario is!  :}

What do we do if physical CE to get early access?  Sounds like you get a refund of Digital Deluxe version which you need to buy first and then have Support help (assuming it gets credited to your account with months of gameplay).

Anything like AQ coming where both sides work together to unlock a raid?  Guy that implemented 90% of it says “God I hope not” even though they keep talking about it internally!

Karazan figures into this to get to magic we need to fight off the Legion!!

Old Gods?  Yes.  Alternate universe heroes?  Not initially, but maybe.  Greymane involved?  Yep!

Weekly quests can get you PvP gear!  This seems wild!

Closing Ceremony – No new announcements.  :{  Just thanks to the fans and a recap of the weekend before Linkin Park started to play!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my coverage of the event this year, I have some more to share with you over the next few days so be on the lookout for a few more articles!  If you’re interested in more information about these games, make sure you carch up on all the stuff I retweeted on Twitter @rusty_schmidt!

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About Rusty Schmidt

Rusty SchmidtRusty Schmidt has been into gaming since the family had to get a second Atari 2600 so everybody could play at once and interested in computer gaming since playing Math Blaster and The Oregon Trail all the way back in 5th grade. Later he found the original Diablo and StarCraft games to get hooked on Blizzard games and eventually stopped playing SNES games trading them for PC games because of the online persistence of worlds like SWG and WoW. Currently a Blizzard Correspondent, he looks forward to becoming a Senior Blizzard Correspondent for Nerdvana some day.