BlizzCon 2018 World of Warcraft: What’s Next Panel Transcript

PATCH 8.1: TIDES OF VENGEANCE

Ion: So first off, now I know for many of you here and a lot of you watching along at home, Tides of Vengeance is old news, it has been on the PTR for a couple months, but I just want to give a quick recap, just to set the stage for what will follow.

 

WAR FRONT: DARKSHORE

So key components of this update. First off, we have the New War Front: Darkshore, as well as an update to the outdoor zone of Darkshore. As the Alliance strikes back, as the Alliance tries to reclaim this foothold in Kalimdor, to take revenge against the Horde for the crimes that they wrought upon Teldrassil in the shadow of this great tree.

War Fronts Darkshore

 

ASSAULTS

We also have war coming to the shores of Kul Tiras and Zandalar, as Horde and Alliance assaults as the new outdoor gameplay as you rally to defend your allies’ cities from the enemy factions’ invasion. It’s a clump of world quests leading to a capper experience, again reminiscent to the Legion Assault that we had back in Patch 7.2, except this time around it’s the enemy faction invading as opposed to the Burning Legion.

Assaults

 

ISLAND EXPEDITIONS

We have new Island Expeditions that will take you to Jorundall and Havenswood, as well as systemic improvements to Island rewards, the pacing of the experience, and the way that the island responds.

Island Expeditions

 

RAID: BATTLE OF DAZAR’ALOR

We, of course, have an all new raid zone, The Battle of Dazar’alor, and this is something that we are incredibly excited about. This is for the first time ever what a villain means in World of Warcraft is, typically it’s embodied in the end boss of a raid. When you played Burning Crusade, well, Illidan was the one who was telling you, you were not prepared. When you played Wrath of the Lich King, you were seeking to climb Icecrown Citadel to confront the Lich King at the end.

Well, in Battle for Azeroth, if the villain is the opposite faction, why should that not be expressed in a raid zone to tell our story. And so Horde and Alliance for the first time will have different experiences as: on the Alliance side, as you stage an assault of Dazar’alor. On the Horde side, as you rally to defend it. Different bosses, different narratives, all set in the same place to form one intertwining story. The war campaign, of course, continues… featuring some of our favorite diminutive champions.

 

We’ll get to see Gallywix and Mekkatorque really go head to head.

Gallywix and Mekkatorque

 

HERITAGE ARMOR

Of course, Heritage Armor for non-Allied Races. What else? You can learn about your heritage, dwarves as well, as you recover lost crafting arts.

 

SYSTEMS

But that is some of the content. We also have a ton of systems improvements coming down the pipe, many of which have been at our test realm in recent weeks, others of which are soon to follow. We’re taking a hard look at the Azerite armor system as a whole, tripling the number of traits for a given spec that are going to be in each piece in Season 2 and beyond. Increasing the ways in which you can obtain them, whether it’s the emissaries that have been available on the live servers or the new currency and mythic keystone system that’s coming in Tides of Vengeance and more.

We have a Dubloon vendor to give you greater control over the rewards that you pursue through Island expeditions. We’re looking at emissary rewards as a whole, made a ton of improvements to how reputation works across multiple characters. So if you have a transmog that requires reputation, that’s automatically unlocked for all of your characters. You shouldn’t have to do the reputation multiple times. Or if you’re trying to get that 100 Exalted reputations achievement and feel tied to this character that you played a long time ago that has some unavailable achievements… Again! All of that progress should be account-wide. That’s coming in Tides of Vengeance.

 

We’re also looking at the way War Fronts and their content is structured, and moving to a bit more of a daily cadence while you have control, or while contributions are going on, so that when you finally claim Darkshore, or you claim Arathi, it’s not just like a mountain of quests to do all at once, bang them all out in 30 minutes, then you’re done for a week and a half. But rather world quests, they are the daily things that are there on a recurring basis while your faction controls it. So there are reasons to go back.

Same thing with the contributions, rather than front loading it all, as like a dozen turn ins right away, every day, there’ll be new things that are required. It’ll also smooth out the rate at which your faction unlocks the War Front.

We’re continuing to rework PvP talents, making a wide range of class changes and more on that front. We’re also looking at how War Mode works, making sure that we’re properly incentivizing to calibrate risk and reward. And I think if you are the under-represented faction at a given time, maybe you should get a bit more in the way of rewards to make War Mode worth your while.

The goal here was always to make sure that you have a fun and satisfying PvP experience, but that it never feels like you’re being inefficient or sacrificing pursuit of your progression because you’re jumping into a situation that’s lopsided. So a lot more improvements along those lines still coming.

And so, that leads to the natural question of when will this patch be in your hands? When will this update be yours? Well, as always, and as I said at the start, we want to keep content coming as quickly as possible; but at the same time, we know that it’s essential to take the time that’s required to polish, to respond to feedback, to iterate, to make it the best experience that it can be, and to make it the experience that you all deserve.

 

And so while we’d love to get it to you sooner, Tides of Vengeance will be in your hands just over a month from now: December 11th in North America, 12th in Europe, 13th in Asia. And don’t worry, The Battle of Dazar’alor Raid… that’s coming early next year. You’re not going to have to worry about progression over the holidays. And you still have a little bit of time to finish Uldir.

So content should be paced as people are ready for it. Now, before I actually turn the stage over to a couple of my compatriots who are going to tell you all about 8.1.5 and what’s coming beyond, I have one more little surprise I want to share.

So the Darkshore War Front, as I mentioned, sets the stage for this climatic battle where the night elves returned to the ashes of their homeland. And accompanying that is a narrative that lets us know more about Tyrande and others. And along the way, as you play through this content, there’s a little in-game cinematic that you’re going to witness, that sets the stage for the battle to come. And so here for the first time, I’d like to present Terror of Darkshore.

 

And so, yes, a little reminder about the true nature of the Night Elves. You might think of them as this peace-loving, tree-hugging race, but no. There’s a reason why they truly strike terror into the hearts of the Horde. At least the Horde who know. So without further ado, let me introduce Ryan Shwayder, Senior game designer who’s going to tell you all about what’s coming next after Tides of Vengeance.

NEXT: PATCH 8.1.5 UPDATES

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WHAT'S NEXT PANEL TRANSCRIPT
1. Intro2. Patch 8.13. Patch 8.1.54. Patch 8.2: Rise of Azshara

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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