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BlizzCon 2011: Diablo III Cover Artwork

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Eldorian just sent me some BlizzCon 2011 press kit assets to share with visitors. Not sure which dimensions would be best for you guys, or what you would be using it for — so I’m open to size petitions.

For now I am down to sharing it on this size: 1417 x 1920. The original file was 212MB — 6644 x 9000. Seems this artwork will be printed somewhere on the Diablo III box, probably the inside folding.

Hold down your mouse right-button and choose “Open in New Tab” to access the hi-res image.

BlizzCon 2011: Diablo III Auction House FAQ

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What’s the difference between the gold-based auction house and the currency-based auction house?

The gold-based auction house uses in-game gold for purchases and sales. With the currency-based auction house, players will be able to conduct these transactions using actual currency from an authorized payment method or from funds that have been added to their Battle.net account. Players can choose to participate in whichever version of the auction house they prefer, on a per-transaction basis.

 

How does the auction house system work?

Players open the auction house interface to make purchases or list items for sale. Items can be sold from the shared stash (storage shared among all the characters on your Battle.net account) or from any individual character’s inventory. When posting the item, the seller picks whether it will be sold in the gold-based auction house or the currency-based auction house. The item is then held by the auction house system until the listing expires or a purchase is made. Items that are not sold are returned to the seller’s shared stash, and items that are sold are delivered to the winning bidder’s shared stash.

In either case, the auction house system will deduct a nominal fixed transaction fee from the seller, the amount of which is determined by whether or not the item was sold (see below). For the currency-based auction house, players will have a few different options for how to pay for item purchases and receive funds for item sales, as discussed elsewhere in this FAQ. There may be differences in how this system will work in different regions of the world. We’ll provide further details at a later date.

 

How is the transaction fee determined?

A nominal fixed transaction fee will be deducted from the seller for each item listed in the auction house. This fee consists of a fixed charge to list the item, which is assessed whether or not the item is successfully sold, and an additional fixed charge that is assessed only if the item is sold.

Because the listing portion of the fee is charged even if the item doesn’t sell, it will be in the seller’s interest to list items he or she believes other players will be interested in, and to do so at a competitive price. Specific details related to the transaction fee for the currency-based auction house will vary by region and will be announced at a later date.

Please note that we plan to waive the listing portion of the fee for a limited number of transactions per account. In other words, for these transactions, the seller will only pay a transaction fee if the item is successfully sold, and that fee will not include the listing charge. We’ll have further details on this as well at a later date.

 

Why are you creating a currency-based version of the auction house?

Our goal with all of our games is to ensure players have a highly enjoyable, rewarding, and secure experience. Acquiring items has always been an important part of the Diablo series, but the previous games have not had a robust, centralized system for facilitating trades, and as a result players have turned to inconvenient and potentially unsafe alternatives, such as third-party real-money-trading organizations.

Many of the transactions between players and these organizations led to a poor player experience and countless customer-service issues involving scams and item/account theft, to name a few. To that end, we wanted to create a convenient, powerful, and fully integrated tool to meet the demand of players who wished to purchase or sell items for real-world currency, and who would likely have turned to a less-secure third-party service for this convenience.

 

How will the currency-based auction house work?

Players will be able to make purchases in the currency-based auction house using a registered form of payment attached to their Battle.net account. As with other popular online-purchase services, players will also have the option to charge up their Battle.net account with a balance of funds that can be drawn from for purchases of any digital product available through Battle.net — this includes not only auction house items but also things like World of Warcraft subscription time and paid services, to name a few examples.

On the flipside, when players sell an item in the currency-based auction house, the proceeds of the sale are deposited into their Battle.net account and can then be used as described above. Note that this process might be different for certain regions; we’ll provide further region-specific details as we get closer to launch.

 

Can players choose to get cash from currency-based auction house sales, instead of having the proceeds deposited into their Battle.net account?

Yes, as an advanced feature, players will have the option of attaching an account with an approved third-party payment service to their Battle.net account. Once this has been completed, proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house can be deposited into their third-party payment service account. “Cashing out” would then be handled through the third-party payment service.

Note that this process will be subject to applicable fees charged by Blizzard and the third-party payment service. Also, any proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house that have been deposited into the Battle.net account will not be transferrable to the third-party payment service account.

Not all regions will support this advanced feature at launch. Region-specific details, as well as details regarding which third-party payment services will be supported and the fee that Blizzard will charge for the cash-out process, will all be provided at a later date.

 

Is the currency-based version of the auction house optional?

Yes, the currency-based auction house is available as an option for players who wish to purchase or sell Diablo III items for real money. Players are also able to buy and sell items through the gold-based auction house, and they can trade items with each other as well through direct character-to-character in-game trading.

 

Why would I want to pay real money to buy or sell in-game items?

Acquiring items has always been a core part of the Diablo series’ appeal. With the previous Diablo games, many players have shown a great interest in buying, selling, or exchanging items for their characters using real-world currency, turning to potentially unsafe avenues to accomplish this goal. The currency-based version of the auction house provides players with an easy-to-use, Blizzard-sanctioned way to collect money for items obtained while playing Diablo III.

In addition, it helps protect players from scams and disreputable third-party sites by providing a secure, in-game method to search for and purchase items posted by other players that are a perfect fit for their character and play style.

The currency-based auction house is completely optional. Players who aren’t interested in paying real money for items will still be able to rely on items they acquire through their own adventures, and they’ll also be able to trade with friends and use the full-featured gold-based auction house.

 

Can I play on a server without a currency-based version of the auction house?

We want to provide a secure, fun environment for our players to purchase and sell in-game items using gold or real money and have no plans to divide the community.

Players are free to participate in the gold-based auction house or the currency-based auction house, or to opt out of using any of the auction houses at all, progressing through Diablo III using only the items they obtain through their own adventures or direct trade with other players.

 

Does Blizzard plan to post weapons, armor, and other such items for sale in the currency-based version of the auction house?

The currency-based auction house is a place for players to purchase or sell items they’ve obtained within the game. Blizzard does not plan to post items that affect gameplay, such as gear or character-enhancing runestones, for sale in the auction house.

 

Will Blizzard sell anything directly through the auction house?

We don’t have any plans at this time to post items for sale in the auction house.

 

Does the currency-based auction house signify a shift in Blizzard’s business and revenue model?

We’ve always tailored our business models to match what we’ve felt would be most appropriate and effective for each game and in each region, and that’s the case with Diablo III as well.

The item-based nature of Diablo gameplay has always lent itself to an active trade-based ecosystem, and a significant part of this trade has been conducted through unsecure third-party organizations. This has led to numerous customer-service and game-experience issues that we’ve needed to account for.

Our primary goal with the Diablo III auction house system is for it to serve as the foundation for a player-driven economy that’s safe, fun, and accessible for everyone.

 

What’s Blizzard’s cut?

As with other online auction sites and real-world auction houses, our fee structure will vary by region. However, we plan to collect a nominal fixed transaction fee for each item listed in the auction house.

This fee consists of a fixed charge to list the item, which is assessed whether or not the item is successfully sold, and an additional fixed charge that is assessed only if the item is sold.

The listing portion of the fee, which helps encourage sensible listing prices and discourage the mass posting of items that are very low quality or would be of little interest to other players, will be waived for a limited number of transactions per account.

For players who opt to have the proceeds of their auction house sales go to their third-party payment service account instead of to their Battle.net account, Blizzard will collect a separate “cash-out” fee. Specific details regarding these fees will be announced at a later date.

 

Why would I even want to use the gold-based auction house?

We recognize that not all players would prefer or have the means to participate in the currency-based auction house, and it was important to us to provide these players with a full-featured alternative.

 

Can we buy gold from the currency-based auction house?

Players will be able to buy and sell gold through the currency-based auction house at whatever the current market price is, as established by the player community.

 

If I no longer need an item I bought in the auction house, can I relist it in the auction house?

Yes. Once you’ve purchased an item you can do anything with it that you could if you had acquired it through your own adventures, whether that be using it yourself, or, after a cool-down period, trading it to another character or relisting it on either the gold-based or currency-based auction house.

In fact, you can generally do any combination of these things — for example, you can purchase an item in the auction house, use it for a while, and then relist it or trade it to another character.

Aside from certain quest items, there will be very few (if any) items that will be “soulbound” to your character and therefore untradable. Please note that the duration of the cool-down period mentioned above will be discussed at a later date.

 

AUCTION HOUSE FUNCTIONALITY

 

What items can be traded in Diablo III?

Nearly everything that drops on the ground, including gold, can be traded with other players directly or through the auction house system. Aside from certain quest items, there will be very few (if any) items that will be “soulbound” to your character and therefore untradable. We are also planning to allow players to buy and sell characters in the auction house at some point in the future and will have more details to share on that at a later date.

 

What is "smart searching"?

When players launch the auction house interface, they’ll be able to select any Diablo III character associated with their Battle.net account. The "smart search" feature will assess which item slots have available upgrades and will sort items available in the auction house based on which upgrades would be most beneficial to the character. You can also search for specific stats to match the requirements of a particular character build.

 

How does bidding work?

Players will be able to place a current bid as well as a maximum bid if they wish to engage in automatic bidding. In addition, they’ll be able to check the status of their bids on the "Currently Winning" page and the "Outbid" page in the auction house interface.

 

Can I buyout items that I want to purchase immediately?

Yes, the Diablo III auction houses will support a buyout feature as well as standard bids.

 

How do I pay for items?

For the gold-based auction house, purchases will be made using in-game gold. For the currency-based auction house, players can make purchases using a registered form of payment attached to their Battle.net account.

As with other popular online-purchase services, players will also have the option to charge up their Battle.net account with a balance of funds that can be drawn from for purchasing items in the currency-based auction house. Note that this process might be different for certain regions; we’ll provide further region-specific details as we get closer to launch.

 

How do I receive the items I’ve won?

After winning an auction, the item will be available to pick up through the built-in auction house interface in the Diablo III client. Players will then be able to immediately send that item to their shared stash (storage shared among all the characters on a Battle.net account) or repost the item in the auction house after a cool-down period. The duration of the cool-down period will be discussed at a later date.

 

How do I sell items?

From the auction house interface, players will be able to select items from their shared stash or from a specific character’s inventory. They will then be able to post items for sale by listing a starting bid and buyout price.

 

How do I cash out from the currency-based auction house?

As an advanced feature, players will have the option of attaching an account with an approved third-party payment service to their Battle.net account. Once this has been completed, proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house can be deposited into their third-party payment service account. “Cashing out” would then be handled through the third-party payment service.

Note that this process will be subject to applicable fees charged by Blizzard and the third-party payment service. Also, any proceeds from the sale of items in the currency-based auction house that have been deposited into the Battle.net account will not be transferrable to the third-party payment service account.

Not all regions will support this advanced feature at launch. Region-specific details, as well as details regarding which third-party payment services will be supported and the fee that Blizzard will charge for the cash-out process, will all be provided at a later date.

 

Will buying or selling items in the auction house reveal my identity?

No. All player transactions in the gold-based and currency-based auction houses will be anonymous, and neither your real name nor your character name will be revealed to other players.

 

Will there be a mobile or Web-based auction house?

We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to enhance the game experience and keep our community connected to our games through the Web or mobile devices. However, we do not have any plans to share along those lines at this time.

 

When will this be available for testing?

We’ll share more information on our auction house testing plans as we get closer to launch.

 

REGIONAL AUCTION HOUSE DETAILS

Which regions will have currency-based auction house support?

We plan to roll out the currency-based version of the auction house in as many regions as possible with the launch of Diablo III. In regions where the currency-based auction house will not be available, players will still have access to a gold-based auction house. We’ll share more details in the future.

 

Will there be separate auction houses in each region? Will I be allowed to bid on items from players outside my own region?

Due to various factors, including technology, language, and currency, there will be multiple separate auction houses serving different player communities around the world. We’ll share specific details on how the auction houses will work for each region as we get closer to launch.

 

If I live in Australia/New Zealand/Southeast Asia, what server will I play Diablo III on?

As with StarCraft II, players who purchase the Australia/New Zealand/Southeast Asia version of Diablo III will have their own regional servers, offering lower latency and more action during peak hours.

While we encourage players to play on these servers, we recognize that many have longstanding friendships with North American players and would like to continue playing with them. Because of this, we’re again giving Australia/New Zealand/ Southeast Asia gamers access to both regions’ servers so they can choose where they’d prefer to play.

How does this impact the items I have purchased in the auction house?

Auction house purchases are bound to the servers in the region in which they’re bought. Any items acquired on the Australia/New Zealand/Southeast Asia servers, in-game or otherwise, are bound to those servers and are not transferrable to the North American servers (and vice versa). Please keep this in mind when making purchases in the auction house.

 

What currencies will be available? What currency will items in the auction house be viewed in? Can players purchase items using local credit cards or bank accounts?

Our goal is to make the auction house experience in each region as seamless as possible for players, and we are currently exploring various currency and payment options to help achieve that goal. We’ll provide further details as we get closer to launch.

 

AUCTION HOUSE GAMEPLAY ISSUES

Will I be able to use third-party mods to track auction prices?

For a variety of gameplay and security reasons, we will not be supporting bots or mods in Diablo III, and they’ll be expressly prohibited by our terms of use for the game.

 

Can Hardcore-mode characters use the currency-based auction house?

No. Hardcore characters will only have the option to buy and sell items together with other Hardcore characters via a separate "Hardcore-only" gold-based auction house; they will not be able to use the currency-based auction house.

Hardcore mode is designed as an optional experience for players who enjoy the sense of constant peril that comes with the possibility of permanent death for a character. All of a Hardcore character’s items are forever lost upon that character’s death, so to avoid the risk of a player spending real money on items that could then be permanently lost when the character dies, we decided to prohibit the use of the currency-based auction house in Hardcore mode.

 

If my character dies in Hardcore mode, will I lose the items that I purchased in the "Hardcore-only" gold-based auction house for that character?

Yes. Again, Hardcore-mode characters will only have access to a "Hardcore-only" gold-based auction house, not the currency-based auction house, and will not be able to trade with non-Hardcore characters.

Hardcore is an optional mode designed for players who enjoy playing with the risk of permanently losing their character if the character dies, and that includes the items they acquired with that character.

Can I just buy the most powerful items and breeze through the game?

Items will be level-restricted, meaning your character won’t be able to use an item until he or she is at the appropriate level for that item.

 

AUCTION HOUSE CUSTOMER SUPPORT

What happens if a player does not receive a purchased item?

The auction process is automated, but if a player purchases an item and for some reason does not receive it, he or she will be able to contact our customer service team to look into the issue.

 

What happens if there is a patch and the item I purchased is altered?

It’s important for us to ensure that Diablo III remains balanced and fun for years after launch. To that end, it may be necessary to change stats or alter abilities of items from time to time.

It’s very important to note that Blizzard will not be providing refunds or making other accommodations if a purchased item is later altered in a patch. Given this, it’s up to players to determine whether they’re comfortable purchasing items in the currency-based auction house.

 

Someone bought an item on my account without my permission. Can I get a refund?

Please note that account sharing will be forbidden in Diablo III’s Terms of Use. In cases of compromise, our customer service team will look into the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.

 

I accidentally lost or dropped an item I just purchased — can I get a refund?

No. After a purchase is made, players will be responsible for what they do with the item.

 

How will you address bots or cheaters?

We take cheating very seriously, and we’ve designed Diablo III and Battle.net to include measures to detect and prevent unfair play. In addition, we will have anti-cheating policies in place and will take action to address any issues as they arise.

Blizzplanet: BlizzCon 2011 Panels Transcript Archive

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Over the next two weeks, this hub page will grow as we add more BlizzCon 2011 updates. This is a transcript archive to read the BlizzCon 2011 panels. There were around 20 panels led by Blizzard Entertainment developers covering World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Diablo III.

Those who wish to can still order the BlizzCon Ticket Livestream at the official BlizzCon website. All VODs will be available for view until November 20th, 2011. Additional links: Blizzard, BlizzCon Homepage, BlizzCon Twitter.

Blizzplanet Articles

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria – Press Kit

This section gathers all the material Blizzard Entertainment provided Blizzplanet network manager Eldorian at the BlizzCon 2011 Press Room.

World of Warcraft: Intro to Mists of Pandaria

Browse through the Transcript Archive of each panel.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Class Talent Panel

Dungeons & Raids Panel

Diablo III – Press Kit

Diablo III – Panels

StarCraft II Press Kit

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Panels

Browse through the transcript archive of each panel. (coming soon)

BlizzCon 2011: Mists of Pandaria – Dungeons, Battlegrounds, Arenas & Major Class Changes

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In this panel, the developers talk about some of the initial dungeons in the Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds, the new PvP Battlegrounds, and the new Arenas.

Achievements will be shared among all your characters, and the developers will introduce ones where all your characters participate in to complete an achievement.

Resilience will have a few changes to accommodate newbie PvP players who are wearing mostly PvE gear at first. Nothing really crazy, just a way to allow newbies to transition well without getting owned badly and overpowered to the point they can’t compete and get their initial PvP gear.

New changes to be made to your characters — ouch, how do I tell you this? Hasta la vista, Relics. Gone. The Wand slot? Vaya con Dios.

Bye, Hunter melee weapons! Ouch. Gone. Without further ado, read the full transcript of the Mists of Pandaria Dungeons Sneak Peek discussion.

During the World of Warcraft: Intro to Mists of Pandaria Panel, WoW Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton discussed details of some of the first Dungeons of Pandaria.

Dungeons Sneak Peek

Cory Stockton: We’re expecting to make 9 dungeons for Mists of Pandaria. We’re super excited to be able to do a lot of new dungeons and a lot of awesome looks. There’s going to be six dungeons specifically on Pandaria that you’ll be able to fight in. We also have something coming back that we found out was very popular with Cataclysm.

A few updates of classic favorites. So we picked a couple: Scholomance, and what’s cool about it is that it’s got a new layout and it will have bosses that are re-worked with all new abilities.

It will be a little bit easier to navigate and it will feel really cool and fresh. We’re going to talk a ton about it the dungeon panel later today.

The other one is The Scarlet Monastery. The Scarlet Monastery as you know it has four wings, but some of these wings only has one boss (aka the Cathedral), and then we have another wing that has a ton of bosses, so we wanted to make it a little more even, so we’re going to redo the Scarlet Monastery Completely and re-introduce them as two separate unique dungeons with their own bosses.

We got a few screenshots of a couple of the new dungeons. This is the Stormstout Brewery here.

You are going to be helping Chen Stormstout recapture this brewery for his family heritage.

This is a look at the Shado-Pan Monastery. It’s a really awesome outdoor dungeon.

And this is the Temple of the Jade Serpent which is in the first zone in the Jade Forest.

It’s another dungeon that goes indoor and outdoor. We’re trying to get a whole different vibe with players going both indoor and outdoor at different times.

Raids Sneak Peek

Not to be left out, we’re obviously going to be introducing three new epic raids. The races we are looking to feature in these raids are the Mogu and the Mantid.

We’ve talked it about earlier, it will be two of our killer enemy races that definitely fit well into the whole raid vibe as part having creatures that you’d want to kill.

As you know, were introducing the new raid finder in patch 4.3 for the Dragon Soul raid. In Mists of Pandaria, the raid finder will be available for all raids right from day one, so all the raids will have essentially three difficulty levels: raid finder, normal and heroic — right off the bat.

The Group finder will give the other people a chance to get into raiding with content that really fits for them, and like Tom Chilton mentioned earlier, we’re looking to bring back world raid bosses.

I think the big thing here is that obviously there were problems with them originally, but we’ve figured out solutions to those problems.

The fact that they drop very specific pieces of gear that players need. We’ve got solutions to those problems so why not bring them back. They were something players really liked, so it’s something that we really want to do here for Mists of Pandaria.

Like I said, we’ll have a lot more of info on this in the Raid and Dungeons Panel today.

So questing. What’s going on with questing in the game? A couple of different things. One thing is we want to focus on more max level content. It’s something that we saw with Cataclysm that people burned right through the content very quickly, and we saw that they really want more content to do at max level, so it’s something we want to focus here.

We still obviously want a strong leveling experience along the way but we want to make sure when you get there, you have a lot of stuff to do, and stuff that can give you valor points that you can do at that level.

Things like the molten front — from patch 4.2. We want to do things like that right from the beginning so that players have choices when they hit level 90. So we were talking about having multiple hubs for that kind of stuff all over the world. Those will play in right into the factions, as well, but give players different things to do at max level and not just necessarily the same options that they’ve always had historically.

Another thing that goes along with that is maybe giving some incentives to dungeon players for doing outdoor, daily kind of stuff.

If you did five daily quests, you would get a buff. If happen to go into a dungeon with that buff, you might get a chance to roll on a piece of loot that only shows up to the players that have that buff. So maybe you went out and did some dailies first, and then go into the dungeon — and it helps to motivate some players there from both sides.

Like I was talking a little bit earlier about the Valley of Four Winds, we’re really looking to make the questing feel less linear.

Not the fact that they’re always going to feel completely different, but the fact that we give you some choices so that when you come back, and you go through a zone, you can do it in a little bit of a different level.

Same thing with the max level. We mentioned this earlier. It’s something that feels better to not have flying mounts. To keep people on their ground mounts, we can introduce other different type of quest content that really fits, and we don’t have to worry so much about people flying up in the air, and landing on the boss mob, and kill it right away without clearing anything along the way.

It doesn’t really have that good vibe to it. You didn’t really did it. You kind of cheated a little bit, and flew in. So by keeping people on the ground, it’ll really feel better.

Finally, faction Improvements. Factions are something we’ve had in the game for a long time, and we’ve done a number of different things with them, and here we’re looking to shake it up again with offering players more ways to earn the items they want.

If you look right now, we ended Cataclysm, we had Tol Barad, and we had a number of great items, but it was like kind of your only option of a place to go.

We want to have more options for players to go, but still be able to use all these options towards getting the gear they want.

So we’re looking at having groups of factions, and you can do any quest within these factions that you want, but they all lead toward that awesome flying mount reward. That one thing you really want to get. You don’t feel like you have to grind so much. We want factions to be fun. We don’t want them to feel grindy, and that’s something we’re really going to be focusing on here.

PvP Battlegrounds

Do we have a lot of PvP’ers here? So we were talking about making some PvP Battlegrounds. We don’t know exactly which of all these battlegrounds we are going to do, but these are all ideas we are working on.

We figured out this is Blizzcon, so we wanted you guys to think about and tell us about a few of them.

So we have different types of battlegrounds here with different types of game styles. You know, we obviously have CTF (Capture The Flag), King of the Hill type of game, so we’re looking at making different types of battlegrounds here.

Another thing is we are looking out to make new Arenas. Right now we have the Tol’vir Proving Grounds, and this is located up in Uldum. We have some screenshots to show you in a little bit.

Stranglethorn Diamond Mine

First, let’s talk about the Stranglethorn Diamond Mine.

The concept behind this is that the goblin mine below northern Stranglethorn — Alliance and Horde are fighting over it to get all these minerals out of it.

We are looking at doing a Payload style gameplay. So essentially, you have these mine carts to escort to a depot. When it hits the depot, you get points.

We’re looking at multiple tracks, within the actual mine itself, and the first team to escort enough carts through the depot with points would win, but you still are buried with a lot of options every time you play.

You could get a mine cart and send it on a different track each time, and we’re also talking about having you be able to, in the middle of the game, send the car off to a different track, and the track could split, and the player can sit there and decide which way he wants it to go.

So it’s a unique kind of style of gameplay, something that we feels is really pretty cool with what is PvP.

So this is a look at a map of how that could work.

There in the center of this diamond mine would be where the cart starts and then there is a couple of different tracks that lead all around the cave.

And you can see some of the tracks split in different directions. There are some bridges there, so when a track goes across the bridge you can knock guys off the bridge.

There’s all kinds of opportunities to do cool things here. Here’s a concept art. We’ve gotten a little bit of progress on to the point where we have some playable prototypes.

The Valley of Power

Next up, this one we’re talking about. It’s called the Valley of Power. This would be about getting an ancient Mogu artifact and capturing that artifact — the Alliance and the Horde both want it — because it offers power for the war on the other side.

The way the gameplay will works is: you have an object and you pick up the object, and the longer you hold it your team earns points.

Depending on where you stand in the area of the actual map, you could earn more or less points. So if run off in the corner and hide, you’ll earn less points.

If you stay out in the middle where it’s wide opened, you earn more points. The ball itself is doing damage to you so the longer you hold it, you’re taking more and more damage — so you need healers with you to keep you alive, but it’s really a fun style of gameplay and something we think, again, will fit really, really well with WoW.

So here’s a look at how something like this could work. We’ll have some start areas on the two sides of the ledge going all the way around, and then some stairs that lead to a some kind of recessed area, and the orb is right there in the center. So you start and run right for it. We’ve got a couple simple pillars for line of sight, but really a simple map. For something like this, the gameplay is all about the combat.

You don’t necessarily need a lot of line of sight blockers or things in the map to make it fun.

Here’s what I was talking about with the point values. You see the farther away you are, the less points you’ll earn. The more you are closer to the middle, the more you’ll get.

Here’s a concept art where this could fit into the world.

Tol’vir Proving Grounds

We haven’t done an arena in a long time, so we thought — you know — maybe it’s time to add a new arena in.

A lot of players are happy with the arenas that we have now, so we’ve been tentative to add a new one, but this really felt like a cool opportunity to use a really neat piece of art and do an arena that could be simple, and that players would really like, so we based it off of Nagrand Arena, one of our most popular arenas.

It’s got a great sense of place in the world because you feel like it could be in Uldum, when you go there you’ll know exactly that it fits.

So here’s a look at it from the top down. A simple square with four line of sight blockers, and they’re on angles a little bit, but the layout in general is very similar.

Here’s a look at it from the side to see how it can fit in Uldum.

So we have one other new feature we’re talking about adding in. And Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) will tell you about it.

Achievements

Pretty much all we can say about it is we’ll take some achievements, and let them be shared across the characters, and especially the ones that are more difficult to get, and this gives us a possibility to introduce new types of achievements.

So for example, we could say, get every profession to max level. That would be really cruel to do for one character, but across your other alt characters, it would be kind of fun to look for that.

Major Class Changes

Greg Street (Ghostcrawler): Let’s talk a little bit about some class changes coming up. I think most of these are pretty exciting.

Resilience

First one is a change we’re going to try for resilience. We like the way resilience works. We like that when you’re hardcore at the very competitive levels getting more resilient can make a big difference, and we know it gives you a goal to work for. Our concern is that if a big barrier of entry into Battlegrounds or Arena, there used to be a day when you could come in with your PvE gear and gradually work up to better PvP gear.

Players have told us now they feel like they can’t compete in PvP at all because it’s such a big step up. So the way we’re going to try to do this is to treat resilience as a base stat, which means you get a little bit every time you level up, and as you get PvP gear, you get up to the kind of resilience you have now.

We don’t want PvE gear to be the best gear for PvP, but we want it to be something you can use and viceversa.

A few things I’m going to talk about, the future of range weapons, Warlock and Druids. I can’t talk about everyone — but we still love you.

Ranged Weapons

First, let’s talk about Hunter minimum range. I’m going to milk this for a second. Oooo … it’s gone.

(cheers and applause)

Once you decide to make this change, then we’re left with what does a Hunter do with their melee weapon. It’s just a staff stick. So Hunters don’t need melee weapons anymore.

Just get your range weapon, and you’re good to go, and the funniest thing about this is we went really quick from everything is a hunter weapon to nothing is a hunter weapon.

And it led to a few more questions that I will share real quick. We don’t think we need a range slot for all the other characters.

We think the relics slot is one of the least interesting pieces of gear we can introduce. It has some stats on it, but we don’t drop them in dungeons, you get a new one every tier, and you’re good to go, and there’s not a lot of gameplay there, and honestly we don’t think we’ll really miss it.

The Rogue and Warrior can throw their melee weapon when they need to do range attacks. This is literally the gun, bow and crossbow weapon slot — all hunter weapons going across the bar, and the other classes don’t ever want them.

Finally, we know some of you casters really want to be Harry Potter. So rather than cutting the Wand completely, we’ll make it a main weapon like you have your caster dagger, and your spell sword.

Sometimes you can get a wand and it will have stats like the other items you can use on your main hand.

Warlock

Warlocks. Gone.

I’m kidding. I had to show some love. Warlocks are one of these classes we’re taking a hard look at with the new talent system, because we thought once some of those kind of signature abilities are available to any warlock, you’re really left with like a bunch of guys that are kind of using similar spells, and doing similar things — so we really thought there was a lot of room to kinda push Affliction, Demonology and Destruction away from each other a little bit. So the way we are going to try this is — we have a unique resource for every spec.

We are gonna keep Soul Shards for Affliction. We like the improvements made for Soul Shards in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and we totally agree with the feedback, but they’re not quite interesting enough. We have some cool ideas for them. The Soul Shards will be something affliction uses. You get to pick Affliction at level 10, you get Soul Shards. You get Destruction or Demonology, then you’ll get something different.

Demonology has a new resource called demonic fury — you build up demonic fury by doing stuff. When you hit max demonic fury, then you metamorphosis.

So rather than being a cooldown, you can try to build it up constantly and be in demon form a little more often, and we’ll do a new cooler abilities you get to have in demon form, and we think this will make the prospectus play very differently and we have a new resource for Destruction.

Destruction has always been a little tricky to design because it kind of feels like — hey, I’m a warlock that thinks is a mage.

(crowd laughter)

We think that’s not rich enough for Destruction. We feel that Destro can stand to have a little more excitement going on.

What Infernal Embers are — you can imagine a destro warlock that keeps casting fire spells slowly like gets hotter and hotter and eventually catches on fire.

When you get to this fire space, then your conflags do like really crazy damage. The problem if ever having those big destruction nukes be too powerful is the burst issues we have, but you have to build up to get to that point so we think we can handle throwing some really massive conflags out there.

This is the kind of thing, again, you can build it up quickly, hit your big nuke, then build it up again. We think it will be a lot more fun overall to play that spec — and then if you wish to switch to Affliction or Demonology it will feel pretty different.

Shaman

We think this is a good mechanic, but we agree it’s not fun like constantly dropping just to do competitive DPS or healing and be the buff bitch for everyone else in the group.

We’ll keep the concept of buffs, but it will be something that you can just have. We want it all to be about utility, and that means we have to fill in the design space a little bit with some new totems.

We have an Earthgrab Totem that does a big root around it, and we have the crazy Repulsion Totem to keep him from getting to close to the Shaman, or wherever he put the totem; and then we have the Bulwark Totem which puts a shield on the Shaman and helps him to take a little bit less damage.

When we talk about the Shaman talent tree here, you see how some of these totems fit in the talent tree. Some are poor and some are talents you have to choose to the exclusion of others.

Druids

This is a pretty short section, but it shows what we can do with this new spec and talent system we have. The druids always felt like they had four specs. So now they do.

(crowd cheers)

We’re adding a new one called “Guardian”, and this is the bear specific spec. You’ll see they’re trying to go after the player that wants to shift around to lots of different forms.

There will be a lot of overlap, but overall if you want to be the tank for your group, probably you would want to pick the Guardian spec, and you can still go cat or bear form. You’re not losing that ability.

All Classes

Just because I didn’t mention your class, so you know, that doesn’t mean we’re not doing something for you in Mists of Pandaria. We’ve done a massive spell book clean up, and gotten rid of some junk.

We have tried to find roles for some of those spells that actually didn’t do anything, want to clean up action bars a little bit, but not removing the fun things, but we’re kind of removing the spells that you didn’t really use often.

Rotations are improved.

You now automatically learn spells on the field, you don’t have to go back to visit the trainer. Trainers will still be there for things such as respec.

Lots of new spells with a lot of new talent trees. A few new core spells that make sense. Getting in a new level 87 spell and level 90 you get your final talent point, but we might get you a new spell at 87.

And overall, we really want talent trees to be fun. They shouldn’t be a chore. They shouldn’t be the thing you’re looking up on the internet to find your cookie-cutter build. Something you can obssess over and have a lot of fun with, and I think that wraps it up.

List of BlizzCon 2011 Goodie Bag Items on eBay

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BlizzCon 2011 is now gone, and players from all around the world have begun to fly back home. The lucky ones to have already arrived home, have begun to put their awesome BlizzCon 2011 Goodie Bags up for sale on eBay, as well as other individual items such as the Tyrael statue, and in-game vanity pet code card as a way to somewhat reimburse themselves the travel and accomodation costs. It’s become almost a yearly ritual.

Check out the links and try out your luck at getting an exclusive BlizzCon item only 26,000 souls around the world were able to take home.

Items on eBay

BlizzCon 2011: Pet Battle System in Mists of Pandaria

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During the World of Warcraft: Intro to Mists of Pandaria panel, Cory Stockton introduced one of the coolest features to be released in the upcoming expansion: The Pet Battle System.

Here’s a transcript of the panel:

Pet Battle System

Cory Stockton: Pretty much everyone who plays World of Warcraft probably has a vanity pet. I don’t think everyone necessarily has all the collections, or the achievements but it’s definitely something everyone knows what it is and it’s a feature we felt like we could expand upon and offer some new gameplay.

What exactly are we doing here? Essentially you’ll be able to collect, level, and fight with your pet.

It’s accessible to everyone. We didn’t want it to be a feature that was locked to the max level that only a few people would get access to. We wanted it to be something that everyone could do so you can start at a low level and collect pets, level them up and build your team.

Another thing, if it’s going to work with almost every pet in the game right now, as well as a ton of new pets that we’re going to add for the system for you to collect. So for all you people that already have … say you have 100 pets, most likely almost all of those pets will work with the system right when you get it. Grant it, you’ll have to level them on your own, but they’ll still be able to work with the Pet Battle System.

There’s going to be a lot of customization. You’ll be able to name your pets, give them individual abilities. As far as collection goes, how does that work? Like I said, It will work with your existing pets so a lot of people will start the system and have a pet to start with and get it going. There’s another type of pet you’ll be able to get that we’re introducing new for Mists of Pandaria.

This is going to be called a Wild pet. The way wild pets work is you find them out in the world. When you find them you’re going to be able to engage in battle with them, and fight with them using the pet you already have, and then you’ll be able to get the wild pet and add it to your collection.

Now what’s cool about these wild pets is that they have random varying stats. You’re not necessarily going just go out and be able to get all the wild pets you want, within that first week because they’re going to have varying stats.

You might want a pet that’s good as, maybe, tanking or one with a crowd control ability. You’ll want to collect the pets until you have the one that has the right set of stats — then you can start leveling it up.

The other thing that feels special is that they have unique spawning abilities. Certain wild pets you might only find during a certain season — like winter. Certain pets you might only find when it’s raining, for example, certain pets might only spawn during the day or night so there could be a pet that only sets up during the spring, while it’s raining, in a wind forest at night.

They’re not all like that, obviously but we definitely want to mix it up so people have a lot of pets to collect over a long period of time. We don’t want you to go out right away and get them all we want it to be a system that lasts.

Now, how are you going to find these pets? We are going to change the pet database we have got now, and introduce something called the “Pet Journal”.

Collect

What the Pet Journal does, is, it let’s you manage all your existing pets you have, as well as the teams and the battling and everything that goes along with the new system. We’ve got a few shots that we’ll show you that give you more of a rundown about how the journal works.

The other thing along with this, most pets will become tradeable. So what this means is you’re going to be able to say, get the Wolpertinger from the Brewfest seasonal world event and then be able to take it and say — level it up to a certain level, maybe change some abilities and then you can take the pet and throw it on the auction house and someone else could get it, and based on the time and amount of work you put into it, it will sell for what people think it’s worth so you want the system to fell like you cannot only trade pets not only in the auction house but with your buddies and friends, your guildies, and other players.

This is a huge one. We’re really working hard to have this. It’s to have Account-wide pets. Meaning, obviously, if you have a set of pets one one character you log in another character, you are able to use the same pets. If you have a pet up to level 14 and you log in another character, that pet is still 14. You don’t have to do it multiple times for all the pets.

So here’s a look at the pet journal. Just like the mock-up, these are all mock-up UI made by our UI team. You have your list of pets. You can search and filter through to find the ones you want and over on the right, you can see the pet’s stats and then at the bottom you can see the abilities that they’ve unlocked.

We’re looking at unlocking six abilities over 25 levels, and then on the right there’s an interesting spot called location.

If you click that, you can find out where you can get this pet in the world. So, instead of having to alt-tab out of the game, go to the web, and go to a database site to find out where to find this guy, where do I get him — similar to what we did with the Dungeon Journal where you could see all the items, what boss drop them — you’ll be able to find out where to get all your pets straight off the Pet Journal from within the game.

So now you’ve collected some pets. You’ve got a good amount of them, you managed them, and you’ve got to level them.

Level

How do you do it? Fight with other pets. When you win battles, you earn experience, and experience levels up your pet. As you level, you’re going to learn new abilities that you can then use in battle. Now you’re also going to have slots to place these abilities in.

Every pet can use three abilities in battle at one time, so a pet’s going to learn six and you get to choose any three of those and place them on your pet to use in the battle.

I have a mock-up so you can see how it looks. Every time you level, you earn stats, as well, so the entire level of your pet, obviously, he’ll get stronger as it’s growing.

You’re going to be able to level multiple pets because you’re going to want to build a team. You don’t want to take one pet and get him all the way up. You might want to take a couple and level them all up together so you can have a group of pets that are at similar level.

So here’s a look at the team interface. This is also within the journal. This is a different tab. This guy has two pets on his team and you can see the three slots for abilities where he dragged an ability in. Those are the abilities that when this pet goes to battle that’s what shows up on the bar and you can press that ability to use it.

Over on the left these are pets and their level and on the right, you drag them over and that’s how you build a team.

Battle

Now, how does the fighting work? You have a pet. You have leveled him up and you want to fight against someone and use all this stuff you’ve been earning so you can fight in PvE in the world against the wild pets, but you can also fight friends, and possibly enemies, using the PvP Battle as well. One thing that’s different is it’s going to be turn-based combat.

So we want to slow things down a little bit from WoW combat. WoW combat is super fast. People sometimes die in like 15-20 seconds, right away. So we wanted to introduce something different. Slow it down. Something that’s more of a thinking game.

So mechanic-wise, it’s not going to be something that is going to move so quickly, you won’t necessarily have to miss it, or know what happened, so we wanted to get something that felt different so it could be just people that want to focus on that could have a different piece of content to focus on, like we said earlier, we want content for everyone and have a feature that a lot of different people can play, not just something for a small segment of the population.

You are going to fight with a team of three, and we’re going to allow you to queue. You can go up against another group and we’ll look at the level of their pet to make sure we put you against other pets in the same range, so hopefully you’ve a fight that feels is about a level that you can handle.

So here’s a look. This is just a mock up. One thing that’s important, we want to keep the wow characters in the scene, in the fight. They are important. They are who are collecting the pets. They’re the masters of the whole system. We want to have the WoW characters actually be a part of it. When your pet has an ability, you might do something that makes sense going along with that ability that you use. You can see the bar at the bottom has the ability to be casting, and then you can see your other pets underneath the portraits there.

This is just a mock-up like we said, but something we could envision it looking like.

Customize

Customization like naming your pets is a big thing. You can have a pet that you’ve had for a really long time and finally you can give it a name, and see that name in battle.

We’re also talking about having items. So imagine the idea that you can have an item slot on the pet, you can equip an item. Maybe you could even put gems in that item so that you can modify the stats on the pet as well, so you can pull in some of profession systems.

You can do individual builds like we showed you earlier with abilities so you can take a certain pet and change his abilities and change the slots out, so your team will feel different than other teams around you, and finally, we got this concept of masters, you’re going to be able to — we wanted to have people into the system feel like they could travel around the world and have a reason to go to other places so you’re going to other places. So you’re going to be able to go to Tanaris, like say, there’s a goblin here and it’s really great with training mechanical pets.

So you can go there and fight him, and if you can beat him, he’ll grant you what we call a “master ability”, and you can use that ability on any of your pets to fight in battle.

So here’s a look of how this could work. He has three abilities at the top and then over on the right we see the map and that shows you where to go to fight the master and the ability that you could get.

So it adds a little bit more depth and customization into the system as a whole.

BlizzCon 2011: Scenarios, PvE Battlegrounds & Challenge Mode Dungeons

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During the World of Warcraft: Intro to Mists of Pandaria, WoW Game Director Tom Chilton discussed the new features: PvE Scenarios, PvE Battlegrounds and Challenge Mode Dungeons.

Here is the transcript of the Scenarios Panel.

Scenarios

Tom Chilton: Scenarios are about re-using parts of the world that we already created in interesting new ways. I’ll go over one example which is the Defense of Goldshire.

It also gives us the ability to do some interesting new types of PvE gameplay that we’ve never done before.

One way to characterize that potentially would be to label them as PvE Battlegrounds.

These are short instances for a few players. The amount of players will vary on what type of scenario it is. A Scenario could be for three-players for example, and these are all designed for players that are playing their characters in similar ways as when they are questing.

They aren’t their typical type of setups for that you would for a dungeon. It’s a staged experience or at least in many cases you’ll have different phases of the scenario you go through, and you’re trying to accomplish some greater goal.

Here’s one example. These are purely theoretical examples. This isn’t an actual scenario. We’re in the process of creating the Defense of Goldshire.

Imagine for a moment a scenario we called the Defense of Goldshire, and you and a couple of buddies are in there, and your job is to clear out a bunch of Kobolds, and find and return some children to town; and then kill Goldtooth.

This would be the type of scenario we’d use in an introductory scenario. Maybe we first introduced this at level ten for players leveling up for the first time, or if you never got a chance to do it, or you just kind of wanted to go back and do it again, you would be able to do that.

Of course, with our philosophy of being able to do whatever it is you want to do to progress your character you still be able to get Valor points out of doing it at level 90.

So here we are imagining these are all fake screenshots. By the way, big Goldtooth there.

PvE Battlegrounds

Another idea we have is called PvE Battlegrounds, these are things we haven’t really done before. We’d like to experiment with that.

Imagine this is the Battle of Grizzly Gulch. Imagine this is a defense of the ancients style, except there are no enemy players on the other side. A lot of players out there that would love to do battleground type of content or kind of really nervous, or freak out against other players, or they don’t like that kind of thing so this give us the ability to do the similar types of mechanics in a PvE setting and that allows us to do slightly different things than we’d normally be able to do in PvP.

So imagine you and a couple of buddies are in charge of going down the lanes of this PvE Battleground and you have slay enough soldiers to get your characters powered up and then destroy their six towers in the barracks, and out comes the boss and you have to apply the beatdown to General Drake.

Here’s a map we have been working on for a little bit. It’s an extension of a Defense of the Ancients-style battleground that we’ve been working on. This scenario would play out in an environment like this.

These scenarios have a wide variety of applications and they’ll signal you to do new things that we haven’t done before with dungeons.

Another important point here isn’t player collision. These are designed to be in PvE, and one other way to look at these is to think of group quests in outdoor areas using a Dungeon finder. Queue and go. No role requirements.

It implies automatically, very short queues. Very quick experiences. One of many options to earn Valor Points to progress your character.

Challenge Mode Dungeons

Hopefully these will excite some of you. I don’t know how many of you guys were back around way back in the day when we had this 45-minute Stratholme Baron Run. That was pretty exciting, and I’ve always really wanted for us to be able to do that sort of thing again and really institutionalize it in a way that adds a whole new type of gameplay, grant it, there were some not-good elements like if it was blocking your progression to getting to your Tier 5. That was a downer, but that won’t happen here.

What are Challenge-Mode Dungeons? These are the experiences you guys go through already but what if we had time-trial versions of the dungeons — so Challenge-Modes are that.

When you set yourself in Challenge-Mode and you group up with your buddies the purpose of doing this is going to complete the dungeon in a specified amount of time and so that implies a whole different level of coordination and teamwork that you don’t necessarily get when you’re sort of plowing through because you’re either new or try to just get the loot out of it.

You’ll rip through there as fast as you can to win medals: Bronze, Silver and Gold. It rewards you with sweet looking gear with no stats which you can use to transmogrify your current gear, plus valor points.

We’re going to create an entire tier of gear that has unique and special look that you’ll be able to get exclusively by doing challenge-modes so if you do the challenge mode and you rip through there and get the gold medal and all the different dungeons, you can earn yourself an entire set of gear to show off to your friends about what a bad ass you are for being able to clear the dungeons as quickly a you can.

A big part of this feature is bragging rights and leaderboards. It feels like competitive PvE in a sense. When you pop open your character’s sheet you can see your best times for any given dungeon, what the rewards for the different challenge modes are if you complete them in gold, silver or bronze times, and you can compare yourself to other people on your realm. See what are the top times for people on your realm.

BlizzCon 2011: Pandaren Race Features

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During the World of Warcraft: Intro to Mists of Pandaria, Wow Lead Systems Designer Greg Street — known as Ghostcrawler — led the discussion about the Pandaren Race Features.

Pandaren Classes

Ghostcrawler: We have a new race: The Pandaren. One of our early concepts here.

The hair and facial style options and the female pandaren are not available yet when you go play here at BlizzCon. Those are still in development. So far they’ll look like this in this build.

The playable Pandaren race is neutral, and at level 10 you’ll kinda choose which faction to belong to: Horde or Alliance.

These are Pandaren Classes: Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior.

We can talk a lot about the Monk, but you can see we have a lot of other classes to choose from. Some of these we saw didn’t make as much sense. There was a lot of discussion among developers about which classes fit the Pandaren. For example, does a druid bear turn into a bear? (crowd laughter)

Pandaren races are embedded into those seven stones and will never change. There won’t be a Pandaren Death Knight, Druid, Paladin nor Warlock.

Racials

These I’m sure are set in stone and will never ever change.

  • Epicurean: You get increase stat benefits from food by 100%.

They also like to cook. In fact we are thinking about a whole lot of interesting things with cooking because that’s such a key element to the Pandaren culture.

    <
  • strong>Gourmand: Cooking skill increased by 15.

Inner Peace feels like a so much of a powerful racial, and probably isn’t, but that’s one we’d want in a racial. (Crowd breaks into laughter).

  • Inner Peace: Your rested experience bonus lasts twice as long.

(Crowd breaks into laughter again seeing the Bouncy Racial)

  • Bouncy: You take 50% less falling damage.

And finally, we had to do an active racial, and this is it. Little bit of a crowd control.

  • Quaking Palm: You touch a secret pressure point on an enemy target, putting it to sleep for 3 sec.

Pandaren Weapons

Here are some of the awesome weapons that the artists have put together for the Pandaren starting zone. You’ll see a lot of stuff like this.

We really want it to feel like you aren’t in Azeroth. You’re in this new place, an entirely different culture.

New Class: Monk

We have a Monk. We’re going to start with some concept art. They have really excellent animations, and we’ll show you some of those in a second here.

If you ever wanted to play a Drunkenmaster, this is your chance.

There are three Monk specs:

  • Brewmaster – Tank
  • Mistweaver – Healer
  • Windwalker – Melee DPS

What we want to do with the Pandaren Monk healer is to try to have a healer that can stand up in melee.

We don’t expect Monk healers to be doing tons and tons of damage, but we wanted to experiment with a different type of healing style. Maybe players that are burned-out on healing to try something different here. Some can probably guess what the last one is? Punch someone in the face (he refers to Windwalker: melee DPS).

We do have this epic start zone so we want our players to experience this. With the Death Knight we thought the story made sense if you were brought back by the Lich King, here you’re starting out on the turtle and will eventually make it to Pandaria, so you start at the first level.

Very martial arts-based, but we’re really trying to embrace this, even like I said, the healer and the tank will do a lot of Kung-Fu things, and our animation team really delivered on this on a crazy level, there are a lot of new unique animations for the Monk.

The tank, healer and melee DPS monk all have different stances. They stand in so even their basic idle animations look different too.

You’ll see all their weapon animation is unique, and this for the non-Pandaren races too. Ohh! You thought that it was only Monks and Pandaria only?

Races that can choose a Monk Class

  • Draenei
  • Dwarf
  • Gnome
  • Human
  • Night Elf
  • Pandaren
  • Blood Elf
  • Orc
  • Tauren
  • Troll
  • Undead

The Worgen and the Goblin are excluded from choosing a Monk class.

Pandaria has been rediscovered almost like a stay-at-home types. There are adventurous ones and they are spreading around the Eastern Kingdoms, and Kalimdor — and starting to train some of the other races in the secret art of Monkery or whatever you call it. I think Tom Chilton said, if we don’t do no Monks, Monks aren’t worth doing. I also can’t wait to see a Tauren doing the Monk roll ability.

Monk Equipment

Monks hit a lot with hands and feet. We wanted to deliver on that fantasy of punching and kicking the krap out of those little bunny guys (the Verming), but we still want them to have weapons.

We want to see your weapons as you use them — so you can imagine a typical fight — you build up Shi with your hand and feet, and then you pull out your staff or your other weapon for some kind of finisher (finishing move).

We’ve made a lot of Staves and Fist Weapons. These are the very signature for the monk, and we think it will allow us to put more fist weapons in the game.

They don’t have enough users yet, so expect to see a lot more. They use One-Handed Axes, Maces and Swords. We are trying to figure out the difference between the dual-wielding and the two-handed. We might let anyone do anything. Dual-wield might be DPS. That’s the thing we’re looking at.

That’s the sort of thing we will need to iterate some. I’m sure you guys will let us know the right way to do it, and healers use off-hands. We don’t want Monks using shields.

Monk Armor Type

They are a leather armor class, sorta like the druids, agility for monk tank and dps, and intellect for the monk healer.

Monk Resources

One of the fun things about making a new class is the new resource system. We want to make them kinda different and capitalize with what we already know works, and try to mix it up a little bit.

The monks have an energy-like resource and it slowly regenerates and you use this primarily for two attacks: your jab which is primarily an energy builder, and then the roll attack which you saw in the opening trailer where the monk is running along. A lot of fun if you go check it out in all the computers around the corner there.

Jab generates light and dark force which you then use for anything else. You have some finisher moves which use light force, and some finisher moves that use the dark force.

We have talk about that. It’s controversial, but it’s been a lot of fun. We wanted to deliver on this Street Fighter-feel that you are punching a lot, and we thought the auto-attack would get in the way of that. When you punch a button you see an animation.

We wanted it to be visceral. We thought it feels pretty good, but try it out and let us know.

This is the current Monk Resource Bar. Again, if you were with us with the Death Knight, we had to iterate with it a lot, but you can see for the monk we have four Light force balls and four Dark force balls on the other side.

You fill those and consume them to do finishers. At the moment, in the play test area around there, this bar is down in the middle of your screen, something we haven’t done before. Something players have asked us a lot, so we’ll try it. Again, let us know how it works.

This is what a Monk animation should actually look like when you are in combat.

BlizzCon 2011: Creatures of Pandaria

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During the World of Warcraft: Intro to Mists of Pandaria panel, WoW Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton introduced the discussion about the Creatures of Pandaria.

Creatures of Pandaria – Transcript

Cory Stockton: Next up, let’s talk a little bit about what we are going to be killing here. It’s not all going to be a happy land. You got to have stuff to kill.

First off the race of fish-like creatures: The Jinyu. They kind of look as the wisemen of Pandaria. They can stick their staff in the river and hear what the land is saying. It’s literally talking to them.

You’re going to see them across a wide number of zones. They will play into your story the whole way through. Here’s a concept piece of how they look like.

Next up we’ve got the Hozu. The Hozu are a monkey-like race. They stand up on their behind-legs. They are known to be really mischievous. You’ll see them in dungeons as well as the zones outside. Here’s a concept art of how they look like.

Next up is the Verming. The Verming are a take on … we really wanted to make a new Kobold. It’s a classic creature. Whenever you see them you want to take them out. You can fight them in droves.

They aren’t too strong, so you can fight a bunch of these guys at one time. They are a bit of a nuisance. Here’s a look at the these guys (crowd breaks into laughter).

We saw a concept art, and we were like ‘we have to build that. Right now! And he needs this whatever this crazy knife-fork weapon thing going on.”

But the Pandaren have a lot of farmland, and these are the guys that are going to kinda like — these kind of guys have dug tunnels under the farmland and they’re stuck in the vegetables down underneath into their tunnels from below so that’s part of the storyline, the stuff you’re going to get with these guys.

Next up we have one of our killer races: The Mantid. We’re going to have whole raids based around them, dungeons. They really play a big role. The kind of over-arcing story. They are an insect race that’s been on the island for a long time, for milennia.

They’ve laid next to the Pandaren the whole time but have been kind of separated from the rest of the continent by a giant wall.

They’re starting to go a little crazy and they’re coming through the wall in places. You’ve to end up dealing with that.

Here’s a look at them. Now different than our other insect races that we’ve had before, like the silithid. These are able to dress themselves, they have their own houses. They have looks. They’re more of a creature that you can expect to be intelligent and use weapons. We really wanted to play up a different aspect.

Next up we have the Mogu. The Mogu are another ancient race. The Mogu are actually the original race in the land of Pandaria. They were the first race before the Pandaren overthrew them ten thousand years ago, and took the island for themselves. And what’s happening now is — the Mogu want it back so that plays another part of this big storyline. In raids you’ll see them in dungeons. We really wanted to have a lot of villains for players to fight. Like Chris Metzen mentioned, we don’t necessarily always have to have one big bad guy that’s causing all the badness in the expansion.

We kind of wanted to spread it out and have a number of things that players are dealing with. Here’s a look at these guys. You can se they’re kind of big and hulky.

And finally, we’ve got the Sha. The Sha is really unique. What it is, it is the manifestation of negative energy on Pandaria. If you imagine whenever anything bad — someone gets killed, a fight happens — you know something like that on an island — any sort of battle, especially what’s happening with the Alliance and the Horde once they get here, releases Sha energy into the land.

It’s kind of a shadow form creature, and you are going to see them all over the place. Here’s a look of how we think these guys can feel. Super aggressive.

Something you definitely want to take out. You can fight this guy at the raid box for sure. That’s a quick look at some of what you can expect from the creatures of Pandaria.

BlizzCon 2011: Continent of Pandaria Panel

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Here’s a transcript of the Continent of Pandaria Panel by WoW Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton.

Cory Stockton: You have heard what World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is, but now we want to tell you what you’re going to be; and what is this place.

It is going to be five new zones, level of zones, for continent itself. Another thing that we’re changing here is the fact that we’re going back to a single unified continent. If you remember back to Burning Crusade, we had one single continent with all the zones together. With Cataclysm, we changed that up and our zones were in different places. We kind of felt like that didn’t make it feel like one unified place.

Instead, it didn’t have the same vibe. With Pandaria, we’ll go back all the zones that make one unified place. We’ve clearly got an asian influence on the landscapes and environments and everything you’re seeing here.

It’s been super cool just to see the artists at Blizzard take that and turn it really into a unique World of Warcraft style. You can take that and kind of make it look specifically chinese or asian or one specific look but we really put that World of Warcraft look on it so when people see it they instantly think wow.

We’re going to do something we really haven’t done since Burning Crusade, we are going to add an auction house in the new continent. So actually on Pandaria you will have an auction house that you’ll have access to — now, granted, you are still going to need to go to Stormwind or to Orgrimmar for certain things that you need to do, but we wanted to give players that convenience if you are at the new continent and you like playing there, you should be able to stay there in Pandaria, you shouldn’t necessarily have to always go back and forth actually.

Another thing we’ll be changing is that we aren’t going to allow flying until max level. It’s great to see that response, because that’s really how we feel about it, but for us, every time you kill a mob, you fly down, kill it, mount up and fly up in the air, fly down, dismount, kill a mob again, mount up and again and again.

You know, even if it feels convenient, and fast in the long run we just don’t really feel it gives the best quest experience that you could have. Going back to this we really feel like we’re going to get a better core quest experience.

Here’s a look at the continent of Pandaria, as a whole. Anyone who’s been to Blizzcon before know this is how we start out. Our design process. We lay out everything in 2D.

We have placed dungeons across all the different zones. I’ll talk about the Jade Forest, our intro start zone, then the belly of the Four Winds there on the south side.

One thing that’s cool is we’ve really been working on this for a while. We’ve got a lot of stuff to show you guys. This is probably the first Blizzcon we’ll be able to show video fly-throughs of these zones that are complete and ready to see.

Here’s a little look at the scale. There’s Twilight Highlands from Cataclysm. Yes, we are delivering in five zones, but they’re really dark zones and when you add that to the fact that you’re not going to have access to a flying mount until max level, you can see there’s going to be a ton of content in these zones.

So a little bit about Pandaria. It’s been around for a long time. Thing is it’s been shrouded by mist since The Sundering. The Pandaren have been alone there all this time, undiscovered. Chris Metzen mentioned in the Opening Ceremony, the Alliance and the Horde are locked in an intense battle. That’s something that’s always been the core of World of Warcraft. We want to follow that up here.

They end up having a naval battle offshore. Ships get blown, and they wash up ashore on the Island of Pandaria.

You have finally unshrouded the mist and you are able to see the continent. Once they land here and they find it, they realize that it is a lush land. It is full of resources and all kinds of things that Garrosh can use, and that Varian can use in their war, and so they’re basically just going to destroy this land trying to get as much as they can out of it, and that’s when we come in.

We have a whole panel on Story and Lore tomorrow at 4:15pm. If you want some more info make sure to hit up that panel.

Besides the continent of Pandaria, we’ve also got a new starting zone. Anyone who rolls a new Pandaren has a new start zone to play in. What’s really crazy about this place is that it’s a turtle!

You are going to see it here in a little bit. Essentially you are playing on the back of a giant turtle.

This turtle left Pandaria 10,000 years ago, and started growing. Pandaren have always been happy in there, but a few of them have the wander lust, they want to get out and see the rest of the world.

Those pandaren who want to do that have left on the turtle. Now it is going to be similar to our past experiences. It’s going to be story focused, simple mechanics but it is going to really, really draw you into the pandaren lore, culture and history, and find out what’s really going on with them as a whole.

The Pandaren are a neutral race. You’ll start out neutral and play from level one to ten, then when you get to ten you’ll pick your faction.

It’s a one-way choice. You’ll make that choice and decide and go forward from there. We’re pretty excited about that. It’s our first chance to do it.

It should play out really well. Here’s a look at some of the concept art of the turtle. There’s a valley you start in, and you kind of work your way around. We’ve got a real cool storyline here where you try to restore some spirit to the central temple.

This is the map. This entire starting zone is playable here on the show. You’ll be able to go over, get a Pandaren and lay all the way through. That’s why we have a final map here because this whole thing is playable now at the show.

Here are some screenshots. This is that central temple you saw. This is a look at the edge of the turtle so you can see where the turtle hits the ocean there.

Obviously, Pandaren love beer, so they have lots of breweries. You’ll find these all over the place. This is a great screenshot showing the actual “You’re on the back of a turtle”. We’re not trying to fake it. This is the actual turtle you play on.

When you run up to the edge, you’ll see the head so it will feel really cool and unique. Here’s a video of some of what that looks like.

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