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BlizzCon 2011: World of Warcraft Class Talent System Panel

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Tom Chilton led the World of Warcraft Class Talent System Panel after the official announcement of the upcoming World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria expansion.

In a nutshell, basically, the current talent system will be thrown out of the window. Poof! It’s gone. The Talent System will be revamped from the ground up. We won’t see the same vertical talent system we have been used to in the past seven years.

The new talent system is horizontal. Every 15 levels you will have to choose one out of three talents. As you progress down to the next 15 levels, and so on, you are building a unique and different character than the player next to you — and while you only have those three choices per tier, you are in fact having more customization power and differentiation than you have ever had in the lifespan of World of Warcraft.

Here is a transcript of Tom Chilton’s Talent System Panel: (apologies for inaccuracies. Feel free to provide corrections)

Tom Chilton (WoW Game Director): What is World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria? Our prime objective here is we want to combine new gameplay with the most fun parts of the past.

I think it is a fair criticism that some people that have leveled up through Cataclysm are saying that there weren’t a whole lot of new things to do at the end game.

You do a lot of new stuff or reroll and go through the very much changed world but at the end game it is the same kind of stuff that you’ve been doing for years and years — hopefully, at least — so we want to make sure that we introduce some really fun new things for you guys to do to kind of keep things exciting at the end game.

So there we are: “New things to do”. That’s a core part of blending exciting things of the past with new things of the future.

Another core philosophy that we have is getting people back into the world. I dont know about you guys but I’m getting a little bit tired of seeing the inside of Stormwind all the time. Granted these are all lovely places, but that can get a lit bit old.

We want to get you back into the world at max level and experiencing the world and that means a lot of different things. Getting out there and doing stuff like in the picture here (Azurego’s outdoor raiding).

We’ve got a little shot of one of the things we plan to do is reintroduce the concept of these outdoor world raid bosses players have played, of course, where there are outdoor world people there fighting on PvP servers, that meaning people will be there trying to grief the people doing the outdoor world raid fighting.

So another core philosophy that we want to be able to do is “Do what you want to do to progress your character.

Over time, World of Warcraft has kind of blossomed with all these different things to do and we are going to add more things to do, and we’re really want the game to feel like there’s a menu of content and that you can pick and choose what kind of content you want to do and you aren’t necessarily pigeonhole-ing the content that you feel like you have to do in order to be able to progress your character.

What we’re trying to say here is that we want you to be able to progress your character whether you’re waiting, doing dungeons or daily plus. For example, that’s what that little plus is there. You’re getting power points out of it. That way you can actually get valor points (30 VP via quests) and progress your character even if you just want to go out there and smash, it would be faster if you want to do raids, of course, but you’ll still be able to make progress all the time.

Next, we really want you to be able to geek out with more interesting character builds than ever before.

I was there back in 2004 when we created the talent system — in fact that was kinda my job to create the talent system that you guys have experienced over the last many, many years. We have this vision. Back then it was in the friends and family alpha that we were getting constant feedback. This is before we had a talent system or at least one that you know of today.

We would get constant feedback about players wanting to be able to customize their character more, they wanted to stand next to another character of the same class and feel like they were a little bit different that made some choices and that those choices were meaningful and that led to their gameplay experience feeling a little bit different, and that their character was special. With that in mind, we went out and created a different talent system.

We drew a lot from the original Diablo II talent system, that sort of thing. But at the end of the day, I don’t actually feel like it’s aged as well as I wish it had. I feel like we’ve been plagued over the years with cookie cutter builds.

How much space do you really have when you step into your raid, and your raid leader tells you those’s four points you spent right there are going to cost you 4% DPS and we really can’t have that so you’re going to take a hike,that sort of thing. So we want to try to make sure that we refine what we call the talent system to get to the point where we don’t have the cookie cutter builds that we have today and that the choices you are making are significant choices for your character but that you actually have a lot of flexibility about how to set up your character and how to play.

Tom Chilton: As you already probably know, we’re here to talk about the talent system, and all the new stuff that we’ve done with with it and to give you guys a sneak peek at what we’ve done with your class.

So let’s open this vault of knowledge.

(Tom Chilton clicks the remote control and a massive panda paw fingerprint on a round mural glyph rotates clockwise and an animation as if it was a slide door pops open to show the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria logo)

Talents 2.0

We spent some time talking about this in the World of Warcraft: Intro to Mists of Pandaria preview panel, but now we’d like to go into a little bit more depth, and recap some of our philosophies and some stuff, and then make our way through the different classes.

As you may realize by now, this represents a mayor change to the class talent trees, and it’s really kind of a new phase of development for our talent system.

Still similar in a lot of ways to the original talent system, but we had these ideas in the back of our minds, kind of squeaking around that were telling us that we had bigger and better things to do with it.

Goal

So the goal here is that you’re standing next to another combat Rogue, for example, and this kind of rogue, she has different talents than you do … wow, wouldn’t that be something?

Holy crap! And they’re not just an idiot, right?

So as I said before, character customization was the original point of talents in the first place. That’s what we set up to do back in — somewhere around April or May of 2004, when we were talking about this, and that’s what we kind of thought we were going to accomplish, but over time we’ve really seen that cookie-cutter builds have dominated the scene and players have told us: “We want more talent customization!”

We did the Cataclysm talent revamp with that kind of idea in mind, hoping to give players more meaningful choices than they had before, but while we made improvements to how clean the system is and that sort of thing, we didn’t really feel like we delivered it on a level that players would really be happy with. Time to do it all over.

So this new model is all about customization. Making choices that are interesting and difficult choices. When you look at a class now, the class will be comprised of three things:

New Model

Class Abilities: The first is your core of possibilities and these are abilities available to everybody of that character class, whether or not you’re Arms or Protection or Fury. To take a warrior for example, All Warriors, obviously, learned Heroic Strike.

Spec Abilities: This is something we’re doing a lot more with this than we did before. Spec Abilities in Cataclysm is that one ability you get like Mortal Strike for picking Arms spec.

But now it translates into quite a few new things, and that can include abilities that are core abilities if they only make sense to work out for, for example, for a certain spec or they could be old talents or existing abilities that we have now. In this case, for the Arms Warrior can now learn Slam.

Finally, we have talents, and any warrior can pick from the same sets of talents. What’s very important to us is that players are making apples to apples comparisons about their talent choices.

One thing we learned over time is that if you put, let’s say, a survivability ability up next to a DPS ability, and you’re playing a DPS role, let’s say you are an Arms warrior — which one are you more likely to pick? Hmm, I wonder … You’d take the DPS ability, and that sacks the actual reality of choice from the decision.

However, what we feel like is if we present you with three different options that are comparisons that are right, like three different survivability abilities, and say: “Here they are, here are three of them. They are cool in different ways. Pick one.”

Then there’s only so wrong you can go with that, right? It becomes more of a choice of your style of play, what abilities appeal to you more as a player, and those choices can really actually add up to being very creative and different characters once you look at your character overall.

If we had DPS abilities in there, they’ll be compared against other DPS abilities, so you pick one of three different DPS abilities, or utility abilities, or mobility abilities, or survivability — all that kind of stuff.

Talents: Every warrior can choose Throwdown. So in this case, it’s crowd control. Throwdown will be put up against two other crowd-control abilities so you have to pick which crowd control suits you best.

Warrior Core Abilities

Here’s a bunch of different warrior core abilities, maybe you are probably very familiar with these.

Of note, enrage is in there as a passive, and so an example of a really significant talent for warriors that we don’t want to go away with, it’s a cool mechanic and all that, but now all warriors will have passive enrage.

At level 10, warriors can choose a spec, and here’s the example, warrior’s going to choose between arms or protection, and that’s going to have a whole bunch of implications at different levels.

If you’re the fury warrior, here are the abilities you’d get at the different levels, and so that implies these aren’t necessarily abilities you would get as Arms, Fury, or Protection. There may be a little overlap where it is necessary or makes sense, but for the most part, these are very distinct.

Like Fury, for example. Before, you didn’t want to be that warrior that didn’t pick Fury, right? — that wasn’t really a choice, not if you were sane. So at level 15, you’ll pick your first talent.

In this particular example, you’re looking at a warrior and you’re comparing three different mobility abilities against each other. Do I want Juggernaut, do I want Double Time, or do I want the Warbringer ability?

You pick which makes most sense for your character, your style of play, and the things you do.

We’ll continue to go through all these different examples with the different character process in a moment.

Talent Philosophy

Some of the philosophies that go along with this is that it gives you access to stuff you couldn’t access before in terms of the combinations, right?

In the past, let’s say you’re a rogue and you’ve chosen subtlety — so you know — I’m going to get Shadow Step as Subtlety rogue, and I’ll have Preparation and I’m going to have that sort of thing, but you were never able to combine an ability like that with an ability — let’s say, like Killing Spree.

And because these different talents are now going to be able to play against each other in the same tree, you’ll be able to create all kinds of new combinations of the cool talents that are already in the game that are really meaningful in ways you could never before.

And really, that’s at the crux of giving you guys a lot more control over your character and and a lot more flexibility, and a lot more customization.

We’ll also be adding several new overpowered feeling talents, so there will be new stuff in the trees that you have never seen before.

Talent Philosophy

Bear in mind as we go through the trees, as Greg said, don’t make assumptions about the talents that you see in there in terms of how they operate today.

A lot of these talents, once they’re in this kind of system, they will change in terms of their cooldown or their duration, or some of the details of their effects.

That’s because they aren’t necessarily all layered on top of each other. In the past we’ve had to essentially give some abilities because we had to worry about — well, first you can Gauge the guy, and then you can Kidney Punch him, and then Blind him, and then you can do this, that, and the other — and when you layer all those mechanics on top of each other we’re in the situation to marginalize those more and more.

So in a lot of cases, this opens up a lot more flexibility that we didn’t have before. As we go through these, if you don’t see a beloved talent, don’t worry. It’s probably something that’s a core ability or something like that.

There’s not an intent here to take away a whole bunch of awesome stuff. We’re just moving things around and putting them in places where they actually make for some interesting choices.

An example, all holy priests now have Circled Healing, and hopefully, you’ll come away with this not feeling like they’re mandatory talents, and every choice should be hard, but fun.

Talent Philosophy

So, Screenshot time. Rather than disappointing everyone, I’m walking off the stage, and Greg will just be going to go through every freaking talent. So, Greg Street (Ghostcrawler), take it away.

Classes Talents In-Depth Preview

Ghostcrawler: We’re going to reiterate a lot on these individual talents. They’re not set in stone. You haven’t played them yet. Don’t get too obsessed about the numbers, or “OMG! Too many cooldowns, that’s OP (overpowered)” — we can get to all of that.

Look at the spirit of the talent, and what we’re trying to do. We have ten classes and their talents, and buckle up. We’re going to go in alphabetical order.

If you’re a Warrior, go get a beer. and come back later.

Note: Before continuing to read the transcript of this Talents Panel, choose which class you wish to preview. Due to the massive amount of info shown by Ghostcrawler at this point of the panel, I decided to split all classes into separate pages. Otherwise this page would be very crowded with too much info and over 100 images. Basically, they showed every single freaking talent choice, and tooltips per every 15 levels (7 Tiers) per class. That was an awesome preview. Choose your class:

Change is Scary!!!

Change is Scary!!! And we know one of the initial reactions to hear about this talent thing is: “Wow, I used to get talents like every level and now I’m getting talents every 15 levels. There’s so fewer choices, only six talents instead of the 70 back in Burning Crusade, or something.”

We really want the quality of the choice to be more interesting than the quantity of the choice.

We want to focus on very cool talents that make you feel like you’re playing differently, you’re doing things you could never do before and less about well someone math out that this talent over here was a 2% DPS upgrade so I’m about only going to pick two out of three ranks here.

And honestly I think that what most of us did was we tried to find someone with a good build rather than having fun experimenting it ourselves.

We think about your current talents trees. Just think about the class you play a lot for a minute, and there’s cool talents in that tree.

Most of those we’re going to give to you for free now. If you pick the right spec you will get all that stuff anyway and some we’re going to elevate to the core class level.

Then there’s the really boring talents. The things that either no one took or the small DPS increases. You’re glad to have them. More DPS or Healing is nice. Not super compelling, like WoW I’m so glad I finally got this thing that made me have more armor.

And then there are the fun talents, talents that felt like game changers. That’s what we want this new system to be about.

None of these are set in stone. I would be surprised if these are what the talent trees look like when we ship.

You can see the philosophy and ideas we’re going for. We’re going to be super excited to get feedback.

I’m sure it’s going to be coming once we step off the stage. What’s overpowered. What’s a terrible idea. What we do to ruin the game or something.

BlizzCon 2011: Pet Journal and Pet Battle System – World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

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Blizzard Entertainment announced plans to add a Pet Battle System feature to World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. This is a feature I was so much looking forward. As I grew my collection of 129 pets, it came to mind it would be nice to have some sort of Pokemon system clashing pets vs pets.

My eyes pop out when Cory Stockton announced the Pet Battle System. Not only can you and your pet level up to battle other pets, your entire account will have access to the Pet Collection, meaning you don’t have to collect the same pets over and over for each character.

Pet Battle System

  • Collect, level and battle with companion pets!
  • Accessible to all players
  • Works with almost every pet
  • New pets will be added for players to collect
  • Customize your pets

Collect Pets

  • Works with most existing pets
  • Wild pets! Players have to fight them to add them to their collection
  • Pet Journal – Certain pet spawn at day or night, in a rainy day, in a specific season. The journal shows you info.
  • Pets are tradeable in the Auction House
  • Account wide pets – any character in any server of a single account will have access to the pet collection.

Level Pets

  • Win battles to earn experience
  • Learn new abilities as you gain experience
  • Create builds using abilities
  • Each pet can use up to three abilities at one time
  • Every time the pet levels, increase stats
  • Level multiple pets to build your team

Battle

  • PvE & PvP battles
  • Turn based combat
  • Simple combat system
  • Fight with a team of 3 pets
  • Queuing system

Customize Pet

  • Name your pets
  • Items
  • Builds & Teams via UI slots
  • Masters & Abilities

BlizzCon 2011 – World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria FAQ

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What is the story of World of Warcraft®: Mists of Pandaria™?

Alliance warships prowl the seas. Horde armies thunder across Kalimdor. Tensions between these factions edge closer to erupting in a savage war that threatens to consume all of Azeroth. Against this backdrop of impending conflict, an uncharted island mysteriously appears….

Shrouded in fog since the world was sundered more than ten thousand years ago, the ancient realm of Pandaria has remained unspoiled by war. Its lush forests and cloud-ringed mountains are home to a complex ecosystem of indigenous races and exotic creatures — including the enigmatic pandaren.

All but the bravest pandaren explorers have been hidden from the world for thousands of years. Now, in the aftermath of the events of World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™, Pandaria’s heroes are stepping forward to declare their allegiance to either the Alliance or the Horde and share the extraordinary secrets of their ancient martial arts with the world.

Who are the pandaren?

The pandaren are an enigmatic race native to the long-hidden continent of Pandaria. Honorable and filled with a love of good company, good food — and every now and then, a good friendly brawl — the pandaren have been content to live in seclusion, allowing their culture to flourish and thrive away from the influence of the outside world. However, every now and then, a pandaren is born with a thirst for adventure that rivals his or her thirst for a strong drink, and he or she strikes out to explore beyond Pandaria’s shores. One of the most famous such wanderers was the brewmaster Chen Stormstout, who set out to look for exotic ingredients for a special ale and wound up assisting the Horde during the events of Warcraft® III: The Frozen Throne®.

While the pandaren are predominantly a peace-loving race, their history is marked with turmoil and strife. After years of living under the oppressive rule of the cruel mogu, who banned the use of weapons as a means of control, the pandaren developed the martial arts that would become the hallmark of their monk caste and used their skills to free themselves from the mogu rule. Terrifying natural forces and strange indigenous enemies — such as the voracious mantid, who emerge every few years to consume everything in their path — have also had a hand in shaping pandaren culture over the centuries. Now, the pandaren way of life faces its biggest trial yet, as Horde and Alliance forces make landfall on Pandaria’s pristine shores….

What are the features of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria?

Some of the new features of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria include:

  • New Playable Race — Pandaren: Adventure through Azeroth as World of Warcraft’s first neutral race and decide whether to side with the Alliance or the Horde.

  • New Playable Class — Monk: Unlock the secrets of pandaren martial arts and do battle as a damage dealer, healer, or tank.

  • Level Cap Increased to 90: Learn potent new spells and abilities while exploring uncharted zones and taking on challenging new content.

  • New Zones: Explore the lush Jade Forest, treacherous Kun-Lai Summit, and other exotic areas of Pandaria designed for high-level characters, and uncover the mystery of the Wandering Isle.

  • Scenarios: Join up with some friends to achieve a common goal, such as mounting a defense against invading monsters, in a flexible new type of PvE challenge.

  • Dungeon “Challenge” Modes: Master the ultimate 5-player time trial and earn prestige rewards in a new dungeon mode that will put your resolve and coordination to the test.

  • Pet Battles: Challenge other players’ companion pets with your own collection in a new tactical mini-game, and find out who’s king or queen of the pint-sized battlefield.

  • New Talent System: Customize your character to suit your play style with the newly overhauled and improved talent system.

How are the pandaren a “neutral” race? At what point do you choose which faction to side with?

Pandaren who strike out to explore the world outside their homeland begin their journey on the Wandering Isle (a new starting zone for pandaren characters level 1 to 10), where they face a number of trials — and meet with a number of characters from both the Alliance and the Horde — before arriving in Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms.

Pandaren remain neutral through most of their Wandering Isle quests, but before they leave, players will need to make a decision whether to permanently side with the Alliance or the Horde. After that decision is made, the character will be treated just like any other member of their chosen faction in cities, on quests, and in character interactions. Choose wisely, because once your decision is made, it’s irreversible (except through the Faction Change service).

What is the monk class? How does it differ from other classes in the game?

The monk is a martial arts expert who excels in close-quarters hand-to-hand combat, and can fill the role of a tank, damage-dealer, or healer, depending on a player’s chosen specialization. As with most classes in the game (with the exception of death knights), monks begin their journey at level 1.

Monks have a number of unique mechanics and resources that set them apart from other classes. For example, the class is being designed with a more active approach to combat than other classes; every kick and punch is performed with the press of a key, so they will not have a default auto-attack.

In addition, monks build up “chi” through a combination of punches, kicks, and other basic martial arts moves, and then expend it to unleash powerful special moves, such as finishers or potent heals.

Which races can be a monk?

Since coming into contact with members of the Horde and the Alliance, several of Pandaria’s masters have begun to teach their new allies the secrets of their ancient martial arts. Currently, every race except goblin and worgen can learn the ways of the monk.

Which classes are available to a pandaren?

Currently, pandaren can choose to be hunters, mages, priests, rogues, shaman, warriors, and — of course — monks. Pandaren are not able to become death knights, druids, paladins, or warlocks.

What end-game content will be available for players at level 90?

With World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, our focus was on rebuilding the old world and improving the level 1 to 60 experience for players — and as a result, we didn’t end up creating a lot of new types of content for players to tackle once they had reached max level.

One of our primary design goals for Mists of Pandaria is to give players a wider variety of content and different types of gameplay to enjoy once they reach level 90, in addition to the Heroic dungeons, raids, and daily quests that they’re used to. To that end, we are introducing three major new features in the new expansion: scenarios, challenge modes for 5-player dungeons, and companion pet battles.

What are Scenarios?

Scenarios are a new type of PvE challenge designed for groups of as few as 3 or as many as 25 players, depending on what is appropriate for the content. Scenarios require players to band together to complete a specific goal, such as defending Goldshire against a gnoll attack or storming a beach near a Horde fortification. Each scenario will have its own set of unique objectives, and in general they will offer a different type of gameplay from the trash-and-boss design of 5-player dungeons.

Scenarios will allow for more flexible group compositions than dungeons do, so parties won’t necessarily need a specific number of tanks, healers, or damage-dealers (though exactly what’s required will vary by scenario). And while a scenario may take place in a familiar location within the game world, each scenario will be instanced. In general, expect a scenario to take anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes to complete.

What are Challenge Modes for 5-player dungeons?

Challenge mode is a new, advanced mode for 5-player dungeons designed for players looking for the ultimate test of coordination and skill. In challenge modes, players are tasked with trying to complete an existing 5-player dungeon as quickly and skillfully as possible.

Depending on how well the group does, players will receive recognizable prestige rewards such as mounts, pets, titles, achievements, or special armor artwork that can be used with transmogrification to customize a character’s appearance.

The inspiration for challenge modes comes from events such as the 45-minute Baron Rivendare runs in the original Stratholme dungeon, or the timed Zul’Aman dungeon run for the Amani War Bear.

We want challenge modes to be a test of player skill and not of player gear, and so the stats on all players’ armor and equipment will be normalized to a set level upon beginning a challenge. As a result, players will have the same chance at victory whether they are wearing quest rewards or Heroic-raid-level epic items. Regardless of equipment, challenge modes will remain just as challenging at the end of the expansion as they were at the beginning.

What are companion pet battles?

In Mists of Pandaria, we are adding a new tactical mini-game that will give the Snowshoe Rabbits, Mechanical Squirrels, and other cute lil’ companion pets players collect something to do other than stand around looking adorable.

Companion pet battles allow players to pit their pint-sized pals against other players’ pets (or against special critters you come across in the wild) in strategic, turn-based combat. Pets will level up as they earn combat experience, and each companion in the game will have its own set of stats – such as attack and defense rating – along with unique abilities with their own tactical merits.

During a pet battle, players will be able to swap companions out strategically depending on which pet they’re facing or what abilities might come in handy against a given foe.

Pet battles are meant to be completely independent from your character’s main progression, and the rewards won’t offer additional advantages in regular PvP or PvE situations such as Battlegrounds or raids — though they should help pass the time while you’re waiting for your group to recoup from a particularly nasty wipe.

Are any changes in store for dungeons and raids?

As with the upcoming patch 4.3, Mists of Pandaria will include a third difficulty level for raids. Expect one difficulty to be roughly equivalent to the current normal mode, one to be about on par with the current Heroic mode, and one to be much more pick-up-group-friendly. Our goal is to allow more players to be able to experience the content — especially the climactic boss encounters that are a part of each expansion’s story arc — while still satisfying players looking for the most epic challenges and rewards.

What’s in store for professions?

While we don’t plan to add any brand-new professions in Mists of Pandaria, the profession skill cap will be extended, and new recipes and content will become available for every existing profession.

What are the new zones?

The continent of Pandaria will consist of five enormous zones for players level 85 and above, and new pandaren players will begin their adventures in a unique starting zone separate from the pandaren homeland. Here’s the breakdown of the zones, along with their current working names:

  • The Jade Forest: High-level adventurers will make landfall in the lush Jade Forest, where they’ll meet some of Pandaria’s indigenous races, such as the fish-like jinyu and monkey-like hozu.

  • Valley of the Four Winds: Playing home to both farms and rainforests, the Valley of the Four Winds is also where travelers will find the legendary Stormstout Brewery.

  • Kun-Lai Summit: Amid this treacherous mountain terrain, players will encounter the Shadowpan, a clandestine sect charged with keeping one of Pandaria’s darkest secrets.

  • Townlong Steppes: Here, a tremendous wall separates Pandaria’s verdant forests and plains from the desolate wasteland left in the wake of the ravenous, all-consuming mantid.

  • Vale of Eternal Blossoms: Adventurers from either faction are welcome to share a drink in the central city of the pandaren. This zone also hosts many daily quests for max-level characters.

  • The Wandering Isle: Pandaren adventurers looking to explore the world outside Pandaria begin their journey here, on a mysterious island that never seems to settle in the same place for too long.

What changes are being made to the talent system?

We are making a couple of major changes to how class specializations and talents work in Mists of Pandaria. First, your specialization is now completely independent from your talent choices. When you reach level 10, you will still choose one of three specs (e.g. Discipline, Holy, or Shadow priest) to determine your role, play style, and which signature abilities your character has access to. In addition, you’ll receive more of your spec’s defining abilities as you level up.

Secondly, the talent system has been redesigned completely. At regular level intervals (at level 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90), players will now be able to choose between one of three very powerful talents. All three specializations will have access to the same three talent options, and our goal is to make sure that these talent choices are appealing to all three specializations with no obvious “must-have” options for any of them.

For example, level-15 warriors will be able to choose one of three movement-related talents: Juggernaut, which permanently lowers the cooldown of Charge; Double Time, which lets the warrior Charge twice before incurring a cooldown; or Warbringer, which causes the target to be rooted in place following a Charge. Once you choose a talent in a specific tier, the other two talents are locked out from your talent build, even when you reach the next talent tier.

We want players to be able to change their talent build independently of their specialization, and without visiting a class trainer. This new system is designed to provide players with hundreds of distinct and meaningful options for tailoring their character’s gameplay to their specific desires and situation.

Why is the talent system going through an overhaul?

As with the talent-system redesign in Cataclysm, our goal is ultimately to give players more meaningful character-customization options and to eliminate “cookie-cutter” talent builds. We were only partially successful in realizing that goal in Cataclysm, as many talents still felt mandatory to a given specialization, and some talent choices in the trees were still not particularly interesting or exciting.

By giving the benefits of the previously “mandatory” talents to players automatically as part of their specialization choice, and allowing any specialization to choose any given talent, we hope to be able to give players much more significant and interesting decisions to make about their character.

Will you be making any changes to how stats work?

Yes. As World of Warcraft has matured and more expansions, content updates, and tiers of equipment have been released, players’ stats have begun to inflate exponentially. At this point, the numbers for health, mana, and so on are threatening to get out of control. In order to combat this and bring statistics back to earth — or Azeroth, as it were — in Mists of Pandaria, we will be “flattening” the statistic curve in places where it no longer needs to behave exponentially (primarily at the point of the end game for old expansions).

In practice, this means that upon the expansion’s release, the numbers for Strength, Health, Intellect, damage, and so on will be significantly lower than you’re used to seeing across the board, from level 1 to level 85. It’s all relative, of course — enemies’ and bosses’ stats will be reduced as well, and it should take a level-85 warrior roughly the same number of many sword-whacks and ability uses to kill a level-85 monster as it did before.

However, this also means the difference between each level between 1 and 85 will be less significant, so you may find that an enemy 5 or 10 levels below your own will be a little tougher to deal with than it was before.

Will players be allowed to fly in Pandaria?

Upon arrival in Pandaria, players will be restricted from flying until they reach a certain point in their quest progression. While the ability to fly is a great convenience for players once they have completed content, we can provide a much more enjoyable, rewarding, and varied questing experience if players are (mostly) grounded while the story of Pandaria unfolds.

Will there be any updates to the graphics and changes to the minimum system requirements?

Yes, there will be incremental tweaks and updates to the graphics engine in this expansion. For example, we’ve made improvements to the way textures are displayed. We’ll announce the exact system requirements closer to the expansion’s release.

BlizzCon 2011: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Fact Sheet

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Alliance warships prowl the seas. Horde armies thunder across Kalimdor. Tensions between these factions edge closer to erupting in a savage war that threatens to consume all of Azeroth. Against this backdrop of impending conflict, an uncharted island mysteriously appears…

Shrouded in fog since the world was sundered more than ten thousand years ago, the ancient realm of Pandaria has remained unspoiled by war. Its lush forests and cloud-ringed mountains are home to a complex ecosystem of indigenous races and exotic creatures. Will the mists of Pandaria part to reveal the world’s salvation… or will the battle to control this breathtaking new land push the Alliance and the Horde over the brink into total annihilation?

Blizzard Entertainment’s Mists of Pandaria™, the fourth expansion for World of Warcraft®, unveils an entirely new continent for players to explore and reintroduces the enigmatic pandaren as a playable race. All but the bravest pandaren explorers have been hidden from the world for thousands of years. Now, in the aftermath of the Cataclysm, Pandaria’s heroes are stepping forward to declare their allegiance to either the Alliance or the Horde.

Mists of Pandaria also introduces an exciting new player class: the monk. Pandaren masters will share the extraordinary secrets of their ancient martial arts with members of both the Alliance and the Horde. Depending on how they choose to channel their chi energy, monks can be effective at dealing damage, tanking, or healing.

Even more content and features await as players journey to the new level cap of 90, including flexible scenarios for smaller bands of adventurers, challenge modes for fearless dungeoneers, and strategic companion pet battles for your pint-sized pals.

Key Features:

  • New Playable Race — Pandaren: Adventure through Azeroth as World of Warcraft’s first neutral race and decide whether to side with the Alliance or the Horde.
  • New Playable Class — Monk: Unlock the secrets of pandaren martial arts and do battle as a damage dealer, healer, or tank.
  • Level Cap Increased to 90: Learn potent new spells and abilities while exploring uncharted zones and taking on challenging new content.
  • New Zones: Explore the lush Jade Forest, treacherous Kun-Lai Summit, and other exotic areas of Pandaria designed for high-level characters, and uncover the mystery of the Wandering Isle.
  • Scenarios: Join up with some friends to achieve a common goal, such as mounting a defense against invading monsters, in a flexible new type of PvE challenge.
  • Dungeon “Challenge” Modes: Master the ultimate five-player time trial and earn prestige rewards in a new dungeon mode that will put your resolve and coordination to the test.
  • Pet Battles: Challenge other players’ companion pets with your own critter collection in a new tactical mini-game, and find out who’s king or queen of the pint-sized battlefield.
  • New Talent System: Customize your character to suit your play style with the newly improved talent system.

Blizzcon 2011: Diablo III Cinematic – The Black Soulstone

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The Diablo III cinematic is awesome. As Deckard Cain’s niece, Leah, struggles to make sense of her uncle’s mysterious and disturbing notations, she bears witness to a dark vision. Azmodan, Lord of Sin, towers over the fragile young woman, swearing his armies of the burning Hells shall pour forth into Sanctuary, ravishing the world and all hope of resistance.

This cinematic game footage offers but a glimpse into the gritty, evolving story of Diablo III.

Blizzcon 2011: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Revealed

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Fourth expansion to Blizzard Entertainment’s critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game reintroduces the mysterious pandaren race to Azeroth

ANAHEIM, Calif. — October 21, 2011 — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced plans for the fourth expansion to World of Warcraft®, its award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Unveiled to a sold-out crowd at the company’s BlizzCon® gaming festival, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria™ lifts the fog of mystery surrounding a long-lost continent that has been newly rediscovered following the events of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm™. The new expansion reintroduces the elusive pandaren, originally seen in Blizzard’s real-time strategy game Warcraft® III, as a playable race and adds a brand-new player class: the martial-arts-focused Monk. While exploring the mysteries of an exotic new land and advancing to the new level cap of 90, players will experience a range of new content and game features, including new quests and dungeons, group scenarios and “challenge” modes, pet battles, and more.

“Players have been asking to see the pandaren in World of Warcraft since the game’s launch, and we’re excited to finally be able to give them a proper re-introduction to Azeroth,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “In addition to the new playable race and class, Mists of Pandaria contains a huge amount of new content, and we’re looking forward to sharing more information about all of it at BlizzCon and beyond.”

In the upcoming expansion, players will be able to explore the long-lost continent of Pandaria, which has remained hidden from the world since the sundering of Azeroth over ten thousand years ago. In the aftermath of the Cataclysm played out in World of Warcraft’s third expansion, Pandaria’s heroes are emerging from their land’s lush forests and cloud-ringed mountains to choose sides in the escalating war between the Alliance and the Horde and to share the extraordinary secrets of their ancient martial arts. As tensions between the factions near a breaking point following the discovery of this new world, players will be called upon to explore Pandaria’s exotic expanses, make contact with its strange indigenous creatures, and unlock the world-changing secrets that have been hiding in the mists for millennia.

New features coming in the game’s fourth expansion include:

  • New Playable Race — Pandaren: Adventure through Azeroth as World of Warcraft’s first neutral race and decide whether to side with the Alliance or the Horde.
  • New Playable Class — Monk: Unlock the secrets of pandaren martial arts and do battle as a damage dealer, healer, or tank.
  • Level Cap Increased to 90: Learn potent new spells and abilities while exploring uncharted zones and taking on challenging new content.
  • New Zones: Explore the lush Jade Forest, treacherous Kun-Lai Summit, and other exotic areas of Pandaria designed for high-level characters, and uncover the mystery of the Wandering Isle.
  • Scenarios: Join up with some friends to achieve a common goal, such as mounting a defense against invading monsters, in a flexible new type of PvE challenge.
  • Dungeon “Challenge” Modes: Master the ultimate five-player time trial to earn prestige rewards in a new dungeon mode that will put your resolve and coordination to the test.
  • Pet Battles: Challenge other players’ companion pets with your own collection in a new tactical mini-game, and find out who’s king or queen of the pint-sized battlefield.
  • New Talent System: Customize your character to suit your play style with the newly overhauled and improved talent system.

Launched in November 2004, World of Warcraft is the world’s most popular MMORPG. The game’s third expansion, Cataclysm, sold more than 3.3 million copies within its first 24 hours of availability, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time, and went on to sell more than 4.7 million copies in its first month.* World of Warcraft is available in nine different languages — with a tenth, Brazilian Portuguese, slated for release this year — and is played in North America, Latin America, Europe, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, mainland China, Korea, Southeast Asia, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

For more information on World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, visit Blizzard Entertainment’s official website at www.WorldofWarcraft.com. To keep pace with the continued growth of World of Warcraft as well as development on other Blizzard games, the company is currently hiring for numerous open positions — more information on available career opportunities at Blizzard can be found at http://eu.blizzard.com/company/careers/.

*Based on internal company records and reports from key distribution partners. Includes digital distribution.

Chris Metzen announced the next World of Warcraft expansion: Mists of Pandaria. The Pandaren will be a new playable race located in the continent of Pandaria. The Horde and the Alliance will go all out war in this expansion.

“To contextualize what you are about to see, the war thats coming between the alliance and horde, picture it as a storm in the horizon. the land that you are about to adventure is more like the calm before the storm.

This expansion set is set in a place that has been lost to time for close to 10k years. Its a land of balance harmony and beauty until we arrive with all our hate, violence and factional conflict. The War that is coming for the World of Warcraft will be fought in this gentle place.

The curious race we’re are going to meet will just teach us a thing or two about who we are and why we fight.”

Overview

  • New Race: The Pandaren
  • The new playable class: the Monk
  • New Continent: Pandaria
  • New Pandaren Starting Zone: The Wandering Isle
  • Level Cap increased to 90
  • Challenge Mode Dungeons
  • PvE Scenarios
  • Pet Battle System
  • New Talent System

Cory Stockston said flying mounts in Pandaria will be available at level 90. As with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the developers feel that players should be able to enjoy the environments and quest progression that way better.

The Continent of Pandaria

  • 5 new level-up zones to explore: Kun-Lai Summit, Vale of Eternal Blossoms, Townlong Steppes, Valley of the Four Winds, The Jade Forest.
  • Single, unified continent
  • Influenced by Asian landscapes
  • AH, Bank and Central Questing Hub
  • No flying until max level

Creatures of Pandaria

  • Jinyu – fish-like race
  • Hozu – monkey-like race
  • Verming – Kobold-like race looking like rabbits
  • Mantid – insect race

The Jinyu is a fish-like race, one of the wisest in Pandaria. They stick their staff into the water to attune and listen to the land.

Lore of Pandaria

  • A long, storied history
  • Magicallly hidden since The Sundering
  • A new land to explore …

The Pandaren have been there hidden and undiscovered behind a magical mist for thousands of years, after The Sundering.

The Alliance and Horde both see the lands of Pandaria as a rich and unexploited lush land, a resources hub, and wish to use the full resources to fuel their war.

The Playable Pandaren Race starting zone is The Wandering Isle. What’s amazing about it is that the Isle is really a massive turtle. The Pandaren is the first neutral playable race. At level 10, the player decides whether to be Alliance or Horde.

The Wandering Isle

  • Pandaren start zone
  • It’s a turtle!
  • Story focused with simple mechanics
  • Cross faction, choose Horde/Alliance at level 10

The Hozu are a monkey-like race that can be found throughout Pandaria and some of the dungeons. The Verming are like Kobolds, but more rabbit-like. They use bizzare weapons such as knives and forks wrapped up around sticks instead of axes.

The mantid are not like the silithid, with a hive-mind. These are more intelligent and wear clothing. They play an important role in the expansion, and a dungeon is themed around them. They have lived close to the Pandaren for milennia, but separated by a wall. Now they are breaching this wall, and we help solve that problem.

The mogu were the original inhabitants of Pandaria before the Pandaren got there. They have wanted to recover their lands.

The Jade Forest

  • Point of entry for Alliance & Horde
  • Lush rainforests and stone spires
  • Meet the Hozu & Jinyu
  • The Sha
  • The Temple of the Jade Serpent (dungeon)

The Alliance sorta befriends the Hozu and the Horde befriends the Jinyu.

Valley of the Four Winds

  • Two zones for the price of one!
  • Pandaren farmlands
  • Coastal Jungle
  • Stormstout Brewery
  • The Mantid

This zone borders the wall, where the Mantid lives.

New Features

  • New Pandaren race
  • Able to chose Horde or Alliance at level 10
  • Pandaren classes: Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior (No Warlock, Druid, Death Knight or Paladin)

Pandaren Racials

  • Epicurean – Increase the stat benefits from food by 100%
  • Gourmand – Cooking Skill increased by 15
  • Inner Peace – Your rested experience bonus lasts twice as long
  • Bouncy – You take 50% less falling damage

Monk Class

  • Brewmaster – Tank
  • Mistweaver – Healer
  • Windwalker – Melee DPS
  • Not a hero class – Starts at first level
  • Very martial-arts based
  • Lot of monk-only animations

Monk Races

The Monk class is not a Pandaren-only class. Blizzard allows other races to be a Monk: Draenei, Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf, Pandaren, Blood Elf, Tauren, Troll, Undead. The exception are the Worgen and the Goblin. Those two can’t be a monk.

Monk Equipment

  • They hit a lot with the hands and feet
  • But need weapons for some finishing moves: Staves and Fist Weapons, one-handed axes, maces and swords.
  • Off-hands for healers
  • Leather armor class (Agility or Intellect)

Monk Resources

  • Chi (energy) used for Jab and Roll
  • Jab generates Light and Dark force which are used for everything else, like finishing attacks.
  • No auto Attack!

    Mist of Pandaria Photo Gallery

  • Blizzcon 2011: Diablo III Box Revealed and Free to World of Warcraft players

    diablo3-box

    At 11:04am PDT, Mike Morhaime walked onstage to recap the 20th Anniversary of Blizzard Entertainment and the latest achievements such as World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and mentioned the upcoming Deathwing dungeon and the legendary Rogue dagger. There are 26,000 fans in attendance from all around the world, and over 60,000 Virtual tickets viewers.

    Diablo III will be free for World of Warcraft subscribers. Those who are new to World of Warcraft, and subscribe to 12-months commitment will get Diablo III free also at launch, and be able to download the game.

    With Deathwing’s shadow looming over Azeroth and the mortal realms of Sanctuary steeling for war against the forces of Diablo, the World of Warcraft Annual Pass has arrived to offer WoW subscribers a chance to participate in both apocalyptic conflicts… without breaking the bank.

    For a limited time only, players who make a 12-month subscription commitment to World of Warcraft through the WoW Annual Pass will receive the following epic rewards:

    • Diablo III FREE – Download the digital version via Battle.net for free when the game launches early next year. This is the full game, not a trial edition.
    • Tyrael’s Charger WoW Flying Mount – Ride for the Archangel of Justice on all current and future characters on a single World of Warcraft account. Tyrael’s Charger will arrive via in-game mail with the upcoming launch of patch 4.3.
    • Access to the Next WoW Expansion Beta Test – Get a guaranteed spot in the beta test for the next World of Warcraft expansion (at a time to be announced in the future).

    You can pay for the WoW Annual Pass on a monthly basis at $14.99 per month or according to the billing plan of your choice. To participate, you must be 18 or older, have a valid credit card, and have registered a full version of World of Warcraft on or before October 18, 2011.

    Sign up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass here, and then keep an eye on the World of Warcraft community site or the Diablo III community site for future announcements regarding the launch dates of these bonuses.

    For more information on this offer, including eligibility requirements and details on how the World of Warcraft Annual Pass applies to players who plan to purchase the Diablo III: Collector’s Edition, please read the full FAQ.

    BlizzCon 2011: Pre-Show Coverage

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    – This thread will be updated often –

    10:28pm PDT: The Pre-Show Coverage will start in the BlizzCon 2011 Virtual Ticket livestream in a few minutes.

    10:29pm PDT: Eldorian reports a Pandaren T-shirt is available at the BlizzCon store. Mists of Pandaria vibe? He’s trying to get a photo.

    10:40pm PDT: The livestream confirms a new World of Warcraft expansion. Kat Hunter seems to hint the new expansion might be playable today. We’ll see if that’s true.

    10:45pm PST: Adrianne Curry reporting for DirecTV livestream, she will be interviewing cosplay fans.

    Opening Ceremony about to start.

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