I haven't really made it aware to my fans, but I am a Blizzard fanatic. I love all of their games. I started out with Starcraft back in the day and went into Warcraft. That grew into World of Warcraft and then into all of the games that they have now.
I have been trying to go to BlizzCon for the past 6 years, but this year I was able to get tickets for both my boyfriend and I. So I was able to attend BlizzCon for the first time and I have to say that I loved it. I am hoping that we can get tickets again next year. It was two days of sensory overload for the most part. There were three brand new games to play and panel after panel of artists and developers and game tournaments.
The opening ceremony was filled with more reveals and information that almost any other BlizzCon before. Blizzard revealed that if a WoW subscriber bought a 1-year commitment to WoW they would get Diablo 3 for free, get a unique mount, and have guaranteed Beta access to the next WoW expansion. Starcraft II - Heart of the Swarm got a trailer for the next game and a reveal of the new units that will be available. Diablo 3 also had a reveal that showed the new villain of the game. For me the biggest news was the last reveal, that of the new WoW expansion: Mists of Pandaria.
I am excited about Starcraft II - Heart of the Swarm, but mostly for the continuation of the storyline. I am a sucker for a good story. My boyfriend is more into the multiplayer aspect of the game instead of the story so he was glued to any and all information that he could get his hands on. We both wanted to have time to play the game, but sadly the lines were always too long to get a 20 minute go with Heart of the Swarm. We were able to see bits and pieces through the various panels that we visited as well as the artists.
I will admit that I never really played Diablo. I had bought the game and its sequel back when they first came out, but I never played the games much. But with that said I do want Diablo 3. The BF and I were able to spend about 20 minutes playing the single-player and I have to say that it is one of the most beautiful games that Blizzard has made. The shear detail and ambiance that the game radiates is staggering. For all of those that had said that the game was too "bright" I have no idea what they were talking about. The game has a very dark and foreboding feeling to it that you feel from the beginning. I will say that there is something satisfying about swinging my Barbarian's dual axes into wave after wave of undead. This will be a game that I will play several times over because it just looks so damn good and is so damn fun.
Of everything that we learned at BlizzCon, the WoW parts were what I was looking forward to and most interested in. WoW has been in my blood since 2005, and barring a brief 6 month period where I had stopped playing, I have been a subscriber from the beginning. The shear breath and width of the story that WoW has created always draws me in. Blizzard has truly created a living breathing world. My impressions of all of the previous WoW expansions has been one of impending anticipation. I have wanted to pick up my blade and wade into the fray into Outland, against the Lich King in Northrend, or to face off against Deathwing as he ravaged the world. But I have to say that with this expansion, Mists of Pandaria, I am not as impressed or excited as I have been for the others. I have faith in Blizzard that they will make this expansion as engaging as the others, and I don't plan on leaving them just because I am not totally impressed with this first reveal. I guess that I was hoping for something a bit more "epic" than what was shown. I think that there will be some surprises in store that will make me want to play this expansion as much as the others. Though on a side note, I do plan on playing Star Wars The Old Republic as well. Though that probably will require me to either get a copy of Windows 7 or a new gaming rig, as I have just Macs in my household now.
Barring everything that I said about Mists of Pandaria above, I did get to spend about 20 minutes with the starting level of the game. So I created a Pandarian Monk and played through until about level 8, when sadly the demo ended. The Pandarians are interesting and an interesting departure from the usual WoW races that seemed to embody the war-like tendencies. The Pandarians are really at peace with everything and it is actually fun to run around with a panda doing kung-fu. Yes there were more than enough other players with some variation on the name Po that were running around as well. The starting environment was beautiful as only Blizzard can make it. The Asian themed motifs on everything, as well as the Asian influenced NPCs went a long way to make it appear that you were somewhere far removed from anywhere that you have been on Azeroth before. Not much was revealed as to where Pandaria is located in the grand scope of the world, but the starting zone is actually not even part of Pandaria, it is on the back of a floating turtle. I was wondering about that once I heard it. To say that this was not something that I was expecting would be an understatement. According to the Blizzard staff that were showing off the various new features of the expansion, the Pandarians are a vastly ancient race that predated the Sundering that shattered Azeroth over 10,000 years before. They had separated themselves from the other races of Azeroth about 15,000 before. While most of the Pandarians are happy to live by themselves apart from the world, there are always those Pandarians that have a wanderlust that has them wanting to travel the world and see what can be offered. These wanders hope aboard a giant sea turtle that begins to travel across the world. The Pandarians grow and live on the back of the turtle and they have built their cities on the shell. The player is one of these Pandarians that want to see the world.
The other feature of the expansion that I tried other than the new race was the Monk class. There are a few new parts of the class that are interesting and should make for a complex, but fun class to play. First off there is no auto-attack, all attacks that the Monk will do will only happen when the user presses the button for an attack. The Monk has two resources, that sort of make them a mixture of Rogue or Paladin. The bar beneath the Monk's health is chi, which is used to power most of the basic abilities of the Monk. The Jab is the basic attack and it generates either light or dark chi, in the form of white or black orbs. Special finishing moves are powered by these light/dark chi. The chi orbs are displayed in the middle of the screen, right above the action bars. This is something new that Blizzard is trying, and I have to say that it works. I would love to have my Rogue have his Energy bar down there so that I can keep track of it better than now. All in all I have to say that while my initial impression was not too excited, I think that after playing it for a little bit that I will hold off on the rest of my impressions until I can get into the Beta (yeah I bought the annual pass).
Both my BF and I had an incredible time at BlizzCon and we are hoping to go next year. We learned a lot of lessons from this one, and figuring out when and where to be at is the biggest. I think that we will be able to wrap up everything that we want to do in the two days that we are there.
I apologize that I don't have any pictures of the actual gameplay of Diablo 3 or MoP, but I did not really have the time to take pics while I was playing. But I encourage you to go and see what most of the other game blogs, www.joystiq.com and www.kotaku.com, for better images than I could have. The pics that I do have and are posting are mostly just around BlizzCon itself, also there are two pics of some of the souvenirs that I bought for myself. Please enjoy, and if you have any questions on the games please leave comments and I will try to answer them, but I can't promise that I will have more information than the gaming blogs already have.