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WoW The War Within – Deep Dive

by - 9 months ago

On the second day of BlizzCon Game Director Ion Hazzikostas took the stage to discuss the upcoming system changes for World of Warcraft: The War Within.

Delves are the first big feature being added to the game. Intended as small, “bite-size” adventures for groups which don’t require the typical trinity of roles (tank, DPS, healer). They also represent a new end-game pillar for players outside of dungeons and raids. The team felt like they were letting smaller groups of players down by not having content available for them.

Delves are intended to have variety, flexibility, and progression over the course of a season instead of just one-time events. The team learned lessons from Torghast, Island Expeditions, and Scenarios about how to design this content, and they’re also taking into account feedback from the community on what NOT to do in this situation. It is not intended to be a checkbox for everyone to complete, they’re intended to be endgame content for smaller communities.

Delves are intended to be outdoor content, differing from dungeons in that there isn’t a single end boss every time. Some may involve puzzles, some may involve a boss, others may be similar to escape rooms. They’re also intended to be an extension of the outdoor world without requiring a loading screen or transition.

As the seasons progress the rewards will also improve, will tie into the narrative, and have NPC companions each season.

As stated yesterday Brann Bronzebeard will be the companion for season 1, and can be powered up to improve his abilities and adjust his skills to meet your needs (if you need someone to be more of a tank or a healer, he’s got you covered).

The team currently has 12 Delves planned. Morgan indicated on Friday that there were 13, so there may be a “special” Delve we need to uncover as we play.

Part of adding Delves is changing the third row of the Great Vault to be for Delves and World Content.

What about the PvP row? Instead of randomness from the vault the team is increasing the amount of Conquest points awarded to players so they have complete control over their rewards.

Delvers will also also get access to special cosmetics and a customizable flying mount!

Next up is Warbands.

The team just realized that the average WoW player plays more than one character. 2/3ds of players have more than one level 70 character. More than 50% have more than two.

The game over time has become much more alt-friendly when it comes to time taken to level, but the systems in place were never designed to support players who prefer that playstyle, and most of the solutions in place were clunky attempts to fix that.

Warbands offer a new solution, focusing on convenience and flexibility, not power. If you want to play alts the team wants to support that. If you want to play a single character, the team wants to continue to support that as well.

To help players reach this goal the team is adding Warband banks. Essentially account-wide storage with similar size to a guild bank, with expandable storage.

The team is also introducing the “Warbound until Equipped” item status, allowing players to send dropped loot to their alt characters when it is not useful for their current character. These items may be a slightly lower item level than regular drops, but will still be able to be used by other characters.

Transmog collections, Warband reputations, and Flight paths will also be unlocked across your Warband, meaning you don’t need to run the same content on four different characters to reach the same progression goal for each armor type. Delves and some achievements will also be cross-Warband to represent that you the player accomplished something, not just the single character.

Ion also slipped into this conversation that at the completion of Dragonflight as we move to The War Within, Dragonflight will become the new default leveling experience for new/returning players.

He showed a mockup of the new character select screen for Warbands as well. Players can select any four characters from any realm as their “favorite” characters to show on the character selection screen, and there are no longer individual server selection lists. All characters will show on a single, realm-agnostic list.

Moving onto Hero Talents.

Hero talent represent a new, third talent tree unlocking at level 71, allowing players to expand their playstyle with additional talents without having to sacrifice our already earned power.

Each spec will have two additional talent trees to choose from that represent additional “sub-specs” to provide variety. Some nodes in these trees will be specific that everyone who selects that tree will take, and others will be choice nodes which can enhance existing abilities. At level 80 players will have access to the full Hero Talent tree.

The team is working hard on all the new trees to have them available as soon as the Alpha starts, probably in the spring.

On the Earthen Allied Race:

The new allied race will be unlocked through the natural progression of the campaign. No extra rep unlock or grinding.

At the start the only classes not available for the Earthen are Demon Hunter, Druid, Evoker.

Dragonriding continues as Dynamic Flight. The team saw the response to Dragonriding and immediately began working on implementing it for other mounts and making it the “default” version of flying moving forward. It will also be expanded to cover MOST of the old flying mounts, but not all of them.

Dynamic Flight will be available in all flyable areas beginning in 10.2.5, but players will still be able to toggle between Dynamic Flight and “TBC” flying. Dynamic Flight will be available as soon as we enter the new expansion with “TBC” flying available shortly after, with no additional rep grinds or steps required.

Dragonriding glyphs will shift to an evergreen system and be implemented as a part of the leveling process for new players.

A new 10v10 battleground set in the Ringing Deeps will be introduced in The War Within, similar to Silvershard Mines. It is an asymmetrical map with a central point for players to fight over as they try to deliver their minecarts. The team also plans on continuing to add new battleground maps. This map may also be included as an 8v8 map.

Updates to the user interface will continue moving forward to better reflect the modern experience. The spellbook will be improved to reduce the number of pages players flip through and will include Spec, Talents, and the Spellbook all in one place.

The Map & Quest window will be improved to allow players to filter what they are seeing and improve visibility for players.

Cross-realm guilds are incoming! Recruit and apply freely, regardless of realm! Day 1 cross-realm Mythic raids will be available day 1 moving forward. The Hall of Fame will still be a thing but without the prior limitations.

 


Timothy Prine

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