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Blizzcon 2021 Impressions Thus Far

COVID-19 evened out the playing field when it came to Blizzcon in the sense that most people are stuck at home or even trapped in snow (as in Texas). But the good part is that this situation has allowed Blizzard to open up Blizzcon 2021 as a free event that can be viewed through YouTube channels.

Right now, the primary thing I’ve seen come out of Blizzcon 2021 is a very Diablo focused group of announcements. Nothing has been unexpected as there have been leaks suggesting the Diablo 2 remaster. Probably, the biggest announcement in that group (besides the D2 remaster) was the addition of the Rogue class to Diablo 4.

So far, the cinematics for the Rogue class look good. They’re describing the class as a “finesse” class so I’m not sure if they’re attempting to make the game play a more skill capped type of situation. From what it looks, the rogue class will require a lot of timing and precision but it’s hard to say without actually getting a chance to try it out.

A lot of people online are talking about the cool concept of the shadow world ability. Honestly, it looks like the Land of the Dead cooldown ability of the Diablo 3 Necromancer. But I suppose the idea here is that you get to pretend you’re in the shadows and backstabbing opponents since ARPGs would make that type of fantasy very difficult to execute.

Beyond that, the big stuff to me was the non-rogue content. Mounts look like a pretty big deal. More than likely, mounts will have a function similar to World of Warcraft mounts, including being able to be knocked off. But I’m willing to bet part of the appeal here will be to collect future mounts.

Another big component was announcing the PVP portion. They’re making this part of world content that gets invoked based on certain towns that alert other players in a region when a certain player is flagged. The incentive (outside of being an asshole) is to get a massive bonus reward and the ability to collect ears with the names of those you kill. Luckily, this part will be optional and the main incentive (outside of being an asshole) is to encourage more group play. So basically incentivized online bullying.

The part that looks cool is the concept of the open world. They’re hinting you’ll be able to find random dungeons out in the wild. So I’m not sure if that experience is going to be static or if the world will be randomized such that you just explore in regions with different formatted maps that have randomized content. Given the ARPG nature of this, I’m willing to bet on this being a high likelihood.

I’m still unsure of the breadth of the game though. It sounds like they want it to have an MMORPG feeling to it with towns being hubs for social content and community. But I’ve rarely seen games do that aspect correctly. Just having a bunch of moving people in an area isn’t really special. You have to create a dynamicism within the area to give it a truly lively feeling.

There was some Diablo Immortal updates but no set date for a release. Of course, the real big announcement people were fapping to was the Diablo 2 Remastered edition. For the most part, it’s Diablo 2 with new graphics and some quality of life improvements (stash management was one).

But here’s my thoughts on remastered games. While a graphics improvement is nice, it’s not a big enough incentive on its own for someone like me to buying a game that I already own once more. Now, admittedly, I have lost my CDs to my Diablo 2 games. But why would I want to re-purchase a game just for graphics if I hadn’t lost it?

That leads me to a related announcement of World of Warcraft Burning Crusade. A lot of people expected this once Blizzard announced that Classic was going to be a thing. So are we going to just see this series of servers setup so that people can play a certain expansion and stay within that world? Because once you open that gate, the flood won’t stop.

Yet this is just a different type of ponzi scheme. Essentially, Blizzard is re-selling its old content to a bunch of suckers. That’s what a re-master really is. It’s almost the same as a reboot. There’s no new IP, no new thought, no new features, no new innovation. You’re just copying your IP with very low effort and maybe refactoring the code.

For the player base though, they get absolutely nothing except a chance to revisit their nostalgia. Now, I get that people want to re-play their older games. I do this all the time with stuff like Baldur’s Gate 2, Bard’s Tale 3, etc. The clear difference is that I don’t have to fucking re-pay for these games unless I lose them. Yet at least with Baldur’s Gate 2, Bard’s Tale 3, etc. you have a repository like GOG.com maintaining them so you no longer require a physical copy to install on a new device.

The thing with nostalgia trips is that they’re good for a couple of days. It’s like when I get a craving to play say Heroes of Might and Magic 5, I might go at it for a few days, get my craving fulfilled then move on. With something like a World of Warcraft, where does it stop? Also, you need people to play that game. If all you want to do is hang out and re-raid Classic, you’ll eventually end up with dead servers once “newer” older content comes back.

As far as the rest of Blizzcon, I honestly didn’t care for much. I did try to watch some Overwatch content but I just feel that the game wasn’t made for someone like me. Overwatch 2 sounds too abstract with just updated graphics (low hanging fruit?) but I want a world and PVE rather than just non-stop PVP match making. Without the experience of progression and other PVE elements, Overwatch just is so bland to me.

The one thing that I thought was super sad was how the new director for Diablo mentioned, “Oh and for those fans of Diablo 3, we didn’t forget about you. There’s double goblins or something right now.” Really? That’s such a fucking asinine statement.

I did read him putting out another hint of the next season including something for “followers” (he used “following” in quotes). But you’re at fucking Blizzcon 2021. 30 fucking years. You just give a stupid hint in a tweet? Really? That’s bullshit.

You can’t even spend 10 minutes just to talk a little bit about any plans for Diablo 3? Also, why not more DLC? Like a Druid class? Just something. All I can say is that I feel sorry for that one developer who’s forced to maintain that game. Man, that has to be heart wrenching.

Anyway, bottom line is that I didn’t masturbate with ketchup, mustard and quintuple sided sandpaper for this Blizzcon. Barely anything got me excited and I found the people interviewing or being interviewed to lack any enthusiasm for their scripted promos. Might as well be a fucking WWE “match” with their 30 minute promos at this rate. Heck, the only people that do the real talking are the lawyers in this era anyway….

 

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