Blizzcon Recap – Monks, Artifacts and Class Halls

Another eventful Blizzcon has swept everything we know and turned it upside-down. I have lots of exciting news to share if you haven’t been able to attend or watch the event Online. Since this is a Mistweaver blog, I will mostly summarize the news that directly or indirectly relates to Monks. Mostly it relates to Artifacts, Class Halls, Raids and Dungeons since we haven’t had a lot of details specifically regarding our class (not many classes have). We will see Class specific information in the near future though, so keep a sharp eye.

Without further ado, here is a summary of all the news, courtesy of MMO and Wowhead.

Class

  • Class specific blogs with lots of details are coming starting on Sunday!
  • The class team makes changes for mechanical reasons fairly often, but Legion is giving the team a chance to focus on the class fantasy as much as they do for quests and the general story.
  • There will be a lot of class mechanic and aesthetic changes in Legion to try and bring classes back to their roots, as well as making the different specs more distinct.
  • The team is trying to develop different ways to handle class balance and tuning without harming the fantasy and fun of the classes and specs. The new PvP leveling system is one example, allowing them to tune classes specifically for PvP.
  • The team is really focusing on class fantasy in Legion. What do the different classes do when they are hanging out in their Class Hall?
  • The team plans out the major story lines very early in the process and build the progression of the zones along with them. Those stories have been becoming more important and numerous in each expansion.
  • The team tries to avoid drastic class changes in smaller patches, but with major patches and especially new expansions they can make larger changes.
  • Set bonuses got really strong in Warlords, providing some variation to gameplay, but there will be other systems that fill this role in Legion, especially the Artifacts. They will be fun and exciting, but maybe not quite as strong.
  • Talents are one of the best ways to distinguish the different classes and specs. Legion will have a lot more spec specific talents, adding variety to the different specs.
  • The team is adding some loose themes to talents. For example, all of the left column talents may have something to do with rage, all of the far right ones are a weapon enhancement, and all of the middle talents are something else.
  • The team isn’t trying to use Artifacts or Class Halls to fix classes or change how classes work, but instead build upon what the class already is.
  • Immersive – You should feel like everything you do is involved with class. Abilities, names, animations.
  • Distinct – Every class and spec should have something unique.
  • Empowering – Your character is powerful, total control over what you are doing, use abilities the way you want to use them.
  • Talents will have less theme rows, more meaningful choices, more spec specific talents, hundreds of new talents!

Can you tell us about the Talent Changes?

  • No more row themes – now those talents are spread across different rows so for example, you could be a CC master and take all the CC talents in different rows!
  • We expect you will want to change them from encounter to encounter. Customize character and push them to distinct direction.
  • Fewer generic class talents and more strong themes. Lots of spec-specific talents to fit into class fantasy. Number of spec-specific talents is quite low in Warlords, in Legion, it’s around two thirds of the talents.
  • There will be new ability vs proc vs passive in each talent row to choose from, as opposed to three new abilities
  • Now you can increase your active abilities if you want or you could take more passives. This lets players control the complexity of their spec/playstyle

Windwalker: Storm, Earth, and Fire question

  • It’s ok for classes to have strengths and weaknesses – Windwalkers are meant to be good at 3 target, not-grouped up DPS.
  • Still good but we went a little too low on single target damage during Warlords- we just buffed that but it’s not one of the stars.
  • There will be a new Storm, Earth, and Fire – right now it’s cumbersome and unintuitive, you cant really know what it’s about by looking at the button
  • New: its a toggle like Blade Flurry, when it’s on you split, when it’s off you are one
  • They have semi AI, they know to attack different target than you
  • Downside is less control/customization but upside is it will always be doing something useful.

Brewmaster

  • Stagger is not going away.
  • Brewmaster gameplay does not deliver on the fantasy very well right now, as the biggest thing that matters to them is Guard. You generally think of a Brewmaster dancing around and avoiding things and when you do hit them, they don’t seem to take a lot of damage.

Healing

Healing and keeping it fresh?

  • The change you’ll notice in group PvE content is that you will be doing a lot more damage when you chose to spend resources on it.
  • Your damage will be a useful contribution to the raid now.
  • We want you to feel like you can level up as a healer. Significant effort put into ensuring healers can play in outdoor world.

You say you always want to change Disc absorbs – how are you going to address absorbs?

  • The answer is we’re nerfing absorbs. Fewer absorbs, far less powerful. It’s still unique tool.
  • You will have a longer Power Word Shield CD, and Discipline and Holy Priest masteries are also changed.
  • How do you address fact absorbs are powerful? Fewer in game, less shields, holy paladin and disc mastery changed. Holy Paladin’s mastery will no longer give absorbs.

Artifact

  • Some of the Artifacts will have a history that is well known to players, but there weren’t 36 of them to use. The team had to make very compelling story lines at the start of the expansion to make players feel like their weapon is important and has a history.
  • There will be multiple people carrying the same artifact weapons, but this was already the case with weapons from current raids. There is actually more variety because each of the 36 weapons have different models and colors for each individual weapon.
  • Artifacts are trying to create an interesting long term progression system that gives you something to do even after you hit max level.
  • Artifacts will take some effort for other specs, but you should be able to switch specs. The further behind you are, the faster it goes. Keeping two Artifacts completely maxed out may take some more effort, but switching and catching up or keeping one Artifact a little bit behind shouldn’t be too bad.
  • Artifact power comes from quest bosses, rare spawns, rare drops, dungeons, raids, battlegrounds, arenas.
  • Artifact traits are unlocked by artifact power. You start with some traits unlocked. You first unlock active traits that you put on your bar.
  • After the active trait there are more choices, some of them passive. Minor traits have multiple ranks, you have to unlock them all to progress into the tree.
  • Eventually you can unlock every trait in the tree, but it will takes months into the expansion. You can keep getting smaller power increases after that, so weapon will get more powerful throughout the expansion.
  • Relics can be socketed into the artifact to increase power. Increases item level and gives bonus ranks to some traits. Go from 3 to 4 or 5 ranks in a trait, giving you some customization.
  • Two types of relics for each weapon.
  • You can eventually upgrade your artifact. Dungeon and world content lead up to a big upgrade moment. Upgrade will unlock a new model.
  • You can also get other models from different types of gameplay, as well as different colors.
  • Finish questing zones or do something that is significant to your weapon.

Class Hall

  • Garrisons were really fun for the first couple of months, but not so much after that. The team is aware of this and careful about not bringing the bad parts of garrisons forward with Class Halls.
  • All of the Class Hall locations are finalized. One will be previewed during the panel on Saturday. Others may be shown before beta, but there are no solid plans yet.
  • The team wants to strike a balance between players spending time in the Class Halls and the major cities. You will be going to the Class Halls multiple times per day and there are some special features you may want to hang out for.
  • Class halls needed to be in a location that strongly represents the class. You should feel like your class when you are in that space.
  • Class Orders are stepping up to fight the Legion.
  • You will find a shrine in your class hall to unlock traits and work with your Artifact.
  • Class champions are also found in your class hall. Some of them are leaders of their own factions. You will unfold their backstory over time and see them in the world.
  • You will interact with your Scouting Map in your class hall. It lets you select your starting leveling zone and you come back to it for new content later on.
  • There is class specific content in the halls, such as demon hunting quests or pickpocketing quests.
  • There are lots of features and bonuses in the halls. Some are shared among many classes, such as armor stands to show off tier sets you have earned from previous content.
  • Every class will have their own variation of Death Gate to quickly go to their class hall and back. Giant eagle that takes you for hunters.

Transmog

  • New transmog UI – Left side is the same as the old one, right side is visual gallery of models. Top has a bar that shows you how many appearances you have unlocked.
  • Outfits – Make item sets, store what you look like now, link outfits to other people even if everything isn’t unlocked.
  • When you log in to Legion, all of the items you have are unlocked, as well as items from every quest you have ever completed, including items you didn’t even pick.
  • Save different outfits per spec. Switch set when you switch specs.
  • You can hide slots (cloak / helm / shoulders) per outfit.
  • Hiding shoulders allowed!
  • Weapon enchants, shirts, and tabards for transmog!
  • The designer that worked on the Diablo 3 system is working on the WoW system now.
  • In Diablo 3, once you obtain an item, you have unlocked the appearance and don’t need to keep the item anymore.
  • The system will make transmog more of an item collection system and help to clean out your bags and bank.

Raid

  • Legion will have two raids initially.
  • The Emerald Nightmare is a 7 boss raid in Val’sharah, essentially the Emerald Dream.
  • You get there by climbing the World Tree, crossing over from our reality to the Dream.
  • The first raid boss is a dragon! Pestilence Worm was a green dragon, now is withered away.
  • Cenarius is the next boss, corrupted by the Nightmare. He may or may not die, but is a boss.
  • Xavius is the third boss.
  • Suramar Palace is a 10 boss raid that is Gul’dan’s base of operations. It is the center of the Nightborne and home to the Eye of Aman’thul.
  • Suramar Palace isn’t a dark zone, it is a light city.
  • There will be a Dreadlord ambassador that you fight.
  • Grand Magistrix of the Nightborn.
  • Gul’dan will be the final boss.

Dungeon

  • There are 10 dungeons in Legion.
  • Level up dungeons – Eye of Azshara, Neltharion’s Lair, Halls of Valor, Darkheart Thicket, Violet Hold
  • The dungeons will be integrated into the story of the zones more than they have been previously.
  • The dungeons can also be done in any order, as they scale with your level.
  • At max level, there are five more dungeons – Vault of the Wardens, Black Rook Hold, Helheim, Suramar Noble District, Suramar Catacombs.
  • Suramar Noble District has some new gameplay that is different than any gameplay they have done before.
  • Darkheart Thicket – Level up dungeon in Val’sharah in the heart of the forest’s corruption, part of the story of the zone to rescue an ally trapped there.
  • Halls of Valor – Level up dungeon in Stormheim that is inspired by Valhalla. You will prove your worth to Odyn. You are racing the God King to claim the Aegis of Aggramar. One of the best looking dungeons the art team has ever made.
  • Helheim – The counterpart of the Halls of Valor. This is a max level dungeon where you start on the dock to board the cursed ship of the damned. Much of the dungeon takes place on a ship.
  • Black Rook Hold – Max level dungeon. Ancient elven stronhold against the Legion, militaristic elves. Lord Ravencrest.
  • The goal for Legion is to keep dungeons relevant for the entire expansion, both in terms of rewards and difficulty.
  • Dungeons also need some variation to avoid the “Mechanar problem”, picking the most efficient, even if it isn’t your favorite.
  • Legion Challenge Mode will keep dungeons relevant.
  • Challenger’s Keystone is used to start the Challenge Mode dungeon. It may come from world objectives. The keystone has a power level that determines the difficulty and reward. Higher levels of it will have some additional modifiers. There is now a single timer, roughly around where Silver is now. If you beat the timer, you upgrade your stone and can take on more challenging. If you fail, you lose the stone but still get loot.
  • You get a jackpot at the end of the week based on your best run.
  • There will be new modifiers to master each week to keep things fresh.
  • As good as you are, there will always be more of a challenge for you in dungeons.
  • You will have to focus on the combat experience, not just time.
  • Higher level keystones give more health and damage to enemies, but also can give them things like Enrage.
  • Extra enemies, corpses explode and leave fire behind, constant DoT for the entire dungeon.
  • The system will start slightly above Heroic Dungeon difficulty.
  • This system will complement raiding or even replace it for you entirely depending on what you choose.

Miscellaneous

  • Legion will allow you to use all the specs, no longer limited to dual spec, each spec remembers your action bars and such. No such thing as no spec anymore, there is a default spec.
  • Multistrike is just another form of crit, doesn’t appear in many of the class fantasies.
  • Versatility has a defensive component, useful for PvP, tanks, not a fantasy problem. Each stat should have a special identity and purpose. Do people hate Versatility because it is not strong enough or because of how it works?

Basically – we will be able to play all three specs on our Monk character. The new transmog system also allow spec-specific transmog sets – a.k.a. the same gear set can have different looks depending on which spec you are currently in.

Artifacts will also allow catch-up mechanics for secondary/third specs, which means we won’t lag behind or have to grind like idiots to get our off-spec weapons up to date. The exception is relics (that determines the Artifacts ilvl and gives a bonus) – you have to choose which weapon to put it in.


More information regarding specs will be forthcoming!

One thought on “Blizzcon Recap – Monks, Artifacts and Class Halls”

  1. Hey Ashleah, thank you for this nice summary of the huge content Blizzard just revealed during Blizzcon!

    For the first time of my Blizzard fan life I bought a virtual ticket to watch it in real time, and it was such a great event but anyway, it’s not the content there :P

    I’m so hyped about all this new content to come online, especially the scaling mechanism for leveling dungeons and zone, and the new challenge mode! The legendary items which drop in the world are also a nice point, even if I’m afraid of a long time farming to get them… (which is logical for a “legendary” item)
    It’s nice to see they are doing some sweet modifications on our FW gameplay to allow us to deal more damages. Because currently we’re not that competitive and I was really afraid to see FW disapearing because of the new hybrid gameplay of disc priest.
    And the new SEF for WW is quite nice too, even if I liked the fact of really choosing our target, this new way of working could be a good mean to allow us focusing more on our rotation, especially if they speed up our fighting pace!

    I would have so many things to say, but I think there is just one way to summarize all this : I’m so hyped for Legion, and hope we’ll see some really nice feature for our lovely monk! :D

    And btw, good job with your website, I like reading all your posts!
    Keep going! ;)

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