Oct 24, 2010

BlizzCon 2010: Day 2

Yesterday was crazy awesome. I got all my walking around and panels done on Friday, so Saturday was reserved for demoing new Blizzard stuff, including 4 new custom maps for Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3.

My first stop yesterday was the Starcraft King of the Hill Tournament. After getting stomped by HDStarcraft yesterday, I decided to take his advice seriously and try my hand again at winning three matches in a row. Surprisingly I got one match against each race, which was quite refreshing compared to laddering in Starcraft 2 where I only end up facing Protoss Stalker spam with a few hints of Marine + Marauder. I ended up winning all three of my matches with strong macro and a focus on defense, the key for Zerg play. This netted me an awesome poster of Kerrigan pre-infestation owning Zerglings from the New Gettysburg cinematic in Starcraft 2.

After that I decided to stay in the Starcraft 2 area, trying my hands at the custom maps developed by Blizzard. I got to play Aiur Chef, Blizzard DOTA and Left 2 Die. Sadly, I decided not to play Star-Jeweled, which I hear was one of the best. Left 2 Die however, was very disappointing, being nothing more than a repeat of the Hellion campaign mission with co-op and a few new Zerg zombie types. After seeing the artwork for the map I was hoping for a 4 player survival co-op style game, instead I got Starcraft with a lame twist of new units.

Aiur Chef was quite the surprise map. Based on the silly artwork I should have seen the humor coming, but I was surprised by how the gameplay complimented the polish of the new models and audio effects. The game has you roaming around a stage collecting various ingredients to make certain dishes that in turn reward you points and the newest Aiur Chef is the player with the most points after 3 rounds. In addition to gaining points for completing dishes some recipes give you access to abilities to slow down your opponents, since chefs cannot attack other chefs. One of the coolest abilities causes all other players to break into dance, or gives you an aura that attracts wild animals to attack you.

Blizzard DotA makes me excited as someone who is a map maker and a Blizzard fan. Pitting Sarah Kerrigan against the Blademaster from Warcraft 3 while Grunty the Murloc Marine dukes it out with Sylvanas Windrunner is just something cool to finally see in an official Blizzard map. As a map maker I like the idea of getting access to a ton of new abilities and new models made by Blizzard themselves as apposed to something that is made by a fan who isn't quite as proficient in the world editor as the professionals at Blizzard. The gameplay is pretty much the standard DotA fair, with each hero having five various abilities that can do pretty much anything, from a close range damage aura to a quick sniper shot or a thunderclap that slows down nearby enemies.

Diablo III though was worth the wait in line, even if I was only given the smallest of tastes of what looks to be Blizzard's next big hit. I played the Demon Hunter, the newest addition to the Diablo III's arsenal of destruction. The skill selection wasn't quite finished, but the three skills available showed a ton of promise. I have been skeptical about the addition of a 5 button action bar, but I guess it really depends on what skills you place there. The demo had the Demon Hunter's evade move placed as action bar ability 1, which allows the Demon Hunter to roll towards your mouse. This worked as I wanted it to sometimes, but every once in a while the direction in which you rolled was cut shot because the character reached where the mouse was when the ability was activated, instead of just rolling the maximum distance. The other two abilities were straight up attacking abilities, including an exploding shot and a crossbow attack that chained enemies together, splitting the damage evenly across all linked enemies.

After playing Diablo it was time for the closing concert featuring Tenacious D. They played two songs off their new album and even had The Lich King come out and fight the Metal. It was epic, but kinda felt a little forced.

I will be uploading pictures of all of the stuff I got tomorrow, in edition to all of the pictures I took over the past two days. All in all, this was the best BlizzCon yet!