I'll be at Blizzcon this year as I got lucky enough to have a friend win a couple of tickets in the raffle. Even though I'm not playing World of Warcraft at the moment I'm very interested in how they respond to some of the ideas Mythic has recently introduce in Warhammer. As a lot of bloggers have already noted, there are a couple of ideas which Blizzard seems more then happy to just directly copy. In particular the ability to queue up anywhere for a battleground is supposed to be coming soon to World of Warcraft. I don't know how technically difficult it was for Mythic to do this in Warhammer, but I'm glad they did. For the longest time Blizzard has had very little real competition and hasn't really had to look at improving basic game functionality.
Now I'm not saying every idea Mythic has come up with has been a winner. There are multiple problems with their User Interface including the touted Tome of Knowledge. Quest tracking is also a bit non-intuitive and often requires players to go through unnecessary sub-screens. Still a lot of the basic game design of Warhammer Online is going to challenge World of Warcraft to do a better job. In particular I'm hoping that Blizzard will re-examine how healing classes are played in World of Warcraft. I've been following several beta reports and it looks like pure healers are still some of the more boring classes to play in the game. Warhammer Online has shown that healing and tanking classes don't have to be impotent in PvP combat and I'm sure Blizzard has taken notice.
I will be closely following the class discussions at Blizzcon and see what kind of improvements they have planned for tanking and healing classes. I'm also interested in just how accessible the future raid content will be to the casual gamer. It doesn't matter if raids have a smaller version if they are still filled with class required encounters and annoying trash respawns. A pick-up-raid should have a decent chance of clearing the first 10 man raid. I'm also hoping that Blizzard keeps the same level of quality for it's single group dungeons. I've heard a little bit about the dungeon done while flying on dragonback and I'm hoping to see it in action. The quality of the Altdorf Sewers dungeon in Warhammer was disappointing and I must admit I do miss the dungeon crawling of World of Warcraft.
If I talked about everything I'm hoping to find out at Blizzcon I would probably fill a textbooks. So in the interest of not becoming a wall of text I'll go with my favorite weapon of choice: the list.
1) More Offensive abilities for Healing and Tanking classes
2) Assurances that 10-man raids will be more accessible
3) Progress on the Warcraft movie
4) Hint at their next MMO in development
5) The roll-out plans for additional Hero Classes
6) Starcraft 2 release date
7) Other Diablo 3 classes
8) Information on the new Battle.Net
9) Plans for additional character/item customization
10) Any tools for player created content in the pipeline