Quite possibly the biggest splash at Gamescom was Blizzards revelation of their newest expansion to World of Warcraft, entitled Legion. Though longtime players may see this as a rehash of the MMOs second expansion pack in the late 2000s, Blizzard has assured players that this will be a fresh new take on the ongoing story arc featuring the game’s primary antagonists, The Burning Legion and Illidan Stormrage. The new expansion pack features:
- A new continent, The Broken Isles, a place Warcraft have not seen since 2002’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
- A new set of dungeons and endgame raids
- A new level cap of 110, up from the current cap of 100
- A new Hero Class, the Demon Hunter
- A revamped PvP Honor System
- Better access to artifact weapons
In typical WoW form, the expansion release will be preceded by an in-game event that will introduce players to the new story arc, as well as give them a chance to become an integral part of the games story. This is reminiscent of Blizzard’s opening of the Ahn’Qiraj raid dungeons several years ago, where certain players were able to attain special, exclusive items and honorific titles. As to be expected , this expansion will be a smash hit and will certainly bolster the WoW playerbase by several million, as the previous expansions did before. If history has shown gamers anything, It’s that Blizzard is a game studio that will always deliver.
Blizzard also followed through with an announcement of their first expansion to their online TCG, Hearthstone. The primary change will be to The Arena, which will give a randomized card back as a reward instead of the default Gnomes & Goblins card back, as this will create more diversity among players decks and balance the game overall. The new Reveal mechanic will also show a single card from both players decks, and a bonus is granted to a player based on the specifications and stats on the card.
EA unsurprisingly used their press conference to showcase the myriad of new additions to their hotly anticipated entry into the Star Wars Battlefront franchise. Spectators were treated to a demonstration of the 20-pilot Fighter Squadron mode, which is a serious upgrade from the space and aerial combat present in the previous two games released back in the 2000’s. The gameplay trailer presented at the panel even contained footage of multiple craft such as the X-Wing, TIE Fighter and even the Millennium Falcon and Slave-1.
The inclusion of this robs aerial combat mode is considered a godsend among the Star Wars game faithful, who have felt that space combat in the Star Wars universe has not been done properly (or even blatantly ignored by developers in recent years). This is quite possibly going to be the true successor to the masterpiece that was Rogue Squadron on the Nintendo 64.
The anticipation for this game has never been higher, as the series has been on a very long hiatus following the release of lackluster portable versions of the previous games, along with a PSP exclusive that was largely forgotten. The game will be available November 17, 2015, and we heartily await to see how EA will reboot a series that has been in serious demand by fans for a long time. Now that the call has been answered, we can only wait to be blown away, online and offline.
Aside from the big two, Gamescon was not without it’s tidbits of vital information, namely the slew of trailers for anticipated titles, which included:
- Forza Motorsport 6: Racing In The Rain
- Halo Wars 2 Announce/Reveal
- Halo 5 Multiplayer Trailer
- Elite: Dangerous
- Dark Souls III Gameplay
- Rainbow Six Siege
Given the scarcity of news and information surrounding these titles, it was rather refreshing to give gamers and journalists an in-depth look at the upcoming titles that go far beyond the print press releases and screenshots. The anticipation for these titles has increased tenfold once the entire conference had concluded, with not one vendor giving a lackluster showcase of their new software, a far cry from the usual bouts of underwhelming performance at E3 from certain vendors. If the objective here was to generate interest from retailers who choose to stock the games and to generate massive amounts of hype from the end users, it’s safe to say that the mission has been dutifully accomplished.