Blizzcon 2017 is over, and for the first time I had bought a virtual ticket to watch the streams. The best parts was the voice actor panels and the panels about design – effect animations, music, storytelling and other creative stuff.
I’m rarely hyped nowadays over anything, be it game releases or large events like this. I’m not sure if it’s because I struggle more with thinking ahead and imagine different scenarios these days than I used to (for various reasons), or if I simply learned the hard way that the more you hype, the more disappointed you will be. That I wasn’t very hyped over Blizzcon 2017 didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy what I saw though!
When I visited Comic Con Stockholm earlier this fall, there was a voice actor panel with a couple of actors whose voices practically are parts of my childhood. Voice actors rarely get media attention like on screen actors, therefor I find it really interesting to listen to them and get an insight in what it’s like giving voice to animated moves and tv-series, and of course video games.
Video game voices mean a lot to me – if I don’t like the voice of the character I play, I may as well put the game away and never finish it (Deus Ex: Human Revolution*). Or if I completely fall in love with the voice of my character, it may lift my whole gaming experience above the general experience of the game itself (Mass Effect).
In the World of Warcraft-games, Lady Sylvanas and Lady Liadrin are two characters whose voices I really like, and to my delight the actors, Patty Mattson and Misty Lee, were at the panel called The Powerful Women of Warcraft. It’s just so cool to see how the actors look in real life, and to hear how much, or how little, their own voices sound compared to their characters.
Like the man behind Reinhardt in Overwatch, Darin De Paul. One of the people on stage mentioned him looking like an accountant, and another wondered where he kept that deep rumbling voice. And speaking of Reinhardt, they showed a really sweet animated short called Honor and Glory about my favorite crusader’s past. I got a little teary watching that, I must tell you.
It’s easy to sit at the computer thinking “they should really let my character keep his hair when wearing this helmet” or “can’t it just be like in SWTOR where you can get your whole armor set match with one click??” because, you know. It’s only about changing or adding a bit of code, right?
Only it’s not. Or rather, sometimes it is, but even 5 minute tasks can take forever to complete if you have a neverending list of them. And whereas I still think that some features, or lack thereof, simply is the result of nonexisting interest or effort to think one step ahead, there are of course technical issues that might make some things nearly impossible to implement.
On the various design panels, like effect animations or sound, it was fun to hear the creators talk about both technical and aesthetical choices and solutions. Like how healing spells need to look in a way that radiates friendliness and comfort, as opposed to damaging spells.
Which makes me wonder if there’s something not quite right with player spells compared to boss spells since I never can decide if that green circle on the floor is healing me or corrupting me… or if I should run away from the purply black swirls or if it’s my group’s warlock breaking the dps-meter.
…and many, many, other things
As for the Q&A-panels, I’m not that interested. “Are you ever going to fix X?” could be nice to know of course, but could as well be asked online. “When will we get Y?” and “Will there be Z at some point?” are questions that will undoubtfully be answered in time – then again, maybe people want something to hype about, or stop hoping of something they might not get anyway.
Personally I would probably ask general stuff about the thought process in making these games, thoughts on the genres today, what they would do different if they made World of Warcraft today, things like that.
Now that I write that, I realize I don’t know if people asked that or not, because I didn’t watch all of the Q&A-panels… The virtual ticket gives access to the streams a while longer though. Neat.
*I will give it a second chance. I will. Some day.