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WRUP: Breaking Gnome

This week saw the premiere episode of Azeroth Choppers, a new webseries featuring Paul Jr. from American Chopper. Two teams, Alliance and Horde, are being challenged to construct the ultimate chopper for the faction they represent -- and both bikes will be put up to player vote, with the most popular chopper being given a model in World of Warcraft itself. Sure, it might sound kind of silly, but it was also pretty fun -- and in the spirit of fun, we decided to ask our staff not only what they are playing this weekend, but what television spoof they would like to see next?

Alex Ziebart (@AlexZiebart) I'm going to be doing more Heroes of the Storm this weekend. I genuinely expected we'd have the Warlords alpha/beta by this point, so I don't have much to do in WoW for the time being. I want an Azerothian version of Hoarders. They can start with Anne and Rossi's banks and void storage. Puns that combine hoard and Horde need not apply.

Touché, Alex ... touché.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Warlords of Draenor: Combat resurrection system overhaul

Combat resurrection is one of those mechanics in World of Warcraft that seems to change far more than others. Personally, I remember in vanilla WoW where it was possible for a player to remain out of combat on a raid boss, and you could designate a paladin to resurrect your raid members indefinitely as they died. Of course, no one considered that legitimate gameplay, only a ... creative use of game mechanics. Those days are long gone. We moved from there to a system where legitimate combat resurrections were able to be used without limit, and every expansion (and many content patches) afterwards, the number you were allowed to use in any given fight changed often. Now Warlords is bringing another overhaul.

Warlords of Draenor is not only refining the number of combat resurrections able to be used in any given boss fight, it's also bringing some transparency to the process. The relevant excerpt from the patch notes is below.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Itemization changes on the way

According to the latest round of alpha patch notes from patch 6.0, we're in for some major itemization changes in Warlords of Draenor. While we've had bits and pieces of information regarding itemization and stat changes in the upcoming expansion, we didn't really have a lot of clarification or detail on exactly what those changes are going to be. The latest iteration of patch notes has cleared that up considerably, and expanded on what little we knew.

Hit and Expertise are both gone, replaced instead with a universally useful secondary stat. Three new secondary stats have been added -- Bonus Armor, which simply increases armor; Multistrike, which grants attacks and abilities a chance to fire an additional time for 30% effectiveness; and Readiness, which reduces the cooldown of several class abilities with long cooldowns. Multistrike works for both damage and healing abilities, making it useful for all classes and specializations. In addition, the amount of role-specific stats is being reduced. Tanks will use Armor, which replaces both Dodge and Parry, and Spirit will be useful only to healers.

But it's the changes to items themselves that sound absolutely intriguing.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Four ideas Hearthstone should borrow from Magic

Faceless manipulator card art
I've been playing Magic for almost 20 years. In all that time, Hearthstone is the only other collectible card game that has ever really won me over. Hearthstone is a very different game from Magic, despite some obvious similarities. I want Hearthstone to remain a very different game. Even as wildly successful as Hearthstone has been, however, Magic and other card games have some great ideas that I think Blizzard should borrow to make their own game even better.

1. Format variants

Magic has many fun variants, most of them multiplayer: free-for-all, Commander, Two-Headed Giant, Star (or Color Wheel), Planechase, etc. Some of these were invented by players and later adopted and supported by Wizards of the Coast. One of the joys of Magic is how flexible its formats can be.

Compared to that, the single format of one-on-one battles in Hearthstone is less exciting. (Of course, Hearthstone is limited by its technology in a way that real cards aren't.) Sure, we're getting a raid in Curse of Naxxramas, which could shape up to be a fantastic single-player variant. But an online game like Hearthstone, with millions of available players, begs for multiplayer formats. They could be competitive or cooperative, playing against other teams or "bosses."

A Planechase variant could be adapted quite easily by using the different game boards, once Blizzard adds a few more. Multiplayer variants will be more tricky due to the game's current layout, but I have faith that the developers can make it work.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

The Queue: Tonari no Garrosh

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco will be your host today.

Do you think Garrosh would've been better adjusted if he had a big magical friend as a kid?

bcf_80 asked:

Here's a newbie question, but how do you get to the Isle of Giants? Is this the same thing as the Isle of Thunder (and how do you get to that if they're different)? I've been away for too long :)

It's north of Kun-Lai. You can fly or swim there, but be careful if you're flying -- the island is a no-fly zone and you'll get dismounted when you get close. Once there, you can grab a flight path and you won't need to manually fly there again. Unless you want to, of course.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Did you keep your Pandaria toys?

I'm a sucker for cool stuff. Toys immediately fall into that category -- and in Mists of Pandaria, we received an overwhelming amount of them over the course of leveling and beyond. Rares scattered all over Pandaria and the Timeless Isle drop fun, useful, and downright weird items that don't need to be equipped, but take up an inventory slot all the same. Unfortunately, bank space is at a premium as far as I'm concerned -- the introduction of transmogrification back in Cataclysm exacerbated my storage space woes to the point that my bank and void storage are completely crammed full.

However, that didn't really stop me from keeping most of the toys. Sure, the items that drop from rares are expendable -- after all, you can always go back and farm them again. But quest reward items, like my beloved Puntable Marmot, can't really be obtained twice. With the introduction of the Toy Box feature in Warlords, I'll suddenly have a lot more space, and maybe I'll go back and farm the useless toys from Pandaria's rares once I have someplace non-bank related to keep them. Until then, I'll hang onto my favorite things. After all, there's nothing like punting a wee little marmot to vent one's frustrations. Have you kept your toys from Pandaria? Are you looking forward to the Toy Box feature that should, theoretically, free up a lot of bag space? Have you farmed the rares of Pandaria looking for a particularly fun item? Or did you simply toss all your toys in favor of more bank and bag space?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor Alpha Patch notes for April 17

A new round of updates have been released for the alpha client of Warlords of Draenor. Included in the patch notes are new sections covering changes and adjustments with Itemization, Movement Speed, Raid Utility Balance, Reforging, and Combat Resurrection. There have also been updates to existing sections as well - many class sections have received a lot of updates and adjustments, as expected for such an early build.
  • Haste % and Crit % bonuses have been streamlined -- no more spell/melee/ranged, it's a universal Haste and Crit % bonus for all.
  • Druids, rejoice -- Ravage no longer requires you to be behind the target.
  • Many glyphs have been removed, and a lot of new glyphs have been added, with some glyphs now being exclusive to a specialization.
  • Movement speed enchants now increase Movement Speed by 10% -- up from 8%.
  • Hunters, there has been a comprehensive sweep over pet abilities -- it's a major list!
  • Paladins, there have been some major tweaks to both Holy and Protection specs.
For the full list of updates, check out the official Battle.net site for all the details. New updates are denoted in red for easy reading.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Hearthstone is the most popular app in the world after one day


Apparently we weren't the only ones waiting for Hearthstone to come out on the iPad. According to Business Insider, Hearthstone is the number one app in 34 countries, and the number one game in 36. This includes the United States.

Magic: The Gathering and other CCGs also have a large support base on the platform, so it isn't really surprising that Hearthstone would be popular amongst users of the tablet. What is surprising is that it rocketed up the charts so quickly. It is estimated that the game could pull in $30 million in the first year from in-app card sales, which would make this foray into the tablet space quite worthwhile for Blizzard.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Shadowmoon Valley behind the scenes

If you guys have noticed, we like to feature the various throwback thursdays that developers have posted to twitter. Today we have another doozy from Cory Stockton. Previously he's shared really awesome looks back at places like Dalaran, today he gives us this look at Shadowmoon Valley in its conceptual stage. Looking it over you can see that things are still in the 'generic name' version, for instance 'Dwarf' and 'Broken Draenei Village' instead of names yet, but most of what we recognize as the Shadowmoon Valley of The Burning Crusade is on there. Considering we're going to be getting a look at an entirely new SMV as an Alliance starting zone, I find this look back very interesting.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade

Blizzard unveils the Battle.net gift card


Blizzard has announced an EU Battle.net gift card program. These gift cards, which come in the amount of €20, are available throughout many popular retailers around Europe. Upon using the gift card, the user's Battle.net balance goes up and they can purchase what they want.

This isn't a bad thing, especially for things Christmas gifts (/cough mom, if you ever read this). Individual items are still giftable via Battle.net as well, that has not gone away.

Again, this is for the EU only. The US version, we have to assume, is coming soon™.

Filed under: News items

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