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Most Hearthstone players don't surpass rank 15

If you follow any number of prominent Hearthstone players, your perception of ranked play might be a little skewed. Being above rank 10 -- or even top 5 -- seems perfectly standard. When you play the game yourself, frustration mounts quickly because you can barely make it into the teens. However, Blizzard has recently stated you may be better than you think. According to the stats they've released, 75% of players are between rank 15 and 25. Only 2% of players are in the top 5 ranks, with only 0.5% of the playerbase at the Legend rank.

While Hearthstone had no difficulty hitting 20 million registered players, I often wonder if competitive games based on ranked played have issues with retention. When ranked play is the central game option, the simple nature of the beast means the majority of your players will sit at the lowest rungs of the ladder. The truly dedicated will invest significant time and energy into overcoming that hurdle, but certainly not everyone. The answer isn't to give people free victories, but is there another way to keep them engaged?

If you're interested in the full infographic, it can be found below or on Battle.net.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Warlords of Draenor: Blizzard releases all in-game cinematics

If you've been playing in the beta one of the things you've noticed is that there's a host of in-game cinematics that haven't actually been there yet. If you're wondering what they are, wonder no more - Blizzard just released a whole host of them on the official site. They're all excellent - one of them actually made this old draenei tear up a bit - but don't watch those and then complain that you were spoiled for the next expansion because that's all there is here - nothing but 100% spoilers for what's going to be happening in Warlords of Draenor.

So, if you want to avoid that, don't go to that link and absolutely don't watch any of those videos. But if you do want that, here you go. It's really some amazing work on the part of Terran Gregory and the entire Blizzard in-game cinematics division.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, Blizzard, News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Around Azeroth: And you can send me dead pandas every morning

"I saw the picture submitted by Shadanah of Hyjal (US-H) today, and it immediately reminded me of a similar incident that occurred the other day," writes submitter Udaenor of The Expandables on Thunderlord (US-H). "I too was on my farm in Halfhill innocently going about my daily chores when I discovered a pandaren named Farmer Erryei of Destromath (US-H) lying in my field. As any concerned undead rogue would do when faced with a lone undefended individual of the same faction, I reached down to check for a pulse -- perhaps also for a bit of a taste, but I digress. I became concerned when I discovered that the pandaren had no pulse. I decided it was best to quickly 'dispose' of the body, as I had a questionable reputation with the local Halfhill constabulary. I had nothing to do with this body, guards. Really."

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Lords of War focuses on Kilrogg Deadeye

In case you were wondering, Kilrogg Deadeye absolutely is possibly the most ruthless Warlord we've seen yet in these animated shorts. Without spoiling the above video (go ahead and watch it) it's got interesting bits in it - the arakkoa make an appearance, we get to see Kilrogg's father, and the actual ritual where the infamous Deadeye earns his name is shown. It's a fascinating glimpse into the culture of the Bleeding Hollow clan and Kilrogg's role in it.

I think this might be my favorite of the four videos so far. It's plausible that Maraad might know this - there's no reason it should be unchanged between his Draenor and the one we're going to explore. But moreover, and suitably, it's the darkest of the four to date, which Kilrogg making a very difficult decision that costs him quite dearly... and more than an eye.

I also like the rumination on the Alliance's faith in the Light at the opening. Varian's 'So I'm told' was a nice beat. Check out the video now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Dinosaurs because it's Friday

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

Yesterday, I deliberately didn't go on and on about dinosaurs. So today, I'm not being nearly so restrained. Dinosaurs. Lots of dinosaurs. Also some mosasaurs and pterosaurs because hey, prehistoric critters, good enough for me. Okay, that should keep me calm for a while. Let's get on with the World of Warcraft questions, which I suspect will be disappointingly dinosaur free.

FabioKasecker asks:
Q4tQ: I know that the questline for the cloak will be gone on 6.0.2 and with the release of WoD, but what about the vendor? What if I don't have enough gold to buy the second cloak for a second spec when WoD drops? Will I still be able to buy it after the release of the next xpac?

The vendor isn't going anywhere. If you completed the quest before it is removed, you can still purchase the items.

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Filed under: The Queue

Pirate's Day hits World of Warcraft for one day only

Look, piracy is a scourge and a disgrace, no one's denying it. But for one day, World of Warcraft embraces this scourge with a host of events for people of a piratical bent. You can transform your character into a pirate with the Dread Corsair buff, attend various revels, or do other things that, to be honest, aren't really all that synonymous with these dread reavers of the oceans. It's almost as if this is all just an excuse to have a good time or something.

It's only one day so if you've been dying to look like a pirate for 12 hours, this is your chance.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor Beta - Legend of Pandaria title introduced

As reported on Wowhead, if you've completed the legendary cloak questline before patch 6.0 drops, you'll be rewarded with a new title, Legend of Pandaria. It's like most titles in that it can be used even by characters that didn't earn it (I've only earned it on one character, and that isn't him above) so if you have managed to complete the quest, it's a nice little bonus.

I'd still kind of like it if they allowed us to complete the quest once Warlords of Draenor dropped if we had already started it, but I won't say no to another title. I love those things. Nothing's ever going to beat Death's Demise, though. Still my favorite title ever.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: The future of tier sets

One of the things I love after getting a chance to pick up the Tier 17 pieces yesterday in the beta is the way the set bonuses switch between specializations. This is the greatest thing about the way gear has been changed in this expansion - one tier set effectively covers all three specializations. Now, there will always be set bonuses we like and set bonuses we hate, but it's indisputable that it's a relief not to have to farm up tokens twice for a DPS and tank or heal set (or three times, for a DPS, tank and heal set) and I'm down with the overall simplification of enchants if it means we can just plug and play more than on live.

So I'm sure I'm missing some huge negative of this change. Luckily, we have a comment section. What's wrong with the way tier works in Warlords that I'm missing?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Patch 6.0.2: PvP season 15 ends

In the spirit of get it done soon that we see getting more and more prevalent as patch 6.0.2 gets closer, here's some news about PvP Season 15. Namely, it's ending as soon as the patch drops.

This means several things - there will be no Arenas or Rated BG's after the patch, all Conquest Points will be converted to Honor, with excess Honor above 4000 points being converted to gold.

Blizzard - Patch 6.0.2 PTR Patch Notes
  • PvP Season 15 comes to an end with the launch of Patch 6.0.2. (Date has not been determined yet.)
    • Conquest Points will be converted into Honor Points, and any Honor above the cap of 4,000 will be converted into in-game currency at a rate of 35 silver per point.
    • Season 15 items will have Conquest costs converted into Honor Points equivalent to their previous Conquest Point cost, with the exception of any items that have a rating requirement.
    • Season 15 items with rating requirements will no longer be available for purchase.
    • Note that Arena and Rated Battleground matches will not be available until PvP Season 16 begins.

So there you have it - the upcoming end for Season 15 is as soon as the patch itself (which we still have no date for) and when it comes, the usual conversions will commence. If you're trying to hit a certain rating, you have been warned.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Patch 6.0.2: No Brawler's Guild until Warlords

If you're still working on your Brawler's Guild achievements, get a move on - you have until Patch 6.0.2 to get that all done, because as soon as that drops, the Brawler's Guild will be closed until Warlords of Draenor comes out.
Blizzard - Patch 6.0.2 patch notes
  • Season 1 of the Brawler's has come to a close and associated achievements have been converted into Feats of Strength.
  • Fights will be unavailable while the Brawler's Guild is being refitted in preparation for Season 2 (available after Warlords of Draenor has launched.)
  • Account-wide membership in Brawler's Guild will carry over to Season 2. Once a brawler, always a brawler!

All current Brawler's Guild achievements will become Feats of Strength, and the fights won't be accessible until we get all new ones for Warlords of Draenor. But if you're a member, you don't have to worry about getting another invite, at least -- membership is for life.

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor