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A Behind the Scenes look at Lords of War with Senior Illustrator Laurel Austin

Earlier this month, Blizzard released a behind the scenes look at Lords of War, the latest short series from the team that brought us The Burdens of Shaohao. Although that behind the scenes glimpse was pretty good, it focused mainly on the story of the short films, the ideas behind the process. Yesterday, another Behind the Scenes featurette was added -- this time, featuring Senior Illustrator Laurel Austin, the artist behind all of those gorgeous moving frames. Austin goes through the process of character design for the shorts and the challenges of bringing the various warlords to life.

This is frankly the kind of behind the scenes stuff I really like to see -- don't get me wrong, I love a story as much as the next person, but I like seeing how it's all put together from a technical standpoint. While the exact process of animating the still paintings is only brushed on, it's still incredibly cool to watch Austin work and explain why particular stylistic choices were put into play. I didn't expect a second installment to this series, so I'm almost hoping we might yet see a third installment that goes into the animation process itself and how all those stunning paintings are brought to life. Either way, the video is a fascinating watch for anyone who wants to see how Blizzard puts their art together.

If you somehow missed Lords of War when it originally aired, you can catch the entire series on World of Warcraft's Youtube channel -- they've even put together a helpful playlist of all the episodes in order.

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

Warcraft wallpaper, costume, art, and comic updates

Another round of new art and updates has been added to Blizzard's official website. This time around, the costume updates are all featuring cosplay from BlizzCon 2013. Mylune makes another appearance, along with some stunning costumes of various tier sets and familiar characters from the franchise. In addition to the costume updates, a new wallpaper has been added to the fan art section. The piece, by Juyoung Oh, is a warlock flanked by a couple of Nightmare steeds and wings that would make Deathwing jealous.

And if you're still anxiously awaiting Warlords of Draenor, the concept art gallery has been updated with some new images. There are a few new concept pieces of draenei temples, as well as a pretty stunning piece of Tanaan Jungle lit at various times of day. Rounding it all off is an update to the comic section, appropriately themed for Hallow's End. Take a look at Blizzard's official post for links to all the new updates.


Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

The Queue: Things to do

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

Patch 6.0 brought several new things to do, but I've been finding myself revisiting old dungeons more than anything, these past couple of weeks. In particular, both mounts in ZG have eluded me for far too long, and I'm hunkering down to do some serious farming and add them to my collection. With the new troll models, it's like ZG has gotten an update all on its own. Kinda cool, really!

cgilm2526 asked:

So I was doing the dailies at the Argent Tournament on my horde toon. I went to buy the Sen'Jin village banner since its a toy. When I learned the banner, I also learned the Ironforge Banner. Is this a bug or is Blizzard making it easy to get two banners for the price of one?

I don't believe it's a bug. The way all the items worked at the Argent Tournament was that if you obtained an item -- say a Silvermoon banner -- and then at some point in the distant future decided to race-change to Alliance, that Silvermoon banner would automatically change into an Exodar banner. The same applies of course to mounts, but it also applied to the armor models and tier obtained from ToC as well. I have to admit, having just finished farming for those banners myself, it's nice that I only have to do them on one faction, instead of both.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: The warm glow of another person's accomplishments

So last night my wife and I ran ICC10 heroic to get her the last couple of achievements she needed for her Bloodbathed Frostbrook Vanquisher. They were fairly annoying achievements. Full House and Portal Jockey, to be exact. But thanks to her keeping track of the adds and a solid plan for Dreamwalker, we finally got them done and she got her mount.

For some reason I only like achievements when other people get them. I don't always like the work of doing them - I hate Portal Jockey and I'm not looking forward to trying Been Waiting a Long Time For This on 25 next week to get her the other mount, but I'm still glad to help - I like that we can do this stuff together, and I really like the feeling I get when I help someone else achieve a long held goal of theirs. It's satisfying.

So I'm asking you for your stories of achievements you aided others in getting. Doesn't have to actually be an achiement - did you help a guildie get Shadowmourne or Val'anyr, did you run them through the Timeless Isle for chests, did you grind for bones on the Isle of Giants with them? Just any story of helping out a friend or other player will do.


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WRUP: Exploring an all-new Hallow's End

The holiday season of Hallow's End is once again upon us, and this year we get a special treat: after a few years of the same old holiday, Hallow's End has gotten some updates. This year, you've got new loot to spend your Tricky Treats on, including costumes and new pets. We may still be a few weeks out from Warlords of Draenor, but new holiday collections do give us something to do.

So just how is Team WoW Insider tackling this updated holiday? Read on and we'll tell you all about it! Plus, be sure to jump down to the comments to tell us just what you're playing this weekend.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

How I came to love the Timeless Isle

I make it no secret that I don't have much love for Mists of Pandaria. For reasons I haven't been able to quantify, most of it bored me beyond belief. I can make some guesses, but no individual thing clicks with me as the reason, though all of it combined may be the cause: the tedium of daily quests in the earliest stages of the expansion, the lack of new 5-man dungeons in content patches, a general disinterest in the renewed faction war, and not being compelled by the story or aesthetic elements that formed Pandaria. I kept on trucking through those early months, and I did find some fun in it, but the fun faded quickly and I found myself less and less engaged throughout the expansion. Because of that, I ignored many of the expansion's later additions, particularly the Timeless Isle. When it released, I poked around on the island, but left quickly. Now, in the final stretch of the expansion, I gave the Timeless Isle another shot ... and realized too late that it's wonderful.

One of the things I once loved about World of Warcraft was the daily choice between structured and unstructured gameplay. If I wanted to go questing, I could do so -- and Blizzard's quest design has consistently improved since the game's launch. If I didn't want to quest, just screw around solo and fight monsters, that option was available, and not only available, but rewarding. That changed over time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Ion Hazzikostas: "Without a question" WoW will last another ten years

PC Gamer has an interview up with Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, and it didn't hold back - and neither did he, really. Asked if he thought World of Warcraft could last another ten years, Ion's yes was unequivocal.

I can't tell you exactly what our 20th anniversary celebration event is going to bemaybe new content which hasn't been createdbut I can tell you there's going to be one.

So now that I'm sitting here desperately curious about what that 20th anniversary celebration is going to be, let's look over some other interesting points from the interview.
  • Baking all previous expansion into the Battle Chest is all about removing obstacles to play - they like the depth of having ten years worth of content, but not the feeling that in order to check out the newest content you have to run all the old stuff first.
  • Visual updates being discussed include various forms like moonkin and cosmetic additions to armor, things like quivers for hunters and updated geometry on the armor itself.
  • It's unlikely we'll get another Cataclysm style visual update anytime soon - resources are more likely to be allocated to new content.
So head on over to PC Gamer and read Ion's interview.


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

Around Azeroth: Watch the throne

While everyone was distracted by fighting the Iron Horde, submitter Planck of Planet Express Crew on Shu'Halo (US-A) decided the time was right for a unilateral invasion of Stormwind. Of course, it didn't hurt that the 6.0.2 patch had temporarily removed all NPCs from Eastern Kingdoms on his server. Planck bravely fought his way through nothing to make it to Varian Wrynn's throne, where he donned some shades and chilled with the gold lions until the NPCs presumably respawned and instantly slaughtered him.

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

BlizzCon 2014's potential mystery game

There's no better time for wild speculation than the weeks leading up to BlizzCon. This year is no different. Topics of debate among Blizzard fans include whether or not a Hearthstone expansion will be announced, whether we'll finally see StarCraft II's Legacy of the Void, or if there will be a dark horse World of Warcraft expansion teaser. More tantalizing than those, however, is the possibility of an announcement for a brand new game.

The rumor of a new game announcement has been spurred on by curious gaps in the BlizzCon 2014 schedule and floorplan. In previous years, there was only a 45 minute gap between the opening ceremony and the first panel on the main stage -- the opening ceremony ended at 11:45 a.m. and the panel to follow began at 12:30 p.m. This year, while the opening ceremony ends at its usual time, neither the main stage nor panel stage in Hall A have anything scheduled whatsoever until 2:15 p.m. That's a gap of two hours and 30 minutes. That timespan could accommodate an entire panel, if not two panels per stage. The Main Stage has gaps in its schedule on Saturday as well, one hour and 45 minutes and two hours respectively, but Saturday gaps are slightly less suspect than those of Friday morning.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

The Queue: Costumes and Mounts, Where are we going next, and should we lose?

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.

Let's Queue it up, my friends. No time for love, Doctor Jones! (With apologies to any doctors named Jones who might be reading this.)

bushkanaka86 asks:
QFTQ: What is the purpose behind limiting mounting with certain costumes and not with others? When I am Trick-or-Treating and I get turned into a leper gnome, or a pirate, or a ghost, I am able to mount. But when I become a geist I am not.

It comes down to whether or not that specific costume is of a model that has a mount animation. The ghost and pirate just use human models, and the leper gnome is just a gnome model, they have mount animations. Geists don't.

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Filed under: The Queue