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Elizabeth Harper

Austin, TX - http://www.vampiresdontdance.com/

Writer, gamer, herder of puppies.

How to go to BlizzCon 2014

Hooray -- BlizzCon 2014 is officially coming to the Anaheim Convention Center on November 7th and 8th. That may seem far off, but if you want to head out to BlizzCon this year you need to start planning now, because tickets are going on sale in May. And if you want to get a ticket, you'll have to act fast because they tend to sell out in minutes.

So just how can you get to BlizzCon this year -- and do you even want to? We'll take a look at your options for going to BlizzCon or keeping up at home -- as well as what it's going to cost you.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie, BlizzCon

Get a first look at the Warcraft movie in Empire Magazine

It's not so much of a first look as it is a first glimpse, but the latest issue of Empire brings us the first photo from the Warcraft film set. Focusing on director Duncan Jones watching the filming, the photo doesn't give us much info on what we can expect, but the monitors do give us a tantalizing first look of the Stormwind throne room -- and if this is anything like what the finished product will look like, it's very reminiscent of World of Warcraft.

Filming started this January, but we've yet to find out much about the work in progress, which isn't due in theaters until March 11, 2016. But as filming continues, we're sure to find out more -- if nothing else, expect the movie to make a big splash at this year's BlizzCon -- - but in the meantime, we'll have to make do with this tiny, grainy image.

Filed under: Warcraft Movie

Breakfast Topic: Do you still PUG?

The idea of playing in a PUG -- or a random pick up group -- was once a painful one. You might spend ages in chat trying to find random players willing to join you for a dungeon only to get stuck spending hours trying to successfully navigate the dungeon... or even longer if you were unlucky enough to be trying to run Blackrock Depths. Grouping could be painful, which meant you tended to stick with guildmates or friends for dungeon runs that wouldn't leave you wanting to tear your hair out.

Of course, in today's game, the dungeon finder and raid finder make getting groups together a simple task, and dungeon running itself has been streamlined to make it easier for random groups to succeed. With these changes, it's gotten a lot easier to run a random dungeon, and so some of the stigma around PUGs seems to have faded -- or perhaps just transferred to LFRs.

For today's discussion, I'm wondering: do you play WoW in random groups? Or do you rather stick with guildmates and friends?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Character service pricing going up for those paying in pounds

Though character service pricing has always seemed high, if you're paying for WoW in pounds sterling then soon you're going to have to pay a bit more. Presumably, this is to bridge the difference in value between the pound and the euro, but Blizzard's description of the price change as an adjustment to ensure they're offering the "best entertainment value" doesn't really sell it -- as pages of unhappy commenters can attest to. If you're in the market for character services, here's the new pricing, in effect April 30th:

Takralus
Name Change .................................................... Current Price: £6 | New Price: £7
Pets ....................................................... Current Price: £9 | New Price: No change
Helms ................................................... Current Price: £10 | New Price: No change
Appearance Change ...................................... Current Price: £12 | New Price: £13
Guild Name Change ....................................... Current Price: £15 | New Price: £17
Character Transfer ........................................ Current Price: £15 | New Price: £17
Race Change ................................................. Current Price: £15 | New Price: £17
Mounts ................................................ Current Price: £17 | New Price: No change
Faction Change ............................................. Current Price: £20 | New Price: £22
Guild Transfer ..................................... Current Price: £25 | New Price: No change
Guild Faction Change ......................... Current Price: £30 | New Price: No change
Level 90 Character Boost .................... Current Price: £40 | New Price: No change
Guild Transfer and Faction Change .... Current Price: £50 | New Price: No change

Filed under: News items

Are you playing Hearthstone for iPad?

I admit, I was charmed by Hearthstone during its beta. But after a lot of playtime -- and the beta wipe which cleared my card collection -- the game lost some of its shine. By launch, I was playing very little, if at all, and my gametime has dwindled ever since. That was until Hearthstone for iPad appeared -- and if the download numbers are anything to go by, I'm far from the only one who's jumped on (or back on) the Hearthstone bandwagon.

Easily being able to fire up a game of Hearthstone on my tablet means that now I play a lot of times where I might not have before -- having a game running while I'm checking email or watching television. So, readers, tell me: has Hearthstone coming to the iPad brought you into the game?

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Heroes of the Storm heading to China

Blizzard has a troubled history with releases in China, but that isn't stopping them from bringing Heroes of the Storm to Chinese shores in partnership with NetEase. Currently, NetEase operates three Blizzard titles in China -- World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Hearthstone -- as well as Battle.net services. Heroes will face stiff competition from already established MOBA titles like League of Legends, but the popularity of Blizzard characters and properties on Chinese shores definitely suggests the game has star potential.

Heroes is currently in technical alpha, and the announcement gives no hint of a release date, domestic or international. But while waiting for release, interested parties can visit Heroes of the Storm's Chinese website for more info or sign up for the beta on Battle.net.

Filed under: Heroes of the Storm

Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings are coming to a town near you

If you're looking to get your Hearthstone game on, why not at a Fireside Gathering? Blizzard is planning the first of these Hearthstone meetups on April 26th, and invites you to attend or host your own local gathering. Anyone can host a Fireside Gathering in a public space with internet access, though you're on your own for finding a suitable venue. If you're interested in attending, but not organizing, just head over to the Fireside Gathering page and scroll to the bottom for a list of upcoming gatherings.

Though the video makes these gatherings look friendly, we have to worry about the danger of all-out brawls erupting when the first mage breaks out a pyroblast. Attendees will get a unique Hearthstone card back for their trouble -- just be prepared to dodge if things get out of hand.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Compare new and old female gnome model animations

Though we saw some brief previews at BlizzCon -- and detailed Artcraft posts on certain races since -- we're still waiting on the official unveil for many of the updated character models coming in Warlords of Draenor. But for those of us who can't stand to wait any longer, Wowhead's model viewer offers previews of female and male gnomes, female and male orcs, female and male dwarves, and male tauren.

But if you're particularly interested in gnomes, like I am, you'll be especially interested in this video preview of the updated female gnome model complete with animations and emotes. Compared side by side, the new animations -- especially the facial animations, which bring a lot of life and personality to the character -- are pretty stunning. Keep your eyes open for more videos from Wowhead -- and more Artcraft posts from Blizzard featuring the remaining races.

Filed under: News items

Watch out for Warlords of Draenor phishing scams

With another expansion looming on the horizon, there's another round of phishing scams and emails designed to trick you into giving up your account information. With this kind of scam, you get an email or visit a website that's so much like Blizzard's that you wind up typing in your login information, which the scammers then use to pick your account clean. Though you may think this is the sort of thing people only fall pray to when they aren't paying attention, phishing scams get more sophisticated -- and harder to recognize -- every day, so you need to keep your guard up.

Take this Warlords of Draenor phishing scam reported by Malwarebytes as an example. It starts off with an email that's formatted like a message from Blizzard saying you've won a free copy of Warlords -- which is really where you should get suspicious. Once you click on the link in the email, you're sent to a perfect copy of the Battle.net login screen where you're asked to enter your login information as well as your secret question and answer before you can redeem your free copy... but of course the scammers just run off with your info without giving you a thing.

To avoid being had, always check the header to see where an email has come from -- Blizzard emails will only come from an @blizzard.com address -- and if an offer sounds too good to be true, contact Blizzard directly to ask about it. For more tips on avoiding phishing, check out the support page on phishing scams.

Filed under: Account Security, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Do you play betas?

Though there's always a lot of excitement when a new Blizzard game goes into alpha or beta testing stages -- both Heroes of the Storm and Warlords of Draenor are currently in an early alpha stage -- actually playing games at this point is sometimes less than fun. Alpha and beta games are meant for testing, which means they're full of bugs and prone to changes. But the worst of it, for me, is the fact that none of my character progress is kept -- anything I do in an alpha or beta version I'll have to do again later when the final game goes live.

It's completely understandable that Blizzard -- and other game developers -- need to wipe progress made while the game was still being tested, but for me it kills a lot of the fun because on launch day the starting content is already becoming a repetitive grind. The end result is that while I enjoy reading early news about betas, I don't tend to play them for fun. But what about you, readers? Are you already looking forward jumping into the Heroes or Warlords betas -- or would you rather wait for the finished product?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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