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Olivia Grace

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Warlords of Draenor: Flight path reassurance

Community Manager Bashiok has posted on the official forums in an attempt to calm players' fears about the enforced dependence on flight-paths that will come with Warlords of Draenor.

Bashiok
We're going to be making sure flight paths and other forms of travel are quick and efficient, with a goal of getting you to the places you want to go. Flight paths in the past have always been "the scenic route", lazily listing from side to side and around waterfalls to the intended oohs-and-aahs of the transportee. The flight paths in Draenor are not going to be loop-de-loop sightseeing tours, and we're going to be looking to our beta testers to let us know if any are less than tip-top.

The key to his point here is the directness. Especially in Mists, flight paths were gratuitously looping and indirect. The Horde shrine from the PvP vendor, for example, does a series of completely arbitrary tours around the shrine before actually landing. Hopefully this will not be the case in Warlords.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

PAX Beta keys temporarily allowed Warlords of Draenor access

Matthew Rossi posted on Friday about Blizzard's handing out Beta keys to people who played Warlords of Draenor at PAX East. Those keys were supposed to be for a later phase of the beta, but, as Bashiok elucidates on the official forums, a few of them actually worked during the PAX weekend itself.

This meant that a few of the players who took their key home and applied it to their account were able to access and play the beta well in advance of when the keys should have allowed them to. Blizzard has taken steps to revoke those players' access, but it would explain some of the streams seen on Twitch over the weekend. Where players have legitimately accessed Warlords with PAX keys, no action appears to have been taken. However, it seems that the Twitch warning is still in place for anyone streaming the alpha outside the select few who had accessed it legitimately with keys.

Those players no longer have access to the beta, and will need to re-redeem the same keys again at a later stage. No comment has been made by Blizzard so far about keys appearing on Ebay, but based on previous betas, they will be taken down as soon as they can be. Hit the break for Bashiok's full post.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Heroes of the Storm: First account wipe this Tuesday

The first account wipe for the alpha of Heroes of the Storm is coming this Tuesday, April 15. Players in the Alpha have received an email, which you can see after the break. It's working a little differently to the usual wipes, so let's lay out what you're losing and what you're keeping.
  • All purchases made with real money will be unaffected. This does not mean future wipes will be the same.
  • Your account will be reset to level 1
  • All experience points, all quest progress and leveling progress will be reset
  • All in-game gold you've earned, and purchases you've made with that gold, will be reset.
You will also receive some rewards for your hard work, to compensate you for what you're losing:
  • Starting after the wipe on Tuesday, April 15, all players will gain access to every single hero until Thursday, April 17 at 3:00 p.m. PDT.
  • You'll get in-game gold as a reward based on your leveling progress:
    • Levels 1 – 19: 10,000 Gold
    • Levels 20 – 39: 30,000 Gold
    • Level 40: 30,000 Gold and an exclusive Heroes of the Storm lanyard
Hit the break for the full email I received.

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Filed under: Heroes of the Storm

Four new Heroes revealed at PAX East

Heroes of the Storm's PAX East panel has unveiled four new heroes, from left to right, Brightwing, Zagara, Li li and Murky. There's already a trailer for Brightwing, and the Heroes of the Storm official post supplies more information on the new heroes.

While it's surprising that iconic characters which appear on the main screen of the game, such as Chen Stormstout, are not yet in the game, while these other heroes are. Nonetheless, they're really exciting additions, as the official post elucidates their roles in the game we can really see how interesting and varied the hero roles and abilities are thanks to the different playstyle.

Hit the break for their abilities and information.

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Filed under: Heroes of the Storm

The Heartbleed bug and its effect (or lack thereof) on Battle.net

The Heartbleed bug, as it's been dubbed, is certainly hot news lately, with various sites being impacted and password reset advice abounding. But Blizzard has some good news: Battle.net was unaffected. However, the advice is to change your password if you used the same one elsewhere.

This is especially true if you're using the same email and password combination as you use for your Battle.net account on other sites. A big way that players get hacked, especially those without authenticators, is that their guild forums get hacked, or their email gets hacked, or their Facebook. Once those username and password combinations are known, it's possible for hackers to try them in various different places, one of which might be your Battle.net account. So be careful, mix up your passwords, and in light of these recent security issues, consider changing your passwords.

It's also a good idea, again as a general rule, to get into the habit of changing your passwords fairly regularly, for everything. So now might be a great time to start, even though Battle.net is unaffected by the recent issues. Hit the break for Blizzard's full post.

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Filed under: News items, Account Security

Garrosh Heirlooms have Bad Luck Protection

Garrosh has been killed captured many times over, thanks in part to the heirlooms that he drops. Everyone wants one, and players are frustrated at what is seen as a very low drop rate. I am among those players, so Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas' tweets are music to my ears:


This is great news, and indeed, on my tenth kill of Garrosh on my shaman, my 14th kill across all characters on that account, my bad luck was finally protected, and I got my first heirloom. The message to keep at it is a good one, and maybe in time, as the expansion wears on, the game's tolerance for bad luck will be adjusted. Or people will have killed him so many times that they're drowning in heirlooms.

I'd love to know a little more about how bad luck protection works, too. How unlucky do you have to be, does getting one drop completely reset its count no matter how long that drop took to happen? How's your luck? For clarity, these heirlooms only drop from Flex and above.

Filed under: Raiding

Warlords of Draenor: New mount and NPC models discovered

AdriaCraft are at it again, digging through the data and powering up the Model Viewer to bring us images of some of the new NPC and mount models in Warlords of Draenor's Alpha. There's a couple of mounts like the Raven Lord that we've seen already, but a few that are new, like the Clefthoof, who also comes in various different colors. There's also a Giant Boar mount, also in red, and a Draenor Wolf, who also comes in three other color schemes.

Apart from the mounts, there are various NPC models apart from Thrall, some of which have surfaced already, some of which haven't. Velen, Grommash, Durotan and Blackhand are all there. There's several varieties of Iron Horde machinery that have been found, as well as some pale orcs, new Talbuks and Sporebats which we heard about following the recent press event, and Elekk, Goren and Hippos. All of these come in a variety of colors, so do check out the original post for more info.

But my favorite new model by far is the Draenor Ancient. Like all the models, he's in a variety of colors, but look at his grumpy face! What has you excited from this recent datamine?

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor Beta Installer appears on Battle.net

WoW Insider was alerted to the presence of this installer on battle.net. It's apparently there for every account, even starter editions with no World of Warcraft license. Its presence should not, therefore, be taken as any indication of alpha invitations being sent out or access granted.

Nonetheless, the installer is downloadable, and runs, as can be seen below. It appears to be a 24.48GB download, so the CASC file system's smaller size will likely not be seen at the install stage.
This definitely is not a mis-labelled PTR, either, as it doesn't replace them on the game list in the launcher, and launching it from the desktop app gets you to a set of servers that just don't seem to work, so it looks like access is not set up just yet. Closing that window will put you back to the Warlords of Draenor alpha-style Dark Portal login screen. There is not access to the game at this point.
[Thanks for the tip, @Spazzo!]

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard registers "Overwatch" trademark?

We've heard from various recent news sources that Blizzard has registered a new trademark. Of course, we recognize the scepticism, following last years incidents with The Dark Below and the associated silliness, but let's take a cautious look at this one.

The trademark is "Overwatch", a term usually used to denote small, supporting military units. Blizzard hired Left 4 Dead developer Michael Booth last year, and it seems like he is directing a small project, with a similar team size to Hearthstone, that isn't Titan. There have been various job listings for positions with this new project, some of which talk about multiplayer experiences and maps. Now this might all be nonsense, but perhaps it points to a new military-styled game coming out of Irvine.

There has long been speculation that Blizzard's next franchise would be a shooter, but with Titan ostensibly on the shelf for now, could this new small team production be that game? We're understandably cautious in our presentation of this information, but it's certainly interesting.

Filed under: Blizzard

Interview: Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig talks Warlords of Draenor

I was lucky enough to head over to Blizzard Campus this week to talk to Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig. Chadd is a huge part of the class design team, key to a lot of the changes we saw in the recent Warlords of Draenor patch notes, which is just what we discussed. We were also joined by Senior Community Representatives Zarhym and Lore. You can also find a much-abbreviated summary on Wowhead.

Olivia: First up, is there anything you really wanted to clarify and get out there?

Celestalon: I've tweeted about pretty much everything. This was the first version of the patch notes, there have been more changes since then, those patch notes are about a week old or so?

Zarhym: Yeah it's like, tons of changes. [Rygarius] said he had a huge list of changes.

Celestalon: There's another five thousand words that aren't up there yet, which [Rygarius] is working on now.

There have been different amounts of patch notes released for different classes. Paladins have been complaining that they haven't got enough, rogues have been really happy that not much has changed. Is it safe to assume there's more to come? This is just step one?

There's definitely more coming. Like, for example, paladins had relatively few patch notes, and a lot of that is we were relatively happy with how things played out, at least for ret and prot, with the exception of a few things we can solve with tuning – changing numbers. So a lot of what you see in the patch notes now is what we call design changes, so the mechanics that we want to change so we can get to some design that we like.

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Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

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