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Olivia Grace

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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

Blizzard clarifies Challenge Mode Realm Best titles [Updated]

Challenge Mode Entrance
Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has taken to the official forums to provide more clarity on the removal of Realm Best Challenge mode titles. As ever, you can read the full post after the break, but in summary, if you're really unhappy about the removal of the titles, it's not good news.

Watcher explains the various options they considered, giving a title to everyone who'd ever been realm first, which was dismissed as too problematic for the next season. He also explains how leaving the titles with those who held them at the end of the season would not work because if those players changed servers they'd lose the server-tied titles. Response has been largely dissatisfied.

It seems to me, and I may be wrong, I am not a WoW dev after all, that it would not be so huge a feat to create a new title for those players at the top of the ranks at the season end. Challenge Modes have been compared to arenas before, and this could work exactly the same. A title like "Mystical Challenger [Name]" could be applied in the week following the end of the season, attached to the character not the server, just like they do for arena Rank One. And just like arena, players would have to vy for those realm-best top spots right up to the last weeks. The Arena comparison makes a lot of sense to me, so let's keep it going.

Hit the break for the full post, and an update posted after time of writing!

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Filed under: News items

World Bosses no longer tap to faction

Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted on Twitter confirming what some players thought was a bug. Several players have noticed that, when an opposing faction group is attacking a world boss, like the Celestials, they are able to hit it and still get loot and credit. Watcher confirmed via Twitter that this was not a bug, and actually a hotfix that went in recently. That hotfix, he also notes, caused the boss health scaling with larger groups to break. This, in turn, has been fixed.

He also later added that this was not just applicable to Timeless Isle bosses, but to all of them. So presumably, that's every boss from Galleon and the Sha of Anger, through Nalak and Oondasta, right to the Celestials, and Ordos.

What this means is just as explained above -- if the opposite faction pulls a boss, you can punch it and still get credit and loot. You'd have to be a little brave or foolhardy to do so alone on a PvP server, unless you're a stealth class, but the opportunity remains. It'll be interesting to see whether this change has an impact on the use of the Raid Finder and oQueue for Celestials groups, or not. Given the convenience of those methods for finding a composed group, I suspect they'll prevail.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Hearthstone releases on iPad in Australia, New Zealand and Canada

The Hearthstone iPad roll-out has begun! The game is live on the app store in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Other regions of the world are "coming soon" with the reason given in the official blog being as follows:
Blizzard
Launching Hearthstone in a limited set of countries allows us to focus on the end-to-end player experience and make sure it's awesome before we move on to the rest of the world. If you don't live in Australia, Canada, or New Zealand, you don't have much longer to wait to get your hands on Hearthstone for iPad-Murloc Scout's honor.

It's also worth noting that everything is shared across all devices, so your collection linked with your account on your PC or Mac will be available on your iPad too. This is really exciting for people in those territories, and the rest of us will look forward to it landing on our local app stores soon.

Hit the break for the full blog post.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider