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No plans to make Motes or Spirits of Harmony account wide

Thanks to Chaos Orbs in Cataclysm, which began life as a BoP item, but became BoE with the last patch, and Wrath of the Lich King's Frozen Orbs, many had assumed that Spirits of Harmony would lose their soulbound status towards the end of the expansion. Community Manager Lore has confirmed once and for all that there are no plans to make this change with Spirits of Harmony.

We're not entirely sure on the reasoning behind this decision, but it might be something of an annoyance for players. Although, with previous expansions at least, the item was largely completely irrelevant by this point. Spirits of Harmony, in so much as they can be traded for items in the Shrine, have at least held some value. So don't stockpile them for an alt's crafting, on the basis that they might become BoA, or for an auction house bonanza that may never come.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

How to fix the Censer of Eternal Agony

The Censer of Eternal Agony has been an interesting piece of game design. If you're not aware of just what the Censer is, it's an item purchased on the Timeless Isle for 1,000 Timeless Coins that makes you hostile to all players, including your faction. If you kill players while the Censer is active, you get a currency, Bloody Coins, one per kill, that can be traded for a mount, a pet, and some other items.

So what's the problem? What needs fixing? Well, the Timeless Isle is home to three types of character. First up, you've got the intended audience -- new level 90 characters. They're there for the catch-up gear, the easy boost to ilvl 496. There's an influx of them at the moment, thanks to the boosts. The second group is people who are there for the Celestials. They zone in, grab their kill, and leave. Then, there's the third group -- high-geared players who are there with the specific purpose of using the Censer to kill other players.

That third group is mostly targeting the first group. Entering the Celestial Court with the Censer up will get you some attention from the guards, so the Censer people are roaming the island, in search of low-geared players to kill. Some servers have it worse than others, and before you dismiss it, this problem caused the devs to hotfix the boosted 90 spawn-in to be the Shrine instead of the Timeless Isle.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Warlords of Draenor: New female dwarf images added

The Warlords of Draenor site has just been updated with some new images of the female Dwarf character models, as Senior Art Director Chris Robinson tweeted:



What's your take on their new look? The face does look more proportionate than before, but it's no doubt helped by them having drawn her with her mouth closed, and with less overly open eyes.

All the new images are in the slideshow below!


Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Low level Battlegrounds to drop dungeon-style satchels

Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka tweeted something yesterday that will be music to the ears of any player who wants to level via PvP.


Leveling via PvP is a hard-fought battle in WoW, XP gains are unpredictable, and unless you're using heirlooms you risk falling behind in gear gains and gold gains. So this change, put in place by Reward Systems Designer Russ Petersen, allows those players to keep up with their PvE-ing counterparts. It's fantastic news! I'd love to see some improvement to XP gains from battlegrounds, too.

And let's not forget that Holinka has previously hinted at Skirmishes being potentially available for leveling, which would be an incredible change. Certainly, the rewards would need to be ironed out, but that they're even thinking about it gives me hope for PvP leveling becoming something that more than just the dedicated or foolhardy undertake.

Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Heroes of the Storm glossary

Heroes of the Storm is not categorized as a MOBA by its creators, but as a Hero Brawler, and there are definitely big differences between Heroes and other popular MOBAs. Nonetheless, a lot of the players you're going to be seeing in-game will have played MOBAs before, and thanks to the similarities to MOBA play, you're going to be seeing a lot of MOBA jargon. And you might not understand it all, but we're here to help. We're not going to go into every individual phrase that might ever be uttered, but we're going to spell out some of the more common ones.

Let us know if there are other things you've heard that you haven't understood, and hit the break for the Glossary!

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Filed under: Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm dev Q&A

The latest Heroes of the Storm dev Q&A is here, and you can watch it above when it goes live at 11am Pacific. This week, as the Tech Alpha runs on, the developers are talking about the talent system. Joining Kevin Johnson this time, we will have Dustin Browder, Game Director, Richard Khoo, Senior Game Designer, and Matt Cooper, Game Designer.

As the talent system is a key part of the game that separates it from the Item Shop methodology of other MOBAs, it will be interesting to see the insights and design challenges that the developers have faced. You can send in your questions to the developers on Twitter at @BlizzHeroes by using the hashtag #HeroesQA.

Following the dev Q&A, there'll be a live match, shoutcasted by Dustin Browder and Kevin Knocke.

Filed under: Heroes of the Storm

Poll: RNG gearing or points-based gearing?

There seems to have been something of a shift of late in Blizzard's gearing philosophy. We've moved from a heavily points-based system, where players had to earn currency -- specifically valor -- to buy items. They also had to earn reputation, which was another thing we can compare to points, although they're not a currency you can spend. Now, we've got Valor only used as an upgrade system, players are reliant on drops for the initial item to upgrade. The Timeless Isle does award currency, but you're more likely to rely on RNG-based drops to get gear from there. Not to mention the RNG nature of Warforged gear.

And it looks like this is only going to move more towards RNG with Warlords' removal of currencies, removal of reforging, and the addition of sockets and tertiaries as RNG elements on top of the Warforged system. PvP gear remains mercifully points-based, and in a play system where gear equality is so important, we can only hope it remains the case. But in PvE, what's the good and bad of each?

Well, points-based gearing is predictable. It gives you certainty and goals to work towards. Just so long as you keep grinding points, you know categorically that you will get that piece of gear. You can see your points build up, and it's satisfying. On the downside that predictability makes it less exciting. In PvP, that's no bad thing -- you certainly don't want the opposition to get their weapon and 4-set first while you get 2 rings, a neck and some bracers!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: The Real Money Auction House is gone forever, will you miss it?

If you haven't been marking out the hours, it's March 18. That means that today's the day that the Real Money Auction House in Diablo III closes its doors forever. It's been an interesting feature, for sure, and arguably one that did more harm than good. It's been controversial from the out, causing a rating hike in South Korea. Then there were the days of gold devaluing by the second, of duping bugs running rampage, shutdowns and resets.

It seems pretty clear that the RMAH wasn't much of a success. And the community reaction to its then-impending removal, and to loot 2.0 has been overwhelmingly positive. So, will you miss it? I know I won't. In a game like Diablo where there's so much emphasis on loot, being able to fork out real dollars to get your hands on the best bits seemed to cheapen the experience, to use a rather ill-fitting turn of phrase. Now that it's gone, and indeed in the months leading up to its departure, I've felt a sort of freedom with my loot. I'm no longer thinking in terms of trade, instead in terms of fun. And that's a good thing.

What's your take on the RMAH experiment? Will you miss it?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Blizzard unveils its PAX East plans

Blizzard has revealed their PAX East schedule, and for attendees of the Boston-based convention, it's going to be quite a weekend. There's something for almost every game the company makes, all to be found at booth #848 from 10am to 6pm Friday through Sunday. On offer at the booth will be:
There's also developers standing by to talk to fans, a Heroes of the Storm presentation at the Albatross theatre on Friday, April 11 at 10:30 a.m. EDT, as well as giveaways, prizes and more! We wouldn't be surprised to see some new merchandise debuting, as has previously been the case for PAX conventions. It promises to be an exciting weekend all round!

Filed under: Blizzard

PvP-Live Armageddon Tournament

Followers of official Blizzard Twitter accounts will certainly have heard about the well-publicized WoW arena "Armageddon" tournament, hosted by PVP Live, that took place this weekend just passed. It was great to see Blizzard get behind a WoW PvP tournament in such a big way, after years of other, less recognized tournaments.

After some early issues with audio, which were mostly repaired by the Sunday, the tournament kicked off in style on the Friday night with a face-off to see which of the newer teams would claim the eighth "seed", by which they meant place in the tournament. Following that, the tournament continued, in a bracketed structure, commentated by the ever-outstanding Isaac "Azael" Cummings-Bentley and Jared "vhell" Coulston. They were joined by PvP-Live's "Mackaw" on a beautifully-crafted set to lead viewers through the tournament.

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Filed under: PvP

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