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Filed under: Blizzard

Warlords of Draenor beta: Play with the blues August 21

Holinka
For those in the Warlords of Draenor beta, this coming Thursday you'll have the opportunity to potentially test directly with some Blizzard Blues. From 3:00 to 5:00 pm PDT on Thursday, August 21, members of Blizzard's Development team, Community team, Quality Assurance, and Customer Service will be available on both the PvP and PvE level 100 premade realms to test 3v3 Arena matches and 5-person dungeon groups. Depending on faction, you'll be able to identify Blizzard representatives by their guild tag: <Blizzard Horde> or <Blizzard Alliance>. The event will be a great way to test out some dungeons and arenas while mingling with both your fellow WoW players and creators. If you can make it, I'm sure the event will be worth your while!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

WoW subscription price increases in UK

Recently it's been announced that the price for a WoW subscription has increased for those paying in pounds (namely, residents of the United Kingdom). These prices are adjusted for all levels - recurring subscriptions will be £9.99 for 30 days, £28.17 for 90 days, and £52.14 for 180 days. In addition, the price of the 60-day prepaid time card will be £20.99.

Now, if you're currently a subscriber to World of Warcraft in the UK, there is a way around this - namely, stay subscribed.

Taepsilum - Secure your current recurring subscription price for two years
As a thank you for current World of Warcraft subscribers, we guarantee that players with recurring (auto-renewing) subscriptions at the time of the price change will retain their current price for two years, as long as they remain in the same recurring subscription without interruption. This applies to anyone who is already in, or signs up for, a recurring subscription prior to the price change, which is scheduled to take place at the Warlords of Draenor release. We will reach out to relevant players approximately two months prior to the price change with a reminder.


I get why players are upset about this, especially since it means that if you decide to do what a lot of us do and drop your sub for a few months when there's no content, you'll be resubbing at the higher rate. I would find that a bummer, personally.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard considering Robin Williams tribute NPC

Ever since Robin Williams' death this week, there's been talk of him getting an official NPC in World of Warcraft. It's an idea I certainly support -- Mister Williams was well known as a WoW player and overall lover of things gaming (when I lived in San Francisco, I actually bumped into him at a game store there, and he explained Warhammer figures to me for several minutes) -- and so far, Blizzard seems pretty receptive to the idea. Asked about a change.org petition on the subject, Celestalon tweeted the following response.

Since then, Ion Hazzikostas has spoken out about the topic as well, and while he hasn't said specifically where or what the NPC would be, he was pretty encouraging. Mentioning to the AP that they hadn't decided yet how best to proceed, he went on to note:

"All of us are massive Robin Williams fans," said Hazzikostas. "We love and appreciate his work. We grew up watching his movies and stand-up. We knew he was an avid WoW player, which was awesome. We have a number of pop culture references and things that reflect great figures of our time here and there. We're just thinking about the appropriate and right way to do it."

So it seems likely that there will be a Robin Williams tribute NPC in the game once that's been worked out. It's just a matter of figuring out how best to do it.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Animated miniseries Lords of War makes its debut

In addition to the cinematic and a bunch of previews, the Community Event also handed us a sneak preview of Lords of War, the new animated series covering the history and backstory for each of the warlords we're going to meet when we step through the Dark Portal and confront them on Draenor. The first is the Shattered Hand.

The series has an interesting premise -- King Varian is faced with the same force that destroyed Stormwind under his father's rule and he's desperately trying to figure out how he can beat what his father couldn't. Vindicator Maraad faced them on his Draenor, so he has the dirt on each of the warlords. We get the story from him. I'm not sure how well that works when we're dealing with an alternate Draenor, but it makes for some well-animated storytelling, I'll tell you that much.

So head on over and watch episode one of Lords of War and get ready for the remaining episodes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: UBRS available at level 90 before expansion

During the Community Event we got a surprise from Ion Hazzikostas, namely that before we can even go to Draenor, when patch 6.0 drops, we'll get a chance to get up close and personal with the Iron Horde as they invade Upper Blackrock Spire. This dungeon will be available as a level 100 dungeon once the expansion releases, but before that, in patch 6.0 we'll be able to run it as a level 90 dungeon to get loot that will serve us as we get ready to go to Draenor.

In addition he mentioned the world event of the Iron Horde pushing into the Blasted Lands, overwhelming the area around the Dark Portal and putting both the Horde and Alliance on the defensive. It's up to players to take the battle to the Iron Horde, push them back through the portal, and defeat the forces under Warlord Zaela in Upper Blackrock Spire.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Three new Heroes of the Storm

Well, gamescom is tomorrow, and we're already seeing news from it (like for instance this gigantic and frankly somewhat terrifying statue of Grommash Hellscream) but one piece of news that might have gone out a little early is this trailer. It reveals three new heroes for Heroes of the Storm -- the cunning Anub'arak, the loathsome Azmodan, and the inebriate Chen Stormstout.

Blizzard's MOBA entry is as dependent as any game on the quality of its roster of heroes, so it's not surprising that they'd beef it up, but I'll admit to being surprised on who they've chosen here. With Diablo in the game already, does Azmodan bring anything? We'll find out soon. Still, count me in among players who might have appreciated a Jaina or a Sylvanas.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Diablo 3, Heroes of the Storm

US Connected Realm updates for August 8

The list of US realms scheduled for the Realm Connection service has been updated with a few new dates, the return of a few servers that have been on and off the list, and some updates on the future of the service. If you are on one of the servers listed below, please note that Realm Connections take place on Thursdays, beginning at 5am PDT and ending at approximately 1pm PDT. The list below is for US realms only -- EU realm schedules were updated earlier this week. For more information on Realm Connections, take a look at Blizzard's official blog post about the service and its features.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, August 14:
  • Burning Legion and Agamaggan, Archimonde, Jaedenar, and The Underbog

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

New Gul'dan and the Stranger comic available now

If you've been wondering, like I have, how the Iron Horde changed the destiny of the alternate Draenor we find ourselves journeying to, then Blizzard is finally doling out some of that information. Gul'dan and the Stranger, a comic downloadable directly and at now cost from Blizzard, has some of those answers for you. Micky Neilson, the author of the comic, assures us that each following issue will also be free to download, so you can read each issue and see what happened to make the Iron Horde a reality, and how the most evil warlock in creation reacted to these events. Man, sometimes it's hard not to spoil things.

The art's by Alex Horley and it looks pretty awesome. I recommend checking it out.

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

EU Connected Realms update for July 6

The list of EU realms that are slated for the Realm Connections service has been updated with new dates and planned connections. Please note that if you are a player on an EU realm, your realm connections are typically completed on Wednesdays, and while these connections are being made, the affected realms will not be available for play. For more information on Realm Connections and what exactly they entail, be sure to check out Blizzard's official blog post about the service and its features.

The following EU realms are scheduled for connection on Wednesday, August 13.

English Realms
  • Azuremyst and Stormrage
German Realms
  • Nathrezim and Anetheron/Festung der Stürme/Rajaxx/Gul'dan

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor: Spires of Arak zone preview

We have another zone preview, guys. This time Blizzard is previewing the Spires of Arak, a zone that has no analogue in Outland, an entirely new zone for players to explore. We'll get to see the arakkoa, both the cursed ones we're familiar with from Outland and their kinfolk with the ability to fly and a freaking laser beam.
In The Burning Crusade, the arakkoa of Skettis had pretty much fallen entirely into evil, but in Warlords of Draenor we see them at a crossroads. They're outcasts, hated and oppressed by the flying arakkoa who are torching their villages with an enormous beam weapon fixed atop Skyreach. To make matters worse, the Shattered Hand orcs have begun expanding into the region, killing anyone in their path. These arakkoa outcasts are caught between several enemies, and they really have nobody on their side before you show up.

Over the course of the zone, you're helping this shady resistance group of cursed arakkoa to make their final stand. You're learning about the curse they bear, the ancient gods of their land, and the very real threat posed by the Adherents of Rukhmar, the ruling caste of zealous arakkoa in Skyreach.

I don't know about you, but I'm fairly certain allying with the cursed arakkoa is going to come back to bite me in the posterior, but that's a song we adventurers have sung before. Also, I don't know who decided to let the goblins start up an expedition to Draenor, but I'm calling it now - huge mistake, guys. Huge mistake.

Head on over to the official site now for the preview.

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

World of Warcraft's 10th anniversary preview

Molten Corgi
Ten years is a long time. Ten years ago, in 2004, I was 20 years old and entering my third semester of college--also entangled in endless piles of paperwork while I prepared to spend a year studying at the University of New South Wales in Sydney for the calender year 2005. Ten years ago, in November 2004, World of Warcraft officially launched.

The mark that WoW has left on the gaming industry is indisputable--but we're not here for musing retrospectives. At least, not yet. We're here because there's going to be a whole bunch of fun in-game events to celebrate WoW's first decade of existence, and Blizzard has given us a lovely preview of what at least a few of them are.

Read more →

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor: Nagrand zone preview

The Warlords of Draenor zone previews continue with a look at Nagrand. Often listed as one of people's favorite BC zones, the Nagrand of Draenor is a different place with familiar landmarks. Just seeing the zone with harborages and familiar sights like Telaar and Oshu'gun interspersed with entirely new (to us, at least) places like Grommashar and Highmaul Palace caught my eye.

So how do we get to Nagrand, you ask? Well, Senior Game Designer Eric Maloof explains:
You'll be led to Nagrand by a quest you'll receive in your Garrison that involves sending new supplies to the front. The Alliance and the Horde-not working together, of course-are trying to establish a toehold in the zone in order to take on the Warsong clan. The Warsong clan has had problems with the ogres in the past, but they're really the top power here.

The Alliance will be working alongside characters such as Vindicator Yrel and Rangari D'kaan, Thaelin, and Hansel as they progress through the storyline. The Horde will be working alongside Thrall, Durotan, Draka, and Drek'thar-even Aggra will show up and surprise Thrall.
Hopefully the process of building your outpost and fighting the Warsong clan throughout Nagrand will include a trip inside Oshu'gun, one of my favorite locations in the zone. Head over to the official preview now to take a look at what awaits you in Nagrand. Here's a hint - the words 'mounted' and 'combat' pop up in there.

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

US and EU Connected Realms updates

The lists for both the US and EU realms slated for the Realm Connections service have been updated with new dates and planned connections. Please note that if you are a player on an EU realm, your realm connections will be on a Wednesday. For US players, realm connections are scheduled for Thursdays. For more information on Realm Connections and what exactly they entail, be sure to check out Blizzard's official blog post about the service and its features.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, August 7.
  • Shadowmoon and Detheroc

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Artcraft focuses on facial customization

One of the hot button topics when talking about the new character models is faces. Many players worry that when the customization comes in, their characters won't feel like their characters anymore. Blizzard has now released a new Artcraft discussing exactly how they're planning on dealing with that issue.

Our next big focus is doing justice to the facial options. With the original models and their simplistic geometry and low-resolution textures, a lot of facial expressions were simply painted on. Now that we've moved to higher-polygon models with lips, teeth, and fully articulated faces-not to mention higher-resolution textures-recreating those same facial options isn't as simple as painting them onto a flat surface. Previously, to get a sneer out of a model, you'd just paint a sneer on its face, and that was that. To do it correctly now-and make it look great-we have to fully pose a sneer, create a custom texture, and mesh that base pose with all of the existing emotes and animations.

So it's still a work in progress, but take heart in the knowledge that Blizzard abandoned their original plan, which was to release the new faces before customization was completed. "Our initial idea was to release the new models with their base face, and then add additional options in updates over the course of the expansion." That would have been a huge mistake, in my opinion. People would likely have been very unhappy with the uncertainty of knowing whether or not they'd get the face they identified with.

Head on over to the latest artcraft and check it out now.

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

US Connected Realms update for July 25

The list of US realms scheduled for the Realm Connection service has been updated with new dates, and a new planned connection. Realm Connections take place on Thursdays, beginning at 5am PDT and ending at approximately 1pm PDT. If you're on a realm scheduled for connection, keep that in mind. The following list is for US realms only -- EU realms should take a look at the official forum thread for more information regarding the EU connection schedule.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, July 24.
  • Malfurion and Trollbane
  • Ravenholdt and Twisting Nether
  • The Venture Co and Maelstrom

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

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