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Filed under: Blizzard

Rob Pardo is leaving Blizzard

Rob Pardo, currently Blizzard's Chief Creative officer, announced on the forums that he's parting ways with Blizzard Entertainment. Pardo has been a fixture of the company for 17 years now, and though he isn't saying -- yet -- where he's headed next, he did offer a thank you to Blizzard's fans and community:

Rob Pardo
The Blizzard community is ultimately the reason why we come to work every day and pour our souls into every world and experience we create. Blizzard's players are the most passionate in the world and your commitment and dedication are truly awesome to behold. Creating entertainment for you has been an incredible opportunity, and I know that you will continue to grow and become even stronger as a community over the years to come. It has been so meaningful on a personal level to help create joy for all of you.


Thanks for the games, Rob -- we'll be keeping our eyes open for what you're working on next.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

EU Connected Realm updates for June 27

The list of EU realms slated for the Realm Connection service has at last been updated with new information and new realms in regards to upcoming dates for the service. At the present time, there are no additional updates for US realms -- this list is for European servers only.

The following EU realms are scheduled for connection on Wednesday, July 2.

English Realms
  • (PvE) Darkspear and Terokkar
  • (PvE) Aszune and Shadowsong
  • (PvP) The Maelstrom and Karazhan/Lightning's Blade/Deathwing
  • (PvP) Frostwhisper and Zenedar/Bladefist
German Realms
  • (PvE) Malygos and Malfurion

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

PAX East beta invites now active

Players who attended PAX East earlier this year and played Warlords of Draenor also found themselves in possession of beta keys for the new expansion. However, the keys were not immediately available for use, as the beta hadn't launched. Now that beta has officially rolled out, those keys are fully functional, according to a tweet made yesterday on the official Twitter account.


If you immediately used your key when you got home from the convention, your account should now be properly flagged for beta access. If you have not used your key, you may log into your Battle.net account and use it to gain access to the beta. This is in addition to the beta invites that rolled out yesterday -- so if you happened to attend PAX East and pick up a key, be sure to claim it now that you can.

Filed under: Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

First wave of Warlords of Draenor beta invites out

If you've been waiting patiently (or impatiently) for access to Warlords of Draenor you should check your account - you may have been invited to the Warlords of Draenor beta test, starting this Friday, June 27th, at 2:00 PM PDT. Emails are already being sent out, but remember, you don't have to do anything with those emails - don't email back anything, just check your account at battle.net and if you're in the beta, you'll be able to proceed from there. And if you didn't get in, don't panic -- as Rygarius tweeted, there will be more beta invites.
I'm really happy to see the Beta test commence - it makes the game feel more solid and getting ready to launch. I'm very excited. Let's all be good beta testers, guys.

Update 1:00 p.m.: The beta is also live in Europe.

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

Warlords of Draenor Alpha: Transmog changes

On live servers you can't transmog polearms over swords, axes or maces (and vice versa), but on the Alpha it's a totally different story, as you can see in the header image above. No idea if this is an intended change or not (I hope it is) but it's certainly a welcome one for those of us who happen to carry a Hellreaver in our bags.

Read more →

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

Deserter debuff changes for Random and Rated PvP

PvP has long has the Deserter debuff, which means that there's a cost to simply dropping a game rather than taking the loss. However, that system is being changed in terms of how it functions in rated PvP like Arenas and rated battlegrounds. For starters, it's being applied to said rated PvP. In addition to now getting the Deserter debuff for rated PvP, how it works for random BG's will also be changing.

Lore - Upcoming Deserter Hotfixes for Rated PvP
As part of our continued efforts to curb exploitive behavior and improve the overall PvP experience for our players, we're applying a couple hotfixes that will make a few changes to how the Deserter debuff functions, and also apply it to Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds.

Once these hotfixes are applied, a player who leaves an Arena or Rated Battleground before anyone in the match has entered combat will, at first, be given a 5-minute Deserter debuff. If they leave another match prematurely within a 20-minute window, the duration of the Deserter debuff will increase by 5 minutes each time (and the 20-minute window will restart), to a maximum of 20 minutes. The debuff will also apply if a player leaves the queue (or ignores it) once the match is ready and they're given the prompt to enter.

The Deserter debuff given for leaving a Random Battleground early will also be changed to begin at 5 minutes (and increase by 5 minutes for each subsequent desertion), but otherwise the rules will stay the same. Leaving a Random Battleground in progress at any point before it's finished will give the Deserter debuff, and leaving or ignoring the prompt to enter a Random Battleground will not.

We're currently in the process of preparing and testing the hotfix, but hope to push it live with this week's maintenance period.


The change seems aimed at allowing players who just drop occasionally to get back into PvP relatively quickly, while becoming more onerous if you're a serial dropper. Rated PvP will also get the debuff if they queue but don't accept the queue, while randoms will not, which seems reasonable to me.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Mists of Pandaria

Warlords of Draenor: Tanaan Jungle preview

One of the aspects of Draenor that's most interesting (to me, at least) is how it subverts what we think we know about the place. To use, the Dark Portal opens onto the blasted and sere Hellfire Peninsula. But it wasn't always so, and we're about to get a sense of what the place was like before the rise of the Old Horde. Welcome to the Tanaan Jungle, a lush yet treacherous land where the Iron Horde prepares its conquest of our Azeroth.

Head on over to the official site and read up on Tanaan - the place where boosted 90's will learn how to use their new abilities once Warlords of Draenor launches, as well as the staging ground for the Iron Horde's invasion. Can a band of heroes prevent it? Can they fight their way free of the Iron Horde war machine and find allies in this strange world they find themselves in? Find out.

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

US Connected Realms update for June 20

The list of US realms slated for the Realm Connection service has now been updated with new information regarding upcoming dates for the service. Players on realms that have been scheduled for connection should be aware that connections take place on Thursdays, and the scheduled realms will be down for the service until approximately 1pm PDT. Please note that the realms listed below are all US realms -- there are no updates for EU servers at this time.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, June 26.
  • Alterac Mountains and Balnazzar, Gorgonnash, The Forgotten Coast, and Warsong
  • Gnomeregan and Moonrunner

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Doomhammer replica about to go away forever

If, like me, you're a fan of things that can smash other things, you probably like the Doomhammer. And if you have the money, honey, we've got your replica of it, but only for a limited time - because once the last remaining Doomhammers sell out, there will be no more forever.

It's possibly the finest replica of Orgrim Doomhammer's signature weapon available, so if you want one, you'd better get over to the official store and get your hammer while you still can.

Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

BlizzCon costume contest sign-ups open

It's official, BlizzCon 2014's costume contest has opened up its sign-ups. Just like the earlier opening of sign-ups for the Art and Movie contests, there are some interesting prizes here - the top prize is $3500, or $2500 and a 'tribute' in an upcoming Blizzard product. What does that mean?

A tribute could include taking the form of having an NPC, weapon, etc. named after the first place winner.


In addition to that there's $2250 for second place finish, $1500 for third place, $1000 for fourth, and a $250 for secondary winners. Considering how much time and effort people put into their costumes, it's nice to see the possibility of a few people at least getting a little compensation for that. If you're interested in entering this year, head to the official site now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon, Arts and Crafts

US Connected Realm updates for June 13

The list of US realms slated for the Realm Connection service has now been updated with new information regarding upcoming dates for the service. Players on realms that have been scheduled for connection should be aware that connections take place on Thursdays, and the scheduled realms will be down for the service until approximately 1pm PDT. At this time, there are no updates to EU realm connections, the servers and dates listed below are for US realms only.

The following US realms have been scheduled for connection on Thursday, June 19.
  • Blackwater Raiders and Shadow Council
  • Grizzly Hills and Lothar
  • Tanaris and Greymane

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

World of Warcraft's Rob Pardo designs Magic: the Gathering card

If you play Hearthstone, there's at least an average chance you've heard of, if not played, Magic: The Gathering. If so, then check out this card designed by none other than Rob Pardo, Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard Entertainment. I haven't played Magic in years and I was never very good, but that seems like one heck of a card. It'll be part of the Magic 2015 set, and was previewed at this year's E3.

Now I want everyone at Blizzard to design a card. Let's see Samwise's card. At least get him to do the art on one. It's funny, because Xathrid here reminds me a bit of Lilian Voss, who some say is a reference to this M:tG character (Blizzard says no.) Which is too bad, because it would be hilarious if we ended up with some kind of circular back and forth transfer between M:tG and WoW.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Hearthstone Insider

Warforged Nightmare mount now available

A new mount has appeared in the Blizzard Store on live servers. The Warforged Nightmare is available for $30 on US accounts. The Warforged Nightmare is a single player ground and flying mount, a fiery warhorse covered in spikes and chains. However, the smiths that crafted the mount have a surprise in store for you -- not only do you receive the mount, you also receive the Nightmarish Hitching Post with your order. Make a group with your friends, because clicking on this item will give any party member their own 20 minute version of the Warforged Nightmare for themselves. It's a mount and a toy, and both can be yours via the Blizzard Store. For more information and footage of the steed in action, check out Blizzard's official announcement video.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Why testing matters

People often look at things like the current Friends and Family Alpha test and wonder why they exist. Why not go straight to beta, or even just do everything via internal testing? Well, there's lots of reasons. One of them is one expressed very well in this tweet by Russ Petersen.
What we've seen happen through several betas is that content has been changed, reworked and redesigned based on Alpha or Beta feedback. I'm reminded of the Cataclysm expansion and Paragon's effort to be World First on Heroic Sinestra, a fight that simply hadn't been tested very much externally, in order to keep it relatively unknown. This meant that it was a heroic-only boss, being attempted for world-first status, while the fight was being hotfixed. It was necessary to preserve some of the mystery of the fight, because let's face it, if it had been open to testing someone would have written up the strategy and Paragon would have been going in knowing what the fight was and wasn't. But it also meant that Paragon had to learn what the fight was and wasn't while it was being changed, during the attempts.

Similarly, the drastic revamp of the Jade Forest during Mists beta can't be undersold here. This happened right in the middle of the beta -- players who were testing out content had to be moved to the next zone and leveled up while the Forest was completely redesigned. In both cases, we see how the presence or absence of testing can have wide consequences for everyone.

Read more →

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

US and EU Connected Realm updates for June 6

The Connected Realm service is making a return, and a whole new host of realms are scheduled for connection over the next several weeks for both the US and European servers. Although US realms have specific dates listed for connections, EU realms are simply listed as beginning next week.

The following US realms have been scheduled for connection on Thursday, June 12.
  • Azuremyst and Staghelm
  • Drenden and Arathor
  • Duskwood and Bloodhoof
  • Nagrand and Caelestrasz

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

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