Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Filed under: Blizzard

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

Explaining Versatility

As we've said here plenty of times, it's not real until it goes live, and that goes for the new stats being designed for Warlords of Draenor. Last year we discussed Amplify, Multistrike and Readiness - since then things have changed. As always keeping in mind that this is still subject to change right up until the point of release, we now have an entirely new stat, and both Amplify and Readiness are no longer stats. Instead, Versatility. What is Versatility and how will it work?

Versatility is pretty simple: 1% Versatility grants a 1% increase to your damage, healing, and absorbs, and reduces the damage you take by 0.5%. It's a straightforward, obvious upgrade to your primary role's performance, but also gives significant boosts to secondary role performance and survivability. The healing increase it provides does work on self-heals, such as Recuperate, for example. We won't be tuning it to be anyone's highest throughput secondary stat, but it'll be close, and it'll give you a nice boost to how versatile your character is in the process. It'll be especially attractive to hybrids who want to feel more "hybridy."

I reproduced the explanation from the Dev Watercooler because I wanted to highlight how this works, and more important, how it is still a stat which can be tuned. On the face of it, 1% Versatility is incredibly simple - just as 1% Critical Strike Chance increases your chance to critically hit by 1%, 1% Versatility increases your damage, healing and damage absorption by 1%, which also reducing your damage taken by .5%. How does this differ from the proposed effect of Amplify? Why, in other words, is Versatility a worthwhile trade for the previously proposed stat?

Read more →

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

Get your Guardian Cub while you still can

Okay, truth time -- I have always found the Guardian Cub to be just freaking adorable. Like, really adorable. Look at that little guy. This is why it saddens me to report that, on June 18th, the Guardian Cub will no longer be available for purchase. The Guardian Cub differs from other battle pets in that it's not bind to account (although this was a much bigger deal back before you could cage and put captured battle pets on the AH) and can be traded.

I don't do pet battles, but I really think this is a cute pet worth having, so I may have to pick one up before they're unavailable. Since it's going into the 'Blizzard Archive' (think the Disney Vault, but with presumably more axes in it) we may get to see it again someday, but who knows if or when that day will be?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Azeroth Choppers: Series recap, voting closes tonight

In case you somehow missed the series run of Azeroth Choppers, Blizzard has put together a brief recap of the show in its entirety. I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect with this particular foray into web entertainment, but the prospect of getting a new mount is always good news -- and we've never had a mount introduced in quite this fashion before, nor have we seen Azeroth's various pieces of engineering construction built in real life. Although personally, I think the show missed the mark on highlighting all the details of the construction process, it was still a pretty fun, lighthearted series.

However, voting for the winning chopper ends tonight at 12pm PDT -- and episode 8, coming later this week, will supposedly announce the winning vehicle. We know we're getting a free mount either way, so why not have a hand in the decision making process? Cast your vote for the chopper you'd like to see added to your mount collection on the official site -- and stay tuned for the announcement of the winning team.

Ed. correction: Voting for the chopper has closed.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Azeroth Choppers: Horde behind the scenes footage

As expected, Blizzard has released more behind the scenes footage from Azeroth Choppers -- this time, it's the Horde's turn. While I really liked the Alliance footage we were shown yesterday, I have to confess I'm not nearly as impressed with what the Horde team has to show -- I was hoping for a look at how they created material we hadn't already seen. But it's still cool seeing how they took one image of an orc with some massive plate shoulders and re-created that in bike form. It's big, bulky, and has just the right touch of unbridled menace. I do wish we'd seen footage of all that emblem-cutting, though -- I can't imagine carving the Horde symbol into metal is a particularly easy task.

There's still time left to cast your vote for either Team Alliance or Team Horde at the official site. But you better hurry -- voting ends at 12pm PDT tomorrow night. Make sure you get your vote counted, and may the best chopper win!


Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Azeroth Choppers: Alliance behind the scenes footage

Now this is my kind of footage. Azeroth Choppers has released a behind the scenes look at the construction of the Alliance chopper, including construction and positioning of the "swords" that make up the handlebars of the bike. I was hoping we'd see more of this in the actual show, but I'll settle for behind the scenes, too! While I like the above footage, I have to admit that after seeing the final chopper and that gorgeous leather saddle, I was hoping we'd see the designs for that, and maybe a mention of who did all that leatherworking -- there were plenty of tiny details on both choppers that were complete surprises.

Hopefully we'll see some more behind the scenes glimpses over the next couple of days -- I'd like to see more on the Horde chopper construction as well. Voting is still open to pick your favorite bike to be re-created in game, so make sure you cast your vote for Team Alliance or Team Horde while you still can.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Azeroth Choppers Episode 7, voting opens today

With the arrival of Azeroth Choppers episode 7, we'll finally have the chance to do the thing that the entire webseries was leading up to, namely to vote on a new mount favoring either the Horde or the Alliance. Which will you choose, that monstrosity with tank treads the other faction got, or the awesome bike with tank treads your faction got? Well, whichever you pick, the time to do so is now.

Are you excited for any of the bikes? Or just swept away by faction pride? Or are you like Anne, and you're literally insane to watch people build stuff? Personally I find the building aspect of the show to be absolutely riveting. Hah. Riveting. I made a joke.

Personally I'm hoping that the next webseries that Blizzard does is with the awesome Man at Arms people. Seriously, how cool would that be? Blizz can break up into teams again and design badass new Horde and Alliance specific weapons and have a real life version forged by Tony Swatton and his team. They've made the Buster Sword, they could probably handle Ashkandi. Ooh. Forget the competition. Just make Ashkandi. And then deliver it to my house.

Get ready to go vote for your favorite bike over on the official site.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

Official Garrison preview lays down the foundation

We've been waiting very impatiently, almost salivating really, for more details on Grrisons and how they're going to work. Well, at last, our wait is over. Blizzard has finally dropped some of that sweet, sweet structure-creating science on us.

In this post, part one of a four series, we get the basics for how Garrisons will work -- how your Garrison is part of the leveling process, how followers will work and how you can recruit them, the missions you can send them on and how that will benefit the Garrison, how we'll expand the Garrison with new building and use each zone to expand their role in the expansion.
As the story unfolds, you'll find that Garrisons are intimately integrated into every zone-whether you choose to follow the main quest path or just head off into the hills to explore, you will meet allies (and enemies) in every corner of the world. While your main fortress will always be in Shadowmoon Valley (Alliance) or Frostfire Ridge (Horde), you will establish Garrison outposts in Gorgrond, Talador, Nagrand, and Spires of Arak, all customized based on your building choices. Eventually, your forces will span the continent, and you will have an army capable of assaulting the fortified Iron Horde Foundry. Will your troops succeed? That's entirely up to you, commander.
This in particular is of interest - you apparently won't just have the one Garrison, but a linked series of fortifications throughout Draenor to serve as your means of recruiting and defending your followers for the push against the Iron Horde.

Head over to the official site for more details.

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

How to include diversity without making it your focus

Yesterday, Polygon published this editorial, which reacted to Rob Pardo (Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard) and his speech at MIT's media lab. The talk was about gameplay and fun in design vs. narrative, and in it Mr. Pardo mentioned that Blizzard is not a narrative focused company, and that they focused first and foremost on epic entertainment rather than diversity.

First up, let me say this - I agree with Rob Pardo that Blizzard should be focusing on epic entertainment experiences, and I have no difficulty with their desire to position themselves as a developer who focuses on gameplay and fun over narrative. And I think it's laudable that Rob himself seems to understand that this can sometimes backfire, as he said in the speech.

No, my objection is a purely pragmatic one -- I believe it's actually easier to be diverse in how you populate your game world than to not be, and that the lack of diversity ultimately damages that fun gameplay for a sizable chunk of your player base. To use just one example, we know that women make up almost half of people playing these games. Including characters that are women in positions of prominence (as just one example) invests women more fully in your game experience. It benefits you, because it enlists them as allies towards the ultimate goal of creating those fun, epic experiences - and the respect the article mentions? It cements that respect. If you want to have a reputation, it helps to enlist the players, to make them do the work.

Especially if your focus is on fun, rather than narrative, this is a decision that costs you nothing and reaps you rewards. The same fervor that can turn to ire and negative media attention can be made your ally - the inclusion of prominent characters that say that women (for example) are welcome and valued enlists women as participants. You can't have fun gameplay without players, and those players will do the work of promoting and proselytizing your work.

Read more →

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

Azeroth Choppers episode 6 is now available

Episode 6 of Azeroth Choppers is up, and if you've wanted to see some actual work get done on the bikes, today is your lucky day. I'll admit right now, I watch all kinds of TV shows that are about people building things, so I found today's episode to be the best one simply because the bikes are getting worked on. The Alliance bike in particular is starting to look pretty cool -- the armored gas tank and sword handlebars are definitely striking. Of course there's the usual drama of this kind of show - will it get done on time, clashes about what the direction for the build should be, etc - but again, finally we're getting a real sense of what the bikes themselves will look like.

Frankly I'm disappointed at the lack of Samwise's beard in all this, though. I think he should just be in every scene.

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

Activision-Blizzard sues over StarCraft II cheats

Activision Blizzard logo
On May 19th Blizzard filed a suit with the Central District of California over the practice of players who create cheats for multiplayer mode in StarCraft II. In particular, the suit names the "ValiantChaos MapHack" as one of, but not the only, hack being targeted by the litigation. The suit claims that the cheats undermine the nature of multiplayer gameplay and "disrupt or impair the online experience for purchasers of the computer game."

The suit targets the programmers behind the hacks, demanding compensation for the copyright infringement inherent in the cheats' modifications of the game. As noted in the BBC report, this lawsuit recalls a similar one from 1990s, wherein Nintendo unsuccessfully sued the creators of the Games Genie, also on the grounds of copyright violation. That lawsuit, however, took place in the days before widespread online multiplayer gaming environments, and it will be interesting to see how much, or how little, this case echoes that one.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, StarCraft 2

Patch 5.4.8 and the wait for Patch 6.0

With patch 5.4.8 we're seeing a new way to achieve an old goal - allow players to get further in established content while it remains the most recent content available. In essence, with this patch, we will be able to buy slightly increased ability to progress with valor points. This isn't new - it's what the item upgrade system has always been.

I've been thinking about the new item upgrades and the Deeds of Valor since they were announced. I haven't been able to play WoW as I'd like lately (health reasons) but one of the things that immediately came to mind when they announced Deeds of Valor was that this was an entirely new way to nerf raid content at the end of an expansion. Instead of a progressive buff to the players, or a progressive nerf to the bosses, we're seeing a mechanical way to spend valor points to gain the same ultimate aim. Making it possible to trade in your Timeless Coins for valor points is a good way for players who are flush from constant Timeless Isle grinding to convert them to something useful, and allowing players to upgrade items an additional 2 times (for a total of four upgrades) serves to nerf content without nerfing it. Everyone will be stronger, will hit harder, will have more mana for heals.

I have some opinions about this, of course. Others have already expressed theirs - and to be fair I accept the basic premise that these are quality of life changes that will cease to matter in patch 6.0. And I'm okay with that, because again, I see this primarily as a way to nerf Siege of Orgrimmar without actually doing so. It gives us another valor dump, of course. But with changes like Heart of the Valorous (which won't be live when 5.4.8 drops) it feels as if valor itself is being made into a progression mechanic.

Read more →

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

Faction, race, and World of Warcraft

Would it be World of Warcraft without the Horde and Alliance? Even if they don't need to be in direct conflict, do they need to be for it to be the Warcraft setting? It's certainly been argued in the past, both that the factions are absolutely necessary and that they are not. I've personally argued in the past that, whether or not the game has factions, it shouldn't prevent people from playing with their friends, but the counter argument must be considered - if I can play with my friends on the Horde side, and vice versa, what purpose do factions serve?

So let's actually ask that question, then - what purpose do factions serve in World of Warcraft?

We can break down the purpose of the faction divide as follows, at least in terms of intent.
  • Factions exist in World of Warcraft because at its heart, the setting was born in the original RTS. The factions help keep this flavor alive.
  • Factions allow for PvP content to be more channeled and to have team-building potential built right in. Horde players fight Alliance players, and vice versa. In the Warcraft setting, you always know who the enemy is.
  • Factions allow for more variety of experience. The quests differ - sometimes vastly so - and there can be elements at every point of the game that make use of the distinction between the factions.
There could be more arguments for factional divide - for instance, it's very hard to imagine a WoW where orcs and draenei were on the same faction - but let's discuss how these three work, or if they work.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events


Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

Mists of Pandaria Screenshots And Concept Art
Mists of Pandaria Screenshots of the Day
Kalimdor in Minecraft
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2012
It came from the Blog: Caroling Carnage
It came from the Blog: Hallow's End 2011
It came from the Blog: Pilgrim's Bounty 2011
Mat's Birthday Wish
WoW Tier 13 Armor Sets

 

Categories