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WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Filed under: Blizzard

World of Warcraft Battle Chest now includes Mists of Pandaria

Mists is now included as a basic part of WoW. This means that, for the time being, the entire game and all expansions are available for $20.

This is great news for those that are trying to come into the game, and presents a super low barrier of entry. As the game continues to age it's important for newer players not to have to spend hundreds of dollars to purchase parts of the game that they're only going to spend a little bit of time on. Included Mists in the Battle Chest makes a ton of sense, and is a smart business and community move on the part of Blizzard.

You can find out more about the Battle Chest over on Blizzard's page.

Filed under: Blizzard

World of Warcraft patch 6.0.2 release date announced

You need wait no longer -- World of Warcraft patch 6.0.2, the pre-expansion patch for Warlords of Draenor, has been officially announced for next week. The upcoming patch features a host of systems changes - talent and abilities changes, the item squish, the removal of justice and valor points, the end of PvP Season 15, as well as a new world event involving the Iron Horde invasion and a new level 90 version of Blackrock Spire.

Head over to the official site and take a look at the announcement, and get ready for the Iron Tide to roll in.

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

Blizzard's third Garrison preview shines a spotlight on followers

So we've seen parts 1 and 2 of the Garrison Preview, and now it's time for part 3, which should feature ewoks if my memory serves me. This time, however, instead of ewoks we get followers - they fulfill many of the same functions as ewoks but they're mostly less cute. Mostly. I think Lantresor of the Blade is adorable, myself.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have Leeroy Jenkins, Milhouse Manastorm or Archmage Vargoth as your companions and friends? Well, wonder no more! It's like pet battles, only with NPC's! You can collect as many followers as you like for your garrison, but there's a limit on how many you can have active at a time - think of it as a 'too many cooks' situation. Each follower has specific abilities that make them better or worse for specific missions (some have crowd control, for example) and some followers will even be your bodyguard, accompanying you on missions and protecting you as you (and they) level up.

For more details, please check out this third preview of the Garrison feature coming in Warlords of Draenor.

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

Do we need bigger friend lists?

This is a problem I hear about, but don't actually have, because I'm not a terribly friendly person. Try not to be shocked. But I do have some friends, and a lot of those friends are very friendly people (they'd kind of have to be to be my friends, I suppose) and they often complain that they're full up on friends. I'm not sure how one can possibly manage that many friends, but nevertheless there are folks who have completely used up all one hundred potential friends and want/need more. However, it seems they may have to wait a while. Bashiok had this to say on twitter:

This is one of those issues that makes me wonder. For one thing, the battle.net friends list actually extends past World of Warcraft - it has to be coded to work with Diablo III, Starcraft II, Hearthstone and soon Heroes of the Storm. That's a lot of different games with different code, and WoW is certainly the oldest of them. I can imagine the limits of the oldest game holding back the development. Still, for the friendly souls among us, I hope it gets solved soon.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Diablo 3, StarCraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone Insider

EU Connected Realm Updates for October 3

It's been a while, but the list of EU realms slated for the Realm Connection service has been recently updated with new information and new realms in regards to upcoming dates for the service. Please note that these updates are for EU realms only. There have been no updates for US Realm Connections. Today's update is just a small one, with only one set of connections scheduled for next week -- at the moment, there are no other planned connections listed as either in the works or scheduled.

The following EU realms are scheduled for connection on Wednesday, October 8.

English Realms
  • Eonar and Vek'nilash/Blade's Edge
  • Steamwheedle Cartel and Moonglade/The Sha'tar
German Realms
  • Das Konsortium and Die Arguswacht/Die Todeskrallen/Das Syndikat/Der Abyssische Rat/Kult der Verdammten

If you're on a low-population realm, but not on the above list, keep in mind that realm connections are an ongoing process, and you may see your realm added to the list over the next several weeks. Also keep in mind that planned connections may change at any time, but Blizzard will keep us updated on changes -- realms may be added or removed from the list at any point in time. For the full list of all EU realms that have been connected so far, check the official forum thread.


Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard presents Behind the Scenes on Lords of War

If you were wondering how they came up with the idea to do the Lords of War series, Blizzard has a pretty awesome video for you to watch, up on IGN now. This behind the scenes look into the development process of the Lords of War series is interesting for what you find out you didn't get as much as for what you did. I also loved finding out that Maraad is voiced by Crispin Freeman, aka Red Arrow from Young Justice. It's very cool to get to see him explaining what he's up to in the story, and in general I liked getting to see what went into the making of this video series.

You should definitely check it out. It's up on IGN right now.

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

Have you received a gift in the mail from Blizzard?


There's been scattered reports on places like Reddit and Twitter of players getting random gifts in the mail from "The WoW Dev Team." @Skarn_ on Twitter reported getting a Flawless Aquatic Battle-Stone along with instructions on how to use it. The poster on Reddit received 4 Warforged Seals.

I've checked the mail of my max level characters and found no gifts waiting for me. There's been some speculation on what the criteria is for getting a gift. The person who received the Warforged Seals identifies themselves as a PvP player who has only used Warforged Seals a couple of times in the past. One recipient of the Battle-Stone claims they've barely done any pet battles, another says they've been active in the past but not as of late. Perhaps it's something to entice inactive players back into the game? Or try an element of the game they otherwise would have not? Or maybe it's just random.

Have you received any unexpected gifts in the mail lately?

Filed under: Blizzard

New Undelete Character feature for World of Warcraft

I have to admit, I didn't see it coming, and I probably should with the push to get players to return for Warlords of Draenor. A new automated service, useable once every 30 days, will allow you to restore a deleted character. What are the restrictions on this service? Well, for starters, level 10 and below characters are just plain gone. Same with level 55 DK's. If you barely even played it, don't try to undelete it, it's gone.
New Feature Incoming: Undelete Character
In the upcoming pre-Warlords of Draenor content patch, we're adding a new feature that allows players to undelete characters. But before you delete that character, there are a few limitations we want you to let you to know about first.
  • Characters under level 10 and Death Knights at level 55 are not eligible to be undeleted.
  • Characters between level 10 and level 29 will no longer recoverable after 90 days.
  • Characters between level 30 and 49 will no longer recoverable after 120 days.
  • All other characters level 50 and above are eligible to be undeleted at any time.
  • Please keep in mind you will only be able to use the undelete option once every 30 days.
Undeleting a character restores all of its enchantments, gems, and items fully intact. You'll be able to get back into action right away, and your character won't remember being deleted-we won't tell, either.

Shhhh. . . .

Reclaiming Your Name: What About Flugur?

We'll be holding deleted character names for a limited time, and the original creator can reclaim it for use on a new character during that time. If you create a new character with the same name as one of your deleted characters (let's say Flugur), the new character must be renamed, transferred, or deleted to complete the restoration of the original Flugur.


That last bit seems odd to me - wouldn't it be easier to just force Flugur to be renamed? Does this mean if I created a new warrior named Flugur and leveled him to 90, I'd have to fork out for a rename if I wanted my old BC era Flugur back? But otherwise it's a cool thing to have added, and I might even make use of it for that paladin I deleted back in BC. He had some weird stuff in his bags from Naxx.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Scenarios, daily quests, and events in Warlords

It's true that scenarios still exist in Warlords of Draenor, but it's also true that their existence is radically altered - no more the easy three person content you can queue for at max level for easy rewards. Now, you may be trumpeting this as a grand thing, and in some ways you may even be right, but scenarios and heroic scenarios served a purpose in Mists and I'm starting to be concerned about their removal and the change in dungeons. One of the things to keep in mind is, with the removal of valor points and the conversion of many items to costing gold, we're essentially taking out the mechanism that once served as a consolation prize when it was first introduced back in The Burning Crusade. Furthermore, by removing scenarios as content players can essentially run whenever and wherever they wish, we're winnowing down options at endgame. The Timeless Isle model for endgame content has its flaws, and converting all of Warlords to it has some potential pitfalls.

For starters, the heavy de-emphasis on daily quests combined with the lack of scenarios and the placing of heroic dungeons behind the proving ground barrier removes a solid amount of low pressure, easily accessed content. Considered separately these ideas aren't an issue, but when you put them all together you can start to see one problem - they remove choices for players, and in doing so offer no replacement. This may be by design. Some players lament that there's too much to do in Mists of Pandaria's endgame. Starved for choice is a real phenomenon, and it may be a good move to thin out those options. But it may not.

Read more →

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

Will running five player content be viable in Warlords?

I actually really enjoy five player dungeons. One of my disappointments in Mists of Pandaria was that we never got any five mans beyond the start of the expansion and that they basically became just a means to farm some valor - since no new fives were introduced, they couldn't be tuned to in any way keep up with gear from Throne of Thunder much less Siege of Orgrimmar. They became laughably easy unless you were running them as Challenge Modes, ultimately.

And this bothers me because I'm one of those people who feels like five player content never really had lived up to its promise in World of Warcraft. Especially now that raid dungeons have become so accessible, with LFR and flex making it easier than ever for almost all players to get some level of raiding if they want it, I've always felt like fives need a refocusing. Having normal and heroic difficulty fives really separate with better rewards for fives is a good start, but where Challenge Modes didn't grab me was in their completely cosmetic rewards. I always felt like CM's should offer gear on par with at least normal mode raiding - a group that decided to focus exclusively on Challenge Modes or some other form of very hard five player content should be able to progress their character not just visually, but actually as well.

Why do I feel this way? Well, I'll tell you.

Read more →

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

Blizzard cancels Titan

Well, it's official - Blizzard has stopped all work on their mystery next-gen MMO Titan. The never announced project is as dead as Starcraft Ghost. In the interview with Polygon Mike Morhaime says that Blizzard 'didn't find the fun' and that they attempted something very ambitious only for it to never really come together. Chris Metzen states that the decision to pull back was 'excruciating' -

"We were trying to do the right thing and build the right, smart product, and keep it all moving," Metzen said. "The opportunity to get that perspective and dust off a little bit, scraped knees and all, stand back up and reevaluate as a team, as leaders, as a culture - it was a big blessing."

We reported last year when Titan went back to the drawing board - seems like it may have been a victim of Blizzard's desire to really only focus on the one MMO. When asked about supporting World of Warcraft, Metzen said "My hope personally is that we'll support it forever." Alas, Titan, we never knew ye.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

How will Warlords affect low-level characters?

It's something that's fairly easy to forget in all the talk of item squishes and character boosts, but Warlords of Draenor is going to make a lot of significant changes to how it feels to play a low level character and level up. That's why forum threads like this one interest me so much, because it's important to get that low level balance right. Yes, we have the boost, we have things like heirlooms, but in the end the game has to function at low levels for people without them. If it doesn't or can't, then people who try the game on trial or who decide to start an alt after using the boost are going to end up feeling lost, and that's a feeling that leads to people not playing at all.

So I decided to roll a low level character and level him without heirlooms on the beta, just to try it out for myself. And so far, I feel like they've made pretty decent strides in balancing things out - I'm at level 7 now after a half hour and I could probably get to ten after another 20 minutes. I am, however, concerned with what Kalyeatrish says about the level 8-9 relative weak spot in leveling. If players can't get stuff done at those levels, it'll be a hard slog to get to 10. And most people who try out WoW don't get past 10 - that's a barrier to entry you don't want to imbalance when you make game changes.

Hopefully it's something Blizzard keeps watching, and I hope everyone in the beta manages to find time to roll a character and test it out at low levels - it may seem like a waste of time, but it's actually incredibly important for the game long term.

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

New Warcraft wallpaper, costumes, art and comic updates

Blizzard has put together another giant pile of updates to many of the fan content galleries on the official site this week. Included with this round of updates is a new wallpaper featuring Chen Stormstout, along with a new fan comic. But the highlight of the gallery updates this time around has to be the costume section, featuring a ton of the costumes and cosplay from Gamescom 2014. The attention to detail with all of that armor continually impresses me, and this round of updates features a ton of trolls!

I think what excited me the most, however, was the fact that we got a couple of new concept art pieces -- and this time, it's Warlords of Draenor art! Don't get me wrong, I love seeing the Mists of Pandaria concept art, but Draenor is so visually unique on the beta servers that I pretty much figured the concept art for the expansion had to be some amazing stuff. While we only got a couple of pieces this time around, I'm hoping we'll see more added as the weeks go on. Check out Blizzard's official post for links to all of the new additions.


Filed under: Blizzard, Arts and Crafts

Warlords of Draenor: Blizzard releases all in-game cinematics

If you've been playing in the beta one of the things you've noticed is that there's a host of in-game cinematics that haven't actually been there yet. If you're wondering what they are, wonder no more - Blizzard just released a whole host of them on the official site. They're all excellent - one of them actually made this old draenei tear up a bit - but don't watch those and then complain that you were spoiled for the next expansion because that's all there is here - nothing but 100% spoilers for what's going to be happening in Warlords of Draenor.

So, if you want to avoid that, don't go to that link and absolutely don't watch any of those videos. But if you do want that, here you go. It's really some amazing work on the part of Terran Gregory and the entire Blizzard in-game cinematics division.

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

Lords of War focuses on Kilrogg Deadeye

In case you were wondering, Kilrogg Deadeye absolutely is possibly the most ruthless Warlord we've seen yet in these animated shorts. Without spoiling the above video (go ahead and watch it) it's got interesting bits in it - the arakkoa make an appearance, we get to see Kilrogg's father, and the actual ritual where the infamous Deadeye earns his name is shown. It's a fascinating glimpse into the culture of the Bleeding Hollow clan and Kilrogg's role in it.

I think this might be my favorite of the four videos so far. It's plausible that Maraad might know this - there's no reason it should be unchanged between his Draenor and the one we're going to explore. But moreover, and suitably, it's the darkest of the four to date, which Kilrogg making a very difficult decision that costs him quite dearly... and more than an eye.

I also like the rumination on the Alliance's faith in the Light at the opening. Varian's 'So I'm told' was a nice beat. Check out the video now.

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

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