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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013 Guide

Listed below is all of the live blogs, interviews, news posts, and galleries from the two days of BlizzCon 2013 -- that's over 20,000 words and thousands of pictures. As new things come in we'll update this guide.

Expect lots more about Warlords of Draenor in the coming weeks and months!

Live Blogs Warlords of Draenor News Other News and Views Galleries

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Filed under: BlizzCon

Conan O'Brien takes over Arena casting at BlizzCon

We're all used to some serious names taking the commentator's seat for the Arena Global Invitational at BlizzCon, but this year a first-round series between Skill-Capped and Flash Wolves got a special treat from the world's best gamer, Conan O'Brien. Conan took his Clueless Games segment to BlizzCon and joined Adam "Hoodrych" Brown and Jared "VHell" Coulston to lend some gravitas and real gaming knowledge to the commentary.

The full 25-minute version you see above will no doubt be condensed down into something far shorter for the show itself, as on watching it I certainly found the whole thing rather stilted and awkward, but there are some funny moments tucked away in there which will no doubt make for great TV. It's also possible that I'm just not used to Conan's comedy style. But I certainly cracked a smile at certain points, especially where he was grabbing the more knowledgeable casters' tidbits on, for example, gateway usage, and accidentally saying just the right thing! Oh and paladin healers? Conan says to make sure you use your potions.

Filed under: PvP, BlizzCon, Worldwide Invitational

The Queue: Doomed Planet. Last Son.

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi is all sorts of nerding out right now.

So I got the Man of Steel box set cause my wife is awesome and I've been watching and rewatching it. I know a lot of people hated it, and I even understand why some of them did, but for me there was a lot I really liked. I though Cavill did an excellent job as a young, inexperienced Clark trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to be, and the Krypton in the movie is fantastic in my opinion - it comes the closest to capturing the strange alien beasts and geography the planet developed in its ever expanding mythology. And the fight scenes are amazing. Okay, so Metropolis should be a crater, and that does still bug me - how the heck did they rebuild the Daily Planet that fast? Then again, the end of Avengers is pretty freaking bad in terms of destroyed buildings in the middle of the day in New York City, so I guess we just ignore that kind of thing now.

I still love the "You think SMASH you can threaten SMASH my mother SMASH SMASH!" sequence.

Anyway, onto The Queue.

Jasonfelliot asks:

Will an insta-90 have appropriate-level professions? If it's done the DK way, it will be very unfriendly to the "new players" who want to play with their friends.

"Here's your new 90, now go spend hours grinding your professions in low level zones you've never experienced so you can keep up with your friends."

Having just leveled a character to 89 (she'll make 90 today or tomorrow, depending on my time to do so) I can say that the improvements they made in Pandaria allowing you to skill up gathering professions on Pandaria nodes need to be moved to Draenor, and I expect they will be. It was also mentioned at BlizzCon that they want to move catch up mechanics like they did for cooking out to other professions as well. So I expect that they're aware of this issue, and will have something in place to deal with it. I don't have specifics for you though.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, BlizzCon, The Queue

Mythic Raiding: Why 20-man?

Mythic Raiding
Mythic raiding in Warlords of Draenor won't be the first time we've seen this particular raid size. Both vanilla Zul'Gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj were 20-man raids. It also won't be the first time guilds were fractured by raid size changes, such as the vanilla to BC transition. Heroic raiders in both 10-man and 25-man guilds are wondering why neither of them was chosen to be the official raid size going forward. Why do both raid sizes need to have their teams disrupted?

Community Manager Lore chimed in on the forums to explain why Blizzard chose 20 as the magic number. Essentially, the problem with the 10-man raid size is they can't reasonably guarantee you will have a specific class to handle a unique mechanic. This isn't a problem in 25-man, but when you are trying to make both raid sizes equal in difficulty you cannot design mechanics which only work in 25-man.

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Filed under: Raiding, BlizzCon

Blizzcon 2013: Classic Warcraft games may be coming to a PC near you

Q & A question
During Saturday's BlizzCon panel "World of Warcraft Q & A About Almost Everything" an astute goblin-lady cosplayer posed the panelists a question: considering that the upcoming expansion is all about the past, would Blizzard ever consider re-releasing the old Warcraft RTS games for modern computer systems?

The answer, surprisingly, is yes! Production Director J. Allen Brack revealed that there does exist a small team of people at Blizzard who are working on making just that very thing a reality. Folks at Blizzard are, rightfully, proud of the accomplishments of those games and fans of those older games themselves, and they would love to see them given new life. Personally I think it would be great to have the option to replay those games on a newer system -- I can't help but think of how much I'e enjoyed redone versions of The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge on Steam. While it might end up being more work than Blizzard has time for, it would be fantastic to see their earlier titles get a similar treatment. What about you? Would you like to see the original Warcraft RTS games on your modern PCs?

Filed under: News items, BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor interview with Senior Game Producer Ray Cobo

Warlords of Draenor interview with Ray Cobo
Over the hectic BlizzCon weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down with World of Warcraft Senior Game Producer Ray Cobo. Ray oversees various aspects of game design, with a specific focus on the art and design elements of WoW.

WoW Insider: So, the character models we've seen so far look amazing, the dwarves, gnomes, the orcs and draenei, what else are we expecting to see at the launch of the expansion?

Ray Cobo: Well, we're also going to have gnomes, we're also going to have undead, I think we're working on everything we can up to launch. Our hope is to be able to get them all out at the same time, and that includes trolls, that includes draenei. But it comes down to, you know, we only have so many hands in the fire, so we will just have to see what we can do.

So are you able to say anything about the ones that are furthest from completion? The ones that we're least likely to see at launch?

Well, of course the ones that we've seen at the con are the ones that are furthest along, we feel they're kind of representative of the kind of direction we want to go there, and we feel really good about them as a set.

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Filed under: Interviews, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: World of Warcraft Adventure Continues Q&A

The World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues panel during Friday's action-packed BlizzCon featured Lead Narrative Designer Dave Kosak giving a short presentation on the story behind the new expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Along with the history lesson, which was summed up by Matthew Rossi, the panel also featured a brief Q&A session that wasn't advertised in the program, but proved to be a pretty good list of questions and answers about the new expansion and what we can expect to see.

Along with some clarifications on whether or not this is a time travel expansion (it isn't), there are also a few new lore reveals regarding the next expansion, and some tasty tidbits of odds and ends that have yet to be addressed. Read on for the full list of questions -- some of the answers may surprise you.

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Filed under: Lore, BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor: 5 cool things you may have missed at BlizzCon 2013

Warlords of Draenor trailer
There has been so much news over the past few days that it can be difficult to keep up. I'm still finding little bits of information here or there that I managed to miss amidst the onslaught. Here are a few interesting things that may have slipped under your radar.

1. The in-game group finder is being expanded

No, I'm not talking about random matchmaking with the dungeon finder. I am talking about Blizzard's answer to the oQueue addon. According to Ghostcrawler in the gameplay and systems panel, they recognize this is a feature players really want, so they've decided to add it to to the base game. You'll be able to create and browse for groups of all types and sizes. Want to PUG a cross-realm RBG team? No problem. Want to set up a group to do an achievement run in Icecrown Citadel? You can do that. Maybe your guild raid group is short a healer and you're looking for another? This is all possible since normal mode raids (soon to be heroic mode) will work cross-realm out of the gate.

Blizzard would prefer if you pugged and made new friends rather than use random matchmaking, so they've added a new mechanic called "stacking the deck" which will earn you bonus valor for every member of your group who isn't added via random matchmaking. Random matchmaking via dungeon finder and raid finder will still exist, of course.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Reaper of Souls Hands-on gameplay impressions

The Crusader battles a giant beast in the streets of Westmarch.
At BlizzCon 2013, I was lucky enough to sit down at one of Blizzard's demo machines and play through the first part of the new Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls expansion as the new class, the Crusader. This article will have some spoilers for the new content, so if you're trying to avoid that, beware.


The demo character was a male Crusader, set at level 33. He came with a few powers preset, which I used for the demo. For the left mouse button, a single target Slash attack struck the enemy with holy power. For the right button, Fist of the Heavens sent a huge beam of Holy Energy from the heavens around the Crusader, followed up by electric bolts that split off and attacked any enemies still standing. This right click, of course, cost Wrath, which is the Crusader's resource and regenerates like a combination of a rogue's energy and a death knight's runic power from WoW.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Diablo 3

Breakfast Topic: Do we need to re-customize our characters with the new models?

New character models
There have been some concerns from a few players about their character changing to the point where they will no longer recognize them. In short, they would like to have the option of a free re-customization with the new models so they can make sure their character's personality remains intact. In a BlizzCon interview, Tom Chilton mentioned that there are currently no plans to do this because it's their goal to make the models as true to the spirit of the originals as possible.

Again I think it's just way too early to make a determination, and Tom certainly didn't give a definite answer. Our artists are going to extreme lengths to ensure the new models and animations embody (kyuck knyuck?) what you know and love about your characters. Our hope (and Tom's point) is that you log in, go AWESOME, and enjoy playing your character that still looks and moves and acts like your character - just at a much higher fidelity. If it comes down to it and we just totally miss the mark I'm sure we'd at least seriously consider offering a chance to pick something else. But again, too early to say for sure.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013 Impressions: CCed in the BlizzCon experience

The woman who approached our lunch table seemed friendly but slightly uncomfortable. "Excuse me, but do you work for Blizzard?" she asked with a tentative smile. Her brother, she went on to explain, had once known somebody who supposedly went on to the work there, but she didn't know the first thing about the game and had no idea if that was true or what he did there. We exchanged a quick glance -– incoming story about someone who once tested a Blizzard game, am I right? -– and continued to munch on our salads while nodding and making polite noises.

"So what's your friend's name?" inquired the ever-personable Michael Gray. "Chris Metzen," she replied almost apologetically. "Is he ... somebody?"

Our friendly local storyteller (who preferred to remain anonymous –- but my report here on the BlizzCon experience wouldn't be complete if I didn't share her story with you) went on to share a tale of growing up across the street from the Metzen family here in Southern California, where her brother played T-ball with the pint-sized future rock star of Blizzard. The thing she remembered most about "little Chris," as she called him, was the game in which he executed his task as catcher so enthusiastically that he found himself caught in the netting behind the plate -– CCed so completely, in fact, that the team's parents had to come cut him out with scissors.

Everybody all together now: Awwww ... (/grin)

All these years later, we find ourselves happily CCed in the net cast by Little Chris himself, the World of Warcraft of his imagination. And back at BlizzCon, our lunchtime encounter with a friendly SoCal native encapsulates the spirit of the BlizzCon weekend -- people brought together by Blizzard's games. You won't find any reveals about the expansion in this BlizzCon roundup, but if you're interested in some of the faces and places seen around the convention all weekend, read on!

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Filed under: BlizzCon

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: All we know so far from BlizzCon

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Let's go over some things we learned this weekend that will have an effect on us as warriors (as always, keep in mind this is all subject to change):
  • We learned that there will be new level 100 talents (which we'll go over)
  • Hit and expertise are gone, baby. In their place are will be new stats like movement speed and Cleave, which will act like the Siege of Orgrimmar trinkets we've seen that allow either damage or healing to chain to other nearby targets.
  • Also gone? Dodge and parry as stats on gear. We will still be dodging and parrying, but not via gear itemization. Also also gone? Reforging. A lot of gear changes, in total.
  • There will also be changes to armor itemization to make it easier to share gear between classes and specs. Plate will switch primary stat based on your spec, so all plate with be strength plate unless you're a holy pally (which you aren't) whereupon it will switch to int plate. Plate is plate now.
  • You will be able to choose one character and boost it to level 90, be it a new fresh level 1 you roll as soon as you get Warlords of Draenor or an old alt you left by the wayside. Did you stop playing in Wrath? Your level 80 can skip those 10 levels. Since we know a lot of people have rerolled other classes, this could be useful to get some warriors back in the saddle.
I don't pretend that this is all we'll end up finding out, but it's enough to start talking about.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors

Blizzcon 2013: Diablo III Reaper of Souls class and systems panel

On the second day of BlizzCon 2013, the Diablo 3 team hosted a gameplay systems panel in which they covered some of the new systems coming to the Reaper of Souls expansion, including not only the Crusader class, but information on changes for the existing classes and some of the new itemization tweaks we can expect to see in Loot 2.0.

Crusading for a new class

The first section of the panel introduced the new class, the Crusader. Designing a new class is one of the most complex tasks in an RPG, but it starts with a simple concept. In this case, the team wanted a righteous paladin type, which would work as a good answer to Malthael, the angel of death and main villain of Reaper of Souls. The idea came together of having a dark paladin, full of righteous wrath, a "knight in battle-scarred armor" to stand for humanity in its darkest hour. This lead to concept art. They knew they wanted the Crusader to be bulky and blocky, but it took many weeks of reiterations before they settled on the look of today, with the shield, the flail, and the tabard.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Diablo 3

BlizzCon 2013: Ranked play changes coming to Hearthstone

In all of the Warlords of Draenor madness at BlizzCon 2013, Hearthstone news fell just a little off of our radar. Now that we've had time to get most of the Warcraft news out there, however, it's about time we give Hearthstone a little love. The Hearthstone developers have announced that a new ranked play system is in the works.

The new system has a total of 25 ranks, each represented by a Hearthstone minion, the lowest being Angry Chicken. As you win matches, you'll progress through the ranks -- and unlike in the current version of the game, it will be possible to lose rank if you lose too many matches. If you win many games in a row, you will rank up faster than you normally would. At the highest rank, known as Legend, you'll be able to see what your rank within that rank is in comparison to others at that level. While you might be at the highest rank the game provides, you can still compete to become the best of the best.

There are additional rewards coming sometime after the release of the new ranked system. Earlier today we mentioned the card skins, cosmetic customization options for your deck. Further, the developers are also adding "gold" version of heroes -- after 500 wins in ranked play with a hero, you'll unlock an animated version of that hero, adding prestige to your deck of choice.

Filed under: BlizzCon, Hearthstone Insider

The Queue: A rising tide of blood and iron that will wash over this world... and all others!

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi is already getting his 'Maraad and Yirel kick everyone's asses' fan script written.

Tell me you don't hear Grom belting that out (I am absolutely convinced the cinematic is in Grom's voice) and immediately get pumped up. I get pumped up, and my sympathies are entirely with the draenei. Man, this expansion, it's the Robert E. Howard expansion, guys. Remember how apathetic I was about the farm in Mists? Well, I am totally excited about the garrison concept. It's so ancient D&D to me, I can't even tell you.

When Grom says "Our bond is iron, our will unbreakable... who will stand against us?" it's all I can do not to yell We will in a ridiculously over-excited yawp. I am completely marking out for this expansion, and I don't even care. Let's go to Draenor. I'll drive. Yes, the draenei is driving. No, I'm not going to crash anything. Even if I do, shut up. Onward to Karabor.

Guys, I am seriously on the edge of writing draenei fanfic here. You don't know. Let's answer some Queue questions before I start writing a ten part Maraad story.

grayknights asks:
Reforging: is getting rid of it while also getting rid of hit/expertise overkill?

Not having stats with hard caps that need to be reworked everytime you get something new seems like it would allow Reforging to operate closer to its original intent.

To be honest, when I first hear that reforging was gone, I was a trifle upset. I like reforging. I like dumping all that haste into crit for my fury set. My hope is, they take this opportunity to improve how stats work so that every stat is at least somewhat valuable to as many as possible. With dodge, parry, hit and expertise all gone and reforging gone, we're basically going to be playing the stats Jenga game the way we played it back before Cataclysm, and I remember back in Wrath just flat out not using certain gear because it had the stats you didn't want. If they can improve how stats interact, then hopefully we won't need to reforge. I've decided to be optimistic for now.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, BlizzCon, The Queue

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