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Filed under: BlizzCon

Flying mounts may not be allowed in Draenor until patch 6.1

Netherdrake mount
In episode 347 of The Instance podcast, which was recorded at BlizzCon in front of a big crowd, Ghostcrawler was kind enough to answer some fan questions live on the podcast. The topic of transportation in Draenor came up and he revealed that Blizzard wants to delay flying as much as possible, and has even considered delaying it until patch 6.1.

Their goal is to have Draenor feel like a very dangerous place. The comparison Ghostcrawler used was Fel Reavers in Outland, only instead of Fel Reavers there will be giant Gronn like the ones seen in the Warlords of Draenor trailer. Situations like that are much less dangerous when you can just hop on your drake and fly away.

The topic comes up at 58:30 in the podcast for those interested, but the entire episode is worth a listen.

Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: New card skins coming to Hearthstone

At BlizzCon 2013 this past weekend, the Hearthstone developers announced a new way to customize your decks: card backs, also called "card sleeves" among the TCG/CCG community. At the top of this post is one example, a Mists of Pandaria-themed card back. The specifics of how these card skins will be unlocked is still up in the air, but the current idea is that you will earn the art by playing/winning X number of matches per month.

Once you earn the card skin, you'll have it permanently. New card backs will be released on a regular basis. When creating or editing a deck, you'll be able to choose which skin you want to use for that deck. Both you and your opponent will see the skin you use during gameplay, giving the playing field a more diverse, customized appearance.

[via /r/hearthstone]

Filed under: BlizzCon, Hearthstone Insider

Warlords of Draenor: Breed battle pets in your garrison

In the player garrisons coming in Warlords of Draenor, one of the medium-size construction options is the Pet Stable. While we were all initially uncertain as to its purpose, more has since been revealed. Below is an explanation from Cory Stockton's Twitter account.

Do note that he specified current plan. The expansion has just been announced. Many things will change before any beta phase. Even more will change before launch.

Filed under: BlizzCon

Why I don't hate Warlords of Draenor's level 90 boost

BlizzCon 2013 announced Warlords of Draenor and one of its highlighted features is the ability to instantly boost one of your characters to level 90 instantly. Though it is limited to one level 90 boost per Warlords of Draenor license, there is an interesting loophole, which I discussed in a previous post on this topic. To quote myself:
If players want to boost an additional 90, there's nothing stopping them from purchasing a new World of Warcraft box, Warlords of Draenor license, and a character transfer to move additional, instant level 90s to their primary account.
In an attempt to cut out the extraneous steps involved in that loophole, the Blizzard development team is considering simply allowing players to purchase extra boosts. Some like that idea. Some hate that idea. I'm one of those that does not hate it. I'd like to take a moment to explain why.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor: The Story So Far

So by now, we're all digesting the announcement that the next expansion is Warlords of Draenor, and it involved a trip to a Draenor not destroyed by Ner'zhul and his portals, not corrupted by Gul'dan and the Burning Legion, but rather one of aggressive (some might say savage) orc warlords attempting conquest of an untainted, untamed world. All that stands in their way are the besieged and beleagured, but still defiant and intact draenei civilization - and a few heroes from another world.

That would be us.

But how did we get to this? How can Draenor be intact when we know it got blown up by Ner'zhul? Here's the overview of how we're going to go confront these Warlords on their Draenor.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: NVIDIA shows off ShadowPlay and G-Sync

While at BlizzCon, we took the time to check out the latest offerings from video card giant NVIDIA. And while a high-end graphics card can certainly improve the look and the framerate of WoW and other games, we were intrigued by a couple of new features NVIDIA was showing off: G-Sync and ShadowPlay.

G-Sync is a new way for your monitor and your video card to talk to one another -- and though they aren't on store shelves just yet, you can expect monitors from brands like Asus and Phillips to have G-Sync built-in by early 2014. What's so important that it would be worth buying a new monitor for? G-Sync addresses framrerate differences between your monitor -- which refreshes at a fixed rate -- and your video card -- which doesn't. When your video card tries to send data to your monitor more quickly -- or more slowly -- than your monitor wants, you'll see graphical stuttering or tearing. Monitors with G-Sync work with your graphics card to keep things in, well, sync for a perfect graphical experience -- whether you're running at ideal 60FPS or dropping down to 20FPS in a crowded auction house.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Updates on the level 90-100 questing experience

BlizzCon Quest Panel
Craig Amai, Lead Quest Designer, sat down with other developers on the WoW gameplay and systems panel to discuss the future of questing in Warlords of Draenor. We learned more about the level 90-100 experience as well as Blizzard's plans for max level PvE content outside of dungeons and raids.

Level 90-100 questing
  • There will be key story related quests in each zone involving major lore characters.
  • The optional quests are entirely separate, so people who only want to progress through the zone's story have fewer quests to do and can instead get more of their XP in dungeons or elsewhere.
  • There will be dynamic world events and treasures similar to the Timeless Isle while you are leveling.
  • One example of a dynamic event: You encounter an Iron Horde caravan entrenched in the snow. It's being dug out by the escorts, and if you kill them you will be able to loot the chest on the caravan.
  • All quests have a chance to grant rare or epic items as rewards.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Method vs. Midwinter live raid recap

BlizzCon Live Raid
Ion Hazzikostas, Lead Encounter Designer, and community manager Josh "Lore" Allen hosted this year's live raid where Midwinter (US Alliance) and Method (EU Horde) competed in the Siege of Orgrimmar on 25-player heroic mode. All of the raid trash was removed, and the bosses they had to fight were Sha of Pride, Kor'kron Dark Shaman, Malkorok, Siegecrafter Blackfuse, and Garrosh Hellscream.

The race started out with Midwinter killing Sha of Pride a few seconds before Method, but things took a turn for the worse on the Kor'kron Dark Shaman where Midwinter experienced 4 wipes (one of them at only 3%). Eventually, Midwinter breezed through Malkorok and Siegecrafter Blackfuse with little difficulty, but their wipes gave Method the opportunity to kill the next two bosses and get several attempts in on Garrosh before killing him on attempt 3 to win the race.

Congratulations to Method for the win!

Filed under: BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor: Everything we know about Garrisons

Garrison tier progression
During the World of Warcraft Raids, Gameplay, Questing, and More panel, Garrisons were explained in detail.

All garrisons will come with four starting buildings:
  • Town Hall: where you interact with your followers and conduct business in your garrison
  • Mine
  • Farm
  • Fishing shack
Garrisons start off with some plots into which other buildings can be placed. There are small, medium and large plots. Once all of the plots are filled, the next tier of plots will open up to be built upon up to three tiers.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Making the Burdens of Shaohao artists panel

Yesterday evening toward the end of the day at BlizzCon, this quiet panel took an in-depth look at the creation of "The Burdens of Shaohao," a six-part animation that tells the tale of Emperor Shaohao and how the mists were formed around Pandaria. The panel featured Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson, Art Director Doug Gregory, artist Laurel Austin, and cinematics editor Lucas Merino, but didn't begin until 6 o'clock, so attendance was fairly sparse. This is a shame, because the story behind the animation's creation is fascinating.

If you couldn't attend the panel, you can check out this in-depth interview our own Anne Stickney conducted back in August with Micky Neilson and Doug Gregory about the animation. The panel was fairly similar, but the addition of Laurel Austin and Lucas Merino added some extra depth and perspective that's always interesting to hear.

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Filed under: Lore, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Diablo Lore and Story Q&A

The universe of Diablo has a surprisingly rich backstory, and on the first day of BlizzCon, some of the writing team for the new Reaper of Souls expansion sat down on the panel stage to answer attendee questions. Many of the questions dealt with those little minutae and side characters of the world lore nerds (such as myself) love so much, but there were also fun and interesting insights into Reaper of Souls and future stories in the Diablo world.

Q: Could we have a failure cinematic if we die to Malthael?

It would be too expensive and time consuming, and would require dropping other features. That said, the team is considering special events if you die or fail, but can't promise or reveal anything on that front yet.

Q: While Bul'kathos appears to be the main Barbarian hero, the Immortal King set refers to someone called Worusk. Who is the true supreme Barbarian and who is Worusk?

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Filed under: Contests, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Huge changes coming to itemization

BlizzCon New Item Stats
In the gameplay and systems panel, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street just revealed some massive changes to gear itemization in Warlords of Draenor. The fabled item squish is finally coming, stats are being removed, new stats are being added, and reforging is gone. There's a lot to cover so let's get right down to it.

Enchanting, reforging, and gems
  • They feel like there is too much modification needed to be done every time you get a new piece of gear: enchants, gemming, and reforging your caps.
  • There will be fewer items which can accept enchants, but the items which can still be enchanted will have more powerful enchants and more choice.
  • Fewer gem sockets, but gems will be much more powerful. No more socket bonuses or metagems. Sockets are a bonus which can appear on gear and do not count towards item budget.
  • Reforging is gone!

Read more →

Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Open Q&A Liveblog

The "World of Warcraft: Q&A About Almost Everything" panel scheduled for 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST is set to get started momentarily. Once again, we'll be liveblogging the full panel for you!

Having liveblogged several of these panels over the years, I would make a small request of the questioners: Please don't use this as an opportunity to complain about your class. BlizzCon tickets cost money, but you can complain about your class on the forums for free!

Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Warcraft movie panel liveblog

Welcome back, folks! We'll be liveblogging the Warcraft movie panel, which is set for 4:00 pm EST/1:00 pm PST. We're pretty curious to hear about what's been done so far, because there hasn't been a lot of solid information floating around, so this promises to be an interesting panel. Join us past the cut.

Filed under: BlizzCon, Warcraft Movie

BlizzCon 2013: Ghostcrawler's infamous Systems Panel liveblog

I refuse to take responsibility for the title. Angry letters can be sent to Adam Holisky.

Unless people like it, then I'll take all the credit for running it. Such is the way of the world.

For all those of you who are new to BlizzCon, "systems" is a catch-all term for the raids, gameplay, quests, and UI likely to be covered at this panel, which begins at 2:30 pm EST/11:30 am PST.

Read more →

Filed under: BlizzCon

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