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Filed under: News items

Log in before September 30 to claim your Horde chopper

The Azeroth Choppers webseries ended as most expected. In a battle of faction pride, the Horde is going to come out on top every time. Of course, it probably didn't help that the Alliance bike looked like some kind of gross beetle, but that discussion is probably best left in the past. As the winners, the Horde will receive their faction-themed bike come Warlords of Draenor. However, a stipulation was announced last night: to flag your account to receive the mount, you must log into the game between now and September 30, 2014.

For the sake of clarity: you can claim your mount right now (and need to do so before September 30) but you won't receive it until Warlords of Draenor's launch.

Filed under: News items

Blizzard unveils new products at San Diego Comic-Con

Blizzard revealed a fresh suite of swag at San Diego Comic-Con this week. Their new offerings include a pin program, hoodies featuring artwork from Carbot, new plushies, new figurines, and more. It appears Blizzard's licensing trend is to make everything freaking adorable. I, for one, am perfectly okay with that.

You can see some of their new products on their Battle.net panel recap or in our gallery of pictures from the show floor below.

Filed under: News items

Beta raid testing rescheduled to Monday

According to Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, the Warlords of Draenor beta raid test that was planned for today, has been rescheduled for Monday.
Raid Testing Schedule - July 25 (CANCELED)
So, sometimes things literally catch fire.

We were hoping we could get the servers up in time for the scheduled raid test, but that's looking unlikely. Servers should be up today, but I'd rather not speculate while everyone is waiting on the off-chance that testing will happen.

I'll post a new schedule for Monday testing, in a short while.


It's really unfortunate that the raid test had to be delayed - I was hoping to get a look at some of the new mechanics, get a feel for how raiding is going to work in Warlords, but I'll admit to understanding the motivation for postponing it. It's not likely that the servers will be as stable as one would hope, and sitting around waiting for them to be up doesn't make for a good, focused group to really test the content.

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

Latest Warlords beta build opens new zones, increases level cap

The beta forums are abuzz with discussion of an upcoming beta build -- the servers are down for maintenance this afternoon. Two new zones, Nagrand and Spires of Arak, will be open for testing, and the level cap is increasing to 100. The leveling portion of the beta is moving along at a steady clip now. Though there are still many major bugs with fixes in progress, nearly every leveling zone will now be open for testing.

In addition, the new beta build will be renaming beta realms for clarity. They will lose their unique names, and instead be given names that are simple descriptors.
  • Lost Isles (PvE) is being renamed to Beta Leveling Realm 01
  • Gilneas (PvP) is being renamed to Beta Leveling Realm 02
  • Mekkatorque (PvP) is being renamed to Level 100 PvP
While these clear descriptions are far more useful than their old names, I'll miss having the ability to personify Lost Isles. Cursing its name aloud each time it crashed was cathartic. Screaming Beta Leveling Realm 01 to the heavens doesn't quite have the same effect.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

New female tauren model

Female Tauren
The latest artcraft post has been released on the WoW official website, and it previews nothing less than the new female tauren model. This model update in particular has been highly anticipated, because the old female tauren models are...well, they're not all that expressive, are they? Fortunately, their blank bovine stares are all set to be a thing of the past. The new models take full advantage of newer texture-rendering capabilities, featuring gorgeous detail in the fur, a full range of facial expressions, and far more natural-looking hair. In addition, their hands have also been scaled-down, as Senior Art Director Chris Robinson notes that female tauren hands were particularly huge, even by WoW standards.

Head on over to the official site for the full preview, it's well worth your time.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warcraft movie logo, props revealed

It's that time of year again - the San Diego Comic Con is in full swing, and with it, news about the upcoming Warcraft movie directed by Duncan Jones. While we still have to wait for Legendary's panel on Saturday for any really juicy details, we do now have the logo for the movie (seen above) and pictures of the Doomhammer and a Stormwind-themed sword and shield set.

I admit, I'm not much for movies adapting game properties, but that's one heck of a Doomhammer, and the Stormwind sword/shield set - I'd like those in game. Considering Travis Fimmel's in this thing and we know Ben Foster is playing Medivh in it, I'm hopeful we'll get to see Anduin Lothar up in this.

Thanks to Craig Everson for the tip

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

Iron Skyreaver 40% off this week

The Iron Skyreaver mount, first released back in January, is 40% off this week. If you're willing to spend $15.00 USD, you can get a taste of Iron Horde aesthetics in advance of Warlords of Draenor. Go ahead -- we won't judge you.

Filed under: News items

Heroes of the Storm: New hero announced

Today a new hero option was announced for Blizzard's MOBA Heroes of the Storm: Rehgar Earthfury. I'm not surprised that Blizzard is giving us a shaman hero--after all, shaman are an iconic group in WoW lore and gameplay--but I am surprised that they've chosen Reghar as the shaman's representative. Compared to more well-known shaman in WoW such as Thrall, Rehgar tends to fly under the radar. He does, however, have his own history and tale to tell. Rehgar is one of the older generation of orcs and was born on Draenor. When Thrall came to power he eventually served as one of his advisors but before that Rehgar was a slave master who owned a particularly infamous gladiator: Varian Wrynn.

Rehgar is a support character who posseses an ability set that goes along with his shaman class: he can turn into a spirit wolf, drop totems, and call upon the elements to aid him in battle. He seems to use a fist weapon for his basic physical attack, and I'm certain he'll have a range of fun shaman specialist attacks to go along with that. Frost Shock had better be on the cards! I'll also be interested to see what additional skins he gets--maybe a Thrall makeover, complete with epic braids?

The announcement of Reghar as a hero makes me very sad that Varian isn't a playable hero option. If you've been playing the alpha or watching streams, you may have noticed that heroes with lore connections in their respective franchises often have more personalized banter when they interact on the battlefield. I would love to see what Rehgar and Varian have to say to each other, but it doesn't seem to be on the cards just yet. Here's hoping for the future!

Filed under: News items, Heroes of the Storm

World of Warcraft earns over $1 billion a year

According to statistics from SuperData Research, World of Warcraft still dominates the MMO market with 36% market share. The game raked in just over a billion dollars in revenue in 2013, putting it well ahead of its nearest competition -- $253 million for NCSoft's 1998 title Lineage. The ranking of top subscription titles suggests that MMOs need staying power -- WoW is nearly 10 years old and Lineage is 16 -- and a strong Asian presence -- the top 3 are all big titles in Asia -- to sustain them over the long haul.

However, even though WoW continues to pull in strong subscription numbers, the industry has seen the subscription model declining sharply while microtransaction revenue has been on an upswing. With both a healthy subscriber base and its own microtransaction strategy, WoW seems prepared to succeed no matter which direction the industry goes. However, the overall subscription trend begs the question: will we ever see a free-to-play version of WoW? Blizzard has said no, and with subscription stats like this we can see why.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor: Beasts of a savage land

Beasts of the savage lands
Zone previews have become an expected and anticipated facet of the news surrounding Warlords of Draenor, and now mob previews are being added to that mix. The first of them highlights some fearsome new creatures--some familiar, some not--that are to be found in Shadowmoon Valley. The hulking, rocky-skinned Riverbeasts are reminiscent of hippopotamuses, with their square snouts, pillar-like feet, and bad attitude. Podlings are creepy-cute evil flowers that will forever haunt my nightmares, and of course, the elekk should be familiar to anyone who's ever played a draenei--though these new models are definitely a step up in intimidation. Draenor ancients are tree-based forest guardians, the draenic equivalents of the treants we all know and love.

I love this little sneak peak into the roaming creatures of Shadowmoon Valley. The zone previews have been some of my favorite promotional items for Warlords of Draenor, because they give you just enough information to let your imagination fill in the gaps. This mini-beastiary adds a few more set pieces to the landscape of Draenor, and I hope that some versions of these mobs are rare spawns that drop loot or at least bragging rights for the intrepid players who bring them down. I'm also hanging on every word about the draenei rangari, because so far we know relatively little about them but they sound like the most fascinating sect of the draenei by far. Check out some of the beasts of Shadowmoon Valley, and I'm certain we will see more from other zones in the future, as well.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New Hallow's End rewards in next beta build

Although we don't know if the holiday itself will be getting a facelift in Warlords of Draenor, it looks like fans of Hallow's End will be getting some new toys to play with in the next expansion. Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel posted on Twitter this week with a question for players: If they could dress up like one major lore figure for Hallow's End, who would they choose? A later tweet suggested he had found whatever answer he was looking for.


In-game holidays have long been a source of fun and sometimes frustration for players. Certainly the events are an entertaining diversion, but when you've seen the same event roll around year after year with no changes or updates, it tends to make the seasons seem a little monotonous. A new costume wand reward might not be the full revamp players have been hoping for, but at least it signifies that in-game holidays are still very much on the minds of the development team.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

US Connected Realms update for July 18

The list of US realms slated for the Realm Connection service has been updated with new dates and new planned connections. If you are on a realm that is scheduled to be connected, be aware that Realm Connections take place on Thursdays rather than during Tuesday maintenance. Scheduled realms are brought down at approximately 5am PDT, and back up at approximately 1pm PDT. And just in case you're wondering what exactly this Realm Connection process will do for you, the player, Blizzard has a handy blog on the subject that explains things in detail.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, July 24.
  • Deathwing and Executus, Kalecgos, and Shattered Halls
  • Gilneas and Elune

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor: Mysterious portal appears in Stormwind

The latest beta build for Warlords of Draenor brought with it an odd anomaly with no explanation as of yet. A mysterious portal has appeared behind the mage tower in Stormwind City, one that bears a striking resemblance to every Emerald Dream portal we've ever seen present in game. At this time, there are no NPCs or anything present to indicate exactly what's up with the portal, however there is no Orgrimmar counterpart -- this is unique to Stormwind.

There's a few possibilities here. The most obvious is that this is somehow related to the Stormwind repairs mentioned last month on Twitter by Cory Stockton. After all, if you're going to fix a park, druid intervention sounds like a good plan, right? The other option is that this is somehow related to Draenor -- and those wild vines have the look of some of the savage greenery found on Draenor, while the tents have the same purple color as used by some of the orc clans. This seems sort of unlikely at this point, largely because there is no Orgrimmar counterpart.

While we don't know what exactly the portal is for, it's still cool to see additions and changes being made to Azeroth right alongside all the gorgeous new vistas and scenery we're checking out on Draenor. We'll have to wait and see what kind of NPC's pop up around the portal, or how exactly it's implemented as more beta builds are released. But for now, those hoping that this might be some sign of a future full-out Emerald Dream expansion -- I wouldn't hold your breath.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New arakkoa models

Last night's beta build included new models for Draenor's arakkoa. I, for one, was rather surprised by their new look. The arakkoa we know from Outland were broad, hunch-backed creatures incapable of flight. Draenor's arakkoa maintain their form from before an apparent fall from grace -- they're tall, thin, and maintain their wings. While their Outland counterpart looked like creepy little warlocks, the Draenor arakkoa resemble harpies that have slid a few notches further down the bestial spectrum.

Interestingly, the new arakkoa models include both male and female versions. The female version can be seen in the video above, and many variants of the male model can be seen on MMO-Champion. Blizzard rarely models both genders for NPC races, unless that race is distinctly humanesque -- the vrykul, for example.

While I miss the creepy little arakkoa from Outland, their Draenor forms are pretty cool, too.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Ashran preview

The zone preview train keeps chugging along. First we had Talador, Gorgrond followed, and now we're given a look at Ashran.

Built upon the remnants of an ogre civilization, Ashran looks deceptively like a nice enough island just off the coast of Tanaan Jungle. And it probably would be a lovely place to visit if not for the never-ending tug-of-war between the Horde and Alliance taking place in the central region of the zone. Then again, this might just be just your kind of excursion.

In Ashran, the Horde and the Alliance continue their long tradition of ruining everything they touch. Though home to the new faction hubs, Ashran is primarily a PVP zone with "world PVP" in mind -- though it maintains the essential elements of a battleground. Objectives are based around a tug-of-war, though it involves pushing rather than pulling. Each faction pushes down a lane toward the opposing faction's base, capturing points along the way. A powerful Ogre King awaits players at the central hub, aiding whichever faction can prove their might. A faction with dwindling resources will spawn NPC captains to aid them, some of which are named for known PVP personalities in the community.

Beyond the battleground elements, Ashran also has several other points of interest that will aid their faction's efforts and provide currently unspecified rewards. The zone preview also explains there are numerous personal goals littered throughout the island, encouraging players to venture out and find them -- luring more players into potential PVP conflict.

Head over to Battle.net for the full details.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

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