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Filed under: News items

Connected Realms updates for US realms

It's another round of updates for the process of connecting up our realms.

Today, Thursday, August 21st we should be seeing the following realms connected. The process should have already begun (5:00 AM PDT) and will hopefully conclude by 1:00 PM PDT, allowing anyone playing on these realms back in at that time. This is of course subject to change based on circumstances. The realms connecting today are:
  • Lightninghoof and Maelstrom, The Venture Co
  • Shattered Hand and Coilfang, Dark Iron, Dalvengyr, and Demon Soul
  • Sisters of Elune and Cenarion Circle
So if you play on these realms, you should have more folks to play with soon. Yay!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor Beta: New Login Screen

With the newest patch to the Beta servers we're one step closer to what Warlords of Draenor will look like at release with this new login screen. As you can see, it hearkens back to the days of classic with the return of the Dark Portal, but changes it up with the signature red portal used by the Iron Horde to invade Azeroth and threaten both the Alliance and Horde with destruction.

I like it. It's retro, but it also changes it up enough with the images of what's going on behind it and that red glow seething, it's very interesting. I really enjoy that, when I first come back to the login screen after clicking the cinematics button, the portal is dormant, and then bursts into red light again. It's a very neat effect. What are your thoughts?

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

Robin Williams NPC appears in Warlords of Draenor

Robin Williams was a known gamer and his daughter's namesake is no secret -- Zelda Williams is named for none other than Princess Zelda. He was also a World of Warcraft player. Shortly after his death, Blizzard developers Chadd "Celestalon" Nervigg and Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas responded to a player petition to honor the actor and comedian in-game. The latest Warlords of Draenor beta build includes Blizzard's tribute in the form of Robin the Entertainer.

Currently, Wowhead has datamined three versions of Robin the Entertainer including a djinn, a human female, and a human male -- nods to Genie of Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and possibly Mork. The NPCs have yet to be seen in-game, so the nature of these NPCs is currently unknown; they might be found in three different locations, or it could be a single representation of Robin Williams rotating through some of his most beloved roles. It's been theorized that he'll be a replacement for The Burning Crusade's Perry Gatner, a character that performed standup comedy in Shattrath's World's End Tavern.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords Collector's Edition Hearthstone card back revealed

Among the oodles of goodies included in the Warlords of Draenor Collector's Edition is a new Hearthstone card back. The artwork has been revealed, which can be seen above or over on the @PlayHearthstone Twitter account. The art has an Iron Horde theme, exemplified in random spikes and furnaces. The Warcraft Twitter account confirms that this card back is also included in the Digital Deluxe version of the expansion.

Filed under: News items, Hearthstone Insider, Warlords of Draenor

WoW subscription price increases in UK

Recently it's been announced that the price for a WoW subscription has increased for those paying in pounds (namely, residents of the United Kingdom). These prices are adjusted for all levels - recurring subscriptions will be £9.99 for 30 days, £28.17 for 90 days, and £52.14 for 180 days. In addition, the price of the 60-day prepaid time card will be £20.99.

Now, if you're currently a subscriber to World of Warcraft in the UK, there is a way around this - namely, stay subscribed.

Taepsilum - Secure your current recurring subscription price for two years
As a thank you for current World of Warcraft subscribers, we guarantee that players with recurring (auto-renewing) subscriptions at the time of the price change will retain their current price for two years, as long as they remain in the same recurring subscription without interruption. This applies to anyone who is already in, or signs up for, a recurring subscription prior to the price change, which is scheduled to take place at the Warlords of Draenor release. We will reach out to relevant players approximately two months prior to the price change with a reminder.


I get why players are upset about this, especially since it means that if you decide to do what a lot of us do and drop your sub for a few months when there's no content, you'll be resubbing at the higher rate. I would find that a bummer, personally.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard offering Mists of Pandaria free to lapsed subscribers

An email offer from Blizzard Entertainment is granting long-lapsed accounts Mists of Pandaria free of charge if they resubscribe. The email states:

The Iron Horde is coming and to help prepare you for the invasion, we've given your account, [account name], a FREE digital copy of Mists of Pandaria®. When you reactivate your WoW subscription, you'll be able to battle to level 90 and get ready for the launch of Warlords of Draenor™ on 11.13.14.

The email goes on to encourage preorders of Warlords of Draenor.

It's currently unknown whether all lapsed accounts are receiving this offer or not, but we've seen multiple reports of it over the weekend -- and I've received one myself for a secondary account I haven't played in a few years. Even if you haven't received this email but are considering a comeback, it may be worth checking your account page. Your lapsed account may have already been upgraded for you.

This coincides with a general price reduction for Mists of Pandaria. The expansion is now listed at $9.99 on the Blizzard store.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Warlords of Draenor: Recruit death knight Abu'gar for your garrison

Sometimes, death knights aren't all about death, destruction, and cold. Sometimes they really just want to kick back and reflect on what's important in the world -- fishing. Well, at least one death knight would rather be fishing, and his name is Abu'gar. Abu'gar was never exactly thrilled with the idea of serving the Lich King, he just wanted to spend his undeath relaxing by the side of a warm lake. You can find Abu'gar out in a lovely secluded glade in Nagrand, contemplating the water, the scenery, and the fishing conditions, all of which seem to be pretty idyllic as far as the death knight is concerned.

But unfortunately, he's missing a few key items to take advantage of the awesome fishing spot he just found -- and that's where you come in. Scattered around the zone are the various tools Abu'gar needs to get a fantastic day of fishing in under the warm skies of Nagrand. Apparently Abu'gar is the forgetful sort, or simply neglects to pick up his things when he's moving on.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard considering Robin Williams tribute NPC

Ever since Robin Williams' death this week, there's been talk of him getting an official NPC in World of Warcraft. It's an idea I certainly support -- Mister Williams was well known as a WoW player and overall lover of things gaming (when I lived in San Francisco, I actually bumped into him at a game store there, and he explained Warhammer figures to me for several minutes) -- and so far, Blizzard seems pretty receptive to the idea. Asked about a change.org petition on the subject, Celestalon tweeted the following response.

Since then, Ion Hazzikostas has spoken out about the topic as well, and while he hasn't said specifically where or what the NPC would be, he was pretty encouraging. Mentioning to the AP that they hadn't decided yet how best to proceed, he went on to note:

"All of us are massive Robin Williams fans," said Hazzikostas. "We love and appreciate his work. We grew up watching his movies and stand-up. We knew he was an avid WoW player, which was awesome. We have a number of pop culture references and things that reflect great figures of our time here and there. We're just thinking about the appropriate and right way to do it."

So it seems likely that there will be a Robin Williams tribute NPC in the game once that's been worked out. It's just a matter of figuring out how best to do it.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor to be released November 13

The release date for World of Warcraft's fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, has been revealed: Thursday, November 13, 2014. You now have three more months to enjoy the splendors of Pandaria and prepare for the savagery of Draenor.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: UBRS available at level 90 before expansion

During the Community Event we got a surprise from Ion Hazzikostas, namely that before we can even go to Draenor, when patch 6.0 drops, we'll get a chance to get up close and personal with the Iron Horde as they invade Upper Blackrock Spire. This dungeon will be available as a level 100 dungeon once the expansion releases, but before that, in patch 6.0 we'll be able to run it as a level 90 dungeon to get loot that will serve us as we get ready to go to Draenor.

In addition he mentioned the world event of the Iron Horde pushing into the Blasted Lands, overwhelming the area around the Dark Portal and putting both the Horde and Alliance on the defensive. It's up to players to take the battle to the Iron Horde, push them back through the portal, and defeat the forces under Warlord Zaela in Upper Blackrock Spire.

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

Three new Heroes of the Storm

Well, gamescom is tomorrow, and we're already seeing news from it (like for instance this gigantic and frankly somewhat terrifying statue of Grommash Hellscream) but one piece of news that might have gone out a little early is this trailer. It reveals three new heroes for Heroes of the Storm -- the cunning Anub'arak, the loathsome Azmodan, and the inebriate Chen Stormstout.

Blizzard's MOBA entry is as dependent as any game on the quality of its roster of heroes, so it's not surprising that they'd beef it up, but I'll admit to being surprised on who they've chosen here. With Diablo in the game already, does Azmodan bring anything? We'll find out soon. Still, count me in among players who might have appreciated a Jaina or a Sylvanas.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Diablo 3, Heroes of the Storm

Warlords of Draenor introduces social fish

Fishing has always been a niche activity in World of Warcraft -- the few who fish love it and everyone else finds it loathsome at best. However, over the years, fishing has been given access to some truly unique items and/or adventures: the hunt for Mr. Pinchy, fishing up sea monsters, and totally rad fishing pole models, for example. Now Warlords of Draenor will be introducing social fish -- fish that can be used to buff fellow anglers, and fish that can label a fellow player's general demeanor for all to see. Via Wowhead and El's Anglin, Warlords introduces:
  • "Fragrant" Pheromone Fish Coat a friend with Fish Pheromones, increasing their Fishing by 100 for 5 min.
  • Awesomefish Use on a player to debuff them with "Awesome! Someone thinks you are awesome!"
  • Grieferfish Use on a player to debuff them with "Griefer. Oh dear."
  • Tyfish Use on a player to debuff them with "Thank you! You did a nice thing for someone. :)"
According to El's Anglin, Awesomefish and Tyfish are more common than the Grieferfish and the Fragrant Pheromone Fish. All can be caught in Draenor's open waters except for, it seems, Frostfire Ridge. While the Pheromones only last 5 minutes, the debuff applied by the other fish last a full 24 hours.

Personally, I doubt I'll make much use of the Pheromone Fish, given it can only be used on other players. I'm not a completely asocial gamer, but when I'm fishing, I like my solitude. If someone butts into my territory, I pick up and go as fast as I can. How am I supposed to watch Netflix while I fish if I don't know which bobber is splashing around in the background? I also wonder as to the actual value of the Grieferfish. I suspect genuine griefers will accept the debuff as a badge of honor while innocent players will feel labeled unfairly if they've been hit with it for laughs. I can get behind the Awesomefish and Tyfish, though.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft shows off male and female trolls

The latest edition of Artcraft is upon us, this time bringing us updated male and female troll models. Though this Artcarft is somewhat scarcer on the model details -- though it does talk about how the troll's tusks are a particular challenge -- it makes up for it by packing in two new new character models.

Though Senior Art Director Chris Robinson comments that "showing both genders together gives you a more cohesive visual story," male and female trolls still have significantly different looks, with the males hunched forward while the females stand upright. Still, like with all the updated models, this refresh gives them a lot of extra detail and character. See below for more images or check the Artcraft post itself for full details.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Gaze of the Black Prince returns Thursday

After weeks of Heart of the Valorous, the Gaze of the Black Prince buff will be returning for a two week period. Beginning Thursday, August 14 at 10:00 a.m. PDT and running through Tuesday, August 26 at 9:00 a.m. PDT, Gaze of the Black Prince will increase all reputation gained with Wrathion, the Black Prince, by 100%. The buff will also increase the droprate of all items necessary for the legendary cloak quests. If you're short on Secrets of the Empire, Sigils of Wisdom, Sigils of Power, or Titan Runestones, make sure you get your playtime in.

Filed under: News items

Warlords of Draenor: New mount and pet revealed

I'm personally not a big pet or mount person. I have the one mount I really ever use, I'm happy with it, and that's pretty much the beginning and end of it. But a lot of people (like my fantastic wife, for example) do like those things. And so, the news that Jonathan LeCraft revealed this weekend will undoubtedly make those people very, very happy - namely, that there will be a new mount for obtaining the 250 mounts achievement Mountacular, the Emerald Drake.

Even more interesting to me, from a game history perspective, is the Time-Locked Box and its occupant, the Bronze Whelpling. This is a pet with, as one might expect, a long history within World of Warcraft.

That's a long time to wait for a pet to be introduced. But at last it's here, right? Looking forward to both, at least from the perspective of a guy who wants people to be happy.

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

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