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Filed under: News items

The Undermine Journal to close

Sad priest
There is sad news in the WoW community today. The longtime, invaluable auction house resource The Undermine Journal will be closing its doors at the end of July. The Journal cites ballooning server hosting costs as the culprit, and they just can't keep up. Since 2010, The Undermine Journal has been the place to go if you wanted to stay on top of auction house pricing--particularly for comparisons across different servers. The loss of this site is huge blow WoW players as a whole, but particularly for those who make a dedicated hobby out of playing the auction house.

There does remain some hope for The Journal's future, however. If they can find a new server host, it's possible that a revamped Undermine Journal will make an appearance in time for Warlords of Draenor. However, in their news announcement, they caution that if the expansion's launch comes and goes without The Undermine Journal's reappearance, it will likely be gone for good. They will do their best to keep a webpage in place in order to deliver updates on the situation.

From those of us at WoW Insider, we'd like to thank Erorus, the creator behind The Undermine Journal, for all his hard work and dedication to maintaining such a wonderful resource. We hope The Undermine Journal's absence is just a hiatus, but either way, we'll see you at Realm Pop.

Filed under: News items

US Connected Realms update for July 7

The list of US realms slated for the Realm Connection service has now been updated with new information regarding upcoming dates for the service. Players on realms that have been scheduled for connection should be aware that connections take place on Thursdays, and the scheduled realms will be down for the service from 5am PDT until approximately 1pm PDT. There are two sets of scheduled dates, as well as a few realms that have been added for an upcoming realm connection, with no date scheduled just yet.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, July 10.
  • Ysera and Durotan
  • Zuluhed and Andorhal, Scilla and Ursin

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Kotaku launches "An idiot in Azeroth"

Northshire quest giver
Yesterday a new series of articles began on Kotaku: "An idiot in Azeroth," written by Mark Serrels as he chronicles is very first time playing through World of Warcraft. Poor Mark may be in over his head--he is only vaguely aware of what WoW is or how it works. It took him 15 minutes to figure out how to turn the tutorials on so he would know how to play. He got eaten by a wolf and squished by a murloc. Sound familiar?

The most delightful part of reading about Mark's first exploits into Azeroth is the knowing grin it brings to my face. Ah, yes -- those days! I remember that. I remember wandering aimlessly through the starting zone, trying to figure out where to find that quest item I needed, getting turned around in the woods, and getting eaten by wolves. Each of us only gets to discover Azeroth once, and reading about Mark's first forays into that world are the closest any of us will ever be to reliving the experience. I can't wait to see where it takes him. if we're lucky, perhaps it will make him one of us.

Filed under: News items, Humor

The Dark Below is real

The Dark Below
Remember The Dark Below? The speculation and the agony? The short-lived controversy? Even after it was revealed to be a hoax, there were still a few who insisted that The Dark Below really was a thing. In a nutshell, they were right. The Dark Below really truly is an expansion.

Just not for WoW.

You may have heard of Destiny, the much-anticipated upcoming MMO from Bungie -- the studio famous for its creation of the Halo franchise. It's to Bungie that The Dark Below belongs, and it's the title of Destiny's first expansion. You see, those interested players who purchase one of the two Destiny collector's edition releases: Destiny: Ghost Edition or Destiny: Limited Edition will get special access to the Destiny Expansion Pass, which includes Expansion 1: The Dark Below, and Expansion 2: House of Wolves.

So there you have it, everyone. The Dark Below is alive and well, albeit in an altogether different virtual universe, owned and developed by a different studio in a different state. Thus ends forever the mystery of The Dark Below. May it rest in peace, and live up to its, uh, Destiny.

Filed under: News items

Warlords of Draenor: New model adjustments in the works

There have been quite a few rumblings online about the new character models, pointing out that the models themselves all appear to have the same facial expressions with little of the variation we're seeing on live servers. Senior Art Director Chris G. Robinson hopped on Twitter yesterday to address the concerns, pointing out that the new models on the beta are by no means final, and of course still subject to change. In the case of the human female model, base animations are still undergoing adjustments to bring them closer to matching the original base structure and expressed emotion.



The base animation is the default expression on a model's face when they are not in any kind of active motion. It's the expression your character has when they are simply standing around in town, or on the character creation screen. Currently, the human female models in the beta are all wearing the same expression while they're standing around. With updates to the base animation, and the tweaks to eyebrows and other facial features as tweeted by Robinson, the models should once again appear just as diverse as they do on live servers.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

EU Connected Realm updates for July 4

The list of EU realms slated for the Realm Connection service has been updated with new information and new realms in regards to upcoming dates for the service. Please note that the realms scheduled for connection next week are only tentatively scheduled -- that information might change. Players on the realms listed as scheduled may want to keep an eye on the official forum thread just in case there are any changes made. At the present time, there are no additional updates for US realms, this list is for European servers only.

The following EU realms are tentatively scheduled for connection on Wednesday, July 9.

English Realms
  • (PvE) Khadgar and Bloodhoof
  • (PvE) Bronze Dragonflight and Nordrassil
German Realms
  • (PvE) Tichondrius and Lordaeron
  • (PvE) Arygos and Khaz'goroth
Russian Realms
  • (PvP) Король-лич and Седогрив

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Heart of the Valorous active this weekend

Players logged in today to discover Heart of the Valorous, a buff increasing Valor gains by 100%, is active once again. According to a tweet by @Warcraft_ES, the buff is active for the rest of the weekend. Today is the primary national holiday for the United States, so this might be Blizzard's small way of letting us take advantage of a three day weekend.

Filed under: News items

Warlords of Draenor: Nights may get darker

Night time comparison
Once upon a time, nightfall in Azeroth meant that things got truly dark--sometimes spookily so. For whatever reason, at some point Blizzard scaled back on the in-game lack of night lights, and brightened our nocturnal adventuring. Plenty of players have been clamoring for a good long while for a return to the dark and eerie Azerothian nights, and it seems as though their wishes may soon be coming true. In the following tweet, Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton indicates that some kind of darker night-time atmosphere is on its way potentially as soon as patch 6.0.
My personal hope is for some sort of toggle or slider in the graphics options, so individual players can choose how dark and foreboding they want their in-game landscapes to be. This has been a solution proposed by many, and I truly hope that's what's coming our way. Nonetheless, I'm eager to see whatever solution Blizzard has come up with.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Mount Tab description updates

The latest Warlords of Draenor beta build expanded the descriptions listed in the re-designed mount tab. Nearly every mount in the game now has an entry with a little piece of trivia. There are actually some interesting little flavor bits of lore contained in the new entries, including slightly more in-depth information as to the mount's origins, interesting quotes or beliefs about the creatures, and of course where it can be built or obtained. At the moment, not every mount has a listing for where you can find it -- but given that there are already entries that do mention things in detail, it seems like we'll see that added in a later beta build.

Of course, it's the humorous entries that really stick out in the new listing. How can you seriously describe a giant rooster? You can't. Check out the gallery below for some of the best selections from the newly added flavor text.




Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Molten Corgi pet officially on the way

Players have been asking for a corgi pet in game for years, and they are finally getting their wish, according to a tweet made by Senior Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft earlier today. Screenshots were posted of a Molten Corgi -- a fiery pup that is every bit as adorable as you'd expect. Of course, the first question on everyone's mind was whether or not the pooch was, in fact, really going to be available. LeCraft tweeted again to reassure everyone that yes, this is in fact a real pet.

As yet, we still don't know where players will obtain the pet, or if it will be an in-game or Blizzard Store item. For now, the announcement itself is good enough for me -- we'll likely get more details soon enough.


Filed under: News items, Achievements

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Changes coming for DPS warriors

Count nothing in the beta done until the beta is itself done. It's the modern equivalent of 'count no man happy before he is dead' (at least it when it comes to betas) and it's especially true for warriors this time around. Arms has seen huge changes, fury has seen a backlash over the loss of Heroic Strike, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. Now we get to see what the intended direction for warriors is, thanks to a forum post from Celestalon.

So what's the haps? I'm glad you asked. The usual caveats (it's all still subject to change, it's the beta, don't get too worked up) apply, of course.

Celestalon - Fury Feedback
So, we don't often share our thoughts on upcoming changes this early, as plans can change very rapidly. Please keep in mind that none of the following is set in stone – it hasn't even been developed yet – and there's any number of issues that could cause us to decide to take a different approach. That said, we definitely agree that Arms feels a bit empty at the moment, and want to fill it out a bit more, and we want to add some talent choices to both Arms and Fury that provide options for more involved gameplay. Here's what we're thinking:
  • Rage generation increased by 25% for Arms.
  • Rend returns for Arms. Costs 10 Rage, deals damage over 18sec, with a burst of bleed damage at the end. Total damage is similar to a Mortal Strike.
  • Thunder Clap is usable in any stance. AoE damage and snares, 6sec cooldown. 30 Rage cost for Arms, free for Protection.
  • We're replace the level 45 talent row (Staggering Shout / Piercing Howl / Disrupting Shout) with:
  • Varies by spec:Arms –
    • Taste for Blood: Passive. Rend ticks grant 3 Rage.
    • Fury – Furious Strikes: Passive. Reduces the cost of Wild Strike by 10 Rage
    • Protection – Heavy Repercussions: Passive. Shield Slam deals 50% additional damage while Shield Block is active.
  • Sudden Death: Passive. Auto attacks have a chance to trigger Sudden Death, making your next Execute free and usable on targets above 20% health.
  • Varies by spec:
    • Arms – Slam: Active ability. Costs 10 Rage. Deals 100% weapon damage. Each consecutive use increases Slam's damage by 50% and Rage cost by 100%, stacking up to 5 times.
    • Fury – Unquenchable Thirst: Passive. Bloodthirst has no cooldown.
    • Protection – Unyielding Strikes: Passive. Devastate reduces the Rage cost of Heroic Strike by 6, stacking up to 5 times. Lasts 10 sec. No longer refreshes while at 5 stacks.

Again, this is all very much in the formative stages. Any or all of the above could end up changing in any number of ways. But we are listening, and are doing our best to make Warrior gameplay awesome in Warlords.


Some of this I don't expect to see last very long - Unquenchable Thirst in particular strikes me as an ability that will become wholly abused if it goes live. No cooldown on Bloodthirst? So, what, you just hit Bloodthirst constantly in-between Colossus Smashes? Now, I personally like that kind of rage generation option - it's very Barbarian from Diablo III really, constantly filling up the rage bar. But I don't expect to see it actually get implemented. Still, it's very interesting to see Slam as a talent (even if it is an Arms only talent - frankly I'd like to see fury get a bite of that apple).

Still, arms really is desperately in need of some more attacks, so overall I'm curious and interested.


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

Rob Pardo is leaving Blizzard

Rob Pardo, currently Blizzard's Chief Creative officer, announced on the forums that he's parting ways with Blizzard Entertainment. Pardo has been a fixture of the company for 17 years now, and though he isn't saying -- yet -- where he's headed next, he did offer a thank you to Blizzard's fans and community:

Rob Pardo
The Blizzard community is ultimately the reason why we come to work every day and pour our souls into every world and experience we create. Blizzard's players are the most passionate in the world and your commitment and dedication are truly awesome to behold. Creating entertainment for you has been an incredible opportunity, and I know that you will continue to grow and become even stronger as a community over the years to come. It has been so meaningful on a personal level to help create joy for all of you.


Thanks for the games, Rob -- we'll be keeping our eyes open for what you're working on next.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor: Frostfire Ridge preview

Frostfire Ridge
So far we've had official previews of Shadowmoon Valley and the Tanaan Jungle, and today Frostfire Ridge joins that cohort. Game Designer Ryan Shwayder and Associate Game Designer Zachariah Owens are the interviewees leading us through this glimpse of the zone and giving us an idea of what we can expect when we arrive there. If you had access to the Warlords alpha, you're likely already somewhat familiar with Frostfire Ridge--it's the Horde's starting zone, the zone where Horde players will build their garrisons, and was the first zone available for alpha testing. In Frostfire Ridge, the Frostwolf clan stages the defense of their ancestral homeland against the other orc clans who have thrown their lot in with the Iron Horde. The overarching story of the zone, as summarized by Zachariah Owens, is thus: survive.

The choice to put pieces of zone music at the beginning of these previews is one of my favorite things about them, and Frostfire Ridge is no exception. The zone music, titled "Magnificent Desolation," is haunting and, well, magnificent. It really does capture the scale and harshness of the zone--cold, snowy mountain peaks, frozen lakes, and constant struggle. In Frostfire Ridge, players will find the Thunderlord clan, Iron Horde loyalists who seek to prove themselves by wiping the Frostwolf off the face of the planet. In addition, two groups of ogres: the Bloodmaul and the Bladespire, cling to the remnants of power that the ogres once possessed in Draenor by any means necessary. In the eastern part of the zone, the masters of the gronn, the magnaron, plot and scheme to their own ends.

I didn't expect to be all that interested in Frostfire Ridge--I play Alliance-side, after all--but this preview, plus the music, kind of has me sold! Head on over to the official site to see what Zachariah Owens and Ryan Shwayder have to say about this hostile, fascinating zone.

Filed under: News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Hearthstone tournament now open to all

Yesterday we reported about the oddity of a Hearthstone tournament that didn't allow women to compete. The reason? The International e-Sports Federation wanted gaming to be recognized as a "true sport," and was following the professional sports model of gender division. With fewer women competitors than men, this led to tournaments with a large selection of gaming events for men, but few for women -- in the case of this tournament, Hearthstone, Dota 2, and Ultra Street Fighter IV were all men-only events.

While e-Sports are often gender-divided (competitive StarCraft is notable in this regard), the idea of a men-only Hearthstone tournament was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back. Among many others, Blizzard spoke out against IeSF policy, telling VentureBeat, "One of our goals with e-sports is to ensure that there's a vibrant and also inclusive community around our games. We do not allow the use of our games in tournaments that do not support this, and are working with our partners to ensure they share the same goal."

The end result is that the IeSF has reversed the policy, and offers events open to all genders as well as women-only events to encourage the participation of women in the male-dominated field of pro gaming. It's a setup that's similar to the competitive chess scene, which has both a World Chess Championship in which anyone can compete and a Women's World Chess Championship. Now, at the 6th e-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014, men and women will be able to compete together in StarCraft 2 and Hearthstone tournaments, while there's also a women's only StarCraft 2 tournament. Time to get your game on!

Filed under: News items, Hearthstone Insider

Man at Arms makes Frostmourne

If you haven't started watching Man at Arms, the awesome webseries where weapons from movies and video games are recreated by master blacksmith Tony Swatton, I have to wonder why not. The real draw of the show is that they go out of their way to make functional replicas, even when that's impractical - the weapons Swatton and his team create actually can be used, and usually are used at the end of the episode.

This week, after a round of voting, we finally get to see Swatton's take on Frostmourne, the infamous runeblade of the Lich King. Now, as far as I can tell they haven't mastered the necromancy that made Frostmourne so dangerous, but they did make a sword you can cut stuff up real good. Keep your eyes peeled at the end for a guest appearance by Michele Morrow at the end.

I won't lie, I'm still a little bummed we didn't get a Gorehowl. But this is a heck of an impressive build. I really think Blizzard should commission an Ashkandi from Mr. Swatton. And then give it to me.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Arts and Crafts

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