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Filed under: Worldwide Invitational

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

BlizzCon schedule revealed

BlizzCon schedule revealed
The news is coming thick and fast today, with the announcement of yet another name change for Blizzard All-Stars, now Heroes of the Storm, and now the Blizzcon schedule and map have been revealed.

It's all viewable on the official Blizzcon site, and I don't know about you but I'm getting really excited now. There's a live Arena tournament going on throughout the show, as well as a live raid on the Saturday morning, and they're not holding back with the WoW information, as 12.30pm on the Friday is a "WoW -- what's next?" panel. Not to mention panels on Heroes of the Storm, on Hearthstone, Diablo, and a ton of live StarCraft action and panels taking place too.

Of course this is all viewable on the Virtual Ticket, and you'll also get the ability to watch on-demand versions of every panel and tournament. But what takes your fancy? I'm really excited to learn anything at all about Heroes of the Storm, and to watch the live matches, it's the Blizzard release I've been the most excited about for some time. So how about you? What's really got you going? And of course, WoW Insider will be doing our level best to bring you to-the-minute liveblogs and updates of the event as it unfolds.

Filed under: BlizzCon, Worldwide Invitational

Blizzard press conference scheduled for Gamescom 2013

Blizzard press conference scheduled for Gamescom 2013
While we knew Blizzard would have a presence and playable games at Gamescom 2013, held in Cologne, Germany from August 21-25, Polygon is reporting that there will be a press conference held by Blizzard as well. According to Polygon, Blizzard is saving a special announcement for Gamescom at a press conference that will be held on the first day of the convention.

Polygon reports that the special invitation they received stated "We're making a special announcement that's sure to capture the attention of the Heavens, Burning Hells and all the shadowed places that lie between." While this may just be more information about the upcoming console ports for Diablo 3, one has to wonder if perhaps this is something more -- perhaps the first mention of a Diablo 3 expansion? It's certainly about time we heard of such things, but of course, we won't really know for certain what the special announcement is all about until Gamescom opens in August.

Be sure to head over to Polygon for more details regarding the upcoming press conference. For more information on Blizzard's presence at Gamescom, be sure to check out their official dedicated website for the event. And if you're planning on attending, you still have a little time to sign up for the Blizzard costume contest as well!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Worldwide Invitational

Gamescom 2013: Blizzard's playable content announced

Gamescom 2013 Blizzard's playable content announced
Gamescom, in Cologne, Germany, is Europe's largest gaming convention, and one of the largest int he world with 275,000 attendees in 2012, and the same set to visit in 2013. Blizzard, as you can see above, attended in 2012 with both Starcraft and Warcraft, hosting not only a huge gameplay area for the then Mists beta, but also concerts, a costume contest, live raids, and an arena tournament. Much of the same will likely feature this year, but the highlight is likely to be the playable content they're bringing, which is plentiful indeed!

In just a few short weeks, Blizzard will be at the biggest games convention in the world – gamescom in Cologne, Germany. The show runs from August 21-25, and we'll be welcoming players with all kinds of stage activities, contests and giveaways – and of course people are there to play games, too!

This year our booth is bigger than ever, which means we can accommodate more gamers than ever. Attendees will be able to play:

Diablo III (PC and PlayStation 3): Brave the Burning Hells and whack some demons – playable on console for the first time in Europe!
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (PC): Playable in public for the first time in Europe!
World of Warcraft (PC): Check out what patch 5.4 has to offer!
Check back for more updates in the days and weeks leading up to gamescom for details of what's in store for you at the Blizzard booth. We'll have quizzes, leveling contest, show matches, the World of Warcraft dance contest and much more – and don't forget you can still sign up for the Blizzard costume contest.

Head to our newly launched dedicated website for more about Blizzard at gamescom 2013.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Worldwide Invitational

Arenajunkies interviews top Arena priests

With the World Championships coming up in just a few days' time, ArenaJunkies has been very busy interviewing some of the top arena players who'll be battling it out in Shanghai. We've got interviews from two of what I can fairly confidently say are among the world's top priests, Zunniyaki and Talbadar.

Zunniyaki is a member of Yaspresents, with Another on a death knight and Cara on a paladin. Yaspresents stormed to a decisive victory in the European Invitationals in Cologne, comfortably dismissing most of their competition in an undefeated run of best of 3 matches.

Talbadar is one third of Team Evil Geniuses, along with renowned shaman and warlock Cdew and Azael. Again, like Yaspresents, Evil Geniuses took a victory in the North American Invitationals, comfortably securing their place in Shanghai.

Both these priests are at the top of their game, and bound to make a splash during the tournaments coming up between November 16 and 18. Hit the break for the second video interview with Talbadar!

Read more →

Filed under: PvP, Worldwide Invitational

Bashiok on BlizzCon: "It makes sense to focus our efforts"

In case you hadn't already heard, there won't be a BlizzCon 2012. While I personally have never gone, many of the staffers here have and are sad pandas that they won't get to this year, as I gather are a lot of you as well. Our friend Bashiok answered a forum thread on the news with the reasoning behind it.

Bashiok - No Blizzcon
Yeah it's a bit disappointing because we all really do enjoy being able to 'open the doors' so to speak. But, it is an enormous effort by all employees, including our game designers and artists, not to mention customer support and quality assurance, PR, our business departments, and *hot breath on fingernails & shirt rub* Community & eSports to make a BlizzCon happen. In a year when we're working to release multiple titles (knock on wood) it makes sense to focus our efforts. Also with multiple game releases we just wonder if we'd be at a point with any of them where we'd have anything really big or new or cool to talk about.

We didn't have a BlizzCon in 2006 either, and at that time we were really strong on the idea that BlizzCon isn't really supposed to be and doesn't have to be an annual event. Of course then we have it for five straight years in a row... which obviously built some expectation.

Personally I always enjoy seeing the excitement, the rushing crowds, hearing the clicking of mice on the demo stations, and waiting in agony as the seconds countdown to an announcement and then the waves of emotion from the crowd that follow it. But thinking about our year and what we're trying to get done already without a BlizzCon, and having to think pretty hard about what we'd have to announce or demo, it just makes sense to me not to have one.

Here's to the World Championship, it's going to be awesome, and to a bigger and better BlizzCon in 2013.

So there you have it. With multiple titles aimed for release this year, not only would it be a lot of work to also run a convention, but then the convention wouldn't have much to show, since all the titles would have been released beforehand. While this is sad news, it does definitely make me think we're going to be running around Pandaria (and freeing Sanctuary, and dealing with the Zerg) well before the middle of this year.

The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

Filed under: BlizzCon, Worldwide Invitational

Spiritual Guidance: Will patch 4.2 redefine what it means to be a shadow priest?

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Every Wednesday, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen rains sheer purple destruction down on the growing list of WoW Insider columnists who oppose him (and sometimes, even on those who don't).

I am Fox, thy columnist, who hath brought thee out of the land of the Light, out of the house of Dawn Moore. For thee, my loyal followers, I offer the 10 commandments of the house of shadow (subsequently edited down to five by his cruel editorial overseers):
  • Thou shalt have no other columnists before me.
  • Thou shalt not lie with Tyler as one lies with Fox; Tyler is detestable.
  • Thou shalt kill. With high DPS.
  • Thou shalt covet the hell out of thy neighbor's Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest, because that thing is sweet.
  • Thou shalt not freak the hell out over patch notes, even when they involve slashing the damage caused by our DOTs.

Patch 4.2 Public Test Realm Guide [Updated 5/13]
  • Devouring Plague damage done has been decreased by 12%.
  • Mind Blast damage done has been increased by 12%.
  • Shadow Word: Death damage done has been increased by 12%.
  • Shadow Word: Pain damage done has been decreased by 12%.
  • Mind Flay damage done has been increased by 12%.
  • Vampiric Touch damage done has been decreased by 12%.

The above patch notes, which detail a 12%, across-the-board cut to DOTs (and an accompanying 12% across-the-board buff to direct damage spells), represents the first major change for shadow priests to come out of the PTR. But what exactly does the change mean, and why was it done? Are shadow priests going to lag behind in patch 4.2? Are shadow priests being pushed away from a DOT-heavy model and toward something else?

Read more →

Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Worldwide Invitational

World shattering complete; U.S. servers back up

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have some good news and we have some bad news.

The good news: Servers are coming back up, at least for those in the United States! You can log on and enjoy World of Warcraft again, ahead of the previously announced 5 p.m. PST time.

The bad news: Some dragon-ish rapscallion has totally shattered the world over the course of the last 12 hours or so. Whoops.

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, News items, Worldwide Invitational, Cataclysm

Tyrael gets more emotes, can now sleep

Everyone loves Mini Tyrael, the angelic little pet given away to attendees of last year's Worldwide Invitational in Paris. While the little guy looks awesome (indeed he's my favorite pet), he's always let folks down by doing, well, very little. He didn't make a noise when you clicked on him but he would /dance with you. Well, Blizzard has finally bothered to address the situation and make Tyrael into the pet he should be. After all, he is an angel, they're supposed to be cool.

I was in Stormwind the other day meeting a friend for an impromptu party to celebrate the fact he had just gotten El Pollo Grande. So while we compared chickens and abused the /chicken command, I got out the Foam Sword Rack and my Ogre Pinata and then summoned the little guy. Even now it amazes me how many people come up to me and whisper to inquire how I got/crafted him and could they get/buy one.

As we were dancing, I noticed big green zzzz's coming from my beloved pet. At first I thought someone had cast a spell on him as he'd never done this before but it turns out he was just bored. Yes, Blizzard may not have added any sound effects but Tyrael now passes out when he gets bored (perhaps he's waiting for the release of Diablo III?). He will toss and turn for a bit, as if having a nightmare about Sanctuary and Diablo, and will wake up after ten seconds or so with a cool ripple effect to remind us just how divine he is. I've yet to find someone with the Mini Diablo pet and see if they will fight it out, a la Grunty and the Zergling though.

Hit the jump to see a video of Tyrael's emoting awesomeness,

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, News items, Worldwide Invitational

U.K. Times covers BlizzCon

One of the Technology writers, Murad Ahmed, from the U.K. Times went to BlizzCon this past week and apparently had a pretty good time. I'm positive he doesn't actually play the game, and he admits to being a little lost, especially when it comes to the frenetic action of the professional arena tournament (although, truthfully, I often have a hard time following it too). But he did seem to hit upon the major draw of the convention -- namely, getting to hang with your fellow gamers, and hopefully guildies if you're lucky, and enjoying a giant get-together where the person next to you is virtually certain to get a WoW-related joke.

As a bonus, Mr. Ahmed got to interview James Taplin, one of our readers (BlizzCon attendees will know him as one of the people at the WoW Insider meet-up, and later the 3rd place winner in the /silly competition), who confirmed that the social aspect of both the game and convention are really the big attraction. I think it's precisely that aspect that has a tendency to be somewhat overlooked by the mainstream media (although let's face it; it's probably not something you'll pick up on unless you've played the game with people you genuinely like), but the Times also covered the WorldWide Invitational here, so they're no strangers to Blizzard events. While there's no information in the article that's really new, it's an interesting and generally positive perspective on the convention.

Thanks to James and Rhys for writing in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, BlizzCon, Worldwide Invitational

Win beta keys and a Tyrael pet in a level 1 race

This Friday and Saturday, will be holding two "level 1 character" race events on as-yet undisclosed U.S. servers. 5 Worldwide Invitational cards, entitling the bearer to a Wrath of the Lich King beta key and a Tyrael pet, will be awarded to the winners. The character you enter in the race must be level 1, cannot have any weapons or armor equipped, and will be disqualified if you die, disconnect, or try to sneak any stat-enhancing item on the toon. Apart from saying that they'll be holding the races at 6:00 PM server time on both days, they're staying mum on which server or starting area they'll be using in an effort to minimize potential cheating or a mob of ganking spectators.

Two things: I'm not sure how they're planning on splitting 5 WWI cards among the winner/s of two races, so you'll probably have a slightly higher chance of winning a card in one out of the two events. Secondly, although they haven't given out server names, they do say that both races will take place at "18:00 PST (server time)," so it's possible that both will happen on Pacific servers. They'll post the server names and starting areas on their site before each race starts, so check back, and good luck!

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, News items, Expansions, Contests, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

Faction Champion in 8885

From the 2008 Worldwide Invitational, we learned of a new way that we'll all be grinding faction reputation come the expansion. Namely, you will be able to become a faction's Champion.

This is not a permanent change, and you are not stuck with only one faction, Instead, you simply put on the tabard and la! You are the new Champion.

We were told that if you run a Coilfang dungeon wearing a Lower City tabard, you will gain the usual reputation for the Cenarion Expedition from the dungeon, as well as Lower City reputation. Supposedly, the tabards, usually acquired at exalted, will be moved to friendly or honored.

While this makes me and my hard-earned tabard collection a bit sore, the prospect of earning reputation for any faction that I need, without running their dungeons over and over, is quite appealing. Here are the Champions we know of so far:
  1. Argent Champion
  2. Ebon Champion
  3. Champion of the Kirin Tor
  4. Wyrmrest Champion
The descriptions are all the same. For example, "You champion the cause of the Argent Crusade. All reputation gains while in level 80 dungeons will be applied to your standing with them."

To me, this seems to call the original quotation into question, as the current description makes it sound as though, instead of gaining reputation from the dungeon, and from the tabard, your dungeon reputation will simply count toward whichever faction's tabard you are wearing.

Of course, that is still mightily handy. We'll be able to run the dungeons that contain the gear we need, while acquiring the reputation we desire.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

"Waow" comic published, apparently without Blizzard's permission

Blogger DeSlisser was in Paris recently when he came upon a strange sight in a store: A comic book called "WaoW" that covered the journey of a newb in the world of "Razemoth" as he looks for a dungeon to level in. It's very definitely suppose to be Azeroth, and even the dungeon he eventually finds is clearly the Deadmines. The comic book, however, does not seem to be an official Blizzard product.

Of course, we've seen pirated Warcraft items before, but this would be the first foray I've heard into the world of pirate comics. The phenomenon is widespread enough in Japan that it has its own convention simply for the selling of these books that, according to many, violate Intellectual Property rights.

So perhaps Blizzard is getting to that point too. Will they crack down on comic books like "WaoW?" Should they? After all, they don't crack down on WoW fanart. But then again, most WoW fanartists don't try to sell their work in bulk either.

[via Tobold]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Comics, Worldwide Invitational

Where exactly are those Dell/BlizzCon/WWI keys again?

This one's been flying under our radar for a while, but I'm not sure why -- I happen to be one of the affected. Still, while everyone was spending the past few days worrying about tickets for this year's BlizzCon, a whole other set of folks were worrying about last year's BlizzCon. Specifically, the beta keys they received there. Originally, they were all told by Belfaire that there was going to be a wave of invites after August 1st that included people who'd recieved beta keys from Dell, or for attending BlizzCon '07 or this year's WWI. But now we're almost two weeks past that date, and we (I was one of the folks who entered a key from BlizzCon '07) haven't seen any beta keys at all yet.

Last Thursday, about a week ago, Belfaire acknowledged there was a problem on the forums, and asked people to enter their names if they'd input their beta keys and hadn't recieved a beta email (here's the BlizzCon thread, and here's the Dell thread). But there's been no answer since then, and I certainly haven't recieved a key at all. In fact, we've heard from people who got invited to the beta through the random opt-ins, which means these keys we paid for haven't done thing number one for us.

To tell the truth, I'm not that concerned about it -- I really enjoy seeing new content on the live realms rather than on the beta or test server, and there's certainly enough Wrath beta news coming through here on WoW Insider about the beta to keep me satisfied. But the beta is only going on for so long, and every day that passes without invites sent to Blizzard's biggest fans (the ones who've spent money on the Dell deal and attended Blizzard's invites) is more of the beta key wasted. I doubt we'll be able to use them again, so it's a shame Blizzard hasn't let us use them yet.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, Expansions, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

WoW Radio Pass the Torch contest on August 8

If you're not completely holed up in a cave somewhere, you're probably aware that some big sports event called the Olympics is happening in August. Of course, August also marks the start of a new season for our friends over at WoW Radio, who are holding a contest to celebrate their onslaught of shows. In keeping with the Olympics, WoW Radio is calling their August contest "Pass the Torch", and are giving away twenty (!) Worldwide Invitational cards as prizes. Just in case you didn't know, those cards contain the codes for a key to the Wrath Beta and a mini-Tyrael pet.

How do you join? Simple. Listen to their radio shows! Starting August 8 (or what the Chinese consider to be the lucky 08/08/08), five of their radio shows will be their torch-bearers. During each show, there'll be an 'Olympic ring' -- you'll know them when you hear them, according to WoW Radio -- containing a secret word. The five secret words will form a phrase, which you should then send to their e-mail address to be entered in their grand prize draw. Winners will be announced on the 15th of August on Blue Plz! Head on over to WoW Radio now and keep an ear out for those secret words!

Filed under: Blizzard, Contests, Worldwide Invitational

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