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Posts with tag blizzard

WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5, the epic conclusion

Incendius
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Last time on WoW Archivist, we reviewed the first half of the Tier 0.5 quest line, including the controversial 45-minute Baron run in Stratholme. As we left off, the ghost of Anthion Harmon had asked us to assemble the pieces of Valthalak's medallion. He sent you into Blackrock Depths with an enchanted banner to challenge the gladiator Theldren.

Laying down the law

The next step required a 5-player group to enter the Ring of Law inside Blackrock Depths. As you are being sentenced, you summon the Banner of Provocation. Theldren and his team step in instead of the usual BRD bosses. Now you were in for a scrap, and it was a wildly different fight that any other in classic WoW.

Theldren spawned with a mix of four teammates chosen from a pool of eight: Yes, you read that last one right. Lefty even had an ability called Five Fat Finger Exploding Heart Technique. Theldren himself was a warrior. Each boss had a potent set of class abilities. For example, Korv had Earthbind Totem, Fire Nova Totem, Frost Shock, Lesser Healing Wave, and Purge.

What made this fight so unique -- and so infuriating for many -- was that the NPCs had no traditional aggro table.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5 and the birth of modern dungeons

Bokk
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

For a long time in classic WoW, nonraiders felt neglected. Dungeons were the only endgame PvE option for nonraiders. Back then, dungeons didn't have a 5-player limit. They could be "raided," even though they weren't considered raids. Blizzard added new raiding content on a regular basis, but the developers didn't release new dungeons after adding Dire Maul in patch 1.3, four months after the game's release.

Until the launch of The Burning Crusade in early 2007, nonraiders ran the same dungeons for almost two years.

Amidst a storm of complaints, Blizzard said they wanted to offer additional content for nonraiders. In patch 1.10, Blizzard delivered a new endgame quest line using existing dungeons. Comprised of 29 steps in all, this was one of the game's most elaborate -- and most punishing -- quest lines ever.

Blizzard called it the "high-level armor set" quest line. Players called it Tier 0.5. To create it, Blizzard had to reimagine what WoW's dungeons should be.

This quest line was removed, like many others, when Deathwing brought the Cataclysm. Let's walk through what once was, and explore how it gave rise to the modern dungeons we tackle today.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Blizzard should rethink their content release model

Sleeping druids
Blizzard changes many things for each new expansion: raid structures, class spells and talents, game systems, UI elements -- few aspects of WoW survive an X.0 patch untouched.

It's time for Blizzard to change the one thing that has stayed the same since The Burning Crusade: the "event patch" release cycle. In WoW today, every patch is a big deal. We get previews. We get a trailer. We get fancy artwork with the X.X numbers. The patch release is an event.

Every patch has tons of content for nearly every aspect of the game. It's exciting -- there's almost too much to do. When a new patch releases, we're in WoW heaven.

Then months go by and that content grows stale. Blizzard doesn't give us new content at that point, but peeks at future content. We're starving for a delicious content meal, but we can only look at pictures of the food.

It's a feast and famine cycle that has to end. It creates this massive gap between the final content patch of one expansion and the release of the next. We must cross it once again in 2014. Players put up with it because we know Blizzard will deliver, eventually, a tremendously fun experience. But should we have to endure this, still, after the game has been around for almost ten years?

It's time for Blizzard to rethink the way they release content.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Login issues plague all Battle.net games

It's Tuesday, which means maintenance -- or in this case, post-maintenance -- server problems. At present, @BlizzardCS says login issues for North American realms are under investigation -- though they may already be starting to clear up. If you manage to get into the Battle.net launcher, it will helpfully inform you: "Login to the Battle.net desktop app is currently unavailable. However, you can continue to use Battle.net in offline mode to launch and play games that are available offline."

I guess that means tonight's Diablo 3 rift runs are going to be replaced by Diablo 2 leveling.

Filed under: News items

WoW Insider's guide to Blizzard resources updated

Looking for more blogs, podcasts, and resources devoted to Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft, and Warcraft? Then you'll want to check out our newly updated guide to all things Blizzard. In it, we've gathered all of our favorite resources on Blizzard games for your browsing enjoyment. So why not take the rest of the day off to catch up on your reading?

And we're always on the lookout for new Blizzard blogs, so if you have a favorite site that we've missed, please contact us to let us know. We're happy to add any resources that are regularly updated, don't advocate breaking Blizzard's terms of service, and don't have any R-rated content.

Filed under: WoW Insider Business

WoW Archivist: The Martin Fury incident

Flame Leviathan
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Almost exactly five years ago today, WoW Insider broke the news about one of the craziest stories in WoW's history. Some called it a "scandal," but I disagree with the term. Everyone involved, I believe, acted without malice. The entire affair was a matter of one colossal blunder, followed by a series of unfortunate assumptions and, ultimately, heavy-handed repercussions.

The real victims here, after all, were the bosses.

But the event is a fascinating and unique one: one player, given the kind of unlimited power that only a game master or developer was meant to wield. How did it all go down? Read on to find out!

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Meet the teams behind Azeroth Choppers

You're probably already familiar with the two main faces of Azeroth Choppers -- Alliance-side captain Chris Metzen and Horde-side captain Samwise Didier are both well-known faces of Blizzard Entertainment. However, you may not be so well acquainted with the other two members of each team: Terran Justice Gregory and Monte Krol of the Alliance, and Gary Platner and Jason Hutchins of the Horde. To help rectify this situation, Blizzard recently put up an official blog post about the teams, including mini-interviews with the team members about the show itself.

Terran, Monte, Gary, and Jason all answer questions about their connection to the factions they're representing in the bike build-off, and their answers may surprise and delight you! They also detail the artistic process behind consolidating designs for the bikes. There's encouragement for fans of both factions, and an interesting discussion about how the winning bike will be implemented into the game. There is also, of course, some tongue-in-cheek trash talking on both sides. The whole interview is a neat behind-the-scenes glimpse into the folks behind Azeroth Choppers, and a good bit of fun.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Interviews

Next episode of Azeroth Choppers now available

So the second episode of Azeroth Choppers is up now, letting us see what the process of constructing the bikes is going to be like. Honestly, for me that's the most interesting part of these kinds of shows - I don't really care about the drama or competition very much, but I'm fascinated to watch people actually sitting down to build these bikes. This week's episode features a deadline that, frankly, I didn't really understand very much (why do they suddenly need the bikes constructed in five weeks?) but whatever, I was more interested in seeing them discuss how they're going to go about meeting it.

I'll probably watch next week's episode to see these things get worked on. I do wish they'd go with normal wheels, though. Tank treads don't do it for me. I really think this is what the Alliance bike should look like.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

WoW Archivist: Talents have come full circle

Circle of Healing
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

The Warlords of Draenor patch 6.0 notes have revealed the latest changes to WoW's ever-evolving talent system. Talents have remained a core system in WoW since its earliest days, the primary method that allows players to make their characters distinct.

In the beta for WoW and throughout vanilla, talent trees were a bit of a mess, as Archivist covered. Today, we'll examine how those early trees came to be expanded, refined, and then scrapped for a very different system. We'll also look at how Warlords is bringing back the earliest version of talent trees in a brand new way.

The golden age of hybrids

Talent possibilities exploded during The Burning Crusade. Ten more levels granted players ten more points to assign. Players could now combine abilities in ways that vanilla's trees had never allowed, opening up exciting new gameplay paths.

Players didn't choose a specialization like they do today. Instead, they assigned points to three different "trees." Each tree represented a spec, but each also had talents that helped the other two specs as well. So players could pick and choose just how far down they wanted to go in a given tree, and thus how much to commit their character to one spec. "Hybrid" builds were not ideal from a min/max perspective, but they were popular. And TBC was the golden age of such builds.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Play Warlords of Draenor at PAX East, get beta access

If you're at PAX East this weekend, you may want to find the Blizzard booth post haste. Why, you may ask? I'll tell you why.

Because that's why - if you play Warlords of Draenor while you're at PAX East, you get a beta key for use when Warlords of Draenor enters later testing. So if you're there or planning on attending, you should get on that.

It's interesting they have this for conventions like PAX East but they didn't for BlizzCon - I'm not sure why that is. But have it now they do. Community Manager Lore has tweeted that there will be other opportunities to gain beta access, so perhaps keep an eye out for other convention appearances by Blizzard.

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

Blizzard registers "Overwatch" trademark?

We've heard from various recent news sources that Blizzard has registered a new trademark. Of course, we recognize the scepticism, following last years incidents with The Dark Below and the associated silliness, but let's take a cautious look at this one.

The trademark is "Overwatch", a term usually used to denote small, supporting military units. Blizzard hired Left 4 Dead developer Michael Booth last year, and it seems like he is directing a small project, with a similar team size to Hearthstone, that isn't Titan. There have been various job listings for positions with this new project, some of which talk about multiplayer experiences and maps. Now this might all be nonsense, but perhaps it points to a new military-styled game coming out of Irvine.

There has long been speculation that Blizzard's next franchise would be a shooter, but with Titan ostensibly on the shelf for now, could this new small team production be that game? We're understandably cautious in our presentation of this information, but it's certainly interesting.

Filed under: Blizzard

Interview: Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig talks Warlords of Draenor

I was lucky enough to head over to Blizzard Campus this week to talk to Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig. Chadd is a huge part of the class design team, key to a lot of the changes we saw in the recent Warlords of Draenor patch notes, which is just what we discussed. We were also joined by Senior Community Representatives Zarhym and Lore. You can also find a much-abbreviated summary on Wowhead.

Olivia: First up, is there anything you really wanted to clarify and get out there?

Celestalon: I've tweeted about pretty much everything. This was the first version of the patch notes, there have been more changes since then, those patch notes are about a week old or so?

Zarhym: Yeah it's like, tons of changes. [Rygarius] said he had a huge list of changes.

Celestalon: There's another five thousand words that aren't up there yet, which [Rygarius] is working on now.

There have been different amounts of patch notes released for different classes. Paladins have been complaining that they haven't got enough, rogues have been really happy that not much has changed. Is it safe to assume there's more to come? This is just step one?

There's definitely more coming. Like, for example, paladins had relatively few patch notes, and a lot of that is we were relatively happy with how things played out, at least for ret and prot, with the exception of a few things we can solve with tuning – changing numbers. So a lot of what you see in the patch notes now is what we call design changes, so the mechanics that we want to change so we can get to some design that we like.

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Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

The joke is on women in Blizzard's April Fool's gag

Though Blizzard doesn't always treat female characters with as much respect as I'd like, where big game companies are concerned they usually do okay -- heck, the fact that you can play a female character at all puts them ahead of a lot of the gaming industry. But Blizzard doesn't have a particularly spotless record, with sexist NPCs, more sexist NPCs, sexual dimorphism, the lack of women in game lore, and the fact that Aggra won't be heading to Draenor in Warlords -- not to mention the fact that Chris Metzen described the journey as "more of a boy's trip" at BlizzCon. The fact that Blizzard does all of this and I still think of them as doing okay speaks to the exceedingly low standards women have where it comes to inclusion in video games.

And in today's April Fool's gag, the joke's on us with the new female draenei models. Today's draenei are the most sexually dimorphic of the lot, with male models that are extremely muscled and female models that are slender -- but still heavy on the cleavage (seriously, they must have so many back problems). Releasing this so-called ugly draenei model as a joke -- though it might have been intended to poke fun at the gamers who insist on sexualized game characters -- just says outright that any women who aren't the height of perfect beauty are a joke.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

New female draenei model?


This morning Blizzard "released" the new female draenei model to the world. The new model is a near complete revamp of the old one -- Blizzard essentially started from the lore and went from there. The female draenei now has fur, more defined edges, and has a deeper connection to the lost ones.

This model will also introduce several unique animations for the female draenei: /twerk, /ew, /chewgum, and /whatever.

Check out more images of the new model after the break.

Is this an April Fools joke? Our money is on that it is. We'll let you decide though.

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WoW Archivist: Warlords of Draenor hates The Burning Crusade

Draining a naaru
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

In many ways, The Burning Crusade was the birth of modern WoW. Most of TBC's innovations are still going strong in WoW today and have been ever since their introduction. Looking back, it's striking how many key features of WoW were absent in classic, only unveiled during the game's first expansion.

Even more striking, however, is how many of these innovations Warlords of Draenor seems poised to undo. Just as Garrosh will undo the transformation of Draenor into Outland, Warlords seeks to unravel most of what Blizzard innovated during TBC. The next expansion will take us through a portal into a very different WoW.

Archivist has now covered all the major patches of The Burning Crusade: patch 2.0.1, patch 2.0.3, patch 2.1, patch 2.2, patch 2.3, and patch 2.4. Now it's time to review the expansion as a whole -- and explore how Warlords will make most of TBC's innovations disappear into the nether.

Dawn of the quest hub

The idea seems so obvious it's hard to imagine that classic WoW actually didn't have quest hubs, at least not in the strict sense. WoW was the first MMO to promote the idea of leveling mainly through quests rather than grinding mobs. So Blizzard had no model to look at when they were designing the original quests.

In classic WoW, quests were put into the game wherever the developers thought they made sense, mostly from a lore perspective. Quests didn't necessarily guide you through a zone area by area. Quests were scattered, and their objectives were, too. They weren't breadcrumbs -- they were meant to be discovered. They didn't hold your hand -- they sent you on an adventure, like it or not.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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