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Posts with tag blizzard

Hearthstone demos on iPad at CN Hearthstone conference

At a Hearthstone conference (the CN Hearthstone conference, to be exact), Blizzard pulled out the stops and gave a demonstration of Hearthstone for the iPad. We've been hearing that the game will be on tablets since BlizzCon, but although there's a video you can watch here of the game running on an iPad, there's still no specific news of a release date for the device. Watching the video, it's clear that Hearthstone runs very well on the device, and is easy to control with the tablet scheme.

Alex Dai, Blizzard's General Manager for Greater China, had some comments about how game balance and new cars will be handled as well. Head on over to 2P.com to watch the video, or follow us behind the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Hearthstone Insider

Real ID Appear Offline option on the back burner for now

One of the questions we get asked fairly often in the Queue and other places is "Is Blizzard working on an 'appear offline' feature for the Battletag/Real ID friend's list?" I understand the desire for the feature: Sometimes I don't want to have everyone I know see that I'm online because I just want to chill and do something small-scale or by myself.

Sadly, it seems that feature is currently having some troubles being realized. According to Lore, it's hit some technical difficulties.

I'm fairly sad about this, and I hope they can eventually solve those difficulties and get this into existence ASAP.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

5 things I'm amazed WoW still doesn't have

World of Warcraft's tenth anniversary is this year, and with that milestone we've seen a lot of changes, additions, and growth -- the game now spans 90 levels (soon to be 100) and sprawls across the original two continents, Outland, Northrend, Pandaria and places like Deepholm. We'll be traveling to an alternate dimension soon. The game has auction houses, flying mounts, the Brawler's Guild, Proving Grounds, dungeons, raids, scenarios, transmogrification ... a lot has been changed and added over the years.

Yet there are some things WoW never did that I admit, I expected it to do before now. With the level 90 boost incoming, they added one I was wondering about (and which our own Adam Holisky basically predicted based on what other games were doing) but there are still features other games have had over the years that WoW doesn't. Some have seemed like real no-brainers, while others might just be based on my own weird ideas. None of these are things I necessary want or think are good ideas, they're just things I expected.

1 - User Generated Content

When I read up on Neverwinter's user generated content, I immediately found myself wondering why World of Warcraft hadn't taken a bite out of that. The Warcraft RTS was so infamous for player created maps that it spawned a whole sub-genre of games (if you play League of Legends now, that game wouldn't exist without the original Defense of the Ancients mod to Warcraft III) and yet, we've never really seen anything like that in WoW. I understand why Blizzard might want tight control over the game's story and content, but even something where players could submit generated content to be evaluated has never manifested, and I'm kind of astonished. To be honest, after Neverwinter announced its Foundry, I expected something like it for WoW, but I was wrong.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Diablo 3, StarCraft 2

Reaching Blizzard support if you can't log in

Earlier this year, Blizzard launched a new Support Callback feature that allowed players with account issues to simply fill out a form and wait for a callback from support. This was a fantastic move in terms of getting rid of the need to spend hours on hold -- but it did have some players concerned and wondering how, exactly, one was supposed to contact support if one was locked out of their account and could not access the appropriate Battle.net page.

Customer Support representative Araxom has written up a response to just that particular situation over on Reddit. If you cannot access your account, or log into Battle.net, there is a support page that will still allow you to live chat with customer service, set up a callback, or even submit a ticket, all without having to log in. Although callbacks and live chat may not be available every hour of every day, you can still submit a ticket with this method and get a response in a reasonable amount of time. And remember -- if you're worried about account security, picking up an Authenticator is always an excellent idea.

Filed under: Account Security

Third annual Blizzard Student Art Contest announces winners

Blizzard has looked through all of the entries for the third annual Blizzard Student Art Contest and chosen the winners, who were announced on the official website yesterday. Entrants this year had four different categories to choose from -- Environment, Character, and Weapons art, and also an Animation category -- the first time we've seen additional categories for the contest. Needless to say the variety of winning entries covered everything under the sun.

The top three winners were Sukjoo-Choi for the mount model shown above, Servando Lupini for an absolutely gorgeous Hallows End-themed environment design, and Duy Nguyen for an eredar-themed, incredibly ornate weapon that frankly I'd love to see a draenei slinging around. Runners up included more environment and weapon art, as well as several incredibly quirky character designs, including an otter fisherman complete with rod and knapsack full of tasty fish. Check out the official announcement page for a look at all of the entries from the talented winners, runner-ups, and honorable mentions -- and congratulations to all!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Contests

WoW Archivist: WoW's 18 weirdest quest items

Rainbow!
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?

Adventuring in Azeroth has never been what some would call "conventional." The weird happens everyday for the heroes of the Alliance and the Horde. After all, we inhabit a world of talking walruses, and recreational marmot punting. But some quest items go above and beyond into the realm of the truly bizarre. In no particular order, here are my top 18.

1. Valoren's Shrinkage Totem

In a questionable mashup of Free Willy, Seinfeld, and a certain infamous subgenre of Japanese hentai, Wavespeaker Valoren asks you to use his "shrinkage totem" on the tentacle horrors imprisoning Wil'hai the whale shark. Why does Valoren carry such a thing around with him? It's better not to ask such questions.

As if we needed another reason to avoid questing in Vashj'ir, Blizzard went out of their way to remind us how all that cold water affects male genitalia. The totem works as advertised, and I can't help but feel a pang of sympathy for those tentacles when they shrivel up.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Dev Watercooler: Pruning the Gardens of War

We've been waiting for it forever and it's finally here -- Blizzard released the first in a series of Dev Watercoolers discussing Warlords of Draenor. This particular post is about systems changes and the reasons behind them. So what did they reveal this time?
  • The upcoming item squish is detailed, both in terms of the reasoning behind it and the effects it will have. In order to ensure old content will still be soloable, you'll even see a buff implemented when higher level characters clear older content to make them even more powerful by comparison.
  • Base damage on player spells and abilities is being removed - all abilities and damage will scale with spell or attack power.
  • Racial traits are being adjusted - high outliers (like, perhaps, Every Man For Himself) will be reduced in power, while obsolete abilities will be removed entirely.
  • In terms of the ability purge (called 'pruning' here), one big target is Cooldowns. Various classes with multiple cooldowns will see them removed or combined.
  • Crowd Control is seeing a significant overhaul and reduction, with a complete list on the blog post - examples include interrupts no longer having added silences, certain CC's like Cyclone now being dispellable, and all stuns now sharing the same DR.

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

The Agony of Anticipation

This is something that I can personally attest to. Waiting for the details when it's near expansion time can be absolutely agonizing. And yet, wait we must - there's simply no alternative. No amount of speculation, simming based on tantalizing glimpses, or twitter bombardment will force those details from Blizzard before they're ready.

Those details Celestalon is talking about are item squish related in this case, but it's not even remotely the only thing we're waiting for details on now. People (myself included) are desperate for details on a host of issues (button bloat, new raids, the lore/storyline) that we're simply not being told yet, and I know how maddening it can be. It gets worse after events like last week's press trip, because interviews and articles begin tantalizing us with tidbits of information. We see bits and pieces, but in these pre-beta days we can't see the whole picture.

I remember during the end of the Wrath of the Lich King's cycle, waiting for details on Cataclysm, and seeing everyone in my guild speculating on every last thing. The worgen models, the new raids, where would the final raid even be, you name it and we speculated on it. Speculation is fun, it's natural when there's a dearth of info, but it's not something you can hold Blizzard to. Often I see people surprised and upset when an expansion ends up not being what they expected, even if Blizzard never once promised them the thing they built up in their anticipation.

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

Ion Hazzikostas press tour interview with Battlenet.pl

As part of this week's press junkets, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas (who I may or may not have a shrine to in my office) conducted this interview with Polish fansite Battlenet.pl. There's quite a few interesting details to pour over here. Some standouts I noticed:
  • We're going to see world bosses again, including one described as a giant ancestor of the gronn named a Fomor, with powers over earth and stone. I'm surprised it's named Fomor and not Grom, but the name's mythologically sound enough. I find myself wondering if they're big enough to build a town in, like that dude up there.
  • The first raid open (about a week after Warlords launch) is Highmaul, an ogre raid open in Nagrand. Blackrock Foundry will open a few weeks after that, and LFR will be gated as it was in Mists of Pandaria.
  • We're not fighting Garrosh in Warlords. "Garrosh will be around but I don't think... we have really no plans to fight Garrosh again. That's the fight the players have already had and they have won. I don't think there's really much appetite for Garrosh to be a boss you face off again."
  • Ion mentioned the linear aspect of raiding as the biggest down side of raid design in Mists of Pandaria and that they're hoping to make raids less linear in Warlords.
It's a very informative interview, so head over to Battlenet.pl and take a long read for yourself.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Wowhead's talent calculator updated with new Warlords of Draenor talents

In the wake of Blizzard's press event, all sorts of news is burbling out, and among these bits of information are new level 100 talents for rogues, warlocks and warriors. Now Wowhead has updated their Warlords of Draenor talent calculator with these new talents. Some of these changes are pretty amusing.

Rogues, for example, get a new talent at level 100 called Venom Zest, for instance. However, since the video in question didn't actually mouse over said talent, we don't actually know what it does. I like to think it makes venom a delightful accent to any meal. But that's unlikely if you've ever actually eaten with a rogue.

Head on over to Wowhead and take a gander at all the new talents at their talent calculator for Warlords of Draenor. With Celestalon tweeting about an upcoming flood of new information, you should probably keep an eye on it.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Archivist: The evolution of Alterac Valley

This edition of WoW Archivist was originally published July 13, 2012. Given the Alterac Valley terrain changes introduced in patch 5.4.2, we felt this piece of Warcraft history is worth another look.

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 battle was nearly won. Back and forth, a 16-hour war between the Frostwolf Clan and the Stormpike Expedition had ravaged this once-remote valley. Towers and strongholds had been put to the torch. Countless heroes on both sides had fallen to blade and blast. A rampaging troll king had been defeated. Air strikes had rained fire from the sky. Elementals had been summoned and vanquished.

At last, but not without heavy losses, the Frostwolf orcs and their allies had fought their way across the narrow bridge to assault the final bastion of the dwarves. All had sworn to see Vanndar Stormpike dead that day and the valley seized. They would kill him or die in the attempt.

The AV "zone"

The original version of Alterac Valley went live with patch 1.5. Along with Warsong Gulch, these two Battlegrounds were the very first ever added to WoW. Warsong Gulch was designed to be a more traditional PvP experience that anyone who had played Unreal Tournament or Halo could recognize. Some matches could last for a while, but the experience was meant to be a short-term PvP engagement.

Alterac Valley, in its first incarnation, was absolutely nothing like that. AV was not, in any modern sense of the word, a Battleground. AV was a zone.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Blizzard's New Player Guide covers human starting zones

If you know a someone who's eager to get started with WoW, first you ought to hit them up with a Recruit A Friend invitation -- but your next step should be to send them to Blizzard's New Player Guide. The latest installment walks newbies through the human starting zone, and though it may seem awfully basic to you and me, for a brand new player this can be just the sort of information necessary to get their gaming experience off to a good start. Especially handy are the tips scattered throughout, explaining simple -- but important -- concepts like tapping monsters, how to see your equipment, and why you should travel on roads. It even warns players about murlocs, which, having lived (and died) through numerous murloc invasions ourselves, we find a bit unfair... though we suspect newer players probably appreciate the warning.

The guide currently covers the human starting zone, broken into levels 1-5 and levels 5-10 -- just enough to launch players into the big, wide world of Azeroth, but with the tips to help newbies land on their feet.

Filed under: News items

WoW Archivist: What has never changed?

Party fights a dragon
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?

With WoW's tenth anniversary fast approaching, one thing is clear: virtually everything in this game has been changed, updated, or replaced at one time or another. The UI, the stats, character creation, raid systems, class abilities, questing -- all have undergone necessary overhauls to keep the game relevant and modern. A question for the Queue last month asked a very interesting question: What in WoW has never, ever changed?

You might think so, but no

Many aspects of the game seem like they have never changed, but they have.

The act of gathering: Sure, Blizzard added bonuses to the professions in Wrath such as the crit bonus for skinning or the HoT from herbalism. And as of Cataclysm, you can now earn XP by gathering. Gathering no longer requires tools. Yet the fundamental mechanics have always been the same: you right click stuff, get the stuff, and skill up so you can click on better stuff. Right?

Back in classic, gathering actually had a chance to fail. Orange difficulty nodes would not cough up their resources to anyone who wandered past with the minimum required skill. Failing three or four times on a node before a successful gathering attempt was not unheard of.

This led to some interesting "PvP" gathering scenarios, even on PvE realms. If two players converged on the node, the first to click it didn't necessarily get the goods. This situation sometimes led to a hilarious "duel" in which both players failed at gathering over and over again. It became a matter of luck, persistence, and rapid clicking. Mining was especially bad, because it used to take multiple strikes to clear out a node. Two players could spend minutes trying to outmine each other on a single rock.

Racial bonuses, enchantments, and items that boosted gathering skills all mattered much more, not just to save time from the failed attempts, but to beat other players to the punch.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Blizzard's street rename could have used some more PTR testing

According to Nick Carpenter on Twitter, Blizzard has finally gotten the street that runs between their buildings renamed... but it looks like there's a minor bug in the implementation.


Here's to hoping they manage to hotfix it soon... or we may be stuck with Bizzard Entertainment for a while.

Filed under: News items

WoW Archivist: WoW in China, an uncensored history -- part 2

Joyland statues
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 China, few Western games have been more embraced than World of Warcraft. But few games have endured more scrutiny from the government and more interruptions. As WoW Archivist covered two weeks ago, Chinese players have put up with censorship, endless waits for expansions, and intense bureaucratic meddling that shut the servers down for months. But their enthusiasm for the game remains.

Today, we will look at the more recent years of WoW in China, the raiding scene there, and the game's impact on popular culture, including a certain infamous theme park...

Too soon, Executus

After sorting out issues with the Ministry of Culture and GAPP (General Administration of Press and Publications), WoW operator NetEase was on a roll. Though Cataclysm also faced delays, it launched in China on July 12, 2011 -- just half a year after the Western release. By the standards of prior expansions in China, this release was practically instantaneous.

In a bitter irony, however, the expansion actually arrived too soon.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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