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Warlords of Draenor: Shadowmoon Valley in next alpha build

Shadowmoon Valley
World of Warcraft's Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi has confirmed via Twitter that the next alpha build will shut down the Horde lines in Frostfire Ridge and open up Shadowmoon Valley in its place.
Considering Shadowmoon Valley is the expansion's introductory zone for the Alliance, I think it's safe to assume that the "new intro tier garrison" mentioned is, in fact, the Alliance-side garrison. Even though it's never safe to predict these things, it's still nice to know that the addition of Alliance garrison Followers discovered in yesterday's alpha update was, in fact, an indication that Alliance-side testing was nearly upon us.

Having played through a bit of the Alliance quests at the Temple of Karabor during BlizzCon, I'm particularly interested to hear what the alpha-testers have to say about the rest of the zone, as well as how the blue garrison quests are both different and similar to the red ones.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warforged Nightmare mount now available

A new mount has appeared in the Blizzard Store on live servers. The Warforged Nightmare is available for $30 on US accounts. The Warforged Nightmare is a single player ground and flying mount, a fiery warhorse covered in spikes and chains. However, the smiths that crafted the mount have a surprise in store for you -- not only do you receive the mount, you also receive the Nightmarish Hitching Post with your order. Make a group with your friends, because clicking on this item will give any party member their own 20 minute version of the Warforged Nightmare for themselves. It's a mount and a toy, and both can be yours via the Blizzard Store. For more information and footage of the steed in action, check out Blizzard's official announcement video.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor: New alpha build

A new build has been released onto the Warlords of Draenor alpha servers. The servers are not yet available for play by testers, so any changes in available content are currently unknown. However, dataminers are already hard at work. The current build includes numerous class changes, glyph changes, and myriad similar updates.

The build also appears to include numerous scenarios relating to old dungeons. For example, an Utgarde Pinnacle scenario with a straightforward objective: defeat the bosses of Utgarde Pinnacle. As we're unable to playtest at the moment, the implementation of these scenarios is unknown. It's possible content from previous expansions will scale up with us as scenarios.

Followers for the Alliance garrison appear in the latest build, too. Follower: Vindicator Onaala, among others, indicate progress on the Alliance side of things, if not necessarily an imminent testing of Alliance content.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

US and EU Connected Realm updates for June 6

The Connected Realm service is making a return, and a whole new host of realms are scheduled for connection over the next several weeks for both the US and European servers. Although US realms have specific dates listed for connections, EU realms are simply listed as beginning next week.

The following US realms have been scheduled for connection on Thursday, June 12.
  • Azuremyst and Staghelm
  • Drenden and Arathor
  • Duskwood and Bloodhoof
  • Nagrand and Caelestrasz

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor inventory UI updates

In addition to the toy box, Warlords of Draenor introduces a number of other updates to World of Warcraft's inventory UI, some of which can be seen in the image above. Each bag, minus your backpack, can now be assigned to a specific type of item. If you want all of your looted equipment to go in your last bag, for example, you can assign that bag to equipment. The above image also displays the ignore option for the new Cleanup system. On your primary backpack, there's a new Cleanup icon that will automatically organize your bags, quickly sorting all similar items together. Ignoring a bag ensures that if there's a particular mess you particularly enjoy, it will not be automatically sorted. The Cleanup option is also available in your bank.

Junk items -- items with no purpose but to be sold to a vendor for gold -- are now marked with a small gold piece. When it's time to shed your vendor trash, you can now see at-a-glance what you should be selling.

In addition, everyone's bank now has a dedicated 98-slot reagents tab for crafting materials and other miscellany. Certainly, that's a better solution than using numerous profession-specific bags such as herbalism's Hyjal Expedition Bag. The reagent tab comes with a Deposit All Reagents button, allowing you to deposit your array of herbs, ores, or whatever else you may have with a single button press. The button is also useful if you're not sure what does or does not qualify as a reagent. If the button takes it, you're golden. If it doesn't, it isn't a reagent.

A screenshot of the reagent tab is included below if you want to see it for yourself, but let's be honest -- it's a grid of empty inventory squares. I think we can all visualize that pretty well.

Read more →

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Outline Mode added to targeting and mouseover in Warlords

The Warlords of Draenor alpha has implemented Outline Mode, which you can see in action in the screenshot above. Characters you target or mouse over are now given a glowing highlight. Friendly players or NPCs glow green, aggressive characters or NPCs glow red, neutral NPCs glow yellow, and characters that are not flagged for PVP glow blue. Quest items are given a yellow glow from afar, regardless of whether you've moused over them or not, making them far easier to find. The outline is initially quite bright, but fades to a softer color shortly after.

While not a necessary addition, it does help make your target stand out from a crowd or from a busy background. Outline Mode also provides at-a-glance information about whether your target is friend or foe, eliminating the need to first look at a nameplate. Seeing it action makes me wonder if it would be viable to play entirely without a UI when there isn't text in need of being read. It also works from a distance, highlighting targets that might be very far away, and thus very small on your screen. I could see that being a boon to players with poor vision. That was not a pun.

If you aren't a fan of Outline Mode, it can be disabled in your system settings or changed to a mode wherein only quest NPCs are highlighted.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: First look at the toy box

The Toy Box is one of those features eagerly anticipated by those of us with serious inventory problems. There are oodles items that aren't useful, but we'd like to keep for the fun factor. The Toy Box UI has been implemented in the Warlords of Draenor alpha, accessible through a new, third tab on the pets and mounts UI. Unfortunately, I'm playing through the alpha on a template character -- an automatically generated level 90 with no toys whatever, as you can see in the screenshot above. Alliance characters, where most of my toys rest, are disabled entirely for the current phase of testing.

A larger screenshot of the full UI can be found below the cut along with a list of all items currently categorized as toys.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor alpha invitations being distributed

After months of eager anticipation, it appears the Warlords of Draenor Friends & Family Alpha Test may finally be upon us. Community members are reporting that they have received invitations and others state the alpha client has appeared on the launcher, as seen above.

Though invitations are being sent, the alpha doesn't appear to be playable quite yet -- launching the client yields an "unable to validate game version" error. As soon as the alpha becomes playable, WoW Insider will be diving in.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Dev Watercooler: Warlords of Draenor stat update

Blizzard has just posted a large blog detailing updates to many of the stats in WoW. There has been a lot of work behind the scenes on these stats since BlizzCon 2013, and it's clear that Blizzard is working hard to get through various design issues they've noticed. It's also clear (as in the case of a stat like Multistrike) that they've taken feedback from the community and ran with it.

Blizzard's post provides a handy list summarizing the changes coming up in Warlords:

Secondary Stats
  • Haste: (Unchanged) Increases attack speed, spell casting speed, and some resource generation
  • Critical Strike: (Unchanged) Increases your chance to critically strike, dealing double damage
  • Mastery: (Unchanged) Increases the effectiveness of your specialization-specific Mastery
  • Multistrike: (New) Grants two chances for your damage and healing effects to fire an additional time, each at 30% effectiveness
  • Versatility: (New) Increases damage and healing, and reduces damage taken
  • Spirit: (Unchanged, healer-only) Increases mana regeneration rate
  • Bonus Armor: (New, tank-only) Increases your armor
Minor Stats
  • Movement Speed: (New) Increases your movement speed
  • Indestructible: (New) Causes the item to not take durability damage
  • Leech: (New) Causes you to be healed for a portion of all damage and healing done
  • Avoidance: (New) Reduces your damage taken from area-of-effect attacks.
The full post, after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Ben Foster playing Medivh in Warcraft movie

IGN spoke with actor Ben Foster about his role in the upcoming Warcraft film, and Foster revealed that he's playing none other than Medivh, the last Guardian of Tirisfal, opener of the Dark Portal, and later savior of the world. From the interview, it seems as though the story for the film -- which has never really been properly revealed -- may be a little more clear. According to Foster, "He came up in a time protecting an area, and the way he protected this area was through magic. As peace returned to this land he took a break. He hung up his staff, so to speak, or let his guns get dusty. We meet him as his friends are returning asking for his help in a battle."

If Medivh's friends are asking for help regarding a certain portal to another world, we could be looking at a modified retelling of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, one created with a proper cinematic twist. It would certainly be a nice counterpoint to Warlords of Draenor, which is sending players to explore an alternate version of Draenor. Needless to say, Medivh's confirmed appearance, and confirmed actor in the film are a nice surprise -- head to IGN for more from Foster and his role in the Warcraft movie, hitting theaters in 2016.

Filed under: News items, Warcraft Movie

Patch 5.4.8 hotfixes for May 27

A small set of hotfixes for patch 5.4.8 have been released and posted on the official blog. The short list includes some adjustments to items, as well as a change for PvP enthusiasts in tank spec that are playing in either Temple of Kotmogu or Deepwind Gorge.
  • Black Grasp of the Destroyer's drain mana effect no longer affects targets above level 73.
  • Similarly, Soul Breaker's draen mana effect no longer affects targets above level 63.
  • An issue in which Going to Need A Bigger Bag wasn't being tracked across all characters on an account has now been resolved.
Read on for the full list of hotfixes.

Read more →

Filed under: Hotfixes, Mists of Pandaria

Heroes of the Storm alpha patch notes

A huge patch for Heroes of the Storm has dropped today. In fact, it's so big that you'll need to uninstall your current Heroes and reinstall the game completely. You might find this odd, but in a alpha test, anything is game (and remember this is still an alpha test).

There are an absolute ton of UI and character changes. It's clear that Blizzard is working hard behind the scenes to make this game as friendly and competitive as possible. There really isn't a stone that they don't turn over and do something with.

You can find the complete patch notes after the break, and look at the hero changes over on Blizzard's site.

Read more →

Filed under: Heroes of the Storm

Patch 5.4.8 hotfixes for May 21

World of Warcraft community manager Rygarius released the latest round of hotfixes this evening. Tonight's fixes include:

Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Resolved an issue where the Rated Battleground flag carrier debuff functioned incorrectly. Characters in a Tanking specialization should now correctly take 50% additional damage while carrying a flag in a Rated Battleground.
  • Replica General's Leather Treads no longer increases the duration of Sprint in Arenas or Rated Battlegrounds.
  • Burdens of Eternity may no longer be used while inside a Heroic Dungeon, Raid, or Scenario.
Bug Fixes
  • Resolved an issue where Feats of Strength for Collector's Edition: Dread Raven and Collector's Edition: Dread Hatchling were not being correctly awarded to players.
  • Resolved an issue where players transitioning from Eastern Plaguelands into Ghostlands while on certain flying mounts would be unable to resummon the mount until the they relog back in.
The issues around the Going to Need a Bigger Bag achievement has not yet been resolved, but we are assured that a fix is in the works.

Filed under: News items

Patch 5.4.8 Patch notes

The official patch notes for patch 5.4.8 have now been released and posted to the official blog. While the latest patch is a small one, it contains some pretty important updates to the gear upgrade system, and valor point acquisition. In addition, a few changes have been made to the Siege of Orgrimmar on Raid Finder difficulty.
  • Mistweaver Ai on the Timeless Isle now sells the Deeds of Valor token for 3000 Timeless Coins. Using the token will grant the player 100 valor points, up to the 1000 valor weekly limit.
  • Heirloom weapons awarded by Garrosh Hellscream have been increased by 8 item levels.
  • All upgradeable epic quality items from patch 5.4 are now eligible to be upgraded an additional two times with valor.
It appears that two of the datamined items, Heart of the Valorous and Gaze of the Black Prince, will not actually be introduced with this patch, according to a tweet by Rygarius.

Read on for the full patch notes.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

YouTube reportedly acquiring Twitch for $1 billion

YouTube is set to acquire for $1 billion, according to sources at Variety. At the moment, there are few details about the deal, but the acquisition would make sense. Since Twitch's launch, it has become the de facto livestreaming service for gamers. Gaming channels are also some of YouTube's most popular content, but their own attempts at provided a livestream service have left something to be desired in comparison to Twitch. Joining the services rather than attempting to compete is the obvious choice for YouTube. With this acquisition, Google will become an even more dominant force, owning the largest video sharing site on the internet in addition to the largest streaming service, combined with their marketshare in smartphones.

The news of the acquisition has raised some concerns about potential Google+ integration. There has been no word about that happening as of yet, but the gaming audience considers its integration with YouTube a nuisance at best. Maintaining a separation of real identities and online identities has long been a sticking point for gamers, as displayed by the Real ID incident back in 2010, when Blizzard intended for real names to be used on the forums, a decision that the company reversed before it went live.

How this acquisition impacts Twitch, for better or for worse, will be interesting to watch. Many games released in recent years, Blizzard's Hearthstone among them, owe at least a portion of their popularity to Twitch streamers. With 45 million unique viewers per month as of January 2014, Twitch's impact on gaming is substantial.

Filed under: News items

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