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Hearthstone tournament bans female competitors

No girls are allowed to compete in Finland's Assembly Summer 2014 Dota 2, Ultra Street Fighter IV, and Hearthstone tournaments, which are open to men only. According to the International e-Sports Federation's rules, the genders of competitors in e-sports are separated to help the competition be recognized as a "true sport." In response to complaints, the IeSF posted the following on their Facebook page: "The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports."

And while this means separate but equal style treatment for some events, for others -- like Hearthstone -- it means women simply can't compete at all. At Assembly Summer 2014, women aren't allowed into these tournaments because if they won, they wouldn't be allowed into the IeSF men-only world finals. Markus Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier, speaking to PC Gamer, said that the Finnish eSports Federation is lobbying for equal rights for male and female gamers... but with the long and strange tradition of segregated e-sports (StarCraft competition often has such divisions), that could be a long time coming.

Though the IeSF says it wants to promote female gamers by hosting women's only events, the end result of this is to keep women on the outskirts of pro gaming by relegating their participation to smaller events and smaller stages. All this goes towards suggesting that women aren't good enough to compete with the men -- something that in an all-digital "sport" is difficult, at best, to justify.

We all love the same games, so why can't we play them together?

Filed under: News items

Auction houses will be cross-faction in Warlords of Draenor

Developer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas dropped something of a bomb on the forums late last night: the Horde and Alliance auction houses will be merged in patch 6.0. Watcher confirms that a major reason behind this change is faction imbalance. The faction with the smaller population on any given server often struggles to maintain a lively economy.

With the auction houses merged, we have to wonder what will happen to the neutral auction houses scattered across Azeroth. Will they continue on as an alternate black market or be eliminated entirely? Facilitating trade between the Horde and the Alliance was the entire purpose of the neutral auctioneers -- a purpose rarely utilized by players for anything other than transferring their own items between characters across faction lines.

Update 11:00 a.m. EDT: We now know that neutral auction houses will become integrated into the cross-faction auction houses. In other words, there will no longer be neutral auction houses -- just one massive interconnected auction house system per-server.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Guild leveling and guild perk changes

Players on the Warlords of Draenor beta have noticed something a little different about guild perks in the new expansion -- a large portion of them have simply been removed entirely, including both the Fast Track and Cash Flow perks. While some assumed this was likely a bug, it turns out this is part of change that has been planned for guild leveling. Namely, guild leveling is being by and large removed from the game. Or, if you want to think of it in a slightly different fashion, all guilds will automatically be what level 25 once was.

Why the changes? Watcher hit the forums to explain, and to point out that the perks people normally associate with guilds aren't really going away entirely. Some of them, like Ride Like the Wind or Honorable Mention will just be rolled into the game as default behavior, rather than offered as a perk of any kind. So yes, while the perk is getting removed, we won't really see a change -- flight paths will simply go 25% faster by default. The Cash Flow perk, however, is being flat out removed, and Watcher had some really good points as to why this is being changed.

Read more →

Filed under: Guilds, Warlords of Draenor

EU Connected Realm updates for June 27

The list of EU realms slated for the Realm Connection service has at last been updated with new information and new realms in regards to upcoming dates for the service. At the present time, there are no additional updates for US realms -- this list is for European servers only.

The following EU realms are scheduled for connection on Wednesday, July 2.

English Realms
  • (PvE) Darkspear and Terokkar
  • (PvE) Aszune and Shadowsong
  • (PvP) The Maelstrom and Karazhan/Lightning's Blade/Deathwing
  • (PvP) Frostwhisper and Zenedar/Bladefist
German Realms
  • (PvE) Malygos and Malfurion

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

New human male model revealed

Blizzard has just revealed the revamped human male model, coming in Warlords of Draenor. Like previous reveals, the new model's increased fidelity is immediately obvious. The work done on his facial structure will be appreciated, too -- though he does bear a striking resemblance to Tarzan.

In the reveal, Art Director Chris Robinson also mentions that select work-in-progress models will be hitting the Warlords of Draenor alpha in the near future. The final versions of those models will be revealed on the website.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

US Connected Realms update for June 20

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 until approximately 1pm PDT. Please note that the realms listed below are all US realms -- there are no updates for EU servers at this time.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, June 26.
  • Alterac Mountains and Balnazzar, Gorgonnash, The Forgotten Coast, and Warsong
  • Gnomeregan and Moonrunner

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Patch 5.4.8 hotfixes for June 17

A short list of hotfixes for patch 5.4.8 have been released and posted to the official blog. Although a small round, these hotfixes include the adjustment to the Bloody Coin drop rate mentioned yesterday -- the drop rate is now 100% upon landing a killing blow on a level 90 character. This is an additional adjustment to hotfixes last week that addressed the Censer of Eternal Agony, Bloody Coins, and Fire-Watcher's Oath. In addition, players may now use the Nightmarish Hitching Post in both Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds.

Rygarius

June 17

Creatures

  • NPC vendors selling Tier-16 armor pieces now have significantly more health.

Items

  • Fire-Watcher's Oath: Players transformed into an Ordon Fire-Watcher now have a 100% chance to gain Bloody Coins on killing-blows against level-90 characters. Note that there's still a short internal-cooldown on earning Bloody Coins.
  • Nightmarish Hitching Post is now usable in Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds.

Bug Fixes

  • Resolved an issue where the Nightmarish Reins buff could cause players on a flight path to travel slowly.
  • Resolved an issue where players may receive duplicate letters in-game for purchases made on the store.

Filed under: Hotfixes, Mists of Pandaria

Black Prince reputation buff active June 17 through June 30


Blizzard has announced another temporary buff to players. This time we all will get a 100% Black Prince reputation bonus, which will run from Tuesday June 17 at 9am PDT through Monday June 30 at 9am PDT. The buff is being called "The Gaze of the Black Prince."

In addition to providing the reputation bonus, the buff will increase the drop rate of:
  • Secrets of the Empire
  • Sigil of Wisdom
  • Sigil of Power
  • Titan Runestones

There is no indication how much the drop rate is going to be increased by, nor if this is a one-time-only thing.

Blizzard's full post after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: News items

US Connected Realm updates for June 13

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 until approximately 1pm PDT. At this time, there are no updates to EU realm connections, the servers and dates listed below are for US realms only.

The following US realms have been scheduled for connection on Thursday, June 19.
  • Blackwater Raiders and Shadow Council
  • Grizzly Hills and Lothar
  • Tanaris and Greymane

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

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

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