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Diablo III releases May 15, free Diablo III Annual Pass deal ends May 1

Diablo III finally has a release date: May 15, 2012. World of Warcraft players looking to grab a copy of Diablo III for free can still sign up for the WoW Annual Pass and get all of the rewards until 12:01am on May 1, 2012. After May 1, the Annual Pass promotion will be ending, so sign up soon if you're interested.

Signing up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass requires a one-year commitment to World of Warcraft to acquire and keep rewards associated with the commitment.

Free Diablo III annual pass ends May 1, 2012
World of Warcraft players interested in getting Diablo III for free can still get in on the World of Warcraft Annual Pass, but the promotion will be ending at 12:01 a.m. PDT on May 1, 2012.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Yes, we know some stores have Cataclysm release dates

There's been a lull of Cataclysm info recently, so we're getting repeats tenfold of the kind of emails we used to get before Wrath's official release date was announced -- emails saying that Amazon or Gamestop or other retailers have release dates listed for the new expansion already.

Here's the rub. Blizzard hasn't yet divulged a release date for Cataclysm, probably because they have no earthly idea when it's coming out yet. Until they do, any release dates from stores are, at best, speculation or, at worst, outright lies.

But why would retailers list a release date for Cataclysm if one doesn't exist yet? Simple: to take your money. Many game retailers (Gamestop especially) stock their stores based solely on preorder numbers, only getting a few extra for the teeming masses that never thought to go to Wal-Mart to get a guaranteed copy without putting money down first. In the meantime, you get to ... not have that money. Not a good deal.

Preordering is a process designed to get money from you without getting anything in return for an inordinate amount of time, so wait until Blizzard announces a date before you plunk any of your hard-earned money down. And, again -- we know when the sites say Cataclysm's coming out. You'll know just as soon as we do when it'll actually be available.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Cataclysm

Going out on an in-game date

I thought this was a really cute idea: an in-game date, sharing some of the best locations and activities around Azeroth with someone you love (or just happen to be courting). There are lots of great ideas in that thread -- I agree that the Twin Colossals is one of the more scenic (and out of the way) vistas to visit, but there are plenty more to go to: The Grim Guzzler, a floating island in Nagrand, the Darkmoon Faire, inside the bio-domes in Netherstorm. Personally, I think the best date would be a picnic on the deck of the ship in Deadmines -- sure, you'd have to fight off ninjas every once in a while, but what is a date without a little ninja fighting, right?

If you do head out on a date, make sure you bring some roses and a bottle of wine (depending on how well you expect the date to go). If you've really thought ahead, you can bring a Romantic Picnic Basket, or you can shell out for a regular Picnic Basket, but otherwise, it's probably just best to have a snack of Delicious Chocolate Cake (it's guaranteed to make your date Very Happy).

Like I said, cute. Spending the time together with friends is what the game is all about anyway, and there's nothing wrong with taking some time to experience the world and hang out with each other. And if that's a little too boring for your tastes, maybe you can have your date tag along with you to some 2v2 Arena matches afterwards. Nothing gets the romance going like a little bloodshed.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Buffs

WoW Insider Show tomorrow afternoon on WoW Radio

We have a confession to make -- this week's WoW Insider Show has already been recorded. I know, I know, we really enjoy getting on IRC and doing the show live, too, but Duncor the (so-called) Dependable is heading out to a wedding this weekend, and since he's our producer, we had to fudge things a little bit, and we recorded the show last night. Worry not, though -- we'll still be playing the show for the first time on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 over on WoW Radio, and if I'm around, I'll try to jump into IRC to chat while we listen.

The good news is that we finally have some good Mage talk in the show -- blogger Andy "Aurdon" Scott of joined us on the show, and if you've been waiting to hear some good discussion about the food-and-drink dispensers of the world, you'll hear it. John "BigBearButt" Patricelli was also on with us with his great insight as always, and Duncor came on as well (Turpster is still jetlagged from his trip to the States and will be back next week). And in addition to all the Mage talk, we talked about the release date for Wrath, whether that mount achievement is too hard, and whether it's ok for motorcycles to be in a fantasy game, among many other things.

If you want to chat on IRC Saturday afternoon while we listen to the show, join us at in the #wowradio channel, or just click "Chat" on the WoW Radio homepage. And you can email us, as always, at Be sure to tune in tomorrow afternoon -- it won't be live (have a nice time at the wedding, Duncor!), but it will be a good listen.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Interviews, WoW Insider Show

WotLK: Collector's Edition available for pre-order today

The regular edition of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King will be selling for $39.99, and for only $30 more (total of $69.99) you can get the Collector's Edition. You can now legitimately pre-order the Collector's Edition at many retailers across the country and online.

My local GameStop up here in Fargo, ND has them available for pre-order as of this morning. However as is standard policy with them, you can only pre-order games by going into the store. It has been my experience that in general you cannot pre-order over the phone, but your mileage may vary.

If you're interested in pre-ordering online, the two major sites that I found to have the C.E. listed are Amazon and GameStop. Other sites, such as Best Buy, don't have the C.E. up yet. Remember however, if you want to get the game at midnight you'll most likely need to deal with a local retailer.

We covered the contents of the Collector's Edition yesterday, but just as a refresher, here are the major highlight:
  • A 208-page LK art book
  • Frosty, the baby frost wyrm (non-combat pet)
  • A DVD with developer interviews, commentary on the cinematic, etc.
  • Soundtrack CD
  • Mouse pad with a map of Northrend
  • Two starter decks for the CCG, and two exclusive cards
All of the latest news can be found on our Wrath page. Also, Ask a Beta Tester answers all your burning questions, Lichborne will walk you through the Death Knight class, and in Skill Mastery we've been explaining each class's new spells and abilities one by one. Prepare yourself; this is going to be fun.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Online retailers point towards a November 4 release for Wrath

We'll begin this post with the usual: this is Blizzard we're talking about, and Blizzard doesn't release games or the dates they'll start selling those games until they're good and ready. So any speculation about Blizzard's release dates, is, by its nature, pretty useless -- if Blizzard wants to announce at BlizzCon that Wrath isn't coming out until January, they will.

However, as many readers have noticed, there's been an interesting development in the rumored release date lately. Before now, all the online stores have had all kinds of different dates: some were saying October, some were saying early November, and some were saying late November. But over the past week or so, almost all of the online stores have settled on a single date: November 4. The sign above, sent in by reader Daniel A., is from a JB HiFi store in Australia, and beckons toward a midnight release on November 3rd.

So. We'll stress again: retailers often set their own release dates way in advance of an official announcement, just so they can sell preorders of a game. It's very likely this means nothing, and Blizzard will release their game whenever they want -- don't start filling out your vacation form yet, because this is not an official date. But something has pointed all of these online retailers toward Election Day of this year, so if you want to guess at a release date, that's as good as any.

Thanks to Ollie, Daniel A., and everyone else who sent this in.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast topic: The calm before the storm

The expansion draws ever nearer, and many folks are working away at the last important bits of Burning Crusade content. We're looking to see Wrath by the end of this year. I've been spending a lot of time leveling alts to get ready for Wrath of the Lich king. I've noticed that this has been surprisingly easy compared to my previous leveling experiences. In the last week or so I've leveled my Warrior from 40 to 56 with very little resistance. I've probably only been ganked a total of ten or so times.

I'm beginning to think either most people have shifted their priorities from hunting lowbies to preparations for the level 70 to 80 grind. Or could it be that many of the folks who would ordinarily be giving me grief have been preoccupied playing in the beta test? It reminds me of the unofficial truce between factions immediately following the release of BC.

Has your gaming experience changed recently?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Breakfast Topics, Leveling, Alts, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard planning Wrath launch in China "as soon as possible" after US

Mike Morhaime spoke up about World of Warcraft in Activision's earnings conference call last week (strange, since there was almost no sign of Blizzard at the Activision press conference during E3), and he spoke about Blizzard's plan for Wrath of the Lich King's release in China. In the past, there's been a signficant delay between releases in the US and Eastern companies (not that it's hurt the popularity there). And Blizzard says they want to close that delay, but it's up to the government over there to approve the content -- in the past, the government of China has asked for changes to be made to the game, and Blizzard says the release schedule is dependent on their approval.

Morhaime also said that the game continues to grow -- they've seen big growth around marketing campaigns, the holiday season (when people buy the game for others), and the release of new content. And you don't have to be a WoW expert to see that they're going to hit a perfect storm of all three later this year. This could be the biggest winter the World of Warcraft has ever had.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Season 4 does not begin June 17th

There has been a rumor going around for a few days that arena season 4 will begin on June 17th. I actually heard this in Alterac Valley this weekend when I was plowing through the place with a few friends and tanking Drek and two of his generals.

While lots of folks wish it was different, season 4 will not be starting on the 17th. Drysc said as much today in a blue post, and went on to reiterate that they will still be giving a two week notice of any upcoming season.

Personally, I expect season 4 to start sometime in late July or early August. That gives it about four months of activity until the supposed release of Wrath of the Lich King in November. But even the release of WotLK in November is unconfirmed, and that's just my guess which is no better than any rumor you hear in a battleground. The only official word will come from Blizzard, which we'll have carried here as soon as we hear it.

Filed under: News items, PvP, Arena, Rumors

Forum Post of the Day: Setting the mood

We've asked before where people would like to live or vacation in Azeroth, and have gotten a surprising variety of responses. There are many lovely, scenic, and adventurous places that would be fantastic to visit. But is there anywhere you'd like to go on a date?

Sildurcausius of EU-Arathor (who needs an easier name to spell) asked on the EU-General forums where he should take his girl on a date in WoW. He said that he's bought a tux and some fireworks for the occasion. Amazingly enough, the responses offered some great suggestions:

  • Delilan of Nordrassil, "On the cliffs at Hinterlands is very preeeetty at sunset on a clear day..And feels like a romantic sorta place.." (followed by "Cant believe I just typed that")
  • Nyala of Steamwheedle Cartel, "In Feralas, the Twin Colossals. There is an npc near them that will teleport you to the top of one of the colossals. At the top is an npc who sells parachutes that allow you to jump down safely."
  • Erinys of Vashj, "The view from the hunting lodge balcony in loch modan is pretty especially at sunset and sunrise."
  • Thundernut of Quel'Thalas, "Perpetual autumn, very nice trees here. The sky is an orange/pinkish glow at night. If you like water an island in the bay of storms also gives a pretty view.

Read more →

Filed under: Tips, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Forum Post of the Day

More details on Blizzcast 2008

Blizzplanet got a hold of more details of Blizzard's newly announced video podcast. You read that right, it's not just a podcast, but a video podcast. And it's coming the first week of January.

Along with the previously announced interviews with WoW Lead Designer Jeff Kaplan about the upcoming Patch 2.4 Sunwell content and Art Director Sam Didier, fans will get their say as well. Blizzard will be soliciting questions from the players and giving replies to Community Managers Karune and Nethaera. I suppose that means we'll be seeing them on the Blizzcast as well.

Video podcasting is tricky business. Production value can make or break it. Fortunately, Blizzard is known for their high level of production value in everything they do, so I am looking forward to seeing how this goes. Either way, the content may trump all since we all want to know more about Sunwell.

But I'm also a little suspicious of the "first week in January" promise for the first Blizzcast. Coming out of a two week holiday, it will be a miracle for any company to pull off something as labor intensive as a video podcast. Time will tell.

[via MMO-Champion]

EDIT: After the writing of this article, Blizzard has confirmed that the first installment will be an audio podcast.

Filed under: Podcasting, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard planning an official podcast in 2008

According to the official StarCraft II forums, Blizzard is going to enter of the world of official podcasting-- BlizzCast is set to take off sometime, we're told, around January 2008, which, I believe, makes this the first time Blizzard has ever guessed at a release date for one of their upcoming projects! Write it in the history books! All kidding aside, it should definitely be something to set your iTunes for-- there'll be interviews with Samwise Didier and Jeff Kaplan, and supposedly "a sweepstakes/giveaway and LOTS of SWAG." Swag, you say? Sounds enticing.

Of course, this will be an official podcast, so while it'll definitely be a good listen, it probably shouldn't replace that other Warcraft podcast in your diet. But hopefully, if Blizzard does it right, the podcast will be another outlet for them to share not only news and hints about upcoming content, but make several issues and questions clear for the player audience at large. Can't wait to hear what they come up with-- sounds like it'll be a fun addition to their website in the new year.

[Via MMO-Champion]

Filed under: Podcasting, Blizzard

Tuar Annwn's Date Auction on Moon Guard this Saturday

Here's something different-- RP guild Tuar Annwn is going to host a "date auction" this Saturday on the Moon Guard server, to raise money for their Winter Ball being held next month. They say it's going to go down near the North Sanctum in Eversong Woods on the 15th at 9pm server, but they don't exactly say how it's going to go down-- gold, it seems, will be paid, but what exactly does a "date" entail? A romantic trip to the Hinterlands? An evening walk through the magical city of Silvermoon? Dinner and a Deadmines run?

Looks like it'll be fun no matter what happens. Also of note is that apparently only women are being auctioned off (fine with me, but rich people of all sexes might want something to spend their gold on), and as far as I can tell, there's no guarantee that the woman you "buy" is actually a woman out of game-- ah, the magic of roleplaying. Of course, for the Blood Elves, it may not matter-- Mortarian contributes this gem of a comment: "Most of Silvermoon City probably thinks that monogamy is a type of wood." Funny.

Should be an interesting event. As always, if you go, take pictures and send them to us. We always enjoy seeing interesting player-run events around the realms.

[Via WoW LJ]

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Making money

Reasoning out 2.3 patch timing

Saupak has done about a good a job as I've ever seen of breaking down exactly when patch 2.3 might actually appear. There's a bumpy future ahead for the next two months-- it's full of holidays, vacations, and events, and so it'll be very interesting to see when Blizzard decides to insert Zul'Aman into Azeroth. Of course, the last patch dropped right when I was meant to be playing the just-released Halo 3, so there probably are no sacred cows-- Blizzard patches when they want to.

However, there are a few hits. We know the patch isn't going live today. The 13th and the 20th are out, because Blizz wants to give us notice, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. That leaves the last week of November, and the first three weeks of December (very unlikely that Blizzard would drop a patch on Christmas or New Year's, because they've got to take a break sometime). Other than that, we're looking at the 8th, 15th, or 22nd of January.

Saupak's big bit of reasoning is that there were 168 days between 2.0 and 2.1, and 126 days between 2.1 and 2.2, so his guess is January 15th for the patch-- 105 days between 2.2 and 2.3. But remember that 2.2 was delayed so long because of the sound engine problems, and we don't have that with 2.3. And Zul'Aman is more or less done. So if I had to guess, I'd say we're looking at an early December patch-- either the 4th or the 11th (we've got to see an update sometime then anyway, for Feast of Winter's Veil). If we don't see it by then, then yes, my guess is that we're looking at January. Blizzard may try to squeeze it out before Thanksgiving, but I don't think that's likely. I do think they want to release it before Christmas, though-- and leave 2008 for the year of the Lich King.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard

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