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by Published on 2015-11-07 09:26 AM

Warcraft Movie Recap
We finally got to see the trailer at Blizzcon this year! The movie comes out June 10, 2016.

Press Event
There was a press event for the movie that featured Duncan Jones, Chris Metzen, and some of the movie cast.

  • The initial version of the movie felt a little bit like "Humans are good, everything else is bad". Duncan Jones came in and pitched a film that told the story of both sides with the same empathy, care, and time.
  • Blizzard wanted to share the Warcraft story with people around the world, especially the vast part of the world population that doesn't play games.
  • Blizzard and Legendary shared a lot of the same values, so it was a great match.
  • Duncan laid out his vision for the film and it felt like he was pulling the thoughts right out of their heads. He gets the details right and appreciates the nuances.
  • The movie is a chance to show people who we love what it is that has gripped us so strongly for such a long period of time.
  • If you don't play Warcraft, you can still appreciate the movie as a fantastical story of right and wrong, as well as choosing the right thing to do.
  • If they do play Warcraft, there are so many great Easter eggs hidden in the movie for you to find.
  • This movie really feels like it is for everybody.
  • Durotan was all motion capture, so it took a strong director to make it work. You really have to become the character and get every detail right, as motion capture will capture every detail.
  • There was an orc cam to help actors get used to motion capture and create a movement vocabulary for Orcs.
  • Paula Patton plays Garona. She got the script and loved it because it read like a novel, with great background and history for every character.
  • Patton was also fascinated by the fact that her character was half human and half Orc, living a life of pain and struggle as a slave to Gul'dan. She had to fight to gain respect in the Orc culture and now feels like a fish out of water in the human world.
  • Patton found the role challenging and initially scary, but she eventually learned to ride a horse and wield a sword.
  • Garona is the bridge between two cultures that have never met and are now meeting for the first time.

  • The actors got some idea of what things would look like during motion capture but they didn't see a completed and finished Orc until after they had been shooting for several weeks. Seeing how great the Orcs would look was a relief to all of them.
  • Technology has significantly advanced since Avatar, so the motion capture used in Warcraft was even nicer than Avatar.
  • Gul'dan has an unusual posture, so the actor had to squat and stay hunched over during filming.
  • The movie is a retelling of Warcraft 1, which was turned into a novel called The Last Guardian. The novel allowed them to build out the characters and story more, but storytelling of games was still crude in 1994. The mythology grew a little more with the movie, along with some tactical calls to simplify themes and ideas. The movie is the ultimate version of Warcraft 1, streamlining all of the best parts into something better.
  • The team made some weird decisions with the lore over time, some things Metzen wishes he could take back. Retelling the story was a chance for redemption, making the Warcraft 1 that everyone remembers, but better.
  • The "For the Horde", "For the Alliance", and "For Azeroth" roars from Blizzcon 2014 did get used!

Trailer Screenshots

Press Kit Images

Movie Posters

by Published on 2015-11-06 10:10 PM

World of Warcraft Cinematics - The Road to Legion
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
  • The cinematic needed an emotional hook, so the team looked at war movies.
  • They considered starting with an Alliance footman writing letters to his family, then Orc grunt who was writing letters to her family, finishing with Varian writing to Anduin.
  • Every shot brings the ship from the cinematic closer to the Broken Isles. It was very technically challenging!
  • There were thick clouds and they wanted to use sunlight beams to light the characters.
  • The ship wasn't going to be featured in the game, so they cinematics team was able to customize it as they wished. They elongated the ship and widened the bow to make it more front heavy.
  • The gunship model was very detailed. 7 million faces, 3000 of the 4000x4000 texture maps, raytracing. It takes 4-6 hours to render each frame.
  • There were 18th century ships they used as inspiration.
  • They also looked at older planes with sheets of metal and rivets.
  • The original cabin was going to be much larger, but it felt better smaller, allowing it to just be a backdrop for the character.
  • Some of the items on the desk are reused from previous cinematics.
  • The compass is passed down from Llane Wrynn.
  • The team drew inspiration from all of the different versions of Varian art that already existed.
  • Translating the character proportions from art to the 3D model was challenging.
  • Varian texture maps were based on real people. Pictures of 40 year old white males that worked in the office were used for reference. These detailed shots are used to make Varian's skin look real.
  • Much of the variation in his skin is from the reference photos, not painted.
  • There are as many texture maps on Varian as there are on the entire gunship.
  • Varian has lots of hair!
  • Varian takes 4-6 hours per frame and 20-30 GB of memory to render.
  • The lens makes a difference to how Varian's facial features appear.
  • Later on in the process the team picks the f-stop / focal length, trying to keep the result look realistic.
  • Lens distortion and chromatic aberration help to make it look like a real lens was used. Making 3D look realistic involves adding artifacts back in to the video.
  • Lots of reference video was used to give Varian realistic facial movements. No motion capture was used!
  • There were 50+ assets on the deck in the first big shot of the deck, helping to make it look filled out and realistic.
  • The team can use a motion capture camera to walk around the 3D deck to capture the camera movement, adding the smaller shakes and sways that come with using a real camera.
  • Motion capture was used to animate some of the other characters in cinematic, such as the soldiers on the deck.
  • The effects team made some really great water by using reference footage of someone in a pool.
  • There is a small goblin tugboat in one of the shots.
  • Some of the ships were recycled from other cinematics, such as the ship being destroyed in Booty Bay or the ships in the Mists of Pandaria cinematic. More detail had to be added to the ships.
  • The reference for the Horde ship coming through the clouds was older Viking ships. It was less detailed than the Alliance ship, with most of it near Sylvanas for her closer shots.
  • Sylvanas being an Undead High Elf was something the team wanted to be reflected properly in the cinematic.
  • Sylvanas had some more armor added to her midriff.
  • It is hard to get the subtle facial detail for younger women right. The team had some photo references of women's faces, projected it on the model, and cleaned it up from there. The pore detail is from real people.
  • The team added the illusion of red bloodflow in her ears with the lighting.
  • The team worked with Anna Maltese to capture reference footage to make sure Sylvanas moved realistically.
  • The fel energy was used as a team color, appearing on all of the enemies.
  • The final fighting shot used hundreds of reference footage shots to make it great.
  • Lots of effort put in to the lighting and composition to make it amazing!

  • The Illidan model from Burning Crusade was updated for Legion.
  • If the team does reuse assets, they usually have to update them to add more detail.
  • Orc skulls are reused in several cinematics.
  • Around 50% of environment assets are reused from previous work.
  • Cataclysm zeppelins are also in the background of the Legion cinematic.

by Published on 2015-11-06 08:30 PM

World of Warcraft: Legion - World and Content Overview
Legion beta is coming in the weeks after Blizzcon! Blizzard posted a short recap of the panel.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
The Broken Shore
  • The cinematic ties directly in to the main story of Legion, a first for the cinematics.
  • Legion is an opportunity to take storytelling to a new level.
  • Broken Shore will have a 40 person scenario for the Horde and Alliance, kicking off the expansion and changing the world. It starts right after the cinematic.
  • The level 100 boost is it's own separate adventure, so Broken Shore tuning will be more challenging and fun.
  • The Broken Shore scenario is 20 Alliance and 20 Horde fighting towards the Tomb of Sargeras.

Demon Hunter
  • The Demon Hunter intro is the story bridge from Burning Crusade to Legion, answering what Illidan was doing in the Black Temple.
  • There will be a cinematic at the start of the Demon Hunter intro.
  • Illidan was not prepared!
  • Mardum was a prison world for demons a long time ago, but it was shattered by Sargeras. You are there to get the Keystone that held the demons in for a long time.
  • The Burning Legion has more powerful versions of older demons, along with new more terrifying demons.
  • The Legion has giant Constructs as well.
  • You will turn the Legion's devices against them, bringing in your own army, listening in on their communication, and stealing power from their crystals, reducing some of your cooldowns to 0 for a short time.
  • You will gain your abilities by taking them from the powerful demons that you slay during the intro.
  • Illidan creates a Felsaber epic mount for you.
  • Maiev Shadowsong takes you prisoner at the end of the intro, putting you in the Vault of the Wardens for a long time.
  • The second half takes place in Vault of the Wardens, coming in Beta.
  • After the intro you join the Horde / Alliance who need your help to take the fight to the Burning Legion.
  • You then return to Mardum to establish your class Order hall.
  • Finally, you quest for your own artifact warglaives.

The Broken Isles
  • We are looking for the Titan relics, The Pillars of Creation.
  • The Broken Isles were a tiny part of a vast region of Azeroth known as Suramar.
  • Suramar was devastated in the Shattering, leaving only The Broken Isles.

  • Val'sharah is being consumed by the Emerald Nightmare.
  • Malfurion was trained as a druid here.
  • Shaladrassil was a gateway to the Emerald Dream, but it has been twisted and tainted.
  • You are going to meet three of the key archdruids in Val'sharah.
  • There are new satyrs in the zone.
  • Lots of new models for druid related NPCs, including new Moonkin and Sea Lion models!
  • Many of the structures are inspired by trees

  • After the intro, you go to Stormheim and meet the Vrykul, competing against the God King.
  • We will learn more about the Kvaldir and Valkyr.
  • Mystic Vrykul are religious zealtots
  • There are Ascendant Valkyr in the Halls of Valor
  • New Dragonflight - The Storm Dragons. Found in Stormheim and Suramar

  • Azshara's Vengeance devastated this zone before the Sundering. Mystery of why she killed and cursed thousands of her own people.
  • The max view distance in Legion is increased 3x
  • We meet the remnants of the Blue Dragonflight
  • Warden's Isle is an island in the zone, home to the Vault of the Wardens
  • The specter is the male counterpart to the banshee
  • There is a new huge type of Naga.
  • Naga have new high res models, armor, and weapons.
  • There is a local sea giant kingdom that Azshara has allied with.
  • The Wrath of Azshara is a creature that is huge.
  • Wardens have Owl companions.
  • Greek island concept art for this zone
  • Lots of new columns and domes for the Night Elf architecture in the zone.
  • 80+ artists and 60+ designers on the team.

  • One of the largest mountains in Azeroth.
  • There are three ancient Tauren clans who have lived in peace for generations.
  • The Drogbar stole an artifact, fracturing the Tauren clans.
  • The Drogbar are a shamanistic race, cave dwelling, were enslaved for some time.
  • Drogbar chieftain is in Neltharion's lair.
  • There are new creatures like Alpine harpies and new moose models!
  • Tauren decorate their horns to show clan and rank.
  • Swiss alps and Yosemite are inspirations for this zone.

  • Suramar City is still intact thanks to a defensive spell from the city's mages. They harnessed the power of the Nightwell, keeping it up for 10,000 years.
  • The elves became dependent on the energies of the well, relying on it for living energy.
  • The elves in the city are a new type, The Nightborne.
  • The gates of the city were opened to the Legion. The city is kept in darkness.
  • Crimes are punished by exile of the city. Physical withdrawal makes them into The Nightfallen.
  • If a Nightfallen can't get arcane sustenance, they become permanently Withered.
  • Ancient Night Elves are arcane based, not nature based.
  • Suramar City is one of the most ambitious projects the team has ever done. A giant playable Night Elf metropolis.

Gameplay and Systems
  • Originally the plan was to work your way through the Broken Isles zones in a clockwise manner.
  • The team learned from flex and scaling in Warlords.
  • The Broken Isles will let you do the four leveling zones in any order you want, as all of the zones scale.
  • All roads lead to Suramar, which is a max level zone.
  • You can play with your friends, as the zones scale. Level 105 and 102 players can go to a zone and quest together.
  • Players aren't being scaled, the world is.
  • If it takes 12 seconds to kill a boar at level 102, it will take 12 seconds when at level 106.
  • Ideally players won't even notice the scaling.
  • There will still be enemies that won't scale for you to come back and tackle at max level.
  • In the past you would go to a zone, do some daily quests for some reason and then never go back.
  • In Legion, the goal is to have the best of Warlords and Mists of Pandaria. The freedom to choose which quest you want on a given day, but there is still a purpose and story.
  • There will be some structure to the endgame quests, but it should feel less like required content.
  • The endgame content can make use of all of the Broken Isles thanks to the scaling.
  • Legion will have ongoing world quests that are constantly changing. Varied reasons, gameplay, and rewards.
  • Objectives will last from hours to an entire week depending on how important it is.
  • The team wants to overwhelm you with variety and choices.
  • Rather than choosing what missions to send followers on, you can go on your own missions!
  • Some of the objectives are reputation specific.
  • Some of the objectives are PvP related, such as assaulting an Alliance tower as Horde.
  • World Bosses can be an objective that cycles through.
  • Gatherers will have special objectives for them only.
  • This can bring back some minigame gameplay, such as the rolling on the wall quest in Vale.
  • All of the region will have the same objectives at the same time so that you can play with friends on other servers.
  • Emissaries will send you on a quest to do some objectives for their faction. You can pick from the available ones. These aren't daily quests, they will hang around for a couple days.
  • If you don't log in for a while, there may be more emissaries waiting for you, similar to Hearthstone.

  • Legion will have two raids initially.
  • The Emerald Nightmare is a 7 boss raid in Val'sharah, essentially the Emerald Dream.
  • You get there by climbing the World Tree, crossing over from our reality to the Dream.
  • The first raid boss is a dragon! Pestilence Worm was a green dragon, now is withered away.
  • Cenarius is the next boss, corrupted by the Nightmare. He may or may not die, but is a boss.
  • Xavius is the third boss.
  • Suramar Palace is a 10 boss raid that is Gul'dan's base of operations. It is the center of the Nightborne and home to the Eye of Aman'thul.
  • Suramar Palace isn't a dark zone, it is a light city.
  • There will be a Dreadlord ambassador that you fight.
  • Grand Magistrix of the Nightborn.
  • Gul'dan final boss.

  • There are 10 dungeons in Legion.
  • Level up dungeons - Eye of Azshara, Neltharion's Lair, Halls of Valor, Darkheart Thicket, Violet Hold
  • The dungeons will be integrated into the story of the zones more than they have been previously.
  • The dungeons can also be done in any order, as they scale with your level.
  • At max level, there are five more dungeons - Vault of the Wardens, Black Rook Hold, Helheim, Suramar Noble District, Suramar Catacombs.
  • Suramar Noble District has some new gameplay that is different than any gameplay they have done before.
  • Darkheart Thicket - Level up dungeon in Val'sharah in the heart of the forest's corruption, part of the story of the zone to rescue an ally trapped there.
  • Halls of Valor - Level up dungeon in Stormheim that is inspired by Valhalla. You will prove your worth to Odyn. You are racing the God King to claim the Aegis of Aggramar. One of the best looking dungeons the art team has ever made.
  • Helheim - The counterpart of the Halls of Valor. This is a max level dungeon where you start on the dock to board the cursed ship of the damned. Much of the dungeon takes place on a ship.
  • Black Rook Hold - Max level dungeon. Ancient elven stronhold against the Legion, militaristic elves. Lord Ravencrest.
  • The goal for Legion is to keep dungeons relevant for the entire expansion, both in terms of rewards and difficulty.
  • Dungeons also need some variation to avoid the "Mechanar problem", picking the most efficient, even if it isn't your favorite.
  • Legion Challenge Mode will keep dungeons relevant.
  • Challenger's Keystone is used to start the Challenge Mode dungeon. It may come from world objectives. The keystone has a power level that determines the difficulty and reward. Higher levels of it will have some additional modifiers. There is now a single timer, roughly around where Silver is now. If you beat the timer, you upgrade your stone and can take on more challenging. If you fail, you lose the stone but still get loot.
  • You get a jackpot at the end of the week based on your best run.
  • There will be new modifiers to master each week to keep things fresh.
  • As good as you are, there will always be more of a challenge for you in dungeons.
  • You will have to focus on the combat experience, not just time.
  • Higher level keystones give more health and damage to enemies, but also can give them things like Enrage.
  • Extra enemies, corpses explode and leave fire behind, constant DoT for the entire dungeon.
  • The system will start slightly above Heroic Dungeon difficulty.
  • This system will complement raiding or even replace it for you entirely depending on what you choose.

Artifact Weapons

Press Kit Images

by Published on 2015-11-06 06:59 PM

The Opening Ceremony has Started!
Stay tuned for updates as they happen.

Update 3:05 PM EST: Players who pre-purchase World of Warcraft: Legion digitally can immediately boost one character of their choosing to level 100
Update 3:02 PM EST: World of Warcraft: Legion will launch in summer 2016 (winter 2016 in regions in southern hemisphere; on or before September 21, 2016)
Update 3:02 PM EST: Artifact weapon previews are up!
Update 3:02 PM EST: Overwatch launches Spring 2016.
Update 3:01 PM EST: Pre-purchasing gives a Widowmaker skin.
Update 3:00 PM EST: The collector's edition comes with the soundtrack, art book, and Solider 76 statue.
Update 2:59 PM EST: Overwatch is coming to console and PC at the same time.
Update 2:55 PM EST: Overwatch will include all 21 heroes, maps, content, and features when you buy it. The Origins version will include 5 skins, along with some content for other Blizzard games.
Update 2:53 PM EST: Mei is a new hero with an ice weapon. Genji is Hanzo's brother.
Update 2:51 PM EST: is a new hero with a mechanical suit that can be used or she can get out of it to fight.
Update 2:50 PM EST: Overwatch is getting three new heroes, along with a new map.
Update 2:45 PM EST: The League of Explorers launches this Thursday!
Update 2:43 PM EST: The Golden Monkey replaces your hand and deck with legendary minions
Update 2:42 PM EST: New mechanic: Discover - Pick one of three random cards
Update 2:40 PM EST: Hearthstone is getting a new adventure, The League of Explorers.
Update 2:37 PM EST: Legion, Overwatch, and Overwatch Origins preorders are live.
Update 2:36 PM EST: Everyone else will have party with someone who has Cho'gall and play 2 games to get him. If you play 4 partied games with people that don't have him, you get some gold.
Update 2:35 PM EST: Cho'gall is free to Blizzcon and Virtual Ticket attendees, as well as a few other random players.
Update 2:31 PM EST: New hereos: Lunara, Greymane, Cho'gall (one hero, two players). New map, can't attack the core directly.
Update 2:28 PM EST: Heroes is getting a new game mode: The Arena. Less rules, multiple of the same hero, small single objective battleground.
Update 2:24 PM EST: Warcraft trailer is playing
Update 2:23 PM EST: Duncan Jones and some of the Warcraft movie cast are on stage
Update 2:15 PM EST: Starcraft 2 mission packs are coming in Spring 2016 with the rest by December 2016.
Update 2:10 PM EST: Starcraft cinematics are playing
Update 2:09 PM EST: Brightpaw the Mana Kitty is this year's charity pet!
Update 2:05 PM EST: Mike Morhaime is on the stage
Update 2:04 PM EST: Polygon spoiled the Star Nova Covert Ops DLC announcement.
Update 2:00 PM EST: Starcraft recap video playing

by Published on 2015-11-06 05:51 PM

Update (1:45 PM EST): The BuyOverwatch site is live, but 404ing.

Blizzcon Opening Ceremony in 1 Hour
Hold on to your hats and join us in the chat for the biggest Blizzcon viewing party! Keep checking back to explore the new content as we update live during the panels!

Blizzcon 2015 Schedule
Note: all times are converted to the timezone your computer is currently in.

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