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by Published on 2014-01-23 06:12 PM

Artcraft - A First Look
The new Human Female character model is here!

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and this is the first in a series of articles we're creating to bring you all closer to the development of the player character model revamps we announced at BlizzCon. In this series, we'll give you an inside look at the process we go through to do one of these revamps, discuss the kinds of art issues we're addressing with the new models, and provide a bit of insight our future plans for their continued polish.

We're happy to begin our series by sharing a first look at where we're at with the Human female. While future articles won’t always be about revealing a new model, we thought this would be a great introduction to the approach we take for every one of these redesigns.

We’re looking at these model revamps as a sort of “spiritual update” to the art content that currently exists in-game—except we’re completely redoing them from scratch. That includes the base model, skin tone variations, customization options (e.g. wrinkles, scars, moles, earrings, etc.), hairstyles, and any skin variations for NPCs you see out in the world, like Iron Dwarves or Leper Gnomes. We’re pretty excited about some of the ideas you've given us for new customization and skin options you’d like to see, but our first goal—which is already a monumental endeavor—is to make sure that the visual content that currently exists is brought up to or surpasses the level of quality you see in current boss models, the Pandaren, and central NPCs like the new Vol’jin model.

With the revamp, we’re completely overhauling every aspect of the player models, but our goal is to do so while retaining the core look and feel that has always made them your character. We'll feel like we've succeeded if you see the updated version of your character and it still feels like you’re looking at the character you’ve been playing for the past however many years—only someone has finally focused a lens.

To achieve this, we’re increasing the polygon count significantly (in some cases going from less than 1,000 to over 5,000), more than doubling the texture resolution, increasing bone count significantly to support updated animation and facial expression, and retouching nearly every animation for all of the characters. For animation alone, that’s roughly 180 animations per character, times 10 races in both male and female variants, equaling approximately 3,600 animations. We’re also incorporating the rigging technology we introduced with the Pandaren into every character to provide better posing, smoother animation, and the ability to pull off some fantastic facial expressions. In the weeks and months ahead, we’re going to be bringing you in for a closer look at some of the processes, challenges, and results of this revamp process.

What you’re looking at here for the Human female is a single face option and a single skin tone on the base model without any animation or posing. When developing the base model we keep the expression on the face as devoid of emotion or expression as possible, as that allows our animators a greater range of motion when they start posing and morphing the face into different expressions. If we were to put any amount of expression—even a slight smile or mildly angry eyebrows—in the base model, that would carry through to every animation, and we'd end up with some very confused-looking characters.

Joe Keller is a senior character artist on our team and was responsible for the lion’s share of modeling and texturing the Human female. Here's what he had this to say about this challenge:

“Everyone is pretty familiar with the Human character models in WoW, but working on these updates gives us a chance to embellish and fill in the blanks. For the Human female this meant we could give her more muscle definition and personality in the face while still staying true to the overall look and spirit of the original. Hopefully this will also help show her as more of the capable fighter that she is.”

This process has been a welcome challenge for all of us on the World of Warcraft art team. We’ve all wanted to address the player models and bring them up to a more current fidelity for some time now, and we’re as excited as you are to get these models into the game. We hope you’ll enjoy this series as we invite you to meet the team and see more on our development process.

Thanks so much, and see you next time.

Previously Previewed Models

by Published on 2014-01-23 07:21 AM

Travis Day on Legendary Drop Rates

Welcome Europe to the Hearthstone Open Beta

Upcoming New Character Model Preview
It looks like the previously mentioned new character model preview is coming on Thursday or Friday!

Patch 5.4.2 Hotfixes - January 21
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
  • Resolved an issue for the following abilities that resulted in damage being calculated incorrectly when used against targets with a greater than 75% reduction to damage from armor.
    • Guardian Druids with greater than 75% damage reduction from Armor were getting less than the intended amount of Vengeance. Now they will gain the correct amount.
    • Beast Cleave (Beast Mastery Hunter)
    • Storm, Earth, and Fire (Windwalker Monk)
    • Blade Flurry (Combat Rogue)
    • Sweeping Strikes (Arms Warrior)
    • Warrior Tier-16 2 piece set bonus
  • Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
    • Talents
      • Soul of the Forest (Restoration) should no longer incorrectly grant a haste effect from failed attempts to cast Swiftmend on targets that are under a Cenarion Ward's healing effect.

  • The Trident of Naz'jan: Resolved an issue that caused Ragnar Drakkarlund to not respawn correctly in certain situations.

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • Siege of Orgrimmar
    • For an in-depth explanation of recent changes please see the forum thread from Watcher, Lead Encounter Designer titled: Upcoming Siege of Orgrimmar Changes.
    • Galakras
      • Reduced health on various ranking officials (High Enforcer Thranok and Korgra the Snake) and foot soldiers (Dragonmaw Bonecrusher, Dragonmaw Flagbearer, and Dragonmaw Tidal Shaman) by about 15% on Flexible and 10-player Normal difficulties.
    • Thok the Bloodthirsty
      • Thok the Bloodthirsty's Defeaning Screech now deals 10% less damage on Flexible, 10-player Normal, and 10-player Heroic difficulties.
      • Thok the Bloodthirsty's Shock Blast now deals 10% less damage on Flexible, 10-player Normal, and 10-player Heroic difficulties.
    • Siegecrafter Blackfuse
      • Automated Shredders' health has been reduced by 10%, and its Overload ability now deals 10% less damage on Heroic difficulty.
      • Crawler Mines now have 20% less health on 10-player Heroic difficulty.
      • Disassembled Crawler Mines, Deactivated Electromagnets, Deactivated Laser Turrets, and Deactivated Missle Turrets now have 20% less health on Heroic difficulty.
      • Electromagnet's Magnetic Crush ability now deals 15% less damage on Heroic difficulty.
      • Laser Turret's Superheated damage-over-time effect now deals 25% less damage on Heroic difficulty.
    • Paragons of the Klaxxi
      • Hisek the Swarmkeeper's Multi-Shot ability now deals 20% less damage on Heroic difficulty.
      • Iyyokuk the Lucid's Insane Calculation: Fiery Edge now deals roughly 10% less damage on Heroic difficulty.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Recent Ban Wave
We have recently taken action against a number of accounts for the use of third party programs. Such programs not only give their users an unfair advantage, but are a violation of the World of Warcraft Terms of Use, and go against the spirit of fair play. Due to our policies on the protection of player privacy, we’re unable to discuss specifics except directly with those whose accounts have had action taken against them. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Connected Realms Update - 22/01
Bladefist been taken off the connection date again?
Unfortunately it's been temporarily postponed. Haomarush and Dragonmaw was on the list too, and that's also been delayed. I'll let you know as soon as they're back on the schedule, sorry for the hold-up guys. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Free Character Migrations - Update
We've extended the availability of these transfers until Friday, January 24, at 10:00 a.m. PST. The announcement blog has been updated. Please be aware that early closure is still a possibility if the destination realms fill up. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Character / Items
So is it you that I need to poke to fix the Argent Charger/Ebon Hold Gryphon not being account wide?
Hey, I hotfixed this. Should be live soon. Thanks for mentioning! (Dave_Maldo)
BAD NEWS! Data was fixed but when pushed LIVE made a mess. T_T Have to wait for a patch & new tech/DB crawl. (Dave_Maldo)

Xmog question. Thoughts on opening up FoS for Vanilla GM PvP Gear account wide? Have the FoS on my priest, want to Xmog Pally.
Up to item peeps. Doesn't seem to jive w/ their current thinking but who knows. (Dave_Maldo)

Any chance of us ever being able to do Dragon Soul LFR higher than 85? Really nice xmog sets in there!
Unlikely that it'll just be opened up as is, but future system changes may make such viable. Until then, grab some friends! (Dave_Maldo)

Still xmog query, what about making tier sets complete. Like dk tier 10.25 or warrior tier 10.5?
I often pester the poor item peeps about that sort of thing. I hope one day we can do a comprehensive cosmetic gear pass. (Dave_Maldo)

will there be a new mount available with the achieve "glorious combatant"? Just got my tiger & love love love it.
Unfortunately, there won't be. It's going to be a little unorthodox content-wise. (Source)
thank you for the reply!
The idea behind them is that since they are character only, you may want to do it next season for an alt. (Source)
will there be an adjustment so I can solo pve mobs easier or will I have to collect a pve set to do pve things? I assume the latter
Even at ilevel 522 the PvP gear is pretty good for killing world mobs. But the new PvP gear will have a higher ilevel. (Source)

I know WoD brings a new PvP zone, are we going to see any new bg maps? Not a new game type but maybe (ex) AB gameplay but new map?
We're focusing our bg efforts for launch on the tools side (so we can make bgs faster) and creating Ashran. (Source)

Is it in the plans to add a 500k and 1 million hk's achievement by the launch of WoD?
We won't add those until we find a good way to fix the HK farming that goes on in battlegrounds like IoC. (holinka)

Iron Skyreaver - Exclusive Mount Now Available
The Skyreaver was added to the Battle.Net shop yesterday.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Bred for war by brutal Iron Horde beastmasters and girded for battle in black steel and smoldering flame, the monstrous Iron Skyreaver suffers only the most fearsome of masters to ride it. Like a blazing comet foretelling doom and fiery destruction, hurtle down from the heavens upon this epic mount to herald your own campaign of conquest!

The Iron Skyreaver is now available for purchase from within the Shop and the in-game Shop! Once purchased, the mount will be available to all present and future characters on a single account.
by Published on 2014-01-22 01:01 AM

Upcoming Mount Preview
Blizzard posted a preview of an upcoming mount on their social media accounts tonight.

by Published on 2014-01-21 10:12 PM

Hearthstone Open Beta is Here!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The wait is over: The Hearthstone Open Beta Test is now live in North America! If you haven’t had the chance to partake in all of the crazy card-slinging action yet, now is the perfect chance to start casting powerful spells, summon mighty minions and duel your friends in this fast-paced strategy card game that anyone can dive into right away!

It’s been a crazy past few months for all of us on the Hearthstone team. We announced Hearthstone at PAX East back in March, began the Closed Beta Test in August, had a great Hearthstone event at BlizzCon with the Innkeeper’s Invitational along with our announcements for Android and iPhone support, and now we’re ready to unleash the awesomeness of Hearthstone to you with Open Beta!

So what does this mean for you? If you didn’t get the chance to participate in the Hearthstone Closed Beta Test, now is your chance to download the game! Just click here to download Hearthstone, or you can use the Play Free Now button at the top of We have no plans to perform any more wipes of Hearthstone, so feel free to amass your collection and play against your friends!

What if you don’t play in the North American region? Don’t worry; we plan to go to Open Beta for all of the other regions within the next few days as well, so stay tuned for more information!

As open beta is still a beta phase, we will be closely monitoring many aspects of the game to ensure a positive play experience for everyone. Please be aware that if smoke starts curling out of our servers due to unexpectedly high demand to play Hearthstone, we may have to temporarily disable open beta account activations for a time until we’re ready to take on more players.

Download, play and enjoy Hearthstone now - We’ll see you in-game!

HearthPwn - Hearthstone Database, Tools, and News
Now that everyone has access to the Hearthstone Beta, now is a good time to remind you about HearthPwn, our sister site for Hearthstone news! You can find much more frequent Hearthstone news updates there, along with the cards database, deck builder, and decks database.

You can participate in the discussion on the HearthPwn Forums or on our Hearthstone forum!

Card Database
Take a look at all of the cards in the Card Database!

  • Many Views - There are three different ways to browse cards:
    • Visual - View both the picture and all the card information in text form. Gives all the information you could need about the card (including if it can be gold).
    • Images - View every card in picture form (Great for looking at all the art)
    • Listing - Simply lists the name, and basic stats. Great for quick browsing.
  • Filters - We have a filter for every class, type, and attribute there is. We also list the set names and more that you will only find on HearthPwn.
  • Artist Names - The database also has the name of the artist for each and every card.
  • Card Flavor Text - Many cards have flavor text, such as "Alexstrasza the Life-Binder brings life and hope to everyone. Except Deathwing. And Malygos. And Nekros."
  • See Decks That Include Your Favorite Cards - Every card page has both a graph showing how many decks hold that card, along with links to every deck that has that card in it. Find a new fun card, and instantly find decks based off it!

Deck Builder
Build your deck using the current cards available in Hearthstone or browse some great decks by other players!

Hearthstone Wiki
The Hearthstone Wiki is also a great source of information!

Beginner Decks
Once you've played through the tutorial and started to unlock classes through practice mode, try out some of these decks!

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