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by Published on 2014-04-01 01:12 PM

Warlords of Draenor Preview - Faction Change/Betrayal Quest

APRIL 1ST 2014! - Looks like a lot of the things we posted during the day turned out to be jokes! Oh well, better luck next year!


Artcraft - Remaking the Female Draenei
The new Female Draenei character model is here!


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Welcome to Artcraft! I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director for World of Warcraft, and today we’ll be discussing the revamp of the female Draenei model. In this blog, we'll touch on how we approached this redesign, show before and after images, and talk about our art process with this particular model.

When we first discussed throwing away the old model and making a new female Draenei from scratch, one topic that kept coming up was the connection between the Lost Ones and the Draenei; visually, there wasn’t one. We wanted to help a player understand, more viscerally, the connection between the Lost Ones, and their seemingly perfect cousins—the Draenei. Ready to challenge long-standing design conceits, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Lead Character artist Tyson Murphy explains: “The original model was never very popular among players, and while certainly there are the few who dearly love playing a female Draenei, we felt like we needed to start over. The best way for us to do that was pretty clear from the start: rely on the lore. I wanted to create a new face that got across the idea that this was someone you know, the proverbial “blue space demon next-door”, while playing up her connection to the Lost Ones. We brought out her eyes, created a more natural “Lost Ones” jaw line, brought her waistline in to more realistic proportions, and took the hairline up to create some visual parity with the male designs.”

Lead Animator Steve Aguilar:

“A lot of what we try to accomplish with art in the game is to tell a visual story through the textures, props, and animation, giving you a sense of what something is without having to outright explain it through text or voice. Most people forget that the original Draenei survivors on the Exodar came from one specific mountain family clan, and the Draenei female you know and love was actually conceived en route to Azeroth. We wanted to rough up her edges a bit, and tell a story that has been told many times before—the story of a rebellious young girl cooped up on her family’s floating crystal ship that’s just crashed on a fantastical planet. When you get your hands on Warlords of Draenor, be sure to take a look at some of the unique emotes the animation team has created for her. Some of my favorites are: /twerk, /ew, /chewgum, and /whatever. Also keep in mind that the models shown here are using a temporary pose, which may make her appear more animated and lively than she will in the final product.”

Character Artist Dusty Nolting adds:

“The Draenei, like all of the game’s races except the humans, are essentially anthropomorphic representations of animals, so a lot of care went into conveying that. Playing up the capra-like slender reverse-ankle and hoof, and adding tasteful amounts of fur, were both changes players have been asking for since Burning Crusade. We also know a lot of you have been requesting full “back side” shots to properly compare the before and after. Hopefully this helps!”

That’s all we have for the female Draenei right now. We hope you continue to enjoy this series as we invite you to meet the team, get insight into our development process, and sneak early looks at some of the art we’re creating for Warlords of Draenor.

See you next time!
by Published on 2014-04-01 07:02 AM

We hope you enjoyed our April Fool's post! See you again next year!

[Datamined] New Class: Necruid and Second Expansion Hints!

Wildstar Beta Key Giveaway, Deck Spotlight: Carbon's Impure Priest, Fight Night S5E6 Decklists

Skin Spotlight: Frostwyrm Arthas, Alpha Invites Coming to Austrailia

Update - It looks like a lot of exciting stuff is happening today, Blizzard just announced a new game! Blizzard Outcasts is a Mortal Kombat style game featuring all your favorite Blizzard heroes and a brand new controller with a dedicated credit card slot!



Warlords of Draenor Preview - Faction Change/Betrayal Quest
It looks like we're still getting information from the European press tour of Warlords of Draenor from February and the NDA has been lifted on one of the major features of Warlords of Draenor.

Judgehype, Mamytwink, and Millenium all posted about one of the biggest features we were able to test was the faction betrayal questline, which allows you to change factions without changing your race.

Important points:
  • The Alliance and Horde have been arresting the neutral Goblins and seizing their assets to fund the upcoming Draenor war effort, killing them when they resist. Each faction feels that this is justified, as the Goblins have been profiting off of the war between the Horde and Alliance for a long time.
  • You begin the quest by looting a Spy Report and taking it to Gazlowe, who is in need of assistance. He will consider your offer to help him until Warlords of Draenor has been released and the next phase of the questline is activated.
  • Upon accepting your help, Gazlowe and the Steamwheedle Cartel will require your protection at various points around the world, with their trade caravans, and eventually in Booty Bay.
    • Some of these events have a weekly participation cap, which will limit how fast you can complete this part of the quest line.
  • Baron Revilgaz will send you on a mission to protect Booty Bay. Something goes wrong and it ends with your capture and imprisonment in Tol Barad.
    • Upon reaching this phase of the quest, you are flagged as a traitor to your faction and you become a PvP target for both the Horde and the Alliance.
  • You escape from Tol Barad and meet up with the Steamwheedle Cartel again in a solo scenario.
  • You are then given the task of assassinating your faction's leader in another solo scenario, which was unavailable during testing. The faction leaders are traveling in a caravan to the Dark Portal. You are joined by members of the other faction, who see your heroic deeds and invite you to join them.
  • Upon joining the other faction you are still not trusted, and must unlock cities other than Stormwind / Orgrimmar by earning reputation with the various Alliance / Horde factions. Reputation is earned through defeating players of the other faction in PvP and doing quests that involve PvE.

Rewards
  • Your character changes factions, your race remains the same.
  • You are awarded a new character title:
  • You also get a new pet:

A couple sidenotes
  • You can keep and continue to use your faction specific mounts.
  • You can keep anything in your inventory or void storage, but your old faction will seize any assets left behind in your bank.
  • This is a one way change, you won't be able to change back after you do the quest.


WARNING: STORYLINE / SPOILERS AHEAD




The Reason for Betrayal
In the wake of Garrosh's escape to Draenor, heroes of each faction have discovered that their own faction has started hunting down and arresting or killing Goblins and using their gold to fund the Draenor war effort. Most Goblins have remained neutral throughout history, profiting off of the conflict between the Alliance and Horde, which is how each faction justifies such actions. These actions aren't okay with everyone though, and you will be given a choice to accept what is going on or help the Goblins and betray your faction.


Betraying your faction is not a choice to be made lightly, as it is irreversible outside of using the paid faction change character service. Once Patch 6.0.1 is live, you can begin the quest line by looting a Spy Report from rare spawn NPCs that run through the Barrens, Dustwallow Marsh, Tanaris, Stranglethorn Vale, Winterspring, and Netherstorm. These zones were selected to get players out in the world again, just like the Patch 5.3 events in the Barrens.

After getting a report and learning what is happening to the Goblins, you take it to Gazlowe, who is still enjoying his windfall profits from the friction between the Alliance and the Horde. He will be wary of accepting your help, taking his time to consider your offer. This means that while you can loot the report as part of the patch leading up to Warlords of Draenor release, you will be unable to continue the quest line until the expansion has been released.


Helping a Goblin in Need
Once the expansion has been released, you continue by going through a series of quests that require you to kill NPCs of your own faction that are attacking Goblins around the world. This will work similarly to the Patch 5.3 Barrens event, where a zone wide alert goes out when a group of attackers spawns, allowing you time to get to the location and save the Goblins.



Earning the Goblin's Trust
After demonstrating your loyalty to Gazlowe and the Steamwheedle Cartel, you will be tasked with protecting the Goblins on their trade routes by Baron Revilgaz. These quests are a mix of an escort quest and the Patch 5.3 Barrens caravans, as you will follow a group of Goblins and kill NPCs that spawn to attack them. These quests are gated by the limited number of trade runs you can complete each week, similar to the Mists of Pandaria legendary quest line requiring collection of items from raids.



Betrayal Discovered
After you have built up your reputation with Baron Revilgaz, he will give you a quest to assault the Horde or Alliance base of operations on the nearby Jaguero Isle before they can attack Booty Bay. Upon arriving on the isle and killing the leader of the camp, the recently freed Princess Poobah sees what you have done and panics. The Alliance / Horde (phasing will show you the right camp for your faction) on the isle then attack, driving you away from the isle. If you are able to escape without dying, you will earn a Feat of Strength achievement. They also send word of your actions to Orgrimmar / Stormwind, which results in a bounty being placed on your head.



Everyone's Enemy
From this point on the quest line, you will be vulnerable to attack from both factions and NPCs of your own faction. This means you will no longer be able to access your bank or safely idle in town. Unfortunately this also means you have to be caught to continue the quest. Approaching any major city and allowing the guards to attack you until your health drops low enough will trigger the capture. Once captured, you are taken to Tol Barad. A guard that remembers your assistance with clearing out the prison during Cataclysm takes pity on you, which begins a solo scenario, Escape from Tol Barad.


Upon escaping, you are met by members of the Steamwheedle Cartel, who have one final task for you. The Goblins have learned that your faction's leader will be part of a convoy traveling through the Blasted Lands to the Dark Portal. Your job will be to assassinate him while the convoy is traveling. This part of the quest line also uses a solo scenario that wasn't implemented yet. You will be joined by heroes from the other faction, who see your actions and offer you the chance to join their faction.



Betrayal Aftermath
However, the quest isn't over just yet! Once you have changed factions, you are still disliked by your new faction, with NPCs acting hostile towards you whenever they encounter you, similar to Death Knights at one point in their quest chain. Upon switching factions, you are limited to Stormwind and Orgrimmar only, with the guards of other cities removing you from the city if you try and enter. To prove yourself worthy to your new faction, you must earn reputation with each of the Alliance / Horde factions in order to unlock access to their NPCs and cities. Reputation is earned from defeating players of the other faction in PvP and doing quests that involve PvE.


Switching factions will also grant you a new title , as well as a tabard of your old faction, and a treasure goblin pet, similar to the Reaper of Souls preorder bonus. You will be allowed to keep and use the mounts from your old faction, which is a nice perk over the paid faction change service. Unfortunately anything in your bank will be lost after you betray your old faction, so anything you want to keep must be in your inventory or void storage.


Wildstar Beta Weekend Key Giveaway
Curse is giving away 300,000 Wildstar Beta Keys for North America and Europe! The giveaway is open to Curse premium members starting today, and will transition to all users with Curse accounts starting on Thursday. These keys are for the beta weekend April 4th to April 6th.

by Published on 2014-03-30 10:53 PM

World First Hardcore Torment 6 Malthael Kill, Level 70 Builds For All Classes: Part 3, Curse Weekly Roundup

Armory Stats - Battleground Win Ratios
Today we are taking a look at the win percentage for each faction and battleground that took place in the last month. To find these numbers, we compared the number of battles and victories a character had in a February snapshot of data to a March snapshot of data.

These numbers come from a character's statistics pane, so any bugs with character statistics will have skewed the results. This means that there isn't any way for us to verify how accurate these numbers are, so do not take them as fact.

Percentages came fairly close to 100% in most cases, so we normalized the data to 100%. Unfortunately it seems that most Eye of the Storm wins are still not recorded in your statistics most of the time. This bug has been around for five or more years now, but we normalized the data we had (~7.5% and ~9.7% win ratios for each faction) for the chart.

The data used today is a sample made up of ~8.6 million level 90 characters and ~10 million battles. The sample is slightly biased, as players who are not in a guild are less likely to appear in our sample.

You can see the data from the last time we did this back in January.

The major change to note this time is the increase of Horde wins Alterac Valley. You may recall that Patch 5.4.7 changed some things around the Horde base.

  • December 2013 to January 2014 - Horde won 21.8% of Alterac Valley games.
  • January to February 2014 - Horde won 20.6% of Alterac Valley games.
  • February to March 2014 - Horde won 27% of Alterac Valley games.
  • February to March 2014 - ~10% of players took part in at least 1 Alterac Valley game.

Don't see a chart? Enable javascript!

Battleground Queue Times
Holinka also shared something interesting about blacklisting recently, mentioning that the majority of people aren't using the blacklist function.



Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvP
I really want to play and gear my Horde alt, but every time I see a 17 min random BG queue I die a little inside. Any plans to fix?
Yes we have some things we're working on. More to come soon. (holinka)

"what would it take for Horde PvP players to switch to Alliance?" having faction change be FREE would be a mandatory start.
We certainly agree that removing that barrier in certain cases would help. (holinka)

Should give low level battle ground queues satchels of armor (and maybe gold) like dungeons
That's the plan for warlords because @nite_moogle is awesome (holinka)

Hey - I wrote you something for lazy friday afternoon reading. http://t.co/FUdgZPA7N9
cool, I'll give it a read when I find some time. (holinka)
thanks for putting a lot of effort into the article. (holinka)
My primary critique is the fixation on mathematical balance, at the expense of anything else, including the very soul of a game. This is a dangerous and common mistake that often sacrifices a game's flavor to balance a spreadsheet. Our primary concern is long queue times. We should strive to solve the problem & preserve what makes WoW unique and special. (holinka)
I am not suggesting that you try not to fix it, but rather that by choosing factions, you implicitly accept some imbalance.
Absolutely. It is a tradeoff every game has to make and there is a wide spectrum of implementations as a result. (holinka)
Compare Call of Duty (which values short queues and visible balancing) to Titanfall (which wants more narrative in MP) (holinka)

Classes
quick question, do best players often play at a level above or below the "cap" you designed them with? meaning that does players often find better rotations than the optimal rotation you had in mind when designing?
Not often, but it has happened occasionally. Scorchweaving, Masterfrost, and Festerblight are the 3 cases I can think of...-- (Celestalon)
Why did you accept DW masterfrost but kill scorchweav? Curious re thought process. B/c 2H frost exists as altern?
2H Frost existing as an alternate helps. As does it being a complication to the rotation, rather than trivializer. (Celestalon)

You (Bliz) think changing the game keeps it "fresh". Players outside the elite find it tiresome.
Change just for the sake of change is a mistake and a trap. We only act if confident we're making a real improvement. (WatcherDev)

Professions
Why is there a system for Mining/Herbalism/Blacksmithing to fast-level in MoP but not the other professions?
It was something we started small with, to try out. We're considering doing more of that in the future. (Celestalon)

Pets and Pet Battles
Pet cap staying at 25 for new expansion? would love to have Epic quality pets!
Cap staying at L25, didn't want you to have to level all of your old pets, lots of new pets to level and new trainer challenges (Muffinus)

Character / Items
Any updates for Toybox regarding items with charges and pure fun trinkets?
Investigating how we can split these up so that the fun effect is in your toybox, may not be possible for everything. (Muffinus)

Warlords of Draenor Flying
Sounds like developers already made up their minds not alowing flying the entire wod expansion.
If that were the case, we'd say so. Our plan is no Draenor flying in 6.0 and player feedback is important to us. (WatcherDev)

PvE
Are you happy with how Mists of Pandaria panned out?
Overall, yes, especially from a raiding POV. There are of course regrets and lessons learned, though. (WatcherDev)
Within your realm of responsibility, what do you regard as your biggest success in Mists of Pandaria?
Flexible raiding. (WatcherDev)

Misc
You seem like the nerdiest Blizzard employee. Either you or Kosak, I cant decide. Hes a lore nerd and you're a numbers nerd.
There are some REALLY nerdy people at Blizzard. (Celestalon)
(Which is awesome, BTW. We love to geek out about all manner of nerdy topics.) (Celestalon)

Dark Legacy Comics - #434
DLC #434 has been released.

by Published on 2014-03-29 08:12 AM

Level 70 Builds Collection, Part 2

Fight Night S5E5 Finals Decklists, Jotto's Tournament Review, NESL $500 Cup Sunday + Decklists

Game Systems Blues: Hero Quest, Queue Time Boredom, Ping Interface

Warlords of Draenor - Hydra Pets Tameable
It appears one of the new Hunter pet families in Warlords of Draenor will be hydras!



Upcoming Siege of Niuzao Temple Hotfix
You asked, and Watcher delivered! Siege of Niuzao Temple is going to be hotfixed to let you start the waves on Vo'jak faster.



Warlords of Draenor - Upcoming PvP Blog Post
Holinka mentioned that we will get a blog post about PvP gear changes in April.



Patch 5.4.7 - Arena Rating Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We recently implemented a hotfix to address a bug that allowed Personal Ratings to exceed Matchmaking Rating. As a result, some players may notice that they do not gain or lose Personal Rating in the wake of a match. As more matches are played, these ratings will normalize and converge to the correct rating, and Personal Rating will then rise or drop accordingly.

In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation and make further adjustments if necessary.

Make-A-Wish® Charity Pet: Thank You!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Thanks to the epic outpouring of generosity from World of Warcraft players around the world who purchased an Alterac Brew Pup pet, we’ve raised $1 million to benefit Make-A-Wish in their continuing efforts to grant the wishes of children throughout the world with life-threatening medical conditions.

Last November, we announced that 50% of the Alterac Brew Pup’s $10 purchase price would be donated to Make-A-Wish, and the WoW community rushed in to lend their support. Thanks again for helping to make a difference in the lives of children.

Learn more about Make-A-Wish America at wish.org and Make-A-Wish International at worldwish.org.

EU Connected Realms Update - 28/03
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The following realms are due to be connected next week:

English Realms
  • (PvP) Shattered Hand and Kor’gall/Bloodfeather/Executus/Burning Steppes
  • (PvE) Aggramar and Hellscream

French Realms
  • (PvP) Illidan and Naxxramas/Arathi/Temple Noir

German Realms
  • (PvE) Ulduar and Gilneas

The following realms are scheduled to be connected after the realms above:

English Realms
  • (RP) Darkmoon Faire and Earthen Ring

German Realms

  • (PvE) Rexxar and Alleria

Hello, can you please answer one question? Are you done with our group Darksorrow/Genjuros/Neptulon or you are planning to add more realms?
Yes we're done with that group for now.

Was wondering if the Darkmoon Faire/Earthen Ring connection means we will have a 2 way and a 3 way connection of the smaller 5 RP realms (as opposed to the 5 way most were expecting).
Still waiting to see how things pan out, but we're not currently planning to add more realms to the Darkmoon Faire/Earthen Ring connection.

Ok, I have to ask because the wait is driving me crazy; Will Steamwheedle Cartel ever get connected?
Current plans are to connect it, yes. But as I always stress, nothing is set in stone; we have to carefully analyse how things go as we proceed

Thats a shame really.. I seen server be merged into fives.. that would help the 5 minor Role Play servers if they became one. Seems a lot are hoping for this to happen.
Connecting all five of the EN RP realms would result in mild queues at quiet times for players on those realms, and hours of waiting to log on at busy times

Would it really be the case if all except AD were connected, it'd make queues? I always thought all except AD were suffering in a minor way.
You're right, apologies, I edited my post to clarify I was talking about the low/medium population realms. Argent Dawn often has queues by itself so it won't be connected to any others. But yeah as I said, the others aren't as small as, say, some of the PvP ones we've been connecting.

US Connected Realms - Update 3/28
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Future Connections
We will be connecting the realms listed below on Thursday, April 3 during a scheduled maintenance beginning at 5 a.m. PDT through approximately 1:00 p.m. PDT. Once maintenance is finished, these realm connections will be complete.

  • Borean Tundra and Shadowsong
  • Dath'Remar and Khaz'goroth

We will be connecting the realms listed below on Thursday, April 10 during a scheduled maintenance beginning at 5 a.m. PDT through approximately 1:00 p.m. PDT. Once maintenance is finished, these realm connections will be complete.

  • Drenden and Arathor
  • Nagrand and Caelestrasz

We do not have a date for the following realm connections, but will update this post when we do.

  • Blackwater Raiders and Shadow Council

Postponed Until a Future Time

  • Alterac Mountains and Balnazzar/Gorgonnash/The Forgotten Coast/ Warsong
  • Elune and Gilneas
  • Sisters of Elune and Cenarion Circle

*Plans for these connections may change at any time, but we’ll provide additional updates on specific dates for future connections here as we can. Please note that as a part of the connection process realm times may change to match each other.

New World of Warcraft Short Story: The Untamed Valley
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In Pandaria’s Valley of the Four Winds, modest farmers have worked the land for generations. They are the true backbone of Pandaren society, feeding an empire with an honest day’s work...scant preparation for war.

Though Garrosh Hellscream has been defeated, the flames of his hatred still rage in the hearts of his followers. When the worst of these descend on Pandaria, closely followed by Alliance heroes Maraad and Lyalia, the humble Tillers find their farms transformed into battlefields.
The Tillers are committed to their homes and the earth they cultivate, but will they give up their lives to protect them? Worse, will they give up their lives for nothing?


The answer is in the 7th Pandaria faction story, “The Untamed Valley,” written by Robert Brooks. It’s available now on the Destination: Pandaria site as a free download. Enjoy!

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