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by Published on 2014-04-03 10:32 PM

Upcoming Blog Post
It looks like another blog post is coming at 5:30 PST / 8:30 EST tonight!


Warlords of Draenor™ Alpha Testing Begins


Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We’ve been hard at work on World of Warcraft®: Warlords of Draenor™, and today we’ve entered the Alpha phase of our expansion testing. As part of this, we’ll begin using public servers to host the data, which means you may begin seeing some datamined information show up in the usual places.

One of our goals for this very early stage of the Alpha is to test out some new technology in the wild with employees and friends and family, including a new file format called CASC (more on that below). As such, the expansion content available during this first phase will be quite limited—many of the expansion’s major features, such as Garrisons, won’t be available until a later point in the testing process. This early phase of testing will help us ramp up for our larger beta phase later on, when we’ll be inviting more players.

Introducing Our New File Format: CASC
For nearly 20 years, Blizzard games have used a file format called Mo’PaQ (MPQ for short) as a way to compress and store game files. We’ve been able to introduce some great new technology using MPQ, such as our streaming client, but we’ve really pushed the file format far beyond what it was ever intended to be used for. Today, it’s become the source of a number of technical limitations for World of Warcraft.

To address these limitation and help us develop new technologies that will improve everyone’s game experience for years to come, we’re introducing a new proprietary file format that we call CASC (Content Addressable Storage Container). We’ll be using this new format in the Warlords of Draenor alpha and beta tests, and our intent is to convert everyone to the new format in a pre-expansion patch.

As geeky as it may sound, we’re extremely excited to be moving to this new file format. It provides a ton of benefits not only for us and our ability to support and patch the game, but also for players. Here are just a few of the benefits of the new CASC file format:

  • File Corruption - File repair tools are a thing of the past. The file structure maintains itself, helping to prevent errors during installation.
  • Speed - Real-world game performance should increase for many players thanks to a non-redundant file structure[/b] - in layman’s terms, the game can find the assets it’s looking for more quickly.
  • Patching - Updating your game files should be faster and more reliable. Patch data is integrated seamlessly, and no longer requires double the installation size on-disk when patching.
  • Client Hotfixing - CASC allows us to be able to hotfix client game data, similar to server hotfixes, giving us the ability to address client-side issues that would normally require a patch.
  • Streaming - The new format provides better support for streaming data and gives us greater flexibility to define how content updates are delivered and released.
  • Expandable - The file structure is built to allow easy integration of new technologies in the future that we haven’t even thought up yet.
  • . . . and more!

We’re already using this file format for Heroes of the Storm’s Technical Alpha test, and we’re looking forward to reaping its benefits for WoW. As we mentioned, the first big step in transitioning all WoW players over will be converting everyone’s World of Warcraft installs to the new file format prior to the expansion. Our goal is to make sure that’s as seamless and painless a changeover as possible, using as much of the existing installed data as possible to reduce additional downloads. We’ll have more info on the file conversion process as we get closer to the launch of Warlords of Draenor.

Signing Up for Beta
We’re still early in the Alpha testing process, but if you’re interested in opting in for a chance to participate in the Warlords of Draenor beta test later down the line, let us know you’re interested by creating a beta profile. To do so, log in to your Battle.net® account, go to Beta Profile Settings to download and run the Battle.net System Check tool, and submit (or update) your computer’s specifications. From the Beta Profile menu, make sure that Warcraft is checked, and update your beta preferences. You’re now eligible to be randomly selected for a Warlords of Draenor beta invite at a later stage of the testing process.

Account Security Reminder
As interest grows for the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion, please be aware of phishing attempts. Unscrupulous individuals (possibly working for the Iron Horde) may send out falsified emails purporting to be from Blizzard, but are in fact meant to steal your login credentials. For more information on how to identify these emails please refer to our Battle.net® Account Security site.

Stay tuned for more information as development and testing progresses for Warlords of Draenor™. This is just the beginning and we’ll have more information to share with you in the near future!

Battle.Net Desktop App Chat Now Live
You can finally chat with your friends using the Battle.Net client! Just restart the client to enable chat.

by Published on 2014-04-02 08:54 PM

Challenge Mode End of Season - Reward Clarifications
Blizzard posted clarifications on how Challenge mode rewards will play out at the end of the season.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Countless adventurers continue to brave the most trying versions of Mists of Pandaria dungeons, but the clock is ticking. This “season” of Challenge Modes will be coming to an end with the upcoming release of a patch prior to the expansion’s release.

Challenge Modes are designed to offer as close to a “normalized” difficulty as possible, and they’re tuned to be tough to master. With Warlords of Draenor’s class changes, itemization changes (e.g. the removal of Hit and Expertise), and—of course—increased level cap on the horizon, the difficulty of Mists of Pandaria’s dungeons will no longer be tuned the same as they were. In the spirit of fair play, when the aforementioned patch is released a little while before the new expansion launches, the current slate of Challenge Mode dungeons will no longer be available, and the achievements they award will be converted to Feats of Strength. The reward items will still be available for purchase by those who qualified prior to the end of the season, but it will not be possible for new players to earn those rewards going forward.

If you still need to earn your Undaunted title, Ancestral Phoenix, or class-specific Transmogrification sets, now’s the time to get out there and prove your worth. In Warlords of Draenor, an entirely new set of Challenge Modes will be available . . . and with them an array of new rewards for you to earn. Until then, stay sharp!

* Reward Clarifications

With the upcoming end of the Challenge Mode Season, we wanted to provide some additional clarification on how we plan to handle rewards.

Achievements: All Achievements associated with Mists of Pandaria Challenge Modes will become Feats of Strength.

Rewards
  • Bronze: The “Undaunted” title for achieving a full set of Bronze medals will become account-wide.
  • Silver: The Pandaren Phoenix mounts awarded for a full set of Silver medals will become account-wide. If any character on an account has earned a full set of Silver medals, all four variants of the Pandaren Phoenix (Crimson, Ashen, Violet, and Emerald) will become available to all characters account-wide.
  • Gold: The cosmetic class sets will remain character-specific. Any character that has earned all nine Gold medals will still be able to repurchase the appropriate set, should they misplace theirs, from Challenger Soong or Challenger Wuli in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Any characters that have earned one or more “Challenger’s Path” teleport spells by earning Gold medals in Mists Challenge Modes will retain those spells.
  • Realm Best Titles: There are extremely limited titles that are held by the players who hold the best clear time for a given dungeon on a given server. Since those Challenge dungeons will no longer be available in Warlords of Draenor, their respective titles are also being permanently removed. There will be new Challenge dungeons in the upcoming Warlords season, and new titles for which to contend, however.
by Published on 2014-04-01 03:51 PM

Artcraft - Remaking the Female Draenei

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!


Warlords of Draenor - 6.0 Patch Note Preview
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
It is the era of an Old Horde, forged with steel rather than fel blood. A union of great orc clans, the Iron Horde, tramples the planet Draenor beneath terrifying war machines. Azeroth falls next. Worlds uncounted will follow.

With the Warlords of Draenor beta on the horizon, we’re offering a short preview of some of the changes coming in the expansion, which we’ll be asking a few of you to help us test. Please keep in mind that everything here is subject to change, and that these do not encompass all of the features or changes planned for the beta, or final release.

Visit the Warlords of Draenor announcement site for more information on the major features coming in the new expansion.

General
  • As part of our efforts to present players with smaller and more easily digestible numbers (the so-called “Stat Squish”), World of Warcraft has been converted to use a base-20 (vigesimal) number system. As a result, all stats have been decreased by 2BA0E%.
  • To ensure the game can maintain its current age group ratings, Garrosh Hellscream is now Garrosh Heckscream, and the Cult of the Damned has been renamed to the Cult of the Danged.
  • To prevent confusion over whether you’re playing a card game or returning to town, the Hearthstone will now be called a Homerock.
  • To encourage exploration of the world all Flightmasters are now Walkmasters.
  • Walkmasters provide a guided tour of the world, giving out small bits of trivia for the area you’re in as they walk alongside you to your destination. If they walk slower than you’d like, just use your Homerock.
  • Daytime in the world of Azeroth is now 50% brighter, and comparatively nighttime will now appear darker.
  • Dogecoin is now accepted as a form of payment, but no one really knows how it works.
  • Due to ongoing legal disputes with the Stonemasons Guild, repairs on Stormwind Park continue to be bogged down in political turmoil.
  • New paid service: Character Bust. Pay to de-level any character back to 1, removing all items, mounts, and gold, so you can relive the good ol’ days.
  • Once again, due to lack of use, the Dance Studio has been removed from the game.
  • The Lion’s Pride Inn in Goldshire has been renamed to the Peppermint Clefthoof.
  • Transmogrification is now an entirely random event, and occurs via a new Hunter Transmogrification NPC named Nivlac. Nivlac will spawn randomly into the world and shoot you with his Transmogrifier to permanently turn your character into whatever he happens to be thinking about at the time. His pet, Sebboh, probably has something witty and insightful to say about that.
  • New Faction: G.R.O.S.S. – This faction is led by Nivlac, and their headquarters is found high in the treetops of Nagrand. Are you prepared to play a spirited round of Nivlac Ball to gain entry into its most hallowed sanctum?
  • The “kazoo music” heard in Pandaren inns now have a chance to play instead of any other music anywhere in the game.
  • In addition to a Proving Grounds medal of Silver or better being required to queue for Warlords of Draenor Heroic dungeons, a medal of Gold or better is now required to post in the forums.

Classes
Death Knight (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Death Knight voice modulation has been reduced to infrasound frequencies. Blizzard shall not be held responsible for any damage to subwoofers or loss of control of bodily functions as a result.
  • Brittle Bones now has a 50% chance to turn the target into a purple-wearing supervillain.
  • Threat of Thassarian tooltip changed to explain who the hell Thassarian is.
  • Due to circumstances beyond our control, the pact has been unsealed.
  • Using Death Grip on something larger than your character will cause you to be pulled toward the creature instead of the creature being pulled toward you. Gnomes should just probably not be Death Knights.

Druid (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • To equalize utility between classes we have removed the Druid’s fifth spec.
  • Symbiosis now also inherits all raid and boss lockouts from the target.
  • Chatting while in Cat Form will now be presented with poor spelling, in all caps, using the Impact font.
  • Druids in Bear Form now receive a bonus to Fishing.
  • Druids in Moonkin Form are now 50% more delicious. As always, we recommend Free Range Moonkin whenever available.
  • Tree of Life form now has a healing penalty during Autumn and Winter.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • For safety, all Hunters must now wear bright orange vests at all times.
  • New Pet System: Obedience
  • Pets now have an Obedience level. Each new pet must now be carefully trained over weeks and months for several hours a day to increase its Obedience level. A pet with full Obedience will obey commands 90% of the time. Pets without full Obedience may randomly decide to chase critters, make messes indiscriminately, pursue other players on mounts, or sleep instead of following a command.
  • Typing /SQUIRREL will reduce all nearby pets’ Obedience level.
  • Pets acquired above level 1 increase their Obedience level at a significantly reduced rate.
  • Bows and Crossbows now use the Gun sounds.
  • Aspect of the Hawk now provides a 30% bonus to Attack Power, up from 25%.
  • Aspect of the Pack has been renamed to Aspect of the Doge. Many daze, much anger, so mystery, wow!
  • Hunters now have access to an exclusive weapon type: Straw. From not-so-great distances, spatter your enemies with unique abilities Spit-wad, Backwash, Snot Rocket, and Booger Barrage.
  • Snake Trap now catches 50% more snakes.

Mage (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Using the Mage spell Blink will now attract the attention of creepy angel statues. Don’t “Blink.”
  • To make playing a Mage more enjoyable, players who use the words “tray,” “food,” “drink,” “table,” “snack,” “mage,” or “pls” in Raid, Party, Battleground, Say, Yell, General, or Trade channels within a Mage’s hearing are killed instantly.
  • All existing Portal spells have been removed.
  • New Ability: Portal: Walkmaster summons your own personal Walkmaster to lead you to your destination.
  • New Ability: Polymorph Polymorphism, transforms the enemy into a slightly different version of themselves.
  • Time Warp now requires just a jump to the left.
  • Fixed a typo. Ice Floes is now correctly spelled Ice Flows.
  • Mage Armor has a new icon.
  • Ring of Frost has been replaced by Ring of Fire for Fire-specced Mages, and it burns, burns, burns.
  • New vegan Conjure options have been added, including Conjure Soyfreshment, Conjure Fennel Bean Gem, and Conjure Avocado Asparagus Tartine with a Miso Sesame Winter Squash Gastrique.

Monk (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Due to ratings concerns, all references to “brew” have been replaced with “giggle juice.”
  • The amount healed by Healing Sphere has been increased by 1000%, because RUN OVER THE HEALING SPHERES.
  • Blackout Kick now causes the victim to wake up the next day and question their life choices.
  • Legacy of the White Tiger critical strike chance is now increased by 10% for all characters with green eyes.
  • Detox now sends instructions to the target about this new diet you’ve been reading about.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Turn Evil can now be cast on players and NPCs. When used, it applies a small dark goatee and causes them to constantly explain their diabolical plans while steepling their fingers.
  • Cleanse now surrounds the target with an outhouse and asks everyone to not talk for a bit.
  • New Ability: Renounce. When cast, Renounce permanently changes the Paladin into a Warrior.
  • Eternal Flame now correctly sets the targeted player on fire, forever.
  • If Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is installed, Paladin characters will stare longingly over a fence at the Crusader, and then look away and pretend to be picking their nails if the Crusader notices.

Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Shadow Priests have been retuned to be almost as good as Warlocks in every way. Almost.
  • Chakra, when the walls fell.
  • Vampiric Embrace now calls upon a glittery vampire to hold you and tell you he will always protect you, Bella.
  • Mind Sear has been renamed Mind Seer, allowing the Priest to see things no else can see. Do things no one else can do. Is it getting warm in here?
  • The Discipline passive Train of Thought can now be interrupted. Probably by the garbage truck, or that dog that just never stops barking whenever they let it outside.
  • Mind Seer plays tricks on you. You play tricks back! It's like you're unraveling a big cable-knit sweater that someone keeps knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting…
  • New Spell: Holy Diver. Sends the caster down too long in the Midnight Sea.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Rogue specializations have been renamed to better encapsulate the skills and gameplay they represent.
  • Assassination is now known as “Stabby”
  • Combat is now known as “Pokey”
  • Subtlety is now known as “Shanky”
  • To help resolve spelling issues once and for all, Rogues have been renamed to Blush.
  • Blush can once again use Bucklers!
  • Blush no longer have access to the ability Swash, but at least they can still Buckle.
  • Fan of Knives now also makes your family kind of worried about you.
  • Cloak and Dagger continues to remind you of that Dabney Coleman movie from the 80s with the old couple that really freaked you out.

Shaman (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Rockbiter Totem now transforms the Shaman into a large stone elemental that cannot save their friends, despite having such big, strong hands.
  • Rolling Thunder now also causes lightning to strike.
  • Mail Specialization now correctly applies to female Shaman as well. Sorry about that, we misread it.
  • The talent Rushing Streams now also really makes you have to pee.
  • Casting Unleash Flame will now ignite your Healing Rain spell, setting fire to it.
  • We give up. Shaman is now spelled “Shawmun.”

Warlock (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • All spells and abilities have been significantly revamped. Again. You’ll figure it out.
  • Warlocks are now overpowered. This will be addressed in a future expansion.
  • Riding Felsteeds single file into battle will no longer hide Warlock numbers.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Warriors have been nerfed because reasons.
  • Charge no longer stuns a target, and instead roots them for 1.5 seconds.
  • New ability: Heroic Sit. All that mobility makes Warriors tired. Using Charge more than once in a 10-minute period now applies the “I’m tiiiiiired” debuff, which can be removed by employing Heroic Sit. Heroic Sit roots the Warrior in place, puts on the ballgame, and gives the Warrior an ice-cold giggle juice.
  • Charge no longer roots a target, and instead stuns them for 1.5 seconds.
  • Intervene can now be used when your one friend gets out of hand at the bar again because he can NOT go back to County.
  • Charge no longer roots or stuns a target, and instead Polymorphs them for 1.5 seconds.
  • Shockwave is now aGlyph of Rude Interruption is here too! How’s it going? Just wanted to say hey.
  • Charge is now a passive effect.
  • Disarm now correctly removes the targets’ arms.
  • You know what? Charge has been removed from the game. OK? Great job. We hope you’re happy.
  • The Protection passive Ultimatum just isn’t going to put up with it anymore. It’s either me or her, Jerry!

Quests
  • To address player sentiment issues, the daily quest blue-colored exclamation points have been changed to look like the more positively perceived orange-colored ones.
  • The Love is in the Air quest “Crushing the Crown” has been renamed “Crushing the Candy”. Bring it.

Creatures
  • All ducks can now drop items.
  • Crabs have been removed from the game... because if I see another one I’m just going to totally lose it. *sobbing* I’m sorry, I just can’t right now... I just... OK just give me a minute, I’ll be OK.

Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
  • As a part of the pre-expansion launch event, reaching the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar raid will now display: “Thank you! But our Garrosh is in another castle.”
  • Due to recent acquisitions, The Oculus is temporarily inaccessible.
  • Loot drop randomization has been made approximately 30% more random.
  • Despite concerns over workers’ rights violations due to unreasonable weather conditions, Arthas has stated that people should let it go, and that he will indeed remain the final boss of Icecrown Citadel. The cold never bothered him anyway.
  • Single-player dungeons have been added with challenging mobs and boss encounters. Queue times, however, are just going to be, like, totally bonkers.
  • Onyxia has stopped breathing altogether. Emergency services have been contacted and are en route.
  • Flying mounts can now be used in all Pandaria Raids.
  • As an added convenience, we’ve removed annoying obstacles like walls, ceilings, and anything else resembling an environment.
  • Trash packs now appear more festive and will break into choreographed dance routines when players fly over them. This tech was salvaged from the remnants of the Dance Studio, may it RIP in peace (again).

Pet Battles
  • Pet Garrisons
  • Why should you get to have all the fun? Introducing the Pet Garrison! A miniature version of your Garrison within your Garrison, run by your Battle Pets.
  • Pet Pet Garrison
  • Why should your pet get to have all the fun? Introducing the Pet Pet Garrison! A miniature version of your pet’s Pet Garrison within your pet’s Pet Garrison, run by your Battle Pet’s Battle Pets.

PvP
  • Players who attempt to create a character on a PvP realm will first be directed to read a thread about the Censer of Eternal Agony on the forums.
  • The Black Market Auction House has been moved to the floor of the Gurubashi Arena.
  • We’ve reverted recent changes in Alterac Valley, as we’ve discovered the Horde were sometimes able to win.
  • Increased the number of Battleground maps able to be downvoted to 14 (up from 2).
  • Trial of the Gladiator is being reworked, and will instead offer players the chance to judge last season’s Gladiators for their crimes against humanity.
  • Upon being killed in PvP, you’ll now be presented with an interface allowing you to directly contact the developer responsible for this crap.
  • Due to PvE gear being so much better in world PvP, we're now offering all PvE content to those who only purchased the PvP version of the game.

Professions
  • Due to new Horde and Alliance policies, bandages can only be used on players who spend at least 38 hours per week completing quests.
  • Herbalism is now legal in Coldarra.
  • Tailors can now make cloth armor in addition to bags.
  • In addition to picking flowers, Herbalists can now also pick their nose. The ability is only usable when not in line-of-sight with other players.

UI
  • Upon beating World of Warcraft, a New Game+ option will appear on the main menu, which allows players to replay the game at a more challenging difficulty level.
  • A new option “Twitch to Move” has been added, allowing movement and actions to be controlled by people watching you on Twitch.tv.

Items
  • Transmogrification rules are being relaxed, and you can now transmog trinkets, rings, and neck items.
  • Any references to [redacted] have been removed from the game.
  • Rocket launchers have been added. Sweet, sweet rocket launchers.
  • The Broken I.W.I.N. Button can now be repaired via a one-time purchase through the in-game Shop.
  • The Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape is now slightly whiter and longer than your average cloak or cape.
  • Someone said Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker.
  • Wrathion will once again ask the heroes of Azeroth to embark on an expansion-long quest, culminating in the reward of a Legendary item. First players must reach Draenor and help to guide Anduin through his formative years, teaching him how to talk to girls, how to tie a tie, etc. This process takes approximately 4-5 years, but could extend well into his 20’s depending on how much he resents you. You’ll then graciously enter into the Arenas and attain a rating of 2200 or higher. Wrathion will then send level-100 players on an epic quest to collect 60 small knickknacks from Normal Dungeon bosses. These are just for Wrathion’s small curio collection. You’ll then be asked to go on a whirlwind tour of Azeroth and defeat every Battle Pet trainer—we hope you’ve been practicing! Then you need to get 3,000 Valor; unfortunately Valor might not really be a thing anymore, so he wishes you good luck with that. After that point, though, it’s just a short skip and a jump of beating every Raid boss in the expansion 12 times, on separate lockouts, to prove your worth to wear the ultimate prize, a Legendary T-shirt and the Achievement “I Helped Wrathion and All I Got Was This Lousy Shirt”.
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!

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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.


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