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by Published on 2016-06-06 06:53 PM

Beta Week 2: We are still selecting and verifying winners, check back later.

Update: T-Mobile is giving US Postpaid subscribers a free Warcraft movie ticket.

Blizzard Adding Facebook Login and Facebook Live Streaming

Jay Wilson Leaving Blizzard
Jay Wilson has been at Blizzard for over 10 years, working on Diablo and World of Warcraft during his time there. We wish him the best on his new journey!

by Published on 2016-06-06 02:17 PM

Warcraft Movie Updates, Legion Talent Changes, 7 Million Overwatch Players, Foxtrot

Blizzard Adding Facebook Login and Facebook Live Streaming
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment and Facebook are working together to provide gamers around the world with new ways to connect and share their gaming experiences, while bringing more high-demand entertainment content to Facebook’s global platform.

The companies announced today that a major step in their ongoing collaboration will begin later this month with the integration of Facebook Login in Blizzard’s PC games. This will enable players to sign up for and log in to games such as World of Warcraft®, Heroes of the Storm®, Hearthstone®, Diablo® III, StarCraft® II, and Blizzard’s most recent blockbuster release, Overwatch®, using their Facebook accounts.

Adding Facebook Login will pave the way for new social functionality in Blizzard games while highlighting Facebook’s capabilities as a platform for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content. As an example, Blizzard is in the process of incorporating Facebook’s Live API in order to create its own “Go Live” streaming functionality for its games. When this functionality is implemented, players will for the first time be able to livestream their Blizzard-gaming sessions directly to their Facebook timelines, and friends will be able to subscribe and be notified when new streams are available.

“Blizzard games are best when played with friends, so it’s important to us to provide our players with features and services that make it easy and fun to share their experiences with each other,” said Gio Hunt, executive vice president of corporate operations at Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re working closely with Facebook on this integration for Overwatch, as well as our other games, and we look forward to sharing further details on our plans as development progresses.”

As part of the collaboration between the two companies, Blizzard recently hosted multiple livestreams via Facebook. The first series of streams centered on Heroes of the Dorm™, Blizzard’s collegiate tournament featuring its popular team-brawler Heroes of the Storm. Last week, Blizzard hosted a livestreamed launch event for Overwatch on Facebook.

“Blizzard has a passionate community of players, and an incredible track record for launching innovative and high-quality gaming experiences,” said Leo Olebe, global games partnerships director at Facebook. “Our collaboration on Overwatch demonstrates Facebook’s commitment to partnering with AAA game companies, while further empowering Blizzard gamers to connect and share the content they're most passionate about with the friends they play with around the world.”

In preparation for the Overwatch launch, Facebook worked with Blizzard on a comprehensive mix of Facebook and Instagram marketing solutions—including Carousel ads, Canvas, and Instagram Marquee. Using the platforms’ powerful targeting capabilities, Facebook helped Blizzard present the game to a broad set of gaming and entertainment audiences within Facebook’s and Instagram's global audiences of 1.65 billion and 400 million people respectively. On Facebook, more than 650 million people play games connected to Facebook every month across web, mobile, and console.
by Published on 2016-06-05 10:48 PM

Affix and Item Optimization Analysis & Diablo/Half-Life Twitter Tease

Weekend Wacky Wild Decks - Take a Break from Standard!

Haunted Mines Rework Not This Year, Fall Championship Details, Anniversary Bundle Tip

More than 7 Million Overwatch Players Worldwide!

Warcraft Movie Videos
Even more Warcraft movie related videos were released at the end of the week.

Warcraft Movie Box Office Update
The Warcraft Movie continues to do well internationally, with Deadline posting updated numbers for this weekend:

  • The movie did $31.8 million in the 20 markets from the first weekend release.
  • It opened in 8 more markets since then, adding a total of $29 million through Sunday.
  • It was the number one movie in seven of the eight new markets.
  • Warcraft is still the #1 movie after 9 days in Germany and still at #2 in Russia.
  • The international release has a total of $69.1 million so far.
  • The movie opens in China on Wednesday, where pre-sale numbers look strong.

Warcraft Movie Premiere Live Stream on June 6
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Warcraft movie will swoop into theaters on June 10, but we’re inviting you to join us on June 6 for the premiere live stream, direct from Hollywood! Hosts Jesse Cox and Michele Morrow will be joined by Warcraft movie director Duncan Jones, movie cast members, and many more special guests as part of this Legendary event.

Join us here and on the official Warcraft Twitch channel for the live stream beginning at 5pm PDT on June 6. You won’t want to miss it!

Legion Talent Changes
Blizzard has hotfixed talents on the beta realms to make changes to talent choices and positions. These changes are reflected in our talent calculator.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hey all.

The last two Beta builds have included a number of changes to talents for many specs, most of which involved rearranging the talent trees, and/or tweaking some talents to be useful in more situations. I'd like to give a little context about those changes, and discuss the further implications of them.

Goals and Obstacles
One of the goals of talents in Legion is to provide more meaningful choice than before, with a focus on customizing your gameplay to suit your tastes. More than ever before, there are options to add or remove complexity, skew what your spec excels at, or opt into alternative rotation styles.

We've moved away from talent rows containing 3 flavors of the same thing, to choices that are impactful in completely different ways. We're not going back on that, but trying out differences as extreme as we were has revealed some new problems. In many cases, the difference between talents was so stark in common situations that it became more of a 'test', and less of a choice.

The Current Situation
There are no hard and fast rules to what makes a good talent row or talent tree, and there are legitimate exceptions to nearly every idea about good talent design, but one of the biggest sticking points is around multi-target damage. Talents can have a huge variety of impacts on damage, falling on a spectrum that ranges from purely increasing single target damage (such as Pyromaniac), to being awesome in mass-AoE but having no value at all against a single target (such as Fire and Brimstone). The majority of talents are somewhere in the middle, offering solid value in most situations.

In many cases, we had talent rows that pitted talents at opposite ends of the spectrum against each other, such as the Arcane level 15 row, where you had the choice of two purely single-target talents against a talent that offered only a little against a single target, but massive value in AoE. This wasn't an interesting choice, it was just a test of whether you could pick the right talent for the situation, and the difference was so strong that you felt punished for having the wrong one.

The Solution and Further Implications
However, we don't want to go back to a world where a talent row is about picking which slightly different flavor of AoE you want. We've opted to rearrange things such that you have more choices that mix generally useful talents vs the more specialized talents. Hopefully that line between the theoretical best talent and the others will be a bit more blurry now, and the talent you do choose won't feel like a wasted talent point in many situations.

As you may have guessed, these changes are going to require a cascade of other related changes, mostly around tuning. Not every talent row is equally valuable (nor are they intended to be), and with new talents competing with each other, adjustments will have to be made. Talents that moved, and their competition, will have to be retuned to become viable choices. Additionally, the overall strength of some specs in common situations will be adjusted to account for talents now offering more or less in those situations. An example of this is Assassination Rogues, whose baseline AoE damage was low, but had an extremely strong AoE talent in Blood Sweat, creating one of those obvious 'test' problem cases. We opted to remove Blood Sweat, adding choice to that talent row, and will be improving their baseline AoE capabilities instead.

We'd love to hear your feedback about these changes, and what you think about talent choices in general at this point. Thanks!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
Protection Paladin Feedback -- Legion Beta Feedback
FYI, one talent tweak didn't make it into this build. To allow Blessed Hammer to still mostly act as a filler, it'll have 3 charges, up from the 2 you currently see. (I believe I said previously that that was planned, but there was a bug with it that delayed it until the next build.) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator / Artifact Calculator / PvP Talent Calculator)
Discipline Priest -- Legion Beta Feedback
PW:s sounds loud now and I don't like it
This should be fixed next build--various Holy school spells are incorrectly playing the Guardian Spirit sound. A similar bug with Druid Nature spells should also have been fixed in today's build. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Warcraft Movie–Inspired Transmog Items Update
An update was made to how mailing the movie transmog items works, converting them if you mail them to a character on the other faction.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The Warcraft movie is almost here, and we’ve been celebrating by equipping heroes of the Horde and the Alliance with a set of movie-inspired transmogrification items. Players who log in through to August 1 will receive special Warcraft movie-themed items on the first Alliance and Horde character to log in. To help with making sure you’re able to transfer your items between factions, we’ve applied a small update.

Items that are mailed to an opposite faction characters will now convert to the opposite faction items. You can mail these items to alternate characters on a different faction to receive their version of each item. For example, mailing the Alliance sword to a Horde character turns it into the Horde axe. This should also address issues that some have experienced with duplicate items allowing them to be sent to other characters and converted.

Once the updated Transmogrification system releases with Legion, items received during the promotional period will be automatically added to the Wardrobe even if they have been deleted from your inventory.

Don’t miss out on collecting these items. Log in today!

North American Road To BlizzCon Format Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We wanted to provide some additional clarity on the format and logistics for this year’s North America Qualifier cups. This post will be updated with additional information as needed.

Seeding will be based on the average ladder rating of the highest rated three players on the team. This will be based on a ladder snapshot that will always take place at 2pm Pacific on the Monday prior to the Round of Eight broadcast.

Following the ladder snapshot, the brackets will be seeded and released by the end of the Wednesday prior to the Round of Eight broadcast.

Match Schedule:
All matches leading up to the Round of Eight will be played starting from 7pm Eastern on the Thursday and Friday nights prior to the Round of Eight broadcast.

Once the brackets are seeded and released, the schedule will be available. Teams must be online and ready within 30 minutes of their scheduled match time. Subsequent matches will be scheduled once the matches required are completed. All matches will be Best of Five.

All the rules can be found on the MLG Gamebattles Tournament Page, and on the official blog. Please familiarize yourself with the rules. Admins from GCDTV and MLG will be on hand to assist you with any disputes or issues.

Overwatch - More Than 7 Million Players
Overwatch is off to a great start, with more than 7 million players already!

Foxtrot - Theater Rep
The Warcraft movie was mentioned in this week's Foxtrot comic!

by Published on 2016-06-03 09:16 PM

Engineer's Workshop: Extended Draw Distance
Legion significantly expands your view distance, in part due to rendering things far off in the distance at a lower quality.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
It’s been a while since we’ve delved into some of the nuts and bolts of World of Warcraft, but today we wanted to talk about an exciting visual update we’re working on for Legion—extended draw distance.

For the new expansion, we’re making some under-the-hood changes that will make it possible players to see more of the world than before. This new perspective on World of Warcraft won’t be limited to the Broken Isles. Players who return to the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor will also be able to see distant terrain and buildings from farther away than previously possible.

You can see the dramatic difference for yourself between the old and new draw distance in the following screenshots.

This first image is taken from vantage point in Shadowmoon Valley looking toward Karabor from midway through the zone—first on the current Ultra setting and then on the new Graphics Level 8 setting.

In this screenshot, Karabor isn’t even visible as a silhouette on our highest graphics draw distance for Warlords of Draenor (Ultra). The equivalent setting in Legion will result in the next screenshot once this change goes into the game.

Now that we’ve shown you what to expect, let’s dig further into what’s going on behind the scenes.

There are two numbers that contribute to how far the player can see terrain and structures in World of Warcraft. These numbers are the “fog distance”—a depth from the camera at which point any object’s pixels are fully converted to the fog color—and an overall draw distance, after which we clip all object geometry, preventing anything past that point from drawing. On lower settings, you can see the second value as terrain and buildings seem to melt into existence, fully fogged, before slowly getting colored as you get closer to them.

In Warlords, the highest-end hardware that can reliably run the Ultra setting manages to push the fully fogged distance to about 1,300 “game units” (yards). After that point, all objects would be drawn filled in with the fog color until the clipping distance. The same setting in Legion will draw out to 2,600 game units. Those who currently play at High settings in Warlords and see out to 1,000 units will see 2,200 units in Legion. Graphics Level 10 is currently set at 3,500 game units, which you can see in that last screenshot. It’s important to note that due to memory considerations, all of these new draw distances are only available in the 64-bit client.

If you’re interested in the “how,” a bulk of the effort to achieve this went into changing the way we draw terrain and water in WoW to render fewer vertices at a distance. But it also necessitated the implementation of Level of Detail (LOD) for game models, like trees, and buildings as well. A model with LOD can swap to a lower polygon count model at a distance without negatively impacting the visual quality of the scene. We prototyped aspects of these systems in both Warlords of Draenor and Mists of Pandaria and learned enough from those two expansions to feel confident about making this change in Legion.

Another important change related to performance and quality will be the number of graphics options. We are retiring the concept of Low, Fair, Good, High, and Ultra in favor of a numerical scale. In Legion you’ll play the game on options 1 through 10, with 1 being the lowest we support and 10 being the highest. The old graphics settings land around 3 being comparable to the old Low and 7 being a match for the old High. This gives us even more room around the minimum spec and the recommended spec to either ease burdens on low end hardware or push titanic configurations.

Please note that as we progress through the beta, we may make additional changes to draw distances in order to deliver the best gameplay experience and performance. These changes are currently available to check out in the Legion beta test.

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