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by Published on 2019-11-05 02:00 AM

Celebrate 15 Years of World of Warcraft
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
This November marks the 15th anniversary of World of Warcraft, and we have some special things planned to commemorate the occasion.

When: November 5, 2019 – January 7, 2020 (The Americas)

November 6, 2019 – January 8, 2020 (Europe)

November 7, 2019 – January 9, 2020 (Asia)


New Raids: Memories of Azeroth
Chromie has separated the strands of time, allowing you to go back and relive epic raid encounters from Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm. Each of these limited-time raids will feature three iconic bosses, and they’ll be available as their own wings through the Raid Finder.

To enter the raid, you need a minimum item level of 380. Players who complete all three wings will receive the achievement Memories of Fel, Frost and Fire which grants the Obsidian Worldbreaker, a Black Dragonflight mount inspired by Deathwing.


Return to Alterac Valley of Olde
Run down your enemies, raze their fortifications, and exchange the tokens you loot from their corpses to summon mighty reinforcements in Korrak’s Revenge, a throwback Battleground inspired by the earliest days of Alterac Valley.

Players who participate in Korrak’s Revenge and complete the Alterac Valley of Olde achievement can earn two new mounts: the Stormpike Battle Ram (Alliance) and the Frostwolf Snarler (Horde).

Anniversary Gift
Get ready to celebrate 15 years of World of Warcraft in style! Everyone who logs in during the event period will receive an Anniversary Gift in the mail, which includes a Lil’ Nefarian battle pet, a Celebration Package that increases experience and reputation gains throughout the event, a reusable firework that can be used for the duration of the event, an item that teleports you to the Caverns of Time (usable only during the event), and other in-game goodies.


This pocket-sized Lord of Blackrock is too small to call out any classes, but he can still dish up a good insult.

These events and rewards are available to experience this week in all regions. We’re looking forward to celebrating 15 epic years with you!
by Published on 2019-11-03 10:02 PM

BlizzCon 2019 - Shadowlands, Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons, and more!

BlizzCon 2019 - Developer Interview
We sat down with Michael Bybee and Patrick Magruder to talk about Shadowlands!

Flying
  • Flying will work similar to previous expansions, with a variation of Pathfinder.

PvP
  • The team is still deciding on changes to the PvP Honor system and rewards.
  • The zones scaling for your alts that level out of order presents an interesting challenge when it comes to PvP and War Mode on. The team is working on making it fun and interesting.

Leveling
  • The team is working hard to make sure the flow of the new leveling experience makes sense.
  • Between the new player zone and Battle for Azeroth, the team is adding an interstitial experience. A new player might learn how to navigate a city, find flight masters, choose your spec, and getting a mount.
  • If you're going to be sending new and existing players into Battle for Azeroth, it makes a lot of sense for them to have a mount.
  • The team is still talking about what level getting Mage Portals is appropriate. It doesn't make sense for players to be suddenly restricted from things they used to be able to do.
  • If you aren't in Chromie time, zones will only scale up to the cap for that expansion. You can still level that way though!
  • If you want to go back to Pandaria and farm for transmog or rares, you wouldn't want the zone scaling, so you need Chromie Time to scale it.
  • Players will be scaled down in level in a natural way, keeping in mind the expansion milestones, such as being level 100 at the end of Warlords.
  • There will not be a stat squish. It's very important that players feel just as powerful when they log in to play the expansion.

Covenants
  • It will be expensive to change Covenants. They aren't sharing the details at this time, but it's intended to be a significant choice. This is why you get to experience each Covenant. You'll probably be starting over from the beginning.
  • The team isn't sure if the transmog and mounts from Covenants will be restricted to the character that earned it or if alts can use it yet.
  • As the expansion progresses, there will be probably be other Covenant rewards.
  • Covenant abilities might get other cosmetic choices, similar to the fox one.
  • There will be reputations, but it might be in a different form.
  • Covenants won't operate the way you are used to reputations operating. There won't be a bar to fill to Exalted, it'll be a much more involved process. You are forming a relationship with this Covenant and individual characters in it to use the Soulbinding system.

Weekly Loot Chest
  • There will be a tremendous number of factors that influence the weekly loot choice.
  • Factors include how far you made it in a tower run, what Mythics did you do, what dungeons did you run, what World Quests did you do, what did you do in PvP, and many more.

Customization
  • The team sat down to talk about what would be cool for Shadowlands and the theme of player agency came up as the cool idea.
  • Covenants, loot chest, and new leveling system were all features for that idea. This time they took the art team time that would have gone towards a new race or class and spent it on character customization.
  • There will be a tremendous breadth of choices available for most, if not all, of the other races.
  • The team could have added more skin colors long ago, but representing more of humanity for Humans took subtle face changes and time from the art team to do right.
  • All races will get some cosmetic features, not just Humans.
  • The team started by asking what additional options they would like to see in the existing races. Lots of discussion internally about customization options that people wanted.
  • Allied Races had a story, "Why is this group joining us?"
  • Dark Iron dwarves look different, but there are other Dwarves that we haven't seen much of yet, and we should have because they are all Dwarves.

Engine and Data
  • The engine team is working on taking advantage of RTX.
  • The team strongly believes that the more machines that can run WoW, the better. At the same time they want to embrace modern technologies such as ray tracing, multi threading, and DX12.
  • The team's focus isn't to make it hard to datamine, their focus is to make the game as efficient as possible. Strings are big and numbers are small.
  • The team went to great lengths to make sure addon authors had access to things they needed. You can look up sounds by name and such. They did trip up a couple of times, but will fix it.

Torghast, the Maw, and Alts
  • Torghast is based on your participation. It'll be influenced by the gear that you get doing it. As you do runs, you will build legendary items. As your gear gets stronger from raids, Mythic+, and other sources, you'll become more powerful, go deeper in Torghast, and get more stuff.
  • If your alt hasn't geared up, you won't get very far in Torghast.
  • There may be some things that you can craft for your alts that are meaningful. Being able to target stats when crafting should be helpful.
  • World Quests will be unlocked at Level 50 for alts.
  • Covenant campaign starts at 60 for all characters.
  • There will be outdoor gameplay in the Maw, but not regular story quests like the Suramar campaign.
  • Anima is used for a lot of things. It will be used to help power your Covenant. It represents the mana behind Shadowlands.
  • The intent is that the Maw will remain challenging throughout the expansion, you shouldn't outgear it. One of the things players really liked about Classic is the outdoor challenge. The Maw should have increased challenge and fun!
  • Torghast is the only source of runes for the legendary items.
  • Torghast abilities can be tied into your Covenant.

Raids and Titanforging
  • No big changes to raid structure coming.
  • The team isn't sure if Titanforging will be in Shadowlands. They are closely monitoring the Visions of N'zoth system.

Covenants and Soulbinds
  • You'll go to the Covenant sanctum to interact with your Soulbinds. Spend anima to improve your relationship with them and increase their power. Covenants will be a great source of cosmetics.
  • In Legion, you built up the area in Suramar from a empty, hollow, lifeless space, to one filled with people and hope. The same kind of change will be reflected in your Covenant.
  • You can change the Soulbind you are bound to and the talents in their tree.
  • The Soulbind has not only a talent tree, but also a socket like choice.

Tier Sets
  • Will tier sets return? Maybe. The team likes the tier sets a lot, but made the choice to go away from them in Battle for Azeroth because it doesn't make sense for the story anymore. They were great in Legion because it was such a class focused expansion, but Battle for Azeroth changed to a faction focused expansion, so the armor sets were more faction or raid oriented.
  • Shadowlands is a Covenant focused expansion, so lots of things will double down on that. It doesn't mean that they are or are not doing the class tier sets.
by Published on 2019-11-03 07:10 AM

Blizzcon 2019 Recap
BlizzCon 2019 was full of announcements, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons, and more!


World of Warcraft





Diablo






Overwatch




Hearthstone




Heroes of the Storm



Warcraft 3: Reforged

  • Warcraft III: Reforged Deep Dive
    • Single account system with race based MMR
    • Different MMR for 2v2, 3v3, and FFA.
    • Team colored heath bars
    • New camera tools for map maker
    • High Elf swordsman models
    • Cinematic previews
  • Warcraft III: Reforged beta is available to anyone with a Virtual/BlizzCon 2019 ticket purchase.


Starcraft II

by Published on 2019-11-03 05:28 AM

BlizzCon 2019 - Overwatch: Evolving the Art
Join the Overwatch developers as they discuss the evolution of the heroes and environments in the game and the technologies that support them.

Overwatch 2 Design
  • Overwatch has always been about the heroes, so for Overwatch 2 the team wanted to give them a fresh new look while keeping the spirit of the original design.
  • Superheroes are a great example of how the team approached the process.
  • You watch the first Iron Man and he has the classic armor. Iron Man 2 changed some of the details of the armor. The team wanted to tweak details to enhance the look.
  • Wiston got a few upgrades, his armor is a little more sleek, his backpack is a little more techy, and he has a little console on his arm.
  • Mei is a long way from being a scientist anymore. She got some upgrade so that is ready for battle. Her suit is a little sleeker and has more tech.
  • Genji had a hoodie on the story board, but didn't have any pants. The team figured if they were going to give him a hoodie, they should probably give him pants as well.
  • Torbjörn chose to not answer Winston's recall, so he is wearing something more casual, something he'd be wearing at home.
  • Reinhardt has an 09 version on his armor now, up from his previous 08.
  • During work on Titan, there was a character called the Juggernaut. They went through lots of iterations on the design. By the time they got to the 8th design it was Reinhardt, as the team had moved on to Overwatch.

Tracer's New Look
  • The team wanted to preserve the iconic parts of the character.
  • For Tracer, the color palette, silhouette, and sense of motion were the core elements.
  • The team wanted to move away from the retro design and towards a sleeker and more techy look.
  • The team tried a few variations of Tracer, including some that were more casual and with a modified silhouette.
  • They also tried a poncho look.
  • They landed on an updated version of her battle armor.
  • In Overwatch 2 the team wanted to tell more story and get more intimate with the characters.
  • You need more detail if you are going to zoom in more on the characters.
  • Shaders, materials, and geometry all needed updates.
  • Tracer's original hair doesn't feel very natural if you zoom in, there's a bit of a plastic look to it.
  • The team wants to have the same fidelity as the animated shorts.
  • Detail maps were used to bring out the freckles.
  • New geometry and shaders for the eyes.
  • New detail maps for the vest and sleeves.

Environments
  • The team wanted to add more locations from around the world, more memorable themes, and a more dynamic world.
  • Bill Petras (Original Art Director on WoW) took lessons learned about creating worlds in WoW and applied them to Overwatch 2.
  • The heroes are all about motion and being dynamic and the team wants to bring that to the new worlds that they create.
  • Temple of Anubis was their first map. It's all the same theme, sandy and ancient.
  • When the team was making the art style guide for the original Overwatch, they had a theory that if environments had a wash of color and they made the heroes vibrant enough, the heroes would pop out in the name of readability.
  • One of the values on Overwatch was allowing players to switch heroes at any moment. If they swap heroes, they needed the model to pop in pretty quickly. With the singular theme maps, they were able to keep it resident in memory all of the time, as the lower amount of textures and models was small enough to fit. Less themes in a map is less memory used!
  • Rio de Janiero has a lot more themes. Lots of different washes of color. Spaces between the themes to prevent abrupt transitions. It's easily 2x larger than previous maps.
  • The team had to do offline calculations of potentially visible set and give the artists new tools to tell the engine what the player can see at any given moment.
  • The team will be streaming map data into memory as you play through the story.
  • Unit visibility is still very important and there aren't the red outlines from PvP. Enemies had to be visible within all of the themes on the maps.
  • The team used some new tech to boost the amount of light on enemy units in story mode.
  • The team was testing Rio de Janiero and everything was blue. The moonlight was bouncing around and making things blue, so the team changed the outdoor lighting to more of an orange color.
  • The team didn't want to put things in the original Overwatch maps that would distract from the gameplay, so the maps were fairly static.
  • In Overwatch 2, maps in the story missions are a character and can be used to tell a story.
  • One of the first dynamic map demos that was done was a sandstorm on Anubis.
  • Weather systems will make the map more dynamic, rain and fog.
  • Lighting and exposure have also been improved.
  • Cloth simulation has been improved. The simulation is better and more efficient.
  • More particle effects have been added.
  • Sequenced Events - Storefront explodes as you run around a corner, and enemies descend on the area.


by Published on 2019-11-03 05:09 AM

BlizzCon 2019 - Art of Diablo IV Panel Recap

  • General Concept
    • The art in Diablo is more grounded and realistic.
    • The team was inspired by medieval art.
    • They want to present magic in a lower fantasy way with Diablo IV.
    • Andariel is returning in Diablo IV and they got to re-imagine her for this version.
  • Character Models
    • They wanted to make more grounded and realistic characters.
    • New to Diablo IV is the appearance system, which lets you choose from different customization optopns such as hair styles, ethnicities, scars and jewelry.
    • Class legendaries have looks that are inspired by the class that uses it.
    • Character artists also make the weapon and npc models.
  • Animation
    • Animation team wanted to keep the fluid and fast combat from previous Diablo games, but developed some new technology to do so.
    • Characters have a running stop animation.
    • There are layered turns to show weight shift when turning around.
    • Uphill and downhill runs are now animations that happen seamlessly.
    • 4 Legged creatures have much more natural movement than previous games.
    • They have added layered combat, which is more readible on screen.
  • Visual Effects
    • You can seamlessly shapeshift from one form to the next by using your different abilities as a Druid.
    • The team is using motion blur to show force, power, and speed in a more grounded way.
    • Dynamic lighting is being used on spell effects.
    • They can now put weather in the spell effects, seen with the Druid.
    • Death animations are tied to skills, and so you'll see different enemy death animations based on the attack you use.
    • Boss death animations are unique as well, such as Ashava's chest exploding upon death.
  • Environments
    • Medieval Scotland was the inspiration for Scosglen.
    • The team collects information of real world areas and uses them in their in-game biomes.
  • Lighting
    • The team took a very naturalistic approach to lighting in Diablo IV.
    • The new engine can take a tile set and gut the lighting completely.
    • They use a lot of black depth fog.
  • Q and A
    • There will be an equal amount of class appearances for each class.
    • Your character will be in cutscenes.
    • There will be class item sets that change your character's appearance.
    • There is a lot of rain in Diablo IV where it makes sense. Dynamic weather is used.
    • A game art portfolio should have wire frames and under the hood models.
    • The team discusses if certain things are too dark a lot.



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